It’s time for Open House. All the students’ work is up and displayed. And we do mean all students.
So it’s one thing if that bookmark about the things that make us happy isn’t quite cut on the line. Sometimes scissors are hard to use anyway. But then there are those poems and all the poems have fifteen magical lines and there is the one poem that has just five words. Or the student hand wrote their poem instead of typing. A math page may have the answers but then every number four is highlighted yellow.
But the entire class followed all the instructions…why should these examples be any less or different than the other thirty or maybe even sixty students that are examples of the best work of the entire class?
First of all, no matter the age, there will be at least one student whose brain just was not into the class that day the assignment was created. Some assignments don’t resonate with some classes, and that’s okay.
But because students with disabilities are included, suddenly things can look quite different. The academic standard may be shifted just for that student as a part of their IEP. And part of being different is accepting the work they did do, especially work that the student put time and energy into creating. It may be true that the student doesn’t really care that volcanoes and earthquakes have something in common but they did look up the parts of a volcano and used the project to show the major earthquakes near volcanoes before they erupted. They learned something. They contributed something to the learning environment.
And maybe instead of putting it into one document and expertly printed, they cut and glued the parts to the best of their ability to demonstrate that they were following some instruction. Meanwhile, the rest of the class had hand drawn everything that had been assigned to them.
It is not about being the best. It is not about hiding the work that is not as perfect. The world isn’t that perfect anyway. It’s not to dismiss that student’s work and make them feel smaller about the things that they can and cannot do. This is our community. This is our youth. And the examples here are for everyone to feel like they belonged here. And they do belong here because they are a part of the class. And this is their work. They contributed to the fabric of this room and they will contributed to the fabric of the community.
ParaEducate is out for Spring Break and will be off March 24 and March 31. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.