Thinking About 2010-11 School Year

Wow!  It has been a crazy last few weeks and I just haven't gotten to blogging lately.  I miss it and am hoping to find more time to do it as we move through these last weeks of the school year.

For today, I wanted to just throw out a couple of things that I'm looking at for next year...

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Starreporter Ablenet Star Reporter

I'm looking at doing something other than news-2-you in regards to what our study themes will be for next year.  I have looked at Weekly Reader Ablenet Edition as well as the Unique Learning System as well as going back to just creating my own yearly or monthly theme as I have done in the past.  Weekly Reader seems to be very similar to news-2-you and I'm looking for something different.  I also didn't want to go back to just creating my own themes becuase it is nice to have something to start from even if many many modifications must be made to get it to the point of being ready for our classroom. 

This left me looking at Unique and Star Reporter. Both come with a big price tag so I will be using a good portion of my budget either way.  The reason I'm leaning towards Star Reporter is because I like the idea of us creating the final product and because I think that its a routine we can get in to and then begin to create our own topics in years to come (so wouldn't have to keep rebuying the curriculum to get new topics). I do like that there are already suggestions for incorporating the assistive technology and also training materials for staff.  I'm finding that with the addition of more and more staff as my class grows there is a real need for having some training materials for staff.

I have yet to find someone who has actually used Star Reporter.  I would love to talk to someone as my biggest struggle right now is in trying to decide if we should get the elementary or high school version.  I have students from grade 1 through 12 in my classroom and in the end I'm thinking I might need to get both but wanted to start with just one this year.  If there is anyone out there who knows anything, I would love your feedback.

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Podd-sample-books Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) Communication Books

I am seeing some changes in the type of student that our room is serving. We continue to work with alternatives to communication and I'm always looking for students to have ways to communicate that are on all levels of the low-tech to high-tech continuum.  we do use a lot of picture symbols in our communication and have various different binders and books. I have wanted for some time to look more fully in to PODD as a way of organizing these communication books for at least some of our students. So I have just recently ordered some materials related to this as I'm pretty confident we have a couple of students for whom this method would work well.

Again, I'm looking for people who have experience with this as I would love to learn from your experiences.

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