October 2014


Word of the Month

inclusion: Inclusion is the act of including someone in something, like a school, classroom, club or team.

Big image


During our third week of reading Out of My Mind, we were introduced to Melody's furry friend, Butterscotch and we quickly learned how attentive he is to Melody's needs early in the story. This prompted a great discussion on how animals such as dogs, dolphins and horses can help people with various disabilities. We read Carolyn Arnold's story, A Guide Dog Puppy Grows Up, and discussed how guide dogs can help blind people. This book and these conversations led to the introduction of the following video (see below) from United Cerebral Palsy Los Angeles (UCPLA). As Victoria says at the end of the video, people with disabilities are just like the people next door. They aren't looking for any special treatment. They just want to be treated like regular people.
Dolphins Spark Friendships for Kids with Disabilities

"We shall never know the all the good that a simple smile can do." - Mother Theresa

We often refer to the part in Out of My Mind when Melody is describing that when the weather is nice, she sits outside to watch the "regular" kids play. She says that it would be nice if somebody would say, "Hi," but instead they "get treated like [they're] invisible."

I have had a few students tell me that since we read this and have had these discussions, they have seen people with disabilities while out in our community and have smiled and said hello.

Our students are awesome!

Big image

Stephen Hawking

Melody's admiration of Stephen Hawking and frequent mention of his name throughout Sharon Draper's Out of My Mind, allowed us a great opportunity to introduce him to our students. It also gave us another avenue to discuss how important it is to not judge a book by its cover and how you should never underestimate someone, including yourself.

Given the latest ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that was highly publicized over the summer, many of the students have already heard about this disease, but they weren't familiar with Mr. Hawking's advancements in science nor his brilliant mind. Click here for a short video biography about this man that some say is the smartest man alive today and possibly the smartest man we've seen since Albert Einstein.

Big image
Portrait of Stephen Hawking outside the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge. Credit: Jason Bye
Big image

Alex the Parrot

In 1977, graduate student Irene Pepperberg walked into a pet store and bought a year-old African grey parrot. Because she was going to study him, she decided to call him Alex--short for Avian Learning EXperiment. At that time, most scientists thought that the bigger the brain, the smarter the creature; they studied great apes and dolphins. African greys, with their walnut-sized "birdbrains," were pretty much ignored--until Alex.

His intelligence surprised everyone, including Irene. He learned to count, add, and subtract; to recognize shapes, sizes, and colors; and to speak, and understand, hundreds of words. These were things no other animal could do. Alex wasn't supposed to have the brainpower to do them, either. But he did them anyway.

Accompanied by Meilo So's stunning illustrations, Alex and Irene's story is one of groundbreaking discoveries about animal intelligence, hard work, and the loving bonds of a unique friendship. (Summary from Amazon)

Different Types of Communication

Over the next few Fridays in November, with the help from UCPLA and Kim from Signing Time Academy, the students will be learning that many individuals with developmental disabilities also have hearing loss. There are a number of UCPLA residents that use American Sign Language, hearing aids and other adaptive technology to communicate.

Alex the Parrot, by Stephanie Spinner sends the message that we shouldn't underestimate the power and capabilities of another living being. The students were introduced to Alex's story and were shown the video in the Safeshare link above.

November is going to be an incredible month! We will be learning some basic ASL signs via Skype from Kim at Signing Time Academy. We will also get to meet Bear, the therapy dog and his trainer, Robyn Zelden. As we celebrate career week at our school, they students will be introduced to the careers associated with therapy animals and ASL interpreters. Author and UCPLA client, Leigh Baker will also be coming to share her book with the students.

We Traveled Over 15,000 Miles Without Ever Leaving Camp Read Smore

In October, we Skyped with friends in North Carolina (Mystery Skype), the Bahamas (with Jillian Morris to learn about sharks) and Kenya, Africa (to simply say hello and ask/answer questions). Scroll down to learn more about these incredible experiences.

