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Jim Hill High School

April Logs
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April Logs

April 1, 2008

           

            I attended a meeting early this morning. In this meeting, the principal discussed SATP Remediation. All students in the general education curriculum would participate in this remediation every other day. All students in exceptional education would participate in a different form of testing at these times. I feel that these remedial courses and several forms of assessments administered to the students are very much beneficial to them. It is only through testing students that educators can identify their problems and make the proper diagnosis.

            The morning was very dark, rainy, and gloomy, which had negative effects on the students. Only about half of the students were present in each of my classes. I assumed it was partly because many of them walk to school and did not want to walk in the rain. Also, the weather affected the attitudes of the students. Many of them were tired and constantly laid their heads on their desks. They were easily agitated and frustrated. However, I explained to them that there will be many rainy days and that they can’t just “shut down” when it rained. So eventually the students became motivated and completed their assignments. They defined new terms, read in groups, and completed a 4-square model. This model provided preparation for their essay writing activity.

 

April 2, 2008

           

Today my students took a test on the current chapter. Based on their work samples and my observations, the students appeared to have a thorough understanding of the lesson. During my planning period, I learned how to do an IEP re-evaluation. After filling out several papers, I had to fax them all to the school’s case manager. Then, I contacted the school’s psychometrist to schedule a meeting with the parent of the student.

Additionally, I noticed that a student of mine appeared to be acting very differently today. Usually, it would be extremely difficult to keep her focused and on-task. However, today she was focused and I only had to redirect her a few times. I noticed that her social behavior had changed as well. She was communicating with her classmates and laughing, something I had never seen her do. After talking to her, I found out that her medication had been reduced. She had been taking three different types of medicine. As a result, she appeared to be a zombie. To me, it is so sad that students are getting so “doped up” on medicine that it alters the way they behave. The medicine, to me, is doing more harm than good. The students are less focused and attentive and are learning less as a result. This girl was able to learn much more when off of medication.

 

April 3, 2008

 

One of my student’s parents visited the class today. He was concerned about his son’s behavior. I explained to him that the boy was extremely lazy and always complained about having to do work in class. I also explained to him that he seemed very immature and that I constantly had to tell him to stop playing with another classmate. The parent took the boy outside of the classroom and disciplined him verbally.

Later on in the day, a boy came to our class for the first time this year. I had no idea what level this boy was on cognitively. I knew I had to administer an assessment to him to find out what he was capable of doing. I was assisted in doing so from the information in his IEP.

In my last period class, a boy walked out of the classroom without permission. I had warned him in the past not to ever do that again. This time, he did not come back. So I wrote a referral for him. I wrote down exactly what he had done. This student was over the age of 18 and he had recently expressed that he didn’t have to obey the school rules. After turning the referral in to the assistant principal, I waited to see what would be done on this issue.

 

April 4, 2008

            Today, our students were testing in another classroom. During this time, my supervising teacher and I worked on a teacher summary form for a new student from out of state. Before filling out the information, we had to gather as much information on this student as possible, since we had never met the student. We collected his schedule, his IEP and work samples and tracking forms from all of his teachers.

            After gathering and analyzing all this information, we began to complete the teacher summary. It was still quite difficult, because we did not have all the required information to complete the summary. We had to look at benchmarks and compare them with the student’s skills. We also had to look at the Mississippi Curriculum Framework to see where this student should be academically. Lastly, we had to start on a behavior plan for this student because of his current behavior.

            I learned a great deal of information pertaining to completing teacher summary sheets. I learned to collect as much information on the student as possible. I also learned how to analyze the data and make the proper diagnosis.

 

April 7, 2008

            There was no school due to the severe weather.

 

April 8, 2008

            Today we began a new chapter on how to be a good citizen. Students learned about the purpose of their social security cards. They also learned that good citizen voted, participated in community service, served on juries, and paid their taxes. Students were allowed to complete practice voter registration applications and applications for social security cards. They also had practice in completing W-2 tax forms.

            Another student showed up for the first time this year today. Fortunately, he was respectful to his teachers and peers. Also, he appeared to be a very hard worker. He completed all his work and participated verbally in the lesson. Even though he is diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder, he did not show any alternating mood changes or episodes today. Hopefully, he will continue to behave as he did today in the future.

