Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fun News + Easy Snowman Craft!

Happy Holidays!! I've started to get into the holiday spirit. Perhaps it's the flash mob dance my school staff practiced today to surprise the kids at our holiday assembly later this month. My dancing abilities are severely limited, but it was fun none the less!

Time for some exciting news!!
I found out my former student, as you have come to know as "Genius Boy," is now working with MICHELLE GARCIA WINNER!!! She is my special ed idol and my kiddo gets to work with her!  He is so lucky!! If anyone can help him, it's her!

For those of you who haven't been long time followers, I'll catch you up... Genius Boy is by far the most brilliant child I've ever met, let alone taught!! The struggle was his autism spectrum disorder caused a HUGE discrepancy between his social and academic skills. Super high in one, and super low in another. His brain mesmerized me every single day. It was fun to see what kind of things I could do with him. He also gave me the opportunity to test every single behavioral strategy I'd ever heard of...and then some! I couldn't be more happy for him! I love the family so much that I still see them despite changing schools. Yay!


Our art teacher is no longer on staff (long story!) and there isn't a replacement just yet. I volunteered to be the art teacher for our classroom in the mean time. This has actually been a really fun little gig. All those art projects I tend to decide aren't "educational" enough can now be done freely! 

My school is anti-holidays. It's torture for me! In the past I was allowed to teach all the holidays for one week each. We did both Hannukah and Christmas crafts so all was fair. This school the word "Christmas" is like a curse word. I get it, we have several Jewish kids, but boy does it ruin my holiday crafts I've done for years!! Time for gingerbread and snowmen! I had to get a little creative to come up with a craft that was non-denominational and also easy to do, with easily ready supplies. Also we are supposed to decorate our doors. I created a "snowman snow globe" craft that we can tape to our door.

Supplies (all found at Target)
  • Cotton balls
  • Fine white glitter
  • Colored paper plates (helps the "snow" show better)
  • Decorations (Target Dollar Spot)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Liquid Glue (Elmers)
  1. Spread glue on the bottom section of the paper plate.
  2. Pull apart 2 cotton balls to make them more thin and "snowy," then place them on the glue
  3. Glue/stick on the candy cane and snowman decorations. If you cannot find these, kids can draw or paint them on. Another option would be to make them of paper separately and then put them on.
  4. Put small glue dots around the top to make it it look like flakes of snow.
  5. Sprinkle fine white glitter over the whole plate. It sticks heavily on the glue dots, but it all sticks lightly on the cotton and plate which makes it extra pretty!
  6. Let dry, then cover the whole plate with plastic wrap to make the "snow globe" effect. The bigger the piece, the easier it is to get the plastic to stay on. Taping it down works well too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Connecting with Kids with Autism Through Writing

Hey Everyone! Did you miss me?! It's been a record 3 weeks since I've posted something new for you! Super sorry, but I was just plain busy! So much has happened in the last few weeks but I'll do my best to fill you in on the good stuff in the next few days.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my teaching partner and I have split up our caseload of kids in our class based on who connects the best with them. I have multiple kids on the autism spectrum (or the related less severe disabilities) who are "mine." I'll be honest...I love them! It was the saddest part of changing schools when I was under the impression I wouldn't have any more autism kiddos. It turns out we have a few but they are more high functioning than the kids I worked with at my old school. One of my biggest successes in the last month has been my ability to make a connection with these kids!
Communication! This may seem obvious, but what can be hard to understand is that kids with autism don't communicate like we do. Yes, this seems obvious for kids with severe autism, but what about those kids who are on the high functioning end of the spectrum? What about those kids who can speak in full and clear sentences? What about those kids who LOOK like they know what's going on, but really DON'T get those social cues and verbal expressions of emotions?

I found a way to connect with some of these kids. It all started on accident! On Back to School Night I told all the kids to clean out their desks and that anything in their journals their parents might read, so make sure to write something for mom and dad to read that night. One of my kiddos wrote something that was both informative and surprising. He told his dad he didn't like getting big hugs. This was HUGE! Dad and I had a chat about it, and he said it's something he never knew. After writing about it, my student was able to tell us that he likes gentle hugs, but not the big strong ones dad gives sometimes. This type of communication was a BIG WIN that has lead to so many things!

