Archive for the ‘Teacher Certification Study Guide’ Category

Piaget’s stages of development – Piaget believed children passed through this series of stages to develop from the most basic forms of concrete thinking to sophisticated levels of abstract thinking.

  • Sensory motor stage (birth to age 2)
  • Pre-operation stages (ages 2 to 7 or early elementary)
  • Concrete operational (ages 7 to 11 or upper elementary)
  • Formal operational (ages 7-15 or late elementary/high school)

Twelve principles that relate knowledge about the brain to teaching practices:

  • The brain is a complex adaptive system.
  • The brain is social.
  • The search for meaning is innate.
  • We use patterns to learn more effectively.
  • Emotions are crucial to developing patterns.
  • Each brain perceives and creates parts and whole simultaneously.
  • Learning involves focused and peripheral attention.
  • Learning involves conscious and unconscious processes.
  • We have at least two ways of organizing memory.
  • Learning is developmental.
  • Complex learning is enhanced by challenged (and inhibited by threat).
  • Every brain is unique.

What does these mean? I have no idea… This is the first I’ve seen these principles so I need to do some research. This following website seems like it’s on the same page but I haven’t read through it yet… more to come I suppose.

Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory – Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. They are visually/spatially, musically,  verbally, logically/mathematically, interpersonally, intrapersonally and bodily/kinesthetically.

Constructivist Learning – Student’s create their own reality of knowledge and how to process and observe the world around them. The classroom becomes a place where students are encouraged to interact with the instructional process by asking questions and posing new ideas to old theories. There are probably a million books on this concept but this a good read about Constructivist learning…

Constructivist learning is comprised of four components:

  • Learners create knowledge.
  • The learner constructs and makes meaningful new knowledge to existing knowledge.
  • The learner shapes and constructs knowledge by life experiences and social interactions.
  • In constructivist learning communities, the student, teacher and classmates establish knowledge cooperatively on a daily basis.
  1. Metacognition Learning Theory
  2. Cognitive Approach
  3. Social Learning Theory
  4. Behavioral Learning Theory

Transition planning, mandated by IDEA, is student centered and starts at age 14 and continued through high school. The planning focuses on a set of activities designed to facilitate the student’s progression from school to post-school activities. The groups involved include the student, parents, secondary education professionals and postsecondary education professionals. The ultimate goal is for a student with a learning disability who is confident, independent, self motivated and striving to achieve career goals.

Transition Services – The activities that have to be addressed are instruction, community experiences, development or employment and daily living skills.

  1. Instruction – This deals with school instruction including but not limited to a student portfolio upon graduation. The student should have a good idea what they want to do after high school upon research different opportunities. Many factors are involved in this decision including the severity of the disability, the student’s interest in further education, plans made for accommodations needed in future education and the identification of post-secondary institutions that offer the requested training or education.
  2. Community Experiences – This part of the transition plan teaches the student how to act in social situations throughout the community. The resources included recreation and leisure activities (movies, ymca, church), personal and social skills (calling friends, going out to eat), transportation (driver’s license), citizenship (registaring to vote, knowing advocacy groups).
  3. Development of Employment – Student should complete a career interest inventory to start their research. Many work skill activities can be worked on in the classroom and at home concentrating on employability skills, community skills, mobility and vocational training. Home and neighborhood activities may concentrate on personal responsibility and daily chores. Community based activities may focus on part-time work after school and in the summer, cooperative education or work-study, individualized vocational training and volunteer work.
  4. Daily Living Skills – This segment is important but not mandated or essential to the IEP. Living away from home can be traumatic for a student with a disability. In order to live independently a person should have an income, know how to cook, clean, shop, pay bills, get to a job and have a social life. The areas that need to be taught include personal and social skills, living options, income and finances, medical needs and community resources and transportation.

Assessment data and information is one resource in writing an IEP. This data provides information on the student’s current level of functioning in social skills, speech, language, academics, cognitive skills and fine and gross motor skills. Assessment data can also generate areas of delay that should be included in the student’s IEP goals and objectives. Behavioral data can result in writing a Functional Behavioral Plan. Culturally/linguistically diverse students will need additional considerations when qualifying for special education. ELL students will need materials and activities at the student’s developmental level and must parallell skills in the child’s 1st language and then in English.

According to IDEA 2004 the IEP team includes:

  • the parents/guardians of the child
  • no less then one regular education teacher – Identifies short and long term goals for the student and must give the student’s progress including strengths and weaknesses.
  • no less then one special education teacher
  • a representative of the local educational agency (Principal) – They provide or supervise the provision of specifically designed instruction to meet the unique needs of the child.
  • an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results
  • at the parents discretion, any individual having special knowledge/expertise relevant to the student or that can help them understand the IEP or the IEP process. (ex: speech pathologist, lawyer, etc.)

