Monday, 31 March 2014

Autism & ADHD

My A-Z Challenge will try to link up special needs blogs that deal with the needs I have encountered in my mainstream primary school as well as direct to TpT resources available free to others – when you have no real budget these resources are invaluable.  We all need to help each other so please feel free to leave feedback and your own links to websites and free resources you use.

The autistic spectrum covers such a wide range and some of the children in my school obviously have autistic tendencies (this might mean they have very literal tendencies or slightly obsessive behaviours) but we have no severely autistic children. 
Learning to be part of a mainstream classroom can be difficult for our autistic children but once they have common routines and behaviour management systems in place all have settled in well.  Talking through changes and giving children the time to discuss why things happen is very important.  Seeing problems or misunderstandings from their viewpoint is also a valuable aid to being able to minimise the potential for this to happen again in the future.  Allowing autistic children to use their strong interests wherever possible in their classroom writing and mathematics also pays dividends.  A child I taught at age 5 was obsessed with pipes and tunnels and what lay under the ground – finding books on this subject quickly led to his interest in furthering his reading ability in order to access them and also developed his ability to stand in front of his entire class to give a book sharing about the Channel Tunnel!

Sasha Hallagan is a specialist autism teacher who blogs and runs a website The Autism Helper  She also has a TpT store where she provides freebies as well as a large range of products so please check her out – she is amazing!

After attending a conference last year on ADHD and meeting educational psychologists, parents, teachers, doctors and other healthcare workers I came away inspired by a lecture based on the ideas in the Nurtured Heart workbook which we were all given a copy of.  I think there are lots of new ideas and approaches to be used by parents and teachers to help young children cope with their condition and change our own perceptions of it.  The website  shares videos about the techniques and allows access to resources.

Chris De Feyter at TpT has some useful resources on ADHD which I have also found useful to share with teachers and parents.

TpT Resource A is for Alphabet
Finally – check out my Alphabet lowercase to uppercase match freebie – where children need to match the little birds to their correct nest.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A to Z preparation

I have been trying to get slightly ahead of the game and begin to make lists of items and ideas for the A-Z April blog challenge.  I have decided to focus on special needs as well as try a bit of self-promotion.  I am hoping that others will be able to comment on the special needs I select to cover and offer their viewpoints as well as useful links to other resources.

As in my previous post, resources normally need to be free or very well reviewed to actually be purchased by cash strapped teachers with non-existent budgets.  Our SEN budget shrinks each year for resources as it is needed to cover the cost of our special teaching assistants and due to the new authority SEND reforms school now has to fund the first 15 hours of any child with a statement from its own budget.  Top up hours to cover more can be sought from the authority but the money given does not cover the whole actual cost of employing the assistant for those hours so even more money goes from our normal budget.  Surely, money should follow those children who have these special needs and need the extra support in terms of assistance, making of other resources, individualised or small group work etc.  I am being as creative and new thinking as possible in the way I deploy members of the SEN team and those children on my special needs register really do have special needs - it's not just that they are behind their peers!!  They deserve the best rather than as I was told by an authority official "adequate provision is all that is necessary"!!

Enough of the rant as I have more planning to be done.  The charity bag drive went well and I took a whole car load (boot full, passenger and back seats and footwells full) off to the charity shop on Thursday to be gratefully received.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Teaching on a non-existent budget!

In the world of education, there is no budget for the day to day lessons you wish to plan and inspire your children with so like many others I do the rounds of the charity shops - hoping to find the resources I need for very little money as it all comes out of my own purse.  This week, my maths planning (inspired by  a New Zealand maths site) had need of a slavonic abacus to help children understand the difference between teen and tens numbers.  I found an interactive one on the web but as my group has to share one laptop between them - seeing things on a screen is difficult - so you can imagine how delighted I was when my last foray out resulted in a very sturdy stand up one for only £2.99.  However, in this life there is always a trade off and as I am also known by many of the charity shops for being the teacher who comes in to buy resources I was asked if I could make a request for donations at school as stocks were running very low in my local children's hospice shop.  This has led me to make today - bring a donation bag to school day - so I will be co-ordinating the donations this morning and taking them across in countless trips no doubt to the said charity store!  And this was supposed to be my free day (as I have reduced my hours!!)

Monday, 10 March 2014

All Set To Go

Yes, everything looks set to go.  My blog duly appears on the list - I've already checked out the blog before and after me and now I realise what I've set myself up for!  Teaching, planning, managing renovations, keeping a family home, shuttling cross country, moving house and now blogging everyday with other very experienced bloggers - how's this going to happen?  I think I may have to get very organised and go without sleep for the month of April.  In the meantime, I'm off to get on with the next fortnight's planning for special needs literacy - wish me luck that I get that done before Thursday night.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Linky Problems Now Overcome

Well I thought I was all set to go and filled in my form to enter the A to Z challenge but arrived at the next page it wanted $24 to set up a linky for the year at which point I backtracked.  What's this all about?  Any advice would be helpful.

Very confusing but I thought I'd go through the link up again this morning to gain any more clues about why I might have to pay before asking a question to the site advisers of the A to Z challenge and all of a sudden it has signed me up without asking me for money so fingers crossed everything is now set to go!

A to Z Blogging Challenge

Well I am all set with my button installed and my post done for linky purposes I just need to sign up and I will be ready to begin the challenge when it starts April 1st 2014.  Here goes!

Trying To Work It All Out

I've been trying out a new blog over on another site and I just can't seem to get the hang of it so I have returned to Blogger where I can remember it did seem a little easier.  This is what happens when you weren't born into the digital age but have seen its birth - I'm not plugged straight into the network like the younger generation and it takes time to figure things out!!
I really want to start using the blogasphere a bit more so will be trying a few new things this year.  Let's see how it all goes.