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Case Study: Part 1+2 James Francis University of New England

EDU 721 Dr Ellis August 18th, 2012

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Introduction Education in todays society is vastly different from the education one would find from the previous generation of educators. In the past, it was the students job to conform to the curriculum, while the teacher provided a cut-and-paste version of the information. This may have made the job of the educators easier, but it lacked the ability to reach all students. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, The secret in education lies in respecting the student, . This can be interpreted in many different ways, but my understanding is that it refers to the new style of education that our present-day students require. I believe Emerson took this to mean that we as educators must understand that each and every student functions differently and these differences must be accommodated.

Model Choice In an attempt to provide these accommodations, there are three models that I have examined for use in my classroom. They are:

The Dynamic Instructional Design Model (DID Model) from Lever-Duffy & McDonald The Universal Design Learning Model (UDL Model) from Rose & Meyer The Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools Model (SETT Model) from Zabala Article

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I began by examining the DID model. In this linear model, the instructor is given six steps to begin designing their curriculum while maintaining a dynamic system to allow for changes. These steps are as follows: know your learner, articulate objectives, establish learning environment, identify teaching and learning strategies, select technologies, reevaluate and revise the design (Lever-Duffy & McDonald). The next model I looked into was the UDL model. In this model, the strategy is to address your curriculum as a whole universal model. Rather than amending old styles (or retrofitting), UDL attempts to redesign the entire curriculum from the ground up to include as much information while including as many learning styles as possible. According to the UDL website from Rose & Meyer, UDL is an educational approach to curriculum design and implementation, drawing on new brain research and new media technologies to respond to learner diversity, . The final model that I evaluated was the SETT model. Here, the emphasis comes from teams or departments working together to evaluate the students, the environment in which they will/have been learning, what the students need to learn or do, and which techniques and approaches work best. Zabala states that, When the needs, abilities, and interests of the student , the details of the Environments, and the specific Tasks required of students in those environments are fully explored, teams are able to consider what needs to be included in a system of tools that is Student-centered, Environmentally useful, and Tasks-focused, (Zabala). As a music educator, I constantly run into a similar mentality among my students. They all tell me that music was boring in their old school (with few exceptions), and that they all seemed to learn the same thing. Most of them only learned the recorder, and an incredibly small amount

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of music history or note reading. In my classroom, I am trying to break the traditional thought process about music and bring it to the 21st century, modernizing not only the materials, but the teaching method as well. As this model will be applied to my classroom, I chose the UDL model for this unit. To me, it seems to be one of the best approaches when trying to break down old traditions and introducing new ones.

Profile of Students Studied For this case study, I will apply the methods and the models described above and in the texts in one of my 8th grade classrooms. There are three sections of 8th grade students, totaling 60 students. The school I work in (the Pioneer Charter School of Science, or PCSS) is a charter school servicing the towns of Everett, Chelsea, and Revere just north of Boston, Massachusetts with a typical teacher to student ratio of 1 to 20 or under (Pioneer). In our sending district area, there is a diverse population of students from all walks of life. All data given below is for grade 10 from the surrounding area (not PCSS), and examines the 2004 state standardized test in Massachusetts. When examining the students standardized test scores from these sending districts, we find that the state average for students who are in the needs improvement or warning/failing category is 26%. However, in the sending districts of Everett, Chelsea, and Revere, the percentages are 50%, 72%, and 54% respectively. When examining the population for students and families in the low income bracket, the state average is 28%, however the sending districts are 80%, 55%, and 47% respectively. In addition, when examining the low income population,

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the intentions for the students to go to college has a state average of 57%, but the sending district averages are 35%, 47%, and 39% respectively. (Pioneer) In PCSS, diversity is a way of life. Students come from all social class levels (as seen in the statistics above), and in many other ways. The student population also holds a high population of diverse heritage and cultural background. 38.6% of the school population identifies as White/Caucasian, 30.2% identify as African American, and 23.4 identify as Hispanic (Massachusetts).

