The Minisociety Classroom

By Szepkouski, Grace Mest | Teaching Exceptional Children, November/December 1999 | Go to article overview

The Minisociety Classroom


Szepkouski, Grace Mest, Teaching Exceptional Children


Imagine you are a senior student teacher, full of all the ideas and anxieties associated with that position, and your tooporating teacher challenges you: "Do something different with the classroom space, bring it to life!" Now would you meet this challenge and still address the individualized education programs (IfPs) and curriculum goals for the students?

This article offers insights into the question posed above through the construction of communities in the classroom. I am a teacher educator in a special education program, and the situation described above occurred to one of my students named Jenny. The community concept shared here is the expansion of that original idea to an assignment I now regularly use in my Methods and Materials class. Conceptual Beginning Why create a community in the classroom? Fletcher (1996) stated that the integration of what she called a "minisociety" can produce "class unity and pride, respect for each other and the classroom, increased self-esteem, the learning of life skills, [and] developing responsibility" (p. ix).

Jenny, the student teacher cited at the beginning of this article, was working with seventh through ninth graders with multiple disabilities. Based on discussions and readings from her university coursework, she was aware of the importance of transitional skills and basic functional academics for her students. The creation of a community within the classroom afforded her the opportunity to address those curricular needs and meet the challenge to use the space in a different way.

Jenny began by considering the specific community the school was located in, the types of jobs these students with multiple disabilities might acquire, and other skills necessary for basic community success, such as money awareness and food shopping. Armed with this contextually based research, she told the students they would be creating a minicommunity in their classroom, consisting of a post office, bank, and grocery store. Job applications were created and filled out, interviews held for the positions, and time set aside for running the community three times a week (for about 45 minutes each session).

Students did not automatically get the job they interviewed for and wanted. in an effort to reflect job hunting in the real world, Jenny and her teacher assigned jobs based on strengths and weaknesses of the individuals being interviewed and the requirements of the positions. For example, a student might be told that he did not meet the requirements of the post office, but the interviewers noticed his strengths in math and would like to offer him a position in the bank.

Jenny set up stations representing the post office, bank, and grocery store around the room, using the full space, The students played an integral part in creating the community structures by helping to bring in empty food boxes and empty cans for the store. The students created and painted a large cardboard mailbox to look similar to those in the community.

Within the context of this single unit, Jenny taught the following content:

* Nutrition through the model grocery store.

* Money skills through the bank (paychecks) and the grocery store.

* Alphabetization and sorting through the post office.

* Job responsibility and social skills through the interviews, time clock, and recognition of employee of the week.

These activities reflected the state core curriculum standards in workplace readiness, comprehensive health, language and arts literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Building and Elaborating on the Idea

I developed an assignment for my Methods and Materials in Special Education course around the concept of community building. A brief explanation and outline for the assignment follow as a reference for the examples cited later and as an introductory guide to anyone interested in the concept for their classroom. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Minisociety Classroom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.