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This year I volunteered to take all of the eighth grade SPED students in my science classes. A good portion of them can do the work but I have a few that were placed in my room just for the exposure. I am looking for some simple activities to do with these students. Any ideas or links would be greatly appreciated.
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I admire your willingness to expose students with diverse learning needs in your science classroom. I have a background as both a science educator and special educator so have looked at teaching from both sides now.
You mention you need some lessons for exposure of science. Can you tell us a bit more about what topics you are starting your year with this school year ? Can you tell us a bit more about the learning and/or adaptive needs your students will bring in your classroom?
In the meantime here is a NSTA Learning Center Collection on Teaching Student with Special Needs for you to look over.
Many of the articles came from the
Science Scope Journal Issue Dec 06 Leveling the Playing Field
"Special education has evolved from separate classroom settings, to pull-out programs, to mainstreaming, to the current practice of full inclusion. Inclusion involves many more regular education teachers than did previous special education programs. In this Editor’s Roundtable column, the author highlights the collection of practical instructional accommodation strategies for science teachers in this issue of Science Scope. In addition, she discusses the importance of “leveling the playing field so students with special needs can get off the sidelines and into the game.”
Looking forward to discussing with your teaching needs for your students this year
My best to you,
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
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Here are two more articles, Edith.
Making Science Accessible
Tech Trek: Technologies for special needs students
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I have co-taught inclusion classes for several years and right now, while I am not, I am now being "targeted" by the ELL teacher for his kids :)
It would be nice to know a bit more about your teaching situation. Are any in self-contained classes or are they all inclusive classes and/or co-taught classes. That would also help to determine what types of science activities to suggest.
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I am a sped teacher, just beginning to learn how to teach science. I get many ideas from my regular ed colleagues. I would say that just about any lab activity is a great learning experience that allows sped students to construct and test their ideas. We just completed the egg drop, and amazingly, about 90% or more of their eggs survived first a two story drop and then a 3 story drop (same egg, same container). I also make them measure, calculate volume, record a data table of paddings, predict what will happen, and then write the results. There were some truly ingenious paddings in those little boxes like bread, water, and one was cut so the egg was wedged into the cardboard with no other padding. I think my next lab will be the tragedy of the commons so that we can discuss use of the ocean's resources, fisheries, international water trade agreements. This is a fun activity with cooperative learning, and food. I have to say the math part of science is definitely the hardest for my students.
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Our special education students are also serviced in the mainstream classroom for science. I use the following modifications and accommodations in my class. I find my all of my students are able to participate and learn in science class.
• giving the student extra time to complete assignments or tests
• breaking up testing over several days
• working in a small group
• working one-on-one with the teacher or EA
• providing audio taped lectures or books
• giving copies of teacher’s lecture notes
• using large print text
• using video clips and visual aids
• reducing the difficulty of assignments
• reducing the reading level
• using a student/peer tutor
• allowing answers to be given orally or dictated
• using a word processor for written work
Other modifications and accommodations in science :
• shorter reading and writing assignments.
• science textbooks will be based upon the 6th grade curriculum but at a lower independent reading level (2nd grade).
• test questions read/explained to him, when he asks.
• give answers to essay-type questions by speaking, rather than writing them down.
These modification and accommodations are found at: http://nichcy.org/schoolage/
Keep up the great work!
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Dawn, that is a very complete list and great website! Thanks for sharing here, and I am going to link this discussion thread to a couple of other sites that have discussions going on about special needs students. This is such an important component to effective teaching in order to reach and teach all of our students.
This is a fun activity with cooperative learning, and food. I have to say the math part of science is definitely the hardest for my students.
As a former science and special educator math is an issue with many students with learning needs.
Can you tell us what types of math issues your students have had with these activities in science? Let see if we can come up with some ideas for helping them through these math concepts in science
My best, Arlene JL
I'm doing a bunch of tings on the list that Dawn posted already in my classes...even sending them to the learning center once in awhile to get extra help. I really try to avoid sending them there since the point is to keep those kids in the classroom. Any suggestions on how to get those students engaged in the class? This is the first year I've had so many and some have aides that go with them everywhere. What things do you do to help those kids actively involved in science activities? I've tried placing them in groups with other kids they get along with but not too successful sometimes. Thanks for any help!
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I'm doing a bunch of things on the list that Dawn posted already in my classes...even sending them to the learning center once in awhile to get extra help. I really try to avoid sending them there since the point is to keep those kids in the classroom. Any suggestions on how to get those students engaged in the class?
