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  1. 1. Starting With Their Strengths: Using Children's Interests to Promote Concept & Skill Development : Using the Project Approach in Inclusive Classrooms Deborah C. Lickey M.Ed. and Denise J. Powers M.Ed.
  2. 2. What Today Will Hold…  Why Give the Children a Voice in Creating Projects?  Best Practices Validate the Project Approach in Early Childhood  Tiered Approach to learning: Using Universal Design  Embedding Concept and Skill Development as well as Individual Objectives  Break Out Groups- A Sample Project Allowing Opportunities to Go through the Project Approach Process
  3. 3. The Process of Becoming…  The Reggio Experience  Asking ourselves: How does that translate to working with children w/ disabilities?  Translating that Experience to Working in an Inclusive Environment in the Public School
  4. 4.  We consider children’s ‘Strengths’ to be a combination of multiple factors which make each child unique : Children’s Temperaments Children’s Learning Styles Children’s Skill Sets *Children’s Unique Interests
  5. 5. Meet ’Chaytor’
  6. 6. Chaytor started with year with an assessment that indicated: Social Emotional Development delays:  Interacting with adults or peers appropriately  Showing in interest in peers  Initiating preferred activities  Following through on activities Cognitive Development delays  Carrying out simple directions  Problem solving  Using imaginary objects in play  Categorizing items  Understanding function of objects etc. etc.
  7. 7. And Multiple Communication Delays such as:  Communicate his needs to others  Establish and maintain eye contact  Answer yes/no questions  Use multiple word sentences
  8. 8. However…where he was starting…  Not making eye contact  Screaming rather than attempting to make needs or wants known  Becoming very agitated at changes in routine and transition times  Running from one area to another  Becoming somewhat aggressive with the other children  “Perseverating “with lights and ceiling fans
  9. 9. Using Observation tools as the next step of Data Collection: Areas of Interest, Levels of play, etc. Child’s Name 1st Interval 2nd Interval 3rd Interval 4th Interval Appendix D Time Sampling: Areas of Interest Observation of area played in at ____ minute intervals Centers or Areas: Date______ B= Block Area D= Dramatic Play A= Art Area P= Puzzles M= Manipulatives L= Literacy (letters, books, stories, etc.) (List area of interest and a short explanation of child’s activity)
  10. 10. After Purposeful Observation of Chaytor we came to realize:  Sensory issues were present that needed to be addressed  Chaytor needed a lot of visual support and a very specific schedule of the day  Chaytor wanted to interact with peers but did not know how  Chaytor’s screaming increased in proportion to the attention was brought to that behavior
  11. 11. So…he was provided with those supports while continuing to observe him for his interests and strengths  Visual strategies  Social supports  Sensory supports
  12. 12. And we soon found…  Chaytor was very drawn to and good at numbers  Chaytor had great rote memory skills  Chaytor wanted to interact with others but did not know how  Chaytor had a great sense of humor that was often surprising  Chaytor tended to ‘perseverate’ on ceiling fans and lights
  13. 13. Reframing the idea of perseverating on ceiling fans to: An intense interest in ceiling fans and lights
  14. 14. “Kids with autism often get fixated on one thing, and it is important to expand their fixations. If the child loves race cars, then race cars can be used as subject matter for reading and math. If the child only draws pictures of NASCAR race cars, a teacher could start expanding the fixation by having him draw an Indianapolis-type car or draw sports cars that regular people can buy at car dealerships. The next step of expansion is to draw pictures of places where race tracks are located”
  15. 15. “I was appalled to learn that some schools are very rigid about forcing a child to only study materials that are designed for his/her grade level. “ - Temple Grandin http://www.takepart.com/art icle/2012/08/15/temple- grandin-reveals-advice- educating-autistic-kids Temple Grandin
  16. 16. Chaytor is provided with ‘safe’ activities that compliment his interests in light..
  17. 17. Interest in Ceiling Fans  How do we expand on Chaytor’s interest in ceiling fans?  How about bridging that interest to encourage social skills and follow through?
  18. 18. Moving from the block area to interacting with peers and a new medium...
  19. 19. Which led to work in the art area: The beginning of symbolic representation….and following two-step directions.
  20. 20. Which led to… Making a fan for the doll house The Definition of Engagement …
  21. 21. Chaytor identifies the little boy in the doll house as himself
  22. 22. Chaytor begins playing in the doll house…1st with teacher scaffolding and then with peers. And… practicing the function of objects and positional concepts , etc.
