Monday, June 18, 2018

My Determined Student

Last Thursday just wasn't a good teaching day for me, but then Friday I had a student turn that around.  I tweeted this:

She did give me permission to talk about it, so here goes: Let's call her Sarah (not her real name).

Here is her humble response when I asked for permission:

On the day before school started, I received an email to meet with other teachers about an incoming freshman student, Sarah.  Sarah had invited all her teachers into a room and shared a powerpoint about herself with us so we can understand how she can best learn.  See, Sarah has Stargardt's Disease and is going blind.  But, this was no feel sorry for me meeting.  This girl was independent and determined.  In her powerpoint, she tried to explain what it is like to see from her perspective.  She told us what she needs.  She needs green paper so there is less glare.  She needs her font sized increased to about 50.  (She does have an aide that did this for us.). She taught herself braille last summer.  She has a machine that will take a word doc and convert it into braille.  (We didn't have to do this this year.). She has a sort of Elmo thing that can enlarge my powerpoint projected.  I sent her my powerpoints and worksheets ahead of time so they could be modified.  She has special glasses too.  As I said, she is very independent.  She never complained and was just a pleasure to work with.  We learned what worked for her together.  I had her in Accelerated Algebra 1.  When I was teaching a lesson and we were working on any problem, I always read it aloud for her to write.  I am pretty sure the entire class benefited from this as well.

As the year went on, she was struggling with graphing things.  I told her we could modify her work by writing the translation in words.  Her and her aide worked on creating a tactile graph for her.  I was so shocked.  This is how she handed in 4 graphs from her final exam.  That is what warmed my heart last Friday.  She doesn't let anything stop her.  She is amazing.

Here are her graphs.  The graph paper is in braille.  The aide puts the dots on the x and y axes and then Sarah adds the dots for the points of the graph and then she used Wiki sticks to form the graphs.  So creative!!!

I did reach out to Dan Meyer and Desmos early in the year about using Desmos with her but I didn't have the time to dig into it.  I hope to this summer.  There is a good chance I could have her for the next two years.


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