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Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

Samantha Gibbons, Reading Specialist at Greenburgh Academy says, “Students in my self-contained class, ranging in age from 12 to 15, often find staying on task for an entire lesson a significant challenge. However, when I developed a lesson using the EDI Lesson Plan template, the students were engaged and excited the entire period. By the end of the lesson every student demonstrated mastery of the literary strategy that was taught!

What did Samantha’s lesson look like?

I planned a lesson that addressed each of the components of EDI:

  • I had a clearly stated objective for students to learn the literary element of flashback.
  • I activated prior knowledge by showing a clip from the video The Lion King.
  • Using the clip, I talked about lesson importance and modeled the concept and skill development.
  • I engaged students in guided practice as the students read the chapter where the character had a flashback and made connections between the flashback in the video clip and the book.
  • Students then independently practiced identifying flashbacks and illustrating them.
  • During lesson closure the students answered questions and shared their work, demonstrating mastery of the learning objective.
  • Throughout the lesson I checked for understanding, verifying that students were learning.

What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

  • EDI allows the teacher and students to be active participants in their learning.
  • The components of EDI help students feel more confident, and therefore excited, as learners.
  • Planning using the EDI framework has helped me as a teacher to make my instruction intentional, purposeful and consistent. I love it!
Elizabeth Peralta from Scholastic Academy in Yonkers City Schools sees her students becoming excited, actively engaged and self-directed in their learning.

What strategies has Elizabeth been implementing that result in improved student outcomes?
  • White board and dry erase marker for each student: “I love how I can immediately monitor all of my students’ responses and reteach the skill right away if needed. All students are actively engaged and they love them!”
  • Non-volunteers with popsicle sticks: “First, I ask a question and then select a stick. Students are all engaged because they don’t know whose name will be chosen. In the past, I used to call on the same students because those students were willing to participate. When I used to call on students who didn’t want to participate, they thought I was picking on them. Now, it is simple and fair. I also notice students get excited when their names are selected.”
  • Think-Pair-Share: “I have noticed that my students are formulating better responses since they have time to think. Students who are usually reluctant to speak out loud are now more comfortable sharing their responses with a classmate. I love to see all of my students engaged and becoming better active listeners.”
  • Sit up, Listen, Ask/Answer, Nod/Notes and Track the Teacher (SLANT): “I am amazed at how effective this command can be. It is brief and I get my students’ attention immediately. Most of the time it works, but there are times that some of my students are distracted so they do not respond to the command. When this occurs, I then begin to praise the students who are exhibiting the behavior and the students who were not responding begin to follow.”


What can we learn from this Bright Spot?

  • When teachers use strategies that ensure all students are responding all the time, engagement and learning improves.
  • Teaching students simple routines for focusing behavior, decreases distractions and increases the time they spend on instructional tasks.


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