Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spot it!

I was in LA over the weekend at a shoe store of all places wandering around looking at some games they had. I was intrigued by these cute little games inside tins. They had quite a few to choose from. My friend asked me if I had ever played it before and proceeded to tell me how much fun they were. I went ahead and purchased this one here "On The Road" as it would fall within our "Community Awareness" domain. Yesterday I got a table full of kids and a few staff and we pulled the tin open and began playing. There are numerous different ways you can play the game and we actually tried 3 of them, all very entertaining. The one the kids loved the most was very fast playing and wouldn't have worked with all my kids but these guys did great. 

Here's how it worked: Everyone had a card face up in front of them and there was a stack of the remaining cards in the middle of the table. The object was to find a picture on the top card in the center that matched a picture on your opponents card, call the picture "police car" grab the card and place it on your opponents card in front of them, now changing what their top card is. When the center pile was depleted, we all counted our cards and the person with the fewest in their pile was the winner. We also played it the opposite where everyone had 6 cards face up in front of them and there was one card face up in the center. On "go" you had to call and place your cards on the center card to match a picture on there. Sounds easy, but every time someone places there card before you the top card is changed so you have to start looking through your pictures again. 

I know as soon as I get to work today they kids are going to want to try some of the other ways to play. I believe there was 7 in all. I am positive there will be or can be slower ways to play where the kids maybe take turns that will accommodate some of our non competitive kids. I think I might actually pick up a different tin if I find them somewhere local!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cooking Terms Bingo

I have posted in the past regarding the educational bingo games I use with my kids. They are on bathroom items, kitchen items, cooked foods, and fruits and vegetables. My kids love doing them and I have had to limit it to once a week since we have a ton of other things to learn and they would literally want to do this all day if I let them. Not only are they learning but since they think they are playing a game, it's a win win situation. Last week we were working on cooking terms and it came to me, why not teach them the cooking terms in a Bingo game? That night I went home and put one together. I laminated each of the 15 cards and also the cards I will use to call. We haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I know they are going to love it and what better way to learn, right? Things like this can be thrown together in about an hour and are virtually free for teachers to make. 

I would love some other ideas that could be made into a Bingo game if you have any!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Award Assemblies

Sorry it's taken me a couple weeks to post on this. The end of the first quarter ended a little over a week ago in our district. In the past, we didn't really acknowledge it except to send them home with a paper stating how they were doing on their goals in their IEP, exciting huh? This year, with the new Spirit Club implemented, we have decided to make it a little more special and have an award assembly just before we do our weekly dance hour out in the quad area. Each teacher was given two Steps for Success awards to fill in. The awards could be given for anything they felt the kids had done to help themselves move forward to a successful life. With 19 classes that was close to 40 awards. I really went back and forth about adding more so each kid could get one during the year but kept going back to the fact that we are supposed to be teaching them about the real life, and in the real life, not everyone gets an award, buzz kill I know.
We also wanted to acknowledge the kids with perfect attendance. I have always done something special for the kids in my room as I wanted to let them know how important this is. I found these cool personalized dog tags at a store on line and ordered them for 32 cents a piece. Out of 175 kids we had 42 with perfect attendance! I had 6 out of my 11 kids, which I'd like to think is a reflection of my teaching :-) The kids loved them! Now, 8 days post assembly, most of the kids are still wearing them. We plan to continue with these each quarter and buy a different style each time so they can add to their collection. If your are interested in seeing all the things they have, check out their web site here School Life. I am really glad we decided to do this. My staff said the kids were just beaming when they received their awards. I am curious to see if our attendance increases next quarter because of them.

Hope your week is moving along as planned, 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Amazing Karaoke!

I love DonorsChoose and over the past few years have been blessed to receive many wonderful things for my classroom. I usually pick what we need because well, I'm the teacher. But this time, with our weekly electives looming over my head and needing to pick what I was going to do, I left it in the hands of the kids. And they wanted karaoke! I REALLY had to think long and hard about this because I know my kids and frankly I kept imaging long hours of sitting in my room listing to one Disney song after another off key, but I gave in and we posted the project. It's all about them right? An hour and a half after it posted, my amazing angel friend from New York paid for our karaoke machine (we love her). Three days later it was in my classroom (the joys of ordering through Amazon)! 

You are not going to believe how amazing this little machine has been for my kids. Remember me talking a few weeks ago about one of my boys with autism, who only repeats my last word? And how he got up in front of the room and recited the entire Pledge of Allegiance? Well, he can sing! And I don't mean in key by any means, but he knows all the words to the songs and gets right up there and sings for us. Another of my boys who also is almost non verbal is amazing to watch! He not only sings, but he dances as well, and his facial expressions are priceless! 

I have been pleasantly surprised that every one of my kids really seems to enjoy the singing. All 7 of my boys with autism have done it, multiple times. It has helped some of them to have my aide up there singing along with them, as some of them don't read and this way they stay in line with the lyrics.    

We haven't started our bi-weekly electives yet, but word is spreading about room 6's Karaoke machine and I have been having a few "visitors" after lunch all week. And my aides, that's them in the picture, I think they are enjoying it almost as much as the kids!

Enjoy your weekend,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Earthquake Preparedness

 Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold tomorrow 10/16 at 10:16 a.m. during the Great Shake Out Earthquake Drill. I put together a little slide show today that you are more then welcome to use with your kids tomorrow. There are 22 slides, mostly things I copied from different web pages. There are also some pictures of earthquake damage. Nothing too scary as I have some sensitive kids.

