Chelsea

Chelsea is an eleven-year-old who is entering the sixth grade. She looks forward to "starting over" with new teachers and classes. Chelsea is known for her song writing and acting talents. During the summer, she directs and leads her neighborhood friends in plays that she creates. She has recently become fascinated with fashion and has spent hours creating elaborate costumes for her productions. She loves to sing and act and has been chosen for numerous solos in school concerts and plays. She also organizes the productions, designs and paints sets, and orchestrates ticket sales with her friends. On the stage, she is outspoken and confident, however, she displays a different role in the classroom.

Chelsea is well respected by adults and peers because of her positive attitude towards everything and everyone. She never passes up an opportunity to help her classmates, neighbors, teachers, and family. It is very seldom that anyone sees Chelsea without a smile and a kind word. She is an extremely talented "actress" because those smiles and acts of kindness mask the internal battle she constantly fights. Chelsea struggles in all subjects when she is faced with text. Science and math offer her "roller coaster" days. Although the textbooks are confusing to her, Chelsea loves doing science experiments and working with math manipulatives. Her "ups and downs" in math and science also derail her performance in language arts class. She is a great speller, has neat handwriting, and loves telling stories she creates, however, she avoids class discussions and writing assignments. Her responses are short and non-elaborative. She finds long explanations and directions complicated and confusing. Although Chelsea is a strong oral reader, she is unable to find main ideas and struggles with summarizing and making inferences. To compensate for these difficulties, she concentrates on what is being said and tries to connect new information to her personal experiences.

Along with Chelsea, her parents and teachers are concerned about the academic challenges that lie ahead in the upcoming years. They are proud of Chelsea's efforts, but want to help her avoid losing her positive attitude toward school.

Strengths:

  • Has singing and dramatic talents
  • Is creative and artistic (writing songs and plays, designing costumes and sets)
  • Is well-respected
  • Is helpful and kind
  • Has a positive attitude
  • Is a great speller
  • Shows strong organizational skills
  • Has neat handwriting
  • Is a good storyteller
  • Is a strong oral reader/decoder
  • Uses personal experience to learn new information

Affinities:

  • Fashion and costume design
  • Singing and acting
  • Science labs
  • Math manipulatives
  • Storytelling
  • Designing and painting sets

Areas in Need of Improvement:

  • Difficulty understanding text she reads
  • Avoids class discussions and writing tasks
  • Finds explanations and directions complicated and confusing
  • Gives short, non-elaborative responses orally and written
  • Unable to find main ideas
  • Struggles with summarizing and making inferences

Possible Management Plan:

The first step in management is a discussion with Chelsea about the reasons behind some of her difficulties in understanding, and the resulting academic struggles. It is important to make Chelsea aware of her strengths and areas in need of improvement, as well as to instill a sense of optimism for improvement. Development of a management plan may include a balance of accommodations and interventions, as well as an integration of Chelsea's strengths and affinities.

Chelsea needs help with reading comprehension on the sentence level where the syntax or word order doesn't register meaning. She also needs help understanding the literate language used in the classroom and in textbooks and determining important information.

Leveraging Strengths and Affinities:

  • Provide Chelsea with reading materials that tap into her love of fashion and drama (e.g., fashion magazines and plays). Give Chelsea the assignment of creating her own questions.
  • Use song lyrics to teach main idea, summarization, and inference skills.

Accommodations and Interventions:

  • Preview, repeat, and summarize important points. Give advanced warning when an important piece of information is about to be presented.
  • Use tape recorders to record lessons and class discussions. Create a cassette library of taped lessons and discussions for students to check out.
  • Use summary charts and tables to reinforce her understanding of complex concepts, ideas, and activities.
  • Allow Chelsea to highlight important information in textbooks.
  • Provide partially completed pacing guides to denote important information while reading. Gradually reduce the amount of information provided on the guide.