Now my little guy likes to this all the time when he's feeling emotional and wants to tell us. He writes little notes to both his parents and myself. I've noticed a huge drop in his number of outbursts! Now he just writes on a piece of paper and drops it on my desk. Then I'll talk to him about what he's written, and he'll give me a written response back. He'll also write to me later in the day to let me know when he's feeling happy again. It's adorable!
I talked to him between these two notes above. He was mad at me for underlining a word on his paper. In his mind this was the equivalent of me scribbling all over his paper. I explained to him why I had written on his paper so he could see the word he wanted was right on his paper so he could copy it. He told me he was happy I was trying to help, but not so happy that I wrote on his paper. I apologized to him for upsetting him and explained that I was just trying to help and that's when he put a "that's ok" note on my desk.

A cute little happy message to the right was written on my whiteboard "The best day is today" is what he meant to spell.

How do you emotionally connect with your students/kids?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sorry, I Forgot to Ask!

So as any of my loyal readers know, I'm OBSESSED with Julia Cook books! Laura Candler is hosting a lovely little blog hop so you can learn all about the various Julia Cook books that I've been obsessing over and find new ways to use them in your classroom.

I discovered Julia Cook and her books last year thanks to a mom of my most difficult student at the time. I was telling her about his latest struggle with putting hands on other people (not necessarily in a mean way, just always touching which drove my kids with autism bonkers!). The mom heard about a book and handed it to me to see the best way to use it. That book was Personal Space Camp and I've been hooked on Julia Cook books ever since then!

I knew I loved her books and that they teach a wonderful amount of social skills, so this is how I chose to start my school year. We have a social skills curriculum called PATHS, but it takes awhile for it to cover all of the skills my kids need. At the beginning of the year, I want my kids knowing behavioral and social expectations PRONTO! What better way than to use Julia Cook books?! Then we started our Step Up to Writing curriculum and the whole beginning of the year focused on responding to text.

What does this mean??? INSTANT SOCIAL SKILLS IMMERSION! I found a way to use the ideas and curriculum I already need teach, plus cram in all of the important stuff I wanted my kids to know right away! The kids were seeing, hearing, writing, and discussing social skills! My kids would hear a different Julia Cook book every day or two, then practice written response.

Take a glimpse into how my class ran during our social skills cram sessions with Julia Cook books by seeing how we used her adorable book Sorry, I Forgot to Ask!

First I would pull out the book and the kids would all cheer, "YAY!! It's another RJ book!!" because they know the books so well. The boy on the cover is named RJ and many of Julia's books feature him as the main character. I have a class of 11 boys this year (and zero girls!) so he is a very easy character for my class t connect with. In every book he does some sort of social mistake, then learns how to do better next time so he doesn't get in trouble any more.

In this story, RJ gets into trouble when  he does a whole series of things without asking permission first. It has a bunch of real life situations that kids might do such as playing games on the internet and choosing to walk home with a friend instead of take the bus like he should. Most of my class agreed that skipping rocks in the frog pond was the best part! Others preferred the part where he ate the chocolate cake!

In the end, RJ learns how to ask permission,  accept "no" as an answer, and apologize when he makes mistakes. All of these are ESSENTIAL features of my classroom and things my kids were struggling with when we started the year. Now, I pull out this book any time my kids need a refresher on these concepts. The bonus is that they love to books so much that they cheer instead of grumble when I read a story a 2nd or 3rd time!

Responding to the Story
I read the story, now what?
  1. First I read the story using the "stop and think" strategy with the kids along the way to increase comprehension. Then we talking about the book and how RJ could have done things differently in the beginning of the book so he wouldn't get in trouble.
  2. The kids shared with their partner a time when they made a mistake by not asking permission and got in trouble (these are super funny to listen to while they chat!)
  3. Next, I had the kids write about the story and draw what happened in the beginning and the end of the story. 
  4. Another option I've done with other Julia Cook books is to draw the sequence of events. Take a peek at the adorable pictures below when the kids responded to Thanks for the Feedback, I Think (another fabulous Cook book).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Special Sparkle Giveaway!

Hey Guys! You can find me over at A Special Sparkle where I have a GIVEAWAY waiting for you!!

Today was picture day! My kids did really great, but picture day in special ed is a whole other experience! I taught general for 3 years and it was always the same routine. The kids go up to the stool, smile, photographer peeks at the screen, says "great!" and then you move on to the next kid. This does NOT happen in special ed!!

