Project . Based Learning: . An . Approach for Implementing Meaningful Instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum . Rachel Schles, M.Ed., TVI. Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax, Virginia. November 19, 2015. ID: 577172
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Student Portfolios and Project Based Learning: An Approach for Implementing Meaningful Instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum
Rachel Schles, M.Ed., TVI
Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax, Virginia
November 19, 2015
Getting in Touch With Literacy
Project Based Learning
Scenario 2: 4
Portfolios for All Students
Student Work Samples
Projects & the IEP
ECC & IDEA
Why teach the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)?
IDEA mandates that academic and
functional performance and outcomes
must be address in the evaluation for an IEP (IDEA 300.304) and development of an IEP (IDEA 300.320).
For students with VI:
unctional Outcomes = Expanded Core Curriculum
How can we provide engaging & meaningful ECC instruction?Slide4
Project Based Learning (PBL)
Project Based Learning
challenges students to solve real-world problems. Teachers provide mini-lessons throughout the process to guide students on content knowledge and developing a meaningful final product.
Emphasis on 21
Century Skills (The 4 C’s)
Key component for students w/VI—provides an
outside of themselves to share the results of their lessons w/TVI.Slide5
8 Essentials of PBL
Significant Content (Alignment with ECC skills [standards])A Need to Know (Why is this relevant?)A Driving Question (Clearly summarizes the problem)Student Voice & Choice (Students make choices throughout the process, within project guidelines)21st Century Competencies (The 4 C’s)In-depth Inquiry (Asking questions and creating answers)Critique and Revision (Allow time for reflecting and editing)Public Audience (Sharing results with non-TVI)
ECC & PBL – What Does this Look Like?
Sample Driving Question:
You are finally on your own at college! How can you, as a student with a visual impairment, communicate your needs to your professors and other school personnel while securing the accommodations and tools you need to succeed?
Lesson/mini projects might include: ADA & testing accommodations, dorm life/Independent living skills, transportation, disability services, securing optical devices, communicating with professors,
Page 1: Resources on PBL & ECC
Page 2: Draft IEP GoalsSlide7
Scenario 1: 4th Grade Student
grade student with albinism in general education classroom
Acuity - 20/200
Rarely advocating/not using accommodations & tools
Very upset about having albinism/VI and being different
Reluctant to work with TVI
VI services (pull out)
IEP goals were self-advocacy and typing
The situation frustrating for both student and teacher.
Stop, Drop, and Regroup!Slide8
Scenario 1: Continued
Completed an Essential Assessment (EA) (including observations, direct assessment, and student, parent, & teacher interviews)
Functional Vision Assessment
Learning Media Assessment
Expanded Core Curriculum Assessment
Student not using tools & devices because they don’t work for her! (recommended low vision exam)
Student has splinter strengths & needs in all areas of the ECC
How to address in a comprehensive IEP goal?
The process of completing the assessments initiated a change in the student’s attitude—she was learning
she had a voice
Scenario 1: Developing Portfolio
Used results of EA to develop specific PBL activities which targeted student needs, including parent & teacher concerns
See Handout 3 for complete Portfolio Rubric
Developing brief statement to explain VI condition*
Understanding Accommodations (Pros & Cons)
Class Presentation +
Note to Substitute Teachers/Support Staff +
Preparing for Low Vision Exam
Social Skills (discussing impact of VI & identifying compensatory techniques) §
* Student requested activity
+ classroom teacher requested activity
§ parent requested activitySlide10
Scenario 1: Sample (PBL) Activity
Student selected to enter the APH Unforgettable Star Contest
This was the TVI’s “in” to introduce the student to audio materials she had otherwise refused to test out.
TVI gave mini lessons throughout the process focusing on:
Introducing the technology (Book Port Plus)
How to write a cheat-sheet
Modeling appropriate language to discuss the device
Technology lessons infused throughout as student used a computer to draft and edit her scriptSlide11
Student Work Sample 1 – Letter to Substitute Teachers & Staff
My name is
I have a visual impairment (Albinism). I wanted to tell you this just in case there is a book with pictures and I move up close. If there is something on the white board and I pull out something that looks like a mini telescope (AKA my monocular) don’t be alarmed! My monocular helps me see far away and the monitor on my desk helps me see the things on the smart board. Also if I don’t move up close it just means that I can see it and you don’t need to remind me to go close up. And one last thing, I am also very smart (and pretty) so you do not have to worry about anything.
Scenario 1: Summary
Rather than IEP goals focusing on skills the student didn’t connect with (typing and self-advocacy), the Portfolio Project allowed the student to have a say in what she was learning and immediately see how skills were relevant to her.
(While working on typing and self-advocacy!)
Student engagement increased as time progressed, and projects always directly related to student interests:
Developed a screenplay to teach peers about the parts of the eye
Wrote & illustrated an original children’s book about a girl who did not want anyone to know she had a VI, and how she became comfortable with herself.
