Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Altus Academy One

Let me just start this off with saying: I'm thankful for Thanksgiving break.

Summer quarter, we started our Program Development & Design class, which is a class exactly what it sounds like. Our OT department coordinator Liane picked about 8 different facilities that were in need of OT. Then individually our class ranked in order the facilities we were most interested in, putting us into groups of 4-6 students per facility. Along with my classmates Mandi, Giselle, and Mariem, I was assigned to work with Altus Academy elementary students with emotional disturbances.

After being a teacher in Saipan for a year, I knew for a fact that I never wanted to be a teacher, yet somehow I was drawn to Altus Academy, and that age group. So, as a group we did a great job in the summer completing lit reviews, needs assessments, and coming up with fun activities & snacks ideas for that population. But this (Fall) quarter was the tough part. These kids...were a handful. nuts! Oh, I guess I should maybe give some background on Altus Academy: it's a school for students who get kicked out of regular schools due to bad behaviors. They attend Altus Academy because it's the last option to keep them from staying home (and off the streets) all day. The school is on constant lock down, you have to unlock and re-lock every room you go through. AND All 6 of the guys in our program were assigned to the Altus high school students because one year a student had an outburst and beat up one of the teachers.

So anyway, we met every Tuesday morning this quarter for 7 weeks at Altus for our program, where we had activities for the students to work on teamwork, accepting others, bullying, etc. This made Tuesdays my worst days. The students would act out & throw little fits to test out our reactions. F bombs everywhere! One student, one change in the environment, or maybe a bad weekend sets everyone else off! But as time progressed we learned to provide the students with challenging yet engaging activities, speak to students as adults (rather than children), use a combination of outdoor & indoor activities, use a combination of tabletop & movement activities, and divide students into smaller (and much more manageable) groups. But I think most importantly we learned to accept what we cannot change. I mean after all, the students are at Altus for a reason, who knows what happens to them at home...

T-Shirts we spray painted.
The name of our program was RPL=Run! Play! Learn!

Setting up...

saying prayer & getting stoked before a session

tie-dye shirts (the students really loved these!) & "Thankful Turkeys" the students made
The students made Thank-You cards & read them to us on our last day!

Everyone was able to get 10 stars and choose a prize on the last day =)

front & back of our shirts!

Last day! Our group with the junior high group in tie-dye shirts

1 comment:

Mai said...

Wow, sounds like quite the rewarding challenge! Looks like you guys did an amazing job!! I LOVE the shirts!!! And you!! :D Happy TG!!