Another idea I found is to have letters written on clothes pegs and have students clip them to objects in nature that start with that sound. I could see this being done by a few students at a time during outdoor play time with the letter they have learned so far.
I took to trusty pinterest to find some more ideas about practical ways to teach literacy skill outdoors. I found another blog that outlines a few ideas that I found interesting.
ABC Eye Spy
Have students look for letters of the alphabet in signs, etc. when going on a walk (challenge them to find all the letter of the alphabet) or say a specific letter or sound and have them find an object that begins with that, or possibly ends with it to make it more challenging. This could also be done with blended letters, such as ‘sh’ or ‘th.’
ABC Nature Shapes
Have students look for letters that occur in different nature objects, such as the ‘o’ in the centre of a flower or the ‘u’ in a petal.
Moriah recently reminded me that her, Sam, and Shanelle did their SLA wiki project on learning language outdoors, so I was excited to head over to their page and see what they had found!
I read a lot of great information about the benefits of learning outdoors, but what stood out to me as an educator who is passionate about Kindergarten and early primary classes was the rise in students going into the school system who have speech and language problems and cannot communicate at a level that is expected. I have witnessed this first hand with many of my previous students, but I never attributed it to the indoor lifestyle that is so common these days.
Some great practical ideas that I read from these ladies include reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and having students try and build a house for the three bears out of things found in the forest, as well as listening walks. Where students are taken outside to listen and identify to different sounds. Students could be asked to identify the beginning sound in the sound they hear. Another great idea I read about was a letter treasure hunt, where large letters on paper are arranged around an outdoor areas and students are asked to find a letter, where there will be a clue to find the next letter. Students could be asked to sound out the letter they are looking for to practice letter and sound recognition. The letter could also be placed on an object that begins with the same letter.
The information referenced in this article comes from this study.
It is common knowledge that inclusion has been advocated for in the fields of early childhood and early childhood special education for many years now and it isn’t going anywhere. Inclusion in classroom environments can take on many forms that are as unique as the children in each class, but a common and necessary thread in these environments is that children with and without disabilities are all learning together in the same classroom. With that being said, it is important to understand your own beliefs and attitudes about inclusion and how they come out in your practice and affect your students.
“When all children are totally included in the classroom, many benefits are realized. One benefit for children with disabilities is increased social skills and acceptance by typically developing peers. At the same time, children without disabilities are more aware of differences between people and display more comfort around a person with a disability.”
With inclusion having so many positive benefits it is important to understand how to create successful inclusive environments. In order for inclusion to work you need “qualified personnel working in the classroom, available support and services for student needs, adequate space and equipment to ensure student success and a positive teacher attitude towards inclusion.”
While all of these components are important for success the most important of these is that the classroom teacher feels positively about inclusion in the classroom. Attitudes about inclusion are made up of cognitive, behavioural and affective components. “The cognitive component pertains to knowledge and thoughts about the causes of the behavior of children with disabilities in an inclusive setting. The affective component is based on the cognitive understanding of a disability, which can motivate people to get involved in working with a child who has a disability, or produce feelings that could cause them to exclude the child with a disability from typical activities. The behavioral component deals with a tendency to behave or respond in a particular way when in contact with children who have disabilities (e.g., move further away from the child).”
Teachers’ form attitudes towards children and people with disabilities, and ultimately toward inclusion, based on a child’s characteristics, the factors in the classroom and their previous experiences. These attitudes then come out in the way that these teachers instruct and interact with children in their classroom.
A teacher’s attitude toward inclusion is critical for the success of an inclusive classroom.
When teachers facilitate child participation in the same activities and encourage the development of relationships among children, they create an accepting environment in the classroom. When teachers meet the individual needs of children it is the best way to make the inclusive classroom successful, but teachers must feel positively about doing so for inclusion to truly take place.
As teachers it is critical for us to understand and examine our own beliefs and attitudes about inclusion and to become more informed about inclusion and disabilities so that we can create successful inclusive environments for every single child in our classrooms, and in turn, move towards a more inclusive world.
Jane M. Leatherman1 & Judith A. Niemeyer (2005) Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Inclusion: Factors Influencing Classroom Practice, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 26:1, 23-36
Although Tom is no longer in my practicum class I am still passionate about learning more about ADHD within the classroom. I wanted to learn more about strategies and learning environments that are best suited for a student with ADHD. After looking through a few websites I came across this project: The Children’s Attention Project.
One thing that popped out to me is that they put ADHD in the classroom into perspective. Below is two tables, one that puts into perspective what the student is actually doing, ex: the student is curious, they are not trying to be disruptive. The other table digs deeper into what a student with ADHD might need from a teacher. I found this to be a great tool because it helps to see what is actually needed from the teacher.
The next topic in which they cover is the physical environment of the classroom. This has been something I have always wondered if I was doing right when working with a student who has ADHD. Below is the projects tips to a positive environment for a student with ADHD.
One tip that I find very interesting that I will try when I have my own classroom is using the “traffic light” cards. This gives the students a simple reminder that can have such a large impact on not only them but the classroom as a whole. I wonder if this could also be done with hand signals, for example holding up different numbers that would represent how much a student can talk. This way the student may look to the teacher and it is a simple hand up with three fingers held up, informing the student to stop talking.
The last topic that I enjoyed reading within this project is “Managing Behaviour”. This section actually gave me some great tips to use with a student I may have with ADHD.
In this section I love the section “Corrective Feedback”. I love the idea of balance with rewards and positive reinforcement. I have seen this work very well within my daycare, which is interesting that I have been doing this already outside of the classroom.
Overall I believe that this project is a great resource to use when a student has ADHD within a classroom. I believe that a lot of these tips would help students without ADHD as well as students with ADHD. These strategies seem to be great habits to pick up as a teacher and I can see myself using when I have my own classroom.
Raz Kids is an amazing reading program to utilize within your classroom! Raz Kids is an online guided reading program that offers e-books, online reading quizzes, and downloadable stories. It is geared towards K-Grade 5 and has 29 different levels of reading difficulty, This tool can be utilized both in the classroom and at home!
Check out the link above!
The website is very user and kid friendly! Teachers, or parents, set up the students accounts. They can preset each account to the “just right” reading level for that student. Students log on, using picture codes so they don’t need to remember a wordy password. They can then choose from an abundance of different books that are all set the the level they are at.
Each student has a robot attached to their account. The more they read, the more options, they can to change and alter their robot. The students have the option to read them story themselves, have it read out loud, and then after they can do a comprehension quiz. The more they do, the more points they accumulate which means they can do more to their robot.
Raz Kids offers lots of neat features. There is a button on their website called “Teachers Corner”, where it offers support in leveling, assessing, using the program and more. It has online running records where teachers can assess their student online. Teachers can also advance their student, or move their student, to a different level if they find their reading is ready for a change. Raz Kids is very easily accessable so students can read in class, at home, and on the go!
Raz Kids is from the company Learning A-Z. This company also has programs, Science A-Z, Writing A-Z, Vocabulary A-Z, and Reading A-Z. I personally think the Science A-Z program looks the most worthwhile due to it combining science lessons and reading, two birds, one stone!!
The only downfall of these programs would be the price. Each individual program costs around 100 dollars for a year membership. If you had funding or the money for these programs I would say they are, without a doubt, worth it.
All the programs offer amazing resources and add additional ways to incorporate technology into your classroom that are engaging for your students!