Metacognition and Executive Function in Lesson Planning:<br />Increasing students with disabilities self awareness and self advocacy through literature.<br />Yale University Fellows<br />Kenwood Academy<br />January 20th 2009<br />Kevin B. Higgins, MS/SPED<br />
Objective: <br /> For transitioning students to increase their understanding of:<br />Learning styles/modalities<br />Processing<br />Multiple intelligences<br />Strengths and deficits<br />Intervention strategies and self advocacy skills <br />
Methodology:<br />Present in a five part series of advisory lessons, leading theories of cognitive processes. <br />Facilitate student discussion and reflection of these theories. <br />Apply such knowledge to the literary analysis of Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes.<br />
Given a set of 15 minute ‘Advisory’ periods, a series of mini-lessons were created to enhance students’ self awareness of brain functioning and processing as it applies to their school day…<br />
Mini Lesson 1: Input Modalities<br /><ul><li>touch (that includes texture, size, temperature);
vision (that includes color, background, patterns);
speech, vision, movement (that includes whole body, arm and finger);
hearing (including both them hearing themselves and them hearing outside speech). </li></ul>Discuss with students the pathways by which information enters our sensory input. <br />Illustrate such inputs and have students name particular lessons/activities they’ve enjoyed/benefited from. <br />Sort those into which input modality is best related. <br />
Mini Lesson 2: Processing<br />Discuss Chalfant’s Crate, the implications of input/output modalities and different types of processing. <br />Provide examples and ask students for elaboration of how memory, attention and concept formation are used in school.<br />
Mini Lesson 3: Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences<br />Discuss the notion that people can be ‘smart’ in many ways, summarize various intelligences.<br />Ask students to reflect on and list their individual intelligences.<br />
Mini Lesson 4: Bloom’s Taxonomy<br />Discuss ‘weight’ in thinking referring to previously mastered skills such as SQR, Extended Response and other curricular examples of higher order thinking. <br />Have students generate a set of questions on a mastered skill, such as a folk tale or familiar poem, and have them quantify the questions by difficulty in relation to Bloom. <br />
Mini Lesson 5: Summary<br />Have students create reflective journal entries regarding their:<br />Perceived Learning Styles<br />Multiple Intelligences<br />Processing Strengths <br />Examples of higher order questions from the Bloom discussion<br />
Literature Component:<br />The group of students involved in this series of lessons is 10 8th grade students with disabilities in the Language Arts domain. <br />The mean reading level (using KTEA/ISAT/BRI data) is aggregated at 3.6 gl, with significant deficits in written expression and conventions.<br />Instruction was differentiated through the use of paired reading, assistive technologies such as Kurzweil software and Franklin speaking dictionaries, tracking reading and abridged texts. <br />Daily readings were discussed keying on elements of plot, setting, theme and characterization. Inference, prediction/outcome, KWL and SQR strategies were employed daily.<br />Students were charged with the responsibility of playing the role of Clinical Psychologists. They were to track the character Charlie’s development, and quantify the skill level/difficulty of his gains and deficits.<br />These ‘case studies’ were used as a tool for their final exams, in which they were to discuss, in writing, Charlie’s multiple intelligences and how they impacted his quality of life.<br />
Findings:<br />In private conferencing with students during subsequent Advisory Periods, certain running themes emerged from the anecdotal records…<br /><ul><li>Students were very empowered in their expanded knowledge regarding their own intellectual functioning.
Students could readily identify perceived strengths and weaknesses, often corresponding with classroom observations.
Students could identify preferred learning styles, and more importantly could vocalize those to potential future educators, as witnessed by suggestions for activities/assessments related to the lesson.
Students empathized greatly with the main character, and the difficulties he faced throughout the plot.</li></li></ul><li>Areas for improvement:<br />Streamline cognitive lessons with more tangible activities and more time for discussion.<br />Provide vocabulary study guides to assist students with rigorous grade level text, preview vocabulary in greater detail. <br />Allow greater student input to activity design. Introduce higher rigor in the written evaluation of Charlie’s progress.<br />Provide role playing for self-advocacy in educational settings.<br />
Summary:<br />It is vital for students with disabilities to be self aware of the nature and impact of their disability, while simultaneously being able to identify and implement remediation and self advocacy strategies. <br /> This increased confidence is essential to successful transitioning to high school, and hopefully serves them throughout secondary and higher education.<br />