Creating Inclusive Opportunities Blog Question #1

Here is your first question?

Identify two strategies that you are taking away from this workshop that you can implement in your present or current work?

What are they and explain how you would incorporate them in your work?

Let the discussion begin!

Sue and Fran.

(Please respond by the end of the day on Tues Jan 28)

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38 Responses to Creating Inclusive Opportunities Blog Question #1

  1. fsillau says:

    This is a test comment>>>>

  2. Fran Sillau says:

    This is a great question…..

  3. Fran Sillau says:

    This is a great questions here is what I think

  4. Sarah says:

    I have never posted on a blog, so I hope this works. I really enjoyed the class yesterday. It is so refreshing to have a class that gives you fun strategies for the kids!

    I have a student who is having difficulty retelling stories. I plan to use the strategy of acting out the beginning, middle, and end to help him with retelling. I am trying to encourage the use of language as well, so I hope to have him tell the story while he is acting it out.

    I have another student who is having trouble hearing the high vs low pitch in music class. I plan to use the scarf activity and have her walk on her tiptoes when she hears a high pitch sound and walk down low for a low pitch sound. I hope the action will help her gain an understanding of the difference and use the residual hearing she has to hear the difference. Any music people have additional ideas here? I am open to trying a variety of strategies.

    • Sue Loesl says:

      Hi Sarah!
      Thanks for being the first brave person to jump into the discussion! I am not sure if Fran discussed “visual strategies” with the group. It might be a good consideration, as it helps organize the student’s sequencing of events, as well as sequencing things such as a story. If this is something that you are familar with, good. If you would like more info on it, let me know.

      • Sarah says:

        Would this be the visualization strategy for reading comprehension where the student makes a movie in his/her head? If you have additional information about the visual strategies,I would love it!

        • Sarah says:

          Oops, from Sarah I will get the hang of this in a couple months!

        • Sue says:

          The visual strategy that I am speaking of is one that teachers of students with autism use. I am working on getting an image of one up here on the site, otherwise, I will send the group the link to my area on my school district’s website where I can post it. In essence, it is a way to take a task, such as reading a story, creating an art piece, transitioning from one classroom to another, or transitioning between activities in the classroom and breaking it down into smaller parts for the individuals to better understand the overall process. It can be as simple as a piece of foam core board with a vertical line of velcro with the task parts written on pieces of paper, or can be quite elaborate with a felt board and laminated pieces. I will have a couple of examples ready for you in March to see and use.

    • Tim Marsden says:

      Another way to work with high and low would be with some drums that the student can play and feel. When they can see that the low sound comes from the larger drum and the higher sound comes from the lower drum they can do some relational work. Also, just feeling the vibrations with their hands or on the floor will help. Maybe use a couple of hand drums, one big (low) and one small (high). Just an idea. But feeling the vibrations is helpful to any student.

      • Sarah says:

        I have used drums before, but I usually have another instrument such as a tambourine to demonstrate a higher frequency. I like the idea of using two different drums! Then the student will see the drum has a variety of frequencies.

        • Sue says:

          Sue here. Boomwhackers are another instrument that has an octave (8 notes) of sounds that are plastic tubes in different colors and lengths. Red is C, the smallest, and then it goes up size and in rainbow colors. Smaller are higher in pitch. Size and color might be an additional way to help with this concept. I am plannning on bringing them in March.

      • Sue says:

        I like the idea of the drums. The vibrations would be a different way to experience the hi and low of sound, and just might “resonate” differently within that person’s body. If possible, if you can get a hold of Orff tone bars in your school district, they would really make an impact. They are HUGE wooden boxes with one wooden bar note on them. Huge as in roughly 15″ high, 30 some inches long, and 15″ wide. The sizes vary as to the note that it sounds. I believe that “C” is the largest and lowest tone. You play them with a yarn wrapped rubber mallet. The whole box vibrates and creates an incredible reverberation if you are touching or sitting on or laying on the side of the box. Some of my students with not only hearing impairments but also visual impairments and autism just relax and engage with the sound. Maybe we can get one for the workshop in March or at least try and figure out how you might have access to them.

  5. Sarah says:

    Sorry the last blog was from me..Sarah I didn’t know my name wouldn’t show up. Learning new things.

  6. Sue Loesl says:

    Hello everyone! I am very excited to be working with you in this workshop course! During the time between these two meetings, I will be sharing information about myself and my work, so that when we meet in March, we can spend a great deal of time working with adaptive art and music techniques, media/instruments/ and tools. If I post something that sounds particularly interesting, be sure to let me know, and we can determine if it is something that is better developed “on site” at the next meeting. This is an exciting way to share and learn from each other…so keep the comments, questions and ideas coming!
    I appreciate your care and concern for my family and my mom in law’s passing. Sue

  7. Marguerite says:

    Hello friends! Marguerite here. So wonderful to meet you all yesterday! I look forward to our continued interactions.

    My work as a para does not really give me the freedom to independently implement new strategies for the students I work with…. BUT …. I will attempt to describe what I might use if given the opportunity. And perhaps a conversation with the Special Education teacher about some of these ideas might allow their implementation.