I love my kids! They are ADORABLE and do not look "special" by any means if you just glanced at them. The problem happens when you pull a camera out! They suddenly turn into aliens! Force kids who don't like eye contact to stare at a stranger with a camera and smile a real smile...easier said than done! You should have seen the goofy things my co-teacher and I were doing to make the kids laugh!

And this happened:
Teacher: You didn't dress up for picture day?
Kid: No, I just want to look natural for my picture!
(a few minutes later at picture time)
Me: Smile for the camera!
Kid: Why do I have to smile for a picture? I just want to look natural. My parents know what I look like when I smile.
Me: How about you smile and I give you instant prize box?
Kid: *Big cheesy grin* (that was eventually caught on camera 3 tries later)

And here's me on picture day! Cherish it, I actually have makeup on at work. It happens about twice a year! Obviously not the official photo as it was taken by our class aide as I was sitting on the kids' bean bag chair in the "calm corner." That thing is shockingly comfortable! I've been known to sit on it as I work on my laptop when the kids are gone after school!

Also, my support for autism continued into my weekend this week! I participated in a fundraiser workout to support kids with autism. The kid it was named after is the exact type of kids I've been working with for the last 5 years. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Successful Parent Conferences

We just finished our parent teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday. It was a long couple of days, but they went fabulously! I genuinely don't think I've ever had a more successful set of conferences! Every parent left very happy, and so did us teachers! Whoo hoo! Yippee skippy!

In our class we have 2 teachers and we each bond with completely different kids. Some kids come to me for everything, other kids prefer Lauren. We have totally different personalities and therefore different connections with the kids. Both of us love this and see this as the epitome of teamwork in a co-teaching classroom. As long as every kid feels loved and has a strong connection with at least one of us, that's all that matters.

With this in mind, we took turns leading the conferences based on which teacher has the strongest connection with that child. It's a very equal balance and made the conferences go 50/50 for who was leading and who was taking all of the notes.

One thing that seemed strange to me at first, but I actually really liked was the "action required" section of our notes below our regular notes of the discussion topics. We had to make a list during our conference of things that needed to be followed up on. This ranged from emails to specialists, behavior charts to send home, to the new strategies we wanted to implement based on our discussions. This section made it SOOOO easy come Monday morning to make sure we did all of those little follow up things that can be so easy to forget after a new parent walks into your room to talk.

Our kids have made soooo much progress since they walked into our room on the first day. The kids have already made HUGE academic strides! We have also had kids who had struggles with their behavior who are like whole new kids now. We are so proud of them!

One thing we make sure to do is tell little stories about each kid to their parent about something that made us laugh, or something that made us very proud of them! The parents always love this part. This was my favorite story of the week:
Please note the kids are dead serious during this conversation.
Kid 1: (big sniffle/snort)
Kid 2: They make tissues for that!

Kid 1: Tissues are for boogers. This is snot!!
Kid 2: But still! Use a tissue!
Me: Actually Kid 1, Kid 2 is right. Tissues are for boogers AND snot (as I try my hardest to keep a straight face, but then burst into laughter as I look at the other teacher)
The parents busted up laughing and it made for a very enjoyable conference ending!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Owl Lessons

This week we continued our theme of nocturnal animals. The boys have loved every minute of the lessons and I find myself constantly surprised by the amount of academic vocabulary they are using during our conversations! I love hearing the kids talk about how owls are predators and the prey of the snowy owls are lemmings in the arctic.

When we were writing a graphic organizer I was happily surprised by one of the kids who was ignoring my modeling of answers and creating his own ideas. They were exactly correct and he was on a mission to do the assignment on his own. Normally a teacher would be mad at a kid not following directions. Instead I was proud of how hard this struggling reader was working to generate ideas and then spell the words on his own!

We finished watching The Magic of the Snowy Owl on Monday. My kids really loved the movie and even asked me to send the link home to their parents. It's a PBS documentary, but it's not targeted for kids. You may want to watch the video to determine if it's appropriate for the type of kids in your class.

More specifically, this documentary shows what can happen to the runt of the litter. I explained this to my students by telling them that most sets of animals born in groups have a "runt" who is not as big or strong as the others. Sadly, in this movie the runt dies when there is not enough food for the whole family to survive. I skipped over this part because I didn't want the kids to be any more upset than necessary. They know the bird died, but I skipped over minutes 28-30 and started it at minute 31:03. I'm all for science, but not scarring kids for life!

