FINAL WEEK

This is our final week of this class. To top it all off, we created a comprehensive C-Map. It shows what I learned about this semester as well as some basic skills and ideas I need to implement in my future classroom. My philosophy of education changed to be more full of accommodations and modifications for students who have need of it. I realized I need to spend more time working on creating a healthy learning environment for my students so they can all succeed in my classroom. I have included my C-Map here. Feel free to click on the picture and zoom in to check it out! Also part of it has a small key to understand the coloring with. Enjoy!

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Week 13 Reflection and Simulations (Learning Disability and Stuttering)

This week has been great. I have enjoyed learning about ways to manage behaviors with students in classes. I also have enjoyed finishing my simulations, which I will now include.

Learning Disability:

This was much more difficult than I expected. I went to the help desk in the Manwaring Center and tried to ask an associate where I could go to return my textbooks, and where I would need to go to do it. I will admit that I misread the simulation so I was working to avoid words with s or n in them, instead of n or l, but I really struggled. I could feel myself blushing and stammering and just completely stopping while trying to say words in a question. The poor associate looked pretty uncomfortable. He was kind though, and started offering words to me, which I could then confirm to him by saying “Yeah, that.” He found the information for me, and asked if I had any other things he could help me with. I felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable but told him he was very helpful and left. I can’t imagine what it must be like for students to have to process basic words this much. I can imagine I wouldn’t pay very much attention in class if I had this struggle.

Stuttering:

I have put this one off for so long because it makes me so uncomfortable. One of my good friends has a stutter that is incredibly bad. When she is comfortable, it is like the stutter isn’t there. But as soon as she has to say anything to anyone else, her stutter controls everything she says. She has to avoid certain words so she won’t stutter, and it is difficult. I finally worked up the courage today to do this. I went to return my textbooks in the Manwaring Center, and tried to stutter a hello and asked if this was where to return the books. I asked, haltingly and with a stutter, if there was a way to see if there were any other books that I needed to return from renting. The lady was very kind. I did a lot of stammering and stuttering and she kindly waited. If she didn’t understand, she asked kindly to repeat what I said. She didn’t complete my sentences, and was overall just very nice. I appreciated her kindness. I felt uncomfortable, but I was thankful for her. I can imagine how scary it would be to talk to people if you had a stutter.

Week 12 Reflection Post

This week was great! It was interesting to learn about how we can help students to succeed better, before, during, and after tests. I think the idea of grading is interesting in that we can change what we require of students in order for them to better succeed. We can choose to have them perform a task or do an assessment that is not the stereotypical written test. This allows them to tell us what they know in a fair way. I also spent a large majority of this week contributing to my group’s visual impairment presentation and studying for the exam. I am thankful for the blessings I have in my life to not have any major impairments, and am excited to help those who may not be as fortunate.

Week 11 Reflection Post

I enjoyed the readings and materials this week. It focused largely on empowering individuals with disabilities, and helping them to be independent. I especially loved this one because my younger sister has Down syndrome. She is currently at a transition academy that helps teach her how to be independent in the community. She learns skills like taking public transportation, counting her change after a purchase, and volunteering. I think that teaching students how to self-regulate in the classroom is one of the most empowering things someone can do for an individual with disabilities.

Week 10 Reflection

This week we learned about specific tools we can implement as teachers to help our students to succeed. One such example is example selection and sequencing. As teachers, we ought to choose those examples that our students will understand and remember. We should also sequence them so they are not tricky, especially when they are first learning about it. Teachers can also aid their students through graphic organizers and review sheets. As students work on concept maps and diagrams, they put in place mechanisms to remember later in the future. As we give them study guides and review sheets, they remember the information with greater accuracy. I also liked the idea of considering the classroom environment and asking if it is helping or detracting from the students’ learning. I love the idea of displaying work in progress assignments, and making the classroom truly theirs.

Week 9 Reflection

This week I enjoyed learning about and reviewing differentiation. We also read about teaching individuals with exceptional abilities and those with ADD/ADHD. I enjoyed learning more about how to help students with ADHD. All five men in my family have ADD or ADHD, so I grew up with a lot of distraction in the home. I liked the idea of avoiding distracting mobiles in the classroom, or of having slides on presentations that are not too distracting. I think there is a lot that I can do to assist my students to focus. I think also it can be easy to forget about students who are exceptional because they understand everything. It is important to give students chances to work hard and push themselves, especially the gifted ones.

