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Melissa Hochheimer Due: December 2, 2012 Environmental Inventory Possible Settings General Education Classrooms: 7th Grade English

h Class- this is relevant because Juan struggles with reading comprehension when read directly from a book as opposed to being presented by different mediums. Special Education Classrooms: 7th Grade Co-Taught honors ELA class- this is relevant because Juan struggles with reading comprehension. Also, this class has a Special Education teacher in it who assists other students who may struggle with the material presented in class or the results expected by the general education teacher. 7th Grade Life Skills Class- this is relevant because this student wants more assistance reaching career goals for his future. He also struggles with social interactions and will be given more instruction on those in this setting. Non-Classroom School Settings: Cafeteria- social interactions would be monitored in this setting. Hallway- Juan struggles with social interactions and, based on the layout of the school and the time given for passing period, there may be some hostile peer interactions in this setting. Outside before school starts- this setting is filled with constant peer interaction and will give Juan a lot of practice with his social skills. Also, student play sports here, which is a big interest for Juan. Recess- social interaction, both competitive and casual, occurs frequently in this setting which is something Juan struggles with. School Library- appropriate social interactions are necessary for this setting, as well as reading skills, which are the two things Juan's parents would like Juan to get assistance with. Community Settings: Schnucks- social skills are necessary for this setting, which is something that Juan struggles with. He needs to be able to learn to take turns and be patient when other customers are being helped. McDonalds- this setting also requires social skills. Juan enjoys being the center of attention which can be very hard in a setting as busy as this one. He also will be required to read the menu, which may or may not be a challenge to him. Sporting Events- Juan loves attending sporting events and will need to learn necessary social skills for a setting such as a sporting event so he can act appropriately. Public Library- this setting has specfic social skills that must be displayed. Juan struggles with asking for help when needed, which is a skill that is needed in a library. Also, he will need to know where and how to find resources other than books that he can comprehend easier.

Summary After brainstorming the options for environments that would be relevant for Juan, I chose a 7th grade honors English Language Arts classroom that is co-taught and has some Special Education instruction, a 7th grade regular English Language Arts classroom with no Special Education content, the blacktop outside the school, and a library that is right next to the school. The two ELA classrooms were relevant because Juan struggles with reading and comprehension and I wanted to see if these classroom setting would meet his needs of being read to orally, or if accommodations would be available to assist him and help him succeed in the classrooms. The blacktop outside school is where all students must stay in the mornings until they let the students in about 5 minutes before 1st period starts. I felt that his setting was relevant because Juan also struggles with social interactions with his peers and it is impossible to avoid social interactions in this environment. The final environment I chose was a library directly across the street from the school. This seemed like a place that students could go to often if necessary and it involves a lot of independent reading. I wanted to see if it would be an appropriate environment for Juan to learn and gain reading skills. In the ELA honors co-taught class, I was expecting to see a lot more positive things than I did. There were some supports in place, like the Special Education teacher as well as his student teachers who were willing to help students and give them other options for their assignments, but, the General Education teacher did not interact with those students at all, and the options for displaying their knowledge were strict. I do not think this classroom, although geared toward helping students with disabilities succeed, would be beneficial for Juan. He would find himself responsible for reading independently daily, with no other option, for completing many books on his own and comprehending them enough to make projects on them, and only being assisted in ways, such as typing out his work, that would not directly meet his needs. I found a similar situation in the regular ELA classroom. Because the focus of these classes were reading and writing, it was somewhat difficult to give the students other options than reading, which is what Juan struggles with. In this classroom, there was even less support and available adults to provide help if the students needed it. I assume that Juan would be given the option to read less complicated books, but he may struggle with completing the projects with books that had less content. I did not find this environment to be appropriate for Juan either based on my observation. The blacktop was an interesting environment to observe. It was full of students, and

