About Me

About Me
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Mrs. Ben (Bendixsen)


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Friday, October 31, 2014

Writing, Writing, Writing

We wanted to make sure we provided more opportunities for students to write in our classroom aside from small group writing and letter activities and writing their names on art work. Here is what we have come up with to include as part of our daily routine.

Student's write their names whenever they come in before sitting down at greeting time. They have name tags on symbols they recognize to use as a model if needed. They then place their name cards up on the wall in the blue pocket organizer. We can keep some of the name samples to see how their handwriting is developing over the school year.

After review, before washing their hands for snack, students get to 'sign-up' on our snack chart for the chore they want to help out with for the day. The assistants know their handwriting skills so even if they are at the beginning stages of writing their names, we can still recognize them.

Just and an FYI, these are the stages of writing that we see most of our students go through while in our class:

  1. Random scribbling
  2. Scribbling across in a horizontal direction
  3. Creating letter like forms (including 0 and l )
  4. Writing letters from their name (often starts with the first and the last)
  5. Writing their name (by 5 years it's still big and all over the page, sometimes in random orders and that is more then ready for writing in kindergarten)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

You are a Lion and Red is the Color

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You Are a Lion Large Group:

We will read the book You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo. As we read, we will follow along with the Yoga poses. Our main focus of this activity is to build body awareness, follow directions and count as we breath. That being said, there are other good benefits to children doing yoga. If you're interested in finding about it more, check out this handout from Super Duper (click here).

After we read the book, we have some cards from ABC Yoga for Kids. Students will have turns picking out what figure they would like to pose like. Each time we pose, we will hold it for 10 seconds while we breath.

Red is the Color Large Group:

We have a set of big color books from Lakeshore. Each one has a song the says and spells the colors and colorful pictures that go with it. For example, for the color green:

Green is the color of the grass
And shamrocks in the springtime.
G-R-E-E-N, G-R-E-E-N, G-R-E-E-N,
Let's spell the color green again.

Each student will get a turn to pick the color they want us to sing next as a group.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Little Miss Muffet and a Costume Party

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet Away.

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Little Miss Muffet Large Group:

This will be an active way to present one of our nursery rhymes we have been learning in greeting time and to further support understanding of it's meaning. We will go over the rhyme together and the words that may be new, "Muffet sounds like Tuffet. What is a tuffet?". Then we will act out the rhyme while repeating it together. Each student will have a turn to sit on the cushion 'tuffet' and to eat imaginary 'curds and whey' with their spoon and bowl or wear our spider hand puppet and sneak up from behind. We'll say "Mr. Muffet" and "he" when a boy is on the cushion during the rhyme. Rhymes are really good for helping students learn phonemic awareness. We post with our lessons plans each week the new rhyme we say at Greeting Time. If you're following along with them at home, you could have your child clap out the rhythm or the syllables with you. It's fun to come up with different ways to do it, especially when your child is the one to choose (e.g. patting your head or alternating between patting your legs and clapping).


For our last two days of the week, we will be going Trick-or-treating during Large Group as part of our 'Costume Party' around to five different locations in the school (some classrooms, the kitchen, office etc.). Feel free to send them in costumes (for details, see my emails). We'll focus on "Please", "Thank you" to support our speech therapist's Large Group on polite words, sequencing and following directions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Glad Monster, Sad Monster

We ended up going two ways with Glad Monster, Sad Monster yesterday. One activity in the morning and a different one in the afternoon. Our speech therapist is out today and so because of the success of both activities yesterday, we wanted to switch them between AM and PM and do them again. This is how they went:

Emotional Charting (Tuesday AM/Wednesday PM)

We 'read' the story Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberly  & Anne Miranda. We did this by holding each of the masks up that came with the book and following the pattern of the story but replacing it with scenarios we knew the students had experienced. For example, "The timer rings and I want to keep playing but I have to clean up. That makes me sad." "My parent isn't there when it's time to go home or the bus is running late and I don't see it. That makes me worried."
Then I asked each student how they felt that day and we charted it on our chart (as shown above). Talking about familiar scenarios had them thinking of emotions they felt throughout the day and so we got more the just "happy". We then counted them up and asked which had more and less. They they students picked what they want to do while they are happy and we sang, "If you're happy and you know it, (students selected)" as they went to grab their backpacks.

Emotion Labeling (Tuesday PM/Wednesday AM)

We 'read' the story Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberly  & Anne Miranda. As with the activity above, we did this by holding each of the masks up that came with the book and following the pattern of the story but replacing it with scenarios we knew the students had experienced (for examples see above).
Then each student had a chance to roll the dice with the pictures of the monsters from the book on them (see picture below). Whatever emotion they rolled, we asked them what the emotion looks like or what they might do if they felt that way. Then we sang it to our "If you're happy and you know it" song:

"If your angry and you know it make a frown, 
If your angry and you know it make a frown,
If your angry and you know it and you've really gotta show it, 
If your angry and you know it make a frown."