Do you know your students as learners? What are their interests and strengths? Motivating and engaging students so they have a vetted interest in your class is an important first step. How does the structure/routine of your class/activities matches them as learners ?
This is the first year I've had so many and some have aides that go with them everywhere. What things do you do to help those kids actively involved in science activities? I've tried placing them in groups with other kids they get along with but not too successful sometimes. Thanks for any help![/color]
Can you meet with your students' aides/ special educators to find out more about the learning needs of these students? Sometimes in groups it is good to have specific roles each student is responsible for that match their strengths and abilities. Some rules about group interactivity and tasks might be a good idea too .
[i]Please tell a bit more about what you are teaching and the learning issues some of your students have in your classes.
My best, Arlene JL
The Exploratorium's website is very helpful. They provide many cheap-to-make hands-on activity recipes that explore fundamentals across many curriculum areas.
I use many of their activities with my Special Day Class (teens with emotional disturbance), and have to modify some of the activities for safety (my students aren't allowed access to things like metal paper clips, because many of them have long histories of self-harm or assaulting others).
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Several years ago I attended a workshop on teaching chemistry to visually impaired students. Before this workshop, I would have assumed this a near impossible task. The workshop was presented by Landmark.
This coverage by the ACS is also relevant
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Here is a collection I put together on teaching Chemistry to blind and visually impaired students.
I noticed that at the New Orleans conference site there is a workshop on Inclusion. The presenters downloaded several great resources that we can access. To get to them go to:
NSTA Area Conference: New Orleans, LA
Scroll down to the bottom and type in the word 'inclusion'. It will take you to the Saturday, November 12 (9:30-10:30 a.m.) workshop entry where you can download the 12 resources. The pdf entitled, No Confusion_Inclusion is a power point that lists many of the disabilities that teachers address in their classrooms. I wish I could have seen the presentation; it looks like it might have been an excellent one. It is wonderful when the presenters take the time to download their resources and share them with everyone through this venue.
The site "Teaching Today" has a good page called Supporting Special Education Students in Science. There are a list of tips related to students with attention issues, problems with information processing, issues with transitioning, and social issues. Although many veteran teachers are no doubt familiar with most of the suggestions, there were a couple ideas that surprised me such as color coding materials.
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So excited about this topic. I teach 5th & 6th gr SPED and looking for great ideas. Some of you have posted links. Thanks for sharing.
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There are several great ideas posted on this thread. I would like to offer a simple idea to help motivate and engage all students (especially the harder to motivate). I try to give students the ability to choose as much as possible. A recent task for my class was, "Measure the distance you travel in 2 seconds, 4 seconds, 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and 10 seconds. Use the data to construct a distance-time graph." My purpose was to get students to measure and to construct a line graph. I emphasized the importance of students to go the same rate each time. Once the graph was constructed, I asked them how the line should look, "Straight" was the reply. "Does your line look that way?", my next question. "Yes," "No," "Sort of" was the reply. "Explain what happened to produce the line on your graph," was the final task.
Anyhow, the ability to choose how they traveled (walk, run, hop, roll, etc.) gave all students the motivation to give the activity a try. Graphing their data, another motivator. Only asking one (hopefully really good) question (maximum, two questions), also motivates students (they could write their answer on their graph).
My suggestion is to look at your assignments and look for areas where students can choose. They appreciate it. It scares them at first (I teach 8th grade), but once they gain some confidence, it becomes encouraging to watch and listen to the class discussion.
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This collection might help you.
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Thank you all for sharing … This year I am co-teaching with a Special Ed teacher in one of my Chemistry classes. My SpEd teacher is really great and most of our special needs students have been working hard. We have tried all the suggestions given by Dawn. We have utilized them with our students except for two students ~ one who have a learning disability and the other a behavior problem.
I checked the site that Dawn suggested and found the section for behavior problem.
http://nichcy.org/schoolage/behavior/atschool/ This will help me a lot in dealing with this student. I really appreciate you sharing it.
But I did not find anything for our LD student. This student displays little interest in learning. Whenever he comes to class and as soon as we give him his assignment, he will walk out on us without even asking for permission. He keeps on insisting that he will not do work. We have tried all the suggestions on the list but he is so defiant. Does anybody have any suggestion on how to deal with this student?
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Thanks Amanda, for sharing the following website, http://www.exploratorium.edu/who/educators/.
It has a great navigation unit all about the voyages of Polynesia. I have been looking for resources to teach my students about constellations. I was amazed to find extensive amounts of information on the topic, while also having a personal connection because of where I live, in Hawaii. The students will really enjoy looking around the interactive online planetarium.
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