Today we went to Disney Springs. We were going to visit Universal CityWalk but they charge $22 to park where as DisneySprings has complimentary parking. How often do we not know what an experience offers due to the cost? I know this is true when it comes to choosing curriculum too. We ate lunch at the Rainforest cafe and it brought up an interesting conversation. They said they weren’t passing out straws. Now at this point, since this conversation, there are an array of memes about straws. What was the most educationally engaging topic of this discussion was what taking away straws does to the people who need them. Straws may be dangerous to animals on land and water but what about the disabled or elderly people who cannot hold their cup. They find it difficult to drink without the straw. This was engaging as we apply our thoughts to differentiation because its one thing to offer solutions that diversify our classroom or remove harmful effects but what about when we remove something for the good of one student that negatively impacts other students? How about the other way around? How about when I introduce something to accommodate for your disability but it puts something harmful into the environment for others? i.e. a service dog where someone has an allergy
As I get even closer to setting up my classroom I think about this. I ran into this a couple specific ways last year this impacted my room.
I had a candy machine full of Skittles that I used as an incentive to my students. Someone did something well they could have Skittles. It added something to my room that was fun as I'm an “academic” elective. Quotes needed as I'm not termed academic but if you ask students they have to work in my class differently than say choir, a performance elective. Anyway that incentive became an “issue” when a student who had a class with another teacher in my room was accustomed to having Skittles as an incentive. Apparently he could not handle the visual of the treat without indeed receiving it. Once out of sight it was out of mind, not only for that child bit for me as I would forget to provide the incentive to my classes and took away something they came to enjoy but didn’t need.
On another note I added a Scentcy to my classroom. I selected a mild no-floral scent. Students liked it and never once was there a complaint however in another hallway a student had an adverse reaction to a scent (aerosol, diffused, melted??) we had no information to the type of scent or the method the scent was released into the air, we were all mandated to turn off our scents. No melted scents, diffused scents, etc. It didn’t matter that the scents helped some students concentrate. Just done! I had several students state my room was less inviting once I quit using the scent.
How do we decide to make certain concessions for certain students and not others? When is it for the good of the group vs. one student? How can we maintain that concept of least restrictive environment for students when one student that cannot handle something can dictate the entire course?