Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DIY Light Box

Thx to my work buddy, Lynn K., for sharing this great DIY idea with me today:

Think it could be made on the cheap, since I've seen holiday lights and used storage boxes in many Goodwill stores over the years.  Orange lights for Halloween?  Twinkly lights for kids with no history of seizures?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Talk About a Great Classroom--with Updates!

Wouldn't you love to spend time in this 1st grade class?  The teacher uses simple drawings to illustrate sounds in words and she's experimenting with having students share balance balls for sitting at their desks.  She also uses a ball for sitting at her desk, to model "proper sitting etiquette."

Read more about the importance of movement during the school day:

Update 10-29-2014:
In response to a comment to this post, the classroom teacher provided more background info on her reasoning for using strong visuals with students (the photo of the whiteboard):
 "I understand what the other teacher was saying.   However, my kids have done this since kindergarten.   We started with wands that had  "ar" on them for "star of ar".  They all had star wands and they would raise them every time I wrote "Ar" in a word.   Once they knew that, I gave them "King of ing" wands which were crowns.   Then, whenever they saw me write the "ing" in a word, they would hold up their crown wands.   Everything was introduced one at a time.  As they knew what the sounds were and what they stood for, I added another.   I think it has actually helped many of my kids; especially my Special Ed kids who need visuals to connect to and use.   They use morning message to help them with decoding and writing.  This is my 2nd year [she "looped" up with her kindergarten class] with the same class so they are very masterful at telling me what pictures need to go where. I just feel that young children need more concrete things and visuals to help them to learn to read and write. It works for us but it has been a process we have learned over 200 days of instruction."

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Many Ways Can You Make a House?

Photos from a four-year-old class of preschoolers--typically developing and some with an identified disability.
No model for the house was given, so it really is an "art" activity.  I brought the pre-cut textured shingles for the roof, just to add a little sensory something.  Used different grades of sandpaper to create the pretend roofing material.
You'll see quite a few versions of a house--very adorable.  You'll also see the daily schedule for one of the students with autism; it helps her know what's coming up next during the school day.

Monday, October 6, 2014 Update at bottom of Post!

One of my veteran teacher buddies has written her second project request for items for students with autism on

Her first project was fully funded and the items are on the way.  How about writing a project request for your students?

Update!!!  Got an e-mail today (10-12-14)--she's fully funded!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Those Pesky SOL Scores

Oh, I got "fired up" again about a newspaper article concerning SOL scores, so I wrote one of those soapbox Letters to the Editor:

In My Opinion