Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

Great post over at Exceptional Paradise about challenging our students to be the most they can be.  Had to write a comment agreeing with that one :).  See the post here: Dayenu-A Yom Kippur Thought

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday's Motivation: Are you going to finish strong?

This is another one that I return to over and over again.  You will notice that I've been a bit absent from the "blogging world" for the past few days.  I have had yet another lesson in humility as I have come to realize that as a parent I am so far from having all the answers that its crazy!  We are now slowly treading a new path and I'm hoping we get things back on track.  With that I also need to do a bit more focusing and planning in my classroom (and therefore blogging).  So I'm back.  And here is my reminder to keep going ang keep going strong!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

Exceptional Students in the Classroom:  Responded to a post about classroom organization saying that I'm planning to do a similar post.  Organization is always a struggle for me.  Check out the post here:  Organization

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday's Motivation: In My Language

I was originally going to put up the 20/20 clip of Carly but then went back to the a video that I saw some time ago.  The message that we understsand in "our language" comes part way in to the video.  I was touched beyond the mere definition of communication when watching this.  I was touched by how she talked of "personhood" and gave a voice that the general population can understand to what many with disabilities probably feel.  She also challenged me to think about how narrowly I define my world.

But this is just the beginning!  This lady, named Amanda Baggs, has taken on the roll of self-advocate and has a blog where she has posted and continues to post a lot of thought provoking material.  Here is the link to her blog: Ballastexistenz

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Snapshot Saturday: Morning Meeting With Pictures of Displays and Materials

I know that I have already posted about our morning meetings but I have been making modifications/additions/deletions...etc. as we go along and thought I would come back and retouch on it as well as include some pictures of how its set up as well as the visuals and materials that we are using.

I originally started trying to put everything on one bulletin board but saw very quickly that the board would be way too cluttered for many of our students to process what was going on.  In the end I decided to use the bulletin board for our Morning Meeting Schedule (a vertical schedule that we work through and put each item in a finished folder when done),  our Daily Schedule (second vertical schedule) and for our prayer and prayer intentions (the first part of our morning meeting).  I've been working on moving everything else to display boards that we pull out as we do each step.  I've labeled these display boards on the outside with the same symbol as is in the timeline and have a student who can do the matching and pull out the next board that we need.

So here is the updated version of our morning meeting.  Pictures should be added by mid-week as I need to be at the school to get most of these pictures.  I wanted to put it up as it will better motivate me to actually get the pictures. 

Board 1: Morning Prayer:  When the students come in, the morning meeting and daily schedule are already up on the board and we only use them for reference as we go along.  We use the main part of the board which has the morning prayer and prayer intentions on it.  I have one student lead the morning prayer using a communication devise if needed.  Students then take turns adding their intentions if they aave any.  Parents have been asked to put intentions on their step-by-step switches and we check before hand to see if there are any.  We are starting to record some for our students on single message switches too just so all students get the opportunity to participate.  We have a prayer intention bulletin board and parents have been told they can also send pictures.  We are also trying to find time during programming to make visual representations of some of their intentions that will be displayed on the prayer board.

Pictures of Main Bulletin Board Coming Soon!

Board 2: Attendance, Sign In and Evening Reporting:  Students find their name from the side of the board and then place themselve "in school" in the center.  Students who are not there are moved to the "at home" side of the board.  Then the student who is responsible for attendance does attendance with the visual attandence sheet.  He/she must point to or look at each student and then mark off the name.  That student is later responsible for delivering the attendance sheet to the office.  As the student marks off each student, he/she says good morning to them (using switch if needed) and then that student tells us about his/her evening by talking, using step-by-step, using PECs...etc.  If the student has nothing on devise or in book, I just ask questions and we have a small conversation.

Pictures of Attendance Board and Attendance Slip Coming Soon!

