These chapters addressed Pedagogical aspects of teaching students with special needs, as well as social aspects to consider. These chapters were extremely thorough. Chapter 4 gave specific examples on accommodating students with IEP and 504s. I especially liked how involved the music teacher is to the student's learning. They suggest observing the student in his/her other classrooms so you get an idea of how to alter your lesson plans so they are more inclusive. They also mention how close you should be with the student's teachers, paraprofessionals, etc. so that you make sure each student gets the attention/help they need to be most successful in the classroom. I had the opportunity to observe a self-contained music classroom, and the teacher used a lot of the strategies that Hammel and Hourigan mention in this book. It was very interesting to see some of these strategies put into practice. For example, the 4th chapter explains the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication system), that uses pictures as a way of communication. The teacher I observed used pictures of different motions, instruments, songs, and asked students what they wanted to sing, and what dance motion they wanted to do during the song using these pictures she had created. This was very effective because several of the students weren't able to speak. I think it is important to provide several ways to communicate in addition to just talking, so everyone feels included in the classroom.
The other aspect of these chapters that was very interesting was when they brought up how isolated Students with Special Needs can feel. I believe that it is very important for the teacher to help everyone feel included. There were some good examples given that will help feel everyone feel included, such as seating students next to someone different each class, so they get to know different people. One important thing this chapter addressed is how Students with Special Needs can feel isolated because other students don't feel comfortable enough to interact with them, so they don't really have the opportunity to make friends. I think it is important for teachers to set the examples and make everyone feel included, so that students see how important it is for everyone to feel welcome, and to provide ways for all students to interact with each other. These chapters were extremely helpful and provided a lot of information for teachers who have students with special needs in their classrooms. They went into a lot of detail about IEPS, 504, including all students in the learning process, and ensuring everyone feels welcome. This a great tool for teachers who have Students with Special Needs in their classrooms.
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