Saturday, January 30, 2010

Transition Portfolios: Framing a Future

I thought I would share this resource that I just found for transition portfolios.  My plans were to do some work with transition portfolios with my students this year but I have not gotten to it yet.  This document has renewed my drive to get going on this.  I will need to make modifications but thought I would post it now and then post modifcitions that I make as I go along (some time in the near future I hope).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eye Gaze to Pictures: Trying Something New!

We do a lot of work with eye gaze to pictures with several of the students in our classroom.  Recently, we have recieved a couple of great pieces of equipment (on loan from the vision resources in our division) that we are seeing great results with in regards to student focus.

Lightbox The first piece of equipment we got is a light box.  We have used these with several of the students over the year to work on visual focus but we are currently putting PECs on it when doing eye gaze actitivities.  We are seeting much more visual focus with one student in particular.  Woo hoo!

Cctv The second piece of equipment we have is a CCTV.  You can place objects, pictures, books...etc. on it and then magify things between 2 and 70 times the size.  On top of doing eye gaze activities with PECs we are doing things like trying to find things in books and then focusing in on the right area and then eye gazing to what we are looking for when we zoom in. 

Both of these things have been great additions to our classroom.  The great news is that in the past we had to send these things back each year and then reorder them the following year but it seems now this may no longer be the case and we might be able to keep them for some time :).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Think: Still More Visual Recipes...

Just thought I would share a couple of the visual recipes that we added to our library of recipes this week...

I will continue to post a few new recipes here and there. Remember that these are GFCF recipes as the student doing this program is on a specialized diet.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Think: More on Visual Recipes

The lunch program is going well.  I'm working on adding in some other components including weekly meal planning and making grocery lists.  I am thinking that we will do this visually at first and then see where it goes from there.  I have set up the recipe books to aid with this.  Here are the ideas that I currently have related to weekly planning and grocery shopping as well as some more recipe books that I have put together.  Note that right now all of the recipes and the visuals on the front covers of the book come from the website titled GFCF Recipes.

Weekly Planning
On Thursday, we will be doing menu planning for the following week. The student will go through the recipe books and pick what he would like to have for lunch each day for the following week. Each recipe book has a visual on the food on the front of the book. I have made a bunch of extra visuals on regular paper.  I have added two pages with enveloes to the back of each book.  The first of these pages has an evelope with the front cover visual in them.  The student will take one copy of the visual and paste it in to his agenda on the day that he is planning to make and eat it.  I am just using a regular agenda bought at Staples that allows for one day per page.
Grocery List
Each recipe book has a second page in the back with an evelope that includes the same PEC symbols of ingredients that are in the recipe book. These PECs are cut into individual pictures and laminated and velcroed. Once the student chooses to have a certain thing the following week, he takes the PECs and puts them on to an "Items Needed" board (Grocery Items Needed file). The next step is to go through his cupboard and area in fridge and freezer and seperate the items into two categories: "Already Have" or "Need to Buy at Store" (Already Have/Need to Buy at Store file).  The "Need to Buy at Store" becomes the grocery list.
In the long run we will start seperating the grocery list by area of the store.  This will allow us to work with a basic map of the store as well as food categories (fruits/vegetables, meats, canned goods...etc.).
Grocery Shopping
When grocery shopping, the visual grocery list will be used and as the student gets each item, he will remove it from his visual grocery list.  Student will also be looking for price tags, dollar signs...etc. while in store as this applies to some of his other goals. 
Some More Recipes
Ham Fried Rice (modified from the first time I posted it)
Upcoming Recipes (I will most likely post these next week)
Pizza and Raw Veggies
Pancakes and Bacon
Chicken Nuggets and Fries
Taco Soup
Barbequed Baked Beans and Hot Dogs
French Toast and Ham

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

Found a great adaptation to one of my upcoming news-2-you recipes posted on the Special Classroom Blog.  Not only did I have to leave a comment, but I also had to include it in my plans for this week.  Check it out here: Climb for Water Recipe (news-2-you)
I always love the stuff that Kate shares on Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs and this week was no different.  I've filed her post "Learning About Hot and Cold" for future reference.  I particularly liked how she split the class into teams when working on a collage type of activity. I know everyone (staff and students) in my classroom will love that when I use the idea :).

Had to join in the celebration related to "Special Needs Classroom" posted on the blog The Special Educator's Friend.  Can't wait to read more about the changes that will be made to the classroom.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

news-2-you: Climb for Water (January 4, 2010)

N2yTime to plan another week of news-2-you activities.  We continue to be a week behind the actual date of the newspaper which works for me in regards to having some planning time.  The big part of our project this coming week will be do to a bake sale so that we can contribute to the "climb for water" fundraiser that the newspaper is about.  We are also going to get messy and make ourselves some volcanoes out of paper mache.  Here is an outline of planned activities for this week... 

