Building Bridges: Connecting General Ed. and Special Education Departments
Just as our own teaching styles are unique, each of our students learning styles are unique, and it is our job as educators to teach all students. However, this is exceptionally challenging when facing a classroom of students with a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. How do we ensure that students are mastering content and being challenged while simultaneously providing the appropriate accommodations and modifications that allow all students to access the curriculum? These tasks can be daunting without interdepartmental communication and support and an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges students face in the classroom.
The Building Bridges professional development aims to open communication streams and encourage collaboration between general education and special education departments through the use of improvisation. In addition, participants will engage in activities that simulate some of the challenges experienced by special education students on a daily basis including improv games that fall into the categories of failure and frustration, disability and limitation, and status. Teachers will work collaboratively across departments to take their experiences from this workshop to implement a plan that continuously better serves students across settings.
Katie Hammen holds a Master of Education degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. She is also a graduate of both the musical conservatory and general conservatory at The Second City in Chicago. Katie has volunteered and worked in education for nearly a decade in various capacities from teaching special education to writing curriculum. During the 2014-2015 school year, she was selected to pilot a unique special education classroom model that used a creative and therapeutic approach to working with students. Through this program, she researched and implemented the use of improv and theatre as therapeutic techniques that reduce anxiety and promote positive social skills.
ISSUES ADDRESSED: Interdepartmental Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Team-Building.
RUNNING TIME: Keynote: 60-90 minutes. Workshops: from 60 minutes to half- and full-day training sessions.
SETUP NEEDS: Open space, white board, good lighting.
Create a Memorable Day of Professional Learning
Combine keynotes with interactive, hands-on workshops to reach staff goals. A sample training schedule:
8:30-9:30 Opening Keynote
9:45-10:45 1-3 concurrent breakouts
11:00- Noon Repeat breakouts
1:00-2:00 Repeat breakouts
2:00-3:00 Closing keynote
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