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 Fallon Keplinger has added the lesson plans Modern Day Piracy and Military Families May 14, 2010
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Ms. Fallon Keplinger
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Ridge School
Springfield, VA
Class Information:
Room Number: 7
Students per Class: 40
Class Description:
Many young people with emotional difficulties have not succeeded in a traditional school environment. They are likely to have experienced a pattern of failure that results in school avoidance or truancy, loss of self-esteem, a lack of academic progress, and negative attitudes about learning. At The Ridge School of Montgomery County, we attempt to build upon young people's strengths to help them learn at their own pace. The Ridge School provides both a special education program and a general education program to meet the needs of our students, grades six through 12. Because both the academic and therapeutic programs address students' emotional needs, many of these students are able to experience consistent success in school for the first time. The Ridge School offers small class sizes, individual and group therapies that are complemented by interscholastic team sports. The multi-disciplinaryteam approach is utilized to help maximize students' strengths. The Ridge School of Montgomery County serves all residents of the Potomac Ridge Residential Treatment Center at Rockville and also day students that reside in the local communities.
Accomodations, scribe, human reader, alpha smarts, frequent breaks, enlarged font, word processing programs, graphic organizers.
My Philosophy:
“Behind much of what we do in school lie some ideas that could be expressed roughly as follows: (1) of the vast body of human knowledge, there are certain bits and pieces that can be called essential, that everyone should know; (2) the extent to which a person can be considered educated, qualified to live intelligently in today’s world and be a useful member of society, depends on the amount of this essential knowledge that he carries about with him, (3) it is the duty of schools, therefore, to get as much of this essential knowledge as possible into the minds of children. Thus we find ourselves trying to poke certain facts, recipes, and ideas down the gullets of every child in school, whether the morsel interests him or not, even if there are other things that he is much more interested in learning.” (pg 174 Holt) When first questioned about what curriculum was, I simply stated that it was the subject one was teaching. I have come to realize that curriculum is much more than the subject taught, but how the subject is taught and the skills utilized by the students while learning that subject. My major concern with my curriculum is being able to have the content reach a variety of different learners. As a teacher, my curriculum will mean nothing if I do not know how to employ different areas of intelligence. For example, the eight different areas I would like to be able to utilize as a teacher would be, (1) For the linguistic person- use words, lecture, or reasoning (2) Forthe logical person- use reasoning, logic, or numbers (3) For the spatial person- use pictures, maps, or graphs (4) For the bodily-kinestheticperson- use a physical experience, such as acting out a skit (5) For the musical person- use music or sound (6) For the interpersonal person- use a group work and discussion, a social experience (7) Forthe intrapersonal person- use independent study or research (8) Forthe naturalist person- provide an experience in the outdoors If I am able to incorporate the majority if not all of these aspects into my curriculum, it will be easier to persuade my students to “buy in” to what I am teaching. After reading Engines for Education by Chip Cleary and Roger Schank, I have decided that instead of being a teacher of a subject, being a teacher of a domain fits my personal philosophy of curriculum. “A domain is, like a subject, a collection of skills, cases, and facts. Domains, however, have a much more eclectic mode of organization. Domains organize things according to how they cluster in everyday human experience. Domains have three interesting properties. First, domains tend to cut across subjects. Second, peoples’ goals and interests seem to follow along the lines of domains, not subjects. Third, apart from superficial differences, many domains tend to be quite similar to each other. This means they can serve as convenient mechanisms to negotiate between the interests students naturally have and the subjects educators want to teach.” While there is only so much I can do as a teacher due to standards and guidelines that I must follow, I do not see the harm into taking a domain point of view when delivering my curriculum. Thoughmy teaching career is just beginning, I find that the content of what I teach is a very important aspect to my curriculum. It is imperative that the content of my curriculum is appropriate and the students are actually learning. In the special education field, even though the student may be in the ninth grade on paper, intellectually I have come to find out that some students aren’t in fact there. Having the curriculum paced at a rate that students can comprehend make the goal of learning and achievement much closer. Having a concise content chock full of information will help me and the students with this aspiration. Dueto my belief in teaching life skills along side with academics, I am more apt to put my curriculum in real life context. In my experiences when a subject or topic of conversation that coincides with the lesson directly affects the students, they are more likely to pay attention. For example, I went to a seminar on H.E.L.P., the “Hip-Hop Educational Literacy Program.” This program takes current hip-hop songs and breaks them down in various ways to promote literacy. “Help draws on research showing that when students’ experiences and perspectives are used as a valued part of curriculum, the students are more likely to engage in classroom learning (Nieto & Bode, 2007). While adhering to local and national literacy standards, the H.E.L.P. workbooks explore topics of interests to students from man different backgrounds. Hip Hop music and lyrics provide an entrée into a variety of activities and textual forms through which students practice reading and writing, while drawing from their own interests, forms of expression, and cultural experiences. Further, with its attention to the perspectives of urban youth culture, H.E.L.P aims to optimize academic engagement among students overrepresented in school failure.” In that same vain, it is important to me that my students learn basic life skills. While this may seem like common sense to most, it is surprising and heart breaking how little my students know about proper etiquette in varying situations, manners, how to speak to authority figures, how to fill out a job application, obtain a library card, etc. I can’t help but to care for the students I come across in the classroom, I would feel horrible if they left school without getting at least and introduction to these skills. I believe these skills and other life skills can be easily incorporated into a curriculum. “ Memory-fact education and lack of relevance fail to give children the emotional satisfaction and motivation to continue in school.” (Pg 194 Glasser) If I can teach my students practical skills that they can use on a regular basis, it will become more of a routine, and not memory-fact information. Inorder to make sure that I am doing my students justice, there will be periodic assessments to find the student’s present level of learning. I would like my assessments to e seen as creative, so the students do not know that they are being assessed at all. It is very important to me that I collaborate with other teachers of my subject when developing my curriculum. I do not want to spend too much time going over what was already learned the previous year, or jumping ahead to a topic without a setting a firm foundation. I believe that if the students see adults working together, and asking each other for help, it will set a good example for them to know that it is okay to ask for help. Asking others for their opinion of one’s work is a humbling experience. Knowing how to take constructive criticism is a tool that students can use for the rest of their lives. Modeling collaboration for the students would give them a head start in constructively helping each other in the classroom. This skill could lead to bigger and better scenarios for the student once they transition out of high school. I want my students to know that it is okay if we learn from each other. Collaborationand learning from each other will be an important aspect of my curriculum once I implement technology into my lesson plans. It is amazing how fast students today pick up the technological aspects of any new tool that comes on the market. I am very old-fashioned in the way I teach, which is mostly from the board; however, the students get really excited once a new piece of equipment is brought into the classroom. The classroom can become a more interactive environment for learning with today’s new technology. I have noticed that giving the students an opportunity to get up from their seats while learning has really positive outcomes. Students can recall information from that class a great deal faster than a class that they were just sitting in. Finding a creative approach to my curriculum is not only important to me as a teacher, but me as a person. The special education field has a high turnover/ burn out rate. I want to keep myself from becoming jaded or bitter. Having a curriculum that I can mold and shape whenever necessary will help keep ideas fresh and new, not only to the students, but to me. Every class I have can have a different approach, but they can all be learning the same thing.
Percent of Students are:
     At-risk: 100 %
     Special Needs: 100 %
Percent of Students are:
     White/Caucasian : 2 %
     African American: 98 %
Free/Reduced Lunch Program Enrollment:: 100 %
Average number of students in class:: 10 students
Number of students I teach:: 40 students