Friday, 28 March 2014

Friday FREEBIE!!!

Seeing as it's Friday and... no just because it's a Friday I've got a Freebie for my followers!

Disney's Planes is a big hit in our household at the moment, and with many of the students I have been working with. So to bring in some fun with some familiar characters I have created a set of Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) sight words cards using the characters from Planes - including Dusty, Skipper, Chug, Dottie, Sparky, Leadbottom, Ripslinger, Ishani, Rochelle, Bulldog & El Chu!

So head on over to my stores and grab yourself a FREE copy of these sight words cards!!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sensory play activities... Heuristic Treasure Baskets

I came across this FANTASTIC blog called The Imagination Tree that is written by Anna. I have been following it for a few months now and have finally found some time to create some of her activities. 

In today's society many children are fortunate enough to have access to fantastic toys and technology learning tools - but sometimes it's the simple things that will keep a child entertained for hours. Just watch a young child at Christmas time - they are more entertained by the wrapping then the gift itself! Heuristic Play is the term that Elinor Goldschmeid used when describing how a toddler interacts with objects. It is about providing open-ended learning opportunities for young children and this can be achieved by creating Treasure Baskets that have items of 50-60 natural or found objects (that are small but not too small) from around the house or garden and simply sit back and let them freely explore using all of their senses!

Checking everything out - by pulling everything out! Things went in the mouth (of course) then we started banging things together, tapping them on the floor and throwing the basket around with things still in it. 

He LOVED looking into the bauble and seeing his distorted reflection (just be careful with some Christmas baubles as they can break easily - as this one did moments later!!!)

Big brother was curious as well... Nice to see some sharing happening. 

Collect up to 50-60 items and place them into a basket (ideally a shallow, round basket so that bubs can reach into it from all sides, but use what you have at home as I have) and give this to bubs to play with a few times a week to keep it interesting and exciting. Be sure to change the items regularly to engage your little one. Use things from around the home and garden, and refrain from using plastic as much as possible, and have NO technology in there as these items are closed and don't evoke as much imagination. 
Some Heuristic Treasure Basket ideas can include:

So far I have created a Reflective Basket (as seen in the picture) and a wooden basket. Below are the items I added to give you some ideas as to what you could put in yours...
Reflective Treasure Basket
Old CD
Round cookie cutter
Large metal rice serving spoon
Old keys
Christmas bauble
Mirror ball (small)
random tool left over from Ikea purchase

Wooden Treasure Basket
Wooden spoons (different sizes)
Sushi mat
Wooden massage rollers
Wooden Babushka dolls

I'll hopefully collect more items as I come across them, and start creating some other baskets. These would also be really fantastic in a classroom for children with Special Needs who need sensory stimulation. I might take them in to one of my classes this term. 

Check out Anna's blog over at The Imagination Tree for more images and ideas. 

If you want to read more about Heuristic Play, follow the links:

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Welcome to Aspect and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention

It's still the school holidays here in NSW, Australia but that doesn't mean we teachers get to enjoy our summer holidays for long! Yesterday and today I attended two courses provided by my new employer - Aspect (Autism Spectrum Australia). The first was the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training, and todays training was a 'Welcome to Aspect' day where we explored what the organization is about, its history, how it operates and the other services it offers. I have long been associated with the organization as I have a family member who attend the local school that I will be working with when they were starting school, so I am looking forward to working with this organisation, the staff and most importantly the students.
I will be in a satellite class - these are classes that have been created for those students who are ready to move out of the base school but are not quite ready to be fully mainstreamed. I am attached to a local public school, but we have our own building which we occupy. I will be working with Year 1 students two days a week (whilst hubby is home with my bubba's) and job sharing with a lovely young woman who worked with these kids last year. I'm very much looking forward to getting back into the classroom, and putting some of my learning from my studies to practice.  
The training course that I attended on Wednesday was for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training. This is a program that is designed to "focus on prevention and offers proven strategies for safely defusing anxious, hostile, or violent behavior at the earliest stage". This is probably one of the best courses I have attended in recent years, and our instructor made it engaging and relevant using real-life stories from his own experiences. There was also a practical side to the course, as we learnt how to protect ourselves (and others) from students who are lashing out, as well as the appropriate methods to restrain a student - I must stress that these are only to be used as a last resort and only if the student is putting themselves or others in a dangerous situation - I hope I never have to use this but it's better to know so I can look after my student(s) in the best possible manner, as well as keep myself safe.
We viewed some videos that I will share below. They are quite confronting but put into perspective the need to make appropriate training available to all who work with children with support needs (whether they be ASD, behavioural, psychological etc) at University level - not once you've started working with these students.

(Deadly Discipline? ABC News) (Hidden Shame. 7:30)

I am very much looking forward to getting back to work, getting to know my students and creating resources to meet their needs - which I will share with you all.

Hope everyone has a positive start to the new school year! All the best for 2014!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A trip to visit the Dinosaurs!

I have created this work booklet to use when you are taking your students on a trip to visit the museum when studying Dinosaurs.

Teachers should print off enough copies so that there is one per student - and print them off on card. You may want to cut them out, punch the holes and tie them together yourself or have your students to it themselves - you know your kids and what they are capable of doing. Students should then be encouraged to colour in the front cover, write their names and then fill in the second page showing the date, their class and the name of the museum they are visiting.
I hope your students enjoy making and using this booklet. It will make a nice keep-sake for their parents too.

Teachers pay Teachers Store

Teachers Notebook Store

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Maths Investigation Activities

This year has certainly been eventful - with our renovations, moving to my parents and back again, a new baby and hubby going to Europe for 4 weeks for work (I know what you're thinking but don't worry, I'm keeping tabs of these trips and am ensuring we will return one day) as well as beginning my Masters of Special Education degree (like I'm wasn't busy enough) I haven't had much time to sit down and create or share my resources. 

Saturday just gone saw me collect the final boxes we had stored at my parents, which were full of my school resource books and activities. That night I spent a couple of hours sorting through them all, organising them into subjects and grades and packing them into my study unit. Upon riffling through what seemed like an endless pit of books, games, wall displays and other bits and bobs, I came across a few things I had created but forgotten about. 

So here is the first of many to come over the summer months:

Fractions and Decimals Investigation

This is the first of my Numeracy Investigations - Fractions and Decimals for Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4). This is a great activity to have for those students who finish their work fast s it is self-directed learning and draws upon things they should already know or have learnt recently. There are different activities that incorporate hands-on, drawing and written explanations. It can also be used by casual teachers when work is completed early or no work has been set, for upper Stage 2, and Stage 3 as revision. Classroom teachers can also use it in those early days at the beginning of the year as a valuable learning activity to engage students and assess their level of knowledge and understanding.

I will have other Investigations that will cover topics including Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, Patterns & Algebra, Length, Time, Area, Mass, Volume & Capacity, Data, 2D, 3D space and Position up in my Stores in the coming week for Stage 2. Other Stages will follow as well.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Multi-sensory stories... Do you know what they are?

Well I said that in an earlier post that there was an assessment this semester that I was excited about, and here it is - we are to create a Multi-Sensory story. In essence, a multi-sensory story enables children who could not fully enjoy and explore a regular story the chance to experiences different aspects of the story through touch, smell, sound, sight and sometimes taste.
For our assessment, we are to choose a short story and create objects that can be used as sensory tools to help individuals experience the story. It is amazing how popular this teaching resource is becoming - and I, myself can't wait to make one and hopefully create many more. Once I have created my resources and videoed myself I will share my work.
Below you will find plenty of links to multi-sensory and tactile story links. I love the video below, and watching the response of the individuals who are sharing in the story - beautiful moments!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Getting to know your students through numbers

I came across this fabulous activity via Pinterest - Angie over at 'Rulin' the Roost' shared this fabulous beginning of the year activity she created called Getting to know you through numbers. She asked her students to pick 6 numbers that described them and show this on a poster. She encouraged pictures and asked them to show some kind of math involving each number. 

I LOVE this idea as Math is not my strong point, and I am always looking for fun and new ways to encourage students to explore numbers in their world - and it's always good to have PLENTY of activities for the beginning of the year. So whilst sitting up feeding my newborn in the wee-hours of this morning, I came up with some ideas of how you could get older students to do the same activity using more complex numbers and maths. 
You can see I have used whole numbers, fractions, time, height and weight measurements, ratio's and ordinal numbers, as well as using a map to describe where I live. 

I am sure students will really enjoy this, and you can get students to present the information as they prefer. This could include a mind map as shown, a table or a narrative. Let your students get creative - just remember to give them a set time to complete the task in. For those techno savvy kids in your class, they can create something similar to mine!

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