Self-Contained Strategy Review

EDU 6526 Video Analysis #2

5-7 Grade: ‪Special Education Self-Contained Math Class

I am so grateful that a special education video was made available for this video analysis. I feel that the teacher did a fine job delivering the lesson. She was able to keep the pace as well as interact with the students. For the purpose of this video analysis I will be focusing on questioning, note taking, and summarizing. I will also briefly speak on a noticeable problem behavior and her behavior tracking method. I will be weighting my observations using Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.) by Dean et al and A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.) by Pitler and Stone.




As Dean et al (2012) points out “effective cues and questions help students access their prior knowledge and put that knowledge to use learning new information” (Kindle Loc. 963). The questions that the teacher asked were simplistic but purposeful. In math the questions are usually going to be analytical in nature due to “exact” nature of mathematics. The questions were clear and precise and demanded that the students responded using their notes from past and present class sessions. The teacher also deployed clear cues as well. Pitler and Stone (2012) point out that cues and questions at the beginning of the lesson should focus on the important content to come (p. 97). The teacher did well to use these strategies to set the momentum. The video doesn’t cover the entire lesson but the set up using cues and questioning was done proficiently. Taking a look at the Teacher Rubric: Cues and Questions I would have to say the teacher would average a 4 because her questions were in fact well used and showed dedication to the content (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 106-108).


Note Taking and Summarizing:


There are many challenges in special education. One of the most prevalent is the ability to get the students to understand and retain information. Summarizing is “the process of distilling information down to is most salient points…” (Dean et al., 2012, Kindle Loc. 1346). The purpose is to facilitate understanding and memorization. Note taking helps with this process by putting the important points and big ideas in meaningful and relevant language in such a way to make it assessable to the students. As Dean et al (2012) states, “Summarizing and note taking help students deepen their understanding of information because these strategies involve higher-order thinking skills” (Kindle Loc.1346). The questions the teacher uses allowed her student to use summarizing skills. They were able to use notes to conceptualize the answers. The notes those students were using were accrete and complete. We know this because she used teacher-prepared notes. She modeled the notes and was instructed to write exactly what she wrote. This ensures that only the information they needed was put on paper. The teacher’s questions were directed around the new notes and prior notes. In a special education classroom it is almost (depending on the ability of the student) impossible to ask the students to summarize and note take on their own with any success at all. With that said, the teacher did a great job engaging the students in note taking and summarizing. They are learning the content and how to take notes. Perhaps later on the teacher will let them try to take their own notes. If she did this it would be beneficial to provide an opportunity for them to revise their notes and (by comparing and contrasting them with her example) use them during a review (Dean et al, 2012, Kindle Loc. 1546). Overall, I feel she did the best she could to employ both summarizing and note taking. According to the Teacher Rubric: Note Taking she would receive a 4 in the first category Give students teacher – prepared notes (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 198-200). In most special education classes this would be the most used method of note taking. These notes would also be beneficial when developing solutions stations. Solution stations can be placed on a wall in the class or in personal folders that can be used during assessments, assignments, and group or individual work. A great way to help the students to remember content.


Overall the teacher did a great job in the above areas. The last thing I’d like to point out was her ability to ignore the disruptive student (taping pencil continually). This is vital when dealing with problem behaviors in the classroom. His behavior function most likely was to: 1) disrupt the class, and/or 2) get attention. By ignoring this behavior and still rewarding the class for good behavior she is effectively preventing reinforcement for his behavior. I felt this was an ideal example of classroom management in the presence of a behavioral issue.


With such a brief clip it is hard to truly analyze this classroom experience. However, from what I saw she did a marvelous job. Special education is not for the week of mind or heart. Other things she did well were providing recognition, and feedback. Both of these are vital in any classroom. One of the things I would consider using in my classroom is the backwards counting as a launch button to learning. I offer many props to the teacher for a great example of a positive learning environment.



Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.


Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.



