Hi, I'm Claire Rita Meade Skotnes. I'm a Bilingual Special Education Teacher. This is my second year teaching at Bushwick Leaders High School where I teach Math and Science
Teaching was not my first job. I spent a lot of my early career in other jobs. In those other jobs, I developed social and political principles. It was that philosophy that I applied to my teaching
Pedagogy of the Oppressed Pedagogy of Hope
Paulo Freire's theories were something I initially tried to implement. I still try to de-hierarchize the power dynamics between teacher and student.
I now work towards a classroom with more democracy. Students know they have a say in my classroom around content and they can advocate for their grades. Its not completely Freiren views, but the sentiment is there.
Any questions, please come see me!Ms. S
As I seem philosophy as fluid, I am inspired by the practices of critically sustaining pedagogy, especially how it intersects with disability studies. I connect with the work of Jeffrey R. Duncan-Andrade in critical pedagogy. Lastly Jean Anyon's belief that as educators, we need to be apart of a movement moved me.
As I see my philosophy as fluid, I am inspired by the practices of critically sustaining pedagogy, especially how it intersects with disability studies. I connect with the work of Jeffrey R. Duncan-Andrade in critical pedagogy. Lastly Jean Anyon's belief that as educators we need to be apart of a movement moved me tremedously.
Jeffrey Duncan- Andrade, who touches urban teaching & PTSDDjango Paris, who looks at race & educational justice, and Jean Anyon, who advocated for radical practices from educators
My admiration for those three educators and theorists is only because I have read a lot of their work. They're are several others that I admire who also write about an educator as an activist, critically sustaining pedagogy & critical pedagogy.
To name a few...Kimberly Crenshaw Gloria Ladson-Billings Lisa Delpit Gloria Anzalduabell hooks andFederico R. Waitoller (but I just started reading his work)
I probably cannot say this enough: my philosophy is fluid, but I am a social justice activist first. It derived from my anti-capitalist upbringing and my time as a labor organizer.
Considering critical pedagogy and critically sustaining pedagogy advocates for more diverse practices [to put it bluntly], I feel those practices align with my socio-political self, something that embodies me fully.
Not to mention, as a person with a disability, serving students who were classified with disabilities, I have tried to incorporate differentiation that produces empowerment rather enforces the 'deficit'. As I have read more Waitoller, someone who is developing theories around disability and critical pedagogy , and I try to be intentional with my differentiation.
As a result, the literature around differentiation that I aligned most with my philosophy pertained ideas around student agency and choice. The articles, Agents of Their Own Success: Self-Advocacy Skills and Self-Determination for Students With Disabilities in the Era of Personalized Learning, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) outlined the various ways students can receive differentiation and still maintain power within the classroom.
Considering as a student, I never really felt I was empowered despite my differences, I am adamant that my students do not experience what I had. Another resource that has resonated with me is Differentiation Instruction. More specifically the fourth chapter, where discussions around student interest and and learner profile play into differentiation.This chapter asserts that affect can play into student struggling and must be considered, especially if the goal is for student empowerment.
While there is other elements of my philosophy/ teaching practices I could address, what has mentioned, I believe are the foundations of howI envision myself as a teacher. That's Me! References are on separate page !
Section 2:Ways to Students' Needs
To make sure my students know the content, my co-teachers and I incorporate numerous forms of assessments. Here are some examples of assessments.
I will say, to clarify, that since a lot of our lessons are collaborative, the assessments are individual
For example, because in my Living Environment, the students do a lot of projects and labs. This requires students to work collaboratively. During these assignments, my co-teacher and I implement series of individualized assessments. These assessments normally appear in two different forms.
Every time we introduce a project, to show individual assessment, my co-teacher I present a 'Task Sheet'. With this, students are asked to self-assess their understanding of the content as they do it.
By the end of the project/lab, students tell us what they need. They take the power from me when I create this type of differentiation..
