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Learning from the Experts

By Kristie Smith
As avision consultant in Mesquite ISD, I am always excited to see the products thatI bring to the teachers being used correctly. For example, yesterday I went into one of my favorite classrooms andwatched the teachers using the light box and Swirly Mats in a sensory station,items from the “Let’s See Kit” dangling on the colorful rope for interactiveplay, and the teacher was wearing solid black placing the brightly coloredyellow objects one-at-a-time in front of her black clothing. She knew that the color black will help toeliminate visual clutter for our children with visual weaknesses.
Needlessto say, the children in this classroom are thriving! I taught the teacher, Jackie Clayton’sdaughter, Ashley when she was in the third grade and have always been a fan ofthe family, but now, I am learning from the experts.
Whenone of my students continued to try and mouth a toy instead of using itcorrectly, Jackie spoke sweetly to her, helped her to squeeze the toys andbegan rubbing her forearms.
“Whenyou massage the forearm, you are encouraging touch and tactile awareness,” theteacher taught the teacher.
Iwatched as my vision student with limited vision, began releasing the toy fromher mouth and began to tactually explore the item.
As Ilooked around the room, I was beaming with pride as I saw the All-in-One-Boardin place, blocks from the math kit on a child’s tray (we suggested brightlycolored pink tape while placing the block on top of a black piece of cloth),the Sensory Kit’s pink vibrating pillow and many other items used in verycreative ways.
Iteased Jackie and told her that when I come in to consult with her about visionit is like teaching Billy Graham the Bible verse John 3:16.
We laughed and agreedthat it takes a village to observe each child and watch for their strengths andpotential. As vision teachers, we approach all specialists for assistance inteaching our children to walk, talk, eat, etc. because 85% of what we learn isvisual.
John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Many times when I walk into an amazingclassroom as the specialist, it is often times that I become the humble studentand am able to share the building blocks of what I have learned from so manywonderful experts to pass along.

Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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