I serve students with special needs in grades K-5 who are from a small rural community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our community has a lower socio-economic population, with state data showing 53% of the students being economically disadvantaged and 77% of the eligible students participating in free and reduced lunch programs. Our attendance averages above 95% daily with only one day this past year below 90%. Our students are dedicated and enthusiastic learners. They react well to research-based instruction. My goal is to purchase supplies allowing us to support academic and social situations and focus on individual living and life skills. When this project is funded, my students will be able to have additional resources that will allow them to thrive educationally and emotionally in an effort to meet each individual’s personal potential.
Sensory areas and materials are a necessity in special education classrooms. The goal of this project is to purchase a variety of items that will either stimulate or calm students dependent on the individual's emotional state.
Using items that are high interest and have a multi-sensory appeal increases student engagement and improves their ability to manage their emotional state.
The floor tiles offer an area that a student can sit and have a direct impact on the item he/she is manipulating. We can also move them around the room easily, making them adaptable to the immediate needs of our room. A variety of tactile items (such as the vibrating tubes, tactile books, and sand paper letters) are included in this project to physically stimulate a student, increasing engagement when his/her interest level is low. Visual and audio pieces (the LED fish "tank" lamp, the fiber optic curtain, and the black light) are incorporated as calming techniques for students who need a cool down space. The legos are included to utilize as both an educational tool in math and as a reward option for students.
These items are chosen to have a large impact in a small area. My vision is to incorporate them into an area of my room where students will be taught how to use or request these items when they are needed while the rest of the students in the room are able to continue with their daily schedules and assignments. The needs are MANY and research shows that sensory integration improves student ability to maintain one's emotional state on a daily basis.
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