Wednesday, November 18, 2009

He's Got MY Word!

Oh, those word sorts! That's the new way to practice spelling in the county schools I serve. Once the students cut those tiny little rectangles apart they then have to arrange them in word "families" and use them all week long for different activities.

As the week progresses there are lots of little rectangles all over the classroom, tucked into desks, loose in bookbags, strewn on the floor. "He's got my word!" "No, it's my word." How to solve this social dilemma?

Have the students quickly draw straight lines on the back of their paper before they cut apart their words; that's the answer of many of the smart kindergarten teachers I now work with in various schools. Most students have the amazing ability to recall the exact crayon shade they used for coloring their papers. One teacher even thought of using the mini sentence holders (see blue plastic contraption in photo) she bought at "Targhet" to hold those slippery word sorts. Works great for a little sweetie who has difficulty using one hand to stabilize small objects.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Handwriting to Make You Cry

For a good reason! This is gorgeous handwriting, done by a 2nd grader whose mom is a teacher for students with learning disabilities and who LOVES the Handwriting Without Tears program. Be ready to be amazed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Use Music to Increase Alertness

Last Friday I spent a time working with a student in a classroom that is new to me this year. While we worked together I got to hear the kindergarten teacher and several students sing the alphabet song to a modern tune, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" As the teacher pointed to individual letters on a large alphabet poster, she and the students sang about the object in each alphabet square: "Apple makes the A sound, a, a, a, a...Ball makes the B sound, bah, bah, bah, bah..." All weekend I've been playing back that song in my head and loving it.

Did you know that Raffi has a youTube video about brushing your teeth? He's performing live and surprises the children by putting on a pair of dark shades and attempting to perform his classic "Brush Your Teeth" song like a rapper. The high schoolers I work with in a class for students with severe disabilities loved the song and we used it to increase their engagement in a integrated therapy activity on dental hygiene last month.

Try looking up modern music for the activities you're working on with students this month--it sure makes the seasonal activities more fun and can increase alertness by the students to the task at hand.