Sometimes the Best Things are Free

8 May

We are counting down with 4 1/2 weeks of school left.  We even saw some sunny days which made people think that summer will make it yet.  We get a lot of rain this time of year so sun is appreciated. It is hard to keep students interested when they would  rather be outside.  I am especially low on ideas for the life skills program.  I came across this BINGO game and it was the perfect activity for this week.  The students took turns drawing the call cards and making the faces so everyone could guess which one it was on their  Bingo card.  Even the students with limited verbal abilities had a good time.  You can find them at   http://peoniesandpoppyseeds.com/  here

 

Feelings BINGO

 

May is also the month I bring out the Pear Tree for Homonyms.  It seems to look different every year.  I thought you might like to see how it is looking this year.  I am still giving out lollipops for each homonym pair a student comes up with.  After doing this several years, I am pleased to find that students that contributed when they were younger do not need prompting to come up with words now.

Pear2014

April Showers Bulletin Board

1 Apr

April is here and time to switch out the bulletin board again.  We seem to be getting our fair share of rain and the fruit trees are in full  bloom.  I know  some places are still getting snow so I don’t really have a right to complain about the rain.   When looking for this month’s bulletin board project, I saw  several variations of paper flowers on Pinterest.  I happen to have a  supply of colored computer paper that would make colorful flowers for the traditional saying “April Showers Bring May Flowers.”  I was able to adapt one of the flowers to a version that used the materials I have on hand;  paper and tape.  The flowers are simple enough that my older students in the Lifeskills program were able to complete them along with my younger general education students.  My only problem is that the students want to bring them home for their mothers so I had trouble getting them to leave them for the bulletin board.  This is what the board is looking like so far.  We made the directions and shared them on Storykit.  It is still a good exercise to have the students record the directions.  Their voices  were removed here before posting  because of our school privacy requirements.  Directions for flowers on the bulletin board.

 

April Bulletin Board

 

Shamrock Bulletin Board

8 Mar

March is here again and it is time to find a new project for the bulletin board.  I looked into the supply closet and found coffee filters left from someone elses project.  This looked like a possibility for inexpensive fun.  I started looking for a shamrock pattern.  I was disappointed to find the die cut pattern was too big for my needs. Then the kindergarten teacher came to my rescue.  She pointed out it was easy to make a shamrock from hearts.  Even though I couldn’t find a shamrock, I found 3 sizes of die cut hearts.  The plan was coming together.  It would be easy to get this project ready because I already have all the materials.
I saw a project that used water based markers and a spray bottle of water. The water made the markers run into interesting designs. I thought the students would enjoy experimenting with that. They could glue the hearts on top of the colored coffee filters and it would look like stained glass. It would add some color to the board. I found a simile that worked well with the shamrocks;  A best friends is  like a four leaf clover, hard to find and  lucky to have.  This gave an opportunity to talk about Similes with my older students.  The younger students  worked on  following  directions and talking about St. Patrick’s Day.   This is what it is looks  like so far.  More Shamrocks will be added as they get completed.

Directions on StoryKit here.

Have fun  and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

stained glass shamrock

Target Antonyms

25 Jan

January sure has gone fast.  Here we are a week away from February.  We are coming to the end of a grading period so I am busy writing progress reports.  I am a bit behind because of other meetings.   I am sure you can all relate to that.  We have a new software program which makes it a little harder.   The paper work has been a bit of a challenge this year.