Board 3: Calendar:  Right now I'm just using a pocket chart for this but am starting to think that I need to move it over to a display chart using Boardmaker symbols or make modifications to the pocket chart to include Boardmaker symbols as it will make it easier for some of my students who do calendar activities as part of their individual programming.  I am going to try to make the modifications tonight and see how it works this week and if its not working then I will go to using a fold out the following week.  We go through the month, date, season, what today is, what tomorrow will be, and what yesterday was.  We also talk about special days that may be coming up on the calendar.

Pictures of Calendar Pocket Chart (with Boardmaker Modifications) Coming Soon!

Board 4: Weather:  This one is also on a display chart.  We are looking at what the weather is (sunny, rainy, cloudy...etc.), what the temperature is (cold, cool, just right, warm, hot) and what type of clothing we should wear that day.  I'm still working on my "feel the weather" part of this and students are responding very nicely to this.  Right now I'm using a visual for what we should wear and we look at what we should wear on different parts of the body.  I'm still thinking that I might add in the actual items so students can make choices with real items.  For example we can look at what we should wear on our heads and the choices would be touque, baseball cap, rain hat...etc.  Have not started this with real items yet but am thinking on it.

Pictures of Weather Board (with weather, temperature and clothing visuals) and "Feel the Weather" materials coming soon!

Board 5: news-2-you Activities:  To this point I'm not using a display board for this but would really like to get in the habit of using a display board.  It would take some prep/planning but I think it could be done to change it up with each theme.  I would probably put more than one day's worth of activities on it (or have them in a large enevelop or something).  Still working on this and am thinking we are going to see yet another post about morning meeting somewhere down the line.  The activities that I'm doing are really ranging in time but that is okay as we have nothing overly pressing right behind morning meeting and I will get more efficient as time goes on.  I'm posting what I'm doing with my regular news-2-you posts for this section.

Pictures of news-2-you Morning Meeting Activities for Wizzard of Oz coming soon!

Board 6: Classroom Jobs:  We will only be looking at this one every 3 weeks as I will assign new jobs when we rotate staff and then students will keep those jobs for the duration.  This one will stay up in the room for students and staff to refer to throughout the three week stretch.

Picture of Classroom Job Board Coming Soon!

Back to Board 1: Daily Schedule:  The schedule is already up at this point.  We just go through it quickly and then spend a bit more time on things if there are some changes to our regular routine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

Kate posted some pictures from her classroom for her Wordless Wednesday post on Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs.  Some really great pictures there that springboarded some ideas for me.  One thing I wanted to check out was if I could get a tray holder similar to hers for our classroom :).  It would be so nice to have a real home for the trays ;).

I was happy to read that an item that I was looking to purchase was on a list of most used items posted on the blog Exceptional Students in the Classroom.  To check out her other must haves go to her post titled "Most Popular Materials".

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Motivation: Team Hoyt

This is one of my favorite "disability" stories.  I saw one interview once were Dick (the father) explained their partnership as Rick being the heart and himself being the body and that they needed both parts to do this.  Amazing doesn't even describe these two.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

news-2-you: The Wizzard of Oz

I will be using these ideas from September 21 through to Ocotober 9 and will post a new topic towards the end of that time frame.  Note that I'm posting this today (September 12) but will be adding a few things throughout this next week or so as I do not start this topic until September 21.  I will move this post back to the top when I do add things.

News2youI got the idea to share the plans I'm making related to news-2-you from the blog entitled Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs.  I enjoyed the outline format that was used and thought I would do something similar as I found resources and made plans.  Given the way I function, I have decided that I will generally be using the papers every 2nd week and generally one week later than what they were intended for.  This will give me the time I need to make sure materials are adapted for my students and also give my students the time they need to really explore any new topic.  If I make any materials with Boardmaker, I will post them here for download as well as post them in the Adapted Learning news-2-you group.

