Hello, Everyone. It has been a long time since I have written. I have been busy on the road since Jan. 13. Now here it is Jan. 29 and I am ensconced warmly in the Rice household in Tulsa, OK, watching out of the breakfast nook window as the "Winter Wallop" (consisting of ice, sleet and snow) takes place in front of my eyes.
Yesterday I had my 5th performance at Jenks East Intermediate. The day before I conducted my first Professional Development at the school. Both went great. However, yesterday was a particular high for me because of the connection made with some of the special needs students. Last year I had learned through some inadvertent events that when I met special needs students before the program they were able to be a part of my program longer, be participatory and I had the mindset to include them more, purposefully. So, I had requested this to happen yesterday. It was marvelous! I met the students and their paraprofessionals. We learned courtesies, introduced ourselves, talked about clothing and then sat up front.
I watched how God led me to think and include these students throughout the program. I usually call one student forward to help me with an activity and I called one young man, who is nonverbal. This activity usually requires the verbal, but I led the verbal part and held the item. (Great smile on his face.) During the Q&A portion of the program - OH, I was doing my Ol' Bess HIstoric Character Presentation - 2 of the students also asked questions. Afterwards, one student came to me and informed me that I did not answer the question she was asking and we talked again and I listened better, and I answered the right question. :) Also, another student had a picture with me and signed to me "thank you." I will tell you, I fairly floated throughout the day. It was my learning moment - how can I make sure all students are included, and encourage them, and make their experience as they participate positive for themselves and for other students. I will add this to my "talk" (which I haven't developed yet) about presenting to students (for professionals).
Also, had an opportunity to present in Christa Rice's classroom (amazing teacher, who works with amazing teachers - thank you all at JEI), while a parent was present. The parent, part of the PTAG, was so engaged she actively asked her own questions!! It was fun to teach to students again as well.
Thanks again, JEI, for a great day. Oh, I spent time sharing my pictures with Christa and Syd Rice last night and think I might have a title for CD - "Hands Wide Open" (Hands Wide Open: Written-from-the-Heart Stories of Ms. Sheila). I'm still working on it. Love ya'll.