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Mastering a Student's Personal Information in a Special Education Classroom

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Keywords: spelling, Personal information, Photobooks, photography
Subject(s): Spelling, Photography, Information Skills, Special Needs, Speech and Language
Grades 2 through 5
School: Rochester Middle School, Rochester, IL
Planned By: Christi McGinness
Original Author: Christi McGinness, Rochester
Getting Ready: I wanted a hands-on project that would bring students' families "into" the classroom so students would master names, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers and other personal information. Information that the majority of the regular students their age had acquired.

Due to a shortage in ink for our school printers this year, using the digital cameras to capture pictures of the students important information was not an option. I rounded up all the unused film cameras and purchased film and disposable cameras so that all students had a camera.

Day 1: Introduce the topic of personal information. Discuss the importance of knowing how to spell your full name, writing your address and phone number as well as verbalizing it, spelling family members names, knowing your birthdate, etc. As a class, summarize the important information that all students should know. This summary is then typed into a check list with spaces to document names for students to use while taking their photographs.

Day 2: Introduce the cameras. Discuss the difference between film photography and digital photography. Discuss safety for the cameras, how to use them, turn on the flashes, change film, etc. It is important that students are comfortable with their particular camera.

Discuss the checklist from the previous lesson. Assign students to obtain "thoughtful" pictures of people, animals and buildings that are on the list. Urge them to take the photos close up and to minimize background fill. Use examples on the computer or actual photos to reinforce this concept. The students take the cameras and their checklists home to obtain the photos. This can be done over a weekend to give the students time to see all the important people, etc. on their lists. It is also important that the subjects of the photos have their correctly spelled names on the blank spaces on the checklist.

Day 3: The students return their cameras and checklists to the teacher. The teacher takes the film in to be developed.

Day4, 5 & 6?: Students look through their photos and make sure that all pictures turned out well. When done, the students are to design a book organizing their pictures and putting the correct information on the page with the correct picture. Samples are provided.

Final Day: Share books with other students using the information they learned about their subjects. Keep books for a month or so to use for spelling and rechecking mastery of students' personal information.

I put out a district wide email asking for film cameras that were not being used, and 6 people responded. The cameras are out there sitting around somewhere. This would also be a great project using digital cameras with the appropriate supplies, software and student training.
Use the students' personal information in verbal and written stories.
Materials: Cause and Effect
Other Items: 8 film processing - 3x5, $5.00 each, total of $40.00
2 disposable cameras, $6 each, total of $12.00
6 older film cameras point and shoot, $0 each, total of $0.00
asst. colored paper for book pages, $0 each