Note that I have not put a bunch of ideas that I am planning to use from other sources.  You can check these out here:
Pete's Stuff: The Wizzard of Oz:  Fantastic resource with lots of great ideas.  No sense reinventing the wheel when there is so much great stuff out there already I figure :).
SMD Teacher: There are a whole bunch of links to Wizzard of Oz ideas on this blog.  Check the left-hand side bar for a series of links related to this story.
Morning Gathering Time Activities
Each morning during morning gathering time we will take some time to do an activity related to the current newspaper. Many of these will be related to choice making or sensory activities.  Here is an outline of the activities we will be working on for this newspaper timeframe:
September 21: Wizzard of Oz Sensory Story Part 1: I will be using materials from "Pete's Stuff" (see link near top of post).  If I add anything or make any changes I will post them as I get closer to doing the project so stay tuned. 

September 22: Sharing Our Homes: Students share pictures of their homes - send home a note to bring pictures of home (outside, inside, bedroom...etc.) that students can share with eachother.  Concentrate on communication skills.  I will keep the pictures as we use them for programming activities for many of our students.  I also have a few talking photo books that we can make books out of for students to look at later.

September 23: Will the Wind Blow it Off?: By this point students will have completed the Religion activities related to God creating sky and land.  One of the activities is to find out what things will stay in the sky (light) and which ones won't.  This will be a similar activity (allows for the repetition that my students need) where I hold up an item and ask students to vote if it will blow off a table when I put it on the table in front of the fan.  Then we test their predictions.

September 24: Wizzard of Oz Sensory Story Part 2: I will be using materials from "Pete's Stuff" (see link near top of post).  If I add anything or make any changes I will post them as I get closer to doing the project so stay tuned. 

September 25: Yellow Show and Share: Bring in something yellow to share with classmates. 
September 28: Dress the Classroom Scarecrow: Draw a large scarecrow and then have students vote between different articles of clothing to put on him (which shirt, which hat, which pants, which shoes...etc.)  Track votes and then dress him in the way the majority of the students vote.

September 29: Wizzard of Oz Sensory Story Part 3: I will be using materials from "Pete's Stuff" (see link near top of post).  If I add anything or make any changes I will post them as I get closer to doing the project so stay tuned. 

September 30: Love It or Hate It: This one is related to the heart that the tinman is looking for.  Have a variety of items for students to taste, touch or look at and then have them vote on if they "love it" or "hate it".

October 1: Scared Faces:  Have pictures of different faces and sort in to scared and not scared as a group.  Talk about courage and being scared.

October 2: Wizzard of Oz Sensory Story Part 4: I will be using materials from "Pete's Stuff" (see link near top of post).  If I add anything or make any changes I will post them as I get closer to doing the project so stay tuned. 

October 5: Green Voting (Emerald City): Students do taste testing on green items and vote on if they like them or not.

October 6: Wizzard of Oz Sensory Story Part 5: I will be using materials from "Pete's Stuff" (see link near top of post).  If I add anything or make any changes I will post them as I get closer to doing the project so stay tuned. 

October 7: Sharing Our Families: Students bring in pictures of their family members and share them with the class.  I keep these as well as we can use them for programming activities as well as with the talking photo albums mentioned above.

October 8: Wrapping Up: Nothing specific planned for this day as I will use it to wrap up and/or finish/expand on things we didn't get to. 
Language Arts (Vocabulary, Literacy, Composition, Communication...etc
    Wizzard of Oz Dolls: Tell the story to students using dolls that students can touch and/or play with (patterns and directions to make these can be found here).  You can also use the dolls for a variety of other activites including just as part of a sensory bin.  Once I'm done with this unit, I will take a lot of these items and put them in to a bin so that we have a long-term "Wizzard of Oz Book Bin".