Made a bullet-pointed Pros/Cons list for Explaining Accommodations activity, and while the student felt she did less work because she used bullet points instead of paragraphs, she still met all the criteria for a 4 on that activity.Slide13
Scenario 2: 10th Grade Student
grade student in honors/advanced classes
Acuity - 20/100
Advocating for needs in class
Tools/accommodations working well
1 hour/month of vision services (pull out)
Annual IEP due at the start of the school year, so TVI completed informal parent & student interviews
Questions focused on long/short-term goals
Used ECC Screening Tool/Checklist to guide conversationSlide14
Scenario 2: Portfolio
See Handout 2 for complete Portfolio Rubric
College Planning (exploring Disability Services)
Understanding IEP and Eye Reports
Mentoring a younger student w/VI
Interviewing a professional w/VISlide15
Scenario 2: Sample (PBL) Activity
Interviewing a Professional (with/VI)
Prior to Interview:
Student researched roles & responsibilities of the profession
Developed list of questions for the professional
essons focused on:
Assistive technology skills while researching
Appropriate written language in
a formal email
Progression of academic degrees (BA, MA,
Guiding student reflection on the implications of what he learned
ECC Areas addressed:
Compensatory & Access and Social Skills
Career Education Skills
Scenario 2: Summary & Next Steps
ECC needs were not clearly evident because the student was independent and successful in their academic classes.
Informal assessment and the portfolio project allowed for meaningful use of the student’s direct VI services time.
For similar students, 11
grade portfolios should focus on teaching students to be their own TVI in college
Explaining their VI and accommodations to professors
Understanding their rights under ADA lawSlide17
Portfolio Rubrics for All Students
Are just becoming aware they have a visual impairment
Instruction will focus on modeling language to explain and explore accommodations (See Handout 5)
Students with multiple disabilities
Select activities as appropriate
If possible, collaborate with their teachers to incorporate their other disabilities; develop an “All About Me” portfolio project
Students who are blind/use braille
Most activities already apply to all students with VI in academic settings
Consider incorporating braille/technology into lessonsSlide18
Student Work Sample 2 – Interviewing & Social Skills
Student- Struggling braille reader, avoids all literacy activities
PBL/ECC Social Skills Unit – “Disagreeing with Adults”
Interviewed teachers to learn appropriate ways to disagree
Decided independently that she should take notes on her BrailleNote during interviews
The STUDENT CHOOSE to engage in braille literacy because she found a meaningful reason!Slide19
Handout 4: Bank of Portfolio Activities
See Handout 4 (Bank of Activities) for sample PBL activities/skills in all 9 areas of the ECC.
When developing a rubric for each student, consider long- and short-term needs.
Students may repeat some activities 2-3 times over the course of their school career as they mature/their accommodations & understanding about themselves evolves.
Every student should have a unique portfolio…but you don’t need to have a portfolio goal every year—traditional IEP goals are more appropriate to measure student progress in certain areas.
Include space for future activities so if new areas of concern arise during the IEP year, it can be incorporated into the current goal.Slide20
AccommodationsProsConsLP and LP Test(LP: Large Print)Less Strain On Eyeseasier 2 concentrate on test because I'm aloneThings blown up to precise size neededKeeps me away from friends :(Lol :)Hat and sunglassesBlocks the irritating sun from my eyesLooks cool Lol :)I can see more clearlyEasy 2 forgetNone others lol :)MonocularLess strain on eyesEasier to see from far awaySporting eventsCan see a ball in a kick returners hand when he runs to the 20 then jukes a hefty linebacker at the 30 trucks the kicker at the 40 and outruns the speedy corner to the end zoneLooks nerdyit hits me in the face when I’m sweating in PE class at the gym at ------ Elementary School with a teacher named Mrs. ----- and an epic gym with lol style equipment
Student Work Sample
Accommodations Pros & ConsSlide21
Student Work Sample 4 – College Planning
Outline enough information so that a high school student with a visual impairment would understand where to get disability services and at least 3 resources or accommodations they could get if they attended Virginia Tech or William and Mary.
Mini Lesson Topics Included
Role of disability services / no TVI after high school graduation
Navigating unfamiliar website
This PBL spanned four 30-minute sessions
Completed college search on
Website prior to this
College Planning, Continued
Virginia Tech has a program for disabled students
is called services for students with disabilities. ( SSD.) They provide different accommodations for visually impaired students. Some are extended test time, and online enlarged text books if you would like more info go to the link:
William & Mary
William & Mary have a special website for disabled students. the good thing about the program is that every semester they check in with you so if something is not working then you just have to wait till the end of the semester or if it is
then you can just talk to them about it immediately. You can also find CCTV’s in two different locations around campus. Also William & Mary make sure that the faculty makes their classes accessible.Slide23
Student Work Sample 5 –Mentoring & Low Vision Exam
Partner students at different schools to help them connect to other students with visual impairments.
Allows students to learn about different accommodations or resources from peers while giving a truly authentic audience for PBL activities– also a real reason to (practice) talking about their disability and accommodations.
Video Clip –
grade students were paired up and recorded about one video message a month for each other.
In this video, the 4
grade student had recently had a low vision exam, and is giving advice to the 1
grader who is having a low vision exam for the first time later that month.Slide24
Portfolio Goals & the IEP
Bring draft portfolio rubric to the IEP, and review each item (briefly).
Be prepared to edit and revise the portfolio based on IEP team feedback.
By outlining the portfolio in the IEP there is a transparency and credibility to what the TVI is teaching
Increased respect for TVI’s time and effort.
TVI expectations are clear to the student, and they will work for the perceived highest grade possible.
Do students do well (earn 3’s or 4’s) on activities?
Yes, because I don’t move onto the next activity until they’ve mastered the concepts in a given activity.Slide25
List of Handouts
Handout 1: Why Portfolios and Sample Goals
Handout 2: High School Sample Rubric
School Sample Rubric
Handout 4: Bank of Activities
Handout 5: Accommodations
Handouts available at: