One thing that I have noticed with my special needs students, especially those with autism and/or those who are limited or non-verbal, is that they are often looking for the right answer. It didn't matter if I was asking them what they wanted to do for break, they wanted to pick the 'right' answer. No matter what I said, they would look at me and nod their head as they pointing to their choice, hoping that they were right. How sad!
I knew this meant we needed to stop having so many right/wrong activities in my class. I needed to teach my students how to give their opinions.
Errorless Question of the Day:
First I incorporated a question of the day, "What do you like?". Each question has visual answering options and there is no wrong answer. We do our question of the day first thing in the morning, which allows my students to complete their first academic activity errorlessly while giving them the support that they need.
Errorless Journal Writing:
Journal writing is a wonderful open ended activity that many students participate in, and it's great because there are so many right answers...but what about when students can't write? Or don't have the vocabulary to express themselves? I realized I was limiting my students by not allowing them to express their thoughts in writing and only having them work on "wh" question activities. They have important things to say!
I can't even explain how wonderful the changes were that happened in my classroom after implementing these journals. Suddenly, journal writing was FUN! My students were excited for journal time and so proud of their work. My students who struggled with completing sentences were now doing it on their own.
Anyone worried that your students would become dependent on the options to complete their sentence starters? I'm not going to lie, I did too, but I saw multiple students get to the point where they were so confident with themselves that I was able to cover up those options and they did it all of their own!
Other Errorless Activities:
These errorless activities quickly became my favorite. Which is why you can find multiple daily question packs, journals for the entire year, and greeting cards, all designed to help students express themselves and give them the confidence they need and deserve.
There are so many times that we have to correct our students and tell them that they are wrong (and that's not necessarily bad, we have to teach them and they have to learn)! BUT, if we can create even just a few opportunities a day where all students can express themselves however they want and be successful without wondering, we will give our students more confidence. And with confidence, our students can do SO MUCH MORE!