Published on July 15, 2018
Summer extension at j.r. Arnold high school: Summer extension at j.r . Arnold high school Patricia Butherus (firstname.lastname@example.orgU) gabrielle Crowley ( email@example.com ) July 15, 2018 EEX 3241 J.R. Arnold high school: J.R. Arnold high school Arnold High School is a public school in Bay County, FL that serves roughly 1600 students from grades 9-12. The school opened in 2000 and offers many extracurricular activities and programs, including sports, theatre, band, and culinary. These programs are available to all of their students, including the students in the school’s ESE program, headed by Mrs. Sondra Kelly. Goal: “Building character in students through the 8 Keys of Excellence helps young people realize their greatness and enables schools to achieve better results. Category Raw Number Percent Free-Reduced 440 32% White 1201 88% African-American 55 4% Hispanic 45 3% Other 46 4% Demographics Engagement Activities: Engagement Activities My (Patricia) sister works at this school in the ESE classroom. I reached out to her to find out if there were any opportunities for us to complete our service learning with the ESE program at AHS. She put me in contact with the head ESE teacher at Arnold, Sondra Kelly. Mrs. Kelly told me that they would be doing summer classes this year at Arnold and gave me an information sheet with the dates of the summer program. As a team, we decided this would be a great way to help out in the ESE community in our city, because they will need more volunteers since some paraprofessionals and volunteers have other jobs during the summertime and cannot be there for every summer session. The summer program was twice a week (T/W) for 2 weeks in June and 2 weeks in July. Each day was from 8:45 A.M. to 12:45 P.M. We completed our 15 hours by volunteering in the classroom on the 4 days in June (19 th , 20 th , 26 th , 27 th ) for the full duration of the summer session (4 hours per day). Engagement Activities: Engagement Activities When working in Mrs. Kelly’s class, we helped with setting up class activities, monitoring students during assignments, distributing materials to students, and assisting students when help was requested. Each day we were there had a different focus for the lesson that day. Day1: Students completed a “Summer Scavenger Hunt” where they had to move around the room and find items that start with each letter of the word “summer.” We helped students by guiding them to locations that had items they could use. For some students, we gathered items onto a table that they could use so it would be easier for them to “find” these items. Day 2: This day was all about money. Students completed a coin coloring sheet and we also colored one with them. We helped students identify the different types of coins and what color they needed to be. For one student, we lightly shaded the coins the correct color, because she was working on her fine motor skills. Engagement Activities: Engagement Activities Day 4: On this day, students learned how to make a grilled cheese and used the kitchen safety rules they learned the day before to complete this task. We distributed the necessary materials to the students and monitored the students as they followed the grilled cheese guidelines and stepped in to assist students when necessary. We even got to make a grilled cheese for ourselves! Day 3: This day was all about kitchen skills. Students learned about being safe in the kitchen and they also learned how to fill salt and pepper shakers. We assisted students in completing a kitchen safety worksheet. We also demonstrated to the students how to fill the salt and pepper shakers and showed them how to use various kitchen utensils, because the next day we would be making grilled cheese. Participant Demographics: Participant Demographics There were only 3 students present on the days we volunteered. The ages of the students ranges from 17-20. All of the students are Caucasian Americans. English is all of their first languages and one of the students knows ASL. 2 of the students have Down's Syndrome. The third student suffered from a stroke which caused intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and occasional seizures. All of the students are covered by the I.D.E.A. because their disabilities fall under one of the 13 disability categories covered by the I.D.E.A. (intellectual and multiple disabilities). Service in Action: Service in Action Coloring our coins! Learning about kitchen safety. Service in Action: Service in Action Students get some free time on the computer. Salt and pepper time! Perceptions of Differences: Perceptions of Differences Being able to work with these kids at Arnold High School allowed us to see how an ESE classroom is run. We loved working with the kids and helping them with their classwork over these four days. When I (Gabby) first learned about this project, I was nervous I would not be able to get connected or have an opportunity to work with students with disabilities. However, Patricia set up this opportunity to let us go back to our high school and work with kids we went to school with. I am so grateful that we got the chance to learn what it means to be an ESE teacher. It brought me so much joy, and made me realize this is what I want to do with my life. Personally, there was not just one experience during my service hours that impacted me. All four days of being with these students impacted me in a positive way. Seeing how determined and eager they are to learn was so exciting to see. I am thankful for