Global Educators Cohort Program - Teacher Education

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We Are Studying:
Tommy, Aaron, Brittaney, Amber: Emotional/Behavior Disorder (oppositional/defiant also if desired)
Madi, Joey: "Margaret"-- studying the phenomenon and effects of social exclusion/bullying, NOT "what's wrong with weird kids?"-- okay to do some disability theory if desired
Sarah, Danielle, MIranda: Cognitive Impairment
Jillian, Erica : Speech/Language Impairment
Mallory and Abby: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Amanda, TIna, Cory: PTSD
Ally, Ian, Jessi, Colleen: The Autism Spectrum
Matt, Allison F, Emily: Klinefelter's Syndrome
Alison Lux: OCD


PTSD Fact Sheet: by Amanda, Cory, and Tina

by Allison, Matt and Emily

by Mallory and Abby

Introduction and Purpose:

“Special education” is no longer a field encompassing only those who have chosen this particular area of specialization. The push for mainstreaming and inclusion has resulted in many students, who once were educated in isolation, now becoming a part of the general education system. While special education is not new, the extent to which these children have been included in general education is. Teachers today must have a knowledge base of the various disabilities and exceptionalities and how to accommodate them in order to foster an equitable, productive educational experience for all learners.

There are two parts to this assignment:

Part 1 - Fact Sheet (50% of grade):

Working in pairs or groups of three, you will select a disability or exceptionality and conduct background research on your area to become an “expert” on the topic. We encourage you to select a disability or exceptionality of a student within your own classroom, so that you have first-hand knowledge of how it affects learning, social relations, emotional state, etc. You will create a fact sheet on the disability or exceptionality that will be distributed to the class and serve as a resource for others. Students are highly encouraged to think about a wide range of disabilities/exceptionalities and to consider even those that are less commonly discussed.

Five components are required:

  1. Characteristics of the disability/exceptionality – What characteristics are common and which are less common? Are some characteristics more prevalent at different ages? A full discussion of the characteristics should be included.
  2. Misconceptions about the disability/exceptionality. What misconceptions exist? How do these misconceptions affect the teaching and learning of students?
  3. Accommodations for individual student. What effective practices can teachers implement in their classrooms to assist children who have the disability/exceptionality? Are some accommodations more effective?
  4. Resources for additional information. What can someone read to find out more about the disability/exceptionality? Is there a national organization that provides useful information? Be sure to provide a list of online resources you recommend.
  5. Curricular modification. What are ways you or your cooperating teacher have modified the curriculum to assist a student with this disability or exceptionality? (If it turns out there are no students in your classroom with the disability or exceptionality you select, write a hypothetical example of curricular modification). Consult the Tomlinson book for ideas.

The format of the fact sheet is up to you. You might consider making a simple brochure/flyer.

Note: Privacy and protection of the students are of critical importance. Use objective language, rather than evaluative language, to describe the students’ behavior. Avoid working from a deficit model (i.e., what the student cannot do) and instead focus on what capabilities the student does have. I can help you with this; check with me or with your mentor if you are unsure if certain language works professionally. Do NOT use any student’s real name (use a pseudonym) and do not include photographs of the child. You may include photographs of the student’s desk area (provided no names are shown) and parts of the classroom that have been modified to help the students, with your mentor teachers’ approval.

Note: you may choose more than one disability/exceptionality to focus on if there are several that you are interested in. Check with your instructor ahead of time.

Please save the assignment as FactSheet_NameOfExceptionality and post to the wiki the day you present.

Each group’s fact sheet will be made available to the entire class on the wiki so that you have a set of resources on select special needs. I recommend that you download this before the semester ends so that you will be able to access it after you can no longer log onto the MSU wikis.

Part 2 – Presentation (50% of grade):

In addition to preparing the fact sheet as described above, you will present your newly developed expertise on the disability/exceptionality to the class. You will present the information on your fact sheet (using a multi-media presentation), but you should not simply read through the sheet. Instead, you should think about what information is most important and elaborate on the issues discussed on your fact sheet. Additionally, you should be prepared to answer questions on your topic. The presentation should last no more than ten minutes.


You will be evaluated on the following criteria:

1) The fact sheet provides in-depth information in all five areas listed above.

2) The writing is clear and the information is well organized.

3) The presentation was clear and thoughtful. It highlighted important aspects of the disability/exceptionality and provided useful ideas for teachers.