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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 8

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us that, "An induction program is an organized, sustained, multiyear process with many activities designed to help you succeed...."
Preparing for the First Day of School by Jan Zeiger
Classroom Discipline Forum Will Support New and Veteran Educators by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Six Traits of Writing Forum by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Ideas for Welcoming Teachers & Students Back to School by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Classroom Rules??? by Bill Page
Learning Your Students' Names: Fun, Fast, Easy and Important by Bill Page
Making 2002-2003 The Best Year Ever by Bill Page
Your Summer Reading List: The Process of Change in a School System by Dr. Rob Reilly
Beware of the Standards, Not Just the Tests by Alfie Kohn
The Importance of Reading Aloud by Lisa Frase
Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 2 - Creative Activities by Janet Farquhar
Objection overruled, or You can always go to law school if things don't work out by Taylor Mali
Dealing with Dishonesty by Tom Lucey
The Maiden Week by P R Guruprasad
Is Learning to Read Easier Than Learning to Play the Piano? by Grace Vyduna-Haskins
School was GREAT today because... by Linda Todd
The New Teacher and Coping With Special Needs Students in the Classroom by Dave Melanson
Learning About Community Service by Jay Davidson
Book Reviews - We Can Work It Out: Creating Peace in the Home & Songs for Howard Gray by Susan Gingras Fitzell
Summer Recess by Joy Jones
Tips On Time Management by Jan
Class Books Around the Year Compiled by Terry
Literacy Centers Organization by Catherine Thornton
Why the Center Approach? from The Mentor Center
Classroom Teachers' Management Tips (Part II) from the Chatboards
Why Teach? by Lynda L. Hinkle
4 Blocks Literacy Tips: Storing "Making Words" Materials from: The Mentor Center
How to Encourage Substitute Teachers to Return to Your School by Lucy, Substitute Teacher
Teaching Students To Discuss Controversial Public Issues from: ERIC Clearinghouse
August Columns
August Regular Features
August Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Dave Melanson...
Dave Melanson is located in Montreal Canada. He has five years experience presenting seminars and sensitization training to elementary schoolteachers on mainstreaming and integrating visually impaired and blind children into the regular classroom. During the past 2 years he has begun to branch outside of the Montreal area and is now covering other Canadian Provinces as well as the U.S. When giving seminars Dave brings with him a briefcase of 10 pairs of simulator glasses, each allowing the wearer to experience a different type of visual impairment.

Dave will provide a tape of a previous seminar to any school district interested in booking a presentation in order to demonstrate the topics he covers with regard to integration and mainstreaming a sight impaired or blind child.

You may contact Dave for more information by e-mail at or by telephone: 514 7683264. Dave can also be found in the Teachers.Net chatroom many evenings during the week, logged on as Dave/Montreal.

Teacher Feature...

The New Teacher and Coping With Special Needs Students in the Classroom

by Dave Melanson

If you are a new teacher and are just "learning the ropes," you are obviously spending summer trying to prepare for and become accustomed to what will be new responsibilities as a classroom teacher. You are no longer a student teacher who is being observed, you have full responsibility for your own classroom and all the duties associated with being a full time teacher.

This is your first year of teaching and you are hoping to have a smooth beginning without too many challenges. But just weeks before school starts you find out that you will be having a sight impaired child in your classroom. Do not panic!

One thing to remember is that you will have colleagues at school who can offer support and helpful suggestions. There is often time at recess or lunch to sit over a cup of coffee in the staff room and discuss some of your concerns and frustrations with the veteran teachers among your staff.

Here in the Province of Quebec, in the English school system, every effort is made to ensure that a first year teacher does not have to cope with having a special needs child for that first year of teaching as the teacher is trying to become familiar with the everyday routine of school life. However, there are times when it is inevitable that a first year teacher will be assigned a special needs student.

If this happens to you, you may find it helpful to simply ask the student what would make his or her situation more comfortable. I have often heard teachers who have taught a sight impaired or blind child say that they learned more from the student during the year than they did from any book or course they attended. They say that the student gave them invaluable hands-on experience which one cannot get from a book.

You may want to introduce your students to the talents and abilities of visually impaired and blind people. For example, there are many very talented blind musicians and writers of poetry. An excellent place to visit here on the web to discover such talented people is The American Council of the Blind Radio which is run by the sight impaired community and plays music and has readings from artists who are sight impaired.

Please share this with your students, let them listen to ACB radio and let them know that the announcers they hear on the station as well as the music is all put together by the visually impaired community. This should help your students understand that anything is possible if one believes strongly in oneself.

If you are ever fortunate enough to have a sight impaired or blind child in your classroom (you may have only one in your entire teaching career), that student will always hold a special place in your heart particularly if they did well in their studies.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. You have earned your vacation and will be now able to return to your classrooms ready for a fresh start to a productive and successful school year.

I would like to invite any teachers who have had a sight impaired or blind child mainstreamed in their classroom to please email me at if you would like to be interviewed for my second book. The interviews can be done by email. I am also trying to connect with teachers here in the Montreal area who have taught sight impaired and blind children. So, if you are a teacher in the Montreal area who reads this, please email me.

David Melanson, frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette, has self-published Integration: A Rewarding Experience, a manual for educators on the topic of working with sight-impaired students. As a sight-impaired person whose parents persisted in having their son placed in "regular" (public school) classrooms, David's experiences, perspective, and advice are particularly interesting and helpful. The manual is interesting and worthy of reading even if one does not currently have a sight-impaired student in class.

The cost in the U.S. is $10 plus $2 .45 for postage. In Canada: $15 Canadian plus $1 .45 postage. Money orders are preferred. To order the manual, contact Mr. Melanson by e-mail: Should you have difficulty reaching Dave directly, contact Kathleen Carpenter with "Melanson Manual" in the subject line.

To access monthly chats on the topic of working with sight-impaired students, moderated by David Melanson, visit the Teachers.Net Archives.

  • Special Needs June 27, 2002
  • Sight Impaired and Other Special Needs May 15, 2002
  • Working With Sight Impaired Students, April 24, 2002
  • Sight Impaired Students , January 17, 2002
  • Sight Impaired Students, December 12, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, October 23, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, August 6, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, July 19, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, May 7, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, February 15, 2001
  • Sight Impaired Students, January 17, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, December 6, 2000
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, Sept. 21, 2000
  • Accommodating the Visually Impaired Child, May 2, 2000
  • Integration Of Visually Impaired And Blind Students Into The Regular Schools, December 8, 1999

  • I have developed several audio tapes from previous seminars I have given on the topic of mainstreaming and integrating sight impaired children. I am willing to sell these tapes for $10 U.S. each. If there is any school district that is interested in purchasing a tape, please contact me:

    Postal Address:

      Dave Melanson
      702 Riverview Ave
      Verdun Quebec Canada H4H 2C1