We also emphasized that it's okay to feel that emotion, especially that it is okay to feel mad or angry. It's what you do that can be okay or not. It's okay to feel angry but it's not okay to push a friend. It's okay to feel angry and it's okay to say, "Stop that, I don't like that".
After each student had a turn, we sang, "If you're happy and you know it, grab your backpack" as they went to grab their backpacks.

We got the visual aides from this site: Making Learning Fun

For more information on emotional coaching, see this post: Crankenstein and Dealing with Emotions

Monday, October 20, 2014

Glad Monster, Sad Monster and Pumpkins

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Glad Monster, Sad Monster Large Group:
We read the book, Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberly and Anne Miranda. We have a dice with the monster faces on each side. Each student gets a turn to roll the dice and decide how we want to act out the emotion displayed on the monster's face. We then sing the song, "If your happy and you know it" with the rolled emotion and student's selected action. For example:
"If your angry and you know it make a frown, if your angry and you know it make a frown, if your angry and you know it and you've really gotta show it, if your angry and you know it make a frown." 
We then mark on a chart which emotion was rolled and at the end talk about which emotion we rolled the most.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Special Needs Dance Class

We love receiving information about resources in the community from our parents to share with everyone. Here is one of those *recommendations:

Utah Dance Artists
11021 S Redwood Rd, South Jordan, UT 84095
(801) 562-0913

UDA Is Starting A Special Needs Class!

"We are excited to start a budding new program at UDA designed for individuals with physical or developmental disabilities such as down syndrome, (ASD) autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and other developmental delays (including those requiring use of a wheelchair).  Our goal is to enrich the lives of these children through the exploration of movement and dance concepts in a safe and structured environment.

"This class will introduce basic movement skills in ballet, jazz, tap and creativity; incorporating songs and games which will allow self-expression.  Our goal is to help these students build personal self-esteem, confidence and respect as they sharpen and develop fine and gross motor skills while equally working on communication, socialization and cooperation with peers and adults. 

"We would love for our UDA family to spread the word about this class! Our goal is to get started in November.  Our first step is to get a list started of children and young adults who are interested. If you know someone who would like to consider this program, please call or email the office to give us their name and contact information to receive more information.  Please spread the word!!!!"

We also have *recommendations for a private speech therapist, a local preschool, Ufit and Center Stage Players. As we get more, we'll put together a resource guide with their information, if you would like it before then (it may not be soon), just send me an email.

*Just as a discloser, we love to share anything that can be of resource to you but this is not recommended by the district or any of us that teach in the classrooms so we can not fund it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

“Swish, Swish and Clomp, Clomp”

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Halloween House:
The students each get a turn deciding what they want in our Halloween House. Sometimes it's spiders, pumpkins, and ghosts, other times it has been Tinkerbell's and Ironman. After the student selects who/what is in the house, they decide what they do. For example, one student said, "pumpkins" and "they go 'ha, ha, ha'". So we sang the following song to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus:
The Pumpkin in our house goes "ha, ha, ha", "ha, ha, ha", "ha, ha, ha", 
The Pumpkin in our house goes "ha, ha, ha",
On Halloween

Spooky Walk:
You can find a copy of the version we use here on youtube:

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything:
We read the story, The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything. While we read it, the students get to act out the parts using different parts of their body (example: "Clomp, Clomp", stomp feet, "Nod, Nod", nodding heads). After the story we talk about if we would be scared and what we would do and how the book had a happy ending and what that was.

Although we will be reading the book ourselves, you can find different readings of it on youtube with pictures from the book. Here is one version:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Language Calendar

Our Speech Therapist Carrie found this awesome calendar with ideas to encourage speech and language development for the month of October. Click here to download and view and/or print it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Where's Your Bone?

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Skeleton, Skeleton, Where's Your Bone?
A play on a favorite game, "Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone?". The students sit in a circle and one member is selected to go and stand with their back to the group. One student hides the bone and the class starts singing, "Doggy, Doggy, where's your bone, somebody took it from your home, guess who, Scooby Doo!". The student goes around the group looking for 'suspicious' classmates. They then ask them, "____________, do you have my bone?" using their classmates names. We adapt it for shorter sentences, phrases and/or signs as students need. Then the person hiding the bone gets to go wait while someone else hides it and the chant is repeated. In our class, the students are getting excited about Halloween and many of it's characters so we will be switching it to a skeleton to make it more exciting and have a simple skeleton piece if they want to wear it.