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Teachers in Action Project PowerPoint - Emily Swank - UCF - EEX 4070 - Spring 2010 Prof. Wade

Teachers in Action Project PowerPoint - Emily Swank - UCF - EEX 4070 - Spring 2010 Prof. Wade

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  • 1. Altamonte Springs “SPARKLERS” end- of-season party
    Emily Swank
    Teachers in Action Project
    EEX 4070 - Spring 2010
    April 26, 2010
    University of Central Florida
    EmilySwank@knights.ucf.edu
  • 2. Early Perceptions
    Nervous: I was not totally sure what types of disabilities the kids that I would be working with had or the severity of their disabilities. I was also nervous because my contact, Marion Van Loon (a mom of one of the Sparklers), informed me that there were more than 60 cheerleaders on the team.
    Excited: I was excited because Marion stressed how excited the cheerleaders were to meet some of the UCF cheerleaders and dancers.
    Interested: I have coached a dance team in Brevard County for students ages 10-18. So, I was interested to see what the coach of the team, Ranwa Nin El-Khoury had to say about the ups and downs of coaching a special needs cheerleading team.
  • 3. Setting
    The banquet for the Sparklers was held at Westmonte Park in Altamonte Springs.
    The event was held on Friday, April 23, 2010, from 7-10 p.m.
    Picture(s) and voice
  • 4. Site / Community Demographics
    Altamonte Springs is a low-crime area of Central Florida.
    The average household income is around $40, 000. (http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Altamonte_Springs-Florida/community-info/)
    The Sparklers are sponsored by the City of Altamonte Springs Special Community Services Department.
    (http://redlandsarcweb.esri.com/services/servlet/EBIS_Reports?serviceName=FreeZip&errorURL=http://www.esribis.com/reports/ziplookup-error.html&zipcode=32701)
  • 5. Personal Demographics
    Emily Swank
    20 years old
    Caucasian
    Native of Melbourne, FL
    Elementary Education major at the University of Central Florida
    Member of the UCF “KnightMoves”
    dance team 2009-2010.
  • 6. Engagement Activities
    Interacted with the cheerleaders, talked to them about their team and what they like about cheerleading.
    Signed autographs on UCF spirit team posters. We brought a poster for each Sparkler!
    Danced with them!
    Handed out awards to the cheerleaders to acknowledge the team’s extraordinary accomplishments.
  • 7. Participant Demographics
    The Sparklers program began 5 years ago, and today there are more than 60 participants (male and female).
    There is 1 staff member/volunteer per 5 participants.
    The team performs at many events in their community, and attends at least two cheerleading competitions each year (entering in the Special Needs category).
    The team practices at Lake Brantley South gymnasium, a small gym attached to Forest City Elementary School on Sand Lake Road in Altamonte Springs.
    The participants ranged in age from 6-60! (divided into 3 different performance squads)
    Most participants are white, but 3 were African American, and 1 was Hispanic.
  • 8. Participant Demographics (cont’d)
    Most of the participants’ disabilities were moderate. The city of Altamonte requires that, to participate, participants had to:
    Be capable of participating in a group structure,
    Have independent bathroom skills, and
    Be able to follow basic instructions
    They also had to be able to participate in physical activities and, for the most part, remember a cheerleading routine.
    Disabilities included: Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, mental retardation
  • 9. Reflection of The Experience
    I think one of the biggest lessons I took away from this experience was learning that special needs students are often much more capable than people tend to think they are and than they get credit for. Most of the time these kids don’t want to have to depend on another person to help them, and want to be as independent as they possibly can. Theywant to be treated as normally as possible and have some of the same interests and desires to participate in clubs and activities as anyone else. That is why Ifound the Sparklers organization to be such a positiveprogram for these kids to participate in. The kids shared with us how excited they were when they were onstage cheering in front of crowds (even if there was only 2 people in the crowd!). You could tell how much they loved the littlest bit of attention, especially the spotlight, and showing other people what they were truly capable of. This lesson will certainly apply to my career as a future educator.While accommodations will certainly have to be made forspecial needs students in my class, I have learned to treat them as “normally” as possible. I need to remember to treat themas I would treat any other student, and not speak down to themor lower my expectations of them as a student, while keeping theiraccommodations in mind. These students are not often recognized foraccomplishments they make, especially in schools, and it was great to bea part of a night that was dedicated to them and their outstanding accomplishments with cheerleading.
  • 10. Reflection of The Experience(cont’d)
    One of the things that touched me the most was how thankful these kids were for simple things that most people take for granted.They were so thankful just to be able to meet myself and the other UCF cheerleaders and dancers that participated. It was so great to be able to blatantly see the pure joy on their face as we interacted them, and especially as we danced with them. They were so stunned and excited that we would come to see them and much less to bring them UCF posters and autograph them for them. Their joy and sincere appreciation made me realize how often these kids are overlooked, both by adults and peers. This saddened me because the kids had such big and open hearts. They didn’t care what you looked like or what you had or where you came from. They just wanted others to spend time with them and get to know them. I think that most of the time, adults are so nervous about how to handle special needs children and what to say and do with them, that they forget that they’re kids that want to talk and laugh and have fun just like any other kids. The Sparklers were so comfortable in interacting with us, and instantly made us feel so welcomed. This put us at ease and made interacting with them so much easier and more fun for us, and lead to a truly inspiring and uplifting night for everyone involved. All in all, I took away from this experience that despite any label of “special needs,”all kids are kids and want and deserve the same attentionand respect. Coach Ranwa has a runs a truly remarkableprogram, and participating in this event made me consider getting involved in a similar program that gives special needs children the chance to shine and feel special, becausethey most definitely deserve it!
  • 11. Special Thanks To…
    Marion Van Loon (contact, mom of one of the Sparklers)
    Ranwa Nin El-Khoury (Special Needs Activities Coordinator for the City of Altamonte Springs, head coach and director of the Sparklers)
    City of Altamonte Springs Special Community Services Department (for sponsoring this great program!)
    http://www.advisoryboardfordisabled.org/special_population_activities
    http://www.sparklers.myphotoalbum.com/view_album.php?set_albumName=album45