    When the adaptive tools were passed around I immediately was drawn to the pencil through the tennis ball. Since one of the students I work with has dexterity challenges with his fingers I thought that the tennis ball would be beneficial for him. It would provide him a larger area to grasp as he writes. Plus it could be used for strengthening his hands by squeezing it.

    The third grade classroom teacher at our school already uses Readers Theatre very successfully in her classes. Perhaps she could add more character development work and use the Story Drama adaptation exercise along with the script and help the students create more physicality with their assigned roles. I also believe the physical involvement will also help with their memorization. The student I work with in her class cannot read the script so having the movement will certainly help her remember the words and perhaps she could even ad lib her dialogue instead of having to recite the exact words.

    All for now. Enjoy your week and stay warm!

    • Sue says:

      Hi Marguerite! Sue here. There are a number of other kinds of grips that you might consider using as well with your student for various drawing, painting, drumming, etc. activities. You could push the tools through a styrofoam ball (some of my students with autism like the feel of styrofoam), or wrap them with Model Magic, an air dry clay that you can get at Michaels ( a craft store). Sometimes the tennis ball is a little hard to hold onto when the pencil or other tool is only in one end. It works really well with the one hole for learning how to drum, ( allows for the bounce of the drum stick with only one bounce of the wrist) or for students with pressure issues, as it is a little difficult to really push down on it- as some students push so hard on pencils and crayons that they break them! I have a lot of hand grips that I can bring in March! The milk carton hand grip might also be something to try with him as well.

  8. curt says:

    Ok I’m going to try this.

    First , a little background, I studied art,have a MFA in art , have made art all my life and continue to create art . It is my passion.
    I spent twenty years as a special ed teacher with high school and middle school students in Illinois and Iowa, behavior disordered, learning disabled, mentally retarded, some deaf, a few visually impaired, speech disorders, mental health issues, autistic and some just knuckle heads, and I loved them all and believed they could all learn. Three years ago I became an art teacher. So to me, teaching art is no different from teaching math or reading except its a privilege to teach what I love.
    My approach to teaching sped kids was to figure out where they were and move them forward. Much the same with students in art. But now I get everyone, and I find normal students to be as challenging as any sped students I’ve had.
    How universal design can help me is planning strategies that can help sped and any student be more comfortable and successful in my classroom.
    examples: Have templates and forms available for students for the clay house project. Templates for students who need help visualizing four sides to the structure, forms for students that need additional assistance . If I have these ready to go from the start of the project it will make the class go smoother.

    • Aaron says:

      You mentioned that regular ed kids are just as challenging as special ed. I would agree with this. I don’t know if this is because they come with para educators, or the fact that they enjoy being in the art room.

      • Sarah says:

        I thought the templates were a great idea as well. Everybody can have the same theme, but make it their own! I am working on prepositions with a student who has a variety of exceptionalities, and I think a template may increase her motivation. ~Sarah

      • Tim Marsden says:

        Don’t you think that the special ed students love art and music because it is a place for them to be expressive with their peers? They can sing along, play along, or work with a similar template and feel like they can express themselves in the same, or in similar ways to their peers.

    • Sue says:

      HI Curt!
      I think the same way about my students. There is no recipe book or one size fits all approach. It is so cool that you came out of a sp ed background and became an art teacher. I am actually considering getting a sp ed license! Ha! But, you had to differientiate what you were doing with your all your various students- whether you were in a self contained classroom of students with a similar “label”, or where in a class where there were a variety of students with dissimilar strengths and challenges. When I first heard about UDL, I thought, this really clearly articulates what I think I do with thinking about activities for my students. In talking with other art and sp ed teachers as well, they felt too that this explains it well. What I liked was how indepth it went into each of the areas, and helped me make my activities better on so many levels. It depends on my goals for the activities for which UDL I may focus more on for any given activity or student group, and my change as the student needs change. As for templates…THANK YOU! Yes, templates are wonderful and do not mimimize the student’s creativity or uniqueness in their artmaking. It gives them a structure from which to BE MORE creative. A number of art teachers I have worked with didn’t believe in templates at all, and I disagree. The more that we can support students regular and sp ed students in little ways, I think they will be encouraged to take other risks in their artmaking.

  9. curt says:

    The last comment was by Curt.

  10. curt says:

    Curt- To Margruerite, I’ve worked with many paras and some for many years. I’ll say that a good para is hard to come by and invaluable, I’ve had the good fortune to work with several excellent paras and the key to success was open, honest communication. I let my aids know what I wanted , and gave them guidance on how to handle students and situations.. My philosophy I would say to them at the first is ” We will err on the side of gentleness” .

    • Marguerite says:

      I like that advice. Thanks, Curt! ~Marguerite

      • Tim Marsden says:

        I agree with Curt, a great para can make or break a students success. I think it’s the paras that really get to know the students they are working with, their abilities, their struggles, their emotional states, and then really become vessels for the kids, and help steer them and challenge them toward their success and achievement. Marguerite, I can tell that you have the right focus, I’m sure you’re wonderful

  11. Marguerite says:

    I like that advice. Thanks, Curt! ~Marguerite

  12. Aaron says:

    One strategy that I can incorporate is the modified tools. Even though my students have pretty good dexterity skills, I think having some or all of my students use these tools can be beneficial. This could be a good problem solving activity, perhaps coming up with their own modified tool would be a good lesson as well.

