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Education 650 Powerpoint Artifact Description

Artifact Description
The artifact I chose for Education 650 is a power point called Constructivist
Activity-Developing Empathy for Struggling Readers. It is a 7 day unit designed for
intermediate elementary students in grades 3-5. There are several goals for this

To develop student understanding of what some common struggles are and

how they affect someone
To develop empathy for students in their classrooms that struggle
To foster friendships between students with disabilities and students without
extra challenges
To decrease teasing/bullying
To deepen comprehension strategies for students

My rationale for teaching this unit is that students in grades 3-5 will develop
compassion and understanding for students with print disabilities. It is aligned to
the following teaching standards, which will be described in further detail below.
1. Standard 1: Teachers understand central concepts, tools of inquiry and
structures of the discipline and can create learning experiences that make
subject matter meaningful.
2. Standard 2: Teachers understand how children with broad ranges of ability
learn and provides instruction that supports their intellectual, social, and
personal development.
3. Standard 3: Teachers understand how pupils differ in their approaches to
learning, and the barriers that impede learning, and can adapt to meet the
diverse needs of students, including those with disabilities.
Professional Growth and Development
I have been a special education teacher for 16 years. I have taught at every grade
level from kindergarten to graduating seniors. The field of special education has
experienced many changes over the last 25 years. When I started in 1990, if a
student was identified as having a learning disability they were pulled out to a
resource room for almost every subject except specials. We now have inclusion,
team-teaching, and results-driven accountability.
There were several activities we did in this class that I can apply to my own
classroom. The SQR3 reading strategy, strategies from the Reading Room website
by Doug Buehl, and how to tell if you are a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner.
But perhaps the most powerful activity for me personally was when we took a speed

reading test to find out what our reading rate was, so that we could read John
Steinbecks, The Pearl. I realized through this activity that I was actually the
slowest reader in my class of 20, and that was hard for me. I felt what it must feel
like for my students with learning disabilities on a daily basis-- to have other people
waiting for you to finish and to feel the social pressure of pretending like you read
and understood all of the same information that they did.
It gave me a different perspective, and was the catalyst behind why I created my
power point artifact. The only saving grace for my self-esteem that day was that
we also took a vocabulary test, and I received the highest score in that area.
As a result of completing the artifact using the Constructivist theory, I was reminded
of the importance of differentiation for students, acting as a guide rather than the
sage on the stage, and our capacity to grow in empathy as we put themselves in
one anothers shoes. I like the constructivist theory because it focuses on using
active techniques to create knowledge, helps students reflect on their observations
to better understand the concept, and promotes collaboration.
Impact on PK-12 Student Learner for the Artifact
This week long unit will directly impact students with disabilities as well as their
non-disabled peers in the intermediate elementary grades. The simulation
activities described in Day 1 are meant to communicate what it feels like for a
person with print disabilities, and that there are many famous people in our culture
that they may not realize also struggle with print. Thus, the goal is to normalize
the experience.
Day 2 is meant to develop empathy while tying in literature. The story is about
Trish, who is bullied at school as a result of her disability and how one kind person in
her life makes all the difference.
Days 3 and 4 convey the character development of how Trish changes throughout
the story. It also focuses on the theme, important people in our lives influence us
both positively and negatively.
Days 5 and 6 are meant to foster collaboration among students and things we can
do to make people feel better if they are struggling with their self-esteem, no matter
what the cause.
Day 7 is meant to foster communication and further develop empathy. Students
tend to be apprehensive to ask questions about things they dont understand, and
creating a safe environment to do that is important.
Impact on the PK-12 Learner for the Course
I learned a great deal from taking this course. As I mentioned above, we did
several analyses of strategies by Doug Beuhl from a website called, The Reading

