Thursday, 31 May 2012

Animal Life Cycles - Part 1

As part of my grade science curriculum, every year I complete a unit on animal life cycles.  I LOVE this unit.  Not only is it fun for my students to watch the metamorphosis (frogs, butterflies) in different animals, but I love the literature that I use during my guided reading block to accompany the unit!!!  I thought I would share some the literature ideas and activities that I use.

We started this unit with the life cycle of a butterfly!

I started this unit out by reading the story "Waiting for Wings" by Lois Ehlert.  This book has beautiful pictures in it!  This story shows the metamorphosis of the butterfly.  Not only do we read the story as a "shared" reading, we also do partner reading.  For my students who have limited verbal or reading skills I use a couple of technology resources to include them in partner reading.  First, myself or I will ask another student to read the story on to a step-by-step switch.  The second resource I use is "Bookflix" ($).  This is an online scholastic book club that has over 100 fictional titles in digital formats.  For every fictional title their is a paired non-fiction book.  There are also comprehension activities for each pair of books.  Luckily "Waiting for Wings" is on Bookflix.

The second title we read for the life cycle of the butterfly was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.  This story is an oldie but a goodie!!!  My students love this story!!!  They all read it out loud as i read it to them!!!  This book is on the Online Storytime on the Barnes & Noble webpage.  I always love for my kiddos to interact with different versions of books - digital, classroom made, big books, iPad books etc.

Attached is a smart notebook file that I created with my class.  It has a KWL chart in it and a few vocabulary activities.  There is also a link for the students to create a tagul for the information they learned about the butterfly life cycle.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Things I couldn't live without!

I'm joining up with Teacher Idea Factory for Rockin Resources: Things I couldn't live without!

1) iPads - I love having iPads in the classroom.  Not only do I use them for academic skills such as math and literacy skills, but I also use them for speech and OT apps.  My students especially love working to use (free time) them as their reward from their Token Economy.

2) MeVille to WeVille Resource - As iI teach in a special education classroom, finding great literacy resources for my kiddos is a challenge!!!  This resource is amazing!!!  Not only is it engaging but it provides you with an "Action Dictionary" that help you adapt lessons using assistive technology.

3) My Assistive Technology kit - In this kit I have a Go Talk 9, power link, big mack switches, step-by-steps and jelly bean switches!

4) SMART Board - My students have become "experts" this year on how to use the SMART Board and SMART Notebook software.

5) Kelsey's Third Grade Livebinders - Livebinders is an online "binder" that holds your favorite "URLS" in sub-sections.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

First Blog Post Ever!!!

Welcome to my first blog post ever!  I thought I would start of my blog by introducing myself and my hopes for this blog!

My name is Kelsey.  I am married to a wonderful man named Brad.  We have a dog "child" named Morgan.

I am a special education teacher and I'm finishing my 5th year of teaching (only 22 more days until summer vacation!).  I am currently teaching in a self-contained special education classroom.  Actually all of my teaching experience has come from self-contained classrooms!  I love teaching with technology!!!  I am in the middle of my Masters in Special Education and my research is in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Assistive Technology (AT).  My hopes for this blog is to share my ideas for teaching children with significant needs through technology.

This year I have had the honour and privilege to be part of a "Literacy for All" pilot project.  Please visit our wiki!  This project has introduced me to 2 great resources.  First is "MeVille to Weville".  This resource was designed for students with significant challenges.  MeVille to WeVille provides these students with a balance literacy program.  It is based on the idea that all children can learning.  My favourite part of this resource is the "action dictionary".  This dictionary provides AT modifications.  MeVille to WeVille is broken into 3 units - "Me", "Family" and "School".  It provides students opportunities for lots of repetition!!!  I have been using it consistently for 4 - 30 minutes blocks a week and we are just starting the second unit!!!

The second resource is "Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four Blocks Way" by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver.  This book is an adapted version of Pat Cunnigham's literacy program "4 Blocks of Literacy".  It provides ways to adapted the four blocks of literacy (Working with Words, Guided Reading, Self-Selected Reading, Writing) using both low and high tech. AT.  

I hope to share resources and files I have created for the 4 Blocks of Literacy over the next little bit!!