Last week I attended the South Carolina Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Myrtle Beach. Not only did I enjoy the breakout sessions but it was good to see friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen in awhile. It was important that I keep these connections alive for personal and professional reasons.
The first session I attended was Brain Breaks which talked about involving more movement in the classroom. Here is the slidepresentation. They referenced the book Brain Rules by John Medina. Exercise boosts brain power! The first activity we tried was Soul Man dancing using super sized rubber bands. They recommended watching the YouTube video called Soul Man for the Classroom Activity by JeanBlaydes. Next they talked about cutting the pages out of a book with no words and having the students lay the pages out on the floor in sequential order. Another group activities involved floor mats either bought commercially or teacher made using a table cloth or shower curtain. These can be used for letter recognition, spelling, phonics, number recognition, math racts, geometric shapes, telling time, positional directions, gross motor skills, personal information, health or nutrition. Other resources they recommended was GeomotionTV and Geomotion Group. They also encouraged teamwork using a net (or pillowcase) and a ball while spelling, counting, and alphabet. I really enjoyed this session and I think I will try to involve more movement in the classroom.
The next session was CRA Math Interventions but a group from Wintrop University. Here is the slide presentation. CRA means concrete to representational to abstract. The resource recommended was http://ntnmath.com with lots of free math videos. Also recommended was CPalms,and IESPractice Guides put out by the Dept. of Education. CRA is very procedural. Many examples were given to show how to go from concrete to representational to abstract.
The next session I went to was Implementing Reading Fluency Interventions Within a Co-Teaching Environment. Here is the slidepresentation.
At noon we had the awards luncheon and our keynote speaker was Jennifer Ainsworth who was the SC Teacher of the Year. She was a vibrant motivational speaker! She also had a parent of one of her students who is also a paraprofessional get up and give a very moving speech. To end the talk, the teacher had 2 of her students get up and sing I Can Fly and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! What a great luncheon!
In the afternoon I went to a session by the SC Dept. of Education called Tying the Knot – Wedding General Educators and Special Educators for Effective Co-Teaching. Here is the slidepresentation. I think the most important thing I got out of this was that inclusion looks different for different students and the administration doesn’t decide who goes into inclusion. This needs to be an IEP decision.
In the evening we had the College Bowl were teams from different colleges around the state competed in Special Education Trivia Contest. The winner keeps the trophy for a year. I think the students enjoyed it and so did the audience!
Come back tomorrow for a recap of Day 2! See you then.
Original photo by Pat Hensley
Original photo by Pat Hensley