Last week I was in Hartford, CT for the Biennial North Eastern NAFME Conference. I did a session on “Engage the Special Needs Students in Your Room”. As I did the research to prepare, I noticed that a lot of what we do to help our special needs students are often good for everyone, to a certain extent. Suggestions I included were to create a routine for your class that is the same almost every time, transitions may be tough, so provide a ritual that kids can identify as the time to switch activities, and when presenting a concept, use a minimum of four ways to do so: aural, visual, tactile and kinesthetic. Regardless of the population, this is just good teaching!

Our kids come to us with a variety of capabilities, special or otherwise, which can be overwhelming. Our time is limited, we don’t always get the support we need, some of us are on carts, and as if that isn’t enough, many of our kids do not know or cannot behave. Being a teacher in this day in age is a tough business! So what can we do?

We can:
○ Utilize as many senses as possible to help kids understand and remember the concepts we are teaching them
○ Put kids into small groups with a specific task to do, so that each is busy and cannot get lost in the crowd
○ Vary activities throughout the class so that it isn’t monotonous
○ Choose activities where kids can be immediately successful
○ Encourage kids to be invested in our class by showing them that their contributions matter

Ultimately we want our kids to be excited about coming to our class and excited to learn! We want our students to appreciate and love music as much as we do. It’s this “fun and enjoyment” in education that can get lost when testing is the prime objective and kids are bouncing off the walls, but we have resources! Here at Note Knacks, we want to be that resource! Please feel free to email questions and thoughts as you come across dilemmas. We are here to help!