Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last Day Reflections

Today is the last day of my class: Nature of Learning Disabilities which met for four days a week, three hours a day for four weeks. I truly loved teaching this class and really enjoyed my students. There were only three students but they all had a different background which led to lots of different points of view. One teacher taught in the public school, one taught at a private school and the other one was just an undergraduate with no teaching experience at all. We had wonderful discussions and everyone gave great input. Whenever questions arose, I felt I was able to take time to answer them and give help when needed. I learned a lot from them also. It is always a joy to teach students who are hard working and conscientious because it makes my life as a teacher so much easier!

I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge of special education with others because I feel it is so important for general ed and special ed teachers to know this information. I think (and hope) they have a better understanding about Learning Disabilities and the characteristics of a student with learning disabilities at different ages. I also think it was great to discuss different strategies that can be used to help these students. With such a small class, we were able to sit a semi circle and really have meaningful exchanges of ideas. I really enjoyed the Skype call we made to Lisa Parisi and Christine Southard to talk about their Inclusion class. I hope they can take the knowledge learned in my class and apply it to their classrooms or their lives.

By showing the class different technology tools, I was able to demonstrate how differentiated learning could help all students and not just the students with special needs. They willingly tried the new tools and became quite good at them too. Each student set up a blog (Check out our Class Blogs) and commented on other blogs which I think is a great way to reflect on teaching practices as well as keeping up with current trends in education. I really wish that I had more time with them to show them more tools. I didn’t get to show them all the things I wanted to because I was afraid of overwhelming them. If I showed them too many, I was worried that instead of trying some of them, they would avoid all of them. So I am pleased they learned to blog, use Skype, use Plurk and Twitter, use Google Reader, saw Voicethread and Delicious. I think we accomplished a lot in a month!

Overall, I feel this class was successful and we accomplished all that we set out to do. I just hope they keep up their blogging because I enjoyed reading them and would love to stay in touch.

Original image: 'Introduction to monstering'


Margaret said...

oohh. Sounds like I wish I'd taken my Nature & Needs class with you! But I kinda am getting some of the nuggets here & there as I stay tuned to your blog. ;)I think you made the right call on introducing tools. I counted 7 in your post, and if I'd never heard of any of them, I'd've shut down with more than that. I'm taking baby steps with technology, but I did discover using NASA's tv website to watch a shuttle launch is better than relying on the cable news broadcast of it. I spent all lunch & recess break finding it and getting it set up big-screen on my computers with cranked sound. Near launch time, another teacher told me what channel they'd found it on, so I flipped that on too, but my kids (&I) watched it on the web. Turned out to be a good thing - the news coverage got interrupted with a report about the soldier in Iraq who killed people in a clinic. I was able to zap the tv off (kids weren't watching it anyway) and we continued to enjoy the shuttle-cam til they got out of range & it cut off. It's kind of like studying history using primary sources vs excerpts or paraphrasing from a history textbook. Unless it's a Presidential speech, tv is likely to interrupt itself. Agencies responsible for the event aren't likely to do that - much safer for little eyes & ears.

loonyhiker said...

@Margaret When I got the student evaluations back, I was very surprised that they really liked the technology part. The part they didn't like was that I made it more student centered instead of teacher centered. They had to do presentations and add to the wiki instead of me just lecturing and them taking notes. I still think they learned more by having to engage instead of just listening.