Standard 8. Teachers use effective communication as the vehicle through which students explore, conjecture, discuss, and investigate new ideas.
8.1 use a variety of communication strategies (e.g., listening, restating ideas, questioning, offering, counter examples) to engage students in learning
8.2 use a variety of modes of communication (e.g., verbal, visual, kinesthetic) to promote student learning
8.3 use technological advances in communication, including electronic means of collecting and sharing information, to enrich discourse in the classroom and the school
8.4 emphasize oral and written communication through the instructional use of discussion, listening and responding to the ideas of others and group interaction
8.5 seek knowledge of and demonstrate sensitivity to the particular communication needs of all students
Artifact #1: Six Dots and Braille activity cards
Six dots: A story of young Louis Braille by Jennifer Bryant (2016) tells the true story of Louis Braille (1809-1859) from his perspective as a blind child determined to pursue an education despite his blindness and the many obstacles he faced every day. He attended the Royal School in Paris and was frustrated by the lack of books for the blind, an obstacle that set him off on a long quest to invent an accessible reading system. Braille ultimately found success by simplifying a military coding technique, creating the Braille system blind people use to this day.
This story was read to the 4th grade classes to increase their knowledge and empathy for people living with a visual impairment, such as a 4th grade student in their classes, Grace. Grace was able to answer many questions we all had about Braille and instruct us how to read the code. Students had an opportunity to feel their names in Braille on special cards that were created for them with the school’s Braille machine. Students also had an opportunity to write their own Braille code in colored dots on paper for their friends to decipher.
How artifact demonstrates meeting the standard:
This artifact demonstrates meeting standard 8 because a variety of communication modes were used: verbal – the read aloud, kinesthetic – feeling the Braille code, visual – writing the Braille alphabet in the six dot code configuration to write additional words. All of the modes of communication promoted learning of a different written language, the history behind this sensory language, and developing empathy for the blind community, especially of a fellow student.
This artifact also demonstrates meeting standard 8 because it required me to seek additional knowledge of a student’s need through her aide and braille coach. I communicated with both specialists to determine if this book and activity would be helpful or embarrassing for her to help me with in front of her peers. I also asked the braille specialists to help me create special cards with all the students’ names written in braille for the class activity.
Why I chose this artifact:
I chose this artifact to demonstrate mastery of standard 8 because I am proud of the effort, ideas, and outcome of this lesson. I was excited to learn something new with my 4th grade students that would help us all to practice sensitivity to another student. I was careful to ask questions before the lesson to make sure Grace would be comfortable with the extra attention about how she reads. Once I learned she would be thrilled at the opportunity to teach all of us and answer questions, I was able to turn this idea into a teachable lesson we could all learn from. We all learned greatly from the book, from Grace’s explanations, and from our practice with the six dot code known as Braille.
Bryant, J. (2016). Six dots: A story of young Louis Braille. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.