Earthquake Slide Show

Here is the link to Google Docs to retrieve it. Sorry, to big to email or upload. Be sure to save it before using it. For some reason it comes a bit jumbled, but once saved, it's fine. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Dance & Skeleton Matching

In the past our program has put on a large Halloween dance for the kids which included pizza, pies, drinks, games, face painting, and plenty of snacks. We actually own a sno-cone machine, a nacho cheese dispensing machine, a popcorn machine and a cotton candy machine, all which we can no longer use with the new food rules. We also had about 6 games that one of our teachers borrowed each year from her church, which she can not get again this year. Soooooo, basically our large dance has been downsized a LOT! Since no teacher signed up to do the dance, the Spirit Club offered. 
Seriously, besides dancing and face painting, we are at a loss of what else we can do to make this special. Had you asked me in the past years if our Halloween party revolved around food I would have said NO way, but.... I guess, technically it did. If anyone has ideas of "free" or close to free ideas for 175 kids in an outdoor quad area (not to mention what might happen if it rains!) I would love to hear them! In exchange I am giving away a fun matching skeleton worksheet. You can pick which level you want to do with your kids. Please, please, please throw us some ideas, we are desperate!!!

You can pick up you free copy here

Hope your week is going great so far!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Job Interest Assessments

Since I have still been unable to locate a job site for my kids, and because finding a place that wants 15 extra people in their establishment working is quite difficult, we have decided to take a different approach this year, Job Interest Assessments. We will be doing this every other Monday and I really like how the first one went. I put the kids into four groups, three students per aide, and I take my two girls (who are the biggest handful). Each group had this worksheet shown, and were told to observe employees during our hour there. They were to write down on their worksheet (I had one writer per group) a job that they witnessed an employee doing. Well, the kids did a great job! They were encouraged to ask the employees what it was they were doing (if they didn't know), and we even learned a new work term! We then answered a few additional questions about the workplace. 

Back at school, while the kids were at lunch, I made 2 extra copies of each groups worksheets. In our afternoon class, I passed them back out to their groups and we listed all the jobs on the board that the kids observed and talked about each one. I was worried they would have a hard time coming up with 8, but there were so many they observed that it was not a problem. We then finished the worksheet with everyone answering the rest of the questions based on their preferences on their own worksheet.

 For the last question, we all got around my computer and went to Hobby Lobby's website. We found the link for "Careers" and following it. We read their introduction to working there and also found out they if you would like to apply for a job there, you will have to apply in person as they do not do online applications. 

I am really looking forward to doing more of these this year.
We have Winco and Subway Sandwich coming up in the next month and I can't wait to see how they do!

Friday, October 10, 2014

California Map Lesson

I found a cute worksheet on Pinterest last week that I thought would really help my kids not only work on map skills but also get a great lesson on the state that we live in. Unfortunately the worksheet was for Texas. So, what does one do? Make one for California!

Let me know if you would like a copy. I will send it to you in PowerPoint and you can add your city to it too!

Have a great weekend! I'm OUT OF HERE!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Teacher Meltdowns

It's busy busy busy at my work this week! I had two aides out today for starters, and this Friday is the end of the first quarter. Benchmarks and grades are both due. Come to find out today, they have changed the way to post them so I was on that all morning trying to figure out what we needed to do. I am also organizing an assembly for the kids on Friday to hand out their "Perfect attendance" dog tags (I'll talk about this more later) and trying to gather the "Steps To Success" awards (later too) that I handed out to all the teachers to fill in and need back by tomorrow afternoon. And to top it off.... I will be absent Friday for the whole thing!! That's ok, our spirit club team is amazing and I have delegated appropriately. After all of that, and while my kids were in the cafeteria eating, I went in to talk to my boss about an issue with getting my new projector mounted in my room. Now, I can't exactly explain what happened while I was in his office, because frankly I do not know. We talked, he wasn't mean or condescending, there is just a glitch (and maybe too many people telling me different things) in the path to getting my new projector mounted. No big deal right? Well, I left his office and just burst into tears! I tried walking it off and took the long way back to my class doing deep breathing exercises the whole time to no avail. I seriously considered getting into my car and just taking a drive, but I didn't have my keys on me! I finally got back to my room (luckily without being seen) and had myself a little meltdown. You know, the big tears, runny nose, hard to catch your breath... yep, that's what I had.  I was finally getting over it when one of my co-worker friends walked in and it took all I had to not restart the whole thing again. Seriously this went on for about a half hour! And every time I saw one of my friends I could feel the tears welling back up again. Well, I calmed down, the kids came back, and we finished out our day. THANK GOD! Does anyone else ever have days like this? I am hoping today was "my" day and that I will not be needing anymore of them for quite some time. Thanks for letting me talk about it, I think I feel better now.

Yours Truly,

Monday, October 6, 2014

3 Lessons In One - Art~Table Setting~Nutrition

We have been working on this activity since last week and I have been so anxious to see how they would turn out. Last Thursday I gave the kids each a piece of white paper and had them create a place-mat for themselves. Art is taken different for every one of my kids. Some of my kiddos will finish art in 2 minutes and need a little prompting to add a little something extra here or there. Some of the others can create for hours. As you can see from the photos, some of them are very talented in this department. So, place-mats done, we did a lesson on casual table setting on Friday. We all sat around our work table and went over each part of the setting and where it goes one by one on the place-mat. We glued them on as we talked about each piece. We raised our left hands and raised our rights just to make sure we were getting the right sides.

This morning (day 3) we did a lesson on creating a well balanced meal. We have done this in depth already this year along with some My Plate resources so this was just a refresher. After lunch we got working on putting the meals together. We passed out magazines to them and had them locate, cut, and paste the meal of their choice along with a drink to their plates. The end results were FABULOUS!! Here is one that one of my more artistic boys put together. He spent a lot of time on his place-mat, but wouldn't you love to eat on it? 

This was a really fun lesson for all of the kids. No one fell asleep, and it was after lunch.... Success!