WATER, WEATHER, AND THE WORLD is intended to meet the needs of my class of students with special needs. I teach eleven students with severe mental retardation and limited expressive and receptive language abilities. Their ages range between ten and twenty-one years of age. My class has limited expressive language. Therefore, they use simple, repetitive language consisting of one word responses and/or simple sentences or phrases. In addition, some of my students communicate through the use of simple sign language or picture communication boards. My class also has limited receptive language capabilities. They respond to simple one to two step commands with verbal and visual cues or simple sign language. Therefore, I must be very cognizant of my choice of vocabulary and be consistent with its usage throughout instructional periods. Furthermore, my lessons must be concrete and hands-on as their limited receptive language makes abstract concepts difficult.
My experience as a special education teacher for the severely impaired has taught me to be very animated and creative in my presentation. I have found props and mystery to be a wonderful tool to engage the student in the subject matter at hand. In my classroom, I propose questions that intrigue and capture the attention of my students. I develop a sense of wonder that begins our journey of experimentation as we search for possible answers. Our search entails user-friendly labs that encourage hands-on learning using a multi-sensory approach. Children learn best when information is presented in a manner that utilizes a variety of senses. The multi-sensory approach addresses the needs of students with varied learning styles in the classroom.
Science is a wonderful curriculum area to create integrated thematic units. All of science is based on basic foundational information from which future knowledge is expanded. This foundation is often simple and able to be taught in a concrete manner that is both entertaining and educational. Through observation and experimentation, I will teach my students about the many facets of water and weather and their impact on our environment.