Fun Ways To Teach: Mrs. Kala Ghaty


Mrs. Kala Ghaty

I’m a special education teacher in an SDC moderate class.

My class is a self contained class, which has 11 students, and I have two para-educators. It’s a very small, close knit community. And the IHS administration, led by Amanda and her team, they are really, really supportive. It makes me so happy.

This year, my kids have been learning to make Google Slides and will type their reflection using Google Docs, which they never did in their life. It’s not easy for them. Even doing little, simpler things, it takes more time. So when we started this year virtually, we started teaching them through Google Classroom. And this year, when it started in September, I started teaching them how to make Google Slides, just for simple things. 

For Halloween, they did their DIY costumes. And I said, we’ll have a costume party and you will win prizes. And as a prize, they can own their own shop. 

So I had one of the students as the owner of a grocery shop. I purchased some online bundles where they can drag and drop things. Literally when he owns a grocery shop, other kids can go to the shop and order. The owner will drag and drop the things, whatever they want to purchase. And then we had this thought of going on a field trip. 

Going to the field trip is part of their vocational skills and job skills. That’s part of the curriculum, which we are not able to do this year. Last year, we used to go to grocery shops to teach them money, timelapse, all those things. We’re not getting that. So I thought: let me do that online. I have very supportive parents, educators, para-educators and they said, “Why not, let us go with that.” We did exactly the way we do the field trips and school: filling the emergency forms, giving it to the office, taking permission from the principal, everything. And then we told the kids we are starting the field trip at 10:30 AM, so be ready. One of the students, he made the agenda using the Google Docs; he read the agenda, what we are going to do the whole day at 10:30 AM. And because we wanted to include all the students, another student went over the safety instructions: wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitizer, everything. Another student made the Google slide for the road safety rules, like “How to cross the road.” See for my kids, every simple thing is a big deal. Crossing the road, seeing the red light, stopping there, everything is important. So he made the Google Slides for using road safety and he went over that. Then I said, three students stay with one para-educator and another three students stay with one more, etc. In case you are lost, you have to carry your address and phone number. Everything is pretty much as if we’re doing a real field trip. 

We started by going to Michael’s grocery shop online. It’s run by two students. And before going we made a list of grocery items we wanted to buy. We called Michael to say, “Are you there? Are you open?” We named his grocery shop as Michael’s Fair Priced Grocery Shop. So it was like a simulation. 

We went there and two kids ordered, they bought stuff, some groceries. One of the students acted as a cashier. So if it cost $12.50, how much would you give? What is the next dollar? When they say we give $15, what is the change you are going to get back? The cashier will use a calculator and say, “Okay, this is $3.50.” We gave the opportunity to a few other kids to shop in Michael’s shop.

We made sure that everybody gets a chance. It’s a very small class—eleven kids—so we interact with each other. That’s what Miss Antonacci said, “I see good comradeship in this class and it feels like a family.” Yes, indeed. It’s a family.

If we were in-person, once a week we take permission from Amanda and then we fill up the field trip forms, everything. We go on field trips, we go to movies. It’s to teach them how to learn daily living skills. And when they go out, how should they behave? How do they react, the social communication skills, life skills, everything, because after high school, they go into the real world. Most of the parents are also helping, but when they come to school, it’s our responsibility to make sure that they are safe. And they belong to the outer world, and they can do everything that others can do. They are really capable. They just need some support and help.