A. Overview: Plans for the First Quarter
In September, a number of students in Grades 5-8 who are assigned to part-time placement in special education will begin attending instruction in the Resource Room for Reading, Language Arts, and Math.
Because I am in a unique learning situation where I formulate education prescriptions designed to meet individual students’ needs, I use this first semester to develop individual programs for students. I am not bound to any prescribed curriculum, nor pressured by administration concerns with grade level competency.
It is at this time that those students assigned to Language Arts class will be involved in a series of diagnostic tests that will assess their competency in reading and spelling abilities, skill levels in the areas of punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and sentence structure. After reviewing this information on each student I will be better equipped to plan a program of remediation for their skill deficiencies. During the remainder of the first quarter my students will receive a series of assignments planned to strengthen weak skill areas.
I feel that this preparation and planning will enhance an appropriate academic readiness for introduction into the second quarter where I plan to initiate this prepared curriculum on writing.
B. Plans for the Second Quarter
In the beginning of the second quarter the behavior modification point system will be introduced in order to insure positive interaction on my students’ part. It will be clear to me at this point what unacceptable behaviors might be occurring that would interfere with an appropriate behavioral management in this group of 15-20 students. This time of year is filled with holiday preparations and celebration. It can be a very exciting time yet stressful because of the students anticipation and un-realistic expectations which sometimes lead to disappointment and depression. There is also a scheduled school vacation which often un-settles routine and causes a disturbance when they return to school. Therefore, a behavior modification program will greatly enhance a decrease in motivational deterrents into academic and behavioral acceptance and success during this period of time.
I will also give a careful explanation of the holistic marking system so that I will not be constantly reminding them of what is incorrect in their work. I will explain what responsibility will be theirs and what will be necessary in order to achieve a passing grade during this quarter. I feel this might better encourage a development of confidence and pride in expressing themselves creatively on paper. I don’t want to get hung-up on the typical grading approach at this time. I prefer that my students open up and experience freedom in writing their thoughts, experiences, feelings, and fantasies in the exercises to be presented without focusing in on what grade will be received on each individual exercise.
It will probably be the first time they will be presented with such a grading system so I will have to be careful to assess whether they are taking advantage of the opportunity. If it goes well, I will continue this process of grading. If it doesn’t, I will have to re-assess the process at that point in time.