not many adults, which immediately makes this environment unsafe. The students were given free time to play sports or socialize with little monitoring from supervisors. Juan would struggle in this situation because there is no guidance, and a lot going on. Assistance would not be easily accessible if he is in a social situation and unsure how to act. I can also foresee a lot of conflict occurring and going unnoticed in this environment. Therefore, I conclude that this environment is not appropriate for Juan. The final environment was the library. This is a wonderful place to go to access books and information both for assignments and for recreations. I found that this environment could be the more appropriate for Juan because it is not too crowded, and there are staff members always around wanting to help. While most people spend their time at the library alone, there are still many people working there who are available to help at all times. Also, the library carries all types of media that Juan enjoys and can comprehend more successfully than reading a book. He could find books on tape, or even movies to enjoy and learn from. Some of the most relevant activities I found in the two classrooms were the lectures being given on Prezi, which provided a visual for the students to follow. This could benefit Juan greatly because he comprehends information when provided orally. Also, the students in the honors ELA co-taught class were going to be researching online later in the week. This would be a great activity for Juan because information can be given in all different types of media instead of limiting his research to books. On the blacktop, games were being played, and groups of students were socializing. I think both sub-environment would be great for Juan because the all require social skills and would provide him with plenty of practice. Finally, the library offered a lot of ways to take in information. I believe that using the computers, taking out books on tape, or checking out movies would provide Juan with engaging ways to learn. An IEP goal that could be worked on in the co-taught classroom could be that Juan will self-evaluate his comprehension of the book he is independently reading by writing a short summary of what he has read for each chapter he gets through. For the regular ELA classroom, Juan will ask for assistance when he is having a hard time comprehending the information either that he has read, or that the teacher is explaining. In the blacktop environment, Juan will ask permission from his peers to participate in a basketball game or to cheer on one of the teams without interrupting them. Finally, at the library, Juan will find books on tape that interest him and ask for assistance from a staff member when he cannot find something.

Reflection The environmental inventory is a useful tool that gives people a better picture of the environments the student is in daily and whether or not they are appropriate and conducive to his learning. By observing the environments and following the questions on the inventory sheets, you can get a clear, detailed picture of what the environment offers the student in terms of accessibility and growth. The inventory sheets provide structure and give the observer things to specifically look for. This helps greatly because it makes the observation process more targeted and purposeful. Taking an environmental inventory can give a teacher a great idea of how helpful and appropriate environments are for their students in a more direct way, and can then create action plans in helping the students make those environments more accessible. While there are many strengths to the environmental inventory process, there are still a few limitations. These observations were only taken once which limits the validity of the data taken. Curriculum may include more UDL features that meet the needs of the specific student at different times and, it is possible, that the observation was taken on a day where there was not much UDL involved. Also, by observing the environments once, it can be difficult to get a full picture of what happens there. Situations and events change day by day which could directly affect the safety and the climate of that environment. Also, it does not seem that the student is involved much with this process which I believe to be extremely important. I can look at an environment and decide that it would not be conducive to the growth of the student, but they can see it in a different way. In the future, I would make an effort to observe each environment multiple times, informally and formally, to get a full picture of what happens in that setting. By observing an environment multiple times, I would be able to see how different situations are handled and how

my student would work within the setting on a day to day basis. I would also speak with the student and find out how they feel the environment limits or helps them succeed. Since they will be the one who receives the accommodations and assistance, I feel like it is important for them to have input in the process. I think timing should not be a huge issue when thinking about environmental inventories. These observations can be taken during a class period with the student, by multiple people, or during spare time. I think that involving more people on this inventory will give you a broader opinion of the different environments and will also take some of the responsibility off of your shoulders. Some of these observations are taken outside of school, and some could even be taken in your own classroom. Environmental inventories are great ways to get a deeper understanding of the daily life of your student. I think it could be easy, hopefully, to convince people to buy in to this process if all of them are united on doing the best for the student. This process helps in finding and creating the best goals for the student by understanding where they go and who they interact with daily. Their IEP goals should not be strictly for school settings, but should be to benefit them in their futures as well as there socialization currently. This process keeps the best interests of the student in mind and allows the IEP team to make more informed decisions as to what goals would matter most to this student. We do not want to create goals that the student does not want to achieve, and it is important to make goals based on that student's interests so we know they will have intrinsic motivation to meet these goals. I think the IEP team would agree that helping a student reach goals based solely on our encouragement and reinforcement would not be beneficial for that student's quality of life. Without personal drive and passion for that goal, any student will struggle staying motivated to reach a goal.

Managing time is a skill that all teachers need in order to be effective. When conducting environmental inventories, teachers can multitask, or they can have other people conduct the inventories for them. Teaching is not only limited to the time in the classroom, and all teachers should see their job as investing in the lives of their students on a personal level and finding ways to help them succeed in their future. When looked at it from that angle, teachers should find a lot of value in environmental inventories and in understanding in more depth the environments that their students are in during the day. With that being said, there are many demands on a teacher's time, but I believe that this hits the heart of teaching, which is meeting the needs of each specific student and helping them reach the goals they are passionate about. This process of environmental inventory should be a priority for teachers, either formally, or informally, and will help them find ways to keep their students motivated. If a student is given goals that directly translate to the situations they are in daily, they will see the relevance of the goals, and, hopefully, remain motivated to meet those with intrinsic motivation and reinforcement.