During the school year it has been very rewarding to work with so many different sections for art instruction. Our largest homerooms were even divided into half sized groups. It became necessary to do this for the children to have computer class. There wouldn't have been enough computers to seat the entire class in the lab. It was just as easy to have them in smaller groups for art too. I was able to give so much more individual attention to my 5th and 6th graders.
Each year I've also had the responsibility of teaching reading and language arts, and spelling to special needs students. Over the years I have had several students come to me for these special lessons. This last year I worked with 2 autistic boys. Most of the time they received separate instruction as one would come in for 40 minutes and the other would follow for the next 40 minutes. Usually on Wednesdays we had our lesson together and it worked out very well. Much to the surprise of myself and other staff members, I think it was beneficial to the boys to help them with social skills and interaction. They developed some skills at asking and answering questions when we played some question games. They had a good time swatting spelling word cards for learning their weekly lists. It was just awesome to see them take turns with reading from leveled readers and they actually followed along and were ready to take over when it was their turn to read. I was so pleased with how the year went.
Now that summer is here I look forward to seeing my very special friend for her reading and language lessons. Anna is such a delightful young girl. She cracks me up most of the time and keeps me very happy. Her challenge is that she is a young girl with Down Syndrome. She was a student at our school for grades 1 - 6. Last year was her final year of being enrolled with us. She has had 1 year of homeschooling for her 7th grade year. I will meet with her and her mom this coming Monday. So I've been gathering up some books and a journal for our first lesson. Her mother clued me into the fact that she had a hard time motivating her to do reading orally, so I am expecting some resistance. I hope I will be able to offer drawing and art activities as a reward for getting back to her doing the reading and writing in a journal. Last year she had so much fun making little quilts so perhaps we can do more of that this summer.
I am anticipating a good start with a brand new student this summer as well. Her first day with me will be on Wednesday. I understand that she is a talented artist and reads 2 grade levels beyond her classmates. She is a 3rd grader and has been challenged with Aspergers syndrome. I hope to get her involved with making collages of her very interesting drawings. I think we will be sealing them onto a hand painted canvas. I hope to hit it off well with her for our first meeting. I think we'll be concentrating on the art with a little work on the reading. I plan to get some of my materials at the website called Reading A- Z.