    Pete's Stuff Wizzard of Oz Sensory Story: Broken in to five seperate parts with Power Points and suggestions of sensory items to incorporate into the story.  We will do a new part of the story every few days during morning routines.  As I get closer to using this, I will post any additions/changes that I have made for my students just as a well of sharing ideas.  Again, many of these items (along with a disk and explanation) will go in to a Book Bin when I'm done with this theme. 
    There Is No Place Like Home Student Composition:  Students will make books titled "There is No Place Like Home" in which they will include information about their homes, who lives there, what they do there...etc.  I will post an outline for this composition as I get closer to the date we are going to use it.
Switches and/or Computers
Pete's Stuff Wizzard of Oz Switch Games: Again the download of activities listed above will need to be downloaded to check these out.  This are simple single switch games that students can use to work on basic switch access (perfect for several of my students this year).

Record book on Bookworm and have students read the story using the Bookworm.

Use of switch for recorded lines when doing sensory story outlined in several places above (from Pete's Stuff).

Use of switch to do experimenation with wind.
Laying a Yellow Brick Road:  How many of each size of brick are needed to make a yellow brick road that covers a certain path?  We would use paper bricks as opposed to real bricks just because of the size.

Following the Yellow Brick Road using a map.

Directions - North, South, East, West

Sequencing the Story

Counting Activities - munckins and/or flying monkeys
Science/Sensory Explorations
Tornado and Wind Explorations

Body Parts: Where is your heart and your brain?

Green Day (Emerald City)

Red Day (Ruby Slippers)

Yellow Day (Yellow Brick Road)

Change our Hanging Toys so that they are set up with Rainbow Ribbons in the order of the rainbow and then put colored hanging toys of each color between the ribbons. 

Color Sorting Activities (Rainbows)

Feild of Poppies - Change our Snoezelen room in to a quiet "field of poppies" area by putting up cut out poppies everywhere (or if I can find fake flowers that look like poppies at the dollar store putting those up).
Social Studies/Life Skills
There is No Place Like Home Composition Sharing: sharing stories about our homes after we have made (outlined in Language Arts section above).

Rooms in the Home Sorting: Therasimplicity has some grreat activities for students in our classroom.  They have one where you print off pictures of different rooms in the home along with cards of items that would go in that room.  Then you place the cards in the appropriate room.  I cannot link directly to it as I had signed up for a free membership at one point and found this one. 

Real and Make Belief: Talk about the difference between real and make belief and sort things in to these two categories. I will be making some Boardmaker files related to this and posting them sometime in the next week or so.

Good and Bad: I'm still in the thinking stage of how to address the concept of good/bad with the range of students that I have.  I will post more soon.
Pete's Stuff Recipe Book: the link to Pete's Stuff above includes a recipe book and has such recipes as "Yellow Brick Road" (toffee), "Gingerbread Munchkins", "Witches Brew" (fruit punch), "Scrawcrow Heads" (chocolate next cakes).  We will use a few of these as is and I will make Boardmaker visuals for sequencing.  We also incorporate object functions in to cooking by having students decide what we are going to need to complete different tasks. 

For the "witches brew" we will run a competition for each team to come up with an original blender drink and see whose drink is the best.
Game and/or Leisure Skills
Classroom Salon: Spend an afternoon doing hair, nails, foot baths, pampering...etc.  This is tied in to the movie as the group gets pampered in the salon after they come to Emerald City and before they see the Wizzard.  Note that  I'm also looking in to going to a local high school that has a cosmotology program to do this as an outing as well.

Watch the Wizzard of Oz Movie

Wizzard of Oz Matching Game: Will be posting Boardmaker cards for this soon.
Fine Arts (Music, Drama, Art...etc.)
Ruby Slippers: Take cheap canvas shoes and paint them red with fabric paint.  Then add a variety of jewels to decorate them.  Could also just do with a cut out cardboard shoe. 

Tornado Craft:  Make a tornado out of stiff paper and then add things that would spin in the tornado (go outside and collect items).  Hang from the ceiling as decorations.

Wizzard of Oz Story Characters: Once again relying on Pete's Stuff listed above.  Students will make each of the story charaters.  We will incorporate sensory materials when making the characters. 