Week 8 Reflection

This week I enjoyed learning about the INCLUDE process. I felt it was a fairly logical and intuitive process, but it was helpful to have it to labeled better. I am realizing more and more that good classroom management has the power to make or break a classroom. I also appreciated the idea of determining if a problem is a “can’t” or “won’t” type of problem. I think so often we choose to be lazy and assume it is our students that are having issues. If we were to be more diligent in our teaching, we would find that our students will be more successful in general. I am thankful for the chance I have to become a special educator one day.

Vision Impairment Simulation

Today I had the experience of simulating vision impairment using the Mardi gras masks on campus. My husband had a very fun time taking pictures of me unawares and just in general while I did this, so we have pictures of the experience. Here’s a quick run-down of the pros and cons I experienced today:

Cons:

  • You get a headache from the lack of vision and struggling to make up for it
  • You have to move your head around a lot to see things because even just having the mask limits your peripheral vision
  • You look weird

Pros:

  • You can’t see the judging looks of other people on campus when you’re wearing a mask two days after Halloween. Hooray!

Anyway, I started with the mask with the right eye covered. I was able to do my homework and study, though I soon got a headache. I could only use one eye, so when my husband spent a minute by my right shoulder taking pictures with me, I didn’t even see him.

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After finishing my time with this mask, I took it off and was suddenly blinded by the light and sudden vision. It took me a few minutes to adjust and rest my eyes before I was able to use the next mask.

I moved onto the mask with tiny holes in the center for vision. Because I could hardly see anything, I listened to a podcast for a class that also had videos with readings as part. Between the mask and the headphones, it was impossible for my husband to get my attention unless he put his fingers right in front of my eye-holes or tapped my shoulder. I felt practically blind. Listening to the podcast like this enabled me to follow along with what was being read, since my vision was severely limited. I realized after a little bit of time that there was a trade-off; I could see more if I sat further away from my computer, but it was difficult to read the words on the screen as they got further away. Again, my husband took a picture and, amused, edited it to his satisfaction.

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I think he should abandon his math degree and pursue a graphic design career, don’t you? Again, after removing the mask, my eyes were overwhelmed by the sudden amount of things I could see. My husband quickly decided that I needed more experience with vision impairments than just trying to study (my ways are too boring for him).

So we decided to go bowling on campus. I put on the cellophane mask and off we went, with me struggling to see anything. You see, I am near-sighted. I assumed this mask would mimic such an effect. I was surprised, however, to find that no matter how close my eyes got to something, it still did not become more clear to my eyes. It was a struggle. As we walked, I noticed something interesting. You know how in scary movies, a ghost-ish figure moves in this blur of a way? It starts out really far away, and then in an instant blurs and seems like it moves towards you faster than possible? Well, everyone on campus was moving like that, just at a normal pace. It was very strange.

Bowling with blurry vision was an adventure. I am pleased to say that I did about as well as I normally do (this should be an indicator of what a professional I normally am at bowling haha). In the end, I was only a bit behind my husband. Enjoy the overload of pictures:

After bowling, I used the mask with the center of vision covered up. They didn’t block my vision in the way they were intended, but they did give a headache. Several times during my wearing of it, I tried to do things while solely focusing on looking at the center vision-blocking paper. Doing that, and using only my peripheral vision to do other things, was very difficult. Insta-migraine. So I stopped trying to do that so hard and instead finished working on assignments.

Overall, what did I learn? Well, vision impairments are a big headache. Your eyes strain and you have to move your head a lot of to see things like others normally can. It makes doing simple things, like walking around campus or going to the bathroom much more complicated. Stairs are kind of scary. It makes me want to find out early if any of my students have vision impairments so that I can help them. I remember finding out I was near-sighted in third grade when I couldn’t read anything my teacher wrote on the board, even when I sat in the front row. I felt stupid and was afraid to tell my teacher. I want to help my students who are afraid to speak up and ask for help to get the help they need.

Week 7 Reflection

I enjoyed learning this week about disabilities. My group studied for the hearing impairments presentation and I felt I learned so much. I never knew that a cochlear implant doesn’t necessarily make sound appear like we do. In fact, for many, the sound waves are transmitted and it sounds kind of like a gravelly, robotic voice. It sounds like an evil alien from a sci-fi movie or show like Doctor Who. I also learned simple tips to prevent frustration for my students with hearing impairments. For example, staying in one place while I speak can help my students to read my lips easier. Not speaking while I am turned around can help my students. In addition, students with hearing impairments cannot hear many of the little conversations between student and teacher during work time that other students may hear, which limits the information they may receive in order to know how to solve a problem. I also am currently working on my vision impairment simulation as I type this, and will post about it soon (Teaser: I went bowling). I am thankful that my body works so well and am excited to help others around me to succeed with their disabilities.