Students With Special Needs Using Project Based Learning

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Modern teachers generally work with individual classes in which students are approximately the same age however, they undoubtedly possess a wide array of needs. My current task as a teacher remains the same as 100 years ago when students were schooled in a one room school house. I am still faced with deciding how to divide my time, resources, and the best methodologies needed to provide an efficient learning experience for all students. A growing question that I have as a 21st century teacher concerns not only differentiating instruction but motivating students to be empowered to take the initiative in the learning process. Which leads me to the question: How do I differentiate instruction for students with special needs using project-based learning? Currently, I am facilitating the English learning of ninth and tenth grade students who are predominately African American and from a lower socio-economic status. They have a wide range of needs including students who are English language learners, some who are more than five years behind in literacy, one who is home bound and another who has Asperger’s. This is just an example of the array of students that will be the focus of this action research plan. Another challenge that we face, as a class, is being limited in both resources and class time. Unfortunately, the school does not provide technology except for a small computer lab that is easily accessible to all students. It tends to be overcrowded, unorganized and frequently in use without a schedule. Class time is limited for the students for several different reasons. The main reason being that students prefer to roam the halls making excuses about where they should be instead of actually being there. Another reason is lack of ... ... middle of paper ... ...and creative with their projects then expected. They were able to take the lead and work cooperatively. This is not to say there were not set back but nothing that impeded the process. As a result of seeing students work cooperatively in differentiated groups I have changed the classroom seating arraignment to groups versus the “U-shaped” all eyes on the teachers seating. Each group deliberately consist of students with different abilities and strengths. The best outcome of implementing project based learning was that it motivated special needs students to come to class. Our biggest challenge will probably be in keeping up with project based learning. In general, the school is very unorganized and teachers do not collaborate on lessons, engaging students in the learning process or anything. We spend a lot of time dealing with un-organization and discipline issues.
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