Special Needs – 2- Creating Products to Assess Mastery in the Online Environment

I recently gave a series of 20 math problems to complete to help students master adding and subtracting integers. The objective of the assignment was to help student practice adding and subtracting integers so that they could achieve mastery in the process.

The strength of this assignment is that it does provide additional practice for to student. The weakness is that it requires written answers and such a worksheet might not work for students who have trouble with seeing, or writing.

One way I could transform this assignment is to allow students to make a video explaining how to add and subtract integers. This would allow students who have problems writing things down to verbalize their thinking. Students could use resources such as YouTube.com, Animoto.com or Zoom.us to record their videos to share with the class.

Another way you could transform this assignment is to allow students to create an audio recording of their answers verbally so that they do not have to write it down. Using a tool such as https://www.voki.com/ would make it fun for students.

Special Needs – 2- Specific Strategies for Online Differentiation and Personalization

There are so many ways to differentiate learning.

One concept that I enjoy teaching as a math teacher that I think lends itself to differentiation and personalization is factoring trinomials. Weird huh? But I love it.

The Process

There are two different ways that I can offer students for learning how to factor trinomials. First, I could give them the option of a video. Second, I could give them the option of direct instruction.

In the first method I would have students watch “Teach Me How to Factor” https://youtu.be/OFSrINhfNsQ (Parody of Teach Me How To Dougie by Cali Swag District) Westerville South High School, Westerville, Ohio. Then I would give my students a Graphic Organizer and ask them to watch the video again and see if they could fill in the steps for factoring trinomials based on the video.

In the second method, I would still start students off with the video as an introduction, but then I would provide direct instruction on how to factor different types of trinomials. They would receive a Graphic Organizer as well.

The Product

To show their knowledge of factoring trinomials I would give students two options.

In the first option students could create their own video explaining to other students how to factor trinomials. It could be in the form of a song, a rap, or a simple lesson.

The second option would be to create a math board game for factoring trinomials. This would allow students to not only use their creative side, but provide reinforcement of their learning as well.

In both options I would give students a sheet of trinomials to pull ideas and examples from.

Special Needs – 2- Best Practices for Online Communication

The Scenario

You have a student in your online English class who has a 504 Plan in place for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The plan indicates she has significant difficulties with staying focused and executive functioning skills, making organization a constant challenge for her. The 504 committee that developed her plan decided to try an online placement for your one class to see if the online environment is an appropriate fit for future classes. So far, it seems she is enjoying and thriving in your class; she has been active in the class for the first couple of weeks, crafting thoughtful and meaningful posts and responses to classmates, she is asking questions when she needs clarification on a direction or a concept, and is turning in assignments and taking tests and quizzes on a regular basis. However, you notice she is turning in her work at various times, not necessarily in order as per the pacing schedule with due dates you have provided.

What Would I Do?

I decided to write about the female student who has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). She started off great but I noticed while she is turning in her work, she is doing it at various times, not necessarily in order as per the pacing schedule with due dates I have provided.

The challenges I believe may be happening for this student based on the information provided in the scenario is that her ADHD is affecting her ability to stay organized and on track. While she was provided a pacing schedule with due dates, she might not be referring to it. Proper communication of what to do that week would be helpful to her (as well as other students who struggle with organization).

Three online communication tools that I would use to help her get back on track and stay on track are phone call/emails, news announcements and remind.com.

The first tool I would use in this situation is a phone call. I would talk to the student to make sure she is aware of the calendar, the pacing schedule and the news announcements. I would make sure she knew that there were assignments that had to be done for that week to avoid late penalty. I would also want to discuss with her how she has been keeping track of her assignments and see if there are any other extenuating circumstances. This phone call would then be followed up with an email reminding her of the conversation. From there I would send biweekly emails to make sure she kept on track.

Weekly News Announcements would be another important communication tool in this situation because it seems that the student is unclear about what needs to happen when. With a weekly news announcement, I would post the assignment schedule for that week. This would help the student to focus in on just that week instead of seeing the entire year schedule and getting overwhelmed. I would schedule the news announcement to post and then expire after the week is done. By seeing this news announcement, I would expect the student to turn in the work for that week instead of hopping around.

Finally, I would make sure the student and their family knew about remind.com and hopefully they would opt to sign in. By using this tool I would be able to send text messages to parents and students reminding them of the due date and what is due that week for the course.

By utilizing phone call/email, news announcements and remind.com I believe that she will get back on track.

So, what would you do?