The goal of any special needs program is to help children rise above their learning disabilities. That’s why Pinelands Regional School District (Ocean County) teachers Jane Hall and Anne Benoit have created Signs of the Times. Thanks to a $1,230 grant from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education, fifteen multiply disabled, intellectually, and/or physically challenged students will participate in a program that includes oral reading and sign language, and allows them to demonstrate these skills to students in surrounding school districts.
Signs of the Times centers on Do Firefighters Have Wings?, an original publication written in a special education classroom, which describes the job and responsibilities of firefighters while touching on 9/11/01 with a gentle sensitivity. The special needs students, from Pinelands Middle and High Schools, will read and sign the book to fifth- grade students. Afterwards the students will teach the fifth graders how to sign each page.
The goal of Signs of the Times is to enlighten the fifth graders to the world of signing and to motivate them to continue learning sign language. In addition, the project will strengthen the oral reading and signing skills of special needs students, building their self-esteem and confidence.
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