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Praxis Notes

Sharaai's picture

Praxis visit, day 2, 2.12.13; only my second day of observation at the school. A Tuesday morning, at 8 AM. On a normal day, they do a combination of math and reading packets and Ms. Morrow works with students individually when they most need it, some students need more one on one help than others. This day, they had to prepare for their special education standardized tests.

Ms. Morrow had to work on topics that would be covered on the standardized tests. Not all of the students would be taking the exam the following week so not everyone was working with her. Four students; Pete, Connor, Chris and Chad were working with her. They would be taking the math test the next week and needed to work on the necessary skills with ms. Morrow. She often reminded this group of boys that they needed to be more confident in their skills. They were often second guessing themselves or simply guessing because they would get nervous. Ms. Morrow seems to really know her students and exactly what they are capable of. She let them know that just because she knows they can do it doesn’t mean they can guess. That they had to prove to the test people that they knew what to do. She was using a lot of props and hands on things to practice; like paper money and plastic coins. She made up word problems for them on the spot that asked for addition and subtraction.
Before she began doing all this work with them, she asked each student how they were doing, how their families were doing or some sort of version of this. She always waited for an answer from them and was asking about someone specifically from each of them.

While she (Ms. M) worked with them (PASA group), Sarah and Jim did math and reading packets on their own. Rob was assigned to do a reading assignment on his own as well. I read with him and saw that the lesson he was reading was really short. He read through it quickly, using his fingers to point at every word. This was a lesson in a book full of them. (note: Rob has the mentality of a 6 year old and the knowledge of a student about the same age). But I felt like his reading lesson was something he had read so  many times before and was simply “reading” it from memorization. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to tell this. After he read through, I asked him if he wanted to read something else with/to me and he quickly said no. He just sat there, and I just didn’t know how to engage with him in a way that would not disrupt the classroom.
how much can I push him? How much can I expect from him when I am not familiar with him, his work habits and his personality?

With that, I wasn’t sure what else I could do with him so I continued to observe Mr. Morrow.

Ms. Knowles then helped Rob with his project that was due the next week, which he had yet to start.
I went to help Sarah with her packet, she seemed to have been zoning out a bit and Ms. Morrow had noticed. I worked with her on her reading and it went pretty smoothly. I read thorugh the excerpt with her and went thorugh all the questions as well. Some of the questions were difficult and she had a hard time with them. I had a hard time explaining them in a way that would not give away the answer. I was unsure on how far to push her and how much she already knew. I did not want to underestimate or overestimate her potential. This is something I struggle with often when working in Special Education classrooms because every student can range so much within the small group that as a new comer, I am not sure what each student is exactly capable of. She kept on closing her eyes and I wasn’t sure if she was tried or simply uninterested. Sarah tends to have a default face that lacks any emotion on it, so its really hard for me to read her and figure out where she is. This day, she was closing her eyes a lot, putting her hands to her face and putting her head down. I didn’t know if she was tired and sleepy or really uninterested. Once again, I was in a situation where I couldn’t figure her our since I was just beginning in the placement. I found it hard to ask her what a prey was without making it sound more confusing because I was using the words “hunter” and “hunted”.