Before the case conference/meeting takes place:

  • Ask for input from all parties so the case manager can compile all of the suggestions beforehand
  • Draft general ideas ready for discussion and review
  • Compile a specific list of related/supportive services that may be considered to help the student with special needs benefit from special education

Support Professionals

School Psychologist – Participates in the referral, identification and program planning processes. Adds observations, data and inferences about the student’s performance. Involved as a member of the professional team throughout the stages of referral, assessment, placement and program planning.

Physical Therapist – Works with disoders of bones, joints, muscles and nerves following medical assessment. Involves the use of adaptive equipment to faciliate independent movement. This type of therapy helps individuals with disabilities develop or recover their physical strength and endurance.

Occupational Therapist – They are trained in helping students develop self-help skills, (self care, motor, perceptual and vocational skills)

Speech & Language Pathologist – Assists in the identification and diagnosis of children with speech or language disorders. Makes referrals for medical or habilitation needs, counsels family members and teachers and words with the prevention of communicative disorders.

Administrators – Principals and special education directors provide logistical and emotional support. Principals implement building policy procedures and control designation of facilities, equipment and materials. Special education directors provide information about federal, state and local policy which is vital to the operation of a special education unit.

Guidance Counselors, Psychometrists and Diagnosticians – Lead individual and group counseling sessions, and are trained in assessment, diagnostic, and observation skills, as well as personality development and functioning abilities.

Social Worker – Trained in interviewing and counseling skills. Possesses knowledge of available community and school services, and makes these known to parents. Often visits homes of students, conducts intake and assessment interviews, counsels individuals and small groups and assists in district enforcement policies.

School Nurse – This person offers information about treatment services. Knowledgeable about diets, medications, therapeutic services, health-related services and care needed for specific medical conditions.

Regular Teachers and Subject Matter Specialists – Trained in general and specific instructional areas, teaching techniques and overall growth and development. They serve as a vital component to the referral process, as well as in the subsequent treatment program, if the student is eligible.

Paraprofessional – This staff member assists the special educator and often works in the classroom with the special needs students. She helps prepare specialized materials, tutor individual students, lead small groups and provide feedback to students about their work.

As a special educator you will serve as a resource for the rest of the teachers: working with teachers in the classroom to organize the classroom setting. Work with small groups of students in the classroom. Organize professional development. Prepare IEP’s. Perform testing on students to determine their levels. Track progress of students. Determine strategies to help students develop by identifying their individual needs. Analyze assessments and evaluations to provide assistance to the teachers in reporting to parents.

Sharing information with parents/guardians: individual parent meetings, small group meetings, regular parent updates through phone calls, charts and graphs of progress sent homes and notes home.

Sharing information with school personnel: faculty meetings, powerpoint presentations, email, conferences, school board presentation and graphs and charts.

Validity is how well a test measure what it is supposed to measure. Reliability is the consistency of a test. Bias in testing occurs when the information within the test or the information required to respond to in a multiple choice question or essay is information that is not available to some test takers who come from a different background then the majority of the students.

Who do you contact?

  • Occupational Therapist – awkward pencil grasp, difficulty manipulating small objects, etc.
  • Physical Therapist- any gross motor skills; running, walking, using stairs, etc.
  • Speech & Language pathologist- articulation problems, apraxia, expressive, receptive, pragmatic, stuttering

Provide active learning experiences to teach concepts. Student motivation is increased when they can manipulate, weigh, measure, read or write using materials and skills that relate to their daily lives.

Provide ample opportunities for guided practice of new skills. Frequent feedback on performance is essential to overcome student feelings of inadequacy. Peer tuturing and cooperative projects provide non-threatening practice opportunities. Individual student conferences, curriculum-based tests and small group discussions are three useful methods for checking progress.

Provide multisensory learning experiences. Students with learning problems sometimes have sensory processing difficulties; for instance, an auditory discrimination problem may cause misunderstanding about teacher expectations. Lessons and directions that include visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic modes are preferable to a single sensory approach.

