Jessica Witkowski's Portfolio Page
The Importance of Sensory Integration in the Classroom
The topic of this course is on the value of integrating sensory exercises in the classroom. The purpose of this course is to teach both general education and special education teachers about the effectiveness of having their students perform sensory exercises in their daily classroom routine and lessons. Learners of this course will utilize their intellectual skill, cognitive strategy, motor skills, and verbal information capabilities to address the following questions:
- What does sensory mean?
- What are some of the benefits of using sensory in the classroom?
- How would you use sensory integration in your classroom?
- What prerequisite motor skills would students need to perform different sensory exercises?
Part I: Intent
The human brain uses vision, touch, sound, taste, smell,and motion to make sense of the environment and produce a response. Many students with special needs have neurological, biological, and sensory differences that affect how they learn and respond to the environment (Prestia, 2004). While sensory integration is more prevalent in a special education classroom, general education teachers can benefit from this course as well, as some of their students may also have specific sensory needs. My hypothesis is that while many teachers may have heard of using sensory materials in the classroom, some may still be wondering how they can incorporate sensory and the steps they should take to do so. Some teachers may also already incorporate some sensory in their classroom, but are seeking new sensory ideas to add to it as well. My proposed solution is to provide a mini-course that will help inform teachers of the research on sensory integration and the benefits of adding it as a part of your classroom environment, while also pointing out some key examples of sensory ideas that would be great for general education and special education teachers to have available to their students.
Part II: Gather Information
In order to assess the need for this mini-course on sensory integration, a survey was sent out to about 40 possible participants, with 27 responses received. While this course is designed for teachers, I felt it necessary to send the survey to not only general education and special education teachers, but also to related service providers, administrators (who were also former teachers), retired teachers, and student teachers. I felt this would be helpful in getting the variety of feedback and response that I was seeking in order to form a substantial pool of base knowledge to build on for my course. A link to the actual survey given can be found below.
- Please note that as of 10/10/13, new survey data coming in will not be accepted. The above link is simply to showcase the questions/format of the survey given.
Part III: Survey Results
From the wonderful feedback I received on sensory integration in my survey, I am able to draw the conclusion that sensory integration is, in fact, a very important subject for teachers and all of those in the education field to be informed of and continuously receive more research and information on. I received several responses stating its' importance, and an overwhelming majority do already use some sort of sensory in their classroom. There were a few that commented that they are not knowledgeable enough on sensory integration and would like to learn more. I am able to see that this mini-course will be highly beneficial to teachers and am looking forward to informing many on the very important topic of sensory integration and the wonderful ways they can incorporate it in their classroom.
At the conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:
- Classify the definition and purpose of sensory integration in the classroom through written response.
- Identify the history of sensory and its' development into today's classroom by answering a series of multiple choice questions.
- Reflect on the importance of sensory use in the general education classroom through written response
- Generate a list of at least three types of sensory activities that can be useful in the classroom as a behavior management tool, along with correctly identifying the motor skill that students must use.
- Identify examples of how sensory can be properly be used as a behavior management tool in the classroom by answering a series of multiple choice questions.
- Execute at least three new sensory exercises in their own classroom by first modeling to students how to use the proper motor skills to perform the exercises, then reflecting through written response on the outcome of the implementation of these exercises in the classroom.
- Generate a list of the benefits of sensory integration specific to the context of their classroom and explain how and why these sensory strategies will increase quality of learning in their students.
- Analyze in writing how they would handle specific classroom situations with the use of a specific sensory exercise they learned about in this course.
- Analyze and reflect on how the use of sensory has made an impact on his or her classroom since beginning this course
What is sensory and how does it impact classroom learning?
1) The learner will define sensory and the purpose of sensory integration in the classroom. 2) The learner will examine the history of sensory. 3) The learner will engage in a situational response activity. 4) The learner will watch a video outlining the purpose of sensory. 5) The learner will be motivated to discover how sensory can impact student learning.
What are some of the benefits of using sensory in the classroom?
1) The learner will generate a list of examples of the benefits of sensory integration. 2) The learner will answer a series of multiple choice questions to identify examples of how sensory can be used. 3) The learner will analyze specific classroom situations that may require the use of sensory. 4) The leaner will engage in a situational response activity. 5) The learner will record key information to build a deeper understanding on the benefits of sensory. 6) The learner will understand the act of analytical writing
How are you going to implement sensory into YOUR classroom?
1) The learner will identify useful sensory strategies that could be implemented in their own classroom. 2) The learner will identify specific motor skills required for sensory strategies. 3) The learner will observe sensory strategies being used through a selection of video clips. 4) The learner will engage in a situational response activity. 5) The learner will understand the act of reflective writing. 6) The learner will identify and define various fine and gross motor skills.
The learner will execute and reflect on the use of at least three new sensory strategies in his or her classroom.
Access to the curriculum map for this course: File:ETAP623 Curriculum Map.pdf
References and Resources
Prestia, K. (2004). Incorporate sensory activities and choices into the classroom. Intervention in School and Clinic, 3, 172-175.
Wilmes, B., et. al. (2008). Coming to our senses: Incorporating brain research findings into classroom instruction. Education, 128(4), 659-666.
Unit 1: What is Sensory Integration and how does it impact classroom learning?
Unit 2: What are some of the benefits of using sensory in the classroom?
Unit 3: Now it's your turn! How are you going to implement sensory in YOUR classroom?