Then we made paper owls using this template. I made an enlarged copy of it, then cut it and traced it onto old file folders as tracing templates for the kids. They all got to pick their colors to decide if they wanted snowy male (all white), female (white and brown), or another combination of realistic owl colors. They turned out pretty cute! Take a peek! Yes, I'm well aware that a few seem to have turned into Angry Birds! Haha!

I've also created some owl clip art for my lessons to make some of PowerPoint and worksheet activities a little more detailed. You can pick it up here in my TPT store.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Starting our Nocturnal Animals Unit

It's October now, so what better way to celebrate the month of Halloween than with Nocturnal Animals as our theme?! We started off the lesson with a simple picture sort that I found to separate nocturnal and diurnal animals. I'll be totally honest, I had no idea what the opposite of nocturnal was in science terms! Thank you Google search! You can find the link here. The activity was pretty simple, but the kids loved it and it was a great way to kick off the unit and get their brains going. I also made a little introductory Nocturnal Animals PowerPoint but it's not quite ready to post for you guys just yet.

Then we watched a few short videos about owls on National Geographic Kids. This was a great way to learn some basic owl information with images and videos of real owls.

Night Owls
Night Vision
Full Video List

Then we completed this simple graphic organizer for the information we learned from the video. You can download it for free HERE. The owl clip art I drew for this unit is also in my TPT store now too.

Then on Friday we started a longer documentary about how hard it is for snowy owls to survive in the arctic. I had a chat with the kids before the movie started about how owls are preditors so they will see them eat small animals in the movie. Thankfully owls eat things whole so there wasn't anything gruesome!

I've learn kids are either fascinated or totally bored by documentaries. One of the things I love to do is sit next to the player to hit pause every time there is an interesting fact and talk about what is happening. Then the kids are more likely to be engaged in the movie, and I know they are learning the crucial information I want them to learn. This movie is long (an hour) for my little 1st/2nd graders with attention struggles, so I actually broke this into two days. I need to develop a response activity for when the movie is over Monday afternoon.

This video is from PBS and shows how a family of owls tries to raise owlets in the arctic. Be warned, it is a nature video that was not film just for kids. There is a very sad section involving the runt dying that I highly suggest you fast forward through! Approximately minutes 27:30-31:02! It's super educational, but still has sad real life events that not all kids are ready to see!
The Magic of the Snowy Owl

Friday, September 27, 2013

We Received a Signed Julia Cook Story Book :)

So my obsession with Julia Cook and her amazing social skills books continues! One of our kids has been struggling with taking complements (that actually upset him) and his parents asked about a good social skills book to help with this. Of course Julia Cook has a great one and I recommended it to the family called Thanks for the Feedback, I Think.

Then I got an amazing surprise! Julia Cook sent me a signed copy of the book!

My kids absolutely LOVE the "RJ books" as they like to call them thanks to the main character in many of the stories! When I held up the envelope and ask who Julia Cook was, they instantly knew it was the author of the RJ books.

I told them sent us the book and even signed it for us, and then one of them shouted, "WOW!! She must be a really nice lady!!" It worked out perfectly because we were doing a lesson on responding to text by drawing pictures. I used her book and the kids all had fun drawing pictures of RJ and the other kid characters in the story. (I'll show you their adorable illustrations later, I have them on my work computer).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

10 Tips for Teamwork in Special Education

This week has shown me just how crucial it is to have solid teamwork in special education. It's essential that every specialist is in clear communication with the core special education teachers who work with the students.

This week Lauren (my co-teacher) and I have been in constant communication about our plans for specific students and the interventions we want to implement to help each of our students success. We even write our emails together over the phone at night just to make sure we're on the same page before communicating information to a parent who has sent us a late evening email.

We've also been working with an Education Specialist and an OT to help one of our students with writing and fine motor work. We've discussed the baseline (starting point) information as we as our desired outcome. We've talked about who is going to provide the key services, and how the others will help supplement them and encourage the student to generalize the behaviors into our regular classroom day.

The OT is so important in our classroom with such young students. Unfortunately, I didn't have one to consult with at my last school. I feel like I've been learning sooo much from our OT lately! She gives me tons of totally easy strategies to  implement into the classroom to help with specific skills. She has a very full schedule, but she's been wonderful about checking in weekly with us and asking what OT concerns we've had for the week. She's instantly given us quick tips to try while she waits for her schedule to open up for more one-on-one work. This way our kids aren't waiting for help and instantly get some assistance they may need such as fidgets, motor planning work, etc.

