Friday, April 27, 2012

What do you teach? Linky Party

I absolutely LOVE the students I have the privilege of teaching. I believe that all children are capable of learning and growing into productive members of society.  In my class, as in every special education class that I know about, the children MUST be explicitly taught skills that other children learn naturally.  I thought it would be interesting for all of us "special" teachers to make a list of skills we teach on a daily basis that will never be on any standardized test, but are essential for our kids to grow.  (General ed teachers, you are welcome to participate as well!)  I have many good friends who are general education teachers, but many of them truly do not understand what goes on in my class on a daily basis.

Here's my list:

  1. how to tie shoes (all students up through 5th grade)
  2. how to walk up and/or down steps so you don't fall/trip/step on the person in front of you
  3. how to walk in a line
  4. how to use the bathroom independently
  5. how to shower/bathe at home so the other kids do not harass them because of body odor
  6. when it is appropriate to scratch/adjust your underclothes
  7. how to brush your teeth
  8. how to ask for help
  9. look at the person who is talking to you
  10. how to make friends
  11. how to have an appropriate conversation with peers/adults
  12. how to blow your nose
  13. how to move through the building and find where you are going
  14. following directions
  15. how to wait for your turn
  16. how to handle frustration
  17. how to handle disappointing situations
  18. how to handle changes in schedule
  19. what is appropriate behavior in special programs/field trips 
  20. how to maintain appropriate behavior when mad/sad/happy/excited
  21. how to handle new situations
  22. how to deal with people in costumes and other super scary people
  23. how to handle fire drills/tornado drills/ and any other unexpected drill 
  24. how to stay with the group during a field trip
  25. what to do when you get lost on a field trip 
  26. what to do when you get lost in the school building
  27. how to let others know they are annoying you in an appropriate manner
  28. what clothing is appropriate for the weather 
  29. what clothing is appropriate for your age/body/gender
  30. what to do in an emergency at home/school/in public places
  31. how to call 911 and when it's appropriate
  32. how to pay attention to what is going on around you
  33. look in front of you when you are walking so you don't run into doors/walls/people
  34. table manners
  35. fine motor skills
  36. gross motor skills
  37. using logic and reason to figure out common problems
  38. understanding that other people have feelings
  39. understanding other people's perspective
  40. why we have to keep working when everything is so hard

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Comparing Numbers Math Workstation Freebie

I have a great freebie for you today!   This is a dice game that can be used in math workstations. Students practice greater than, less than, and equal to numbers 0-999. A list of teacher tips on how to modify so that all students can participate is included. It includes a student recording sheet.  You can pick it up here.
You can also find more great math freebies here!


Earth Day Trees

Kandinsky is one of my favorite artists.  I saw a wonderful idea on another blog (I wish I could remember where to give her credit!) of using Kandinsky's concentric circles to create colorful leaves for a tree.  After a lesson on why we have Earth Day and when it was created, we used our knowledge on Kandinsky to create this great tree!
First, we painted the background.  We used our brushes in a patting motion to create a implied texture.

We gave it some time to dry and everyone got to paint their own concentric circle leaves on the tree.  It turned out amazing!  I'm so glad that I read that blog post!  (If you know where the other blog post is, please link it in the comments.)

Here is our finished painting!

For more art ides head over and check them out {HERE}!


Monday, April 23, 2012


Do your kids have a hard time with subtracting larger numbers when a zero is involved?

Problems like this makes my kiddos nuts!  I have finally figured out a simpler way to help them subtract
accurately without any "magic" numbers showing up!  Maybe you all have already figured this out, but just incase there are others who were struggling with this as I have been, I thought I would share a teaching strategy.

My kids know they need to borrow from the zero, but they cannot figure out how or what number that silly zero turns into.  I started asking my kids to look at the next number beside the zero and make it a double digit number.  In this case, we would look at 30 instead of just 0.  I tell my kids this is the same as 30 tens. Then, I ask my kids, "What number comes just before 30?"  It takes some of them a few seconds to think of the answer, but they can count backward and figure out that 29 comes just before 30.  So we cross out 30 tens, make it 29 tens, and add the 1 ten in front of the number in the one's place.
So simple!  The kids get it, remember it, and are using it without prompting!!  I hope this helps some of your struggling kiddos!

Head over to The Teaching Tribune for some more great posts!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jackson Pollack Earth Art

To celebrate Earth Day, we made Jackson Pollack inspired art.  We looked at several of Pollack's paintings and discussed them.  We discussed how Pollack loved to throw himself (literally and figuratively) into his work.  The kids got REALLY excited because they thought I was going to let them throw paint!  Well, they had a momentary let down when they realized that wasn't going to happen!  We made these super cute earth art by putting white circles in a box lid, put several drops of blue and green paint on the circle, add in a few marbles, and roll them around. Presto!  Pollack inspired art without the mess!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Flat Stanley

I LOVE teaching at an arts integrated school.  We have so much fun!  This week while reading Flat Stanley, I thought it would be fun to make flat versions of ourselves for our Arts' Festival.  The kids had so much fun!  They really got into the project.  Here is my flat class!

 It was really interesting to see how the kids thought of themselves.  They added lots of wonderful details to their art.
I especially love the details this 3rd grader gave himself!  I was really amazed at how they all turned out!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pirate Pete is up for Grabs!

Valerie over at All Students Can Shine is hosting a giveaway to celebrate 200 blog followers and the arrival of her little one.  It is 5 days of giveaway madness!  Hop over and enter! Make sure you stop by each day, because there will be a new giveaway each day.  Pirate Pete will be one of her featured products!  Good luck everyone!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Split Class & Multi-Age Linky Party

Mrs. Bainbridge's Class is hosting a linky party for tips on how to teach a multi-age class.  Head over to her blog and check out all of the link-ups!

Mrs. Bainbridge's Class

I teach a k-5th grade special ed class (very much like the old one room school house)  I currently have 14 students with one full time and one part time teaching assistant.  I could never do my job without them.  About half of my students take the regular state assessment and the other half participate in the portfolio or alternate assessment.

I begin our day teaching written language as a whole group lesson.  My TA helps my 1st graders who have a more difficult time with writing.  We move into whole group reading.  Again my TA moves around the room and helps those who are struggling.  All three of us take a small group for reading.  Small groups are divided on instructional level, not grade level.  I also teach math whole group and small group.  Again, everyone is divided by instructional level.  I teach science, social studies, and health whole group.  My TA steps in and helps those who need it.  All of my students go to special area classes with their grade level.  The only time my classroom is empty is when go to computer lab and library once a week as a class.  I have "planning" time at the end of the day while my students do learning stations or sensory stations.  It seems like I blink and the entire day is gone!

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