Each day, members of Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams support students with disabilities who have trouble writing. Many students with mild disabilities know that they want to write but have difficulty with the mechanics of translating those thoughts to paper. They often disregard language skills such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Some studentsâ€™ thoughts move so quickly that their writing seems to jump haphazardly from one topic to the next. Other students spell and construct sentences but have problems generalizing and synthesizing ideas. (CEC Technology in Action Vol 1, Issue 6, May 2005, page 1)
My students are struggling writers, hesitant writers, in short, they abhor writing. They are the students whose score in SAT 9 range from below basic to below basic. They are diagnosed with either Learning Disability and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Every teacher in every school in every district leaves their profession because of these kinds of students. I was thinking of joining the band wagon.
But since the start of the school year, I was able to miraculously make my students with disabilities write meaningful poems about themselves, about social problems and current events. They were able to create beautiful illustrations for their wonderful poems too. Thanks to the DC Area Writing Project for giving me strategies in engaging students to write, and to Beth Olshansky for the Art-Literature based curriculum.