Title: "Making New Friends and Learning Together"

Subject Area: Social and Personal development Specific

Topic: Developing Interpersonal Relationships Age Range: 12 -16 years

Partnership: St. Clare's Special School & Rice College Secondary School

Goals of the project:

  • Break down barriers towards disability
  • Foster friendships between both groups.
  • Enhancement of communication & language skills for the special needs pupils
  • Enhancement of mobility and movement skills through sports hall activities & soccer skills for the special needs pupils.
  • Improve skills of word-processing, Internet & Email

    Curriculum Relevance
    : These goals are relevant to the curriculum goals of social & personal development, language & communication, mobility skills and basic literacy for the special needs group. The second level mainstream students covered areas from their Religion Programme of disability awareness, respecting differences, improved communication and interpersonal skills.

Display:

  • The project will be displayed on charts in the shared area of the special school
  • Information about students and relevant Email addresses posted on noticeboard.
  • Special interests and suitable web-sites displayed in the shared area.
  • Pictures of the students and partners displayed in the shared area.
  • Brief overview of the project on the school web-site.

Requirements

  • The mainstream students are prepared in religion class by learning something about disability
  • Talks from visiting speakers.
  • Suitable Literature / booklets from the various disability groups.
  • Research on the Internet

Management: Inter-school planning. Timetable implications. The special school reorganised class timetables and agreed to supervise activities in the various locations, even if this meant that they were not working with their own class.

The special needs students are assigned to:

  • The hall ( Sports Hall Activities / Poly-hockey )
  • The basketball court ( Soccer Skills )
  • Shared Area & Senior Classroom ( I.T. activities)

The second level pupils can choose their area of interest.

  • A leader is assigned in each group
  • The leader consults with the supervising teacher
  • All pupils over the age of 12 years are involved in one of these three activities.
  • I.T. skills are offered particularly to the 15 - 18 year olds.

The tasks include:

  • Basic Word processing ( Using Word )
  • Sending E-mail to friends
  • Launching Outlook Express, Clicking on Inbox & Compose message
  • Accurate typing of E-mail address
  • Using "send"
  • Checking for returned E-mails
  • Typing in Web Addresses accurately
  • Looking at Sites
  • Reading content (partner will help, point out interesting items etc.)

    Evaluation
    :
    Positive Aspects
  • Both groups enjoy the activities
  • Special children gained confidence in talking to their peers, especially when there was something to talk about and discuss.
  • Mainstream pupils were surprised at the ability of their partners.
  • Mainstream pupils showed genuine interest in the E-mail replies to their partner.
  • Some mainstream pupils made suggestions as to other people their partner might communicate with.
  • Others located sites for their partner (Relevant to their interests)
  • Confidence in using Internet & E-mail improved for the special needs students.
  • Self-esteem was increased for both groups through their participation in the project.
    Negative Aspects:
  • Insufficient time - two periods per week would increase continuity for sending and receiving E-mails.
  • No transfer of friendships outside school hours as most of the special needs pupils live outside the town area.
  • The special needs pupils will have to get to know a new group of students in the second phase of the project as the original group have moved on to an exam year. This may also be a positive aspect as the special needs students will have the opportunity to meet new people and utilise the skills established in the first phase of the project.
    St. Clare's Special School
    SIP 058
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