Thursday, March 31, 2011

Special Visitors

Today we had some special visitors from our sister school in Winsor.  The children were happy to show off all the things they have learned.

We showed them the bubble map we made about hippos.

We spelled and coloured in our hippo.

 We also showed them how to make a hippo tree map.
 and how we worked on the computer.
Thanks for visiting.  I hope you come back soon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tic Tac Toe and Word Families

Today we focused on the word families ap, ug and it.   The children had to name the picture and then put it on the correct sheet.

We then played a game of  Zoo Tic Tac Toe.  The children got to pick which animal the wanted to be.  The Velcro helped keep all the pieces on the game board.  I was surprised that most of the children had not played before.  We used a separate piece of paper to keep track (using tally marks) of who won or if it was a tie.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Zoo 5 and 10 Frames

Today we worked on our 5 and 10 frames.  We rolled the dice to find out what animal we needed to use, then we rolled the number dice to find out how many.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Zoo patterns

This week we are finishing up our zoo unit.  Today we focused on zoo patterns.  The children picked out 2 or 3 different zoo animals and made a pattern with them.  Some still need help but most could at least do an ABAB pattern.   Once they had finished their pattern, they got black and white copies to colour, cut and paste onto a pattern sheet.

For those children who were still having difficulty visualizing the pattern, I had made up some pattern strips.  I had the children match the animals before we tried doing the pattern without the model.

The pieces kept sliding on us so I may add Velcro to this activity.  I don't know what I ever did before Velcro.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

10 Things I've Learned about Teaching

Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade is hosting a Ten Things I've Learned From Teaching Linky Party.

10 Things I've Learned about Teaching Special Ed:

1. Children with disabilities are just children and they need to treated the same as everyone else. The "oh, look at the poor thing", doesn't apply in my room.  If it would be expected from a regular kid, I expect it from mine.

2. A child who can't walk, talk, see, or hear has the ability to learn too.  You just have to figure out how.

3. Getting along with your educational assistants makes life a lot easier and whole lot of fun.

4. Anything can be adapted, you just need a little imagination and (usually) a lot of Velcro.

5. Being able to get your finger up your nose CAN be considered an increase in fine motor skills.

6. A child does not need to be able to talk in order to read.

7. A child does not need to be able to print in order to write.

8. A child does not need to be able to walk in order to play.

9. Don't judge a child by their looks.  They can be deceiving.  You can't judge a child's potential by the package he came in.

10. Celebrate success, even the small ones, as they lead to bigger ones.

Thanks for letting me join.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Farm Math Activities

I have posted my Farm Math Activities on my TpT site. 

It includes nine farm activities for your math centres. Activities include dominoes, counting numbers 1-20, share the animals, tic tac toe, sorting by beaks, hooves or paws, a farm graph, biggest to smallest, sorting by kind and ordering numbers 1 to 10.

farm math activities sample


On Friday I gave an in-service to several of our staff on the Intellikeys and it's companion program Overlay Maker.

The Intellikeys keyboard is an alternate keyboard for children who cannot access a regular keyboard or mouse.    It comes with overlays for different keyboard styles, numbers and mouse control. 

With Overlay Maker you can make your own overlays.  For example you could make an overlay with only the letters of a child's name on it.  This way, the child is only concentrating on those letters.

More information can be found on the Intellitools website.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thank You IBM

for the beautiful new computer.

Easter Interactive Easy Readers

I just made a set of three easy readers for my students.  They all contain the same story but two of them are interactive.

The first one is a regular book with easy repetitive text.
 The second one is designed as a fill in the blank.  The bottom portion of the book is cut away on all but the last page.  The words are attached with Velcro.  Children need to read the sentence and fill it in with the correct word by checking the picture.

 The third book has interactive pieces in the basket on the last page.  The other pages are cut away so that the basket is seen on each page.  Children read the sentence and put the correct egg in the bunny's hand.

The books come packaged together and ready for you to print out, laminate and bind together.  You can find them on my Teacher pay Teacher site.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work we work we go.

We are back to school and in some regards it seems like we never left.  The children are eager to get back to work and even though spring is here, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop by  Rick Lavoie called “It’s So Hard to Be Your Friend”.  He is a wonderful speaker and if you ever get the chance to see him, please do.  He talked about the social difficulties that children with disabilities have.

We continue to work on our zoo unit with the children.  Yesterday we made these wonderful elephants.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Easter Egg Sort

I'm trying to get organized for Easter.  Maybe I wouldn't be running around at the last minute this year.  Here is my Easter Egg Sort.

easter egg sort sample

Friday, March 18, 2011

New items posted

I just posted two new items on my TpT store. 

