Published on July 18, 2014
Rhymes and Designs:: Rhymes and Designs: Alyssa Lynch: [email protected] Kristen Stone-Erdman: [email protected] 7/13/2014 EEX 4070 Building bonds with children with disabilities through nursery r hymes and art p rojects Camelot Elementary School: Camelot Elementary School “ Where Dreams Begin! ” Engagement Activities: Engagement Activities This group activity provided opportunities for children with various disabilities to develop their fine motor skills, improve their phonemic awareness, and express their creativity. Read Nursery Rhymes: Humpty Dumpty Itsy Bitsy Spider Jack and Jill Created Art Projects: Humpty Dumpty Puzzle Itsy Bitsy Spider Finger Puppet Jack and Jill Finger Puppets We visited Camelot on May 28 th , May 30 th , and June 2 nd and spent a total of 16 hours working with these children Alyssa, a substitute teacher for Orange County, got in touch with one of her teacher contacts: Christine Mills, a teacher for two ESE Pre-K Classes at Camelot Elementary. Participant Demographics: Participant Demographics We worked with 22 children between the ages of 3 and 5. Disabilities include: various learning/intellectual disabilities developmental delays Dyspraxia (Difficulties with Fine Motor Skills) Autism According to the I.D.E.A. Act as Amended in 2004, these children are considered persons with disabilities, because a “child with a disability” is one with “mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance…, orthopedic impairments, autism , traumatic brain injury, other heath impairments, or specific learning disabilities ; and who, by reason thereof needs special education and related services .” 20 U.S. Code § 1401 (3) (A) PowerPoint Presentation: Service in Action! Perceptions of Differences: Perceptions of Differences Alyssa: I have worked with students who have disabilities, but this was the first time where I had to come up with activities for the students to do. I was nervous to be taking charge and implementing something I helped plan for the students. I was surprised to find out that accommodating to a student with disabilities is easier once you know the students better. For example, by the second day I knew which students could do certain tasks such as putting the spider’s legs on the puppet and I had to adjust accordingly. This experience helped me understand that accommodation is the key. Perceptions of Differences: Perceptions of Differences Kristen: Initially, I was excited to participate in this project, yet wary. I was concerned the projects would be too difficult for the students to complete. I did not have much experience with students this young who have disabilities. I was surprised to discover that the students were very capable. For instance, they were able to successfully use scissors to cut out their finger puppets, something I thought I would have to do. This experience reinforced this thought: never underestimate your students, and always keep your expectations high. Connections to Course: EEX 4070: Connections to Course: EEX 4070 Collaboration: Teaching is not a solo job. Collaboration with parents, administrators, and other teachers is an integral part of the teaching profession. This project required us to work together as well as coordinate our project plans with Mrs. Mills. We experienced what it was like to work together to benefit our students: brainstorming, assigning jobs/tasks, and reflecting on ways to improve for the next visit. We learned effective communication is the key to successful collaboration (Chapter 2, p. 30). Wood, J. W. (2006). Teaching students in inclusive settings: adapting and accommodating instruction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Connections to Course: EEX 4070: Connections to Course: EEX 4070 Student Attitudes and Self-Esteem: Having a high self-esteem is crucial for student success. Students must successfully engage in activities that interest them in order to develop high self-esteem and positive self-images. Often, children with disabilities experience frustration and failure in the classroom (Chapter 8, p. 213). One of the goals of our project was for the students to feel a sense of accomplishment. We decided to accomplish this task by having our students create art projects. Art is special and unique to each individual, and all who create it are successful. We celebrated each completed work, enabling each child to feel successful and proud. Wood, J. W. (2006). Teaching students in inclusive settings: adapting and accommodating instruction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Connections to Course: EEX 4070: Connections to Course: EEX 4070 Small-Group Instruction: “…Very small groups and one-on-one instruction are usually more effective” (Chapter 10, p. 290) We gathered the students into one large group when reading the nursery rhymes, but to work on the art projects, we divided the students into two groups. Working with small groups proved to be beneficial to the students and to us. They got the attention and help they needed, and we were able to effectively provide the much needed time and assistance. Wood, J. W. (2006). Teaching students in inclusive settings: adapting and accommodating instruction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement We have participated in community service projects throughout our high school and college careers, because we believe it is so important to connect with and give back to the community. Civic engagement serves to unite all members of a community in a meaningful way. We highly recommend students and teachers to embrace service learning as way to work with diverse members of the community, learn from one another, and reflect on ways to improve the lives of all involved. Service-learning is a highly effective, hands-on learning experience. All who participate in it gain new insight into, develop empathy for, and form bonds with the lives they help. Final Thoughts & Reflections: Final Thoughts & Reflections There is no better way to gain insight, understanding, and empathy for diversity than to educate ourselves by engaging in hands-on learning experiences with persons of various disabilities. This project allowed us to develop positive, meaningful relationships with students who have disabilities . Teachers serve as a role models and informants. Teachers must expose others to and educate others about diversity. With greater knowledge comes greater understanding, and with greater understanding comes greater respect. Everyone – no matter the age, race, ethnicity, or ability – deserves respect.