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Special Education Classroom Observation Essay

Observation Of A Special Education (Special Ed) Program

Observation of a Special Education (Special Ed) Program

For my visitation I went to the public high school in my hometown. Due to time constraints I was not able to visit the school on a weekday when classes were in session. I did however get to witness another part of the special education/inclusion program called the Rooster Buddies. I did, however, get some information on the special education program from an administrator via phone and fax.

The special education program at Smallville High School (SHS) is only seven years old. SHS is on a seven-period day, and the Severely Handicapped (SH), Special Day Class (SDC), and Resource Special Program (RSP) teachers are only assigned students two or three periods. The majority of students are only enrolled in a Special Education class one or two periods, depending upon their individual need. The breakdown of each individual section of the special education program at SHS looks like this:

SH

10 Students
1 Teacher
1 Aide

SDC

30 Students
2 Teachers
2 Aides

RSP

50 Students
2 Teachers
1 Aide

The administrator that I spoke to wrote in a fax "the Special Education classes are transitioning into study skills classes so the teacher can provide additional help and support for the student to succeed in the regular class environment. During the four or five periods, when the teachers and instructional aides do not have students assigned to them, they are providing support for their students in the regular education classroom. The level of support is directly related to two factors: 1) What the student needs to be successful. 2) What the teacher needs to help the student succeed. So the support provided by the teacher may be provided daily in the regular education classroom, in the form of helping the student take notes, monitoring behavior, doing a lab activity, etc. The support may also take the form of weekly program checks with the regular education teacher, modifying and/or adopting curriculum, or teachers meeting informally to talk."

As I mentioned before, I didn't get to actually sit in on a class but the weekend that I was home the Rooster Buddies were holding a fund-raiser. At the annual City Series basketball game between my alma-mater Sacred Heart and SHS the Rooster Buddies were selling an assortment of baked goods. The Rooster Buddies is a student club that was started with the intent of helping students with severe disabilities make the adjustment from a self contained classroom in a county special education school to the relatively unstructured experience of a large high school. VHS has over 4,000 students. There are more than 75 non-handicapped students in the club and they work with over 30 students who have disabilities ranging from severe physical handicaps to students with learning disabilities. At the game there were about 15 students without obvious handicaps and 4 students with visible physical handicaps. Since I was not with the administrator at the...

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Observation

An observation in a classroom has many benefits for the observer. For one of my observations I go to an elementary classroom and my second observation is a youth group at a church. Each classroom has their own setting and curriculum which makes each classroom very different from the other. My first observation was in an elementary classroom. The activity had five kids per group. These children all ranged from the ages of 7 to 8. Just before their art activity took place the children were read a book about Halloween in which a pumpkin played as the main character. The teacher never showed the children the pictures because in the next activity she wanted the children to create their own pumpkin in the way that they pictured him and heard him described. Once the children got into their groups the teacher and a child helper passed out all the materials the children would need. Glitter, glue, crayons, beads, string, and scissors were all passed out to each group. They all received a card board cut out of a pumpkin and were now told to decorate him the way that they comprehended it from the book. From the very beginning the children all seemed very excited. The children were talking with each other and shared ideas on how they thought the pumpkin should be decorated. All the children had plenty of supplies to take and grab as they needed. The glitter however turned out to be an issue. Plenty of glitter was poured onto the desks and the floor distracting some children from their tasks. All throughout the activity the children were completely engaged and if they weren’t laughing then they all seemed to have a smile on their faces. My group of five seemed to get everything that they wanted to be on their pumpkin and still had time to clean their areas. They even had time to show off their pumpkins to the other groups. All in all I would say the activity was very well planned. I would however change what kinds of materials were used during the activity. Using something less messy would avoid distraction from the all children.

As for my second observation I observed at a youth group at my church. The youth group had children between the ages of 8 and 9. Altogether the class had eleven children. When I arrived for my observation the teacher and children were all going over bible verses. Once everyone recited their favorite verse they all went into groups of four to make bookmarks of their favorite verse. The teacher passed out crayons, markers, and stamps for the children to decorate their bookmarks. My group of four was not very interested in the activity. The teacher had to keep telling the children to get back on task. Looking at the children’s face expressions you could see that they were not interested in what was going on. Everyone had plenty of time to finish and clean up their areas. Over all I would say that I would have changed a few things. I think the children should have had a more age appropriate activity; such as an activity that challenges them. To get the children more interested in the activity I would pick an activity that they both enjoyed and could be kept busy with. I found both observations to differ in many ways but they also had some similarities. My first observation I saw that the teacher was more on point with what the children would enjoy; whereas the youth group just seemed to give the children something to do. Also my first observation was much more age appropriate. The children were given materials that were stimulating and kept them involved in their projects. A similarity that both classrooms had is that they both grouped the children in small groups and they also each had activities beforehand that lead them into the art activity. In conclusion I found that my first observation was more planned out. They also had age appropriate activities and kept the children focused. The activity was based around what the children enjoy, therefore, keeping them excited with what they were learning. Observation one gave me an idea of how my teaching style would be and also gave me great ideas to one day bring to my own classroom.