WORKING WITH DIVERSE STUDENT POPULATI´╗┐ONS´╗┐

I am currently a student teacher in a first grade classroom at Greenwood Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia with Mrs. Kelly
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Discussing the Life Cycle of our class Seedlings
Stewart, a 8th year teacher, the first grade lead teacher, as well as William and Mary's clinical faculty representative at the school. There have been between 17 and 20 students in my classroom throughout the year, which currently incluesd six students with interventions, two students with IEPs, three students currently in case studies, along with six students who are English Language Learners.

Greenwood Elementary is a fully-accredited Title I, Kindergarten through fifth grade school located close to the Fort Eustis military base. To qualify as a Title I school, 40% or more of the students must be enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program; Greenwood has over 50% of their students enrolled. Greenwood Elementary has a diverse student body with approximately 900 students, making it one of the largest elementary schools in Newport News. This past year, every classroom has a SMARTboard and three computers, and each grade level has a document camera. As well, the school sets aside two hours a week every Wednesday to specifically work on improving planning and foster teacher development among their colleagues.

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Differed approaches to student learning (Competency 4)
While the majority of the English Language Learners in my classroom are currently at Tiers 2 or 3 on the ELL spectrum (3 being the highest level of English understanding), language has undoubtably gotten in the way of some teaching points throughout the year. As an attempt to reconcile any language discrepancies, I started consulting more with the ELL specialist at our school in order to co-plan and co-teach

lessons. Her insight and enthusiasm helped me tap into my knowledge of Spanish as well as break down my English into simpler phrases. One student, who will most likely be taken out of the ELL program next year because of her master of the English language, also served as a helpful translator in tight situations. I started bringing in bilingual texts and reading more multicultural stories that my students could more easily relate to.

I also incorporated pictures and hands-on activities into my lessons whenever possible. As mentioned in the Teaching Skills section of this site, I like to present my students with unique learning experiences that peak their interests and make an impact. My cooperating classroom was made up of an unusually talented and well-behaved group of individuals, so I made it my goal throughout my student teaching to push them beyond what was required by the state. I conducted research in order to push one of my most academically advanced students to reach her full
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potential as a friend and classmate. I then implemented an action plan that involved teaching my
higher level students how to self monitor, peer edit, and utilize resources like thesauruses during writer's workshop.

Providing for individual differences in the classroom (Competency 10)
There are two students in my cooperating classroom who have Individualized Education Programs (IEP) to meet their specific needs. One of these students has special services provided to him because of a speech impediment. He meets with a specialist three to four times a week to practice the skills he needs, but otherwise receives mainstream instruction. The other student in my class was recently diagnosed with a
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learning disability and now receives several remediations and accommodations throughout the day. This student works with a specialist during writers workshop and is allowed to have all of his tests read allowed to him in a more private setting.

As part of one of my foundational courses at William and Mary, I reviewed and summarized one an Individualized Education Program for a student in my school. This helped me become more familiar with the Child Study to IEP process. I also have the opportunity to interact with three students who spend most of their school day in the K-2 self contained classroom. These three individuals are diagnosed as Emotionally Disturbed and join my class for resource (Music, Art, Physical Education, and Library) four days a
week. The special education teacher in charge of this classroom has been kind enough to allow me to spend time in her classroom during my student teaching experience in order to get a better feel of the difference between inclusion and mainstreaming students with special needs.