Wizzard of Oz Music: Play when working on activities, as a leisure activity or in the Snoezelen room. 
Adapted P.E.
Yellow Brick Road Relay Races

Munckin Bean Toss Game

Flying Monkeys Parachute Games
Community Integration
Wizzard of Oz Community Scavenger Hunt: Find a heart, courage, brain, field of poppies, witches, home...etc. (incorporate N, E, S, W directions).  Set up the scavenger hunt for other students in the school as well.  Have our students "read" the clues with a step-by-step switch.

Trip to a Beauty Salon 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Think: Meaningful Money Skills and Activities

This is only my 4th year of teaching this population of students.  Before this, I spent 14 years teaching High School Mathematics.  As such, I'm learning a lot as I go along.  One of the things that I've tried to focus on is to keep tweaking life skill tasks to ensure that they are functional for my students.  A couple of the more functional math areas that I've been thinking a lot about are ensuring that skills taught related to money and time are functional ones.  For today, I'm going to share some of the things that we are already doing with money skills as well as some of the ideas I would like to try in the future and some of my thoughts related to all of this.  It is always my hope when doing my "Thursdsay Think" to better clarify things for myself and to perhaps stimulate some sharing of ideas that will be beneficial to both myself and others. 

Here are some of the things we are doing or will be doing related to money management skills:
What do we need money for? Work on skills related to understanding of the many ways that we use money.  Include concepts related to purchasing items (food, clothing, toys, videos...etc.), purchasing services (hair, nails, fixing wheelchair, riding the bus...etc.), paying to do an activity or for a leisure activity (swimming, movies, eating out, coffee...etc.) and for living expenses (mortgage, transportation, utilities...etc.).   Obviously different students will understand things on different levels but when I originally started thinking about money it was more in reference to being in exchange for concrete items which makes exchange easy to understand.  One of the other things that I know I need to start to focus on is to have each student pay for things individually when we do a community activity so that they realize that these things are not free.

What is the difference between a "need" and a "want":  I'm thinking this should be tied in to concepts related to if you had a limited amount of money what should you buy first?  When you are looking at budgeting your money for the month, what things do you have to pay for before paying for the "extras". 
Item Choice: There are so many opportunities for self-determination here.  Students can make choices related to items off a list, items from a menu, items that are in the store or being held up in front of them...etc.  One of the expansions here would also be to show how items can cost different amounts.  So a student can make a choice between spending $80 on one fancy hoodie or going to a bargain store and buying two hoodies and a pair of jeans type of thing.  Would have to do a lot of visual work with some of the students but its important to understand that sometimes taste/preference and money have to be balanced in decision making.  Another area where choice can come in to play is which store to go to purchase a certain item.

Money Exchange Process:  This one is one that immediately comes to mind when dealing with money skills.  What is the sequence that we follow when we go to a store to buy something.  What social skills do we have to learn to go through the check out?  What communication skills do we need?  Communication skills need to be related to what we say to the person working at the store but for many of our students we also need to focus on the communications that they should be having with the person who is there to suppor them through the purchasing process to ensure that they are the ones driving the process. 

Communication Systems:  This really applies to the concept explained above but it would also be important to explore the right type of communication system for each individual when they are working on hands-on-activities related to money exchange. 

Rounding Up to Next Dollar:  I only have some students who I feel would come to understand this concept although we expose all of them to it.  When we are making a purchase we look at rounding the value up to the next dollar so we know how much money we should be giving when we check out.  We also know that because we have done this, we should get change back.  We do run in to issues with this because taxes that get added on after the fact sometimes bring us above what we originally thought it would be.  But this creates a great communication opportunity.

