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Aimee makes links with shapes

Reflection - what these stories exemplify

exemplar wheel

Key competencies

Aimee was able to figure out what attributes constituted each shape and was able to apply what she had learned to everyday objects she saw around her (thinking; using language, symbols, and texts). Aimee showed strengths in managing self by persevering with challenging tasks and using the resources available to her.

How might these stories strengthen Aimee’s identity as a learner?

Aimee was able to use her knowledge of the attributes of two-dimensional shapes to assist her understanding of three-dimensional shapes. She was proud of her learning and happy to share it with others verbally and in a learning story (agency). In the course of over a year, Aimee retained her learning (continuity) within the classroom and applied her knowledge during community outings (breadth). Aimee was able to tell staff and her classmates (depth) what shapes were when asked.

For more information on the four dimensions of agency, breadth, continuity, and depth (ABCDs), refer to Narrative assessment: a guide for teachers.

Learning areas

Level 1 mathematics and statistics

Aimee’s learning can be mainly linked to the geometry and measurement strand. She was able to figure out in her mind what shapes the everyday objects were.

Level 1 English

When Aimee communicated her thoughts in both oral and written form and read the shape and attribute cards, she was demonstrating strengths in the Speaking, Writing, and Presenting and Listening, Reading, and Viewing strands.

Effective pedagogy

What does this tell us about teaching and learning in this setting?

Having clear expectations and routines are essential for Aimee. Understanding her special education needs and knowing her as an individual have been crucial to her positive response to learning opportunities. Teacher aides are trained in both academic and behaviour support to assist in creating a conducive learning environment. Aimee is supported by her family and regular home–school communication, including the sharing of learning stories, has promoted effective teaching (creating a supportive environment).

Aimee used her prior knowledge of two-dimensional shapes to facilitate her learning of three-dimensional shapes (making connections to prior learning and experience). By going out in the community, Aimee was able to apply what she had learnt in the classroom further afield. Leaving resources out for Aimee to notice in her free time enabled learning to occur at her own pace, and when she was in a calm frame of mind (providing sufficient opportunities to learn).

Reflective questions for the reader

“What learning environment do you create to maximise/optimise learning for your students?”

“How do you get your support staff on board with effective pedagogy?”

“What steps do you take to gain your students’ trust?”

“How well do you understand your students’ needs and scaffold their learning?”

Useful resources

Janney, R., & Snell, M. E. (c2004). Modifying schoolwork (2nd ed.). Baltimore: P.H. Brookes Pub.

Mitchell, D. (2008). What really works in special and inclusive education: using evidence-based teaching strategies. Abingdon [England]: Routledge.

Scheuermann, B., & Webber, J. (c2002). Autism: teaching does make a difference. Australia; Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

Wagner, S. (c2002). Inclusive programming for the middle school student with autism/Asperger’s syndrome: topics and issues for consideration by teachers and parents. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc.