Wellington Elementary Special Instructors Work to Tie Activities to the Classrooms

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Carbon School District Press Release

Wellington Elementary Principal Stacy Basinger said that one of the most important parts of the school week, but one that is often overlooked by parents, is when the kids rotate out of their regular classes and attend “specials.” Specials include physical education, music, computers and art.

“Many of the kids think this time is an escape for a fun time,” said Basinger. “It is a break from ‘regular learning’ and it is a different setting, but contrary to what they may believe, there is academic learning that is attached to those activities. Each of the specialists make a conscious effort to make sure the tasks and activities are connected to a core in the curriculum.”

She said, for instance, there was a school-wide production that was being put together at the time of the interview that highlighted music, but was centered around living a healthy lifestyle. Every grade level had been learning songs that related to lifestyle from Mrs. Grant, such as how much television or screen time students are getting at home and the importance of healthy food and exercise. “It will be fun with the songs and the music, but there are some life lessons being learned there,” Basinger said.

She said that in art, the kids are being exposed to different kinds of art and learning different techniques to create art with appropriate content by Mrs. Schaugaard. It is, however, all tied to core standards.

In the computer specials, Mrs. Potter supports academic subjects with computer tasks that allow students to learn features on the computer. “While students are very tablet savvy, they still need to learn some of the functions of computers,” said Basinger. “This way, they get appropriate exposure for their grade level.”

In PE class, Miss Rasmussen has the kids working hard physically, but she also incorporates physical tasks that incorporate math tasks that especially support number sense development in younger grades.

“It is wonderful that specials is not just play time, but something that is structured and learning oriented,” she explained. “There is purpose behind it and it is connected to or supports other class work students have.”

All the specialists at the school are part time and work three days per week. She said it would be nice to be able to have the students go to special classes multiple times a week, but unfortunately, that is not available in the schedule or budget.

Basinger said that besides the learning opportunities the students receive during specials, one of the biggest pluses about the designated specials time is the time created for regular classroom teachers to meet with intervention aides or to collaborate with other teachers for planning and instruction purposes.

“I know the other principals will argue with me, but we have the best specialists in the district,” she concluded.

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