It is getting  harder  to be creative with the bulletin board lately.  I stayed with my theme of antonyms for February.  I looked in my cupboard and  noticed that I have a large supply of straws on hand.  Valentines Day brings out the cupid in all of us so I decided to make arrows.  It helped that we have die cuts for hearts available. The die cut makes a heart as an outline and a smaller heart to be pushed out of the center.  We used the smaller hearts to make the point of the arrow and used a folded rectangle for the feathered end.  The students wrote a word on the arrow head and the opposite word on the white paper to match.  It doesn’t look like the words are visible in the picture. This is the beginning of our project.  I will post updates as we go.  The students are making directions as usual.  However, we are regulated for voices as well as visual images so I can not post my story kit  directions until we are done and I can remove the child audio.  This is what it is looking like.  Here is the Storykit link to the directions: arrow directions

IMG329

Candy Cane House Bulletin Board

4 Dec

December goes so fast before the break  there isn’t much time to get a bulletin board together.  Our school has decided to decorate a winter wonderland that will be left up for the beginning of January.  I try to remain culturally sensitive so decided a gingerbread house would do.  We are still working on adding more candy canes.  I thought you might also enjoy this project so I posted it.    I came across these candy canes on pinterest that are the perfect thing for quick decorating and can remain up after the break.  I also had all the materials on hand. They only took about 15 minutes and all of my students enjoyed making them from the youngest to my 5th graders.  The stripes seem to appear like magic.  The directions provide opportunities to practice  words such as center,  corner, straight, edge, center, square, and tube.  The older students formulated the directions and recorded them for the younger ones. My articulation students practiced using their clear speech.  It is amazing how many goals  can be worked on with such a simple project.

Gingerbread house

The directions for the candy canes are in Storykit as usual.

http://iphone.childrenslibrary.org/cgi-bin/view.py?b=hkqfjvaeaipxy3n2z7lw

Leaf Turkey Bulletin Board

8 Nov

November is a really short month for me.  After the Veteran’s Day holiday we have conferences.  We then have Thanksgiving  break.  I usually don’t have time to do an elaborate bulletin board  but after seeing the leaf turkeys on Pinterest I couldn’t pass them up.  I happen to have a huge supply of maple leaves from a tree in my yard, and I already had the other supplies.  The pear die from the homonym tree came in handy because I used it for the turkey body.  It was an easy project that could be completed in one session and was good for concept vocabulary development (1st, second, finally, behind, in front, above, below, and together).

This was my model turkey:

IMG303

The directions are on StoryKit as usual. http://iphone.childrenslibrary.org/cgi-bin/view.py?b=ojqxie225jb35gi7lvxz

This is what the bulletin board looked like.  We added the signs for a little humor and to talk about irony and double meanings with the older students.  The signs say ‘Eat Ham”IMG302.

A Very Simple Spider Web

11 Oct

The school year is in full swing.  I had a bit of a shaky start and that is why it seemed like I disappeared.  We have a lot of new staff to include a new principal, new psychologist,  and Learning Resource Teacher.    The new Learning Resource Teacher just started a week ago and a substitute teachers took her place until then.  As  if that weren’t  enough, rooms had changed over the summer and the resource room  was a newly emptied room.  That doesn’t work very well for a substitute teacher and many of you may relate to when chairs, tables and desks are not in rooms they are up for grabs.   I was left with the duty of getting things found and organized so a teacher could use the room with students.  In the spirit of “Good Thing”  and “Bad Thing”; new  procedures can be put into place because there is no one  left to remember the old ways except me, but I am also the only one that  is familiar with the history of  the special education files and students.  I felt like I had to wear many hats.  We also have a new program to complete our special education paperwork.  This  is really challenging my ability to be flexible and learn something new .  It is making me go through the procedures we tell the students to do; deep breaths, count to ten.  It is not OK to scream.

This  school year.  I have pretty much the same population as last year;  2  Life skills classrooms, general education K-5th, and a charter school K-6th.  I am doing push in for two Kindergarten classes and the 2  Life skills classrooms.  The need for social pragmatics groups continues to grow.    I am team teaching  3 social pragmatic groups  with the help of the school counselor. We are implementing material from 2nd Steps, Michelle Winner’s materials, and other things we find.

