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Volume 3 Number 2

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "...effective teachers do not employ tricks of the trade, the latest fad, or untested opinions..." This month the Wongs feature Liz Breaux, a most effective teacher...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Bridget Scofinsky
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child by Dave Melanson
Seussational Reading Excitement - NEA's Read Across America: Too Much Reading Fun for Just One Day!...
The 100th Day of School
100th Day Activities
Television--Don't Trash It--Control It
Remediation Doesn't Work
Behavior Management Tips
Children and Stress
Children Do Grieve
Infuse Test Preparation With Life-long Learning
Technology Integration Has No Hope of Succeeding!
Technophobia to Technophilia
Cooperative Learning
Why All Students Need Fine Motor Skills
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 3)
The Role of EFL learners' Heterogeneity in Terms of Age in Their Use of Communication Strategies
The Importance of the School Administration to Student Achievement
Using Non-Fiction to Motivate Reluctant Readers
Quantity over Quality--The Problem with Writing Instruction in Our Schools
Tips for Substitute Teachers
From "I Don't Care" to "I Did It!"
Rules for Secondary Classrooms
Block Scheduling
Special Days This Month
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Exceptional Normalcy
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    Featured Lessons from the Lesson Bank
  • Famous Black Americans
  • Valentine Village
  • Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    Chatboard Poll
    Arecibo Radar Gets 11th-Hour Reprieve
    Planetary Society Offers New Scholarships
    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.

    Special Ed Chatboard...
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    ASL/Sign Mailring...
    Join the Teachers.Net ASL/Sign Language Mailring! The ASL/Sign Mailring is part of the Teachers.Net Language Center, and provides teachers of mainstream as well as special needs students a place to discuss using and teaching American Sign Language and other sign languages in the classroom. Subscribe today at the Teachers.Net Mailring Center.
    The Visually Impaired Child
    by Dave Melanson
    Active Participation Exercises -
    Ways to Sensitize Your Students to the Needs of Sight Impaired Peers

    I have found that one of the most effective ways to learn and experience what a sight impaired person really feels and experiences is through the act of "role playing." Role playing allows people to actually stand in the shoes of a sight impaired person and experience for themselves some of the challenges and obstacles faced by the sight impaired individual.

    Here are some helpful exercises you may wish to try with your students to allow them to better understand how sight impaired individuals (and other differently-abled people) overcome challenges in their everyday lives. You may want to have your students write about their experiences in a journal and later have a group discussion about how they felt when participating in these exercises.

    Exercise 1

    Have your students put on blindfolds, then have them take off one shoe. Put all of the shoes in a large pile and then have them, through sense of touch only, try to locate their shoe in the pile with their blindfold on. This exercise will help your students to better understand how a totally blind person must use their other senses to make up for their lack of vision.

    Have the students then write about this experience in a journal, asking them to write about how they felt and how they would have to adapt their lives if they were totally blind, and how would they overcome specific challenges. Then, have a class group discussion and ask them to offer solutions and ideas which they feel would allow a blind person to live an independent life which is safe, productive and happy.

    Exercise 2

    This exercise involves your students acting out this situation. (You, the teacher, might want to play the part of one of the members of the group in order to lead the role play in the desired direction.)

    Tell the children they have just learned that they will be having a new student in their class named "Jackie," and that she is visually impaired. It is now recess time and they are outside in the school yard, talking about the new student. Role play that they do not want to play with her because "it would not be cool" to have Jackie in their group. The group talks about the thick glasses she wears and how "nerdy" she looks. One or more volunteers play the understanding students who contribute empathetic responses such as, "That isn't nice. How would you feel if someone did that to you?."

    Guide the actors into a lively discussion with the sympathetic student finally convincing the rest of the group to accept Jackie and for them to be her friends. The exercise ends with a member from another playgroup coming over and asking why they have Jackie in their group, announcing that their group does not want to play with a group which includes Jackie. So as long as they have her in the group, "We will not play with you either." Lead the discussion until everyone in Jackie's group stands up for her and tells the other student that they are all her friends and that she is really a nice person.

    Upon completion of this exercise have your students write about this situation in a journal. This will be a wonderful way for you as their teacher to detect and put in check any signs of intolerance by judging how your students write about this situation.

    Have a group discussion in class about this exercise and ask your students how they would feel if someone excluded them unfairly or judged them without really knowing them and without knowing or acknowledging what their assets are. This would be a good time to point out to your students that everyone cannot be good at the same things, that some people are weak in certain areas yet demonstrate a tremendous strength in others. And, most importantly, by everyone being different, this allows us to all learn from each other and makes the world such an exciting place to live in.

    David Melanson, frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette, has just 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.

    Sight Impaired Students, December 12, 2001
    Integration Of Visually Impaired And Blind Students Into The Regular Schools
    Accommodating the Visually Impaired Child
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, Sept. 21, 2000
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, December 6, 2000
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, February 15, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, May 7, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, July 19, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, August 6, 2001
    Working With the Sight Impaired Students, October 23, 2001

    You may contact Dave Melanson by e-mail for information about consulting, sensitization training, and speaking services. Write to

    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