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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Advice for New Teachers

Today is Teacher Talk Tuesday and we are sharing advice for new teachers.   I thought I would gear my advice to what to do if you have a special needs child in your class.  I'm not talking about the child with the invisible disability such as a learning disability, I'm talking about the child with severe disabilities.   In today's classrooms, many children with severe disabilities are being integrated into regular classrooms.  What do you do if you have a child like this in your class?  What do you do with a wheelchair, stander, communication device?

1. Treat the child just like any other child in your class.  That means the same expectations as everyone else (unless there is something like a behaviour plan in place).  If everyone is expected to line up, sit quietly, read, do math, etc, then your child with special needs should have the same expectation.  Nothing makes a child stand out more than doing something completely different than their peers. Integration does not mean just sitting in the same physical space as your peers. This does not mean that you have the same expectations academically but for example if everyone is completing math work then the child with special needs should be completing their math at the same time, even if it's below grade level.

2. Arrange your class so that the child can get around easily and has access to all areas of the class.

3. Talk to the class about the child's disability (with or without the child, depending on the child).  If the child is able and willing, have them explain things to their peers (only if the child is mature enough to do this).  See if your local community has a disability awareness program and invite them to come in and talk to the class.

4. If your child has a paraprofessional, make sure to strike up a good working relationship with them.  They can be your best friend.  Work together and set up schedules to work in equipment.  Make sure the person is "assisting" and not "doing".

5. Give the child "time" if they need it.  Time to respond, time to complete work, time to get from one place to another.

6. Try and pair the child up with a friend. 

7. Make sure that the child does EVERYTHING that everyone else does.  In my class, no one is left out.  Check out my post on McHappy Day.  When the class ate McDonald's, everyone did, even my students that needed pureed food.  You can find creative ways to do anything.  If one child can't do the activity then think of something else to do.

8. Make sure you have good communication with the parents.  Set realistic goals for the year.  It's better to set small goals that are obtainable then larger ones that are not going to be met in one year.

9. Know your child's equipment and make sure it's used.  Standers, walkers, wheelchairs and communication devices have all been put into place for a reason.  A child can't be in one position all day.  Make sure they can get out and stretch.

10.  Remember:  A child with a disability is still a child.  Make sure you have fun.

If anyone ever has questions or needs help problem solving an issue, I'm more than happy to help.  Just leave a comment and your email and I'll try to help.

Head over to Blog Hoppin' for more great advice.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Literacy Work Stations

I was so impressed with Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller that I decided to go out and buy Literacy Work Stations.  I can't wait to get into the book.  I'm not sure yet how I'm going to run things.  With only 7 children my stations won't be very big but I'm looking forward to trying something different this year.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amazing Story

DynaVox Speech and Communication Devices is a company that produces communication devices for individuals with little to no speech.

Yesterday they featured a story about a young girl who uses the same EyeMax computer as one of my students.  She even paints using the computer.  Here is video clip about her.

You can check out her beautiful pictures at her website  Just My Eyes

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top 10 Reasons you know it's Back to School Time

Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits is having a linky party.  The Top 10 Reasons you know it's Back to School Time.  Even though I don't return for a few weeks, I know it will come up quickly.

Here is my list.

10. I'm  starting to have classroom dreams.  I arrive at school and my room is too small (I mean a closet) or I have 50 students or no one shows up etc.  Nightmares more than dreams really.

9. The car is full of things that need to go back to school.  I just haven't got there yet.

8. I have a stack of receipts for things I've bought over the summer.

7. I've been doing more "school work" than my kids.

6. I've been planning on what to set my alarm at to slowly ease into getting up early.

5. We attended "mouth guard clinic" and registered for hockey.  A sure sign of fall.

4. I'm starting to panic that I'm not going to have time to do all the things we had "all summer to do".

3. I'm spending all my free hours planning for the first month of school.

2. My To-Do list is getting longer.

1. I've been arranging and re-arranging my room in my head trying to figure out what the best layout would be and stalking everyone's blog who is putting up pictures of their room already.

Head on over to Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits to link up for your top 10.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pet Interactive Easy Readers

I have just added a new interactive easy reader to my TpT storePet Interactve Easy Readers

A set of four pet theme easy readers. They all contain the same story but three of them are interactive. The first one is a regular book with easy repetitive text. The second one involves putting the correct sentence to the picture. The sentences can be cut up into individual words to make the activity harder. The third book is a fill in the blank activity. Children need to read the sentence and fill in the blank with the correct word by checking the picture. The fourth one requires the child to read the sentence and put the correct animal in the picture. The books come packaged together and ready for you to print out, laminate and bind together. This book also comes with vocabulary flash cards.