So getting on  to the topic,   We have been completing spider related activities.  Many of you may be familiar with the Spider Web Activity where students form a circle and toss a ball of yarn across while continuing to hang on to the yarn with one hand.  This creates a spider web in the center of the circle.  I have used it in the past for concepts such as across, left hand, right hand, over, and under.  It also works for teaching the  social pragmatic groups  the importance of working with a group.  If a student doesn’t keep their mind and eyes with the group, they drop the yarn and the web becomes messed up.  We have been talking about how you need to keep your eyes, your ears,  your brain, your body, and your heart with the group so everyone can learn and work together.

I came across this spider and decided it would make a good bulletin board project.   http://momitforward.com/craft-toilet-paper-spider .    It met my requirements for materials that are easy to find and cheap.  I found the eyes at the dollar store and already had the paper rolls and pipe cleaners.  I bought a can of black spray paint from Wal-Mart  for a total cost of $3.

I made a spider web out of yarn. and just stapled it to the bulletin board.  It is looking like this.  I added my pom pom spider from last year.

Spider web 1

The students will make spiders that look like this and add them to the web.  I added the crumpled paper on the back for some color.

IMG293 (1)

I like  my bulletin board activities to cover as many therapy objectives as possible. I use the  free app Story Kit to make pictured directions that my older students can record.  The younger students will practice following  directions and understanding the sequence.  The spiders also provide opportunity for problem solving and telling directions.  It is easy to see how they are made by just looking at them because the parts are all visible.  The Story Kit directions are in the process of being made so the audio is not all available yet. Story Kit formulates a storyboard that can be shared.    http://iphone.childrenslibrary.org/cgi-bin/view.py?b=rpdpipex66oskuofy2ua      The app formulates a  book with pages on your device.

last web

Welcome Back to School Bulletin Board

2 Aug

It is August and the back to school sales are beginning.  It is time to get ready for another school year.  I will be returning to the same room which has a bulletin board outside my door.  I won’t have time for students to decorate it before the Back to School Night  so I usually keep this one pretty simple.  I will probably have students add to it later on.  This is not the most original idea but I like the sentiment for starting a new year, “Welcome Back to the School”

Here are places for the fish origami directions.

http://www.origamiway.com/easy-origami-fish.shtml  video directions for this fish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcyIz4E1wJw

http://www.origamiway.com/origami-fish.shtml

http://www.clickacraft.com/origami/animals/origami-angelfish-folding-instructions

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-fish.html

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-goldfish.html

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-dolphin.html

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-angelfish.html

fish bulletin

A New Pear Pair Homonym Tree

15 May

It is that time of year again and my students are asking for the Homonym Tree.  If you remember from a previous  year post, I put up a tree in the Spring and the students write homonyms on paper pears to earn a Dum Dum sucker.  This year it is even easier for me because one of my fellow teacher ordered a pear die cut.  I don’t need to cut out folded stacks of paper. How incredibly thoughtful of her. The tree looks different every year.  This year we ran out of brown butcher paper so it ended up mainly black.  it will have a lot more pears on it by the end of the year.

pear tree

Spring is for the Birds

1 Apr

It is time for a new Spring bulletin board.   I became inspired by the paper curl bird on fun family crafts here.  I changed it a little bit mainly because I didn’t think my students would be able to handle that many paper curls.  birds

I continue to try to have some speech therapy value with the bulletin board.  This one will promote giving and following directions as well as  understanding idioms.   As in the past  I used the app  Storykit  to have students produce and narrate the instructions on making the birds. I hope you have found this great free app by now.  It is in the blog roll if you need to find it.    Here is the story kit link to How you make Paper Birds.   If you use the app it will look like a book with pages rather than a story board.

My older students will have a homework component. I made flyers with idioms printed on them and they can either write or tell me the meaning after researching it.  Here is the flyer. Bird phrases.   I’ve been giving animal crackers for a reward lately.  They go with the theme of Spring animals and I tell myself they aren’t as bad as giving candy. The students seem to like to work for them.

Bird Board redoThis is the look of the bulletin board so far. The birds are suppose to be sitting on wires.   I guess you could say it is a work in progress.