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Katlin Moran

Dr. York

SPED 511-01

6 December 2016

Diversity Project

General Information:

During the Fall semester of 2016 I have completed 10 hours working with a school-aged

student that has been identified with a learning impairment under the supervision of a licensed

teacher. These hours were completed in Girard, KS. The school that my student is enrolled at is

R.V. Haderlein and the principle is Mark LaTurner. While I completed 10 hours with a school-

aged student I was under supervision by Mr. Ferguson who is the Special Education teacher for

grades 3-5. Throughout this project I will refer to the student that I worked with as Student A.

My time spend with Student A was spend mainly in the resource room and daily walking laps

around the school hallways. To get an idea of the amount of students enrolled at R.V. Haderlein

Elementary, there are 485 students currently enrolled and this will be relevant as I will next tell

you some information about the demographics of the building. The demographics relating to

gender are fairly even with the building being composed of 53% male students and 47% female

students. This percentage has stayed steadily the same for the past 5 years. The students at R.V.

Haderlein are 86% White, 7% Hispanic, 1% African American and 5% other. This shows that the

area is mainly Caucasian and there is a fairly high percentage of Hispanics in the area, which

tends to reflect that there are fairly low-economic areas in the community. To be exact, 53% of

the students at the elementary school are considered economically disadvantaged. On the other

hand there are about 47% of students that are not at an economic disadvantage. Since I spend all
of my time in this building with a student with a form of disability, I thought I would look at the

demographics of students with disabilities. In this building 9% of students have a disability of

some kind and 91% do not. This percentage of students has declined in the past 5 years. I also

looked at the assessment percentages in the school building compared to the district as a whole.

In 2016 R.V. Haderlein had 41% of their students score at grade-level on math state assessments.

Compared to the district percentage of 44%, they are fairly the same. The school building had

17% of their students scoring below grade level on math assessments compared to the district

percentage of 28%. 34% of students at this Girard elementary school scored above grade level on

their math assessments compared to the district level of 23%. The ELA scores were very similar.

39% of students scored at grade level compared to the district percentage of 41%. In the below

grade level category R.V. Haderlein had 15% of their students in this category. The district had

almost 20% in this category! And lastly the building had 32% of the students score above grade

level in their ELA assessments compared to 38% as a district whole.

Target Student Information:

These demographics are important to know as I am reflecting on the time spend with

Student A for 10 weeks. Student A is a 5th grader at R.V. Haderlein. Student A is also Caucasian

and on free and reduced lunch. Student A is 10 almost 11 and states that he enjoys recess and

playing games on his iPad. The time I have spent with Student A was always under supervision

of Mrs. Ferguson, the resource teacher, or Student A’s para. Before I met Student A I was told by

his general education teacher that I would work with him every Friday Morning which is his

math time in the resource room. I was also told by his general education teacher that Student A

has an IEP but does not have a clear diagnosis at the moment, it is still being reviewed. Student
A talks VERY fast, blinks constantly and seems to have a hard time focusing on what is going on

in the moment.

Journals:

9/30/16:

Today was my first time meeting Student A. I went to his general education classroom to

meet with him and his general education teacher and was introduced. Student A was hesitant to

me at first and did not seem to make eye contact when we were introduced. Student A walked

me down to the resource room where I was introduced to his para and Special Education Teacher

Mrs. Ferguson. Mrs. Ferguson explained that every morning from 8-9:30am they work on math

with Student A. This included walking laps around the school building practicing math

flashcards. I walked 2 laps with Student A and Mrs. Ferguson to understand their morning

routine. I first noticed that Student A spoke very fast, fast enough that it was so hard to

understand unless listening very carefully. When presented with flashcards, while walking laps,

Student A seemed to blurt out the first answer that came to mind quickly. Mrs. Ferguson had to

tell him to “Slow down and repeat that answer for me.” 5 out of the 20 flashcards. If I were the

one administering the flash cards, I would have had to ask him to repeat his answer 20 out of 20

times since I am not used to his quick speech. After walking laps, I watched the para and Student

A start on a math worksheet as the para followed along in the book with him. Mrs. Ferguson

worked with other students 1v1 during this time. Today they were working on triple digit

multiplication and the para made deals with Student A when he seemed to be tired of working

out all the problems and made a deal with him that he could use a calculator on the last half of

the questions. When Student A was asked by his para what “7X8=” Student A said “I don’t
know.” or “I don’t get it.” 8/20 problems. Today I just observed to get an idea of their morning

routine and was introduced to some of Student A’s needs and areas of improvement.

10/7/16:

Today I walked laps with Student A around the building to start off our morning. When

we entered the resource room Mrs. Ferguson directed Student A to grab 2 stacks of math

flashcards for us to flip through as we walk laps. I was then told by Student A that as we walk

around the school halls, we are to fill out his water chart. This is an every morning task to keep

Student A focused on a task as we walk. Student A carries his clipboard with his water sheet and

as we walk past the water fountain stations he logs the amount of gallons of water that are

displayed on the digital screen. As we talked laps today I had to ask him to repeat his answer to

the flashcards 8/20 times as he replied his answer. Student A seemed to get frustrated when I

asked him to repeat 3/8 times I had to ask him. Student A seemed to enjoy leading me around the

halls as he instructed me which water fountains he needed to record. As we made it back to the

classroom Student A directed me to write the calculations on the board for him to subtract the

previous day’s amount from today’s amount. Student A seemed to follow a strict morning

schedule and was very directive when asking me to write the numbers on the board for him to

calculate. After his morning tasks were complete we started on a math worksheet that the para

insisted we work on. Student A’s para worked with another student in the classroom since Mrs.

Ferguson needed to go to an appointment. As I left the room for the day Student A did not seem

to show any emotion. His para insisted he say thank you for working with me and have a good

weekend. Student A replied shortly with “Have a good weekend.” and did not look up from his

iPad to do so.

10/14/16:
Today was a normal day for Student A and I. We did our normal walk around the school

halls and filled up his water bottle as we wrote down the daily calculations. Student A seems to

be getting more comfortable with me after my third week with him. As we walked the halls this

morning I saw signs around the hall that was advertising a Halloween block party tonight. I

asked Student A if he was going and he said in an excited tone “Yes I’m going with my dad and

brother and cousin.” I asked him what he was going to be for Halloween and he said with a big

smile on his face “A minion like my pajama pants.” Today they were celebrating in his general

education classroom and were allowed to wear pajamas. Student A was very excited to tell me

about his love for minions.

10/21/16:

Today as I got to the school early and met Student A in his general education classroom. I

walked in and Student A immediately made eye contact with me but did not say hello. I said

hello to him and he replied shortly with “Hi.” and then stopped eye contact and looked down at

his desk. Student A seemed to get nervous or anxious when I started a new conversation with

him. Student A was sitting in a special chair that had a rounded edge on the bottom so that as he

sat his bottom on the flat part, he could swivel around on the rounded part. Student A seemed to

be very occupied with this seat. I looked down and noticed he also had an elastic band across the

legs of his desk at the bottom. Student A bounced his legs on this band as I was coming into the

room this morning. As we walked into the room Mrs. Ferguson explained to Student A that he

was going to do some testing today with “a nice pretty lady”. Student A had a confused look on

his face but agreed and went into a back room with the lady. I joined them and observed. The

Lady doing the testing was very encouraging to Student A. She stressed to him that “If you do

now know the answer it is perfectly okay, just tell me you do not know.” After being asked 5
questions Student A paused and said “I don’t know.” with a soft voice and a slightly scared face.

The lady stress that it was perfectly okay and they moved on. 6 questions later Student A said “I

don’t know.” to another question and did not hesitate to make the statement. During this testing

the lady asked Student A to describe the members of his family at home. Student went on to say

his mom, dad, brother, 2 cousins and his dog. Student A then said “Dash, but not duke anymore

because he died.” I thought this was interesting because he strictly made it prevalent that the lady

know his dog was part of his home and that one died recently.

10/28/16:

Today was my fifth time working with Student A. Student A was eager to see me this

morning and first thing told me “We are going on a field trip today.” This is improvement from

the past weeks I have met with Student A in the morning to walk to the resource room, because

he seemed to be eager to tell me about his big day. Student A told me “I have to bring my lunch

today.” in his voice, fast paced. I can tell that I am getting better at being patient with Student A

and giving him time to state what he wants to say and allow myself time to process what he

quickly just said. Last week Student A had testing and the lady brought back a strategy to use to

slow down his speech. The strategy is to tap his hand on his side with every word he pronounces

to allow him time between each word to produce a fluid sentence. The testing lady said to

Student A “Doesn’t this sound much better Student A?” and Student A replied “Yes.” The lady

also said “It helps Student A sit with a closed mouth instead of an open mouth when he is

relaxed.” “Student A, Doesn’t that look much better?” Student A replied “Yes.” and nodded his

head with a half-smile. As I was walking laps with Student A this morning I only had to ask him

to talk/tap out 2 sentences during our 10 minute walk. This is a strategy that the testing lady

asked me to enforce with Student A when he seemed to be talking too fast. I believe that Student
A gets ahead of himself and seems to not have enough time to get out what he wants to say quick

enough, therefore he speaks so quick and mumbles his words together, making it difficult to

understand.

