With the monies I received from the Target Arts, Culture & Design in Schools Grant I purchased 5 iPads for my Art classroom to teach digital art. One of the lessons that I taught was how to make stop motion videos. The students loved this project. Since there are only 5 iPads and approximately 30 students in each classroom, they obviously have to work collaboratively on the project. I was concerned as to how different ability levels and personalities would work together and be creative. One of my favorite videos was produced by a group that consisted of two non-verbal students. It was amazing to watch how the other students in the group worked with them and help them communicate what and how they wanted to add to the project. They were extremely patient and sincerely concerned about how the learning support students wanted to express their creativity. This was a true success in digital art in the art room, but more importantly, in life skills for all.
I also am very passionate about teaching. I work in a full inclusive school and my learning support students hold a very special place in my heart. I commit a significant amount of time to planning lessons, making adaptations, and supporting these students in special programs ensuring to meet the needs sited in their IEP’s. I’m not sure why I feel this special akin-ship to my students I just know that I do.
Let me share with you 5 ways I help my special needs students achieve success:
1. Provide your learning support student with a friendly and safe environment. Find out before the first day of class if they have any friends in their classroom and sit these students together. Make their friend a “buddy” to help with supplies, remind them of appropriate behaviors, or just provide moral support.
2. Give the learning support student as much time is necessary to complete the task at hand providing extra time before or after school if necessary.
3. List the steps of the process involved on a small white board for the student to follow along. As they complete a task have them erase the step to visually see their progress.
4. Communicate with the learning support teacher, classroom teacher, other colleagues, and parents. Know the students likes and dislikes and find out how they respond in their learning environment.
5. Be flexible. Some students need more instruction, re-direction, or a simple accommodation. Make whatever changes necessary for the student to feel success.
Please share your ideas I would enjoy hearing how you help your special needs students find success.