5-7 Grade: ‪Special Education Self-Contained Math Class

http://5-7 Grade: ‪Special Education Self-Contained Math Class


Generating & Testing Hypotheses

EDU 6526- Week 6: Final Blog


“Generating and testing hypotheses deepens students’ knowledge because it requires the use of critical thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation. These processes also motivate students by accessing their natural inclination to solve problems” (Dean et al, 2012, Kindle Location 2239). Yes, hypotheses are vital to the educational process and the successful progressive development of our young people. However, I have to throw a wrench in this blog post. I don’t think that the extensiveness of information this week is very applicable to special education, especially Life Skills. This hypothesis can be proved or disproved with a little bit or research and application. Nonetheless, I will maintain that “critical thinking skills” in life skills class is considered basic skills to general education students. And here rests my quandary.

In all fairness the course emphasis, in my understanding, is general education. However, I have gained quite a bit of useable and sustainable information and strategies that I plan on deploying this coming school year. Furthermore, teaching hypotheses to the level described by Dean et al. just seem a little out-of-place in my classroom. Yet, I will discuss some ideas that I found interesting outlined in this weeks reading.

As stated in this week’s blog post both deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning are very important skills. However, we mostly deal with deductive learning in the classroom. Inductive, which is inference, comes from skill as well as comprehension of the material. Where as deductive learning is based on prior knowledge coupled with new learned knowledge. Therefore, knowing how to use and teach the use of a hypothesis is necessary in promoting discovery of knowledge and comprehension. I really enjoyed the author’s diagram of the “Character Traits Advance Organizer” (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 276). It promoted deductive reasoning in a visible format. I could use this in my Life Skills class. It is easy and can be integrated with PECs, braille, and other adaptive technology.

In an effort to truly determine if this material was relevant to my teaching I read through the authors “Reflecting on Current Practice: Generating and Testing Hypotheses” (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 279). I would have to say that I sufficiently employ deductive and inductive reasoning just at a very basic level. My goal in the classroom is to deploy a leading question that will form in to a predetermined hypothesis. I then lead my students in a journey to either prove or disprove the hypothesis. Usually, since it takes so long to un-teach incorrect information, I only provide hypothesis that can be proven correct. This, in relation to Life Skills, proves to be a fun and interactive approach to learning.

This being the last week I wanted to say that both texts have been a great resource providing valuable ideas and strategies that will unquestionably improve my classroom learning this year. Dean et al., Pitler, and Stone has developed a workable process that educators can refer to when needing help with teaching strategies, application, and reflection.

Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

The Art of Practicing

EDU 6526 Week 5 Blog


This week I was impressed by Dean et. al’s (2012) breaking down of the elements of practice (Loc. 1822-1910). This is because, as a special education teacher, practice is essential to my classroom. In fact, most of what is done is practice. Application of the learning objective helps us to totally integrate learning with real world application. This coming school year I will be teaching our high school’s consumer math course. This is designed to take Washington’s financial lit requirement over the course of two years. So I will be breaking down each of elements of practice and briefly relate it to the intended classroom practices this coming year.


To help me to facilitate the breakdown of the elements of effective practices I will be using the questions off of Pitler and Stone’s (2012) Reflecting on Current Practice: Providing Practice reflection worksheet (p. 225).


  1. Do I clearly identify the purpose of practice?


  1. This is absolutely one of the most important aspects of practice. Each student must be able to identify what the purpose of the practice is. When asked they will be able to explain to me what they are doing and why. To ensure this I will make every effort to display the learning objective in the classroom. Before practice I will hold a question forum in which they will be able to share or ask questions regarding the class session. A KWL chart can be utilized along with semantic maps to reinforce learning and focus on the learning objective.


  1. Do I provide specific time for guided and independent practice?


  1. Most of the class will incorporate varied practices. However, there will be little independent practice. This will help students to stay engaged and reduce classroom management issues. Small breakout groups will be key coupled with classroom instruction and practice.


  1. Do I provide practice sessions that are short, focused, and distributed over time?


  1. I feel the key is 10, 10, 15, and 10. 10 minutes of introduction which included the entry task, class brief, and social minute (a short time to talk with friends). 10 minutes of focused reflections on what we are currently working on. 15 minutes of instruction, questions, review. 10 minutes of practice both small groups and as a class. This will repeat daily till mastery. Of course there will be variations in activities and methods but the idea is to move on once we, the class, is ready to move on. This is one of the beauties of a special education environment.


  1. Do I provide a way for students to track and monitor their progress?


  1. Since we all move as a group we have a class progress meter on the board. Each day the class, through feedback and self-reflection, get to vote on their progress. Once the meter is at the top we move on. Yes, the teacher holds veto powers. Last year they thought this was a great idea and had fun forcing veto. Sometimes they were surprised when I agreed with them. And they were even more surprised when my disagreement produced greater achievement on the meter. I also utilize a mailbox. At anytime if a student needs additional help they can leave me a note in the mailbox. The mailbox receives suggestions, questions, music request, and any other interesting tidbits. All are considered confidential. If I want to share something I first ask the student. If there is no name on mail then that means that I can share it as anonymous.


  1. Do I provide specific feedback on the individual steps in a process?


  1. Specific feedback is essential. I provide it at every opportunity. In response to mailbox inquires, classroom review, and instruction.


According to the Teacher Rubric: Providing Practice I would have to give my self a 4 in all categories (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 231-233). My classroom is an application-based class. We are active every day applying what we learned. My students stay engaged and progress together. Yes, I do and will have some stragglers. We can only hope they will utilize the tools provided.


Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.


Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

3rd Grade: Teaching Adjectives Video Analysis

EDU 6526 Video Analysis #1


Before diving in I’d like to say that the teacher in this video did a good job of keeping the engagement of the students. She had a plan and led them into and through the teaching objective. The control she had of her 3rd graders was impressive and overall a great example of classroom management and scaffolding. For the purpose of this video analysis I’d like to focus on setting objectives, reinforcing effort, providing recognition, and the use of organizers. I will be weighting my observations using Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.) by Dean et al and A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.) by Pitler and Stone.




As Dean et al (2012) points out “when teachers communicate objectives for student learning, students can see more easily the connections between what they are doing in class and what they are supposed to learn” (Kindle Loc. 256). The teacher clearly states her learning objective at the beginning of the class. From there she continues to demonstrate the four recommendations that are outlined by Dean et al (2012): 1) Set learning objectives that are specific but not restrictive, 2) communicate the learning objectives to students and parents, 3) Connect the learning objectives to previous and future learning, and 4) engage student sin setting personal objectives (Kindle Loc. 297). She introduced a specific objective that was not restrictive in nature. Meaning she could relate and expand on it easily without detracting from it. She used several descriptors to identify different adjectives. She did a short review that helped to solidify the point of the lesson; this connected the current objective to previous learning and sets up future lessons. What we don’t see in the video is if she had the objective of the day posted somewhere in the classroom. We also don’t know if she led the students into setting their own objectives. However, She may have. By the overall video I would have to assume she did. When comparing her performance to Figure 1.1 Reflecting on Current Practice: Setting Objectives in the handbook I’d say she did a great job and if she was to reflect she could provide herself some great positive feedback using this tool (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 6-7).


Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition:


Throughout the lesson she did give some shallow feedback and made a few attempts at reinforcing effort. However, before I dig in too far I’d like to note that my observation might be bias due to what we don’t see. Nonetheless, she did not provide reinforcing effort adequately during instruction. Building the self-efficacy of the students is important and should be continually practiced (Dean et al, 2012, Kindle Loc. 520). She, on occasion, did make community comments saying things like “great adjective” or “that’s a good one”. This is great but what the students need is personalized comments like “Jim, great choice of words” or “Rebecca, that is exactly right”. When you do this all the time you can loose effectiveness. Therefore, based off of the responsiveness of the class I will infer that teacher reinforces effort and provides recognition in alternative ways or at different times. Again based off of the video I’d say that all the students’ variables were being met as outlined by Dean et al (2012, Kindle Loc. 520)


Using Organizers:


As stated by Pitler and Stone (2012) “ Advance organizers help student frame their learning by providing a vehicle for retrieving prior knowledge, anticipating the information that lies ahead, and providing a structure for learning” (p. 112). By using her “Senses Web” the teacher in this video did a great job of integrating an advance organizer with her lesson on adjectives. This allowed her students to be able to conceptualize and process the lesson objective throughout their experiment with Oreos. She shows how to effectively use organizers to inform and guide instruction. The students were engaged and eager to put their words on paper. Having the advance organizer helped them do it in a productive and orderly way. Thus enhancing the learning and facilitating retention.


