Jayden (not his real name) is 8 years old and a third-grade student at Jane Long Elementary School. He has been identified as having autism and speech impairment but is gradually improving academically. His personal records show that Jayden is reading at a second-grade level. He once placed in Tier 3 reading but is now moved to Tier 2 with sustained intervention. He is very confident of his letter names and sounds and improving a little bit with decoding and comprehension. His academic difficulty in the area of reading is due to his speech impairment.
His frustration in reading sometimes leads to even more academic difficulties when he exhibits behavior problems because he also suffers from autism. Jayden has autism spectrum disorder and sometimes throws a temper tantrum when he is frustrated with academic assignments especially reading tasks. Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence assessment is used to address his behavior concerns. Jayden always demonstrates good attitude, being obedient and actively responding to teacher’s instructions, when told that he gets rewarded afterwards.
The reward system for Jayden supports the ABC framework used to control his behavior. I chose a writing strategy called text box from this week’s reading assignments to be integrated into this lesson because I thought that this would ensure Jayden’s comprehension of the selections he was reading before responding to the reading selection assessment questions. McLaughlin (2015) explained that the text box as a writing strategy is used to promote successful note taking. The text box writing strategy helps students to monitor their reading by focusing on text structure and important facts.
Originally, the text box contains two columns: the first column is for students’ notes about important facts and the second column is for students’ reflections about the text and any questions. In this lesson, I modified and adapted the text box to fit how I wanted Jayden to use it to help him comprehend the reading selections assigned to him. I changed the label of the first column from Notes to Details and the labels of the second column from Reflections and Questions to Main Idea and Possible Title, respectively.
The labels were consistent with our lesson and the exact information I wanted Jayden to write about or make notes of as he read the short selections. With the grade of 100%, I was convinced that the text box writing activity I integrated into this lesson had great impact on Jayden’s understanding of the selections he had read. He showed very satisfactory and acceptable mastery in demonstrating his skill in identifying the main idea, supporting details, and title of a reading selection. I admit that I still found that Jayden sometimes did not read unfamiliar words correctly.
However, he now tried using context clues to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words, the skill he learned more in-depth last week. While developing this lesson, one difficulty I had was thinking that Jayden might feel bored with me explaining our lesson on identifying main idea, details, and title of a text using the YouTube video clip, Main Idea and Details (https://www. youtube. com/watch? v=mjjYRI3QCTs). Prior to this, Jayden would have watched already a YouTube video clip, Introduction to Reading Skills: Identify main idea and supporting details (https://www. youtube. com/watch? v=42SJTk2XSi4) as a motivation activity.
However, I found out that using the YouTube video clip in explaining our lesson made Jayden even more attentive. In fact, he was more attentive to the video clip than to me asking him scaffolding questions during his video guided practice. The positive part I experienced in developing this lesson was the easiness of using the text box as a writing strategy. It was just easy for me to create the text box template because I simply I changed the original label of the first column from Notes to Details and the original labels of the second column from Reflections and Questions to Main Idea and Possible Title, respectively.
While implementing the text box writing strategy using the templates: Text Box for Reading Selection 1 (Appendix C), Text Box for Reading Selection 2 (Appendix D), and Text Box for Reading Selection 3 (Appendix E), one difficulty I encountered was requiring Jayden to write the details in his own words. Sometimes, he wanted to use a word but he did not know how to spell it. The positive part I experienced in implementing the text box writing strategy is that Jayden fully understood what he would write in all the components of the template.
The modeling I did in using the text box strategy worked well for him. If I would reteach this lesson because Jayden did not pass the summative assessment: Identifying Main Ideas and Details Reading Selection 1 (Appendix F), Identifying Main Ideas and Details Reading Selection 2 (Appendix G), and Identifying Main Ideas and Details Reading Selection 3 (Appendix H), I would try using another writing strategy called structured notetaking. I would prepare the structured notetaking by creating a graphic organizer that includes illustrations as visual support for Jayden.
Lastly, just like in all assignments I had in previous weeks, this week’s assignment taught me to be very versatile and creative in using a teaching strategy that fits my purpose. In the previous weeks, I learned to modify and adapt reading strategies to teach content. This week, I learned to modify and adapt a writing strategy called text box to teach an English Language Arts and Reading content. The text box was not originally conceptualized to be used to teach a lesson on identifying main idea, supporting details, and title of a reading selection, but I made it work to teach this lesson.
The skill of modifying and adapting any teaching materials or strategies to meet my students’ needs is what I like to practice and apply more in the near future when I become a full-time special education teacher. I believe that my special needs students will surely benefit more on adaptive learning activities. After all, they literally and legally need adaptations in order to survive academically and nonacademically. However, even with English language learners, gifted students, or regular students, adapting their learning activities is what helps me differentiate my instruction and meet their individual needs.