11/11/16:

As I met with Student A today, we walked together down the hall to the resource room

where he meets every morning. Student A knows his Friday morning routine with me know and

went straight to get his clipboard which head his water log chart and then grabbed a set of

flashcards to practice. One thing I have noticed during these 6 weeks is the Student A always

picks the same set of flash cards and when I asked him to choose a different one he says “No,

they are too hard.” As we start our laps around the building I state and idea to Student A and say

“Instead of adding doubles today, we are going to do the number multiplied by 5.” Student A

immediately replies “No!” and states “I don’t know how to do that.” I see this as him not

wanting to try hard and that he wants to stick to doing addition because it is easy. After we did

our laps we headed into the classroom to start our math problems for the day. Student A looked

at me when we got into the classroom and said “Squirts.” I was very confused and asked him to

repeat. Student A said the same thing and then the para pointed to the top of the file cabinet and

said “Once Student A is done with his morning routine he gets 4 squirts of water flavoring.” This

shows that Student A strongly relies on his routine and does not like for a step to be missed.

Student A drank his full water bottle with the flavoring in it right away. The para had to tell

Student A to slow down and to put down his drink multiple times because he could not stop

drinking it.

11/18/16:
Today was the 7th time I got to work with Student A. After we did our morning laps and

water calculations we returned to the resource room and met with Mrs. Ferguson. This was the

first time I got to see Student A and Mrs. Ferguson interact together because she is usually

helping another student since Student A is self-sufficient and I am there to work with him on his

math. Today I got to see Mrs. Ferguson track Student A’s math progress. The categories were

addition, multiplication and division. Mrs. Ferguson says that she tracks his progress periodically

and sees if there is an increase in his scores or decrease compared to the previous time. Student

A improved in all of the areas therefore he knew that he would receive a prize, which was candy.

Student A showed me his treats “Fire ball candy” he said to me. I told him that I did not like fire

balls because they were too hot and he said “I love hot candy!” I liked the idea of tracking his

progress and the way she did so was by adding a sticky note to the bulletin board that had his

previous progress. On the sticky notes she would state the category and draw and up or down

arrow to show his progress and then state the number level. Student A seemed eager to see Mrs.

Ferguson track his progress because he stared at her intensely as she drew the up or down arrow

and was excited when he saw the up arrow because he would get candy.

12/2/16:

Today was the first time I saw Student A after Thanksgiving Break. I got my hair cut

over break and the first thing Student A said to me when I saw him was “Your hair.” I was

surprised to see that he noticed and so quickly. Today we did our normal math laps and then

Student A was supposed to do some math testing on his iPad but it was not cooperating so we

got to play a math game together. The math game was like scrabble and Student A said “This is

my favorite came, I am so good.” Student A got the game out all by himself and set the game up

for myself and him. Student A was supposed to make a math equation and I was then supposed
to solve it with the tiles I had on my stand. Student A started making an equation but made a

super long equation that did not make sense. The equation looked something like this. “3X4-

6+7-9” I told Student A that it was an incorrect equation but he insisted that the goal of the game

was “To use all your tiles and make the biggest equation across the board to get points” I played

along and made and equation that was less than his. He got excited and smiled and laughed while

saying “I won!!” Mrs. Ferguson and the para’s in the room had to say “Shhhh other students are

working” because Student A was so excited and said it loudly.

12/9/16: Hour 1

This Friday I chose to spend 2 hours with Student A to finish my diversity hours, but I

did not tell Student A I would be staying extra to see what he would do. For my first hour with

Student A we did our normal routine which consisted of walking the halls, writing down the

water calculations on our log and practicing doubles with flash cards. As we were walking down

the 1st grade hall we ran into a little girl. Student A said “Cousin! That’s my cousin!” When his

cousin got closer he said “Give me a hug Cousin” and looked up to me to let me know it was his

cousin. Student A’s cousin said “Hi Student A” and gave him a hug. Student A told me “She is

in 1st grade.” After knowing that he had a cousin in the building I asked him if he had any

siblings, which I knew he did. Student A said “ I have a brother in 7th or 8th grade” and I asked

him if he had any other siblings that lived with him and he said “I have a brother but he got

kicked out of school.” I asked “Why” and he said “because he is lazy.” I asked Student A what

grade his brother that got kicked out of school was and he said “High school” This conversation

gave me an insight of his home life and what his siblings are like in school.

