Monday, January 28, 2008

Spelling Assignments

I teach vocabulary words from the seasons, current events and general education classes. I like words that promote rich language discussion, vivid imagery, and words that can be represented by pictures. I use two web-sites to generate some of the "paper" tasks for practice. They are Teaching Made Easier, and Ed. Helper.
From Ed. Helper, I make the word search, flashcards, find the word that's spelled correctly, and a master list.
From Teaching Made Easier I make a three part puzzle match, rainbow words, write the word five times each.
Both sites have great activities and I change some of them depending upon the level of the students.
I put the words on cards that may be recorded for sound. I write the words on one-inch graph paper and laminate it. This adapatation helps the students who have organizational problems.
My hands-on acitvies include,
  • put letter beads on pipe cleaners, good fine motor activity too
  • use yellow letter tiles to spell words
  • flash cards, laminated, math clothespins with letters, good fine motor
  • small tiles with different letter fonts, I call it "Mixed Up-Letters"
  • Intellitools
  • Type on Computer
  • Write the vowels in red and the consonants in blue
  • rubber stamps
  • stencils
  • first letter cut from a magazine or a newspaper
  • clay snakes, good fine motor
  • word sort by first letter, guided reading activity

Winter Clothing List: mittens, scarf, socks, earmuffs, hood, P.J.s, boots,coat, gloves, cap, and sweater.

Frist Week or February: Valentine, February, pink, red, purple, kiss, from, heart, love, to, card, hugs, rose, and candy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Handwriting, Why Bother?

In my opinion handwriting is very important for special needs students. It helps them blend into the general population if they can copy from a textbook or the board. (This is especially crucial in the secondary setting in inclusion classes.) "My Kids" are bright enough to know, when they can't do anything that the other students are doing. I don't want them to have that feeling. Confidence will empower them. Good handwriting gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride. It enables them to write notes, sign greeting cards, take a message, and more importantly they need a legible signature to cash checks and sign other documents. Most of the parents I have worked with really value this skill also. I have been on the Internet looking at handwriting information. I found a very good check list, see it here:
Handwriting Check List

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don't Repeat the Same Insanity...

I believe it is critical to teach the classroom routine. It starts day one, and I move through the day, some times weeks, teaching as I go. It ideally cuts down on disipline issues and problems in the future...
I teach my behavior expectations.
I teach where things belong.
I teach organization.
I teach procedure.
I teach self-advocacy.
However, this year has been a challenge to put it mildly. I'm sure it did not help that my father became ill right before the holiday season. I had to be out for a week with him, and several other days for his appointments. Then the holiday madness began...
During my "WINTER" break, I thought about my return to school with dread, yes dread. I did not want the same things "bugging" me that bothered me prior to break. "I am the adult and I am the one with the degree." I reminded myself. It's my responsibility to match my instruction and approach to learning to my students' needs. (Not vice virsa.)
With a burst of energy, a ton of paper, some laminating, and word processing, I revisited some of my old practices. I also gave up on some methods that weren't working right now. (File them for later.)
We are starting new assignment sheets and some picture schedules. With that said, let the Center Stations begin. Oh, I also am making those really cool Mini-Offices. They are a great match for centers or work jobs.
Pictures to come soon.