Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Morning Group: A Photo Essay

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  1. Thanks for letting us come into your classroom. I would love to see more of your activities!

  2. This is great. Could you please comment on how you used the AAC devices during these activities? I see the boards by the snow materials. When you were doing dumping and measuring and sorting - were you just giving commands, working off visuals - or were the students doing any labeling or commenting using the AAC? I can guess how you used AAC for the hot chocolate making and drinking - but not all the other activities.
    Thank you!

  3. You're welcome. Maybe I will do more "in the room" posts.

    We didn't use much high tech AAC for the snow activities - wet hands, puddles of water and high tech devices don't mix well. We did have some symbols of snow, wet, a color choice board around. Our classroom is very symbol rich, so there are always lots of symbols around students and staff can use in addition to ones created for an activity.

    The snow part of the activity was done in a more Montessori style than teacher lead style. A student and staff brought in the buckets of snow; we put out the cups, sticks and other objects and let the students guide us.

    It wasn't in my lesson plan to sort or measure/work on size - the students naturally took us there. We were in two small groups of two students and one staff. Staff did a lot of "commentating", saying things like, "So&so has the big measuring cup and you are talking the small measuring cup." When a student picked up a purple object and containerized it without cues I suggested he might like to find all the purple ones and put them in the cup. In the other group with one student having a large measuring cup and the other having the smaller measuring cup the staff suggested that they make bricks. She then did lots of talking about the bigger brick and the smaller brick and did some size sorting with the bricks they were making.

    The students communicated through out the activity in what ever methods they usually communicate (speech/vocalizations, symbols, sign language) - lots of comments about "cold", "wet", "like", some labeling of size and color, and ultimately, "all done".

    One of the things I love about this kind of activity is that it never fails that students lead themselves to working on what they need to work on - the students with IEP goals about size and temperature ended up working on size and temperature, the student with goals about tactile differentiation ended up working on that, the student with color and sorting goal ended up working on that. If you let them guide you students will almost always take you right to what they are learning about in a way that fully engages them.

    The clean up part of the process was, of course, planned (couldn't have a soaking wet room) but my students are long accustomed to having to keep their own areas clean and picking up their own messes.

    The cocoa part of the group was run like any other cooking activity - very functional and very fun.

  4. Thanks for sharing Kate! What a fun, meaningful, and learningful activity! Makes me wish we got more snow here in Kansas so we could try it! :-) I LOVE student directed learning and spend a lot of time designing activities to do just that. Makes me work harder because I have to be on my toes and very very very aware of what is going on with all the groups (no auto pilot allowed when the kids are in charge HA). But it is so worth it because the kids learn so much more and it's just fun.:-)

  5. Hi Kate - I just wanted tell you how much I enjoy your blog and what a great resource it is. I am graduating from the Simmons Astech program this spring and I have been slowly but surely implementing what I have learned from my classes and the blogs I follow into the classroom at the collaborative where I work. Thanks for all the positive vibes I get when I read your blog and think about the career I am embarking on!


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