Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When Horses Fly in School by Jean Alicen Brady

Students in my class love the video When Horses Fly. This izzit.org video is about one of the most important inventions of our time - the jumbo jet. Students come along as 47 prize-winning thoroughbreds journey halfway across the globe. They learn that air freight is more than just about flying horses, but global business partnerships.

Whenever I use When Horses Fly, I stop the video at different points so we can discuss critical pieces of information. Allowing these pauses creates time for students to think about the video more carefully.

For the non-verbal students in our group, I have created social stories, which include pictures to help the visual learns. We use a magnet board to show the sequence of events, an activity in which the students happily participate. Since my students are low-functioning and autistic, we repeat the same cycle the following day for critical understanding.

On the following day we complete a crossword puzzle on the board based on When Horses Fly. Even those students who appeared not to be paying attention would moments later begin talking about the video and some of the things they liked about it.

Some of my co-workers were skeptical the videos from izzit.org would be accessible to our special-needs students. Unfortunately, there is a bias against students who are considered "different," and so often good material like this is not provided to them.

With this in mind, I invited some teachers into my room to see for themselves how the program can work. They were impressed and have since signed up themselves.

This year during spring break I went to a conference for izzit.org and it was a great learning experience for me.

Most special-needs children need visual and auditory lessons to learn. What an inexpensive way to do this - through free videos once a year! This is the best resource I have ever bought at any price. I would say to any teacher, if you have not tried out the program - you are really missing out. That goes especially for special education teachers: These films can be simplified based on a student's ability, but always expect more.

The izzit materials can easily be modified to meed the needs of these precious children. With videos like When Horses Fly, I have some of the teaching tools I need. It has given them the perfect opportunity to show not only that they are capable of learning, but it can be fun, too.

Jean Alicen Brady works for HAVEN, a day school for students with intense behaviors that cannot be tolerated in a general education environment. Working out of Mableton, Georgia, Jean is a dual diagnosis teacher, working with emotional behavior disorder students. She was a real estate agent until 6 years ago when she went back to school to become a teacher.