Classroom Environment The students who come into my music classroom can be a little surprised at first. It does not necessarily look like the typical music classroom one would picture. Due to our schools small building size and burgeoning school population, many of the teachers have to be creative with their spaces in order to to fully maximize the potential of the space given. The classroom I am in not only services music, but also art, character education, occasional special education classes, and several Advanced Placement (or AP) courses. The first thing one would notice is the lack of desks. Due to the modular nature of the classroom, desks would cause issues. The chairs are stackable, and are removed at the end of every lesson. If a student needs a writing surface, they have an option to use a music stand which must also be removed at the end of every lesson. The next thing one would notice is the SmartBoard in the front of the classroom. PCSS has taken the initiative to update the practices of our school and bring the curriculum into the 21st century, with the SmartBoards being the largest of the steps.

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Connection to Rose & Meyer Text Rose & Meyer examine three different primary brain networks that will be examined and applied to the UDL theory. They are:

Recognition Networks (the what of learning) Strategic Networks (the how of learning) Affective Networks (the why of learning)

In order to connect UDL to the brain network theory, we have to examine each network in turn. Beginning with the recognition network, this is the actual content itself. In prior forms of education, the what of education typically came from a textbook or a teacher lecture. When applying UDL to this theory, one must examine from a broader perspective. According to the theory of multiple intelligences, there are seven different types of learners (Smith). UDL attempts to approach the content by applying a broader perspective, presenting the students with multiple means of gleaning information by allowing a student to read a text, listen to it on audio, watch a short video, and so on. The next step is the how of learning. This is how the student is able to express his or her ideas in order to prove that learning took place. UDL offers the student the ability to have

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various methods to express said learning. This is accomplished easily using differentiation. According to Hall, Strangman, and Meyer, the model of differentiated instruction requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching and adjust the curriculum and presentation of information to learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum. Teachers allow the students to present learning in a variety of ways, allowing the students to excel in the method best suited for them. The final step is the why of learning. This challenges the students to understand future applications of learning, and instill a feeling of motivation to learn. Students who not only are able to access information, but utilize it can then understand the importance of learning. Using UDL, the teacher is able to allow students to access this information, and in a method that their students are able to relate to. Once the student realizes that they can do this on their own, it helps create a desire to learn more, and enables to the student to accomplish this independently. The most successful teachers are those who not only are able to show the student how to teach themselves, but can also instill a passion for learning so the student will go and learn autonomously.

Identified Technology and Benefits When examining various kinds of assistive technology, one must be aware that there are both high-tech and lo-tech versions of assistive technology. For example, a student who may be suffering from chronic joint pain or nerve damage in the hand (e.g. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) may have a difficult time holding a saxophone up. A lo-tech assistive technology solution would be to wear a neck strap which would take the pressure off of the neck.

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For students who have fine motor coordination issues, playing a musical instrument can be extremely difficult. There are very few instruments that do not require fine motor control, and those that do not require it are either not practical, or are difficult to play with many people. There is a student in the class described above who will be using the prescribed assistive technology unit. In this case, I have chosen to use a percussion pad. A percussion pad is a small unit that can be placed on a desk in front of a student. Depending on the units size, there can be any number of combinations of rubberized buttons on the front of the unit. With just a simple tap of one of the button, it plays a sound that has been programmed into it. Typically, these units are used when wanting to simulate the sound of a drum. I chose this particular piece of technology due to its relative ease of use, and its place in my class. Any instrument takes practice, but there are some that will be easier to use than the others. A percussion pad takes the difficulty of drum stick technique away, so the student only has to focus on one concept (in this case, rhythm). In addition, it is low impact, so anyone using this piece of technology does not necessarily need to worry about a jarring impact.

Lesson Plan As listed above, the class I chose to study is my 8th grade music course. These students complete a rhythm packet as part of their quarterly final project. When the students come in, they have already been briefed on how to set up the instruments. In addition, they were pre-taught material on how to read rhythm and notes on a staff. Finally, they were given a chance to explore and play the various instruments.

