Friday, February 20, 2009
Lessons From a Classroom
This past Tuesday I observed at Watson's for the second time. My teacher talked to me a lot about the motivators they use in her classroom to help the students accomplish schools tasks and jobs. This is used the most in the morning, when I am not there. She explained to me how the students do school and have one task they do not enjoy followed by an activity they do enjoy. The biggest motivator in her classroom, is food, but my co-op tries to use other things to motivate the kids. Sometimes its surprising how a little thing like shredding paper -- can be a motivator. The example of this that I was able to observe was in connection with a little boy. They set up a system for him, so that when he gets five smiley faces, he may go and visit someone in the school (the gym teacher, or one of the faculty.) He loves visiting with adults and is so excited to do something that will earn him a smiley face. Because it is a school just for special needs children, this system works well because someone is always available to hang out with him and do something special.
The second thing I observed and learned about on Tuesday was the different objectives being worked on in a simple task. Let me explain, I attended a special which included going to the library with four of the kids from my class. The librarian read a book, and then they worked on folders. The purpose of the book reading was not just so they could hear the story, it also was teaching them to sit still and follow directions. The folders were a matching game that required them to communicate, imitate, follow directions, use their fine motor skills and organizational skills. Its not just a simple story and matching game anymore, it is a activity preparing them for life. Finally, I find it amazing how many options and solutions my co-op has in her head. If the child does not react or follow the directions well the first time, she can switch plans, and try a different strategy that is in agreement with what she is teaching. This has been such a great experience for me so far, and I am excited to see what I will learn next! :)