12/9/16: Hour 2
During the extra hour that I got to spend with Student A we were working on a math

worksheet. As we worked on the worksheet for a solid 20 minutes he asked to take a break. I

asked Mrs. Ferguson and she said that he would work on a few pieces of his puzzle to take a

break. Student A jumped up quickly and started working frantically at fitting pieces in the

puzzle. After he got 4 pieces put in I told him “Okay Student A, let’s do 5 more math problems

and then we can go back to our puzzle.” Student A kept working franticly and said “One more,

one more.” Mrs. Ferguson heard him and saw how diligently he was working at the puzzle and

told us that we could work on the puzzle together for the remainder of the time I was with him. I

noticed him working very hard and did not have a strategy to how he was picking up pieces.

Student A would just pick up a piece and try it everywhere he could see. I let him in on a secret

strategy and told him to group the colored pieces that match. This helped him and he got 4 pieces

in a row! When he did so he got so excited and said “Yes! 3 in a row.” But did not pick his head

up from the puzzle board. As I left today I said by Student A and he actually replied and said

“Bye.” Then his para said tell her to have a good weekend and thank you and he did after she

told him.

Key experiences:

1. Specific skills learned or practiced:

One specific skill I worked on with my diversity student was talking and tapping. This

skill was to help Student A with is fast speech and leaving his mouth open when sitting. I

was very excited to practice this skill with Student A because it would allow myself the

chance to help him focus on his speech and it would allow myself to understand him

better and not ask him to repeat as often. We mainly worked on this skill when myself or

another teacher noticed he was speaking too fast and asked him to repeat what he said
with tapping. 90% of the time Student A was easier to understand compared to the first

time he said his sentence.

2. Skill levels of the student and or specific problems experienced and how you

handled these problems.

The only major problem I had with my student was an everyday occurrence. I struggled

understanding some of his speech because he talked so quickly. This specific problem

was handled nicely when Mrs. Ferguson gave us the strategy to tap and talk out his

sentences I had trouble understanding. Student A had practiced this with his teachers

before and did not have a problem doing this with me. I thanked Student A for being

patient with me and after 6 weeks he did not sigh when I asked him to tap and talk and

did it out of second nature.

3. Experiences you had with your student other than tutoring type activities.

I got to observe my student on the playground for recess when I was with my clinical

experience students one day. He enjoyed swinging on the swing but did not interact with

his peers during the time I saw him. I also played a fun math game with Student A and

we did not focus directly on math, but it helped with practicing equations in a fun way. I

also got to put together a puzzle with Student A and he seemed to really enjoy that

activity.

4. Materials collected, adapted, made or were given by the teacher to use in working

with your student and the results gained.

I was not given any materials to adapt with my student, but I was given the strategy of

tapping and talking to reinforce slowing down Student A’s speech. This accommodation

really worked well for Student A and I since I had to ask him to repeat so much. This
stemmed from not spending very long with Student A every day. The results were that

when I first started asking him to tap and talk out his sentence when I could not

understand he would sigh loudly and then do as I said. As I asked him to do this more

often it was second nature for him to just do it to help me and not sigh.

5. Students’ strengths and or interests both in and out of school.

One specific interest my student has is doing puzzles. When Student A works on puzzles

he is totally zoned into the pieces and has a hard time stopping. This shows that he can

have intense focus on something that he is interested in and can manipulate. When

Student A would get on a roll and place 2 or more pieces in the correct spot in a row he

got so excited and seemed to feel accomplished

Final Reflection:

Spending 10 hours with a student with special needs was a big eye opener to me. I had

worked with special needs students before but not for this long of a time to see a direct impact in

the time I spend with Student A. I enjoyed doing this project because it allowed myself time to

bond with Student A and really understand his strengths and struggles as a student with special

needs. I did my best to make Student A feel comfortable with me and to not treat him any

different than I would an average student in a general education class. I have developed a great

appreciation for resource teachers like Mrs. Ferguson and admire her for the patience she has day

in and day out with her students. All of the strategies I have learned from Mrs. Ferguson have

opened by eye to the world of special needs and I believe my heart is bigger just from spending

time with Student A for 10 weeks.

As a future general education teacher this project helped me develop confidence working

with students that need adaptive help. Previous to this semester I was unaware of how I would
interact with students in my future general education classroom that needed extra help with

special needs. I can now firmly say that I feel comfortable working with these unique children. I

am so full of joy that I got to know Student A and I wish him the best of luck in his journey next

year as he enters middle school. I know he is a bright individual and want him to know it is

student like him that make young individuals like me want to go into this profession. This

profession takes a special heart to do so and I have the passion to make a difference in my

students’ lives.