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Special Education & English Language Learners

Special Education & English Language Learners

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Special Education & English Language Learners

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  1. Special Education & English Language Learners Dana Kehoe, Anna McGovern & Mary Diedrich

  2. Designing a Responsive SE-ESL Program A responsive SE-ESL program will take into account both the learner attributes critical to second language learning (aptitude, attitude/motivation, personality, learning style, and learning strategies) and those to be considered in designing any special education program (cognition, motivation, strategic behavior, learning style preferences, etc.). Essential learner attributes to consider in designing an SE-ESL program include: • The learner's disability • The learner's current stage of second language acquisition (both oral and literacy levels) • The particular skills of the learner by area (strengths and weaknesses in listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Other factors to consider to enhance program success include: • the learner's age, personality, and interests • the learner's communication needs in the second language • the degree to which the learner is integrated into the target language community; and • language learning style.

  3. One Scenario On Monday morning I walk into the classroom after having a bad bus ride. It is time to speak English now. My mom and teachers tell me to listen to my headphones on the bus so that I don’t hear voices or confuse other kids’ talking for teasing. I listen to Dominican music because I only speak Spanish at home. Sometimes during the morning meeting, I get confused and say the days of the week in Spanish. When I realize the other kids are saying Monday not Lunes, I quickly switch to English. I have trouble concentrating during read alouds, so when it comes to answering questions about the story I usually talk about something I am comfortable with, like the Dominican Republic. At home, I hear voices in my head in both Spanish and English. Sometimes, Zay tells me what to do. He speaks both Spanish and English. When I get really upset at school, I get aggressive and yell at teachers in both Spanish and English. During these times, I don’t realize what language I am speaking and become confused when behavior coaches or teachers ask me questions about what happened. At home, when I don’t want to do my homework, it’s okay because my mother can’t help me anyway. She only speaks Spanish.

  4. Specific Challenges of SE-ESL Students • Initial Assessments: As you consider whether a student may have special education needs, it is important to remember to give ELL students time to adjust to their new surroundings and language, and to have an opportunity to demonstrate their learning over time. This may take up to a year, accounting for cultural adjustment, a silent receptive period, and the development of literacy skills in a second language. • However, if a child has obvious signs of cognitive or physical issues such as those listed below, they need to receive immediate support. Factors leading to immediate referral include: • Documentation of known previous medical condition(s) • A parent's request for an assessment • An accident/injury, with doctor's request for an assessment • Known brain damage • Problems with hearing or vision • Physical disability • Cleft palate • Cerebral Palsy • Brain injury • Polio • Post traumatic stress • Documented severe malnutrition

  5. Specific Challenges of SE-ESL Students • After about a year, when the teacher(s) will have had more experience with the student and will have had multiple opportunities to observe his/her work, the teacher can begin to look into academic assessments. • It can be tricky to determine if an ELL student is struggling with language barriers or if he/she has special needs because many of the behaviors displayed are the same. • For example, if a teacher has a student who refuses to answer questions, makes inappropriate comments, has poor recall, comprehension and vocabulary, and struggles when sequencing ideas, the teacher might be concerned that the child needs special education support. While that may be the case, it's also important to remember that an ELL student may display any of these behaviors due to language difficulties.

  6. Specific Challenges of SE-ESL Students • An English Language Learner can be referred for academic assessment if: • Documentation shows no progress or change resulting from instructional strategies, alternative instruction, or interventions. An interpreter who speaks the student's native language should participate in interventions whenever possible. • The student has attended a U.S. school for at least one year. Documentation of the student's school record should include previous school experience, the location of previous schools, and length of time at each school. • ESL and/or bilingual staff support the position that the student is performing differently than his/her cultural peers. • Parents have been contacted and attended an assessment planning meeting and agree with the decision to assess.

  7. Academic Interventions for SE-ESL Students • If an ELL student is suspected of having special needs, it is very important that academic interventions are tried and the results recorded before any formal assessment is requested. This is important because students may have very different learning styles or comfort levels with the U.S. educational environment, or may be struggling with literacy skills. When a teacher does intentional interventions to provide support and documents the results, valuable information is then available if an assessment is needed in the future.

  8. Examples of Academic Interventions Used for SE-ESL Students • Re-word the text of the reading assignment in simple phrases. • Write hints or reminders in the text. • Use real life experiences when discussing the reading material. • Have the work or tests read orally. • Pair ELL students with other ELLs. • Use manipulatives or hands-on aids. • Use a tape recorder to play books on tape. • Provide native language support to the student in the classroom. • Use the student's name in instructional examples. • Explicitly teach study skills/habits, as well as effective ways of using educational resources and materials. • Break work into smaller pieces and do task analysis. • Provide visuals to support academic work. • Encourage re-reading of tasks/instructions. • Provide more time to finish assignments/tests. • Have the student use a 3 x 5 index card to cover the lines above or below while reading materials or taking tests. • Pair the English Language Learner with a gifted or older same-language student in tutorial situations.

  9. Taking Cultural Factors into Account During Assessments • If the interventions have not been effective up to this point, then further information must be gathered and an initial evaluation conference must be held with the parents of the student. It is extremely important that a highly trained interpreter be available to assist in explaining the concerns and the evaluation process in a way the family can understand. • A good place to start an evaluation is with a very thorough family interview. The special education staff member and an interpreter can ask many in-depth and background questions to get more insight into any environmental or physical issues that may affect the child's learning.

