Hallowed Halls of Learning,
Ivy League Halls of Learning,
and then a Focus for Me.
Closing Choice Workshop:
Supporting Kids with IEPs
Creating an Environment, a Schedule, and Plans that
Accommodate All Your Learners
by Val Geschwind
As we began, Val encouraged us to think of one child. One child to be at the center of our thinking in every consideration for the environment, the schedule and the plans. Just one child. I always loved when Heidi Hayes Jacob did this. So powerful!
So here he is:
What about the Environment for this guy?
The depth of Val’s planning blew me away.
And remember that I come from the field of special education.
It was my life for many, many, many years.
Val shared her thinking as well as explanations for each of these slides in her presentation. The pictures truly added to my understanding, but the pictures were not the main focus. Our focus was on the child at the center of our attention. Were his/her socio-emotional needs met? Physical needs? And what about supporting Risk-Taking?
How is that one child doing? Do you know if that child is “learning”? What evidence do you use?
There’s a paradox here because writing is one area where many might propose that a child with very specific needs as identified by IEP goals must receive a different kind of writing workshop. That view is often focused on a very narrow subset of constrained skills that includes letter naming and recognition, drill on letter formation, and other worksh*ts (a totally out of context reference by Lucy Calkins in her opening keynote on July 31 to the materials that some students use during writing time). However, in the context of “All students are general education students FIRST”, they must receive differentiated instruction in the classroom writing workshop FIRST.
Because as Lanny Ball wrote so eloquently this week for the “Fundamentals of Writing Workshop” series, it is all about Time, Choice, Response, and Community and Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning: Immersion, Demonstrations, Expectations, Responsibility, Approximation, Practice, and Response. (TWT, August 1, 2017, here) Aren’t those the things you want for your “one child” above?
Is every child successful in Writing Workshop?
Not necessarily. But are writers in Writing Workshop classes achieving at higher levels than other classrooms? Are the students able to write independently? Do they CHOOSE to write? What does the data say? What does their instruction say?
How are you measuring “Success” in Writing?
What environmental issues would you add to Val’s list?
Check out other #DigiLit Sunday posts at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche here.
Purpose: The End or the Beginning?
In the process of getting ready for #NCTE16, I was considering not blogging about this topic today. And yet, here I am because of three different conversations this week. I vacillated between:
What’s the “purpose” for assessment?
What’s the “purpose” for instruction?
What’s the “purpose” for digital tools?
- What does the research say?
Doug Fisher and John Hattie both shared this effect size for “Teacher Clarity” in Iowa in separate October, 2016 professional development sessions. That’s well about the “.40” that is touted as a “cut score” and is almost the equivalent of TWO YEARS of learning for students. Therefore, Teacher Clarity is important in instruction, and equally important in assessment aligned with instruction and perhaps has the greatest importance in the selection of digital tools for students.
2. What do teachers need to consider in the planning process?
Teachers spend hours poring over lesson plans and planning for instruction that will meet ALL students’ needs. Searching for the right resources, planning that delivery that will empower students and most of all trying to make learning purposeful and engaging. That’s not easy as some content is hard for students to really “grapple with” for real understanding ans not just rote memorization. However, if the goal is “LEARNING” and is focused on Teacher Clarity, won’t that require the teacher to BEGIN with “What will the students know and be able to Do after they complete this learning? So the teacher process might include some or all of these steps depending on the curriculum that exists and the expectations of any given curriculum.
Each step in the process above has ideas for “possible tools” to use during the planning and / or learning process.
3. But what about the learning environment?
Which classroom promote accelerated learning for students? How and where are students preparing for today, tomorrow and life “after school”?
What should classrooms look like?
4. What tools should the teacher and the students use?
The learning purpose should determine the possible range of tools that both the teacher and the students will use. Will the students ALWAYS have a voice in selecting the tools? Probably not, YET. Should the students have a bigger voice in selecting the tools that will showcase their learning? YES! Students should be
allowed encouraged to showcase their learning in a variety of ways. Learning should not always look like “cookie cutter” factory models.
As I’ve thought about purpose and its role in learning, this is the way that I have viewed it . . . with “purpose” as a critical factor at each level.
But now I wonder if “PURPOSE” should be the circle that houses the other four circles. Maybe purpose really is all encompassing and is the “driver” behind all decisions. So are the learning targets the center and purpose the frame for all learning?
Where do you believe “Purpose” lives in the daily decision-making processes involved in instruction?