I found three lesson plans for elementary school kindergarten, middle school grade 7-8, and high school grade 9-10. The first lesson plan is “The Four Seasons on Earth” by Kimberlee McElroy on teachnology.com. I found this lesson plan to be useful in accommodating children with learning disabilities (LD). The objective of this lesson plan is “for students to be able to name all the four seasons and to be able to describe how the weather of the seasons and to also be able to determine what should be wore and what activities are fitting for the different seasons” (McElroy, 2012). This lesson plan was designed for students who have a language impairment and to help them be able to increase their knowledge of vocabulary and their usage related to the four seasons. “Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons: comprehension improves when you know what the words mean, words are the currency of communication and a robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication such as listening, speaking, reading and writing, and when children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too” (Alexander, n.d. ). This lesson plan is made especially for students with LD. It will help to increase a child’s vocabulary and can also be adjusted to meet the needs of each child who has an IEP. It accommodates all types of learners and not just one type of learner.
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Some adaptations that could be made to the lesson plan include visual aides for the students such as real pictures of the different seasons. Different clothing items can be brought in to show what appropriate clothing is for that time of year. Also, different foods can be brought in for each of the seasons such as vegetable soup or vegetable beef soup for winter. The students can create a book of their own on each of the seasons and draw pictures or bring in pictures or items for the different seasons. Students can also write a few words that relate to the particular season such as cold, snow, and white. Those can be vocabulary words as well. Graphic organizers can be used to help a students to be able to organize the words for each season. “Graphic organizers may greatly assist students with learning disabilities in connecting new material to prior knowledge, identifying main ideas and supporting details, drawing inferences, and creating effective problem-solving strategies” (Wayne, 2011, para. 10).
The lesson plan that I am using already has accommodations for special needs students such as visual sentence starters and verbal prompts. I believe I could pair students who have a learning disability with a non disabled child and have them work to help each other with their books by giving suggestions and helping to say the vocabulary words. For a child with LD, they may not be able to write a word such as snow very well so I would create a worksheet for them to be able to trace the letters.
The second lesson plan is “The Pearl” by John Blackwell on teachnology.com. This is a lesson plan for grades 7-8. The objective for this lesson plan is to “Facilitate understanding of the importance of rules in society, relate decision-making skills to each students own personal experiences, foster an appreciation for reading, and help students develop an understanding for what the author's point of view and what they are trying to convey” (Blackwell, 2012). This lesson plan is tailored to meet the needs of special education students. This lesson plan was designed to help students in middle school grades to be able to enhance their reading comprehension, read novels, and to learn appropriate decision making skills (Blackwell, 2012). Reading comprehension is important for students to learn in order to be able to understand what is it that they are reading and the words that they are reading. “Without comprehension, reading is simply following words on a page from left to right while sounding them out and the words on the page have no meaning and while people read for many different reasons, the chief goal is to derive some understanding of what the writer is trying to convey and make use of that information – whether for fact gathering, learning a new skill, or for pleasure” (Marshall, 2014, para. 2).
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Some adaptations that could be used are allowing the students to read aloud to the class if they are comfortable enough to do so. Also, the students could get in groups and act out parts of the book that way students can visually see what the story is about. A research-based strategy that can be used is a concept map and it works just like graphic organizers. They can help a child to brainstorm and map out ideas. A concept map can be used before reading begins and students can share what they already know about a concept. Then, when the reading begins, students can add to the map as a group as the story progresses. Students can also draw pictures to help them remember or understand or even use pictures form the internet or cut out to help them (Reading Rockets, 2015).
This lesson plan has accommodations already but some accommodations I could recommend is allowing a students to use a text to speech program to have the book read to them if they have difficulty with reading or communication disorder. For the particular book in the lesson plan, there is an audible version of the book for students to be able to listen to the story and follow along. For a final report, accommodations such as being able to use speak to text software can help a students to be able to write their report if they have a hard time typing or writing. That way the can see what is being typed out instead of having errors throughout their paper. They also can be paired up with a partner that can help them to write their paper and get in it on time.
For the last lesson plan, I chose “My Country” by Donna Lewis on teachnology.com. This lesson plan is for grades 9-10 and the objective of this lesson plan is for students to be able to apply the theories of the government, economics, and also sociology and they will be able to create their own country and do research to gather information. They will design their own government, pick a location, and create their own flag (Lewis, 2014). This lesson plan is designed to accommodate special needs students and they will be working in teams to create their own country and government. It also teaches the students about the government and also how to do research. It helps students to be able to create their own country and to see what it takes to run it. It teaches them to be able to apply concepts to real world situations they will face. Civic education means explicit and continuing study of the basic concepts and values underlying our democratic political community and constitutional order and civic education also involves development of skills in making decisions about public issues and participating in public affairs” (Hoge, 1988, para. 2). Even students with special needs has to be able to understand how government works and how to handle public issues and to make decisions. I see this lesson plan helping a students with LD or CD to be able to use critical thinking, learn concepts to use in the real world, and to also learn how to use public speaking to their advantage. It can help to build up their confidence.