Selling Items in Exchange for Money:  I have explored and tried different options here.  One of the ideas that I have tried on a very small scale came from reading a message board post about someone who ran a doggie biscuit business out of his classroom.  I started doing something ike this on a small scale last year.  This year I have come up with some ways to switch adapt a lot of the process and we will keep doing it.  I have even found a graduated student who will be doing our delivery (with her adult support worker) for us (she will get to keep all tips that she gets from delivering).  Another thing we have tried is fundraisers or selling things in the school (healthy snack cart, bake sales...etc.).  We work on communication skills, following directions, taking money, making change...etc. when doing these activities.  After the sale we sort, roll, count and deposit money.  We have at times used a visual to show how much money we have made and how far we are from purchasing some item we want to purchase.  My hope is that this exposes students to the concept that we make the money that we spend.

Completing Tasks In Exchange for Money:  I will start by saying that I have not done this one in my classroom but rather with my son who has Down syndrome.  I started doing it when he was about 7 years old as the concept of "allowance" just seemed to abstract for him.  What I did was make boardmaker cards with different jobs and beside the job I put a picture of how many quarters he could earn to do each job.  I then made another set of cards of small things he likes to purchase (bag of chips, hot dog lunch at school, renting a movie, buying a movie, dollar store toy...etc.).  When he would do a job, he would get the money immediately and then decide which purchase card he wanted to tape his quarters to.  Once a purchase card is full we would take a trip to the store and buy that item.  I have now moved to just paying him for jobs and he puts the money in his wallet and then when we go to the store and he wants something we check if he has enough (he is now almost 11).  I have never worked this in my classroom but have talked to parents about doing something similar at home.

Organizing Your Wallet:  Putting things in the right place including coins, bills, receipts, ATM cards, shopping lists...etc.  If you could see my purse/wallet you would wonder what I'm doing teaching this but it really is a task that needs to be learned. 

Matching Coins and/or Bills to Money Cards:  We have done some work with simple matching of real coins and bills to cards that have a picture of an item and how much it costs and then outline of the coins and/or bills needed to pay for it.  Students simply match the amounts.  This could be expanded to the student putting the item in an envelop and going to purchase that exact item but one would have to ensure that they get the exact price of each item.  This is one of the places I started when first working on money concepts and also the area that got me really digging in to what money related skills would be more functional for the students in my class as this just didn't seem to have a lot of forward movement in regards to how it would be functional in the long run.  We still do it as I still like to explore how far our students can take their money counting skills. 

Money Templates with Powers of 10:  I have worked with students to show money values up to $9.99 using only pennies, dimes and loonies (dollar bills in the States).  The student learned money values from 1 cent through 9 cents and then money values using times from 10 cents to 90 cents and finally dollar amounts from 1 dollar to 9 dollars.  Then we took a card that was divided in to three columns and put money values in the columns.  For example 23 cents would put the 3 in the last column (the penny column) and the 2 in the column next to it (the dime column).  Then student would count out the correct number of coins and come up with 23 cents.  Again, the functionality of this seems a bit tedious but could also be used in a similar way as above where the student puts the money in an envelope after this and goes to purchase the item he/she wants.  Would have to know exact amount again in this scenerio.  There is also the possibility long term that the student might not need template but it is a long shot.

ATM Use: Going through the sequence of using an ATM card either to get money or to make a purchase with a student. 

Menu Planning:  Grocery shopping is one of the things that everyone does consistently.  To go grocery shopping, we have to make menu plans.  This can be menu planning for one meal that we are making as a class or creating a menu for meals that we would have at home for  set amount of time.  From the menu (with pictures) we can pull out the items that we would need to purchase and go from there.  Can expand this in to the area of looking at healthy options for eating as well as ensuring a balanced diet.

Locating Items in Stores:  Using signs and markers to find specific items in the store.  Realizing that items are grouped in stores (by type of food in grocery store, type of item in department store...etc.).  Having students locate items.  Ideas discussed in an earlier post related to scavenger hunts would be a great way to address these types of objectives.