Overall, this teacher did a wonderful job. I choose to evaluate this 3rd grade lesson because I felt it related closely to my high school special education classroom. I feel that the rubrics in the handbook are a good source to monitor and inform future skills and lessons. This teacher would have received a proficient in the three areas I analyzed above. What we couldn’t see was not important because the student’s behavior showed that they were excited about learning and interacted throughout the entire lesson.

3rd Grade: Adjectives : Video


Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.


Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Application of Note Taking

EDU 6526: Week 4 Blog

Note taking, as stated by Pitler and Stone (2012), is used to help students capture, organize, and reflect on important facts, concepts, ideas, and processes they will need to access at a later time (p. 185). Note taking is a very important process in learning new information. Usually this information is coming from a narrative source like a teacher’s lecture, movie, slide show, or even an mp3/4 recorded format. No matter the format there are many different ways to take notes. I’d like to first reflect on some key points from our text as well as share a strategy I have used in my classroom followed by a self-evaluation of my ability to teach note taking.

First we should really take the recommendations given by the authors seriously. Note taking is a serious tool used to develop good studying habits, which increase learning and retention. The three recommendations stated in the text are: 1) Give students teacher-prepared notes, 2) teach students a variety of note-taking formats, and 3) provide opportunities for students to revise their notes and use them for review (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 186). All three of these recommendations can be used independently or mixed and match for the ultimate note-taking experience. However, for this blog post I’d like to expand a little on the third recommendation of providing opportunities for students to revise their notes and use them for review.

“Allowing time for students to share their thinking with other students provides opportunities for them to rehearse their learning, use relevant vocabulary, and deepen their understand” (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 193). As we know as educators this is really an imperative part of the educational process. Students need to be able to collaborate with each other to maximize their success. One way I have employed this in the past was by using a strategy called walk around and learning support folders. After a lesson in which the students were asked to take notes the teacher would instruct them to stand up and walk around looking at each other’s notes. If they find something that they missed they can go back and add it to their notes. After about 15 minutes of doing this they are allowed to work in groups of four discussing their notes. After a quick teacher/student review they are allowed to place their revised notes in their learning support folder. They are allowed to use their learning support folder throughout the course. This type of review method encourages each student to do their best at taking notes knowing that they will be sharing them with others. The teacher review of the notes ensures that the “big ideas” are present. And the learning support folders add value to note taking. When combined I found that my students started to take quality detailed notes.

I feel that the ultimate responsibility of note taking falls on the teacher. Is the teacher teaching their students to take quality notes? Pitler and Stone provide a great tool to allow educators to self-reflect on ability to monitor effective note taking. Figure 6.14 has teacher directed questions that help facilitate corrective action and/or affirms the teacher’s ability to properly monitor and teach note taking (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 188). After reflecting on my own ability to teach note taking and providing tools I feel that I am proficient but could modify a few things to increase note taking effectiveness in my classroom. A few things I could do to increase effectiveness is to: 1) encourage the use of colors between main ideas, 2) alternate between student produced notes and teacher prepared notes, and 3) teach a few more note-taking formats (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 198-200).

Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Why Cues are Important and Some Additional Strategies when using Cues

EDU6526: Week 3

Cues and properly worded questions are vital to setting up the lesson to be successful. As “Cues account for approximately 80 percent of what occurs in a classroom on a given day, it is essential for teachers to be well vetted in the appropriate use of the strategies and intentional in their use” (Pitler and Stone, 2012, p. 98). This statement from Fillipone illustrates why properly deployed cues and questions are essential to a successful operational classroom. However, I find that the methods of deploying these cues and questions can be more important than the questions and cues themselves. I will talk about two strategies that I plan on deploying this coming school year.


First of all, students don’t like to be put on the spot because they don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of their peers. And sometimes a student thinks they know the answer to the question or cue and they are usually incorrect. This can directly influence the student’s outlook on the teacher and class if or when they are told they are wrong. So I have recently discovered, through an in-service, a strategy used to take the pressure off of the individual and place it all on whole class. Make sure each student has a 3X5 card and something to write with. Then you ask the question or show the cue. Follow that by asking them to write their answer on the card. After a few minutes tell them to place the card face down on the table. Then they can simply turn it into the teacher, in which the teacher will randomly pick a few (CORRECT) answers from the pile and start the conversation. The teacher will not read an incorrect answer. The second strategy I am going to share builds on the first one.


