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?