 

April 9, 2008

            I completed a least restricted environment (LRE) form for a new student from out of state. I learned how to make sure students were in the least restricted environment as possible. This student would be placed in special education classes for about 60% of the day and in general education classes for about 40% of the day.

            We discussed how to make the decision to vote for someone before voting. One way was to listen to debates from the candidates. To better explain what a debate was, the students were allowed to engage in a debate. One student discussed reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton as president while another student discussed reasons for wanting to vote for Barak Obama. The students really were interested in the activity. They expressed to me that they would definitely listen to the debates of the candidates before voting.

           

April 10, 2008

            I attended an IEP workshop today. In this workshop, I obtained a plethora of information. Some of the information was very familiar to me, while some was novel. For example, I already knew that an individualized education program, or IEP, was a written statement for a child with a disability. I also knew that IEPs describe the student’s performance, they must be realistic, they must be specific, they must be measurable, and they must be reviewed and revised annually.

            On the contrary, I wasn’t really familiar with creating individual transition plans. In the workshop, I participated in a group activity in which I helped to create a transition plan for two students. In doing so, I learned that all transition plans must include five essential elements including the following: higher education, employment, residence, transportation, and leisure.

           

April 11, 2008

            My supervising teacher was out today because of illness. Unfortunately, a substitute teacher was never contacted so I had the challenge of teaching and supervising the class unaccompanied. Although is was much similar to having the teacher in the classroom, some students tried to misbehave when they noticed their teacher was gone. I quickly explained to them that they will respect me and continue to obey the classroom rules. Afterwards, I went on with my lesson and had very few problems.

            After completing the lesson review, the students took a test. It was a little difficult to create different assessments for each of the student’s unique abilities. For example, the students who had specific learning disabilities had to write their test in essay/short answer format (since they were capable of doing so). Students who were considered edgicably mentally retarded (EMR) were allowed to take their test in multiple choice format. Those couple of students who were trainable mentally retarded (TMR) had a much simpler test altogether. In fact, one girl was allowed to complete her test verbally.

 

April 14, 2008

            Today, the students on the B-day schedule took their test. The test was pertaining to how to be a good citizen. Most of the students had very few difficulties with this chapter. I noticed that many of my students had drastically improved in reading and writing complete sentences. I praised them all for doing so and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

            After the test, we began the next chapter. In this chapter, the students learned about different traffic signs and their meanings. They were allowed to draw some traffic signs that they were familiar with on the board and explain why they thought they were important. We also discussed laws that bike riders must abide by. The students were surprised to find out that bike riders had to obey all the same laws as cars.

 

April 15, 2008

We continued our chapter on traffic laws. The students were allowed to search through the Mississippi Driver’s Manual Booklet to find some traffic laws to discuss with the class. Many of the students found the Driver’s Manual Booklet very informative and interesting. This is probably due to the fact that many of my students are preparing to get their permit and/or licenses. One boy wanted to study the booklet for the entire class period. I was glad that he was so actively engaged in the lesson.

We also discussed accidents in this chapter. The students learned what to do in case they ever experienced an accident. Most of the students said that they would call the police immediately after having an accident. They were shocked to learn that the very first thing one must do if see if anyone is hurt, and if so, contact an ambulance.

The last part of the chapter pertained to jaywalking. This word was new to most of my students. After explaining the new term to them, the students admitted that they did it all of the time. After learning that they would have to pay a fine for jaywalking, they decided to stop doing it and to cross the street at crosswalks and corners.

 

April 16, 2008

            Today I reviewed some IEPs to familiarize myself with them. Soon, I will be completing one without any assistance. Also, I sent notices out to three parents concerning a revision of the IEPs for their children. IEPs must be reviewed and/or revised annually. I also had to send a notice to a parent for a boy who needed a re-evaluation of his IEP.

            During my planning period, I attended a workshop that was conducted by a local bank. This workshop provided helpful hints on how to keep your check book balanced and even how to invest. I learned about the several types of savings accounts including club accounts, money market accounts, and certificate of deposits (CDs). I left the workshop well-informed of how to invest and properly manage my finances.

 

April 17, 2008

            The scores from an exam that the students took came back and the results were surprising. Many of the students had shown a regression in reading and language. This was so surprising to me because in the classroom, several of my students have shown progress in the areas of reading and language. However, no one test shows the complete potential of a student and these test results may not have been 100% accurate.

