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Cheryl is currently completing her final Practicum experience with the Vision Team and has almost obtained Double Degrees in Disability Studies and Special Education. Sophie worked so hard for Cheryl today ("Whew!" Sophie exclaimed, as she wiped her brow theatrically!) Honestly, she concentrated so well for a full hour! She was completely engaged by Cheryl's beautifully prepared lessons and resources. With magnetic clothes and accessories, she was able to dress her doll with clothes suitable for all climatic events!
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Building a growing awareness of days of the week, she cut, pasted and read about her Friday routine.
Red Light Green Light reinforced concepts of top, middle, bottom (important for the Braille cells) and led to a popular way of practising her cane skills. Sophie demonstrated some good fine motor development, and Scarlett assisted by cutting the green pieces.
Cheryl was even rewarded with a kiss goodbye, and Sophie is looking forward to another exciting lesson next Friday!
Sophie is now correctly forming the letter S. (Most Kindergarten students tend to form it as a reversal at first). In order to produce her name using printmaking techniques, she needed to manipulate the letters the correct way up and in the right order. Well done!
Numeracy: Astonishingly, Sophie was able to place all the numerals from 1 to 10 in the correct sequence, and then, with precise one to one correspondence, place the correct number of marbles with each numeral! (A numeral is the script we use eg. "2" to represent the number of objects eg. * * )
We have been working on concepts of print - letters, words, sentences, full stops, left to right conventions - and the word of the day is "Look". Sophie cut and pasted these words in the correct order and drew an appropriate picture to accompany her sentence.
It's official! ALL children love Playdough and the opportunity for creativity it provides!
We had so many forlorn onlookers at first, we just had to share the wealth, and soon had a little playdough factory in operation with about 8 participants. It turned into an extended play session, and tremendous disappointment ensued when Lisa said it was time to pack up! This activity is superb for promoting not only Fine Motor development, but also the opportunity for language and concept development (poking, pulling, twisting, thinner, longer, thicker, flatter, etc.), as well as imaginative play. Sophie sometimes finds this difficult..."What's your baby's name?" "It's not a real baby!" "Is it a boy or a girl?" "It's not real, Lisa!"
We added glitter to the playdough, which already had scents added to it...vanilla in the pink playdough and lavender in the purple.
I used the original "Playschool" recipe which has never let me down as an Early Childhood educator (and has also served my own children well, many years ago!!)
Place 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar and half a cup of salt in a saucepan. Combine 2 cups of water and a few drops of food colouring in a jug, then add this and a tablespoon of oil to your saucepan. Mix till combined over a medium heat on the stove top. The stirring becomes increasingly challenging as the mixture coagulates! (Good for the biceps!!) You will sort of get the idea when it's coming together and ready for kneading. Of course, dividing, adding colours, glitter, scents, rice for texture etc. is completely optional. Keeps for a long time and is a very durable playdough. (Please protect your carpet though! Choose a suitable work area!)
Today was all about the fingers! Sophie's finger strength and dexterity have increased significantly. She was able to produce about 5 lines of very legible Braille and mastered the mechanisms of the "new line" and "carriage return" functions very quickly.
She then decorated her story - another fine motor challenge...
Pushing golf tees into a piece of plastic foam packing material was a piece of cake for her now - although this caused considerable difficulty for her a few months ago.
When presented with a tactile book, Sophie was able to identify the different texture/shape in an array of 3 - however, began to rely on her vision rather than completing the exercise tactually (so eager to get things "right"!)
Bear Hunts (you may have heard) have been a big hit recently and today we shared the Big Book and the interactive story on the iPad (available at this link: http://www.sydneyregionvision.com/iwb-activities.html ). I'm delighted that Sophie's attention span for stories has extended so well! Re-enactments of Bear Hunts are then performed in the undercover area outside with much joyful shrieking and enthusiasm. These have become very popular and certainly attract a crowd! Some of the educational outcomes this activity develops include: concepts of Position in Space (over, under, through); memory and sequencing; imaginative play; confidence in running in a safe location; gross motor development (balance beam, tiptoe) and Fundamental Movement Skills. So much fun to see the children all playing together! By the way, Scarlett has a delightful singing voice and is not too shy to lead the show!!
On Thursday, Sophie demonstrated the rapid development of her cutting skills as she confidently tackled cutting curved lines. She has progressed through a sequential program beginning with "one bite" cutting, to fringing, short straight lines, long straight lines and now curved lines with increasing independence and correct scissor grip.
Sophie has practised cutting a variety of media. Here she is cutting Theraputty to develop her strength and technique.
Sight word introduced: Look
Sophie can independently read "Look at the Puddle" and is able to identify the word "Look" on each page. Using pictorial cues, she can read sentences beginning "Look at
the..." and put these words in the correct sequence (cutting and
We have been using a fabulous App called Educreations which is like an interactive whiteboard, but at a suitably close visual range for the student. It allows us to create and record lessons in real time. This lesson focusses on the sight word "little" in preparation for a reading book aimed at Emergent level reading skills. This helps the reader assimilate prior knowledge and build language and concepts before tackling the text. Sophie of course, chose Tinkerbell. With direction, she is able to import images from the web and use her fingers to resize them.
