I’ve been to my practicum site the past three Fridays now and I’m starting to get the hang of it. Every school has its own culture. So, just figuring out the way a school operates and how staff members interact with each other is a practicum requirement in itself. As I am splitting my time between a middle school and high school, I also have to remember my way around each school. I was all over the place today!
My supervisor has a lot of approaching deadlines, so I had my own schedule. While my supervisor completed a gifted evaluation and attended meetings, I started my day at a parochial school. My supervisor rarely has time for anything other than conducting assessments, writing reports, and attending meetings so I volunteered to observe for her and sharpen my observation skills. I brought a few different observation systems with me to get more practice (and in case I messed one up) and observed a 6th grade student in his religion, science, and math classes. After my observation, I spoke with the principal and math learning support specialist. The information gleaned from my observations and discussions supported the potential diagnoses and recommendations that my supervisor was considering.
After spending three hours at the parochial school, I raced on over to meet a high school math teacher before her lunch break was over to pick up some algebra CBMs (curriculum based measurements) that I had created for the student referred for emotional and math concerns. The previous Friday, the student’s math teacher and I discussed academic concerns. We decided to get some baseline data through CBMs to see what skills she has mastered and to track progress. In the afternoon, I interviewed the student to get to know her better and find out more about her attitude toward school. When the student walked into the office, she looked confused and like she thought she was in trouble. I told her we were going to hang out and chat and that’s what we did. The student didn't allude to any trouble in math. But when I picked up the CBMs today, I noted that the student didn’t complete many of the problems, which leads me to believe that she lacks an understanding of skills related to algebra (as opposed to her just not wanting to do the work). In addition to speaking with her math and chemistry teachers, I might speak with a few others to more fully understand her academic weaknesses.
Then I went over to the middle school and found information for an 8th grade student that I could observe. This student had been in an alternative school and recently returned to the public middle school. However, when I got to the science classroom, the teacher informed me that the student was absent! And so it goes… There are some behavioral concerns so I might begin a behavioral case consultation with his teachers because this is a practicum requirement. When I got back to my supervisor’s office, she had not returned from her meeting yet so I scored, contemplated, and synthesized all the information I had compiled during my observations. I had about an hour to organize all of the information from the day. When my supervisor returned, we reviewed my observational data and discussed potential next steps in the case consultation process. I enjoy reviewing my day with my supervisor because it allows me to process what I did that day. It’s also good to bounce ideas off of each other because sometimes, another perspective is needed when you’ve been staring at a report all day.
Next week, I will begin some assessments and hopefully begin that behavior case consultation. Happy weekend everyone!