The first one is a farm 5 and 10 frame activity.

farm five and ten frame sample

The second is an Easter counting center.  Don't Put Your Eggs All in One Basket

dont put all your eggs in one basket sample

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Farm Literacy Activities

I just posted my farm literacy activities on my TpT store.  It includes an alphabet match, word families (in, ake, op), beginning sounds (n, sn, fr, gr), counting letters, syllables, large pictures, tree maps, bubble maps, Venn diagrams, word wall words, fill in the missing letter, spelling and a farm book.  Here is the sample

farm literacy activities sample

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I few years back at a seminar I saw a video about a young man who wanted to race and the father who made it happen.   This is their incredible story.

The Beginning of Team Hoyt

In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."

This realization was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.

In a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom made running chair (for the running stage).

Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, "The thing I'd most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once."
The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt's 1000th race. Rick always says if it comes down to doing one race a year he would like it to be the Boston Marathon: his favorite race. Dick Hoyt hopes that he is able to push Rick in the Boston Marathon when he is 70 years old (2011)! Neither Dick or Rick are ready to retire yet. (copied from their website Team Hoyt)

Their website is Team Hoyt

Monday, March 14, 2011

Linky Party

I joined the linky party over at Always First Grade.  I don't have many photos of my classroom yet and as we are on March Break, I can't take any.  Here are few of what I do have.

This is hallway outside of my class.  Notice all the equipment?  Yep, that's mine.  You wouldn't think that 7 children would require that much stuff.  If all this stuff was in the class, we wouldn't be able to move.

It that Woody you say?  Yes it is.  He is demonstrating the correct use of a hospital bed.  There are not that many classes with hospital beds in them but mine is one of them.  Luckily it's on wheels and we can move it around the room, down the hall, outside,  you get the picture.

This is my main table with our 3 laptops.  These are specifically for 3 of my students that have poor fine motor control.  It's my job in Kindergarten to train them so they can go into their next class knowing how to use them.  We move the laptops when we need the table for other uses.

This is me in front of the table.  Ignore the pirate costume as it was a special day that day LOL.  I have a Smart board behind me that the children just love.
When I'm back at school next week, I'll take some more pictures of the class.

Balanced Literacy

The main program I use to teach literacy is called Balanced Literacy by Intellitools.  It is a completely accessible program and works great on the Smart Board.  The program has a song for each letter, onset and rhyme.   I have used this program for about 6 years now and I'm still amazed at the amount of progress that even my youngest students display.  Here are a few screen shots.
The program has 9 units, each one with a different animal theme.  Each unit has 16 lessons.  We do one unit a month and about one lesson a day (this gives us a few extra days at the end of month to catch up or review).  We can cover the whole program in the space of a year.    Here is the link to the program Balanced Literacy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Monkey-ing Around

Thursday we decided to talk about monkeys.  We filled out a bubble map with what we knew about them.

We then watched a movie about monkeys.

We then filled out our "can, have, are" tree map.  I made up a communication board specifically for this task.  Many of my students have very poor speech and one can not speak at all.  All but one have fine motor skills that are good enough to point to pictures on a grid such as this.  They were not allowed to give me one word answers but instead had to make a complete 3 word sentence by pointing to and saying each word in order.  I also had the answers typed up so that we could cut and paste them on the tree map (this is included in the unit).  Fine motor skills are still developing and this is too much printing for them.  We practiced our printing when doing the bubble map, as it is a lot less demanding on them.

Here is the communication board that we used:

can have are for the zoo
We ended the day by completing some directional art monkeys.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Zoo literacy activities

I have posted my zoo literacy activities on my TpT site.   There are nine different activities including an alphabet match, word families (ap, ug, it), beginning sounds (t, l, ch, z), tree maps for 10 different animals, bubble maps for 10 different animals, Venn diagrams, word wall words, ABC order and animal spelling.  I hope you enjoy them.  Here is a sample.

literacy activities sample

I will post the communication board for the "can are have" activity tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March Break here I come

Tomorrow is the first day of our March Break.  One week and one day off.  I am truly looking forward to the break.  I'm hoping to catch up on some work.  Hopefully my zoo literacy activities will be ready by tomorrow.  I keep thinking up new activities and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lions. Lots and lots of lions

We started out today by writing down some things that we thought we knew about lions.  I wrote on my big chart and the children wrote on their own paper.

We then watched a movie about lions and tigers.  This series is really good and they have many videos with different animals.
Finally we reviewed what we learned in the video and talked about what we had gotten right in our bubble chart.  We completed a lion tree map with more details on what lions can, have and are.  This was too much printing for my little guys so I had some options pretyped before hand.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Today we made lions.   Don't they look scary?????  They look nice on the wall next to the zebras.
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