My Story: Sassy Functional Skills Teacher Skipped school to “hang out” with Functional Skills classes in High School Graduated from Purdue with Special Education degree. Returned to my old stomping grounds to start a NEW Functional Skills program
New Program Things People in the building didn’t understand: Noise and sounds some students made. How to help if one of my students was crumpled to the ground in the middle of the hallway. How to include the students in a group. *** Video of student in hallway
Solution: Teach students to… Move out of the way for someone in a wheelchair, be considerate. If a students is blind, they can’t see you, move out of their way, talk to them.
The Plan 2 class periods per grade (using our specials times) ½ grade in gym for activities ½ grade in auditorium for presentation 330 kids per grade, 115 in one area at a time.
The Plan Continues Gym (3 stations) Blind Station Cerebral Palsy/ Physical Disability Station Wheelchair Station
Blind Station Leader of the blind stations: Partner up your group of 8 students. The first 5 minutes one partner will be blind folded and the 2 nd 5 minutes they will switch. You will take your group to the specified area. Once the first person is blindfolded they will hold the cane in their right hand and gently hold the elbow of their partner with left hand. This is called their side-guide. Spend about 2 minutes walking around and getting used to being blind. Then your blind student will work without their side-guides elbow to walk to a drinking found and to the gym. Added this year, there will be chair sitting near each station. Have the kids try sitting down. They should always check that there is nothing on the seat before they sit on it. Have their partner stay nearby to keep them safe. As the leader, ALWAYS have all 8 of your group members where you can see them and where they can hear you. After 5 minutes of the first students walking with a side guide, getting a drink and walking back to the gym… have the partners switch. Repeat the process with the 2 nd student. After 10 minutes return to the gym to greet your next group of 8 students. Tell your students to rotate to the wheelchair station. Groups will rotate within their color, for example if your group was “Orange squares” they will rotate to “Orange Triangles.” A few ground rules: The cane needs to stay on the ground at all times. Teachers/partners are to stop the student that is blind folded if they are in harms way at any time. If a passing period occurs and the halls become busy, just stop where you are at and wait for it to settle down.
Blind Station Pink – Use the hallway by Mrs. George’s classroom with your group. Orange – Use the custodial hallway that runs behind the West side of the gym with your group. Yellow – Use the hallway on the North side of the gym with your group. Green – Use the North lobby near the restrooms with your group. Light blue - Use the North lobby near the milkshake room with your group. Dark blue – Use the hallway outside Mr. Gruwell and Mr. Gutierrez’s rooms with your group. Purple – Use the lobby area by the office with your group.
Blind Station – maybe $30 For blind folds we ‘borrowed’ goggles from the lost and found at our pool. We had enough for half the kids at each group to use them at a time. 7 stations, 4 kids at a time. 28 ‘borrowed’ pairs. We stuffed felt on the insides last year, this year we spray painted the insides to make them more effective. For canes, last year we used cattail sticks from someone's yard. This year we were able to purchase dowel rods at cost from our local hardware store.
CP/Physical Disability Station Leaders of the present wrapping station: You will be seated at a table with gift wrap, boxes, scissors and tape. When your group of 8 arrives, have 4 of them wrap a present with one hand. Then have the other 4 students wrap it with a sock over their hand. This is to simulate the challenges faced by someone who can’t use both of their hands and can’t effectively use their hands. Often people with cerebral palsy face the challenge of not being able to use their hands. Next have them try tying their own shoe or one that we have provided for you. Last have them try to unwrap a piece of candy. You will have 10 minutes with each group of 8. When the 10 minutes is up, your group will rotate to the blind station of the same color. For example if your group was “light blue circles” your group would rotate to “light blue squares” for the blind simulation.
CP/Physical Disability Station – about $75 in wrapping paper, $50 in candy We needed enough boxed for each station to have about 4 each, again half the group at a time. I sent out an email asking for empty kleenex boxes. Tape, I asked staff for extra tape and purchased some. We also live close to the Free Teacher Store in Elkhart Indiana, so I nab some whenever I can. Wrapping paper, once we got a little smarter we started to reuse the same pieces. Needed about 2 rolls, per table, per grade. 42 rolls, hello Christmas clearance!! Borrowed scissors from art department Candy- 1 piece per kid, I bought leftover Halloween candy at our dented can type of grocery store
Wheelchair Station Leaders of the wheelchair stations: Once you go to the station you will find 4 wheelchairs. Spend 5 minutes at the first station having half of your group in the wheelchairs while their partner assists/watches. When 5 minutes is up, return the wheelchairs for the next group. Your group will rotate to the next station with the opposite partner participating in the wheelchair. When your 10 minutes are up return to the gym instructing your group to go to the CP/present wrapping stations at the tables in the middle of the gym. If your group was “Blue Triangles” they would rotate within their color to “Blue Circles.” As a leader, please be in conversation with your students about the challenges they are facing and those that people who are bound to wheelchairs constantly face. When wrapping up your group please discuss how much help was needed? Did they ask for help? Did the students offer help to each other? Was help offered and not requested?
