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What to do about students who can't....
Old 10-22-2005, 02:02 PM
 
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Hi, everyone. I need some help...literally. I am racking my brain to come up with activities for students who "can't participate in religious/patriotic/holiday songs, or activities" in class.
I have a student in about 4 of the classes I teach, that cannot participate, due to religious beliefs, the students are Jehovah's Witness, and while years ago, I had a student with the same belief, that I did find other activities for, it was for only 8 weeks, as that was my student teaching time line with that age group. So, now, I have started handing out composer biographies, and having the student answer questions about the composer, and there are also crossword puzzles, and word searches that go with this biography as well, for each composer. One of the older students asked if this was punishment work, and I kindly told him, the work I am having him do, is not punishment work, it is simply work that he may do, for his grade, just as the other students are earning their grade, by singing patriotic songs, writing notes in the music, and taking a quiz on the historical significance of the "Star Spangled Banner". He didn't say anything else, except to tell me Johann Sebastian Bach was a little boring. He laughed, and I smiled, and said, "But his music is delightful, you should listen to it one day, after you complete all of the work on Bach, and I can assign you some squilt questions to complete on one of Bach's works."
Has anyone else had to have alternate activities for students, who couldn't participate, due to religion? And, if so, what kinds of things did you have the students do?


Last year, I had a student, younger student, with the same religion, and she couldn't participate in the singing in the program, but she could pull curtains very well, and she was a "Stage hand" for the performance. parents were happy, I was happy, and the child was happy.

Thanks for any enlightenment you can provide!!
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Happens every year
Old 10-23-2005, 10:45 AM
 
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It seems I have at least one student every year who cannot participate. I don't have to give letter grades, so it isn't really necessary to "make up" work - I just need to find something to keep the student/students from feeling left out. For the K's and 1's I offer picture books, coloring sheets, and drawing paper. My 2nd's and 3'rds usually just "wait out" the activity, which usually takes only part of a class period. The main exception is when we study "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 3rd. I handle this differently each year, depending on the student(s) involved.

There are two things that have made this easier for me to handle. First, I plan concerts to be inclusive and just don't do songs that can't be done by all in the grade. Second, I do very little "holiday" music, especially for Halloween. There are many seasonal selections that give the "flavor" of the holiday without actually naming any celebration.
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Old 11-03-2005, 09:47 PM
 
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I would like to know why you have to adapt the songs? I mean they can't participate in some things but isn't the historical significance of say the star spangled banner part of the requirements for the grade? If so then he may not have to sing it but he can still answer questions and memorize it with the rest of the class. Same with any other song you might sing. He isn't singing by himself now so why does it matter if he does the same work about the same song as long as he is not forced to sing it. We had a student in my class growing up who was Jehovah's witness he just didn't sing when we did something he was not supposed to do. You might also want to ask the parents how they would like you to handle it. Maybe they don't care as long as he isn't forced. I would suggest like activities if they do oppose. Something like taking apart a different piece of music that is fun. I agree with the student it would feel like punishment to have to do a biography of an ancient (yet awesome) composer while my classmates sing Rudolph the Red Nose REindeer and giggle.
 
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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I was just passing through the site and read your post.

I was wondering if you had unconsiously intended the deviation in your planned ciriculum as punishment. You did not do well in masking your contempt for the disruption of this boy's religon in your class. I worry for the other children of non-traditional religous beliefs.

Perhaps working up a plan where all students can "earn their grade" equally would be of benefit to you.
 

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