this project for allowing me to get to spend time with these students. Connections to Your Course: Connections to Your Course We completed this TIA project for our course Methods for Academic Skills for Exceptional Students (EEX 3241) at the University of Central Florida. Differentiated Instruction*: Every activity or worksheet completed by the students had been differentiated for each of their levels of learning. For example, during the coloring coins worksheet, one student did not require any assistance, another student needed help in identifying the different faces of the coins, and the third student needed us to lightly shade each coin for them so they know what color to color them. The use of paraprofessionals**: Even though there were only 3 students present, there was the head teacher, 2 paras, and us (2 volunteers) every day. Despite the fact that there was so few students, they still had multiple educators in the room. This is important because it is good to have multiple brains and points of view, because someone could think of a solution or idea about something that you might not have thought of. It also ensures that students can get help faster than if there were only one educator present. * The idea that a wide range of student needs can and must be accommodated within general education classrooms. ( Polloway , et. al., p. 35) ** Paraprofessionals are school employees who contribute to providing appropriate services to students with special needs. ( Polloway , et, al., p. 43) Connections to Your Course: Connections to Your Course 3. Sense of community in the classroom***: One of the first things we noticed in this classroom was the sense of community and respect that was in the room. The students have built great relationships with each other and their teachers. They were all joking around with each other, but still being respectful towards one another. They would politely ask one another to hand them a colored pencil or ask to borrow the one they are using. Also, Mrs. Kelly does a great job with these students. She knows how to make these kids laugh and have fun while learning, but she also knows how to keep them focused and on-task. *** Students need to feel welcome in a classroom as an important member of the community. ( Polloway , et. al., p. 56) After volunteering in this class, we now have a better understanding of what it takes to educate students with disabilities. You must create a fun and engaging environment built on respect and inclusiveness. Working in teams is the best way to educate these children and we will definitely be having multiple educators in our classrooms. It is also important to be able to modify and accommodate all of your lessons. So, we will be gathering as many modification ideas as possible throughout our education to become better teachers. Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement We believe civic engagement and volunteerism are very important in today's society, especially for those with a disability. Civic engagement serves as a way to help others who are in need. It creates a sense of community and allows for new relationships to form. Based on experience, citizens with disabilities want to be helped and cared for, but there are not many people willing to go out of their way for others. I think it is important for these citizens to know that there are people who care and who want to help. I believe service-learning as a method of learning is extremely beneficial. If I had not done this project, I am not sure if I would have learned the things I did. Service-learning allowed me to see how the classroom should run and how I should treat kids with a disability. This experience taught me so much and has motivated me to be more engaged in my future courses. I believe you are more engaged when you are excited about something. Personally, I did not become truly excited about this career path until I was with these kids this summer. In the future, I would absolutely encourage students and teachers to embrace service-learning, for it can teach you many new things you never even thought about before. It opens your eyes to what people are struggling with and makes you want to help. I am so grateful for this opportunity and plan on doing more service-learning projects in the future. Final Thoughts & Reflections: Final Thoughts & Reflections I believe teachers play a huge role in a student's life, especially one with a disability. I have always thought that it takes a special kind of person to be an ESE teacher. I believe Mrs. Kelly is an amazing teacher. Watching her interact with her students was so much fun to see. She balanced learning and having fun so well and I think that really helps the students. Mrs. Kelly does a great job of teaching more than just academic topics. During the time we were there, she taught them how to fill a pepper shaker and cook quesadillas. She is teaching them life skills which I think is extremely important. I would consider these teachers the "greater good" of society because their heart is so big. They treat these kids as their own and want them to succeed. I hope to be at least half the teacher that Mrs. Kelly is. Many people are not aware how amazing people with disabilities are. Most of them do not even take the time to get to know someone if they have a disability. I wish our society had more empathy towards them and wanted to help as much as I do. To help others become involved, I would tell them about my experiences with these kids this summer and how much just those three days impacted my life.