Speech is also a crucial part of a 1st-2nd grade SPED class like ours. We have kids with various needs and the SLP is eager to meet and discuss these things with us. She also just started 2 new pragmatics (social skills) groups for our student who have been DESPERATELY needing them. I've been supplementing tons of social skills books into our text-connections writing unit! Once again those Julia Cook books have been a focal point in our class! I LOVE them!'s so great to have the SLP to talk with and discuss the social, language and articulation concerns we see in the classroom each week.

All of this communication has been very successful, but it's important to think of why it works so well for us!

  1. Be clear about student strengths and concerns. Explain what is working well and what needs to be improved.
  2. Work together to determine a desired goal or outcome. What do you want to get out of this support system for the student? What do you want the student to be able to achieve?
  3. Create a plan together to meet the goal. This should be done together, not one person deciding. In order to have an effective team, you must have buy-in from every member. This cannot happen if one person dictates how everything should be done. If you create a plan together it is more likely to be executed in a consistent and effective way. 
  4. Determine each person's role. What is each person supposed to do in this plan? Which tasks, interventions, or supports is each person expected to do in order to achieve the goal?
  5. Plan ahead to discuss progress. While creating the plan, schedule a meeting to check in with each other to determine if the interventions are working. It's easy to say, "we'll check in with each other later" and then promptly forget about it. By scheduling it ahead of time, it's more likely the meeting will occur within a reasonable amount of time.
  6. Constructively discuss the progress. During your meeting to discuss progress, identify exactly how the interventions have been implemented, what is working, and what is not working as planned. It's important there is no blame during the discussion, just a plan to improve. We like to do this meeting within a month (usually 2 weeks) of starting a new intervention. 
  7. Determine if changes need to be made. Sometimes the best laid plans do not go as expected with a child in special education. You may need to tweak the plan as a team. It's crucial to brainstorm together to decide what works best for the specific child you are helping. 
  8. Keep it positive! It's so easy to get frustrated when people are coming from different perspectives and have different ideas. Keep discussions focused on the student at hand and what really works for them.
  9. Ask for help! The best thing about working as a team is that there are other people there with you! Tell the team member the things you've tried, and what the result was so that they may give you alternatives.
  10. Celebrate your achievements! Celebrate even the small wins! Often goals in special education are long term goals. Celebrate the little milestones along the way to keep the positive momentum of the team!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life Cycles in Action

Last week we discovered a whole pile of caterpillars right outside our classroom door. We picked up a chrysalis and a caterpillar so we could observe the full life cycle.

When we walked into the classroom this morning, we discovered that our chrysalis had turned into a full moth, and our caterpillar turned into a chrysalis! It's been so wonderful for the kids to observe the full life cycle of the moth completely by chance in the middle of our bug unit! I think the empty chrysalis and the details you can see are absolutely amazing!

This week the kids are going to be creating a mini research project on an insect of their choice. I made a mini-book outline for them as a guide, but the information will be up to them to find and write/illustrate. The kids were all very excited to pick their insects and start reading about them today! Tomorrow we'll start writing what we've learned.

Do your students do any research projects? If so, what topics do you like to use?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Life as a Teacher

This week I've had little moments. Things that showed me why I'm a teacher. There have been moments where I've wanted to pull my hair out, but they haven't made me want to quit my job. They've made me want to work harder.

Tonight I watched the documentary TEACH and was excited to see something real. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched one of the teachers practically pull their hair out after a test her students took. I've done it myself on many days. It broke my heart when a teacher watched her students make a mistake on a district test and say, they've done this a thousand times, why did they get it wrong today?

When I changed schools I thought I'd be saying goodbye to my autism spectrum kiddos. It turns out I was wrong. And I'm sooo happy about that. It turns out a decent chunk of our kids are on the high functioning end of the spectrum. Lauren and I have decided to focus on what each of our kids needs and we are going to unofficially divide up our kids.

As we've started the year, we've discovered our kids each have one teacher they connect with more than the other. The thing I love about teaching with Lauren is that neither one of us cares if the other is the favorite teacher of a student. As long as they are connecting with one of us, that's all that matters. We've quickly discovered that I connect with the autism spectrum kids and she connects with the emotional kids. Not necessarily emotionally disabled, but more kids whose disorder has made them have more emotional reactions to situations.

