Monday, April 29, 2013

This is why I keep going back....

The last couple of weeks have been difficult, too much to do and not enough time. I feel everyone wants something from me and I am disappointing them. It is not surprising that I want to crawl in a hole and hide!
 I even worked an entire Saturday! I know many of my co-workers do this regularly and I used to all the time. I have been diligently avoiding doing that this school year and found my overall attitude was better. In addition to being at school from 9-6 on a day off, a colleage who had come and gone in the building set the alarm while I was still there!! I had to call the security company and explain that the alarm setter must not have realized I was still there and please don't send the police!
 So last Friday I seriously considered staying home, but talked myself into it. I was dreading the day...almost everyone around me were subs, not that they were not good at their jobs, but it is just not the same (for me or the kids) when all the regular people around you are not there. We had a visiting author assesmbly and my students don't always do well at was 40 minutes long! We went to the assembly and the author was great at entertaining kids, that 40 minutes flew by. Great job Mr. Thaler!

There was an embarrassing moment when he asked us to move one of my students, I felt somewhat responsible for not placing my student right next to me  in the first place (on the sidelines), but he seemed to be doing so well! He really liked being right up front, but unfortunately, he doesn't always know when he should stop talking!
Anyway, the whole point of this story is next: My student was now next to me...Mr. Thaler asked all the teachers to come up front, I decided that I should just stay put, but the assistants, other teachers and my little student all had other ideas! So I reluctantly joined my colleages up front next to the author. I looked back at my student sitting on the floor and he smiled, gave me a thumbs up and said "YOU CAN DO IT MRS. HAMAND!"
and just like that I knew ......

Monday, April 8, 2013

Play skills

This is a basic "put in" task that is very useful. It is great for students who are learning how to play and it is motivating for students who are reluctant to go to the table or desk. Once you have introduced this task, all that is needed is to hand a car to the student and he/she will go straight to the box and put it in. It will take a bit of shuffling, but he/she will sit at the table/desk and continue the task! I made a new one because the previous was used so much, it wore out and we threw it away finally.

  The materials:
box, recycled from snack box
green, blue, yellow and gray duct tape
clear tape
clear tube, recycled from plastic Easter eggs
Velcro, I buy the roll so I can customize the size
Box cutter knife
small cars

The secret to getting the tube to fit correctly: cut the hole for it a tiny bit smaller, so the tube fits tight. I also trimmed the end that is inside the box a little so the cars would roll into the box easily, this box had it's own garage door, so removal of cars is easy.

I used some good ole' duct tape to anchor the tube to the box on the inside. Since the box and tube you use will be recycled from different sources, you will have to experiment to make your activity fit just right. The beauty of duct tape is that you can remove it and adjust. Duct tape is awesome!

Cut velcro into little pieces, a good way to place the item with the velcro is to attach to item first, stick the adjoining piece of velcro to the item and then place onto box. Do a test run on the first car to make sure the velcro doesn't interfere with the car rolling.

Here it is in all its glory! Ready for many hours of fun.

Another fun activity pictured here is to drop frogs down the tube, watch and listen to the "plop!"as they splash into the water! When gathering your materials, the most important feature to look for is a clear container.

I used this activity with a student who had limited language skills, and loved songs. We would sing the "Five little speckled frogs song" while he played with this. Fun and laughter! Priceless..

There are many variations to these tasks, experiment and have fun with your students.