GardenWorks ~ Cultivating Academic Standards for Non-Academic Students
Overview How can students with multiple handicaps feel they belong? GardenWorks lets high schoolers from an occupational skills program contribute to the school community in meaningful ways. As they design and build terraria, begin a window side habitat and observatory, and donate plants to school areas and fund raisers, participants not only recognize they've enhanced their campus, but also understand that the entire school values their efforts. By applying concepts and skills to domestic, vocational and recreational activities common to families and sheltered employment facilities, the young gardeners fulfill a continuum of activities that address science and math standards in academic as well as career competencies. Adaptive computer software allows teacher and students to complete a variety of alternative assessment tools. Working with plants produces not only a healthy crop of vegetables and herbs but creates healthy attitudes toward skills that will serve a lifetime.
Assessment Teacher uses rubrics, checklists, self-evaluations to assess performance and participation on tasks and activities. Teacher assists students and their parents to evaluate performance on initial and final products. Students maintain color-coded, easily identifiable portfolios of daily, weekly and monthly projects--always accessible for parental and administrative review.
Software or Materials Used For computer and Internet: SonyMavica digital camera; Custom Land Designer by Broderbund; Boardmaker: the Picture Communication Symbols by Mayer-Johnson, Inc; PrintShop Broderbund Software, Inc; Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint & Word Microsoft; ArcSoft Photo Studio, version 2.0; for gardens: garden tools, household tools, lots of recycled plant and food containers, seeds. paper materials for weather displays, etc.
Web Sites Web Sites
Keywords Adapted Science Curriculum, Adapted Math Curriculum, Non-academic high school students, Science Basics, Math Basics, Picture Communication Biology, Students with Severe Special Needs, Weather, Indoor Gardening for Students with Special Needs, Gardening for Students with Special Needs
Final Words GardenWorks provides verbal and non-verbal students with experience in:
Working with Boardmaker and
Picture Communication Symbols challenges students to communicate on many
Teacher Tip Forget instant gratification--these are life skills! Though it may be difficult (at least, it was for me), let students learn from spills and stains, dead and missing plants and folders, non-compliant animals, unwanted pests, and a persistent cold, north wind.
E-mail contact Peggy Renfranz firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Bio For over 25 years, Peggy Renfranz has taught Adaptive Daily Living (ADL) skills to students with severe disabilities. Soon after moving from New York City where she was named a Teacher of the Year, she joined Hyde Park High, a School to Career School. An active member of the school's accreditation review committee, she also contributes to its Instructional Leadership Team. With the current emphasis on standards based learning, Peggy is identifying ways to combine the familiar ground of ADL instruction with the unexplored regions of biology and math. Her students recently won first place at the school's Science Fair in the category of Teacher Assisted Projects. This teacher reformer views adapting Massachusetts Curriculum Standards to meet the needs and capabilities of her students as Rubrics Cued.
Subject Areas Biology, Math, Independent Living Skills
Grade Levels 10 - 12+ (15 - 22 year-old students)
Students High school youth and young adults with multiple handicaps (limited communication skills, physical and medical disabilities, behavioral disorders, developmental disabilities including autism and cognitive functioning, visual impairments, and/or cerebral palsy) in substantially separate classroom program