Monday, July 24, 2017

Using Mystery Questions

This summer I tried  Mystery Questions to change things up a bit.
The kids really got into it!

Here's how we did it.

I wrote some questions about a read aloud book on index cards and placed each in an envelope. I had a small group (no more then 5 students) so there was an envelope/question for each of them. All the envelopes went into a paper sack.

I enticed them by telling them about the Mystery sack before reading the book.

Immediately after reading the book, we talked a little about what happened in the story, then passed around the sack. Each student pulled out an envelope and read the question to themselves, some students needed some help doing this and that's alright!

Students took turns reading their question aloud and answering it.Sometimes they needed a clue or they could ask a friend to help them. I cautioned everyone not to help unless they asked. That gets tricky sometimes.

Pretty simple.

Great things about the Mystery Questions
  • Opportunity to read independently.
  • Promotes language skills.
  • Easily differentiated.
  • Motivating to practice comprehension skills.
  • Everyone gets a turn.
  • Hands on/allows movement.

Let me know if you try this!



Saturday, July 15, 2017

Camping in the Classroom

My favorite theme for summer school/Extended School Year is CAMPING. 
There's nothing better, it is a natural for incorporating outdoor activities when the weather allows and it's just plain fun! 
I have done it in the past with more flair and you can see that here.

This summer I didn't try to do tents. We had quite a few kids with wheelchairs, gait walkers and so forth and didn't want to have tents unless ALL could enjoy and participate. I saw a cool idea that would have worked for us at Our Small-Town Idaho Life.  I didn't get around to getting it together THIS time, maybe next summer! Here's a picture from their blog:

Nice, right?


Another difference this summer from the past sessions was the technology. We had it available and it was WORKING.  How cool is that??

I have mentioned this before that our district is big time into digitalizing (yes yes I know that isn't a real word, but I like it). I actually know how to create a Google classroom and make slides for lessons. So I did that A LOT. The boxes of books I usually bring did not have to be carted to our summer site either because it is all online. (OF COURSE I brought some books for the students to look at, technology cannot match that experience).

There are so many books and videos online.  All I have to do is link a video or website to the slide and it is ready to go. Making a slide show for the entire day ensures nothing is forgotten. However, I am veering off the path for today. I will talk about using Google Education at another time. 

This is the group area. We sit around the campfire to listen to a book, discuss, watch a video or do a song.

For the door, we color coded the hand colors, orange for the AM students, yellow for the PM students and red for the adults.

In order to address students' individual objectives, our schedule includes a "station" time. 

For the campfire, everything is real except the fire! I initially had a battery operated candle tucked inside the tissue and it glowed. Looked good. However, a student had difficulty leaving it alone and it was removed.

This "About Me" project is very flexible, some students wrote their information and others matched and glued the letters.
Everyone had their picture in a tent on the top. The way they did the background depended on their skills. Some kids drew and colored their own, others had help placing the grass, trees, butterflies, or sun. Snipping green paper for grass is a great way to practice scissor skills!
I love these kind of activities because most students can have a hand in doing them and they are all unique.

The page is part of a Special Ed. Daily Morning work packet from School Bells N Whistles, I have found this packet to be so very very useful! You can find it on Teacher Pay Teachers here.😎

Hope your summer is going well!



Source: Emoji Me from itunes
edited by PicMonkey

Monday, July 3, 2017

4th of July Art Project

I have really dropped the ball on this blog! Each weekend I consider writing a post and always find something else to do. I haven't posted since September! 

But I have something new to talk about.....I am teaching ESY (AKA summer school). It has been pretty fun, my class has a variety of disabilities and therefore, a variety of skill levels. It makes life interesting.

This week we focused on the 4th of July. We did a fun and easy art project.

The materials you will need:

Paints- red, white and blue
Toilet Paper rolls (one for each color of paint)
Paper plates 
Black or dark blue construction paper

First, cut the toilet paper rolls.
Depending on your students' skills, draw a line to indicate how far to cut. It is always a good idea to have a model.

Spread out the fringe so it will lay flat.

Next, pour the paint in a paper plate in a circular motion leaving the center empty, this is where the center of the TP roll will be located. It won't need paint.

Now,  make firework prints!

We made a red, white and blue print for each picture. The kids also discovered that it helped to push down the fringe or they didn't get as much of the print. For those who are very sensitive to getting their fingers messy, a wet wipe/paper towel helps them to continue doing the project while they wipe off their fingers every few seconds. OR, I just thought of this: give them Q-tips to use to smooth them down.
Last, add glue for the swirls and sprinkle with glitter. The glitter pens also work great!

My class and grandchildren enjoyed this project. It was quick, easy and most importantly....FUN!

I found this great idea from Heidi at Happiness is Homemade.

Our district is using Google Education. I included this slide on our presentation for the day. I love using Google slides, it is a daily visual lesson plan. It helps keep me on track and students are tuned into the visuals.

Hope you enjoy this,
Happy 4th of July!

Source: Emoji Me from itunes store.
Edited with PicMonkey.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Five for Friday.....Happy September

Time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

I'll begin with our September bulletin board. The month letters are from Doodle Bugs herself!
You can find them in her TPT store here.

We also used Doodle Bug's "I love Pete" packet. The students all love Pete the Cat and they did a great job.


One more activity by Kacey from the Pete packet.

More colors are there, we were having a "missing letters" issue.


The week was finished off with the first play of the season at Valley Performing Arts. 

Great story!
The actors did a wonderful job as usual.
The humor and mystery were catching. By the final scene, the audience could almost SEE Harvey.

That's it for me...this is really a 
Four for Friday!