Language Arts (Vocabularly, Literacy, Composotion, Communication...etc.)
Dirty and Clean Vocabulary Development - Sorting and Making Collages
Dirty/Clean Adjective Book posted on
Science/Sensory Explorations
Water Sensory Bin
Paper Mache Volcano (and blow them up)
Social Skills/Life Skills
Bake Sale to Rais Money for "Climb for Clean Water" Project
Baking for Bake Sale
Adapt Mountain Mix to include communication goals (as outlined on Special Classroom Blog)
Fine Arts (music, drama, arts and crafts...etc.)
Posters for Bake Sale
Community Integration
Grocery Shopping for Items for Bake Sale

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Morning Meeting Routine

I'm changing up morning meeting.  I'm going to have one group of students working primarily independently (or in groups of two with one learning assistant) to complete all the morning routines.  I'm hoping to open up more communication opportunties to do this in smaller groups.  I'm also looking at something different for some of my older students who have different morning meeting needs.

I thought I would share the file that I've put together for students to work on individually.  We will still do morning prayer and attendance together and then I've made a mini-version of my larger stuff for students to work on.  My intention is to laminate them and put them in a binder so that appropriate pages can be pulled at the right times.
Individual Morning Routine Binder (note that you will need Boardmaker to view this file)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday Think: Visual Recipes

I have been researching visual recipes lately.  I was originally going to create a post with links to a variety of visual recipes but then found that Kate had already done this so will start this post by referencing her list of links and then continue on with some of the thoughts that I've been having in regards to visual recipes. 
As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on a lunch program for one of my students.  Eventually, I would like to expand this and have a few of the other students working on this as well.   Right now though I've been playing around with what would be the best lay-out for the visual recipes that I want this particular student to use.

Looking through a variety of recipes, I've found that some of them do not have all the information that I feel this student needs to complete the cooking tasks as independently as possible.  Therefore, I have decided that the recipes will be broken in to three sections: 
Ingredients Section: This will be a single page and the ingredients will mostly be "real life" pictures at this point.  There will also be an envelope with the same ingredients on small picture cards that will be used for making grocery lists.

Materials Needed: This will include all of the materials that the student must gather before he can begin making the meal.  This will be done with Boardmaker symbols.

Directions: I have decided to make this like a mini-booklet with one direction per page.
I have gotten started by making a few recipes.  I will continue to add to this collection so check back often.  Note that these recipes are ones that follow a GFCF diet.  Once I get a couple of other students doing this same program I will be adding recipes that follow a more typical diet.

What I'm doing is making these recipes in to books.  I print them off on card stock, cut them in to half pages, laminate the pages and then use a book binder to bind them in to books.

Next Thursday for my "Thursday Think", I will be adding more recipes and also outlining how we are doing meal planning and making our grocery lists using the visuals that are included in these recipes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday's Weekly Comments

Kate from Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs posted about Story Book Communication Boards (Games and Activities).  Although the resource looked great, it was one that she referenced in the post that looked more appropriate for my population and I'm thinking I will be checking it out :).

Some great new posts over at Exceptional Students in the Classroom about peer collaboration.  This is a tough area for me as I have so many high school aged students and we are based in an elementary school.  All the same, the post entitled Peer Collaboration Programs Part 2 got me thinking of one way that I might be able to overcome this hurdle :).  Woo hoo!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

new-2-you: Plastiki (December 14, 2009)

N2ySo I'm changing gears with news-2-you. I'm going to move to doing a new paper each week and then just adding a couple of activities on to the topic of the paper to allow for some explorations for the students who learn through exploring (which is pretty much the whole class). I will try to post activities that I will be doing the following week each weekend.  Hopefully I will be able to stay more on top of this. As for the papers, I use different parts of what is there with different students.  So here is what I have lined up for the first week back (using the last week of December as I couldn't miss the opportunities that are so obvious with this paper).

Science/Sensory Explorations
Sink or Float Experiment
One thing to do with sink/float is to also look at shape and how it affects sinking and floating by using equal lumps of clay in different shapes.
Note that there are several different visuals on adapted learning for sink/float experiments.
Make Recycled Boats
Large Blow Up Boat Sensory Station: Planning to put out our large blow up boat filled with shredded Christmas paper as a snesory station that students can actually lay in.
Banana Boats:  Cut banana down the middle and then put in chocolate chips, marshmellows, nuts...etc.  Wrap up in foil and bake in the oven and then enjoy a gooey treat :).
The Arts (Drama, Music, Crafts...etc.)
Make Recycled Paper and then make "New Year's Cards" for family members.
Adapted P.E.
Port or Starboard Game