I was subbing. The Kindergarteners needed to color the curve that was marked “1,” then the curve marked “2,” “3,” on up to “6.” To get the correct colors, students needed to refer to the legend at the bottom of the page: 1=purple, 2=blue, 3=green, 4=yellow, 5=orange, 6=red. As I explained the directions, I read the letters in each word, then the word itself, which they repeated. “B-l-u-e blue” and so on.
I had been clear. So very clear. But as they started coloring, they asked the same questions. What color is 2? What color is 6?
As the rainbow took shape, one child asked what color “3” was. Here we go again. I glumly quizzed her, “G-R-E-E-N spells….” She didn’t budge. I started the sounds. “Guh.. Rrrr…” “Oh, green,” she muttered and picked up a green crayon.
The kid didn’t care about letters or reading, she just wanted to color.
I noticed that the color name was on the crayon wrapper facing us. I took a chance. “What does that word say?” She starred at it. She tentatively stated the letters. “G. R. Guh… Rrrr”
“GREEN!!” She held the crayon in both hand and read it again. “It says GREEN!”
The bland word that I had insisted she read on the worksheet had now appeared on her most prized tool, a crayon. Now those scribbles of letters had value and power.
I announced to the class, “Avril’s crayon says G-R-E-E-N green!” Soon the room was full of “My crayon says green!” “Mine says R-E-D red!” “Mine is P-U-ruh, puh-puh!”
Literacy acquisition was happening in real time for an entire classroom of kids. Suddenly, children were linking letters and known objects. Five minutes before, they had been passive students who wanted help with reading so they could color. They hadn’t seen how reading related to them. Now they were engaged in a Group Read of crayons, and the benefits were real to them.
I’m sure that it wasn’t the first time that the kids had learned that big-kid symbols (letters) indicate actual objects. During this project, though, the children found that the magic of reading was literally in their hands, just waiting for them to discover it.
Last fall, I wrote about two programs that combine music and special education. One of the programs was a the Boston Conservatory, now Boston Conservatory at Berklee. On March 1, 2017, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee website announced, “Berklee to Launch the Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs This Fall.” How exciting! The Institute will “provide opportunities for individuals with special needs to learn about, experience, and create in the arts” and will build on the Autism Program that was started at Boston Conservatory by Rhoda Bernard.
The announcement says that, “In addition to local partnerships, the institute will expand its list of national and international relationships, which includes Music for Autism International, and United Sound.”
This is great news for the arts AND special education! If you are interested in learning more, check out the Boston Conservatory’s conference in April 28-29, 2017. See you there!
Many middle and high school students in special education are enrolled in study classes. Study classes are usually taught by special educators. Teaching these classes can be challenging because teachers don’t want “Support” to be a study hall – which is hopelessly out of favor now. After all, teachers don’t want kids to postpone work by thinking, “I don’t need to do this at home; I’ll do it in Support.” Yet teachers do want to help students with the work in their academic classes. Kids should not feel overwhelmed by homework to the point that they don’t do it at all. Allowing kids to do homework during the day helps some students because of the structure of school. They do homework better when they are not at home.
I visited a middle school study class that addressed both concerns. All students had been assigned a research project in English class. In the study class, the teacher focussed only on this English project. Kids were not allowed to work on math homework that should have been done the night before.
The special educator attended the students’ English class so she knew the requirements of this project. She guided students through the various points of research or writing. Kids could use the school library or online materials for their research. The teacher also helped them set up all the documents that they needed to fulfill the assignment, from notecards to final draft. At the end of each session, students shared their work with the teacher. She then either made more edits or waited to see the edits that their classroom teacher made. Each day, she had new ideas for each student, she tracked progress, and communicated with the English teacher about new topics or concerns about the project.
The teacher’s focus on this this multi-step assignment helped kids with a particularly challenging activity, but left other homework as the responsibility of kids themselves. They were able to work on the project at their own pace in a structured environment while still maintaining work habits outside school.
That is giving kids support.
Okay, fellow special educationites, let’s look at the columns of the service delivery grid.
Underneath the headings for Grid A, B, and C, you’ll see six columns with the following headings:
Focus on Goal#
Type of Service
Type of Personnel
Frequency and Duration / Per Cycle
Today we’ll just deal with that first column, Focus on Goal #.
Remember how I said in the previous post, How to Read the Service Delivery on Your IEP, Part 1, that everything in an IEP needs to refer to everything else? This is a prime example. The Measurable Annual Goals (see my previous post about goals) determine what services will be provided.
Let me say that again. The goals in Measurable Annual Goals, IEP4, determine – not guide, not suggest – what services are provided. If there is no math goal, then math should not appear on the service delivery grid.
What’s the big deal? you ask. Why does a service need a goal?
Here’s the beauty of the IEP. The data about your child’s past performance determines what adult educators, including you, believe your child can achieve in the next year, with a certain amount of support. What your child can achieve becomes the goal. The support becomes the service delivery.
So the first column tells the Team to figure out which goals need what support. No goals, no service.
As you can see in the photo above, some services will just have one goal in the first column. In the photo above, the child has a reading class with a single goal – reading.
You also see in the photo that some services have multiple goals. In this case, the child has a Language Arts class with two goals – reading and writing. You don’t know what the goal titles are unless you go to IEP4, Measurable Annual Goals and look at the numbers.
It is good to know what the Goal Number column means. If you have a question about anything in this column, ask the teacher before signing. Sometimes old goals are left on by mistake, sometimes a teacher mistypes a goal number, sometimes a cell is empty, which is not good. These details matter.
Sometimes goals end in June, with new goals starting in the fall. If there is a service that goes until the end of 8th grade and does not continue in 9th grade, the IEP needs to show that. I’ll talk about this advanced grid reading in another post!
There can be a small difference between which goals show up on which grid. If your child is pulled out of class to see a counselor for an emotional management goal, it will probably be in the C grid, because the C grid is for pull-outs. Academic goals tend to be in the B and C grid, showing that a student is in both general education and special-ed-only settings. As you remember from the other post, the B grid is for services that happen in the general education classroom, and the C grid is for services that happen in specialized environments. When I’ve seen goals in the A grid, they tend to be either really general, like all the academic goals, or very specific, like occupational therapist talking to a teacher.
This is a lot of information. Does that make sense? Write me back!