General Special Needs School Resources
From Mie Guidebook
This can be daunting especially if you have limited experience teaching or working with special needs students. If your visits are to be regular and it is possible, it is recommended that you visit the school at least once before your first teaching visit to meet your students and see what their classes are like and what materials do the teachers use.
What to Teach
Talk about exactly what your purpose is at the school, as you may be expected to be an entertainer and not a "teacher". Some students might be studying to enter a mainstream school, in other classes you might be there to provide a nice fun atmosphere. Ask ahead, and assume nothing.
Simple songs with lots of actions are good. Maybe the students will only be able to do the actions but that might be alright.
- Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes – always a classic!
- Wheels on the Bus – I steal the melody of this song and use it for other things like animals and other vehicles.
- Repeating some songs at the start or end of lessons can be soothing for students. Especially since the students might be upset already to see a new strange face in their school.
See about having a Hello or a Goodbye and Thank You song / chant. The school might already have one, find out what it is.
- Board games are useful for teaching numbers and some vocabulary.
- Have a big fun dice that the students can take turns rolling and moving their marker across the board. Depending on their level, they can answer an English question to move an extra space.
Crafts are fun but check that you aren’t making them too frequent since it might not involve too much speaking. Here are some ideas:
- Valentine Cards
- Snowmen made from socks
- Pom pom and pipe cleaner animals
- Paper mache jack-o-lanterns
- Wind sockets made from milk cartoons and streamers
Make sure what materials you have are sturdy! If they can be laminated or backed with cardboard do so.
Also think about making your materials like flashcards as interactive as possible. Students might not be able to enjoy a simple card with a picture of a monkey on it. But if the monkey has googly eyes and a yarn tail then there is something to interest them.
Felt Story Boards
A felt board could be a big hit with my students. Large felt sheets are at any Daiso, as are foam core boards or bulletin boards to glue it on to. You can then cut out various shapes of felt that can be used for any lesson. My students really enjoy arranging the materials on the board. Colored disks to teach colors and numbers are great. As are cut-out shapes of people to teach body parts and clothing. If you are able to, try making felt shapes of characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, or The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
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