Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Should I Care About Project Alpha?

It is hard to remember that not everyone understands what is going on inside my head. To be utterly frank: neither do I. But that is part of the writing process: giving the reader a window to my mind so things that I want to see and do are similar to that picture I have in my head.

So why have I spent just about every waking, free, moment in my life writing recently about and for Project Alpha for ParaEducate?

Project Alpha, believe it or not, started over seven years ago. Except it wasn't even a project back then. It was called "treading water" , "getting through the day", or "cutting back work loads for students". It was recognized that not all the students with moderate to severe disabilities were able to do the classwork as outlined by the teacher. So we started stepping back and looking at what really was important for each lesson/unit/life. And that's where this started. We have binders of work.

And then most recently, with Megan and Jenny, we realized, that people all over the country are doing this. Some with more success than others. And so then we started asking ourselves 'how'.
How about doing this so no one has to struggle finding these resources?
How about doing this so a student who has a severe disability isn't just sitting in the corner coloring when they could be helping in a lab experiment?
How about doing this so a student can learn the vocabulary, and be held accountable to learn the same information their peers are?
How about doing this so a student can prove the are as successful as their peers?
How about doing this so a student with a moderate disability can figure out what the topic is really about so they don't feel so anxious about the test?

It has taken quite a bit of research to at least get enough information to provide the framework for a student to read. And then more research to get each page done correctly, providing accurate illustrations. On top of that, we are doing some special things with layout so a student can not be confused by additional information. And then: we have to go through and check to make sure we're aligned with Common Core Standards.

I will be posting an early draft of some Geology we have done back 4 years ago. The reason I'm posting it now, is we've reopened using some of the materials and we've engaged students in a reading class (not a science class). But the fundamentals are the same. The fundamentals are important. The students are showing us that they need this. I'm really glad they are getting to use it.

No comments:

Post a Comment