Friday, June 17, 2016

Last Day!

Yippee!  Last day of school--hope everyone has a lovely summer and I'll, hopefully..., talk to you next September!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

It's Almost Over!

Wowie Zowie--only one more week of regular school days and then two days of admin-type work and's over until September!

Don't you wish you took that public school job!

Richmond has finally begun to warm up--about 95 here today with tonza humidity--so summer is a mixed "blessing."  Folks like me do yard work wherever there's shade; one side of the house in the morning and the other side in the afternoon, then a teensy bit more when it cools down after suppertime.  When I get super hot I pull out the hose, refresh the long-suffering flowers that have battled the sun all day and occasionally wash my decorative rocks; they get dirty, too!

That yard work pays off in many ways--exercise, profuse sweating for a clearer complexion and beauty from the perennials and annuals as the weeks roll along.
It's nice to balance all the sitting at the computer, sitting in the car...with heavy lifting and walk, walk, walking back and forth across the yard.

Thinking about that public school job next fall???

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Handwriting Help From the Superheroes

Students lose just a teensy-weensy bit of motivation to give their all to schoolwork as June rolls on--time to bring out superhero power to keep learning moving forward!

These stickers have been used in a multitude of projects all year long and today they helped with fine motor intervention for a little girl going into kindergarten next fall.  In my heart I wish students were not expected to write their names until they had been in school for several months; in reality they are expected to do this the first day.  It's especially tricky when you can identify written letters in your name but have gotten into the habit of writing key letters "on their sides."  In this sweetie's case, the capital letter, "C" consistently ends up looking more like a smile than a crescent moon hanging in the sky.

 That scary look on Raphael's face will keep your eyes on what you're doing!
The letter "C" starts at 12:00--at the very top of Raphael's head.  It goes around all the way down to his chin at six o'clock.
 Looks good to me!
Not a superhero this time, but a favorite movie character.  We're making the letter "E" so we needed to trace around a square shape instead of a circle.
 Start at the top left corner and draw a line down to the bottom of the sticker.
Start at the top left corner again and draw a horizontal line across.  Then, start at the bottom left corner and draw a horizontal line across.
 What's the deal?  This looks like a weird "[" to me.  Something's missing...
 ...oh, need to start in the middle of the line and draw a third horizontal line across.  Looking good.
 Cut one of the "Cars" stickers in half to make two........?  triangles!
 Start at the bottom left corner of the triangle and keep on driving over the mountains.
 That's it.
 It's a bit   w  i  d  e,   but it's a "M."
Using small squares during this activity of paper encourages the student to use her less-skilled hand to stabilize the paper.
 Her grasp is just right!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Name Two Things You Think About When the Weather Gets Hot--Summer Vacation and Smoothies!

Yes, yes, we made the obligatory smoothies for our final group project this morning.  They turned out to be the prettiest pink smoothies I've ever seen!

My SLP buddy loves the activity for the language elicited and interaction among the students.  I love it for all the opening & closing of packages, scooping various amounts/quantities of food with a spoon, managing the noise and vibration of the electric blenders and the students' reaction to the finished product.

Here are some photos from today:
 My SLP buddy prepared the Boardmaker Online selections ahead of time.
One student brings her timer, so she can look at it during the activity and know how much time is left before she's allowed to escape back to her safe haven--her classroom.
 We "warmed up" the ice in a little water bath, so it would be easier to blend with the fruit and yogurt.
We had two blenders--one a "bullet" type that the students had to press down on from the top.  Second was a push-button type where the students just pressed the button to start it and keep it going.  Great vibration activity for the hands.
 Not every student chose to add vanilla to their smoothies, but one student asked for it.  Future chef!
 Some strawberries were pretty large, so we used a dull knife to cut them in half or in quarters.
Closing a resealable bag on a food item is a little different task than closing one on a familiar ziplock storage bag, at least visually.
Top-down view of the ingredients:  strawberry pieces, banana chunks, a tablespoonful of plain yogurt, "defrosted" ice cubes and a little bit of cool water.

Over time we have learned to cook up small batches of our treats, since many students are willing to participate in the making of food but not always so interested in tasting it.  Many students choose to share their finished products with peers.  You can usually find someone nearby who is hungry, no matter what time of day it is!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

I just finished listening to this audio book yesterday:

Home of the Brave

We have friends who have escaped horrors from the fighting in different countries in Africa, including South Sudan.  When they find out we have a couple of cows at home they usually ask to come see them.  This book helped me understand a little about why they ask this.

It's a wonderful book to listen to, read aloud and think about.  I think it also helps the reader glimpse a little bit of how different sensory experiences might feel to a person coming from another country, or perhaps even people with autism.