  • Visual Learner Characteristics – Visual learners are those who learn through seeing things. Look over the characteristics below to see if they sound familiar.
  • A visual learner: Is good at spelling but forgets names. Needs quiet study time.  Has to think awhile before understanding lecture. Likes colors & fashion. Dreams in color. Understands/likes charts.
  • Learning Suggestions for Visual Learners: Draw a map of events in history or draw scientific process.
    Make outlines of everything! Copy what’s on the board. Ask the teacher to diagram. Take notes, make lists. Watch videos. Color code words, research notes. Use flashcards. Use highlighters, circle words, underline.
  • Best Test Type for Visual Learners: Diagramming, reading maps, essays (if you’ve studied using an outline), showing a process
  • Worst test type: Listen and respond tests
  • Auditory Learner Characteristics – Auditory learners are those who learn best through hearing things.
  • You may be an auditory learner if you are someone who: Likes to read to self out loud. Is not afraid to speak in class. Likes oral reports. Is good at explaining.  Remembers names. Notices sound effects in movies. Enjoys music. Is good at grammar and foreign language. Reads slowly.  Follows spoken directions well. Can’t keep quiet for long periods. Is good in study groups.
  • Auditory Learners Can Benefit from: Using word association to remember facts and lines. Recording lectures. Repeating facts with eyes closed. Participating in group discussions. Using audiotapes for language practice. Taping notes after writing them.
  • Worst test type: Reading passages and writing answers about them in a timed test.
  • Best test type: Writing responses to lectures they’ve heard. They’re also good at oral exams.
  • Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics – Kinesthetic learners are those who learn through experiencing/doing things. Look over these traits to see if they sound familiar to you.
  • You may be a kinesthetic learner if you are someone who: Is good at sports. Can’t sit still for long. Is not great at spelling. Does not have great handwriting. Likes science lab. Studies with loud music on. Likes role playing. Takes breaks when studying. Builds models. Is involved in martial arts, dance. Is fidgety during lectures.
  • Kinesthetic Learners Can Benefit from: Studying in short blocks. Taking lab classes. Role playing. Taking field trips, visiting museums. Studying with others. Using memory games. Using flash cards to memorize.
  • Worst Test Type: Long tests, essays.
  • Best Test Type: Short definitions, fill-ins, multiple choice.
  • Tactile Learning Characteristics – Tactile learners prefer opportunities where they can actually do something physically with the information they are to learn. Tactile learners experience learning by doing the following type of activities: preparing multimedia projects, constructing models, art-related activities such as drawing, painting, and sculpting, making diagrams, mind maps, webs, playing games and simulations, role-playing, collecting rocks, flags, stamps, experiments and note making.
  • Learning Strategies for Tactile Learners: Frequent study breaks to move around. Drawing or doodling while taking notes in class. Incorporation of movement into the act of studying. (Reading on an exercise bike, tossing a ball in the air while memorizing. Working in a standing position. Highlighting text while reading, using bright colors. Decorating work space with visual stimuli such as posters. Listening to music while studying.
  • Worst Test Type: Long tests, essays.
  • Best Test Type: Short definitions, fill-ins, multiple choice.

Present information in a manner that is relevant to the student. Particular attention to this strategy is needed when there is a cultural or economic gap between the lives of teachers and students. Relate instruction to a students daily experience and interests.

Provide students with concrete illustrations of their progress. Students with learning problems need frequent reinforcement for their efforts. Charts, graphs and check sheets provide tangible markers of student achievement.

Fluency – When you learn how to ride a bike you start out jerky and unsure of yourself and then after practice, you realize, “I can do this, I can make it to the end of the street!” When a student is learning how to read they start out with low fluency that doesn’t promote enjoyment while reading.

Modeling by the instructor is essential in giving the student a baseline of fluent and expressive reading. As time goes on a student will mimic the styles that are heard and modeled by the instructor.

Comprehension Strategies by Sharon Taberski

  1. Strategy One: “Stopping to Think” – What do I think is going to happen? (Inferential) Why do I think this is going to happen? (Evaluative and inferential) How can I prove that I am right by going back to the story? (Inferential)
  2. Strategy Two: Story Mapping – Divide the class into groups and ask one group to illustrate the “characters”, another group the “setting”, while the others illustrate the “problem” and “resolution”.
  3. Strategy Three: Character Mapping – Have the children focus as readers on the character’s personal traits so to determine what will happen in the story. Using writing to share, deepen and expand understanding of literary texts is a cornerstone of the balanced literacy approach.
  4. Strategy Four: Modeling – Read a section of the story aloud and then pause for reflection so that you can write down responses.

Reading Levels – You can NOT teach the child only at their grade level/Independent level because it doesn’t give them the chance to improve. Always teach at the Instructional level with a scaffolding technique so that they can improve their reading skills.

  • Independent – The child can read text totally on their own. Decode 95% of the words & comprehend >80%
  • Instructional – The level the child should be taught because it is difficult enough that they wont increase their reading skills without intervention. 85-94% decoding & 75% comprehension
  • Frustrational – Books in this range are often to difficult for the child and should be used only once they have mastered grade level skills at the instructional level.

Word Recognition/Selective Cue Stage/Sight Vocabulary – If a student is not aware of how print and labeling is used in the real world you will need to support students in recognizing common objects or things.

Using phonics to decode words in connected text:

Identifying new words (prompts):

  • Look at the beginning letter… what sound do you hear?
  • Stop and think about the text… what word with this beginning letter would make sense here?
  • Look at the illustrations… do they provide help with figuring out the word?

Semantic &   Cues (Prompts):

  • You said (repeat the incorrect attempt). Does that make sense?
  • If someone said (repeat)… would you know what they meant?
  • You said (repeat)… would you write that?
  • You said (incorrect attempt). Does that sound right? Can we say it like that? (Syntactic)
  • The CVC game by Jacki Montrieth

Content area vocabulary: The specific vocabulary related to the particular concepts of various academic disciplines.

  • Vocabulary Strategies
  • Students need plenty of exposure to the new words. They need to be able to hear and use the new words in many naturally produced sentences. The more a student hears and uses the sentence in context, the more the word is solidified in the person’s long term memory.