Below is another lesson where she was able to practice writing her name on the iPad. We are working on correct letter formation, and sometimes use "Rainbow Writing" to develop the motor memory of these letters. Further consolidation of this is required, however with specific verbal prompts, Sophie's ability to write her name is improving.
As the two stumps in the playground represent an immovable hazard, part of her ongoing Orientation & Mobility training has been to build Sophie's awareness of these. We have in the past, painted them with water, and today, we took the unorthodox step of wrapping them in Alfoil! (a loose connection to the shiny scales of the Rainbow Fish!) Sophie was very excited!!
These Duplo blocks have NSW Foundation print and Braille on them. Sophie is matching her letters with the model provided for her.
We have been working on a thematic unit based around the book "The Rainbow Fish". We have looked at the interactive story and read the book. Here Sophie is creating her Rainbow Fish, decorating it with shiny scales she used a circle punch to create.
She demonstrates excellent attention to detail!
We then made them into puppets for some imaginative play and to assist in building the ability to recount a story. Scarlett is the little blue fish. The story reinforces the importance of kindness and sharing in order to establish friendships.
This lesson then flowed onto a Numeracy activity based around a children's song about "5 Jellyfish". Sophie constructed the 5 Jellyfish and then we had great fun knocking them off their "rock" and into the water...the beginning of subtraction and counting backwards. ("How many are left?")
In unrelated news, Sophie and Lisa discovered they have the same shoes!!
Sophie has graduated from normal sized pegs to small pegs and has now just about achieved mastery of these very tiny pegs. She painted and decorated her Stegosauras, (or should that be Pegosaurus!!)
Fine Motor strength and finger differentiation are promoted in a million small activities. Here, Sophie is successfully threading and screwing a nut and bolt set together. She has done this with plastic and with real nuts and bolts, and a variety of 3D construction activities.
Sophie was so enthusiastic about entering this competition. This year's theme is "Snake". I think her submission is excellent and I would gladly award her the prize!! She produced this without assistance.
Sophie is using a natural product made from Maize to produce one of her stellar artworks! She is cutting the pieces and dipping them in water to make them stick. She shows wonderful task perseverance, not giving up until the task is complete.
Well, fancy that?? A book without words? And Sophie can read it all by herself. She had a toy caterpillar to help. He read through Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" which supports one to one correspondence in counting, as well as the days of the week. Then, she read the "Nibble, Nibble, Nibble" book all by herself. Developing sensitivity in these little fingers is important if she is to become a Braille reader.
We also do lots of Fine Motor activities to develop hand strength and finger dexterity...important for writing Braille too.
We played a tactile version of Snakes and Ladders (numeracy and turn-taking) at which Sophie proved to have an inordinate amount of luck!!
She got ladders and I got snakes! We are considering entering the Braille Competition and this year's theme is Snakes. She would enter in the Picture Braille category.
Sophie is developing her skills of tactile discrimination. Under blindfold (willingly!) she was able to sort all the different objects into their appropriate categories. Quite impressive!!
Sophie bravely tackling a very difficult Montessori task!! She thinks outside the square!!
Scarlett started at Montessori this year and allowed her big sister to "show her the ropes". As she was constantly asking, "Where my cane??" she now has access to a push-along duck cane, and now proudly accompanies Sophie and Lisa on Cane Skills lessons.
The girls are working together here with a natural product called Magic Maize, which simply requires a damp sponge to join the peices together for 3D construction, or to make tactile pictures.
Sophie was delighted to discover that Lisa has a cane too, just like hers! However, as Lisa's cane had a couple of stars on it, Sophie, with great dexterity and attention to detail, placed a row of stars from the top to the bottom of her cane, with the utmost precision. A great fine motor task!!
We explored the playground equipment section by section today, and despite her obvious trepidation, Sophie was able not only to attempt the fireman's pole, but to bravely volunteer to do it a second time!!
Visual Memory Game: Rainbow Fish. Showed good recall of positional aspects as well as Visual Discrimination.
Reading: There's a Monster in my Room" Sophie was able to predict rhyming words.
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" was an exercise in sequencing using laminated pictures from the story.
Fine Motor: drawing, magnet spiral maze (showed perseverance); iPad
O&M: Big Bird Push Along on long handle gave Sophie confidence to move quickly through the back yard, as it gave information about dips and obstacles in her path.
Phonemic Awareness: iPad link here: http://www.sydneyregionvision.com/phonics-slideshows.html
Each watermelon slice must have the correct number of seeds. (Black counters provide clear contrast for vision needs)
This activity was used to develop Sophie's one-to-one correspondence. (Other outcomes include: counting 0 - 10; concept of zero; ordinal numbers; fine motor development; task perseverance).
Hopefully, this will provide an opportunity for you to share in Sophie's activities and progress, and to reinforce the skills we are working to develop. Further information is available in my programs and teaching documentation.