Wheelchair Station Pink – You will start at the lockers outside of Mrs. Bailey’s room. The students will need to wheel themselves over to the lockers. They will need to work to open the locker by themselves and retrieve the items. Then while holding the items work to wheel themselves back to where the wheelchair goes. Talk through the process and what’s so difficult about completing this task. If you have extra time they can wheel themselves over to the drinking fountain and try to get a drink. The second 5 minutes you will rotate to the adult restrooms next to the auditorium. Students will wheel themselves to the restroom and work to get the door open. Once in the restroom have them wheel into a stall and retrieve some toilet paper to blow their nose. They will then need to wheel themselves to the sink to wash and dry their hands. And the most difficult part will be to open the door to leave the restroom.
Wheelchair Station - $0 E-mailed all other Middlebury schools and asked their nurses if we could borrow their wheelchairs for the day. 8 Contacted a local warehouse for used wheelchairs that was able to loan us the rest. Consider a hospital or local churches.
Auditorium Plan Auditorium Autism Sensory Overload Discussion Just Like You Down Syndrome Video- YouTube Glee Clips: Proud Mary Episode
Autism Sensory Overload Before students enter the auditorium, they are given a twine bracelet to wear and popcorn kernels to put in their socks. Then they pick up a pencil or pen for their quiz
Touch: twine bracelets, popcorn kernels, staff climbing over kids laps, tapping them on the shoulder, barn fan Smell: crockpot of sauerkraut, Axe, Crockpot of oranges and cinnamon Sound: Principal crunching chips in microphone, doors slamming, kids toys, teachers talking loudly on phones, hair dryers, Vision: Disco ball, flashlights, lots of people moving around
Auditorium Cost- $10 Our twine bracelets were free, a few farmers donated some scraps. Popcorn kernels, 1 bag $5 Sauerkraut, Axe $5 Everything else, we used what we had
The results What is a disability? Why do people who are blind use a cane? Autism means you have a low IQ. True or False What is Cerebral Palsy?
Results continued Are you uncomfortable around people with disabilities? Percent to Answer “Uncomfortable”
Problem How do you increase the comfort level of students, around a person with a disability? Solution Expose students to people with disabilities from the community and continue to build on their knowledge of disabilities.
Plan 2 class periods per grade (using our specials times) ½ grade in gym for activities ½ grade in auditorium for presentation 330 kids per grade, 115 in one area at a time.
The Plan Continues Gym (3 stations) Blind/Low vision Station Deaf/Hard of Hearing Station Red Carpet Station
Blind/Low Vision Station You will have a group of around 8 students. You will have 3 activities that you will do at the table. Have 4 students put on blindfold goggles. Then ask them to retrieve 39 cents from their ‘purse.’ Discuss how difficult it is to differentiate coins and just find things in general in their purse. Have students switch so both groups get a change to try this. (5-6 mins) Have students put on their blindfolds and give them one of the braille pictures. Explain that the braille is in the shape of something you would learn about in kindergarten. A basic picture and see if they can figure out what it is. You will have 4 pictures. So 1st half then 2 nd half. Have 1 student put on low vision goggles. There is 1 pair in your package that looks different than the other and simulates difficulty seeing, not blindness. Have students take turns wearing that pair and write/read something in their assignment notebook. This is a real challenge students in our building face. This should be quick (about 1-2 mins)
Blind/Low Vision Station Duct tape and ziplock bags $20 Use blindfold/goggles Duct taped ziplock bags as ‘purses’ need 28 All kinds of junk and coins to put inside of them Borrowed some braille shapes pages Copied a page from the inside of students assignment notebooks.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Station First have students put in ear plugs. This may be a challenge, practice first. We found the trick is to twist like crazy then put it in and it will puff up. Next, go to the athletic hallway. There will be big signs up with your color. Have kids sit on the floor there. It will noisy. That’s the idea. Give students the list of sign language symbols for them to study. You will assign them each a fake name to learn to spell. Then they will spell it for each other. Split them in half so they have more time to try and read each other’s fingerspelling. The point of the fake names is to talk about both components of sign language. Doing it, and watching someone else do it. It’s usually harder to watch and understand someone else doing it. You can talk about reading each others body language and facial expressions. The students that are hard of hearing in our building do best when they can make eye contact with you.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Station Fake name list Girls Elena Susanna Paisley Opal Iris Lordes Rhianna Miley Boys Resputin Zeus Hercules Sheldon Mickey Heath Wade Michael
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Station Next activity is Simon says. Have one student be simon. Simon needs to turn his back to the group to make it harder to hear. List attached. You determine the winner. They are out, if they do not hear the instructions correctly. Winner & Simon get raider bucks! – Simon Says, Raise your arms like a monkey. – Simon Says, Wiggle your nose like a bunny. – Simon Says, Bend and touch your knees with your elbows. – Make a funny face like a bug. – Simon Says,Touch your head with your ring finger. – Simon Says, Touch your shoulders 4 times. – Simon Says, Stand on one foot and wiggle your toes. – Simon Says, Blink your eyes and stick your tongue out. – Simon Says, Pucker up your lips and lower your eyebrows. – Simon Says, Reach for the sky, and smell your armpits. – Give yourself a hug!
