school year is quickly coming to an end but as an itinerant, I’m already
thinking ahead to next year. Some of my students will be transitioning to the
next grade in the same building; some will transition to new buildings for
kindergarten, junior high or high school and some are transitioning to schools
in new districts. No matter what, each student will be in a new classroom with
a new teacher! So along with scheduling in-services for staff trainings this
spring (see my earlier post on Spring Orientations), I’m working with my
students on projects that will introduce them to their new teachers.
These projects take many forms. My
preschooler and I are filming and editing an iMovie presentation; an older
student chose to write and illustrate a book and a junior high student is
working diligently on a PowerPoint. It’s easy to weave advocacy and language
goals into these projects and it’s always more powerful when a student can tell
teachers what they need in their own words—especially if that teacher is new to
working with a student with hearing loss!
Tips for helping students create introduction
Help students understand who the audience is and
what the purpose of the project is.
Choose a media form that both you and the
student are comfortable working with. Movies are fun to make but if you and the
student are both new to this format, learning how to edit and add effects can
be frustrating and counterproductive.
Provide the student with an outline or graphic organizer
to guide the project. Topics generally include information about:
student’s life and interests
typical hearing works
student’s hearing loss and amplification
instructional strategies (e.g., use of closed captions, note taking, facing the
student when speaking, etc.)
that impede comprehension (e.g., hallway noise, sitting in the back of the room,
tips for peers
the student feels about having a hearing loss
the student feels comfortable advocating and where they’d like support.
Include language frames (e.g. “Before the sound
travels to the_____ on my cochlear implant, it first enters the ______”) and
prompts (e.g. How does the FM receiver pick up sound?”) as needed to guide the
student and address language objectives. I edit my organizers slightly to meet
the individual needs of each student that I work with.
Share examples of what others have made!
Sometimes my students get stuck. YouTube has a wealth of instructional videos
made by kids with hearing loss and with permission, I’ve shared PowerPoint
presentations made by other students.
Decide with your student how the presentation
will be shared with the new teacher. Most junior high and high schools do not
announce teachers and class groupings/schedules until late summer, for instance. But in some cases—especially with younger
children or smaller school districts—there is only one teacher per grade and families
find out who that new teacher is at the end of the current school year.
Working with students to create
presentations is a great way to begin planning for next yea and can help
alleviate any anxiety the student may feel because they are taking an active
part in the transition process. How else do you involve students in the
transition? Please share!