Our Classroom Environment

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Classroom Seating Chart

Students will sit in groups of four. We will have 20 students in our classroom this year. Students will have new partners at the beginning of each month. Grouped tables allow for collaborative learning and a friendly environment. Our classroom is spacious and plenty of room to spread out during independent work. With the array of library book provided in my classroom, students will find books to read within thier interests. 

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Goodrich is in Woodridge, a city in DuPage County, Illinois with a population of 33,321 people and a disproportionately large mid-career population. People generally speak English at home. 194 students, or 57.1% of the student population at Goodrich Elementary School identify as Caucasian, making up the largest segment of the student body. 16.8% identify as HIspanic, 10.3% identify as Asian, 10% identify as Black, and 5.9% are two races of the 191 students in the school. 

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I set high expectations for all of my students and provide them with multiple resources. I want to see them success just as much as you. We will work together to ensure each student reaches his/her potential. I create a free learning environment so that no student of mine is afraid to be corrected. Lessons will be interactive and collaborative. The environment of my classroom will be safe and free

of judgement to give students the basic security to learn in an educational environment. My class will

also give students a sense of shelter and belonging and allows students to focus on succeeding in the

classroom instead of worrying about being wrong. I make sure my students know what exactly is

expected of them and what they are to accomplish throughout a lesson.

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Students really enjoy is our mason marble jar. Whenever the class as a whole does an exceptional job on a task, they are allowed to put a marble in the jar. Once the jar as been filled with 40 marbles, we get a movie day on a Friday or extra recess! This encourages the class as a whole to behave well and accomplish their given tasks. Also, provides a mental break for such hard work. 

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Evidence-Based Practices 

During the year, I will be using various evidence-based practices in order to teach your students! Here are a few of them that I will be frequently utilizing:

  1. ​Visual Supports
    1. During class, I will be using different supports in order for you student to be able to understand what I am talking about. For this, depending on the needs of your student, I will use pictures to help guide them through the lesson. For example, rather than raising my voice for students to regain their attention, I will use a handheld visual aid that will read either "Eyes on Me!" or "Quiet Please!".
  2. Using Their Interests!
    1. For this practice, I will be asking students about their interests outside of school (favorite movie, television show, sport, game, etc.) in order to learn more about them. Then, I will utilize this information and incorporate it into lessons. For example, if your student told me that they enjoy the movie "Moana", then I will use recognizable characters from the movie on their worksheets, or while I am teaching I might phrase a question in this way: "If Moana had four coconuts, and she gave one of them to her Grandma Tala, then how many does Moana have left?"
  3. Use of Scheduling
    1. I will have a schedule on the board at all times, and remind students when we are changing to the next lesson. Your student will also have a copy at their desk, and this one will be special because it will include pictures of themselves completing the activity. They will receive new schedules on a needed basis. After the lesson or activity is completed, they will be allowed to check it off their schedule as the schedule will be put into a dry-erase sleeve.
  4. Collaboration Among Students
    1. There will be many times through the day where your student will be interacting with their peers, they will never be partnered with the teacher or a paraprofessional. If adaptions and modifications are needed, the peer buddy to your child can help them work through the activity or worksheet. This will also be a part of the social curriculum that I stated on my Class Curriculum Page.

Saxon Math (Saxon) is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

This program is a teacher-directed approach that incoporates a multisensory approach with explict instruction such as: hands-on activities, mathematial conversations, and practice. Saxon is a math practice used for K-4 curriculum. The five daily activities for this program include: morning routines, fact practice, explicit lesson, guided class practice, and homework. For the morning rountine, students will do a whole-class activity to reinforce and be actively engaged with newly math applications. During fact practice time, during classroom instruction, students and I will include math facts by orally discussing or writing support of new concepts. Explict teaching occurs during math lesson by using manipulatives, fact cards, or worksheets. Guided class practice can include classroom discussions and practice problems. At the end of the lesson, provide homework to students to fully practice and reinforce math applications. 

Character Event Map
This evidence-based practice was measured by having adolescent students, three male students with autism, to practice character event maps by including: who is involved, what happened, what does it mean. The study proved this method worked by using a story that interested the students. 
Overall, in my classroom, I will apply a similar Character Event Map by including: who the character is, what happens in teh story, and predicate why it happens in the story by including a three column chart and students can provide illustrations. Students, who may have difficulties with fine motor skills can use a picture to write what they have learned. 

Read Aloud

Read alouds can help students improve comprehension and vocabulary. Researchers of this study Fien et al. (2011),  used a K-W-L chart, K for what you know, W what you want to know, and L for what you learned and the teacher applied the K-W-L chart before, during, and after the read aloud. Santoro, L. E., Baker, S. K., Fien, H., Smith, J. M., & Chard, D. J. (2016) state, "Finally, read-aloud instruction was language based. Teachers read texts aloud to students and paused strategically to highlight vocabulary, model comprehension strategies, and discuss content with students. Textbased discussions were scaffolded through the use of teacher models and prompts." Read alouds can help students in any core curriculum subject, especially informational texts, and with the provided tools, students can fully achieve improvement of comprehension and vocabulary. Students, who do not verbally communicate, can use picture chart and other visual aids to complete read alouds. 

Self-Determination & Citizenship:

In one study, Martin, Morehart, Lauzon, & Daviso (2013) researched on special education teachers ,from elementary to high school, views of their students' self-determination and citizenship skills. Overall, the study confirmed how teachers implement self-determination and citizenship skills in their classrom. For example, the researchers included, "When offering their definitions of citizenship, the teachers suggested that self-determination skills helped promote citizenship. The teachers did not, however, explicitly make connections between their definition of citizenship and the classroom practices that they used to teach or reinforce skills related to self-determination...Teacher E [elementary teacher] suggested that having students participate responsibly in classroom activities and routines would lead to future citizenship"( Martin, Morehart, Lauzon, & Daviso, 2013)

In my classroom, I expect my studetns to model self-determination and citizenship skills in my classroom by practicing these skills during communcaiton, self-advocacy, and social emotional learning class times.

References/Related Readings
Clements, D. H., Agodini, R., Harris, B., & National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. (2013). Instructional Practices and Student     Achievement: Correlations from a Study of Math Curricula. NCEE Technical Appendix. NCEE 2013-4020. National Center For Education Evaluation And Regional Assistance
Martin, L. A., Morehart, L. M., Lauzon, G. P., & Daviso, A. W. (2013). Teachers' Views of Student's Self-Determination and Citizenship Skills. American Secondary Education41(2), 4-23.
​Santoro, L. E., Baker, S. K., Fien, H., Smith, J. M., & Chard, D. J. (2016). Using Read-Alouds to Help Struggling Readers Access and Comprehend Complex, Informational Text. 
TEACHING Exceptional Children48(6), 282-292.

Williamson, P., Carnahan, C. R., Birri, N., & Swoboda, C. (2015). Improving Comprehension of Narrative Using Character Event Maps for High School Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal Of Special Education, 49(1), 28-38.

Black, W., Simon, M. (2014, October). Leadership for all students: planning for more inclusive school practices. NCPEA International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, Vol. 9 (2).
Gunn, K. M., & Delafield-Butt, J. T. (2016). Teaching children with autism spectrum disorder with restricted interests: a review of evidence for best practice. Review Of Educational Research, 86(2), 408-430.
Ronfeldt, M. (2015, May 8). Teacher collaboration in instructional teams and student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 52 (3), 475-514.
Rovira, A. (2014, May). Enhancing social behavior of children with autism in an inclusive classroom. Thesis. Dominican University of California.