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Station $0 Ear Plugs- donated by a local factory Printed ASL alphabet List of names to spell Directions for Simon Says
Red Carpet Station We contacted a local agency that works with people with disabilities in our area. They chose clients that would enjoy sharing their story for the day. They practiced what they wanted to share with their staff before coming. Additionally we had some guests who live independently in the community with disabilities who were happy to come in and share their story.
Red Carpet Station Leader of the red carpet station: Coolest job of the day. You will be at the beacon call of our Red Carpet guests. We have different guests at each station with a disability. They will be telling their story. Your job is to get them anything they need. Make sure our 7 th and 8 th graders are on their best behavior. Also, here are some questions you can prompt the students to ask if they have time. Where do you live? How old are you? What's your favorite thing to do? Who do you like to spend time with? Do you have a job? How do you like to be treated? How are you different than other people? What are you really good at? The point of this station is to help kids get more comfortable with being around people with disabilities. These are people from our community that they could bump into sometime.
Red Carpet Station To make it a true red carpet station. We had a rental company bring in a red carpet and set up exhibit booths for our guests. We were able to purchase a vase with red roses for each table. Our guests each received one of our t-shirts and had an awesome haystack lunch with all of the volunteers. They also had a different volunteer assigned to be at their beckon call each hour.
Red Carpet Station Rental company $300 Roses $150 – Put together by another special ed class Lunch for all volunteers and guests $300 – Put together by our cafeteria crew
Auditorium Plan Auditorium Watch 3 “What Would You Do Video Clips” – Down Syndrome at Grocery Store – Blind at Bakery – Autistic at Restaurant Discussion Staff member shares personal story
Total Expenses $2,800 Blind Station – maybe $30 CP/Physical Disability Station $125 Wheelchair Station - $0 Auditorium Cost- $10 Blind/Low Vision Station $20 Deaf/Hard of Hearing Station $0 Red Carpet Station $750 (175) T-shirts for all volunteers and guests $900 Guest Speaker $1000
Sponsors Ask for them!!!! Next year we are going to have a fight on our hands as to who gets to sponsor us! What a great problem to have!?!?!!
Guest Speaker Brett Eastburn speaks to school Most Powerful Part Video of our students
The videos were very touching. Shocking the average person didn't stand up to those being disrespectful. The speaker at the end of the day was very good and I was proud of our students for the respect and attention they have to him. The lessons learned today are every bit as important as the "regular" curriculum our students receive. I had little to no experience with kids/students with the challenges that you, their parents, and they face daily. I can truly say I have an extreme passion for your kids now as a result of your program. Thank you for that! -Mark Snyder Northridge Middle School Assistant Principal
Here's what I love about Ability Day... When the students watch the video you put together introducing our functional skills students, not a soul speaks. Everyone listens. That's quite a feat at a middle school. Thanks :) David Stuckey 6th grade science Northridge Middle School My favorite part was when I was helping students wrap presents and I had tape out of the dispenser at my station. The kids said they couldn't do it and they were getting frustrated. Then most students replied with well now I know how this would feel. I loved their maturity! Mrs. Sara Tackett 6th Grade Math Teacher
Ladies, I've tried for a while to figure out how to put into words what you have really taught me and now I have it...you have taught me to not be afraid. To not be afraid of people with a disability: talking to them treating them like a regular person to ask them questions to expect things from them to enjoy them to learn from them You are each a blessing to me. Ms. Pam Shenk School Counselor