Special needs kids don't always get this exposure, but I certainly think it's a worthwhile thing to start young with. It may not be fun (for you or them), but it can be engaging and will be one step towards functional skill development, valuable life skills, social skills and the ability to self-regulate despite the lights, the noise, the smells, the sights, and so on. Everything CAN be a learning opportunity, but you knew that already if you're a teacher, or parent.
Today we had a really great drama class. Our performance theme was At the Grocery Store; we started, as we always do, going over expectations and discussing the meaning of drama. We read the message on the board together; with some encouragement, we decoded the message which told us that if we did well today, we might get a treat. In my class, a treat is a always a "might" because as I explain, it's for sometimes. A treat is never a given.
So then I introduced the scoring system, a line of 5 empty faces and one already drawn (a 6th) to demonstrate the currency. "If we (it's always we not you) follow our directions, and get 5 happy faces, we might get a treat. Do you like treats?" everyone smiled. I love to ask somewhat rhetorical questions, especially when the answer is obvious...it makes everyone feel like are more in control than they really are :P and keeps everyone involved. It also allows me to check for comprehension; if someone is not saying, for example, that they like treats (or at least smiling, nodding, or what have you) I venture to say they are not listening too carefully, or missed something somewhere and I might want to backtrack to see where they fell off.
Where was I.....After a brief group meeting we got right into a warm up; I love musical warm ups (especially those from DREAM ENGLISH.COM) because it takes the pressure off the teacher to maintain to beat, while modeling actions, prompting and reinforcing.... So, the music was on and my students exclaimed "sing to us!"... so much for not carrying the beat. I left the music on, and sang along to the music the best I could, which still gave me the freedom to prompt/reinforce as needed....which is a lot :) We were all warmed up by the end; mission accomplished.
|One aisle of our MM grocery store; I saved boxes for 6 months in anticipation of this activity!|
All the while I was actively prompting to follow our directions/rules; I do this by modeling the expectations. Let me back track..what were expectations upon which the tentatively promised treats rested upon?
1. Be nice 2. Use your friends name to get their attention 3. Talk to each other!
|Another aisle in our grocery store|
I gave the five minute warning; then, I called everyone to carpet. We sang our goodbye song and class was finished. They got all 5 happy faces, and got a special treat. A Christmas chocolate...Might as well have been gold. It's the small things isn't it?! :)