Lori Wise-Tilton and Nicole Greer really had no idea where to start.
The teachers knew they wanted to do something special for their students with special needs. Lori had the idea of creating a winter wonderland, and Nicole could see it in her mind – white, full-sized balloons, dancing in every corner of her room, floating like snowflakes.
“Dr. Norman was actually the one who suggested figuring out how many balloons would fit in a square, then adding up the squares, then multiplying that by how many layers of balloons I wanted,” said Greer. “Then I realized that, well, that’s more than 1,000 balloons! Then I just kept going.”
In all, Greer and her communication and social skills co-teachers filled 2,700 white balloons to envelope the space. It took seven hours and a lot of heart, but the effect was worth it.
Greer’s students, many who are on the autism spectrum, were shocked and filled with joy at the surprise. In addition to their snow-filled space, students decorated snowman cookies and completed other snow-themed sensory experiences.
“At Cowden, as teachers, we’re challenged to make magical moments of learning for our students,” said Greer. “This was pretty magical.”