Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Films about School Life

Teachers TV has a poll featuring the best films about school. The vote is still open if you want to contribute your ideas. I'm afraid I suggested St Trininans - It was the only film name I could think of ! Well the initial poll has been published and I'm pleased to say St Tiranians doesn't feature in the top ten.
The Guardian has an article, a good picture feature and film clips

Monday, 29 December 2008

The Best of Christmas

Here are some of the things I did with my students in December to celebrate Christmas.
Tracks Life Skills (Milestone 7 /Entry 1) Students aged 16-25

Karaoke with a microphone (not plugged in).Students bought in a CD and practised singing their favorite track ready for the Christmas Party. Most students bought in the CD Mama Mia! One student who rarely speaks sung to Boyzone at the top of her voice!
The Luck Dip
We ran a Lucky Dip at the Christmas Fayre. The Christmas Fayre had been organized by another group for their Edexcel Enterprise unit. We shopped for a few "prize items" and also used a bag full of ornaments bought at a car boot sale in the summer. We decorated tissue paper to wrap some presents and used Tesco's cheapest wrapping paper for the rest.

Milestone 4-8 Part time Adult Courses
We couldn't have a joint party like the other programmes so we decided on a daily event for the last week:
Christmas Carols at 11.00
Mince pies were bought, punch was made and fairy cakes were defrosted. Carols had been practised, shakers distributed and we all knew some of the Makaton signs to We Wish you a Merry Christmas.

Secret Santa
Each student in my Daily Living Skills group had £2.00 to buy a present for another student in the class. We discussed the type of present that individuals might like and with a few ideas we headed for the Pound Shop. Gifts such as calendars, ornaments, gloves and mugs were chosen and then secretly wrapped at college in different corners of the classroom. The final touch was a home made label with a short message. Presents were then exchanged with an appropriate greeting and taken home for Christmas Day.

And One Mistake
The fudge -
I knew I shouldn't have gone ahead with it from the moment I put it in my Christmas plan but having made a commitment to the students I soldiered on. It caused me so much stress before hand, and used up a lot of my time. On the day the fudge didn't set and fudge making (which involves boiling sugar) needed constant supervision! I had practised making the fudge at the weekend following an "Easy" fudge recipe. Things were going well, it cooked really easily and only involved Chocolate and Carnation. The only trouble was it didn't taste like fudge and was a bit gooey... So I had to get up early Monday morning to try again this time with a proper fudge recipe. It worked and that was the only saving grace because in the end everyone had a beautiful box of fudge to take home.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas Presence

It was fantastic to see the work of our students showcased in the college reception. A Creative Arts group had designed and made wrapping paper which was used to decorate the Christmas Tree. A board with photos and an explanation of the work nestled among the presents.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Since starting my blog

Since starting my blog in May 2008:

My top 5 blogs entries
Health and Safety
On line activities for teaching 2 digit Addition
ello songs
ealthy eating
Telling the Time

My top 5 labels
Health and Safety
Healthy eating
Age appropriate ( I have very little under this label but it does show that people are very interested in finding resources appropriate to their adult and teenage students .)

My Top 5 referrals
Skills workshop blog spot
Teaching learners with Multiple needs
Teaching All Students blog spot
Cool move

My Top 5 Key word searches (Google and Yahoo)
Teaching Travel to students with learning difficulties
U Tube Learning difficulties
Teaching 2 digit addition
Hello songs
Learning difficulties work wear

Monday, 22 December 2008

Food Hygiene

Here are some links to food hygiene resources suitable for adults with learning difficulties.updated 30/10/15
Sensory world has an interactive hygiene in the kitchen activity ideal for the whiteboard.

NGFL has
A board game to print out and assemble -this can be found at The Fridge Game

The Germ Academy a video about food safety.Details are in my
blog entry More from the makers of Shape Up .Hygiene in the Kitchen

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Using the microwave

Edexcel Cooking and Hygiene at Entry 2 requires the student to understand the safe use of a microwave oven.
The American site GCFLearnFree.org in the Every Day Life section
has a short film about using the microwave followed by some drag drop and click type practice including opening the door,putting in the food and setting the timer on the microwave.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Last day of term

Our students finished at lunch time today and so I am beginning to think about Christmas presents and writng the Christmas cards .

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Drinks I like.

My Independent Living Skills students are all Pre entry students in the range Milestone 4-8 or Essential skills Level 1/2. Their language skills range from non verbal to speaking in short phrases.
I'm working on communication skills and choice making . I am developing spoken language and signs and symbol as appropriate. I am also trying to improve the communication between students .Here are some ideas I am using to develop these within the theme Drinks I like.

Take photos of everyone buying a drinks . Make a PowerPoint .Watch it with the students and develop language skills by encouraging them to talk about what they are doing in the pictures.

Make a Movie of everyone making their drinks. Use Windows Movie maker and set it to music - I have used Bill Withers Lovely Day . Play it back in coffee break and everyone can watch it while they are drinking their coffee .

Make a drinks symbol game using Widgit, Boardmaker or photos. Pairs or a bingo game both work well .

Create a feely bag with objects such as cups spoons and drinks bottle.