    Another strategy that seemed like a good idea was the idea of having them use templates for drawing. I do quite a bit of drawing for some students, perhaps having a folder of templates at the ready can alleviate some of their drawing insecurities.

    • Curt Adams says:

      I find that many students like using templates because they lack the confidence in their drawing skills. So I have been teaching a lot of schema to help them with their drawing skills. So I was thinking that I should have more templates that are basic shapes and sizes that can be used to begin building drawings. -curt

  13. Fran Sillau says:

    Sarah- As far as I am concerned, making a movie in your head is a visualization strategy. iYou could also use the “in the box” activity we did on Saturday to help students “see” things that are not really there. Just a thought. I am loving the discussion everyone!

  14. Tim Marsden says:

    I was very pleased to meet you all on Saturday and I look forward to our discussions, blogs, and work together. I have been teaching vocal music for 14 years and it has always been my goal to create opportunities for ALL of my students, and to create a safe atmosphere where all students feel comfortable and can find success. One thing that we talked a lot about and we saw was sampling and demonstrating, that can be helpful for any student, so they have an idea of how something might look or sound.

    In the past I have taught an adaptive music class for special education students but in my current position I have full placement of all students in my choral music classes, and all of my learners work together. Certainly the diversity and civil right for all students is a wonderful experience for all involved.

    A great thing about my class is that is a performance based class, where the students do more singing and physical response than they do paper work or research, so i do feel that that creates some unique hands on flexibility for all students. I try to provide options for expression and interest, and I really encourage all students to keep working on their effort and persistence, we do not give up, and we work as a class/team.

    I loved the physical expression activity we did where we acted out “Where the Wild Things Are”, I will certainly be doing this with the text of some of our music. We often talk about the meaning of a piece, but if we can move and create, and get more physical with it, I do believe that we will reach more student who might not comprehend the full meaning through a simple discussion. Every song tells a story, and that is what we are going to do.

    I also am really going to be aware and be sure that my students are able to access their places in my room easily and comfortably. I have a young special education student who does have some physical barriers that I have placed in the top row, I need to modify that for him, and that means I need to modify if for my entire men’s section, but that will reduce his barriers and create a comfortable learning environment for him.

    • Marguerite says:

      I think muscle memory is huge in learning. Of course I’m biased with my background in dance and musical theatre, but I really believe that the more we move the more we learn. In coaching college students working on music/lyrics, I have often had them move about the room while speaking the lyrics or just over-dramatize the words physically to open up themselves to the understanding of what they are singing/saying. It’s pretty cool to think that our challenged students can benefit from the same techniques that our main student population also uses. I am beginning to wonder if the UDL is really just what we ought to be using for all of our students! ~Marguerite

    • Aaron says:

      Your words of every song tells a story strikes me as a good jumping off point for a project. In the past I have had my Digital Imaging class illustrate a favorite song, but somehow getting them to physically act something out might get the creative juices going as well.

  15. Pat Stevens says:

    Hi everyone, Pat here. I am still marveling about everything we learned and created on Saturday! I think maybe I talked too much but at my age it’s hard to change your stripes, ya know? I just get these ideas and just can’t wait to share them! Anywho, I really enjoyed our conversations and getting to know everyone and what they teach. I have used templates with my Special Needs students with great success. The kids feel like they can do what everyone else is doing without any stigma attached. I have also use the “dot” method where I draw what the student wants and then they trace the dotted lines and see their image appear. It’s like magic!
    I especially enjoyed acting out The Three Little Pigs. I think it would be fun to try having the kids choose an artist and act out the artist’s bio ( A paragraph?) and even dress the part if they want to(can’t you just see a kid with his ear wrapped like Vincent Van Gogh?)
    I also liked the adaptive tools made from simple stuff you can find around the house. Gonna try some of that too. Looking forward to our conversations and our meeting in March!

    • Marguerite says:

      I love the idea of acting out the artist bios! I can see how much fun they would have with it and how much they would learn in the process. You could even have them speak in an accent from the country of the artist and then everyone draw or paint, sculpt or use the dominant colors of that particular artists style. Do a quick sketch of their partner or just experiment with the brush strokes…. endless possibilities. Great idea, Pat!

      • Curt Adams says:

        Fun idea , could also go with it in another way, have kids act out a scene from a famous painting or illustration. Say like, Grant Woods “American Gothic”,.What would those two characters be doing or saying to each other right before they were posed for the picture?

        • Aaron says:

          I’ve had my 8th graders pretend to be famous artists being interviewed before. They had to create a script and have a friend or parent ask them questions about influences, parent info etc… This worked pretty well, some students really got into it, and changed their backgrounds using a green wall and photobooth to place themselves into an actual painting or work of art. It was much more enjoyable to listen to than looking at another keynote or paper.