Thursday, 28 June 2012

Last Day of School

Hi everyone... I am running behind in reading chapter 3... This last week has been CRAZY, but I am now officially on Summer Vacation!!!!  Stay tuned for my post on chapter 3 after the Canada Day Long Weekend!!!

Yesterday was our last day of school!  It was so bitter sweet!  I had a great year with my kiddos.  Next year I will be moving rooms and classes so I was super sad as I packed up my room.  As a class, my kiddos decided that they wanted a Fruit Ninja themed year end party.  We made a "pin-the-sword-on the-fruit" game (think pin the tail on the donkey), fruit bowling, fruit ninja on the xbox kinetic and a slide show.  We had so much fun!!

Here are a couple of pictures:

My decorate classroom:

The cake I made:

Happy Thursday everyone!!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Universal Design for Learning

Since starting my masters in special education, I have been trying to decide what I would like to do for my research capping project.  I knew that I wanted my research to be in the area of assistive technology but I wasn't sure exactly what that would look like.  After my last class, I knew that I wanted to do my research in Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  I have now written a few shorter papers on UDL.  I am currently teaching in a self-contained classroom, so I thought I should give UDL a try in this environment!!!  I loved it and so did my kiddos!!!  I love all the choice that students have!!  I thought I would share a few UDL resources and links!!

CAST UDL Lesson Planner

I wrote my animal life cycles unit plan using CAST's lesson builder.  They have great sample lesson plans as a starting point!  
Does anyone else use the UDL framework in their classroom?  How do you like it?  Have you found any negative sides to it?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Daily 5 - Chapter 2

This week has been crazy at school!!  My kiddos are SOOO ready for summer and so am I!!!  Only 5 more days till summer vacation!  I've been super tired, so reading chapter 2 took some effort to get through (even though it only 10 pages long!).
Anyways, here are the questions for chapter 2:

1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this? 
  1. develop as much independence as possible
  2. develop as sense of community that fosters literacy experiences
  3. allow students to have as much choice as possible 
For me to implement Daily 5 in my classroom next year, I think it really important for me to first look at the needs in my classroom.  Most of my students next year are going to be non-verbal (or with severe expressive language delays) and are functioning at the pre-k level.  I guess for me I will need to look at what is developmentally appropriate for each student and modify Daily 5 to work with my population.    For my classroom the supports I think that I will need to use include lots of visuals, choice boards, and programming of student communication devices to allow students to have a voice in there choices.  I will also need to look at the stamina of my students.  Most of my students will have between a 30 sec to 5 minute attention spans.  How can I incorporate technology (iPads, computer programs and SMART Board) to help increase my students attention to task.  Most importantly I will need to use my EA's to support my students!  For special ed teachers out there, what supports do you use to implement Daily 5?
2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter? 
I love how much choice the students are given in Daily 5.  This is something that I'm super excited about!!  I know that in my experience as a special education teacher, that my students need to be given choice within a specific structure!  However, next year my students are going to have more complex needs.  I'm excited to offer them choice in their own learn endeavors, but to do I will need many visuals, and technology supports!

3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?
 I believe that all children can learn literacy.  One of my favorite pieces of literature is the "Literacy Bill of Rights".   I believe that all children have the right to be included in literacy experiences.
I also believe that students can surprise you each and everyday with what they can accomplish.  I always like to try new things and see if they will work... it might not always work, but at least you tried!  I'm excited to try Daily 5.. I do have my concerns though.. For my class is word work developmentally appropriate?  Many of my kiddos will just be at the word level (as in the hierarchy of words->compound words -> onset and rhyming ->syllables - >individual sounds ->letters).  Also, most of my students will be at the pre-reading level, so how will my guys be successful at read to self?  Will looking and reading the pictures be where my class is at?  Time will tell, but I'm excited for the challenge!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there and especially to my dad!  I'm a terrible daughter... I knew it was Father's Day this week.  I had my kiddos create gifts for their dads, but I didn't get my own dad's gift in the mail on time:(  Hopefully it will arrive at his house tomorrow or Tuesday!

Anyways... I found a super cute craft for my kiddos to make on pinterest.  They made paper weights for their dads.
From "Crafts by Amanda"
Father's Day Craft! 

We then made super cute Father's Day Cards.
 Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there!!!