After the students write on their cards they will be asked to stand up holding their cards face down in their hands. They will then be instructed to walk around the room switching cards with everyone they see. They will be instructed to stop and invite each other into their groups. They will then discuss the answers on the cards in their hands. After they have quickly reviewed the cards with each other they will continue to walk around, this time the will read the cards as they switch them between classmates. After a few minutes the teacher will ask for the cards and use a few (CORRECT) answers to facilitate the lesson.


Both strategies are a way to deploy appropriate questions and cues. They are designed to incorporate engagement and interaction between students. As the teacher helps the students to focus on the “BIG IDEA” (what’s important) nobody is embarrassed and everyone has participated while connecting their prior knowledge with what they will be learning in the next lesson.


The successes of these strategies are only effective if the questions and cues are appropriate. Both Dean et al (Kindle Loc 968) and Pitler & Stone (p. 102-105) talk about the four recommendations concerning questions and ques: 1) focus on what is important, 2) use explicit cues, 3) ask inferential questions, and 4) ask analytic questions. If you follow the recommendations and employ the strategies above you will most definitely engage your students and prepare them for the subsequent lesson.


Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.


Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Teaching Effort in Self-Contained Life Skills

 EDU 6526 Week 2 Blog:
To begin I am going to hijack a quote by Jere Brophy (Dean et al., 2012, Kindle Loc 500):

“The Key to rewarding effectively is to do so in way that support students’ motivation to learn and do not encourage them to conclude that they engage in academic activities only to earn rewards.”


I chose to share this quote because it should have an impact in every classroom including the self-contained life skills classroom. The life skills classroom is one of the hardest environments to teach in. Usually between nine and 11 students, the life skills class has a diverse amount of individual needs. The teacher is in charge of developing specialized designed instruction for each student. Most life skills teachers are supported by at least two Para educators; sometimes more depending on the severity of students. I started with this short description to help those who have never experienced the life skills environment to assist in the conceptualization of effort and reinforcement in the very challenging filed of special education.


I have never really considered the need to teach effort. I, furthermore, never really considered the implication of effort on motivation. However, effort is an essential tool used to assess a student’s progress towards some personal goals in the life skills classroom. So why haven’t I intellectualized the necessity to teach my students how effort relates to achievement? The answer is simple: It is common sense! Dean et al. (2012) states “Reinforcing effort is a process that involves explicitly teaching students about the relationship between effort and achievement and acknowledging student’s efforts when they work hard to achieve” (Kindle Loc 526). So apparently it is not common sense and should be taught. So what does this look like in the life skills environment?


A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works shares some good tools that help the teacher and student’s concentrate on the effects of effort. One tool that would be applicable to a life skills teacher is the one shared on page 42 (Pitler & Stone, 2012). The Reflecting on Current Practices: Reinforcing Effort helps the teacher to reflect on their own ability to relate the benefits of effort. Pitler and Stone (2012) also share a chart that can help the teacher to track students achievement based off of their effort (p. 44). The tools are great but how do we teach the concept of effort in the classroom?


In the classroom that I taught in last year we operated on a token system. If the student performed well they received a punch on their punch card. Once the card was filled up they were allowed to pick something from the award box. We had to be careful (as the quote above indicates) not to relate academic achievement with rewards. Therefore, as the school year progressed, so did the teacher’s expectations of the amount of effort required to gain a punch on their card. The important part was that we always gave verbal accolades as well. This ensured that they knew they were doing well as well as expectations for the next punch. One of the strategies that we had to use at times was hand over hand when working with our more developmental disabled students or those lacking needed motor skills. The issue was that at times staff would use the hand over hand strategy with a student whom was capable on doing the task on their own. This would hinder self-efficacy and control beliefs (Pitler & Stone, 2012, p. 38). And often it proved counter-productive.


Using the Assessing Myself: Reinforcing Effort guide provided by Pitler and Stone (2012) I feel that I go to a great extent to help the students develop an understanding of the relationship that exists between how hard they work and their success (p. 55). I really find that this self-assessment form is vital to every educator. Yes, some of the questions are not applicable in a Life Skills classroom but most are. I encourage all teachers’ to self-evaluate to improve instruction.





Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.


Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Good Guidance Promotes Possitive Outcomes

EDU 6526: Module One: Objectives and Feedback


Thus far I have enjoyed reading Pitler and Stone’s A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works. It complements our class text Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement by Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, and Stone. I really enjoy the guidance rubrics and self-assessment forms. They help to bring the text to reality. Application is key in education, but self-assessment will improve the effectiveness of the applied strategies. This week the two things that jumped out at me that I’d like to reflect on a little closer are engaging students in setting personal learning objectives and engaging students in the feedback process.


Before I go any further I’d like to dive into a personal quandary regarding our text. I understand that as a Special Education educator a lot of what is reviewed is geared towards general education. I will try to tie in my educational reality with the suggestion and strategies offered throughout the reading. I don’t have a problem simply following along and completing quality work. However, since this blog post is supposed to reflect on personal experience and that which is applicable in my current environment there will be some modification and differentiation.


To start I must highlight that my students require SDI (Specially Designed Instruction). Highly differentiated methods and strategies are deployed with each student. So I found that the handbook offered some very applicable tools to help develop good objectives and strategies to give quality feedback.  The teacher rubric for setting objectives is a great tool to ensure that the teacher is producing quality, measurable, and understandable objectives for the students (Pitler & Stone, 2012, p. 14). It would be a resource that I would review around the time I review annual IEPs and at least quarterly. They can guide my development of goals and objectives that will set the pace for the student.  When the student is able to participate in the construction of their own goals I would use the Student Checklist on page 17 (Pitler & Stone, 2012). This would guide the student to ensure that they understand their objective. It can also be used as a tool to help them write a few of their own. Self-reflection for a teacher is vital and the same applies to the student. This checklist will facilitate a deeper understanding and increase their progress towards meeting the objective.


Feedback is essential to progress. It is vital in special education. When dealing with students with learning disabilities (LD) you are dealing with low self-esteem among other things. Therefore, quality and quick forthcoming feedback is fundamental and becomes an everyday venture. Pitler and Stone provides a priceless tool in their guide on page 25 (2012). Although it goes in-depth it is a good tool in ensuring that feedback is done in a progressive way. This is also a good form for the educator to review at least quarterly. I’d like to add that feedback comes in a few different ways. First it can be verbal and immediate. It can also come in the form of a simple note on student work. And the most meaningful and successful feedback comes in a one-on-one conference. Where both teacher and student can participate. I personally like to use exit tickets to elicit student voice. Sometimes it is an open-ended questions and other times it may be a scale 1-5 questionnaire. Either way I am able to reflect on myself and the students.  


 Pitler, H. & Stone, B., (2012). A Handbook for Classroom Instruction that Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD, Denver, CO: MCREL Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

Critical On Self – Impacting Others

E1 – Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice. Teacher candidates develop reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practices through regularly evaluating the effects of his/her teaching through feedback and reflection. Teaching strategies, evidence based practices, common core state standards, standardized tests, and the list goes on describing the expectations of educators. However, the effectiveness of the above requires coupling it together with reflection and self-improvement. Without self-evaluation and progressive modification the usefulness of the educator soon dwindles and the student becomes the unfortunate and unnecessary sufferer.

Throughout EDSP 6658, Issues in Special Education: Capstone we focused a lot on the core aspects of special education. Most of it was reinforcement of what we had covered in prior classes but we dug deeper through conversation, research, and reflections with our classmates. The most impacting assignments were the Draft Personal Growth Plan (DPGP) and the personal statement of special education philosophy.

The DPGP allowed me to deeply reflect on what I have learned through out my certification program. This was hard and very personal. Being critical of oneself is not only useful but also empowering. It showed that I had control over ever aspect of my performance. It allowed me to push aside what I thought was great progress and it exposed the exciting truth of potential self-improvement. There is power in self-admission. There is hope in encouragement and accountability of trusted peers. So to show imperfection is courageous and motivates self-improvement. Overall, the DPGP has motivated me to continue to self-monitor. In addition I plan on finding a mentor to help hold me accountable to self-improvement.