Some adaptations that could be made is possibly taking a field trip to a government building such as the state capital to learn and see how the government functions on a daily basis. They can take notes and they can have a classmate help them take notes and help to translate anything a special needs students may not understand. Also, it could be arranged for the students to act out certain types of the government to help them understand how it works and hat they would like to use to develop their country. They could act out the signing of the declaration of independence and develop ideas on how to create their own. If the students is not comfortable n acting out in front of the class, then the students and team members can do it in front of the teacher only. If they are not comfortable speaking then they can use a text to speech program to speak for them and also if they have trouble with communication. A research-based strategy I really feel that works with this lesson plan is a graphic organizer. “Graphic organizers help students to visually display, interpret, and understand complex topics” (Ketcham, 2010). I feel a graphic organizer can help students with LD and CD and even non disabled students to be able to organize their thoughts and the information they find for their design of their own country.
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This lesson plan has some accommodations already for it such as talking software and spelling and writing software to help students who have reading issues and difficulty writing and spelling. A speech to text software such as Dragon can be used to help students write their paper for their final project. Assigning someone from another class to help a student who may be struggling to understand the work or the assignments and reading material. Allowing the students to be assessed verbally daily can help them to be able to say what they have learned rather than type it or write it. Questions can be asked and they can answer verbally.
Some ways I feel that a teacher could leverage learning strategies is by cooperative learning groups which can help students to be able to help one another. Putting non disabled students who have a firm understanding of the lesson plan can help the students with LD and CD. This goes for all of the grade level lesson plans I chose. Also, setting objectives and providing feedback can help the students to set goals at the beginning of the lesson and to set a time frame to meet those goals. Daily goals can be set by the teacher and the student. “Setting objectives establishes directions for learning and student benefit when they personalize goals set by teachers”(Pennsylvania Department of Education [PDE], 2009). Allowing students to summarize and take notes can help them along in the lesson plan to write down important information needed for an assignment. Some social interaction for all the grade level lesson plans is having the students to introduce themselves at the beginning of the year or the beginning of a new semester or quarter. The students can write down information about themselves or they can be paired up with another students and let them introduce each other to the class. Class discussions can be done in the beginning of class about the lesson plan and also after the lesson. It is a great way to get the students to give their input on the assignment and to interact with one another. Have the students do group presentations. It can help to divide up the workload on big assignments such as the lesson plan for high school and can help students with LD and CD to have less of a burden and to also help to keep their stress level down. Some behavior supports that would work within these lesson plans are making sure the classroom environment is accommodated for students with special needs. An example is a students with ADHD. They should not be seated where there is high traffic or loud areas and away from anything that may distract them from learning. Having a set class schedule or routine can help students to know what is going to happen during that class period. It can help to reduce the anxiety and keep frustrations down. “A classroom schedule that is well-designed and is implemented consistently may be the single most important factor in preventing challenging behaviors” (Ruef, Higgins, Glaeser, & Patnode, n.d., p. 7). Allowing the students to be able to make choices in their lives and in class can help to reduce behavioral problems. With the students being able to have input in decision making, it will help to build their self confidence and to also have a say in what goes on in their daily lives and routines within reasonable limits. It helps with their productivity and independence. Lastly, reward positive behavior. If positive behavior is being rewarded, then chances are the student will do what it is they did again. Positive reinforcement does not need to be done all the time or for everything the student does because then the student will depend on that positive reinforcement all the time. A reward could be extra free time or stickers for the younger students. Also using encouraging words and showing appreciation can help the child to gain self confidence.
Ruef, M., Higgins, C., Glaeser, B., & Patnode, M. (n.d.). Positive behavioral support: Strategies for teachers. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1032&context=gse_fac&sei-redir=1&referer=http://www.bing.com%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dfive%2Bways%2Bthat%2Ba%2Bteacher%2Bcould%2Bgive%2Bbehavior%2Bsupports%2B%26go%3DSubmit%2BQuery%26qs%3Dbs%26form%3DQBRE#search=%22five%20ways%20teacher%20could%20give%20behavior%20supports%22
Wayne, S. (2011). Visual, spatial displays aid students with learning disabilities. Retrieved from http://news.psu.edu/story/153017/2011/12/28/visual-spatial-displays-aid-students-learning-disabilities