In addition, Mrs. Tafoya's class traveled even farther in their participation of the Global Cultural Video Message Exchange. We shared videos answering cultural questions across the states and across the globe to Greece, India, Africa, Venezula, Austrailia, Canada and more! Still shots from Mrs. Tafoya's class videos can be seen below. Click here to watch videos shared from around the world! (Click on the location tags to see videos.)

Big image

Sharks4Kids Skype!

Our students were thrilled to meet Jillian Morris, a marine biologist with Sharks4Kids via Skype. From a tiny little island in the Bahamas, called Bimini, she taught us about sharks and the importance of protecting them. In the days preceding our Skype, we became familiar with Sharks4Kids and Jillian by watching some of the amazing videos on their website. The students especially loved the “Fintastic” video (below) on “Norman the Nurse Shark.” We had our own “Shark Week” and each day the students received a fun shark related activity, The day of the Skype was incredible! Jillian was able to Skype with all 500 of our students over three different sessions in ONE morning! Each Skype session had about 160 students and each one was as fresh as the first. They loved it and are still talking about it. Our third graders have decided to use sharks for their persuasive writing unit and are looking forward to collaborating with Sharks4Kids and sharing their work with Jillian upon their project's completion. I wholeheartedly agree with Jillian when she says that, “Sharks4Kids is creating the next generation of ocean and shark advocates. They have a voice and they will be heard!” Thank you Jillian and Sharks4Kids for teaching us and for providing a place where they can do just that.
Meet Norman the Nurse Shark - FIN-tastic Adventures Episode 1
Big image
Big image
Big image

Happy Birthday Jillian!

After our Skype, we discovered it was Jillian's birthday so we put together a quick picture to send to her. Happy Birthday Jillian! We are so happy to know you and learn from you and Sharks4Kids!
Big image

We Skyped with some new friends in Kenya, Africa!

Through our Global Video Message Exchange with Mrs. Tafoya's 4th graders, we met Livingstone Kegode. He's a teacher in Kenya, Africa and this morning Mrs. Tafoya's class was able to Skype with him. It was 9am here and 7pm there, so he joined with a few of his neighbors. One of them is sharing her Tennis trophy in the bottom right picture. Thanks to technology, our world is growing so much smaller. It's such a fun time to live and learn in!
Big image

Mystery Skype with 4th Graders From California to North Carolina

Our 4th graders met fellow 4th graders in North Carolina for their first Mystery Skype on October 10th. Special thanks to our awesome 4th grade teachers for coming along on this adventure and to Mrs. Grimes and her students for joining in on the fun from across the country.
Big image

October is Oz Month and Finally Time to Celebrate Our Wonderful Readers!

NACP Summer Reading Challenge

October is Oz month at Camp Read Smore and Ms. Sutton and I are very excited to finally celebrate our Wonderful Readers of Oz! In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, last June, we gave students a challenge for their summer reading (see video above). Any student who moved up one reading level over the summer would be invited to a special screening of the Wizard of Oz at the end of October. Rumors around the Emerald City that many NACP students have moved up in reading levels have proved to be true! 140 students will be celebrate their reading successes together in just a few days!

The images below were taken from our special Oz trivia videos that the students were shown each week during Oz month. They feature the biggest Oz fan IN THE WORLD, Ms. Sutton. Check them out and see if you learn something new about the books and the film! You will find the links under the image below.

Big image

Wizard of Ahhhs (music video) by Todrick Hall

Ms. Sutton shared this video with me and I must share it with you. It's amazing and will leave you toe-tapping and mesmerized. I highly encourage you to find seven minutes to watch it in it's entirety. It's a wonderful modern twist on a classic tale. Enjoy! (Link can be found underneath image below.)
Big image

Wonderful Readers of Oz Pins

Each super reader was given a Wonderful Reader of Oz pin. In addition, as they left the celebration, they reached into a black bag to see what they would get from the Wizard: Home, Love, Knowledge or Courage.
Big image