What should Ms. Begay find out about her students before planning her curriculum units and lessons?
Page 6: Gather Information
Gathering information about each student is necessary for curricular decision-making. To do this, Ms. Begay needs to determine the level at which her students are functioning in the general education curriculum and which standards they have and have not met. She also has to figure out her students’ individual learning characteristics. Some of these are:
- Background knowledge and experience
- Learning preferences (i.e., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile)
- Academic strengths
- Academic improvement areas
- Responsiveness to instruction and correction
- Social and interpersonal behaviors
- Home language and any second language issues
- Cultural, community, and religious factors
Diane Torres-Velásquez, PhD
Associate Professor, Special Education Department University of New Mexico
Listen to Torres-Velasquez as she discusses ways to learn about a student’s language background (time: 1:45).
By developing these profiles of her students, Ms. Begay make a number of curricular and instructional decisions that can make or break student performance. Additional considerations include:
- Reading level(s) of materials
- Topics, concepts, and skills of relevance or interest
- Concepts in relation to those of students’ own cultures
- Opportunity for individual, small group, and large group instruction
- Opportunity for students and families to contribute to the classroom experiences
- How instructional material is presented
Think about one or two struggling students. Brainstorm how you would learn about their backgrounds, academic skills, and strengths and weaknesses. Identify who could help you to gather this information and how the information might inform your lesson plan.