In addition to the self-assessment, while our students are in the middle of their projects, my co-teacher and I would circulate asking a series of summative questions to each student. We mark there responses on a spreadsheet. The image shows some of the spreadsheet
In my Algebra II classes, such forms of assessment also are present. Summative assessments are split between self-assessment and individual checks for understanding. While the checks for understanding operate similarly to my Living Environment class, the self assessment is a bit different.
In my math class, when students are asked to complete certain assignments, instead of reviewing all the problems in the class, we would provide students with answer sheets for them to correct their own work. At the end of the period, we would ask for students to hand in their work. We would then assess their own assessments, looking at the way they are processing the information.
Here are my students self-assessing
Above is my answer sheet and below is Freddy's corrections. I learned he is not a visual learner.
Here are examples of the self-correcting
But do not misunderstand me. In both of my classes, I provide pre-assessments/ formative assessments- mainly in the form of Do Nows. I also do summative assessments in the form of exit tickets. The classics still have theirusage.
A lot of my Do Nows are Word Webs as a way to introduce vocabulary in a new unit. Let's see what they know before I start the unit!
Especially after a lesson that requires a lot of direct instruction, my co-teacher and I like to put in an exit ticket to see how much did our students understand. It is very summative!
For Exit Tickets, it is either a mini reflection or a problem with self-assessment of how they feel. This way they can interpret what they learn.
thWhile there are ways I assess my students, the examples presented above are my 'go-to' ones. Like I said in the first section, I need to provide space for my students to feel empowered by them being analytical of their work
Section 3:Applying UDL
As a Special Education teacher, it is important that I provide differentiation in many different forms. Really most of the time, since both classes have a Regents, UDL is a vital.
UDL allows them to access the same content, but with providing a variety of resources and differentiation so that students all reached the same content.
In my Algebra II classes, many of my students did not pass the Algebra I Regents [and yes they were still higher level math]. As a result, my differentiation needed to reflect access for Algebra I while accessing Algebra II content.
Considering that math builds off prior concepts, it is vital that students can recognize such concepts. Unfortunately, students forget/ struggle with prior concepts. As a result, it is nice to have a reference page or binder with all the math they should know so they can look up as they are doing more advanced math. I provide a Math Resource Kit [goes back to Pre-Algebra] and references sheets that students to choose to use. Here are some examples.
Each page is in a protector slip so that students can write on it with dry erase markers.
Here are examples of the Math Resource Kit. A lot of the images are taken from the internet, and are assembled in a binder. I currently have made 15 binders for my classes.
The second way I differentiate within UDL models is through promoting trial & error. Students tend to get frustrated if they get the wrong answer, but provide the correct method. They get frustrated if they do not know the method, or feel they can not replicate it.
To resolve this, I created graphic organizers in protector slips. Students can practice the methodology again and agin until they do not need the guide. It has worked wonders.
In the Living Environment class, it is expected at the end of the year for students to take Regents exam regardless of students' prior knowledge or disability status. As a result, it is paramount that students receive differentiation to access the material,
Given the subject requires a lot of vocabulary, students sometimes forget what each of the terms represent and therefore do not how to apply it. I usually provide vocabulary charts where visuals are present. Students can grab them and use a resource for their assignments
Each aid had the term, definition, and visuals. Students would be asked to use certain vocabulary. If they forgot, they would reference this.
Although science is often coupled with math [STEM], the subject requires a lot of literary differentiation. Vocabulary is always rooted from other Latin based words. As a result, students read a lot of text and are confronted with words they may have seen before. Yet, some students still struggle. I provide scaffolded text, audio guides, and word organizer to assist in comprehension.
There is a lot more I could say for who I am as an educator, and my methodology. As it may change as I become a more seasoned teacher, but there are fundamental elements that won't change.
There is a lot more that I could say about each of the sections, but for now what is essential is that students, although receive differentiation, should ALWAYS feel empowered in the class.
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