Sunday, October 23, 2011

People First Language- Response to 60 minutes 10/23/11

I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing students and parents. I feel very honored to work with these individuals.

Tonight I was watching some recorded program and a friend called me to remind me that 60 minutes was airing information about apps for autism. I of course I automatically changed the channel to watch to see what they said. I have been using my personal iPad, but was honored to have a private donor donate an iPad 2 to my classroom. I am always looking for new apps to use in my classroom.

One of the first words out of the interviewers mouth was an autistic child. An autistic child! One of the first conferences I ever went to a parent was sitting in the audience and she quietly raised her hand before the session started and she asked if we would make sure to use people first language. Since that day 10 years ago I have been very conscious of using people first language. When talking about a person they are a person first. When talking about a child they are FIRST the child!

I love using the iPad in my classroom. As the people on the interview said, it is not appropriate for every student. It is important to try all different styles of teaching methods and ideas. I love using the iPad for many reasons. A couple of my favorite right now are to Skype and tweet. I mean, for my class to Skype and tweet.

As the interview ended I loved listening to the mom when she talked about her child interacting with the iPad and then looking up and responding when they answered a question correctly. The interviewer came back with that is such a small thing. I wonder how she is able to determine that this was a small feat? I know that when my students have made that first step of communication that is HUGE! I wonder how she was able to judge?

These are all of course my own personal opinions. As you look at a child or another human being, I hope you look at them first. Just as the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. As you look at accomplishments of yourself and others I hope you celebrate them all! Time is too short.

Take a moment to correct yourself and use people first language and realize that every milestone is huge.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do You Wonder?

Do you wonder about things as a class or as a family?  Have you checked out Wonderopolis? for their wonder of the day? Our class has been using Wonderopolis for the wonder of the day during our closing meeting. The format is fabulous and so easy to modify depending on the learning! There is a wonder that poses a question with an attention getting picture.  What a great conversation starter.  There is also a video to go with the wonder.  Not only is there a video, but there is also great starters ie. Have you ever wondered...  Once we have wondered as a class it has information on how to answer the and some great vocabulary to use!

So, here is my try at a wonder (now, it is totally modified)
The Busy Bee Wonder #1
Why does it thunder after lightening?

Peterson, Jane. thunderheadatsunset.jpg. February, 2005. Pics4Learning. 22 Oct 2011 <>
Why does it thunder after lightening?

Have you ever wondered:
-Why does it thunder after lightening? 
-What does thunder look like?
-Can you have thunder without lightening.

Did you Know:

A Fantastic Website for information on Thunder.

Try it out:

Try to make rain like the video above.

Wonder Words To Know:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Texas Autism State Conference

I always have a tough time missing school, but I am so thankful I had a chance to attend and present at the 20th Annual Texas State Autism Conference  I left Dallas around 3:30am on Thursday morning to make it to the conference that started at 8:30am.  I didn't make it right on time, but I was able to make the end of Jamie Canales session (she rocks! Always love running into her.. even nicer to actually hear her speak this time!)  The afternoon session I was able to hear Dr. Braman and Dr. Catlett speak about ABA and the IEP.  It was a FANTASTIC session!  It was one of those sessions where you get ideas, but it also validated what I was already doing in my classroom.  They also talked about the importance of data collection (I love learning about new ways to do data collection!) Check out Autism in Action for great Autism How To Programs.  I personally can not wait to check out the Instructional Objectives Handbook!
"Understanding the significant time demands placed on teachers everywhere, Autism In Action™ has also developed a time-saving resource for writing measurable Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Containing more than 200 objectives with fill-in criteria to support the general education curriculum, the Instructional Objectives Handbook comes in a convenient CD format that allows you to copy and paste into your existing IEP software."

On Friday I had a chance to do the thing that I have learned I enjoyed tremendously!  I LOVE PRESENTING! It makes me so happy!  Today I presented   3 sessions that were 1 and a half hour each over Digital Storytelling in the Multi-ability classroom.

During the session I had a chance to share with participants different ways to use technology to create digital stories and modify and adapt to meet the needs of different level learners.

I have been so appreciative of all of the people that I have met, all the people that participated in my sessions, and all of the people that work for Education Service Center 2 (as they have been so patient with me and answered my 100's of questions)  I always gain something from the conferences that I attend, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this conference! I love learning ideas, gaining knowledge on new topics and teachings, connecting with other educators and parents, sharing my own ideas, and most importantly validating that I am doing things correctly in my classroom.

This blog has taken so much longer than usual.. my brain is so tired from the super busy week I have had!  I leave you with this note, how do you remind yourself that you are doing the best for your students and yourself?  How do you tell stories in your classroom?  What are you favorite conferences?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tweet All About it!

Our class has ventured into the Wide World of Tweeting this year!  I have wanted to try it for a couple of years, and I decided this is the year to do it! Now, tweeting in our classroom is not necessarily for the back and forth conversation, or at least not yet! 

Every afternoon we come back to the carpet and we think of one thing we have done during the day.  We write it out together on a dry erase board.  While writing it we pay attention to capitalization and punctuation.  Once we have our sentence we read it together as a class.  I then choose one student to type it for me.  Some students need hand over hand guidance and some students just need the written prompt.  Each student gets a chance to type it.

Although we are tweeting and working on comprehension about activities during the day, we are also using this time to see who we are connecting with.  What a great way to learn about the map!  This map is outside our classroom.  Every time we have a new follower we add them to our map.  The first day we looked at our map we talked about the legend.  Our legend has The Flat Stanley Project, Twitter Followers, and Video Conferencing.  I can't wait to fill up our map more with all of the connections my class is making this year!

Some important things to remember!
1. Nothing is ever private, I have signed permission forms from all of my students. 
2. Keep up with your followers
3. Don't post personal information- any pictures that we might post do not have students in them

Are you using twitter in your classroom?  Are you following us @mrskellersclass How do you make connections?