Monday, June 4, 2007

Advance Apologies

I want to say sorry in advance to any lack of posts, or lower quality posts in the next several weeks. Our last day of school is June 15th and we need to have our entire classroom packed and ready to be moved to a storage unit by then. I have been going in at 5:30 in the morning and staying until 7 or 8 at night in order to do some of the cleaning and sorting that makes packing possible. This was the pile of boxes at six o'clock tonight; I added three more before I left at seven. Behind that wall of boxes is my desk. I keep telling the kids I am building a fort.

Since I knew I would have little energy for a researched post tonight I took a few pictures of some DIY math activities as I packed them. These are our unifix plates. On each plate, 1-10, there is a numeral written and that number unifix blocks hot glued on. The students have to make a matching plate (the numerals are already written, they just have to count the correct number of blocks).

This is our coin sorting tray (ignore the shiny tape across, that was to keep the bins from falling out in the packing box). The tray supposed to be for condiments to be served at a picnic or barbecue. I think I bought it a year ago at a discount store for a dollar. We keep a big jar of change in the room and periodically one of the students is assigned to sort out the coins so we can roll them, or use them at the laundromat or vending machines.

Here is a similar tray, also about a dollar from some discount store. We use it for sorting by color.

Here is our microwave. Velcroed to the front of it is a talking picture frame from the clearance bin at an electronics store. In it is a paper that says, simply, "HELP". The recording says, "I could use some help over here." The red button is the minute button and the white is the seconds button, they are adapted for low vision and at the bottom right is the start button adapted with a sun sticker. On top is the silverware sorting tray show below.

Here is our silverware sorting tray. We obviously use plasticware, not silverware. We reuse it forever (or until it breaks, discolors badly or melts), so don't worry about our environmental impact. The black paper is cut out and put into the tray to increase the contrast for the students with visual impairment.

That is all the pictures I took today, so here is one cropped out of an old photo. This is our calendar. We use weather symbol numbers so that at the end of the month we can graph the weather. You can see a Joke Master Jr. to the left for the Joke of the Day. On the first school day of each month I go through the holiday cards one by one and the students tell me if they happen in the new month, if they do we put them up in their spot. To the left is a tie for the news reporter for the day to wear. At the bottom is a cold symbol so that we can talk about the temperature in addition to the weather and there is a picture of a tree in winter to show the season.

Finally, a bonus picture. Why the focus on sorting? Because it is a vocational skill that students will use. This is one of our students working at Ben and Jerry's, dispensing the toppings into a containers for the scoopers to use. If the student did not already understand sorting the toppings could all end up in the same containers.

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