What does September bring?
New students! :-)
It also brings another new year to teach the basics. Every fall I am amazed at the growth of my students from previous years. I am also reminded that we don't start off without learning the basics. I have two developmentally cognitive delayed programs in my building. They just bring me JOY to work with them! I think it is because they remind me of my preschool and elementary previous lives. I LOVE that, even though I am in the middle school setting now, I still get to PLAY and HAVE FUN teaching.
1. We always start off with one of my favorite units to teach....LISTENING.
This year, I started off with a wonderful listening sheet click here. We go over this sheet, point to our own ears, mouth, eyes, hands and feet until they can recite the active listening (whole body listening) with me and by themselves.
2. Then Mr. and Ms. Potato Head come to the classroom. I start off with having all of their body parts inside of their body. I end up shaking them and rolling them around the table and asking the class if the potato heads are ready to listen. They always respond, "NO!" So then I ask them why not. Their first response is almost always, "They don't have ears." Then we go over the first fact that their bodies weren't ready because they were making so much noise and they were moving around so much that they might not have even known that someone was talking.
After this, I take their body parts and put them in a bag. We look at our sheets and figure out what they are missing in order to be good listeners. When the student comes up with a part and tells me what that specific part needs to do in order to help us listen, they get to put that part on the potato head.
3. This year they got to make their own potato head to bring home.
She has a great set already made up for you! Why reinvent the wheel!?
4. Next we are going to make life-sized body cut outs of us, color them,
and glue on cards of active listening reminders by
each of the corresponding body parts.
We are also going to have each student fill out a personal goal sheet focusing on one of the six steps of active listening. They will then glue their goal sheet onto the front of their bodies so when they hang them up they can see their personal goal and be reminded of what they chose to work on.
The goal areas are as follows: Eyes on the Speaker, Hands and Feet to Ourselves, Body Still, Mouth Quiet, Ears Open, and Ask Follow Up Questions.
I will put up a picture of this activity when we finish. Let's see if it matches what I envision in my head. :-) If not, we will go with the flow. This is the beauty of being in the profession for almost thirty years! I have learned to "go with the flow" more often than not.
Enjoy the start to your year.
The Potato Heads and I are heading to a small group right now for a little one step direction activity. You can also use the Potato Heads for prepositional concepts later on in the year. You have to LOVE a multi-purpose $5 item purchase at Target. I was just thrilled that they still made the Potato Heads!