Yesterday the social skills struggles were KILLING me! Most teachers would scream. Instead I turned to Lauren as I was about to yell, busted up laughing with her, and randomly created a social skills group on the fly!

Yesterday I read a book and when we were done the kids were expected to write two facts that they learned from the non-fiction book. Suddenly one kid said, "What book?" COMPLETELY SERIOUSLY!! He completely checked out for the entire book I read for 15 minutes! I wanted to scream. And then I realized which kid it was. He struggles with both expected/unexpected behavior and auditory processing. I realized just how much I need to work with this kid!

The social skills group I have been talking about for a week  suddenly became real. We have a new speech teacher who is actually going to do the formal pragmatics group, but I'm going to supplement it. We have several kids who need it throughout the day/week, and a group 1-2 times a week just isn't going to cut it.

This week has once again pointed out why I'm a teacher. I love it. Every minute...even the ones where I want to pull my hair out. I realize I want to scream when the kids don't get it because it means I care about them and their ability to get smarter and better at life.

Teaching is not just a job to me. It's become who I am. I write my dorky teacher blog, I create custom materials for my students, I write emails to authors who I love so that I can share the love of reading to my students. I do it all because being a teacher is who I am. I can't imagine doing anything else for a career.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lady Bug Art and Finding Dozens of Caterpillars

Our insect theme unit is coming along nicely. Yesterday we did an art project using the knowledge we've learned about insects. The kids made an outline of a ladybug and then we filled it in with torn paper. I made this a step-by-step directions activity so the kids didn't get lost or my messy blobs that don't show what we've learned. Take a peek at our project!
(Skip to the bottom to see the MASSIVE amount of caterpillars found outside our classroom!)

1) Draw the outline of the ladybug with 3 body sections. For sizing it was easier for kids to start with the large abdomen, then move on to the smaller thorax, head, antennae and legs. 
Draw: abdomen, thorax, and head
2) Tear up scraps
3) Spread glue all over the outline (within the lines)
4) Put colored scraps in each section

Some finished products with zero teacher assistance!

Now for the excitement of our day today! 

We are the 1st/2nd classroom, but there is a K-1 classroom that just so happens to be studying insects this month too. One of the teachers came to tell me they found a massive amount of caterpillars on a pole right outside our door.

I went to look and I've NEVER seen anything like it!! There were dozens of caterpillars in various stages of the life cycle all hanging out together on this one cement pole (nowhere near a plant!)!!!! A science lesson dream come true!
Two caterpillars and a chrysalis
Just SOME of the caterpillars on the pole. Look closely to see some cocoons are empty/hatched
This moth was on the pole too, so I predict it came out and was drying it's wings, but I could be wrong.

Two empty cocoons
We collected two empty chrysalis (no idea the plural on that one!) to observe and see what they looked like. I also gently plucked one off the pole so we can (hopefully) see it hatch soon! I also took a caterpillar and put it in our classroom so hopefully it will form a chrysalis for us. We did see one wiggling on the pole forming one today, which was pretty exciting!

Do you study life cycles in your class? Which insects do you use?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Best Science Lesson Ever!

You know that moment in the middle of an amazing lesson when every student is responding above and beyond what you are hoping for during the lesson? It doesn't happen often...but today I had one of those PERFECT teacher moments. At one point I honestly just sat on a side table and watched my kids completely engaged and learning!
Insect drawn and labeled in the observation jar

Observations of the insect path
Yesterday I received FOSS kit for insects, but discovered they do not come with bugs nor coupons for bugs. So I did my own bug hunt yesterday. After a quick review of our insect lessons thus far, I taught the students what it means to "observe" and they each worked with a partner to observe and discuss insects. They each had an observation sheet to draw their bug and draw/write their observations (1st graders drew, 2nd graders wrote).

I have a class of only 11 kids, so I had enough bugs that every child could have their own observation jar with at least one insect inside. My kids were observing, discussing, drawing, labeling, and describing insects! It was an AMAZING teaching moment! Lauren (who HATES bugs) even stopped to video record the amazing learning happening. The kids were so engaged that they were able to each observe and draw at least 2 different insects.

It just so happens that the new speech teacher was coming to observe my class. They had such wonderful discussions with their partners that she was able to get a very strong grasp of the different needs in our class. Our Head of School was also able to see some great learning in action when she stopped by.

This was one of my most successful and fun lessons ever! Fabulous! What is your favorite lesson of all time?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...