Special Education Field Experience

By: Olivia Lee

Mrs. Mitchell Mrs. Espinoza @ Ortiz Elementary

i was with Mrs. Mitchell at the start of the day, and she was with a special ed child in a regular ed classroom. As I came in, the students were working on their calendar and weather chart. There were also a few students working at a separate table with a para. They were working on their counting, by counting bears. They also had a list of popular nursery rhymes, and each student put a tally mark by their favorite. Then, they counted the number of tallies under each section. Next, I went with Mrs. Mitchell and the student to my mom's office ( She is the school counselor). She had her sensory room set up, and it was so awesome! It was set up into 4 different centers. The first was light and sound. She had relaxing music on, and all of her office lights were off, but she had a lava lamp and kinetic light globe. Next was the touch center, which had bubbles, play-doh, moon sand, sensory bag, finger puppets and a set of keys. The taste center had mint gum, pop rocks, a chew toy and a water bottle. And last but not least was the quiet area. It had an aromatherapy humidifier with lavender oil, and a heavy blanket.

After all of that, I went into Mrs. Espinoza's class to observe. They had some great ideas as well. What really amazed me was how well all of the para's worked together. It was a smaller class size, so their was only one teacher, and two para's. It seemed like they were really able to tell what the students were going to do before they actually did it, so the were able to respond quickly. It also seemed like each adult had their own job, and they were able to work together effortlessly. One of the fun activities that the students got to do was spell shaving cream that was on their desk. They had a word and letter of the week, and they got to practice both of those by tracing it in their shaving cream. To me, that's a great way to teach them something, while they still get to have some fun!

Mrs. Base @ Andover Middle School

When I came in the room, the students were just arriving, getting situated, and eating breakfast. The really cool thing that I noticed that the Wichita school didn't have was a full kitchen, and even a washer and dryer. They had daily cooking lessons, and a cookbook that the students could easily understand. She gave me a handout of one of the recipes, and also a schedule of their daily activities. I also liked how they had a special time each week (Thursday afternoon) where they got to go and do something fun. These activities included bowling, movies, swimming, etc. Another thing that I noticed was the job chart. Each student had a certain job that they did each day, and I really saw the sense of accomplishment in their eyes as they did these tasks. The cool thing about it being in a middle school was that they were able to have student aids come in and help them throughout the day. I really loved that idea because it gives those students a chance to interact with students that are in regular ed classes, and gave them a chance to feel like a normal kid. It is also good for the aids, because they are able to interact with those students and realize that they are more normal than they might've thought. It also gives them insight into those kids lives, and it helps to understand them better. As far as the learning went, it was mostly done in a center-type setting, which I really thought was smart because the students were able to get more one on one attention. Also, if a student started to misbehave (which happened a couple of times) it didn't disrupt the whole class, and the teacher was able to pull them aside to sort it out.
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