have a FIELD TRIP!” my elementary student excitedly announced as she ran into
our room. “And it’s a walking field trip! We’re gonna walk there! And they have
animals!” I asked her when this field trip was happening, thinking about the
multiple schedule changes that happen at the end of the school year, and
wanting to know how this would impact my time. “Oh, I don’t know. I think this week,”
she responded. I racked my brain to try to figure out where they could possibly
walk to see animals from this particular school. She wasn’t able to tell me any
more so we moved on. Later, I asked her teacher about it. Not surprisingly, my
student had missed some information. The field trip was to a farm. The students
would be walking around the farm but taking a bus to get there. In June… Several
weeks away. The teacher was surprised—they had been discussing this trip in
detail for several days, tying it into the science unit.
students with hearing loss, the fun end-of-the-year activities can be
confusing, surprising or even stressful if they don’t get all the correct
information. By this point in the school year, most teachers are implementing
appropriate supports for academics but forget that our students need the same
accommodations when discussing upcoming schedule changes and activities. Here
are some things to consider for end of the year events:
Field Day is common in many schools.
It’s a day of chaos, new games, noise and competition—a nightmare situation for
a student who doesn’t hear well! I try to get as much information as I can
ahead of time and prepare my students. Will there be teams or individual
events? Will there be a rotation pattern through activities or free-for-all?
What games will there be and what are the rules? Will there be water events and
if so, how will my student participate (in terms of wearing or removing and storing amplification)? Who will be the
go-to adult if my student needs a break? Older elementary students can write
out questions and do a Field Day interview with the PE teacher or other
designated adult. Predictability helps my students participate more fully in
this day. And really, wouldn’t ALL students benefit from such preparation?!
Field Trips happen all year, but I find
that more are planned for the spring. It’s helpful when teachers write the trip
on the classroom calendar so my students can see exactly when it will be. The
same visual supports used for academic instruction are beneficial when
discussing field trips, and more informative than just verbally describing what
will take place.
Junior High / High School:
Graduations happen both at middle
school and high schools. If my students are graduating, I make sure they get
all instructions in writing well before the event occurs (what to wear, what
time to arrive and where, deadlines for paperwork, etc.) Whether my students are
graduating or just attending, most schools have been receptive to printing out
copies of speeches ahead of time so that my student can follow along. Some have
been willing to provide preferential seating for the event and with advanced
planning, the FM transmitter can be used as well. This way, my students can
enjoy speeches and announcements at these important events—and celebrate along
with the rest of the school community!
Semi-Formal dances and proms are also
happening now. If my students want to go, I make sure they get directions in
writing once again. Sometimes tickets can be purchased at the door but often
must be bought ahead of time. There may be a dress code that is explicit or one
that is just “common knowledge” (such as underclass girls wearing short dresses
and only seniors wearing long). I get as much of this social information as I
can and ensure that my students are prepared!
Field trips and picnics also happen for
older students. Again, getting dates and requirements in writing is necessary
so that they don’t miss the opportunity to purchase tickets or participate.
Finals may not be as much fun as they
other events but they happen anyway! I make sure my students have the schedule
for finals as well as study guides and deadlines for classes that have papers
or projects in place of exams. Many students benefit from help organizing notes
in alignment with study guides as well as extra emphasis on the study
strategies we’ve worked on all year.
end of the school year doesn’t have to be chaotic! With a little extra effort,
we can help our students stay on top of deadlines and finish strong!