As a teacher of students from low income single-parent family homes, my students are faced with challenges both in and out of the classroom. Despite the many challenges they face, I am looking to keep things simple and provide my students with creative and meaningful learning experiences.
The students in my classroom are students with learning and emotional disabilities.
They like to move, they love to read, and they love lots of positive attention. Many are students with a range of disabilities including emotional disturbance and specific learning disability. These things may prevent them from getting ahead early in life and may deprive them of life experiences many of us see as "typical." From the minute they walk in the door of my classroom, I focus on their potential and growth while they are with me. I may not be able to control their home lives; however, I can certainly control their experiences during the school day. By doing this in a creative and positive way, I am hopeful to inspire even our earliest learners to continue on a path of academic excellence.
My students are naturally curious. From the minute a child gains control of their limbs, they work to put themselves out into the world to see how it all works. They explore, observe and imitate, trying to figure out how things operate and how to control themselves and their environment. This unrestricted exploration helps children form connections in their brain. It helps them learn, and it’s also fun.
Art is a natural activity to support this free play in children.
The freedom to manipulate different materials in an organic and unstructured way allows for exploration and experimentation. We need a drying rack, paint, tambourines and an easel. These artistic endeavors and self-directed explorations are not only fun but educational as well. With this easel and other materials, my students will be able to practice a wide range of skills that are useful not only for life but also for learning.
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