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A sample lesson plan is given here:


PIONEER CHARTER SCHOOL OF SCIENCE LESSON PLAN Subject: Music/Art Teacher: Mr Francis Monday Tuesday , (9/10/2012 9/14/12) Topic: Notation & Rhythm in Percussion Student Objectives/SWBAT(students will be able to): Students will be able to take a packet of rhythms and learn them on their own or with peer coaching to perform. Do Now: Students will take out their rhythm packets and begin practicing. Motivational Activity (setting the stage, attention-getter and focuser): Students will be going directly to the instruments and pulling them out to practice. Various Challenge Rhythms will be on the board for students to pay special attention to. Developmental Activity (main activity): At this point, students know what is needed of them in order to properly learn the rhythms in the packet. This packet is filled with various rhythms and various instruments for them to play them on. Students will be able to learn at their own pace a variety of instruments either in groups or individually. Grading will be done on an escalating scale based on number of performances each student does. This will be an ongoing project for the next 4 or so weeks, through the middle of October(to give each student a chance to practice and perform). Closure Activity(summary) : Students will pack up their instruments and sit quietly while reiterating the Challenge Rhythm on the board. Once finished, students will have a chance to attempt to perform the Challenge Rhythm. Homework: Practice Accommodations: Preferential seating, Schedule based learning, 1-on-1 Peer Tutoring, Percussion Pad Use Performance Tasks Periodical Performances Other Evidence- (none) Instructional Strategies used (please indicate the one that best fits your lesson): Problem based learning Direct Instruction: Others: Project based learning: X Collaborative Learning: X Grade Level: 8th grade Date: 11/15/2010 11/16/2010

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After the initial period of getting into the instruments, the rhythm packet itself is introduced. All students have a list of 7 different instruments, with 6 different rhythms per instrument to choose from. This allows students who may have a particular weakness in one area (such as difficulty with drum sticks) to play another instrument with a completely different technique (such as a conga, which does not require drum sticks). This particular project is meant for students to both work together and individually. While the students may practice together, and figure out a method of performance with one another, when they are needed to perform, the students must do this alone. See Evaluation below for more details on performances). There are 42 different rhythms with a variety of difficulties. As they are all different, it does not necessarily matter what instrument they are played on. Here is where the drum pad comes in. The student in the class who has the fine motor coordination issues is still able to practice and perform with their fellow classmates. They will have the same difficulties as the other students actually learning the new rhythms; however, they will be able to perform using the drum pad.

Lesson Plan Connection to UDL This particular lesson plan takes the ideas and lessons from the UDL model by completely redesigning the structure in the class, allowing for all kinds of students with all kinds of abilities and learning styles to participate. First, students with any of the various learning styles (Logical-mathematical, interpersonal, etc.) will be able to participate and use their unique skills to learn. Students who are kinesthetic learners will be able to get hands-on and experience

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the drums first hand. Spatial learners will be able to spread out and use the entire classroom (Smith). Next, if a student has difficulty learning an instrument, there are a variety of methods that a student or a teacher can use to change the lesson plan format if the current form is no longer working. The classroom is set up in a free-flowing manner, where the students can organize themselves and set themselves up however needed. The teacher can reorganize this as necessary, easily making a 1-on-1 environment, to small group settings. If a student truly cannot get a particular instrument, they need only switch instruments where the technique and rhythms will be completely different. Finally, the students are presented with the why of learning. One method that accomplishes this is through the use of one particular rhythm. After learning a rhythm, I play for them a sample of the song Mars, the Bringer of War by Gustav Holst (a sample can be heard via this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw0jvqx1mNU). The students are told to listen in the background. The rhythm played there is the exact one found in their packets. This is just one example of future applications of what is learned in class. Many of the students after this project are extremely interested in learning another instrument, and will come to afterschool music tutoring sessions to learn another instrument. This is not of my request, but of their own volition.

