Implementing Student Choice and Voice In A Special Needs Classroom

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The following is a guest blog post by special needs educator and Buncee Ambassador Linda Edwards. Check out her bio below!

The students in my class are from Grade 3 to 6 and have various strengths and weaknesses.  The challenge in our class is creating assignments that appeal to many grade levels and abilities. For instance, many of my students are reluctant writers. With Buncee, differentiating assignments is easy!  Some develop simple canvases and others create quite complex canvases with many layers.  The end result is that each student is happy with their choice!

Recently, I had my students partake in a Design your Teacher’s Halloween Costume assignmentI chose this assignment for the following reasons:

  1. Students would need to use design thinking to create an appropriate teacher costume.
  2. Students would need to explain their choice.
  3. Student engagement!

This assignment also contains many of the five E’s: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.

My students  had the option of recording their reasons for their costume choice, but they all opted to use text to explain their choice. They helped each other with the spelling of difficult words and worked together to answer any technology questions that came up.

The driving question for my students was, “would Ms. Edwards actually dress up as one of their ideas for Halloween?” Of course, I agreed to a class vote to decide. The witch costume was the winner!

My students were quite eager to complete this assignment, and I am quite pleased with their results. Every Buncee created is unique. Some students had the same idea but their design and justification were all different, which is one of the many fabulous things about Buncee! Each student was able to build exactly what they wanted with all the stickers and background choices available to them.

I encourage you to try this activity with your students and see what they come up with!

Click The Images Below To See The Student Creations!

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Linda Edwards has been teaching special needs students for 25 years.  She works for the Toronto District School Board in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Her passion is helping students succeed at school and making learning fun! She continually strives to create new learning experiences for her students.

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