Classroom organization was critical to these students’ safety and success. The small group area was centered in the room with their “centers” along the outside of the room, including a swing area with lots of mats, some interactive toys for counting, colors, and sounds. Each student is teamed with an aide, and during the time I was in they were sitting in a row listening to the main teacher read the story, so they could interact with each other when necessary, and with their aides. The classroom setting and layout is focused on the students’ safety first and foremost. The use of materials for these students was very limited, they created a caterpillar out of colored cotton balls, and a popsicle stick, and the aides did all the work, but the students were given options on what colors they wanted, and how much was used. One student who was unable to use language or their hands, made their decision via eye contact with one of the two options, and the aid was able to understand that was this student’s way of making decisions.
When appropriate or expected behavior occurred within the classroom, the main teacher would use lots of positive teacher language, being very supportive and using a kind, gentle voice for the students to u...
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...with their aide.
Some other observations that I noticed in the special education classroom was the wide age range in the class. There were two students who were six years old, and two that were twelve or so. With such a wide age range it was interesting to see that each student was still capable of doing about the same amount of work.
The first thing I thought about when I walked into the special education room was, wow there is no way I could do this. The teacher and the aides are super incredible people with such an amazing heart to do what they do. Then, I admired the students in the room because it was very easy to see their weaknesses and their disabilities but spending just a small amount of time I got to see that each child is an unique individual with their own strengths and positive characteristics and those should be supported and cheered for.
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