MONDAY - No School, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Thank you, MLK.
We reviewed Coach Carter and some of the major themes/messages. It is a local movie (based in Richmond, about an hour away from us), so there is a lot of connecting content there.
We reviewed the answers to Famous People Matching. I showed them the Powerpoint with the pictures of each of the Famous People.
Tom Cruise has been vocal about his battle with dyslexia
We had an introduction to our Self-Advocacy Unit.
I grappled with this before beginning. I feel like I struggle with how to talk about students about their own disabilities. In researching, I've learned that this is a taboo topic. Parents often have difficulty talking to students about their disabilities and have been known to avoid it. But, I'm learning that some students actually get great relief from talking about their disabilities, and to know that they are not alone in their learning challenges. It is also a great practice to work on describing their own disability, because it is not something they often have the opportunity to practice.
This is how I explained it:
"Everyone in here has an IEP. Everyone here has an exceptional way of learning. You all have strengths -- with some, insane strengths, and you all have weaknesses. All of you have something in common -- your weakness has been related to learning. That doesn't mean that you won't ever change, it means that you have to learn which things will help you learn on your journey. I gravitate towards the belief that when you have a relative weakness in something, you have a relative strength in another area. I think this is true of you all.
Studies have shown that this kind of learning -- called compensation learning -- or, figuring out to learn because you are compensating for a weakness -- is the most powerful kind of learning. Malcom Gladwell, author of The Outliers coined this phrase. He says: "People who lack certain skills — for dyslexics, the ability to read easily — make up for the weakness in other, often more important, areas." He calls this strategic disadvantage. I love Malcom Gladwell because his work personifies the advantage in being disadvantaged -- a belief I also share.
Gladwell goes on to talking about dyslexics, who see their disabilities as an advantage. He calls it "desirable difficulty." For example, just because I make a task easier doesn't mean that you learn it more fully. On the contrary, if I make a task harder, your learning of the task is more powerful. He also discusses entrepreneurs who are able to overcome their obstacles -- when they get to be successful business owners, solving major problems just becomes second nature to them.
We then went over just a brief overview of disability laws (We'll go into this more in-depth later), and some common workplace accommodations. I discussed a couple of "Did you know?" Accommodation questions.
We took some notes on what Self-Advocacy is:
The biggest takeaway I wanted students to leave with was "THIS IS YOUR LIFE." That is why self-advocacy is important. No one can make these decisions but themselves. They will have to speak up for themselves more than other people. They will have to ask for services. They will have to know what their rights are and what their responsibilities are.
Then, students had a survey titled "What do you know about yourself and your disability?"
For homework, students are working on a worksheet titled "Define Your Disability"
Students have 1 copy for themselves, and they have another copy to give to a trusted adult.
This lesson was more greater in engagement that I ever thought it would be. I have a higher functioning student in the class that sometimes appears disengaged -- I figure, she thinks that some of this stuff she "already knows". For this topic, she perked up. She was interested in accommodations, and what college would be like. She actually raised her hand and when I came over she was asking about how her IEP would work in college. She asked if there would be regular meetings with a Case Manager. Some of my other quieter students were also engaged in the Defining My Disability handout. Another one of the students wanted to give it to her mother because she was curious about what her mother would say.
Tomorrow, we will be going over the Advantages/Disadvantages of Disclosure and possible points of disclosure in the job process. We will also have a guest speaker starting tomorrow, from FutureProfits, which is a non-profit organization that teaches students about money management. I'm super excited to learn with the students!
Students took notes on Special Education laws (IDEA vs. ADA) as we continue to learn about Self-Advocacy.
Future Profits was launched today! FutureProfits is an education program that partners with local public high schools in the SF Bay Area. FutureProfits targets under-resourced high school students at-risk of being caught in generational cycles of poverty. Through this program, they teach about fundamental financial paradigms, life and job skills, and combat myths about money that can be detrimental to student's futures.
The students took a survey about their money habits, which asked questions like "do you think before you spend your money?" and asked them about money topics they would like to learn about in the semester.
They asked for a volunteer, and they asked him to think about something that he bought in the last week. He bought BEATS headphones. They diagrammed this on the board to model the "cash-in"/"cash-out" cycle.
Then, students did an activity in which they were given pretend cash and spending categories, and asked to divvy up their "cash-in" according to categories. It brought up so many good conversations about priorities.
I got the pretend money off Amazon here.
Seeing how students will have a lifelong relationship with money, and that money is the #1 thing that couples fight about, I am excited about the important conversations we will have as a classroom.
I had to be out to attend Articulation, where we begin our meetings to prepare for the incoming 9th graders.
Students worked on hand outs for good/bad reasons to call out for a job, trustworthiness on the job, and ways to call out sick.