  23. 23. Which led to…  Increase in: ◦ Initiative ◦ Follow Through ◦ Engagement ◦ Interaction with peers and adults ◦ Using language in a functional manner
  24. 24. Year Two: Symbolic Thinking
  25. 25. Chaytor begins to initiate the representation of his interests Chaytor’s new interest in ‘Na-na’s garden…namin g his picture: “Elephant Ears & Caladium”
  26. 26. •HOW MIGHT THIS INTEREST LEAD TO A PROJECT? Pick an interest…
  27. 27. What is a Child-Negotiated Project? Children communicate  An Interest  An Intent for Following that Interest Teachers:  Gather Provocations and Embed Learning Objectives Teachers and Children Negotiate:  Which, When, Where, and How the Interests Will be Followed
  28. 28. Why give the children a voice in creating the learning process?  Emotional investment in learning  Engagement= Learning  Communicators of their Ideas  Creative Thinkers  Planners  Problem-solvers  Hooked into Attending to and Following Through with the Learning Processes
  29. 29. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include •a sense of belonging and membership, • positive social relationships and friendships, and • development and learning to reach their full potential. The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports. Highlights from: A Joint Position Statement on inclusion of the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC )
  30. 30. Learning Projects: Reaching Multiple Objectives at Multiple Levels Deciding what might be a whole-class project?  Observing Play  Taking anecdotal notes on children’s conversations  Noticing the level of interest among the children as a whole
  31. 31. Systems for Supporting Project Work  Planned Observations  Providing Provocations  The Environment as the Third Teacher  Staffing  Planning for an Emerging Curriculum  Embedding Learning  Documentation as Observation-Data Collection
  32. 32. Observation Tools:  Levels of Play  Greenspan’s Levels of Social/Emotional  Multiple Intelligences  A Time Sampling of Areas of Interest  Anecdotal Records
  33. 33. Observations/Provocations Lead to Engaged Learning for All When deciding what might be a project?  Observe Play  Take anecdotal notes on children’s conversations  Notice the level of interest among the children as a whole
  34. 34. Matrix for Observations Child Strengths Intelligences Shared with: Liz Vocabulary, Stories, , Discussions Verbal- Linguistic Kristen & Hannah Kristen Vocabulary, Stories, ,Discussions, Nature Verbal- Linguistic, Natural Liz & Hannah, Nyna, Laura, Hannah Vocabulary, Stories, Discussions, Drawings, Designs, Patterns, & Color, Nature Verbal- Linguistic/ Visual- Spatial Kristen & Liz, Laura, Nyna, Tess, & Charlie Nyna Movement, painting, nature Kinesthetic, Visual/Spatial, Natural Hannah, Laura, Tess, Kristen & Charlie Laura Drawings, Designs, Patterns,& Color, Nature Visual-Spatial, Natural Tess, Hannah, Kristen & Charlie Tess Drawings, Designs, Patterns,& Color Visual- Spatial Laura, Hannah, Nyna & Charlie Charlie Drawings, Designs, Patterns,& Color Visual- Spatial Tess, Hannah, Nyna & Laura
  35. 35. Provocations & The Environment
  36. 36. Staffing Project Work
  37. 37. Tiered Learning: Engaging All Learners
  38. 38. Regulation Sensory needs met Communication needs met Additional adult support Pre-teaching of positional concepts Peer Modeling Child-directed representation according to developmental levels Provided children with concrete materials Accessed children’s prior experiences Followed children’s interest to promote Participation and engagement Purposeful enquiry and planning Used children’s choices and interest to teach the concept of Colors
  39. 39. Project Planning: Being a Reflective Teacher Lesson Plan Template with Objectives Date__________ Goals Addressed: Date: Notes Schedule Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday -Care of personal belongings: ES, DH RG,NG -Self-help skills, personal responsibility: hanging up backpack and coat with decreasing verbal/ visual prompts :JM, BH,ES,DH, R,GE -Greeting Peers: JM , Arrival 9:00-9:15 Arrival Arrival Arrival Arrival Arrival - Play & conversational skills w peer ,take turns in conversations, sharing items AC/ES/ BH/JM - Personal space, rights of others BH, ES,, DH -Personal info name/ age/gender -Answer questions about self DH -Imitate facial gestures JM, ES - Follow 2 step direction: ES/BH/DH, RG, NG AM Planning Circle 9:15-9:30 Personal space/ rights of others, personal info BM/ ES Take turns, t /t in conversations BH/ES/AC/JM Ask for help when needed JM -Use utensils NG/ES -Drink from un-lidded cup NG -Ask for food or drink w/ words /gestures: JM, ES Snack 9:30- 9:50 - Personal space/ rights of others, personal info BM -What to do in situations/ use of objects BH/ES/JM - Respond to one & one more JM - Take turns, t /t in conversations /sharing items BH/ES/AC/JM - Initiate play, plan w peers/ imaginative play BH/ES/AC/ -Taking turns games w/ peers JM,ES,BH, Centers / Movement and Music activities, etc. 9:50- 10:50 Weekly planning is carried out around children’s interests, skill sets, concept developmen t & objectives
  40. 40. Think about your play idea project  How could you embed learning into that play?  How would you plan to meet the learning objectives during the play? How many developmental domains could be reached?  How would you use the staff and the environment to promote the learning?  How might learning be tiered during the play?