Play Kim's Game . Use the object you have collected for the feely bag.

Play What drinks do you like ? Use symbol and picture cards of drinks .Students ask each other the question What drink you like?
Getting the students to talk to each other needs support from the tutor. Develop these skills over a whole term. To begin with you may need to tell the students exactly what to say.Pick a theme such as drinks at a disco /college /party. Set out the cards and prompt one student to ask another student "What drink you like? They will reply using words or sign .The student who asked the question will then pick up the appropriate card e.g coffee from the table and give it to the other student.
This might sound boring but its not and it gets the students talking and listening to each other. Students without language can be successfully included by using signs,symbols or eye contact and the support of staff.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

How do I open a zip file?

There are many educational resources that are now contained in a zip file.I struggled with zip files. Opening a zip file remained a mystery to me for a long time. Every time I tried it said my evaluation copy of WinRar was out of date and advised me to buy . (You can ignore and go straight to extract )
My first breakthrough came when I watched a short explanation of unzipping a template on the Barking College site.(this is useful if you are trying to access one of their many useful resources)
Then recently I watched a You Tube video and realised I didn't even need an Unzip programme as Windows XP has a build in extractor.
So now I know!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Cleaning Washing and Ironing

I have listed some cleaning washing and ironing resources that could be used with adults with learning difficulties.
Skills Workshop has a literacy based resource called The Home (milestone 8/ Entry 1 )

Exercise 2 has pictures of cleaning items to match to words

There is a US worksheet on washing labels which also has a good idea about sending a skills sheet home for the student to practise their skills at home (page 8)

Video Jug has a good straightforward film on how to use a washing machine

Heinemann has sheet of washing symbols to be found in their free sample section literacy pack

This is part of the Sure Skills literacy and numeracy resource packs.

Makaton for Christmas

See also my blog entries Christmas and Makaton.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Money Bingo

You can now find my money bingo by clicking on the link below

Saturday, 6 December 2008

My Crazy Life - Changing Reuben

Reuben is 14 years of age and has an IQ of 154. He describes himself as a square peg in a round hole. This Teachers TV programme follows Reuben's every day life and the challenges he faces along the way.
I gained a good insight into some of the key aspects of Reuben's Aspergers Syndrome from watching the film:

Information has to be broken down into small logical steps to help understanding.
Literal interpretation leads to confusion.
Tend to get obsessed ,doesn’t move on “gets stuck in a groove” .
Phobias– crowds, noise.
Interrupts other because he is focused on self not others .
Not able to deal with other people but a desire to have friends
Different interests from others
A desire to fit in but a realization that he is different
Grey areas – doesn’t like it when issues aren’t clear
Not understanding body language

This film has a wonderful section that explains how the extremely clever Reuben struggles with shopping at a supermarket. It shows him getting “stuck” on the issue of the ice cubes.
Why do they sell ice cubes like that why don’t we just make our own?
Well it might be because someone is having a party or something or going away or going out or something like that they can take it in a cool box
Why can’t they just freeze it?
The freezer might be full of meat and things
Where are they going to put the ice cubes when they get home?
In the cool box… shall we get the bread?
Why don’t they just make room in their freezer?
Not many people would have that many ice trays or may be they are having a party shall we go over here for the bread?
Well couldn’t they just make them up a bit at a time and put them in the coolbox?
Well may be its just a bit labour intensive ...

Every year I have someone with Aspergers Syndrome in my entry level groups. I have sometimes struggled with dealing with the behavior and this film has been very useful.
Many thanks to Reuben and his family for sharing his story.

Check out The Autistic Society website for further information on Aspergers Syndrome.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes UK has been working in partnership with Speakup to produce a new DVD. The DVD aims to help with prevention, understanding and managing diabetes specifically tailored for people with learning disabilities and diabetes. It would be a useful resource if your running a specialist course looking at issues of health and diabetes and a valuable resource to recommend to carers and your students with diabetes.
It can be watched at
and is available free (charge for postage and packing) from

Thursday, 4 December 2008

More Hello Songs

Two songs to use with adults with learning disabilities (pre entry)

The tune is "Frere Jacques" (Links to the tune on You Tube )
Hello, (student's Name) Hello, (student's name)
How are you? How are you?
We are glad to see you,We are glad to see you .
Here with us , here with us .

Sung to: "Happy and You Know It" (links to the tune on You Tube)
Good morning, good morning.. How are you?
Good morning, good morning. How are you?
How are you this day.
I'm happy today.
Good morning, good morning.. How are you?

Explore this pre school website for other songs
and the TES thread on the Special Education forum

See my other entries under the label Hello Songs

Monday, 1 December 2008

Four Special Lives

Its Disability awareness week on Teachers TV. They are showing a series called Four Special Lives .
It follows the lives of four people in their mid 50's people with learning disabilities.
The first episode follows their progress from childhood through their schooling and right up to the present day.

There is some fascinating archive film along with with recent footage and interviews. I found the footage showing the experience of work very interesting.

Episode 1 can be watched on Tuesday Dec 2nd at 08:00 , 16:00 and 21:00 but is also available to download. Its 45 minutes long but even if you can't watch it all you can dip in and enjoy the experience.