Monday, April 12, 2010

Special Ed ...

It was actually an elementary art assignment, but this teacher gets 2 groups of exclusively special ed kids on Monday afternoons.

Group one was labeled as "academic" special ed. They were going to watercolor in a fish shape in rainbow order. We started by reviewing the colors of the rainbow. They were really good at listing colors, just not in order. So we chanted them a few times. The next step was actually painting the fish. Even with one adult for every four kids, it was still a challenge to get them to paint a stripe of red, stop, rinse the brush, and wait for the next color. By the end, though, we had about 12 lovely rainbow trout.

Group two was listed as "nursing" special ed. They ranged from full support wheelchairs with "hand on hand" instruction (an adult moves their hand that has the brush or pencil in it) to what seemed to be moderate Down's Syndrome. We glued cotton balls to a paper plate, then added black triangles, rectangles (face and feet) and googly eyes to make sheep. Few of the kids performed all the steps (including putting their name on the work) themselves without adult assistance.

Since I usually teach high school art, I'm used to a variety of abilities in my students. However, the severe disabilities are somewhat unfamiliar to me and always a bit of a ... shock (?) Any special ed teacher or sub stories out there?

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