Evaluation Student performance evaluations are a staple of music classrooms. In order for the teacher to know whether or not a student is performing up to task, the student must perform on a periodic

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basis to show mastery of their subject. Students in this class do just this. Whenever a student feels ready to perform in front of the teacher, and is confident they are able to accurately perform the given rhythm on the given instrument, they may attempt a performance. If a student can play the rhythm relatively accurately, while holding the instrument in an appropriate way, the student earns a signature from the teacher for that particular rhythm. The student with fine motor control impairment in this particular class will still be able to perform on a periodic basis and earn their grades just like the other students in the class without having to worry about their issue with movement. All students begin with a grade of an F. This sounds harsh at first, but is only used as a starting point basis. Each signature is worth 1/3 of a letter grade. With their first signature, a student goes from an F to a D-. Each subsequent signature is worth an additional 1/3 of a letter grade. A student with 5 signatures earns a C, a student with 9 earns a B+, and finally a student with 12 signatures earns an A+. This grade is worth 40% of their final grade in the course. This system also has a built in method for students who finish early. If a student is able to finish the project earlier than the allotted time, that student is expected to circulate the classroom as a student helper. All students are also being graded on participation, which is worth an additional 20% of their final grade in the course. In this way, students will not sit idle in the classroom without something to do.

Reflection Its always interesting to see new techniques and new ideas implemented in the classroom. While I was aware of certain types of assistive technology due to other courses taken

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at UNE or through every day teaching experience, I was unaware as to exactly how extensive assistive technology is. It can be as simple as a foot stand for a large instrument, to a completely reworked instrument designed to fit the needs of the individual using it. Another thing that has cropped up through studying for this particular paper is exactly how much I can integrate the ideas and methods of the Special Education Department into my day-to-day classroom. For every student who is in the Special Education Department, the teachers are given a student support card. These cards describe not only the physical/mental condition of the student (e.g. processing disorder, degenerative eye condition, etc.), but they also describe the various accommodations these students are required by law. To make our jobs as teachers easier, the Special Education Department has offered two things to the regular education teachers. Each support card comes with suggestions on how to work with the student, and various sample activities to go along with it. Plus, they have also offered to the teachers the opportunity to sit down with them and help design a lesson plan that allows the student to be included in the lesson without any problems. The final thing that has been brought to my attention during the creation of this plan was the idea of FAPE, or Free Appropriate Public Education. This is not only an appropriate thing to do, it is law. The law states, No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . (U.S. Department of Education). While this may seem strict and difficult to follow, it doesnt have to be.

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All students have a right to learn, and they have a right to do so in an unrestricted environment. Rather than seeing the use of assistive technology and other accommodations as a difficulty and a hindrance, they should be seen as helpful and non-restrictive. Accommodations are not there to hurt the teacher; they are there to help a student succeed in a Least Restrictive Environment. Our job as a teacher is to provide everyone with education, regardless of their circumstances. Abraham Lincoln put it best when he stated, Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in. That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.

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References Hall, T., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2003). Differentiated instruction and implications for UDL implementation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved August 11, 2012 from http://aim.cast.org/learn/historyarchive/backgroundpapers/differentiated_instruction_udl/. Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. B. (2011). Teaching and learning with technology (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In Pioneer Charter School of Science School Profile. Retrieved August 11, 2012, from http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/student.aspx?orgcode=04940205&orgtypecode=6&. Pioneer Charter School of Science. In About Us. Retrieved August 11, 2012, from http://www.pioneercss.org/about.jsp. Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002) Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved August 11, 2012, from http://udlonline.cast.org/page/module1/l3/. Smith, Mark K. (2008). Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences: The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved August 11, 2012 from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm. U.S. Department of Education (2010). In Free Appropriate Public Education for Students With Disabilities: Requirements Under Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Retrieved August 18, 2012 from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/edliteFAPE504.html. Zabala, J. S. (2005). Sharing The SETT Framework. Using the SETT Framework to Level the Learning Field for Students with Disabilities. Retrieved August 11, 2012, from http://www.joyzabala.com/uploads/Zabala_SETT_Leveling_the_Learning_Field.pdf.