Saturday, May 9, 2009

What Happens After Graduation?

Transition I'm hoping to compile a list of various opportunities that are out there for students once they exit our school programming.  Unfortunately there does not appear to be much in our local area.  Although this is frustrating I take hope from people who see this issue in their own communities and then do something about it.  One such example that I've found is a parent who has a dream to create a center for people with multiple complex needs.  Her organization is called Connect Us.  I really enjoyed reading the dream that she has for the program.  I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with this yet at this point but did want to document it for now.

Over time I'm sure I will begin to find a data base or a variety of sites that give ideas for options for young adults with the level of need that I currently have in my classroom.  This will begin to make the whole process of transitioning a bit easier as right now its almost an overwhelming task given that there is so little in our communit for students to transition to.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Community Experiences Program

Communityoutings We are looking at a pretty managable number in the classroom for next year.  We will have six students, four learning assistants and myself.  The learning assistants will all be gaining hours and we will therefore have them in the room full time when students are there.  I'm excited as it opens up the opportunity for use to get out in the community more often. 

Therefore part of our program will consist of going out in the community to do things on a regular basis.  After a visit we will be putting together books documenting what we have learned.  We will pick up hand made materials, take photographs and put together books related to these experiences.  Books will be a tactile as possible to allow students to interact with them.  All decisions related to the book will be made by the students.  As much as possible, the students will put together the books.

At the end of the year, students will have a book outlining all they have experienced during the year.  I'm just starting to put plans together.  Transportation is going to be our trickiest issue with making this happen.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Transition Portfolios

Transition A majority of the students in my classroom will be exciting the programming in the next 3-4 years.  Given this fact, it is time to start to focus on creating transition portfolios for them so we have a good idea of where they will be exiting too as well as what interests they would like to continue to foster beyond their school years.  With that in mind, I'm going to start working on putting together an outline for transition portfolios this summer.  

We will then use the next years to work on these.  Its going to be a major task for me but one I'm really excited about.  One of the things that I will use this blog for is to record progress and things that I'm learning along the way.

I am also trying to tie this transition portfolio concept in to our current division focus of "assessment for learning".  One of the things that the division has focused on is "I can" statements which will work in great to this type of portfolio.  There will be much work in getting the two to work together but I'm looking forward to the challenge. 

Right now I have just recieved a few books from Inclusion Press related to PATHS and MAPS strategies and have also ordered a book on transition portfolios from Perkins School for the Blind.  Hopefully these resources will give me a good starting place.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Adding Links At Top of Page

I thought I would take a bit of time to introduce my classroom on this blog but realized it might quickly get lost int he pages.  I decided instead to put a link at the top of this blog to a completely seperate page outlining my classroom including the number of students and general information about their challenges, the number of staff, staffing schedule information and our classroom schedule.  I plan to post things about the 2009-10 school year as I'm currently in planning for next year mode.  By the time I finished outlining this year it would be over so it seems a waste of time.  I will post once this page is finished.  For now, you will just see a link to a page that is under construction :).

I'm also going to add a link for me to share some of the bookmarks that I've made along the way. These are sites that I find helpful to planning for my classroom and my students.  I know there are probably many more out there as I'm just starting in the field.  I will continue to grow it as I find more.  Right now I've listed some other blogs and some of those have great resource lists :).

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Program for Us: news-2-you :)

News2you I have just ordered News-2-You and am very excited about it.  Here is a link to their web site:

A simple explanation of the program is
News-2-You is a symbol newspaper designed for children and adults with learning disabilities. A weekly newspaper illustrated with line-drawn pictures. Receive 3-4 pages of current events, a craft or recipe, a joke, and an activity page that relates to the week's lead story. Although it is written in the USA most of the topics will be of interest to anyone. You can download a sample copy from the site.
A couple other places that have information about News-2-You that tipped me off on this program are:
  • Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs Blog: This is a great blog that I try to check in with regularly because of the amount of information the author puts out on it.  Each week, the author posts a bunch of resources that go with the News-2-You theme of the week.  Amazing!
  • Adapted Learning News-2-You Group: Adapted Learning is a website that was put together by Myer Johnson so that people could share the Boardmaker files that they make for their classroom. A group specifically for News-2-You has been set up there so that people can share the adapted materials that they make to go with News-2-You activities.
  • SMD Teacher: Another great read!  This teacher has also posted things that she does while working with the News-2-You curriculum. 
I am hoping to build my themes around this for the 2009-10 school year.  I will be using a new newspaper every second week as opposed to every week so that we have some time to spend doing the extra stuff (as it takes time with my students when you want them to do things as independently as possible).  I'm very excited at this possibility and love the way the resources are set up on the first blog listed above.  I can see how I can incorporate a similar idea in to my program. 

I have set this as one of my categories as I'm sure I will be posting a lot more about it as I get in to it :).