  41. 41. Data Collection in an Activity- Based Curriculum:  Post-it Notes  Staff Discussion  Clipboards  Checklists… More?
  42. 42. Using Portfolios A record of the process of a child's learning and development: What the child has learned and how the child has gone about learning Work Samples, anecdotal records, photographs, videos, conversations of children are just a sampling of what goes into a portfolio.

Notas del editor

  • Denise has just presented a scenario of a whole group interest that resulted in some whole group learning, using the ‘tiered approach to support children at his/her own developmental level. Now I will focus on a more specific child and meeting his needs and objectives in an individualized ‘project’ that resulted from strong interests…which could be viewed by some as a perseverative interest.
  • This observation form is designed to look at children's areas of interests, in the book we also provide form for observing children’s learning styles, levels of play, and similarity of interests among children. We used these tools to observe Chaytor and what interests he showed in the classroom, what level of play he exhibited starting out the year.
  • After providing him with supports for sensory needs and regulation we began to ask ourselves, how do we take this interest in ceiling fans and expand his comfort level in different areas of the room, and interacting with peers
    Without support he would knock down blocks, began with adult support, and modeled how to create the ‘fan’, he began to make ceiling fans. Had multiple opportunities to do this. Again, with adult support other children began to join him in this play
  • Provocations in the environment is key in the project approach and for Chaytor we used the provocations of having construction in a familiar medium (wood) but with new challenges and peer interaction.
  • The fact that he was making a ceiling fan was more effective than a 1st then board, or any kind of schedule we created for him.
  • Moving from sensory motor play to symbolic play…because I knew a lot about his family I was able to take on the role of ‘Na na’ in the doll house, which moved Chaytor forward in his ability to play in a more symbolic manner.
  • We were able to meet those goals for his first year in a manner that was meaningful to Chaytor..
  • To begin the school year, plan for a variety of materials that speak to the varied interest of the children. Deliberately choose ones that the children may explore and use independently. As the children engage with the materials, staff are more available to observe the children’s temperaments, learning styles, skill sets, and unique interests. Determining and following children’s interests form the basis for their capacity to connect, engage, and learn through projects. Some observation tools that we have used come from developmental theorists, available observation tools and the anecdotal record keeping.
  • As an example, Following our children’s captivating interest in playing with the water in the school’s bathroom sink, my para and I decided to use water to teach color matching, recognition and naming. Each child filled a bottle with water and chose which color they wanted their bottle to be…While observing the bottles in the light of the window, one child, Nyna, noticed a bird on a branch in the courtyard. While the bottles of water were engaging and could be used to teach colors on multiple skill levels, Nyna, who had a very limited expressive vocabulary, communicated her observation to the class and all of the children jumped up to follow her lead. They asked, “Where is the bird?!” and Nyna smiled and replied” Bird” pointing. A buzz of engaged energy filled the room! All of the children chattered about their experiences with birds and eventually, one child asked, “What do birds eat in the winter?” A class of children whose families gardened, hunted and spent much time outside and Nyna leading the way…indicated a project was emerging!
  • This is one matrix that we use in our classes. If a project is emerging, how could you use the observation data recorded in this matrix? Putting out materials that speak to these interests and engage each child, Grouping children with common interests, Pairing children who can learn from others’ interests, Conducting authentic assessments, etc.
  • With the intent to discover what birds eat in the winter, we provided clipboards and pencils to allow the children to independently observe the courtyard and use their emerging representational skills to draw what captivated their attention. This child observes and draws a bird nest. Then we provide bird nests for observation in the class.
  • Based on what we had learned by completing the observation matrix and the children’s observations, our paraprofessional, Judy, and I had to decide how to facilitate the whole group into the courtyard to look for what birds eat in the winter. I documented while Judy walked with two children who needed a small group for safety reasons. When we observed real nests, the kids decided to make feeders that looked like nests. Nyna’s mother and several other families let us know that they had feeders at their homes. We provided vine wreathes and cloth and Judy sewed 1:1 or with small groups of children depending on their developmental levels. The learning goal was to teach/reinforce colors. How did we embed color recognition and identification into this project?
  • By letting the observations be child-directed, everyone was observing and engaged. Interaction + Engagement = Learning Three keys to universal design: !Access,dap participation and support! In this inclusive group, a few children are representing their observations, one child is not looking directly to observe the other children, but clearly is observing and learning from her peers, and this other child is meeting her sensory and cognitive needs by sifting seeds or perhaps, sprinkling them to feed the birds! Her first word that year was, “birds.”
  • Learning objectives are plugged into the routines/learning experiences throughout the day. The Bird Project- Arrival-Nyna follows routine of caring for belongings with first/then board cuing belongings away/then fill bird feeders. Circle-paper bird puppets that kids have made are used in song that matches, recognizes and then names colors. Guided Centers Time-Laminated mommy birds and baby birds are available in science center for color matching, recognizing and naming and for size comparisons and sorting.
  • Show portfolios

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