Room. One of the first things I learned was called, The Comprehension Rubric. I
really liked how concrete this rubric was for assessing a students level of
comprehension, and I can easily incorporate it into my Leveled Literacy Intervention
Another strategy I found helpful was the Reading for Imagination article. Doug
scaffolded the activities for this strategy to go from very concrete to more and more
abstract. I could easily incorporate the steps into the comprehension strategy of
visualization when I teach that unit.
Another article I found very helpful was the Interactive Three Levels of Reading
Guide. The guide shown on pages 254-256 provided an excellent example of how
to foster collaboration among group members as well as how to concretely teach
the comprehension strategies to middle school students.
Another strategy I found helpful was one from the article, The Author Says, I Say.
This is a graphic organizer, similar to an FQR chart. Doug was very specific about
which statement elicited which response. For example, the I Say column helps
draw out inferences, while the Author Says column is about helping students make
connections and activating their prior knowledge. Finally, the And so column
helps the student to synthesize his/her new understandings. I can use this strategy
with my middle school Title 1 students, to teach them how to remember what they
read and how to take notes.
The last strategy I learned from the Reading Room was called Vocab War. This
game is played in teams and is both interactive and collaborative. The best part of
this strategy is that because it is fun, it also has a much higher retention rate than
traditional vocabulary strategies.
Another thing I learned from taking this course was the SQR3 method, and how
much more efficient it is when reading. For example, we learned that skimming 900
words for 2 minutes, then re-reading 300 words per minute for 6 minutes and then
scanning it again for 1 minute is more effective than reading 200 words per minute
for 9 minutes. This was new information for me, and something I can definitely pass
down to my upper level students. We read The Anthem and The Pearl in this way. It
was uncomfortable for me, because normally I am a slow reader, but it did show me
that I could retain more than I thought I could.
Another thing I learned from taking this course was the difference between
disciplinary texts in math, reading and science, and how to best approach those
core subject areas when teaching students. This is helpful information to have
when assisting high school colleagues on how to improve Tier 1 instruction for their
struggling readers.
Finally, I learned about the nine different levels of student matches to text, and how
their knowledge and processing ability play key factors in their comprehension.

This made me really reflect on how much background building I have to do with my
students and gave me some different ways of front loading them for this purpose.
My middle school students would enjoy the brain map activity and the lightning rod
statements because it would allow them the chance to collaborate.
Understanding and Application of Standards:
Standard 1: Teachers know the subjects they are teaching.
Through the use of literature and disability awareness simulations, I created
meaningful experiences students will remember when they meet someone who has
a print disability. Rather than be quietly apprehensive or worse, rude, students will
see that person as someone who has likes and dislikes just like them, but uses a
different way to accomplish the same task.

Standard 2: Teachers know how children grow.

Days 1 and 2 of the power point artifact are designed to assess students thinking
and experiences as a basis for instructional activities by encouraging discussion,
listening, and responding to group interaction. Days 3 through 7 are designed for
eliciting student thinking both orally and in writing.
Standard 3: Teachers understand that children learn differently.
The entire power point was developed with the following disposition: the teacher
makes students feel valued for their potential as people, and helps them learn to
value each other.
Standard 5: Teachers know how to manage a classroom.
Teaching units on disability awareness shows students first hand that any task can
be accomplished with creative thinking. For example, one student may read from a
textbook, while another uses assistive technology but they all can read. One
student may speak while another does sign language, but both can communicate.
This unit was designed to help students function in social groups and learn how they
influence each other. It is meant to create positive social interaction and active
1. Polacco, Patricia. Thank You, Mr. Falker. New York: Philomel, 1998. Print.
2. Buehl, Doug H. "Reading with Imagination."
WEAC, 1 Dec. 2007. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
3. Buehl, Doug H. "3 Level Reading Guide." WEAC,
1 Dec. 2007. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.

4. Buehl, Doug H. "Comprehension Rubrics.

WEAC, 1 Dec. 2007. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
5. Buehl, Doug H. "The Author Says, I Say." WEAC,
1 Dec. 2007. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
6. Buehl, Doug H. "Vocab Wars." WEAC, 1 Dec.
2007. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
7. Buehl, Doug H. "The Match." WEAC, 1 Dec.
2007. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
8. "Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning." Educational
Broadcasting Company, 1 Feb. 2004. Web. 5 Aug. 2013.
9. Buehl, Doug. Developing Readers in the Academic Disciplines. International
Reading Association, 2011. Print.