This paper is about teaching for exceptionalities, and it involves the creation of a strong lesson plan for a disabled student as well as a reflective analysis of how the program impacts the educational achievement of the child.
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Age & Grade: This lesson plan was targeted on Liam Carson, a seven-year-old student from Herbert Hoover Elementary. Liam is a victim of mild traumatic brain injury sustained from a fatal head injury as an infant. This condition has been very traumatizing for the young boy, especially when it comes to classroom experiences, where multiple learning complications have already been identified.
Strengths & Weaknesses: Liam has a strong passion for education, and can spell and write relatively well, regardless of his present state. However, his most significant weaknesses are in concentration and attention, memory, reading, and arithmetic reasoning.
Preferred learning modalities: Learning modalities for this Liam would be based on auditory and visual.
The most appropriate learning objective here was to help the student regain his memory ability, which is essential for a productive and successful learning experience.
Activity towards the objective
This objective can be achieved through the integration of the learning modalities in lessons targeted on the learner. For instance, visual examples can be used to support verbal explanations, to help the student memorize the concepts in the classroom.
Assessment of the activity would be conducted three times every week, whereby the memorizing capability of the student will be tested using the three learning modalities that include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. In this regard, the learning abilities of the student would be tested using each of these modalities.
Accommodations and Modifications
- Encouraging a non-disable student to act as a guiding companion of the student in classroom affairs
- Provision of more learning time for the learner
- Stressing on key points
- Simplifying complex concepts for the student
- Applying rhyming approaches of association that can be used by the learner to remember information
- Offering a simplified planner to the learner
- Small voice recorders to help the student remember things
- Talking clock and calendar
- Word processors that the student can use to input, store, and retrieve data
Students who have been identified with exceptionalities are associated with learning difficulties that would tend to limit their educational achievements at school. In this regard, it is necessary for professionals who have a role to play in the school life of exceptional students to come up with lesson plans that would be accommodative to all their learning needs (Tom, Edward & James, 2011).
To design a strong accommodation or lesson plan for exceptional learners, teachers should, first of all, take some time to assess their behavior under various settings to determine the kind of interventions that would be more appropriate for them. As it is shown in this paper, a well-designed lesson plan for students with disabilities can be a useful teaching tool for educators in both special education classrooms and regular education classrooms.
This lesson plan was able to play a significant role in helping Liam achieve his learning objectives at school. As it would be observed, the boy’s memorizing ability was significantly enhanced using the chosen strategies and approaches. Each of the accommodations and modifications applied had provided different outcomes towards the overall learning needs of the student.
However, while some of these interventions had proved to be more effective in helping the student deal with the various learning challenges instigated by his disability, others would have less influence on his learning life. Giving the student more time to concentrate in lessons and taking extra time to simplify and rephrase difficulty concepts for him are two strategies that have proved to be more successful in helping the boy achieve his learning objectives in the classroom.
Regarding the modifications, the provision of a simplified planner and the use of a peer companion to help the learner understand classroom procedures better had also proved to be more successful.
Even though the concepts of this lesson plan had proved to be more effective in helping Liam successfully deal with the learning challenges arising from his acquired brain injury, I would not apply them again if I were to teach this lesson once more. Some many accommodations and modifications can be used to help students with brain injury disorders deal with the long-term learning complications that would tend to arise from the condition (Ponsford, 2001).
There is a likelihood that teaching the lesson, in the same manner, using the same concepts will generate just the same results as before, and this would not bring any significant impact to the learning needs of the student. In this regard, it would be necessary for other different interventions to be incorporated in the exercise, to enhance better and stronger outcomes for this particular situation.
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Some various other modifications and accommodations can be applied to this student in a regular education classroom. For example, the teacher may provide the learner with the instructor’s book for him to copy the notes directly to his notebook. Moreover, the sitting arrangement can be disarranged to ensure that the exceptional student seats near the front, where it would be easier for the teacher to monitor his behavior at close range, thus responding with the most appropriate interventions.
If there is anything that exceptional students need most while in a regular education classroom, it is a learning environment which promotes self-confidence and determination. In this respect, the teacher should try to avoid any action which is likely to embarrass the student. One effective way of achieving this goal is by exempting the learner from classroom practices such as reading aloud in front of everyone, which can be more difficult for the student due to their impaired reading capabilities.
Similarly, there are numerous accommodations and modifications that a special education teacher can use upon this student. For example, the teacher can allow the student to make use of reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias when undertaking their lessons in the classroom.
Relevant assistive technologies such as calculators and number navigators can also be beneficial to the learner when it comes to solving math problems. Another significant approach here would be to make learning experiences easier for the student by ensuring that their assessment involves multi-choice questions rather than open-ended questions.
Apart from the teachers, other service providers can also have a crucial role to play in the life of an exceptional student. Just like the teachers, services providers can use various accommodations and modifications to impact the learning life of a student who has been identified with traumatic brain injury (Arroyos-Jurado & Savage, 2008).
For example, these people can apply mental imagery on the learner to assist him in visualizing various engagements that would be significant in helping him achieve his objectives in life. The service providers can also introduce a routine which can identify anxiety and other stressful conditions, thus addressing them in a timely fashion. More importantly, they can also make use of home-made labels to help the child remember what is required of them at different times of the day.
As it is shown in this paper, firm lesson plans can play a significant role in helping teachers administer lessons for various exceptionalities in both individual education classrooms and regular education classrooms. The lesson plan serves as a teaching guide for educators since it contains crucial information about the targeted student. More importantly, there is a concise description of the disabilities associated with the child and how these will tend to interfere with his learning capabilities.
All these are useful in helping educators understand the child better when dispensing lessons in the classroom, and treat him in the most exemplary manner. Teaching exceptional children has never been an easy task for anyone, especially for regular education classroom teachers who don’t have much experience with special education. However, a focus on the child’s academic weaknesses and strengths together with the preferred modalities of learning as they are indicated in the lesson plan, would make the work easier for the educators.
Arroyos-Jurado, E., & Savage, T. (2008). Intervention strategies for serving students with traumatic brain injury. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(4), 252-254.
Ponsford, J., Willmott, C., Rothwell, A., Cameron, P., Ayton, G., & Nelms, R. (2001). Impact of early intervention on outcome after mild traumatic brain injury in children. Pediatrics, 108(6), 1297-1303.
Tom, E., Edward, A., & James, P. (2011). Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Settings (6th Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.