Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A special day all round! Celebrating literacy and numeracy week.

I had the best time today.
I definitely have the most wonderful job in the world. (Well ... it suits me.)

Today I worked in a school which educates children with special needs. I'm rarely invited into these schools and I was a little anxious. The teacher and I batted emails to each other for weeks about the best way to plan for success. In the end we abandoned the formula most commonly used, that is 45 - 55 minute sessions and a fee as recommended by the Australian Society of Authors for school visits.

This rigidity was not going to work. We all know that the smaller group, the easier it is on every one,  so we settled on  7 x 30 minute sessions.

I knew this would be exhausting and not something to be attempted on a regular basis but this was a special occasion and a good night's sleep repairs any damage.

The school caters for students from primary through to secondary so today was a great work out.

Unless I'm deluding myself, I think the day was a great success. Taking time to negotiate and plan with the teacher in charge of my visit and both of us, and the  school willing to be flexible, smoothed the path.  We also gave ourselves permission to fail. Taking the pressure off created a wonderful cooperative atmosphere.

I took a boot load of props and stories thinking that visual storytelling would assist those students with language challenges. As well as auditory processing problems, I suspect some of the students spoke English as a second language.

The kamishibai was the most useful tool in my kit.
My own story about Split Dog worked a treat.
Claire Saxby's There was an Old Sailor was a lifesaver with the younger grades.

Thank you Mathieu for the photos. And thanks Nola for suggesting I have a go.

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