  10. Fundations • Wilson Fundations for K-3 is a phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics and spelling program. • Fundations serves as a prevention program to help reduce reading and spelling failure. • Teachers incorporate a 30-minute daily Fundations lesson into their literacy classroom instruction. • Fundations lessons focus on carefully sequenced skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and spelling. Critical thinking, speaking and listening skills are practiced during Storytime activities. • Fundations is also used in targeted small group interventions. • Fundations teaches letters and letter sounds by using a letter-keyword-sound method. • Fundations Resources and Activities • Letter-Keyword-Sound drill • Magnet boards • White boards • Student Notebooks • Watch Video Example

  11. Multisensory Sight Word Instruction • Nation (1990) concluded that the average learner requires 5-16 exposures in order to learn a word from context. Meara (1997) suggested a 0.01 hypothesis (1 uptake every 100 exposures) for L2 learners. • Daily Sight Word Practice: • Skywrite word • Table Write word • Trace word with your finger • Write word on your own!

  12. Four Square Writing • The four square is a tool to help students who have never use a graphic organizer. • Teachers are encouraged to change the forms in ways that suit their lessons or their students specific needs. • Taking the themes through these same steps can help to build writer confidence and fluency.

  13. Four Square Writing: Step 1 • Chart it! • Brainstorm Ideas.

  14. Four Square Writing: Step 2 In this state you will see Redwood Trees. One thing you can do is play in the sand. The setting of this story is California. One place I would like to go is Disneyland. I liked this setting because it is warm there.

  15. Four Square Writing: Step 3 The setting of this story is California. In this state you can see Redwood Trees. One thing you can do there is play in the sand. One place I would like to go is Disneyland. I like this setting because it is warm there.

  16. SE-ESL Assessment • Definition of a Mind Map • A mind map is a visual representation of hierarchical information that includes a central idea surrounded by connected branches of associated topics. • Benefits of Mind Maps • Help students brainstorm and explore any idea, concept, or problem • Facilitate better understanding of relationships and connections between ideas and concepts • Make it easy to communicate new ideas and thought processes • Allow students to easily recall information • Help students take notes and plan tasks • Make it easy to organize ideas and concepts

  17. Mind Mapping Rules • Write the topic in the center of the page and add an image you associate it with. • Out of the topic branch out as many sub topics {I refer to them as main ideas} as you want.Out of each sub topic branch out as many sub topic {I refer to them as details} as you need, and so forth. • All lines must be curvy. No straight lines. Our brains think in curvy lines.Each word must be written on the line and curve with it. • Only single words are allowed. No sentences. • Each word must be followed by an image the student associate it with.Each branch/line must be color coded. How to differentiate: • Word Banks • Provide students with Main Ideas, Details, pictures and have the students organize. • Make it a matching game! Provide students with the words and they must draw a corresponding picture.

  18. Mind Mapping

  19. Mind Mapping Beaches Mountains Surfing Disneyland Playing in the sand Golden Gate Bridge Sunny Hot

  20. Self Assessment • Checklists are a great way for SE-ESL students to assess their own progress during class activities. • These can be differentiated using colors/ pictures. • They can also help transition students from one activity to another.

  21. Example Checklist For the Morning Routine: Enter the room quietly. Say “Good Morning!” Eat your breakfast. Complete journal.

  22. Example Checklist For Writing: Sharpened Pencil Name and date on page Capital at the beginning of a sentence Period at the end of a sentence My dog ran fast. My dog ran fast.

  23. Example Checklist For Using the Bathroom: • Raise your hand and ask. 2. Walk quietly in the hallway. 3. Use the bathroom. 4. Wash your hands.

  24. Assistive Technology • Technology mixes things up, captures students attention, and engages them in a way that traditional classroom instruction doesn’t. • Programs like these hone basic language skills students can later apply in an authentic social settings.

  25. Assistive Technology Programs • Rosetta Stone • Language learning software program that incorporates pictures and speech. • Kurzweil Educational • Assistive technology tool for special education that provides literacy and ELL support to students with the cognitive ability, but not the literacy skills, to learn at grade level. • Read Naturally • structured intervention programs combine teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring — three strategies that research has shown are effective in improving students' reading proficiency. • Dictation App • easy-to-use voice recognition application that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages. • Boardmaker • Software Program that allows you to create symbol-adapted books, flash cards, schedules and more, for every student specific to their skill set, just by filling in templates with symbols. • Activity

  26. Internet Resources • Reading a-z • Reading program that features downloadable and projectable readers with corresponding worksheets. • Available in multiple languages. •

  27. Internet Resources • Class Activity •

  28. Common Core Learning Standards • The Common Core Learning Standards are ideal for teachers instructing students with Special needs as well as English Language Learners. The Common Core allows for multiple entry points for students at different levels, as well as differentiated responses to meet the objective. • Examples of CCLSs on a Kindergarten level from the activities incorporated in our presentation: • K.RL.1: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. • K.RL.2: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details. • K.RL.3: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story. • K.RL.5: Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems) • K.W.3: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened. • K.RFS.1: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print. • K.RFS.2: Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). • K.RFS.3: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. • C) Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g. the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do)

  29. Resources “The Word and the World: Technology Aids English Language Learners” written by Maya Payne Smart. 12/10/2008 • “How to Address Special Education Needs in the ELL Classroom” written by Kristina Robertson. 2007. • • • • Swingley, D., & Aslin, R. N. (in press). Lexical competition in young children’s word learning. Cognitive Psychology • Nation, I. S. P. (1982). Beginning to learn foreign vocabulary: A review of the research. RELC Journal, 13, 14-36. • Gu, Peter Yongqi. "Vocabulary Learning in a Second Language: Person, Task, Context and Strategies." The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language 7.2 (2003): n. pag. Web. 10 June 2013. <>.