Since April of 2011, when I joined the A to Z blog Fest, I have immensely enjoyed the online presence of Lisa Vooght. We have become good friends in an online community. She joined me in the Rule Of Three Blogfest that we ran this past October. She is an excellent writer and everyone who reads this post should check out Flash Fiction, her blog.
It’s an extreme pleasure to present her first guest blog here.
The Creativity Series: Guest Posts
Lisa Vooght: Creativity In the Classroom
Adapting Curriculum For Special Needs
I’ve spent the past 12 years working as a para-educator and behavioral support assistant for various special needs classrooms. As a substitute, I’ve rotated through 5 districts and dozens of classrooms, elementary through high school, and worked with students with various cognitive and physical impairments. One of the great things about ranging afield is the opportunity to observe all of the ways in which curriculum can be adapted to each student’s needs. It’s a truly great field for encouraging one’s creativity.
Let’s consider the science unit for a 2nd grade, which covered the ocean ecosystem. Two students were visually impaired; several were in wheelchairs and had limited ability to move their arms and hands as well. Therefore, we brainstormed ways to incorporate all of the senses into the learning process.
We listened to recordings of waves, gulls, whale songs and dolphin clicks while discussing ocean life. A spray bottle of salt water allowed them to feel ocean mist on their faces. Their bare feet were placed into basins of sand (pre-warmed in the oven) so that they could feel sand between their toes (this provided quite a bit of hilarity). A sensory table was filled with sand, shells, small toys and bits of artificial plants so that they could “play at the beach”. We read books about the ocean, practiced counting with goldfish crackers, and made sand art paintings.
I could go on endlessly about all of the projects that we’ve done. I consider myself blessed that I’ve found a job which I love, is rewarding, and which helps to provide a creative outlet. We’re always thinking, always problem-solving, always coming up with new and exciting ways to introduce our students to knowledge and the world around them. And I’ve learned at least as much as I have taught.
What have you taken away from what you’ve given?
Lisa Vooght blogs at http://lisavooght.blogspot.com/