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This lesson is about teaching winter to students with severe special needs. We talk about winter all the time with our students, especially when it snows or is very windy or very cold outside. I think winter is a common topic in our daily conversation, often used to break the ice with co-workers, classmates or even strangers. What’s more, it’s important to understand what weather reporters or other people are talking about when you need to decide what to wear.
Therefore, I assumed that incorporating a winter lesson into a class for students with special needs is a good idea. Weather is an interesting topic to
teach- I need to consider my students prior knowledge and their learning level, there are many simple, engaging and effective ways in which I can teach my special education students about the weather. A student misconception is the students will think snow comes from the clouds sweating. I designed this lesson to give a systemic introduction to winter.
I focused on relating students’ prior experience and knowledge from daily lives with the story- a snowy day with new vocabulary. In the following group activity, students experienced the winter by using their senses (sight, hearing, smell and touch).
Tailored to severe needs students, the explanation of the why winter comes and goes will be touched upon briefly but the students will not be expected to fully understand this concept. The teacher will be more concerned with the students understand of how winter affect us.
One thing that I hope the students would get out of my lesson is: with prompting and support, make connections between a story or poem and one’s own experiences. Students can learn winter vocabulary (New words: Snowsuit, footprints, stick, plop, angel, slid, snowball, thought, melted), and to know about a weather-snow experience.
I feel the activity “make your footprints” was successful because all of the students were engaged and participating. Students enjoyed working with the sponges and creating their own footprints. Since there was a minimal amount of information involved during this activity, students were able to grasp it more. The biggest challenge is how to make the teaching more effective to students with more difficult behaviors. Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that there is a wide degree of variation in the way it affects the students.
Their communication level and learning patterns varies from each other as well. Some are always low motivated and some are quite sensitive (out of control). I was wondering how much information they have received and how much they have perceived? How to let these students also have the sense of participation? In some choice making sections, I don’t know how long I should wait for their responses, or how many times I should repeat the question. There are several things that I would change if I taught this lesson again. I would like to make some accommodations for diverse learners.
For example: pictures for ESL students, differentiated center for different learning styles, give enough time for students to respond and safety/emergency concerns in class. In addition, I would develop more steps in assessment part. Such as pre-assessment before the lesson, formative assessment, and summative assessment at the end of the lesson to check their final learning outcomes. I felt that there were good things about this lesson as well as things that I could have improved upon. Over all, students seemed to enjoy the lesson. I think I met my learning objectives according to the class reaction and feedback.
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