Teaching Methodology

First and foremost, our art workshop facilitators follow

our Paint A Smile formula: Support, Mentor, Inspire, Love, Empower.

A number of our workshop facilitators are Ontario Certified Teachers who provide valuable workshops to kids. We provide a safe environment where kids feel allowed to just be themselves, regardless of their circumstances and abilities. We consider learning in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere the most effective and engaging way of working with young learners. We provide the space for art exploration to happen and highly encourage students to use their creativity and to think outside of the box. Our instructional approach is to encourage children to work at their own rate of development, and that every individual’s art is unique and special. We do not believe that only particular people are artistic and creative, we believe everyone has that artistic capability. We make art to help build on character, such as respect, perseverance, honesty and integrity. We intentionally seek to create a positive learning environment for kids to feel safe, useful, free, confident, valued, needed, respected, comfortable and accepted. We describe a positive environment as:

  • Equitable and inclusive
  • Safe and supportive
  • Respectful
  • Caring

We provide accommodations and modifications for students with:

  • Acknowledge and praise or reward acceptable behavior
  • Seat the student in an area of the classroom that will minimize distractions
  • Allow the restless student opportunities to change focus or tasks
  • Post rules (i.e., write them down and post them in plain view)
  • Provide opportunities for the student to practise self-monitoring, and provide positive reinforcement for effort
  • Teach the student alternative behaviours to replace inappropriate ones (e.g., aggressive, self-stimulating, or self-abusive behaviours)
  • Teach, and reinforce with the student, the concept of each person’s right to personal space
  • Provide opportunities for the student to change to a different location or have a time-out if necessary

  • Provide a predictable and safe environment
  • Reduce distractions and sensory overloads
  • Use visual supports (e.g., mapping, sequence strips, pictorial schedules) to assist the student with routines
  • Encourage, accept, and teach choice-making
  • Break tasks down into smaller steps, if necessary, for the student’s understanding
  • Use gestures, modelling, and demonstrations along with verbalizations
  • Engage the student’s attention visually, verbally, and/or physically before giving him or her information or directions
  • Allow the student to use assistive devices

  • Shut the classroom door and windows whenever possible
  • Have curtains in the class if possible
  • Check with resource personnel for assistance and for more ideas about how to improve classroom acoustics
  • A visual approach for signing students who acquire ASL/LSQ as their primary language
  • Rephrase questions or instructions if not understood by the student the first time, rather than repeating the sentence
  • Encourage the student to ask for clarification, to express opinions, and to contribute to discussions
  • Deliver or discuss instructions, inserting natural pauses which an interpreter can utilize and which allow the student sufficient time to process information

  • Seat the student close to the teacher or stand close to the student while giving instructions
  • Provide a “quiet spot” for the student to work
  • Reduce the speaking rate and insert pauses to facilitate the student’s comprehension of instructions
  • Face the student when giving instructions
  • Write instructions or key words on the chalkboard
  • Make use of visual strategies, such as pictures, outlines, and semantic maps, to support verbal information
  • Provide visual information to support an instruction, such as demonstrating an activity or pointing to the object you are talking about

  • Provide an encouraging and supportive classroom environment
  • Ensure the student feels that he or she is a valued member of the class
  • Recognize and praise effort, improvement, and task completion
  • Allow a student with attention and concentration difficulties opportunities to alternate tasks or take short breaks
  • Provide opportunities for the student to use a resource room for assistance and/or to reduce distractions while he or she works
  • Provide as many opportunities as possible for the student to experience positive self-expression, beginning first in a small, comfortable group setting
  • Encourage the student to ask questions for clarification and additional information

  • Allot an appropriate amount of time provided for changing classes and the scheduling of various activities
  • Verify accessibility of the classroom and all areas of the school for a student who uses mobility aids (e.g., canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs)
  • Provide the student with a quiet location, free from distractions
  • Read or clarify questions for the student and encourage the student, without assisting or providing the response, to rephrase questions in his or her own words
  • Highlight key words or instructions for emphasis

  • Provide visual and/or tactile cues
  • Break down assignments into smaller tasks
  • Ensure that the student has appropriate seating (e.g., near the board, near the front, near the door, or at a desk or table suitable for use by someone in a wheelchair)
  • Team the student with a peer, and encourage peer interaction
  • Make sure, in a way that maintains the dignity of the physically disabled student, that others in the school are familiar with and respect the student’s routines and requirements

  • Enlarged print and graphic materials
  • Magnifying devices, used to enhance the size of print on a page or blackboard
  • Encourage the student’s active involvement in the community through school, club programs, sports, and other group activities
  • Allowing a short break or change of focus will alleviate the eye fatigue that is often experienced by students with low vision
  • Address students by name so that the student who is blind or has low vision knows who is being addressed
  • Make use of hands-on materials where possible
  • Provide information orally

A combination of learning or other disorders, impairments, or physical disabilities that is of such a nature as to require, for educational achievement, the services of one or more teachers holding qualifications in special education and the provision of support services appropriate for such disorders, impairments, or disabilities. To effectively program for students with multiple exceptionalities, educators need to utilize teaching strategies that address the demonstrated characteristics of each of the student’s identified exceptionalities.  

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