Observation and Volunteering at Fossil Ridge High School
At Fossil Ridge High School, I get to observe a smaller, integrated art class called Fundamentals of Art and Design. I volunteer once a week for the 90 minute class to work with students with IEP’s. The class is smaller with around 18 students as opposed to the usual 36 students. There are four high needs students who need very individualized accommodations and instruction. There is one student who has an IEP but works on the same projects as the rest of the class. As for the rest of the students, there are some who have more background with technical skills.
There are many ways that the needs of the students are being met. The majority of the class is taught classroom instruction in multiple ways. For example, the current project they are working on is realistic self-portrait drawings. The pre-assessment was a quick self portrait that required the students’ best attempt to draw themselves using shading and such. The first lesson was a YouTube video on how to realistically draw an eye. Throughout the video, the teacher would stop to explain any misconceptions or confusing parts of the video. Also, the students were drawing along with the video. The next assignment was to draw detailed facial features in a worksheet. This was a skill-building activity that allowed for close observation and individual work time. Now, the final project is a self-portrait. The assignment was to use a photo as a reference to get a consistent and accurate portrait. There is the option to break the photo and the canvas down into grid format, so the more sequential thinkers of the class are able to process and create the work in a way that makes sense to them. Students also have the option to trace over the general shapes of the face, as to observe the larger features before going into detail. Finally, if neither of those options are helpful to students, they have the option to simply observe from the image and directly draw their portrait. Throughout the assignment, the teacher has broken down the project through multiple modes. She has also given a variety of ways for students to create their final art work. If students are struggling, she gives individual instruction during class.
For the exceptional learners, there are many accommodations made to ensure learning. The teacher makes different lesson plans for the high need learners. Usually, they get to explore different materials each week. There are two paraprofessionals and one volunteer for each class to work with the students. The teacher is very observant about what mediums work well with which students, so accommodations are also made within those special lesson plans for students who work better with some materials than with others. For example, one week we worked on painting. Students were able to paint whatever they chose but also had the option to paint a still-life of flowers. One student is not interested in working with two-dimensional mediums, so she was given a variety of different materials like play-dough, yarn, and rocks. During class, she created figures with the play-dough container, play-dough, and yarn. Eventually, she wanted to paint, but she was provided the resources to make her own choice.
This class has been the perfect example for how I hope to accommodate my students in the future. This teacher has taken a lot of initiative to make sure that every students is motivated to learn and excited to create art. When I am a teacher in the future, I will use many of the modifications I have observed in this class. Creating special lessons or at least having resources available for students to have a choice is really important to me. Students are not going to be motivated to work if they are not enjoying what they are doing. It is the teachers job to observe and thoughtfully create projects that will teach the transferrable skills in art as well as maintaining interest. Also, for the general class, she teaches the same skills in multiple ways and allows students to practice and repeat until understanding. I hope to find various ways to reach all kinds of learners and deliver information in a clear and concise way. There were several assignments that she observed to see how students were understanding concepts, and throughout the unit adjusted times and expectations.When I am a teacher, I hope to be as observant as she is and modify the lesson when students are not understanding a concept or skill. Another accommodation that this teacher has used is help with the class. She understands that she is not able to give the individual help for the high needs students while also trying to teach the rest of the class. She gladly took on volunteers and at the beginning of each class informs the paras and volunteer what the lesson is and how we can help out. I hope if I have the resources, I am able to utilize any help that I can.
This class has been a great example of how to adjust to the needs of all students. I hope to remember all of the accommodations that I have observed and utilize them in my own class.