Thursday, October 14, 2010

Out from under my rock!

I feel as though I need to reintroduce myself. One, I have been slacking in the blog department. School and being at my placement has kept me pretty busy over the past month-ish. I apologize to any avid readers I have out there (in my dreams). Secondly, I have a new title thanks to my placement: Ms. Erika. Well, this all came about because my supervisor has the exact same name as I do, spelled with a "c" instead of a "k." Think that's weird? Well, we also have the same middle initial of "L." ::Cue Twilight Zone Music:: All in all it seems fitting to be Ms. Erika, especially since I'm not ready to be a ma'am or Ms. Johnson quite yet.

Classes
I have now been a part of the MSPP community for over a month and have settled in nicely to make classes there. I feel pretty lucky I am fresh out of undergraduate school because it's an easy transition to readings, writing papers, and tests. Granted, those are not activities I enjoy. I still long for the warm days of summer, especially since Fall has taken over New England. Let me remind you of the classes I'm taking.
  1. Statistics--Not too terrible yet. I didn't do so well in undergraduate, so let's hope second time is a charm.
  2. Practicum--This is where we discuss our placements, ethics, people skills, etc. It's really training us to be in the field.
  3. Instructional Assessment and Intervention--This class is teaching us about different assessment tools and interventions to use. So far we have focused heavily on reading, which is what many of our students will have difficulty with in the elementary level. I have administered the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills) at the K-2 level and am Progress Monitoring an English Language Learner (ELL) student. I am also learning the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test 3 (WIAT 3). This one I have to practice a bit more before I am comfortable using it in the field.
  4. Educating Students with Special Needs--In this class I am learning the ins and outs of special education, disabilities, eligibility, and Response to Intervention (RtI).
  5. Lifespan Development--Here we are going through the developmental stages humans encounter, beginning at infancy/attachment through death.
So far my workload is pretty heavy on reading. Papers haven't been too terrible and the grading seems fair. I had my first test yesterday and I was pretty happy after I finished. We'll see how well I do in a few weeks.

Elementary School Placement

At my placement I have two supervisors, one who is the Evaluation Team Facilitator and the other who is one of two school psychologists. Both are trained as school psychologists. So far I have done a lot of observations. I'm trying to spread myself out in different aged classrooms to become more exposed to different age groups and teaching styles. As I said before I administered the DIBELS and also learned the Early Screening Inventory (ESI). I've been helping staff administer the ESI to the K-1 classrooms at the school. Luckily, my coursework requires me to observe particular things, such as a reading lesson, and reflect on that. I also take part in Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meetings. Hopefully, I can become a more active participant later in the year.

Here are some facts about my placement
  • largest elementary school in Boston
  • full inclusion model of education (meaning students with and without disabilities receive their education side by side)
  • vision and dental clinic on site
  • Supplementary Educational Services, after school program
  • focus on the Arts (music, art, dance) and Technology
I am also a part of an initiative through MSPP and the Children's Institute called Primary Project. The program provides opportunities for children who are having minor school adjustments (as seen in assertiveness and mood) to participate in self led play. Each week the child goes to a 30 minute session with an MSPP School Psychology student to play. In the session the child chooses what activity they would like to do, such as play dough, dress up, etc. I am the site coordinator for my cohort at my placement and have been busy getting everything ready. Tomorrow we have a meeting to discuss students that will be participating in the program.

I think this pretty much brings everyone up to speed on what I've been doing in my professional/academic life.

Until next thyme,
Erika

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