Classroom Description

  • Emerson Middle School
  • Livonia, MI
  • 14 7th and 8th grade students with Moderate Cognitive Impairments


The classroom I am focusing on is my current class since it is in dire need of need technology to aid in facilitating curriculum.  I have three other teachers that I work with in our program and they too teach all the students on my caseload.  Because we work so closely together, I want to tie in all technology needs in all four classrooms. 

The school is located in the south side of Livonia, MI.  It is a Title 1 middle school because of the economic status of the parents that send their children to our school.  Our program within the school is the Wayne County MO-CI program (moderate cognitive impairment).  In my class there are 14 students and within the program there are 41 boys and girls that are either in 7th or 8th grade.  All students in the program and certified moderately impaired in cognition, which means that their IQ ranges from 40-55.  Some students have secondary impairments such as physically and/or otherwise health impaired and speech and language.  Two students are hearing impaired with hearing devices and others are visually impaired as well.  About 1/3 of all students receive occupational therapy. 

Their social abilities range from two years to about nine years. 


Current Technologies and Software

  • Boardmaker
    • To create communication boards for our Go-Talk devices. 
      • 1 title
  • Computers
    • The students also have access to the schools computer lab once a week for leisure activities and to type out their personal information.   
      • 4 Teacher computers no student access
      • Multiple computer labs for student access
        • Dell Optiplex 780 Desktop~Intel vPro technology
        • Memory 1GB DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM, 1066MHz, (1 DIMM)
        • Processor Intel® Celeron® Processor 450 (2.2GHz, 512K, 800MHz FSB


  • Go Talk
    • To aid in communication for non-verbal students and those with severe speech and language impairments
      • 7 total
  • Leapsters
    • A free time activity to engage students in academics
      • 3 total
  • Pix Writer
    • A typing program the says what the student types and has matching pictures
      • 1 title
  • News-2-You
    • Program that focuses on current events written with pictures for students with disabilities
      • 1 title
  • Unique Learning Systems
    • Cross curricular program that is written for students with disabilities
      • 1 title
  • Font Software
    • Specialized fonts that allow teachers to create handwriting worksheets with rules and lines for practice in cursive and print
      • 3 titles


Needs Assessment

Currently we are in need of a more interactive way to give instruction.  With the new technologies of Interactive White Boards, it is now possible.  We had been promised them multiple times, but the stimulus money and Title 1 money had been redistributed for other projects.  Many of our students do not respond to traditional direct teaching so a more hands on approach is suggested.  Not only will this investment aid in facilitating instruction effectively, it will allow us in the long run cut down on paper waste.  At our school, we have fundraisers for our paper budget so any reduction in paper usage is beneficial.   All four classrooms would need to be fitted with a whiteboard.  Along with that, if a projector is needed, an few extra bulbs on hand would need to be purchased with the grant money since they are so expensive and replacing them later may not be financially possible. 

Many of our worksheets were created years ago but are still useful.  I feel we need some type of a scanner or device that allows previously made worksheets to be used on the Smart Board without having to recreate it on a computer hard drive. 

Many projects require photos of real-life objects that the students encounter on a daily basis.  Some students have a tendency to over generalize so real pictures are preferred for a few instead of let’s say a cartoon picture of a lunch lady.  Having a photo of our lunch lady would be more easily understood.  Currently, our program has no digital cameras and we use our personal ones for work.  It would be beneficial to have one on hand for labeling and picture books.  I would also prefer to find discounted memory cards and a camera that needs only to be charged and does not require batteries because that can be quite expensive.


Market Research

A friend of mine used to sell Smart Boards so I am already sold on that brand.  Other schools in our district have bought them as well and find them to be highly effective and user friendly.  I did check many websites for the model I am interested in.  Some websites from other school districts have educators pricing, but I did not find any mainstream websites that offered the educator pricing without sending many forms over to them, so for this I am using the retail pricing.  I am looking at the Smart board SMART 680i 77” model because it’s projector does not allow for shadows to be created.  It is wall mounted and secured and that would suit my class more than the ones on a cart because it lowers the risk of damage from students bumping into it.  It also says time because I would not have to re-calibrate it before every use. 


·      77 in. Diagonal Work Surface

·      Integrated wall-mounted XGA (1024 x 768) projector

·      Vikuiti Super Close Projection technology

·      Dual 20-watt, stereo-amplified speakers

·      Launch the Unifi on-screen interface and control projector power and volume from the pen tray

·      Expansion slot for future hardware upgrades such as a projector-control button

·      Accessories include an improved floor stand and new USB speakers

  • Native USB


I looked at scanners and the ELMO device so we could “upload” or view previously made worksheets on the board for whole group.  I found on the Smart Tech website a document camera that is compatible with the Smart Board that displays documents the way I want them to and they can use the draw tools with it.  After reading reviews on the Smart tech page, this seems like the best fit especially since the software that it comes with is compatible. 


Smart Document Camera Features

·      17" x 12.5" maximum viewable area

·      850,000 Pixel resolution (1024x768)

·      41.6X Zoom: 5.2X optical zoom and 8.0X digital zoom

·      Auto Focus and Brightness adjustment

·      20 frames per second frame rate

·      Natural fit with SMART Boards

·      Simple-to-use document camera designed for K-12 educators

·      Notebook collaborative learning software enables the capture of images and video projected onto a SMART Board interactive whiteboard

·      Control panel-Highly intuitive and easy to use

·      Automatic focus-Focus projected images with the press of a button

·      Automatic brightness control for varied lighting conditions

·      Optical and digital zoom for detailed close-ups

·      Removable presentation stage for comfortably writing over documents from anywhere in the room or to set up objects under the camera

·      Rotatable camera for multiple viewing angles

·      Lamp provided for low light situations

·      Adapter free Microscope mode

·      Variety of input and output connections, including USB, SD memory card and RGB

  • Kensington cable lock.


The digital camera was an easy choice.  I really wanted a camera that was rechargeable so we didn’t have to waste money on batteries.  I asked a friend of mine who is a photographer in New York City and she recommended this camera.  It has 10 mega pixels which offers great quality and it is user friendly.  She also recommended B&H Photo online because they have a good warranty and great customer reviews.  This camera comes with a kit that has a carrying pouch and two memory cards with each camera. 


Lumix DMC-FS7 Features


·      10.1MP, 1/2.5" CCD

·      Leica Vario Elmar 4x Zoom Lens

·      2.7" LCD

·      Face Detection

·      Optical Image Stabilization

·      2x 4GB Memory Cards, Carrying Pouch





Purpose of Grant

Project Goal – To increase the amount of technology in order for curriculum instruction to be more interactive and independent for students with disabilities. 

?    Project Objectives

       o    Specific – Students will use the Smart Board for daily instruction.  Handwritining, math, reading and daily calendar are just a few examples of what can be done with these boards to help them become for engaged in learning.  What exactly will be done, with or for whom

       o    Measurable – Objectives will be measured by their individual IEP goals that range from attending to instruction, handwriting, learning simple math concepts and personal information. 

       o    Achievable – Students will gain confidence using the new technology and they  will increase the amount of exposure to many skills by having the teacher integrate the Smart Board into their daily lives.

       o    Relevant – The goals are relevant and the Smart Board is designed to help educators achieve these goals. 

       o    Time-frame – Goals will be assessed every 10 weeks during report card time and reevaluated once a year at the annual IEP.

?    Project Activities – Students will receive calendar events daily in order to achieve goals.  Math, literacy and health will be done at least four times a week per class schedule for each student.  Handwriting will be done at least twice a week per the class schedule. 

?    Evaluation Component

Based on how we evaluate our students, a rubric is not possible.  Because of IEP goals, we may choose a goal such as ATTENDING TO A LESSON FOR AT LEAST 5 MINUTES WITH MINIMAL SUPPORT (VERBAL OR PHYSICAL CUES).  Based on that was describe how it will be evaluated and that is quarterly by the report cards, how they will be assed and that is by an observer (me) and we choose the frequency at that is a percentage of the time such as 80%.  Because the amount of support given and the frequency changes for multiple goals, it is impossible to create just one rubric that would encompass all student goals.




Please see attached Excel spreadsheet titled GrantBudget.xls