The statement of SpEd philosophy was impacting because it help me to dig deep and really share what is important to me. Knowing that this is a living document (changes over time) excites me because I am able to add to it and change as I mature as an educator. I know that the application of the contents of my philosophy will drive my efforts in the classroom. This document would be a great tool to introduce myself to future employers as well as those who are hired to work in my classroom. I also feel that it would an added attribute when given to parents of my students.

The greatest aspect of this class is the amount of  self-actualization that took place. It has strengthened my confidence in my decision to become an educator. It has empowered me to believe in my self and to seek positive mentorship in the future. It has additionally shown me the necessity of self-evaluation and helped me to be determined to continue to reflect on instruction each day.

The Digital Tomorrow

EDTC 6431: Meta-Reflection

P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction.

This quick adventure through the digital world was a whirlwind of self-actualization of societies’ dependency on technology. It further amazed me that the dependency is so great, and the demand is overflowing that we still lack the what’s needed to fully integrate technology into the educational system. Could this be damaging the progression of today’s digital youth? Are we increasing the digital literacy needed to function in a digital world? I don’t believe we are, however, I know we are headed in the right direction.

Throughout the modules of EDTC 6431, Learning With Technology, I was reminded of how important technology was to the advancement of society. There are many benefits of full integration of technology. It can increase communication and collaboration. It can play on creativity and innovation of our students. It can enhance research, organization, and motivation. The most impressive aspect was the ability of children living in remote places self-teaching themselves how to use a computer (Mitra, 2012). Therefore, how can we justify the lack of technology in today’s classroom? So nonetheless, as I reflect I ask myself what I am going to do to change the lack of digital integration in today schools.

First, there is some technology available for use in school so we need to utilize it. I have notice the last few weeks that 2 to 3 of our 9 computer labs are vacant everyday. There are over 2000 students at our school and 90% of those students are free and reduce lunch. Why are we not using the computer labs if they are available?

Second, the state is hyper-focused on our students passing tests. This is taking important resources away from education. As well as presenting material that is easily found in a matter of seconds in the pocket of 78% of all teens America; this is in addition to the 91% of teens in America who have access to a computer at home (Madden, 2013). As a professor at Oregon University, Yong Zhao, puts it: “By imposing upon schools and teachers unrealistic, meaningless, and arbitrary goals, high-stakes testing has corrupted the spirit of American education, intoxicated the education environment, and demoralized educators. By forcing schools and teachers to teach to the test, it has narrowed the educational experiences of millions of children and thus deprived our children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, of a real education. It has wasted valuable, precious, and dwindling public funds that could have been put into educating rather than testing our children. It has generated unnecessary fear, anxiety, and loss of confidence in our children” (Richardson, 2012, Kindle Location 344-348).

As implied there should be less emphasis on teaching to test and more placed off of discovery focused around real applicable curriculum. If we restructure the current framework of our state I firmly believe we can better prepare our students for higher education and post high school carriers.

I have really enjoyed this class. I have always considered my self-proficient with technology. This course has opened my eyes to issues surrounding the reality of technological deficient pedagogical institutions.

I plan to integrate technology into my classroom at every opportunity. A great Special Education application would be ProLoQuo2go (image 1) which is a

Image 1: Proloquo2Go on iPad.

Image 1: Proloquo2Go on iPad.

communicative software used in the classroom. This application uses the iPad, which in its own right opens a classroom up to almost unlimited technology access when it comes to education applicable applications. Research, learning (Image 2), reviewing, word-processing, calculations, and collaboration are some ways

Image 2: Using online instruction to engage students in learning.

Image 2: Using online instruction to engage students in learning.

that I plan to integrate technology into the learning environment.

We must find a way to keep today’s digital natives engaged in education. Further, we need to ensure they are ready for the digital world when as the move onto post secondary education.


Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Duggan, M., Cortesi, S., & Gasser, U. (2013, March 13). Teens and Technology 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from

Mitra, S. (2012). Beyond the hole in the wall: Discover the power of self-organized Learning. TED Books, Kindle Locations 1-752.

Richardson, W. (2012). Why School? How education must change when learning and information are everywhere. TED Conferences.