Monday, April 11, 2011

Implementation of Checklists for Off Task Students

So this may very well be my thesis (assuming prior research hasn't been conducted already), or at the very least, a great teaching tool that I will use. In any event, it got my out of a jam when cornered with four students with learning challenges in the most recent sub'n venture.

These kids were having difficulty wrapping their minds around a, some would say, simple "brochure" project, in which the students create a travel brochure that advertises a city, settlement, time period, or event.

A bit flustered, I decided to create a checklist for each student, laying the exact steps that must be accomplished in order to successfully complete the assignment. Keeping it short (3-4 items per list), I was able to designate each group member with a role by simply creating a checklist that would accomplish said role (i.e., the communicator should probably have a short speech prepared, the illustrator should procure paper, markers, and pictures ideas relevant to the topic, the research should...).

Of course, the students have no idea that they're being assigned roles, much less that I'm the one delegating. While it is unfortunate that more time wasn't spent actually COMPLETING this assignment, teaching in the Special Education setting requires this patience and approach that is often overlooked when making comparisons to what might be considered a "normal" (is there such a thing? nope) classroom.

Back to the checklist. Each time a student was successful, I gave that student a bright pen and had that student check off the list. Success!!! Each check was a success, and in this way, students feel as though they are making progress, no matter how large or small the gains.

It is wonderful to have the opportunity of working with experience special ed teachers in a real setting, as opposed to observing and classroom lecture. I really cherish all of it, in hindsight at the very least.

The applications to CSU Dominguez Hills are off and away! Fingers crossing...

The velodrome has started. As usual, my bike is far from being ready. Give me a few weeks and I'll be out there...haven't quite caught the track bug yet, but it might show up sometime. I think cyclocross is where it's at when the dust settles. The big draw for many people to track racing is that it's cycling perfection, especially considering that there are no cars to avoid. Well, that's what cross is, except for the hour in pain part. You can spare me the nostalgic glamorization of the fixed gear bicycle, I don't really care. If it has two wheels and you can pedal, I'll enjoy it someway or another.

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