Saturday, September 10, 2016

Classroom Tour

We have been in school four weeks....FOUR! It's hard to get into a routine and THE SCHEDULE (evil, evil, evil thing) keeps changing. There is also the required TESTING.

But now it seems to be settling and I spent today preparing for next week and feeling like those lessons might really happen.

I also am considering rearranging parts of the room. So I better share my tour BEFORE that happens!

Once upon a time I had a self contained classroom, my students were not part of their peer group often, they were happy enough and didn't know what they were missing. My schedule was pretty straight forward, we used themes, modified curriculum and there were 1 or 2 teacher assistants.

Next came the time of "inclusion", my children began to grow socially, I tried to continue themes, but it wasn't needed anymore, my schedule became more and more complicated, more adults were needed to support kids in their homerooms, the district started to introduce "replacement core" programs for students at all levels.

I have been scrambling to understand what my role is in all these changes and what my classroom should provide.

We have 12 students with full time support, two of them spend most of the day in our classroom. The other 10 are in other resource rooms or their homerooms with support. It is a wonderful wonderful scene! Are there bad days? of course, sometimes the homeroom or even a small/big group setting is just overwhelming and they need to take a break.

Anyway, here is what we came up with. 

Our door, I provided the vision, but one of the teacher assistants did the curtains and the sign. 

The Chill Pad hosted by Pete the Cat.
It has been successful so far. It is NOT time out, it is a place to chill, to reset your attitude.

The "Book Nook" is my favorite part of the room. I worked on my books all summer, they are all labeled in categories that can easily be matched to a matching bin label.

I added an ipod shuffle to the "nook" and several students are loving it! It is loaded with kid songs and some old rock and roll like "Rockin Robin".

Students earn points for following directions, being kind to each get the idea. Every 10 points they move the paw up, at the top is the treasure box.

We are the Lynx and our principal created a hand sign to go with that, it is pretty clever and the eye glasses look like the ones she wears!

I decided that all the supplies would be in one place this year. In the past each work station had a tub of basic supplies. The other side has OUR supplies, items like staplers, tape, paper clips. The sharp scissors stay on or in the teacher desk (not that any of our students are a concern with scissors THIS year).

My desk when it was clean. The technology plan is to be wireless, the district purchased us some pretty sweet laptops and those can be used as a tablet. It will be great when everything comes together.

That's not even everything, but this is running too long! I just realized there are no pictures of our group instruction areas!
I love to look at teachers' classrooms, so many great ideas!
We are creative people! LOL

I'll end with a couple of  photos from our garden, this has been a sunflower year!



Friday, July 29, 2016

Five for Friday....Oh NO! It's almost over


Vacation is almost over....
I picked up my school keys yesterday....
felt a little panic creep into my thoughts.....

It's time to link with Doodle Bugs Teaching! The place where the curriculum is organized and every teacher knows what they are doing, I need to live in that dream world for a little while.
Here we go!

My five for Friday consists mostly of things I did when I visited family in the lower 48.


While in Oklahoma we visited the Tiger Safari Park in Tuttle!
It is an awesome place!
I highly recommend it to anyone loving animal parks. We were allowed to hold some of the animals such as the Eurasian Eagle Owl, it was breathtaking. The park host was very specific on how to hold them and helped us get our pictures.
We also stayed overnight at a Safari Hut and that was fun. It was decorated in an African theme and the AC worked great, which is so important in July, in Oklahoma!
If you live in Oklahoma or are planning a trip that takes you through the Tuttle area, you should really check it out. Call ahead.

We got the opportunity to walk through this old historic building, it's not open to the public, the current owner was kind enough to allow us inside. Most of my family worked in this building at one time or another. It was an orphanage when my parents were in grade school and later a nursing home. I washed dishes in the kitchen, did housekeeping and for a very short time, was a nurse's aid. I discovered that nursing was NOT my thing.
Walking around inside and talking about old memories was fun.

My husband got a 4 wheeler recently and the grand kids love it! Grandpa doesn't mind giving rides either.


Our yard is growing like crazy!
It's the last hurrah of summer for us.


We have lived in Alaska 17 years and I still have things stored in my dad's garage! I went through a lot of it and either threw it away, gave it away or mailed it to myself.

There are still 3 tubs left.

This summer was also the year to look through old pictures, I brought home many of them. Pictures of great, great, great grandparents, uncles, cousins.
It's nice to have a history.

I spent a small fortune mailing boxes to myself.....

Now how does ones organize all this great history??
I'll have to Pinterest it.

My next post will most likely contain  teacher stuff.
The return date to school looms closer.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Five for Friday...Going "outside"

Summer is going way too fast! The weeks are just flying by, I really thought I would have lots of those "do nothing" days...but nope.

My daughter and I are going "outside" next week! In Alaskan speak this means we are leaving the state. It took me awhile to figure out what people were talking about when they would say that. It always cracked me up. Another way to refer to leaving is "going to the lower 48".

I'm happy to not be traveling alone this time. My daughter hasn't seen our family for a few years. The trip there and back will be more fun with company.

I am still sorting and labeling my classroom library here at home. There are more at school, but it's a start. 
I made the mistake of looking at children's books when shopping at a thrift store and bought more.  I found some Pete the Cat books in hardcover! Wahoooo!

Here is one of the labels from Danielle Mastandrea at TPT.

I also found these wonderful books about famous artists!

Now I need to get matching boxes to put them in. I have a mish mesh of cardboard and plastic boxes at the moment....there are some great ideas on Pinterest! You can see my board where I am gathering them.

We are getting lots of time with our sweet grandchildren!

Getting ready for the 4th of July.

The yard is wild and alive!

Link up with Doodle bugs teaching!
Have a great holiday, be safe.