Videotape Modeling for Purchasing:  We have touched briefly in to videotape modeling with one of our students.  I would like to continue to explore this way of learning.  One of the things that we could look at is doing some videotape modeling of purchasing to prep a student. 

Social Stories, Social Rehearsals and/or Picture Timelines would also be an option for rehearsals.

Token Economy in the Classroom:  I have not done this but another way to work on handling money would be to set up a token economy in the classroom where students get paid for certain things and then can use their money in exchange for privleges and/or buying items.

Other Skills that Can Be Worked On:  There are a lot of other skills that can be focused on while doing money types of tasks including object recognition (looking for an item in a store and asking what something is or a yes/no question of is this ---?), sequencing skills (what do we do first, what' next...etc.), reaching, grasping and releasing to pick up items, eye-hand coodination...etc.

Calculator Skills:  We have had some of our students work on Calculator skills with money amounts.  These are mostly addition types of skills.
I am sure it is not an exhaustive list but its a start and over time I've begun to feel that I am addressing fuctional and meaningful money skills for our students.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

This week on the blog "The Special Educator's Friend", I responded to a post expressing on opinion on what level of training someone is special educatoin should have.  Given that I have no formal training in special education, I thought I might speak out on this on.  Check it out here: Georgia's Special Education Teacher Preparedness

I stumbled upon a new blogger this week as well.  I had to make a post to welcome her and let her know how excited I was to have another person to share ideas with in her opening post titled "Week One" on her brand new blog "Exceptional Students in the Classroom".

Kisses are for Home":  Kate from Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs posted a great Boardmaker File to help students come up with alternate ways to express affection due to H1N1 and age appropriateness issues.  Love it!

The math teacher in me is so excited to find this blog:  Math Beyond Numberdome.  Love the challenge that this teacher has taken on as she journeys through trying to teach a small group of grade 7-8 students mathematics.  I had to respond to her very honest post entitled "Broken Promises".

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday's Motivation: A Creedo for Support

Several years back I had the honor to listen to Norm Kunc speak about disability at the Canadian National Down Syndrome Society conference.  The man was amazing!  He ended his talk with the following very powerful video...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Found Another Multiple Complex Needs Blogger

I followed a "came from" link on my stat counter and found this new blog.  I'm always excited when I see someone else.  I love reading what other people are doing in their classroom as I feel like sometimes we live in a pretty lonely world in regards to teacher collaboration.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Think: Brainstorming Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Idea We get out for walks around our community quite a bit when the weather is nice.  I've been wanting to add something more to this so that we are linking these walks back to something we are doing in class or something the students can learn about/be exposed to.  I've done a few scavenger hunts over the years and the kids really like them.  I've also done scavenger hunts when we do Buddy Time with the grade 5 class in our school and it makes for excellent interaction between the students in our class and their buddies.  I thought for today's "Thursday Think" I would brainstorm a bunch of different ideas that I can draw on for scavenger hunts.  If you have ideas to add, please post a reply or create your own blog post and let me know so that I can come over and take a look.

Note I will be trying to do "Thursday Thinks" regularly.  These will just be posts where I brainstorm ideas related to something I do in our classroom.  Some of what is posted will be things I've tried, some of it will e things that I've read about in a variety of places, some of it will just be wacky-off-the-top-of-my-head ideas.
With that said, here is my scavenger hunt idea list.  Note that some are finding things that you can pick up and bring back and some are just finding the things.  The second type could include picture taking or just checking things off on a list as there will always be adults with the students.  On the note of taking pictures through, I've been looking for a vendor that will sell a switch adapted digital cameras and whenever I find one they no longer make them.  If anyone knows of a place I can get one, please message me.
Safety Sign Scavenger Hunt:  Make a boardmaker list of safety signs that students have to find around the community.  Go out for a walk and match the symbol to the signs.  Teams could tally up how many of each things they have found or take along a map and mark where they found things, check off on their list or take pictures.

