I took on the role of teaching through Alternative Education in a local elementary school for the 2017-2018 school year. In many ways, I am assisting general education teachers with many students and their academic learning. But I have also had the greatest opporunity to give students that "NEED" more, an opportunity to learn through hands on Art projects, Science projects, Book Groups and writing for the school newspaper.
Through planned Art projects, students practice social skills like using kind words, sharing ideas and tools. In small groups I engage students in hands on Art projects that teaches resiliency, problem solving, patience, compromise and teamwork. These projects become part of the school's environment as a Community Art or Project that the entire school family can enjoy.
These opportunities are valued by the student because the student is learning the "why" that they need to know math, science, Art, Music, reading and writing. When a teacher can show the student the "why" of learning then the student understands the importance of learning, but also it gives the student a reason to enjoy coming to school.
"I was excited to come to school today because I knew I would be working on this art project." AB (3rd grade)
Room 83 at Village School is no longer a negative place to go when a child needs a break. My challenge is to know each student, their interests and how I can help them succeed at school. I've chosen to provide each student a break with a purpose. Many choose to paint, build, or create anything with their hands. I simply provide them the project that allows that to occur for them but also meets the curriculum standards and/or becomes a school community service project. It's a win win in the end. The student is happier, understands why they need to learn what they are learning, looks forward to coming to school, and I get to know another really great kid!