 Many factors could have played a role in the students’ results. For example, there were several students taking the test at the same time and many of them were playing and not really staying focused. This could have caused a distraction to other students, thus negatively affecting their scores as well. Also, the room temperature could have had an impact on their results, along with the noise level in the room while they were testing. I suggest a re-test, if possible.

 

April 21, 2008

Students worked on completing their portfolios today. Inside their portfolio were the following items: a résumé, cover letter, job application, voter’s registration form, references, social security application, personal data sheet, class work samples, and much more information. A transition plan was placed in each of the portfolios as well. The transition plans included future employment, education, housing, transportation, and recreational activities.

I noticed a lot as I observed my students on today. One girl, who is diagnosed trainable mentally retarded (TMR), could read much better than she could in the past. She could also verbally express her thoughts using complete sentences. One boy, who is diagnosed edgicable mentally retarded (EMR), improved in reading and in writing sentences. A girl, who is labeled EMR showed progress in reading and following directions. She also improved in spell words correctly.

 

April 22, 2008

This morning, I attended a meeting concerning state testing. After the meeting, we had remediation, which helped prepare students for the state test. In my first period class, several students had to make up their test because they had been absent. I realized then how a teacher’s plans can go completely in another direction. Since so many students had missed the test, I allowed them to make the test up. Afterwards, I began to teach the lesson for the day and almost ran out of time. The students had spent so much time on their test that I had to rush through the lesson. Tomorrow, I know I will have to reiterate what I taught today to make sure all students my have a clear understanding of what I taught them. I learned that if students have to make up a test to allow them to do so after school or during a time that won’t take away valuable class time.

In addition, I completed an IEP for a student. It wasn’t that bad, since I was familiar with IEPs. I also set up a few meetings with parents concerning an annual review of their child’s IEP, their child’s progress, and their behavior. Moreover, I obtained practice in completing a social behavior plan for a student. This particular student had shown some progress in the area of staying in his assigned area. However, he hadn’t shown any progress in staying on-task.

 

April 23, 2008

            We went on a field trip to the Horses for the Handicap. It was such a wonderful experience for me! There were handicapped students from schools all over Mississippi in attendance. It was my first time being around so many severely handicapped individuals for an extended period of time. While on the trip, I assisted in serving drinks to the students. It warmed my heart to be able to give them all cold drinks after playing in the hot sun. I knew that they appreciated my services. There were handicapped adults there as well. They were all so precious to me.

            Also during the trip, many of our students volunteered. For example, some students assisted in riding the horses with the severely handicapped children. Other students acted as tour guides for other schools that would arrive. Still other students played games with the handicapped individuals.

            Students of ours who had more severe disabilities enjoyed themselves as well. They played games, rode horses, and socialized with friends. They enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people.

 I really enjoyed this trip. It allowed our students to reach out to the community and provide their services to those who really needed it. This trip was a great experience for us all.

 

April 24, 2008

            Today, my supervising teacher gave the students who were well behaved during the semester a mini party. The students were pleased to have been awarded for displaying appropriate behaviors. We had such a good time. We ate, socialized, and discussed certain issues among one another. Also, I took several pictures of my students so that I could remember my fantastic student teaching experience. What's more, my students prepared a graduation card for me. After they all signed it, I read it and it almost brought tears to my eyes. It really blessed me to know that I really made a difference in these young people’s lives.

            Later in the day, I completed an IEP for one of my students. Then, I met with the parent of my students for an annual review of his IEP. We discussed the boy’s current level, his new address, his attendance, and plans for him receiving extended school year services. The conclusion of the meeting was that the boy would be transferring to another school- a school that was in the district that he resided in. Also, the parent agreed to encourage her son to come to school regularly and complete all of his assignments to the best of his ability to enhance his grades.

 

April 25, 2008

            After discussing services for disabled individuals in the community, we had a guest speaker to come in and talk to the class. This man was an entrepreneur who visited different schools across the nation speaking to students concerning different issues. For example, he talked to the students about having a positive attitude, not giving in to peer pressure, and treating others as you want to be treated.

            In addition, he told jokes, asked questions, and provided treats to those who could correctly respond to his questions. The students were very interested in what this man was saying because he talked to them on their level and made them laugh. The treats kept their attention as well. Lastly, he performed exciting demonstrations. These demonstrations had meaningful values. The students learned a great deal from this man. He definitely had an impact on the students. He will be invited back to our classroom in the future.

 

 

           

 

           

 

           

 

 

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