Around the School Scavenger Hunt: This is one to get students familiar or re-familiar with the school.  They look for things that will only be in certain locations of the school and then either collect them or write down where they found them.  Again, boardmaker list could be used.  This is not a scavenger hunt but its also a cute way to see the whole school: The kindergarten teacher at our school does a gingerbread man thing and the kids go looking for the gingerbread man in each classroom in the school.  They get a hint at each classroom and are able to see and say hello to everyone who is in the school.

Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt:  Find things that are on a grocery list or items you need to make something specific.  Picture symbols needed.  Could create a chart where you move the symbol from needed to being in a symbol of a cart.

Mall Scavenger Hunt: Could be related to finding specific items or finding stores that sell certain types of things (example: find a store where you can buy a CD).  Could use pictures, a map or just a checklist.

The Great Outdoors Scavenger Hunt:  Students go outside and look for things found in nature (wild flower, grass, rock, pinecone, bug, dirt, worm...etc.).  Probably goes without saying at this point, but I would make a Boardmaker Symbol list of the items that students are looking for. 

People Scavenger Hunt:  You know these ones.  The ones that get used as introductions to workshops where you have to go around and find someone who... you fill in the blank.  This one could be done using a step-by-step switch for our students.

Election Scavenger Hunt: With an election looming in our future here in Canada, I thought it would be great to do a campaign sign scavenger hunt.

Holiday Scavenger Hunts:  Go out looking for things related to a specific holiday.  For Halloween for example students could look for decorations related to Halloween (so a spider web, a ghost, a tombstone, a pumpkin, a witch...etc.)

Puzzle Piece Scavenger Hunt:  Create a scene related to whatever topic you are studying and copy it on different color poster paper.  Cut the scene in to puzzle pieces and then hide the puzzle pieces around whatever area you are using for your scavenger hunt.  Each team is assigned a color of paper and told how many pieces of the puzzle they need all together.  Teams go out searching for the puzzle pieces and when they find them, they bring them back to the classroom and assemble the puzzle.

Our Community Scavenger Hunt:  This one would be related to things that are in our community like a fast food restaurant, a grocery store, a park, a drug store...etc.

Transportation Scavenger Hunt:  Go out and find as many different modes of transportation as you can.  Take pictures or make a list.  Must actually see them and can't just make up because you know of a certain type of transportation.

Store Scavenger Hunt:  Go to a specific type of store and find a set number of items.  So could go to a drugstore and need to find everything that you would need to stay clean.  Have a list of those items made up on Boardmaker and students go and find them.  For this particular one some of things you would include are soap, deoderant, shampoo, conditioning, toothbrush, toothpaste....etc.

Theme Related Scavenger Hunts:  Would depend on the theme and may require hiding some items around.  For example, we are going to to be doing one for Super Sand Castles where students look for things that they need to fill their beachbag.  I'm using pretty much the same list as I used for the spinner game I posted earlier.

Emotion Scavenger Hunt:  Take pictures of 5 people who are "happy", 5 people who are "sad", 5 people who are "angry"...etc.  This would require asking people to show these emotions.  A good time to do it might be when other students are outside at morning recess time.  This one is great to create pictures that we can use for emotion sorting activities ;).

Color Scavenger Hunt:  Students go out and find a set number of things that are a certain color.  I was thinking to do one on a "rainbow theme" where they find things that are each of the six rainbow colors and then we glue them on a rainbow.  This would be done around St. Patrick's Day.  We could also throw in some hunting for those gold coins at the same time ;).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

Education on a Plate: What an amazing blog to get you thinking about what are best practicees when it comes to teaching!  This week I commented on a great post entitled "Why I Didn't Do Homework".

Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs:  The best resource out there for anyone teaching this population!  This week, Kate posted the items that she puts up on her staff bulletin board along with links to them so readers can print them off.  Great stuff and I had to post to tell her.  Check it out here:  "The Staff Bulletin Board".