Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Power of the High Five

I am not a big "High Five" kind of gal. I give a lot of hugs, smiles, and pats. Once in a while I remember to offer my hand and my kindys always take me up on it.. but it just doesn't come naturally and I don't see a lot of it happening in my room - until last week that is....

I am always the first one in my grade level to offer to open up my class for students needing inclusion time. I was a special ed teacher for the first 5 years of my career. I LOVED it. I also became extremely burned out. I made the switch to kindergarten thinking that it would probably be temporary- but I fell in love with kidys too-- I will always be a special ed teacher in my heart. Anyway.. back to my story...

I am lucky to have 2 students that spend time with us from the special ed class. They are both boys and cute as can be. The first semester they came only for 1/2 hour and with an assistant. I wanted more time and I thought they'd be fine with just us (because really.. my kindys take excellent care of them! They are after all part of our class family) but as you know time flies and the teacher I share them with couldn't figure out a better schedule as they had a bunch of new students that needed to settle in. And so it goes...

I am taking part in a -new to my district- professional development online program called PD360- I love it and if you can take part DO IT! It is on demand online videos of hundreds of topics. I love getting in service credit in my jammies... Over the winter break I decided to to the Inclusion Module. Really - because I knew it would be "an easy A". I am a big advocate for inclusion and I think that the typical kids benefit MORE then the kids with special needs.

I didn't learn anything new about inclusion BUT it did light a fire under me to figure out HOW to get more time for one of my students who I thought could really benefit from spending more time in my classroom.

I simply asked at an IEP (well- I had to send an email because I couldn't be there) and we all managed to find another 1/2 hour that he can spend with us.

This last week he started to talk. I am ashamed to admit that I didn't think he could talk. I knew he signed and I would sign with him- but he never talked to the assistant when she came with him and he never answered questions when we asked. Then, last week he simply told us "bye" when he was leaving. My kids went wild all excitedly telling each other that he talked!

That day he got at least 18 high fives and for the next week my kindys would ask him to say bye or repeat a word and he would get another high five. His speech is not perfect but in one week every attempt at talking was met with a high five. My class talked about him when he wasn't with us and told each other what word they had him repeat.

So.. I guess the point of this very long story is that high five is the universal friendship language of kindergartners. --- and inclusion ROCKS.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, totally cute :)

    I have an inclusion question for you. At my school, inclusion students are basically in my room all day long (except when they get pulled out for speech, OT etc). Should I be worried at all about the kids "taking care" of my special ed students (one autism, one developmental delay). I feel like there is a fine line (for kindergarten kids) between encouraging and helping each other and almost like becoming 5 year old parents/teachers to the kids... does this make sense?