Friday, March 25, 2016

Host a Disability Awareness Day at Your School!

Tis the season for spreading disability awareness! Spring seems to be the time where many groups and people engage in spreading awareness since World Down Syndrome Day is in March and Autism Awareness month is April! 

Every other year, I host a disability awareness day event at my school! Starting this a few years ago was the best thing I ever did! We get such a great response from everyone and the students just love it! It's neat to see how our regular Ed students transform and take on a better understanding of the "special" students that they go to school with every day! They become more caring and understanding. And hearing them talk about it for days, or come up to you a day or two later and say, "Now I understand why _______ does that in class" is just priceless! 

I host the event for 3rd-5th graders at my school. I do it during the school day and split it into two sessions. Three classes attend the morning session and three classes attend the afternoon session. I have 6 stations. Each station lasts for 20 minutes and has 2-3 activities they must complete. I count students off; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, determine who starts where and then students rotate clockwise every 20 minutes when I blow a whistle! With six 20-minute stations and the time taken to explain procedures and count students off, each session lasts for 2 1/4 hours. 

Here's a look at the activities and the six different stations.
I place task cards in all six stations, so students know exactly what to do! My students run the stations! I also have an adult volunteer in each station (typically the parents of my students), and the classroom teachers attending with their class also help in each station!
All stations are numbered.
I tape the numbers cards on the ends of the table and place the task cards in 8 x 10 plastic standing photo frames from Dollar Tree to stand on each table (as shown below).

Here is the letter I send out to my parents....

....and the letter I send out to the teachers.

Here's a peek at one of the activities at the "Physical Impairment" Station. 

The students at this station are learning sign language!

Here's a "large picture" of the event. You can see 5 of the centers in action here to get an idea of how it looks.

It's been two years since I held the event (since I  hold it every other year), but I'll be hosting again this May, and I cannot wait! 

I'd love to see others spreading awareness among our youth and in our schools, so I've compiled all of these resources and printables into a "Complete Disability Awareness Day Kit!"

With this kit, you can easily host your own Disability Awareness Day with very little prep or stress! 

If it's not included in this kit, you most likely already have it in your classroom!

All activity printables, signs, teacher letters, parent letters, letterhead, etc. are included. 

In fact, all you'll need to gather to host your event is:
cotton balls
yard sticks
masking tape
containers with lids
socks or gloves
radio/listening station

I hope you'll consider hosting your own Disability Awareness Day event! It really is life-changing for all of the students, and even for some of the staff, and our general Ed students need to have a better understanding of what these individuals live with every day! It will also be life-changing for you! Also when your students can run the stations, it gives them a great sense of belonging and builds their confidence!

If you'd like to ease your planning, you can take a look at my kit by clicking below!! Also, you can read another post I did about this event here.

Feel free to drop me any questions you may have about planning your event!

Bunches of Luck & Fun,

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

5 Easter Freebies!!!

Easter is just a few days away!!! I don't get to do much Easter in my classroom because we are always on Spring Break the week before! But if you're in school all week, I have several Easter freebies in my store that you're students will love!! 
Students solve these rhymes by reading the riddle on each egg!

Students make new words to rhyme.
Use this open-ended recording sheet for your students to record all of their plastic egg activities! 

Place different objects in plastic eggs and see if they sink or float. 

Students just learning to count objects can practice their counting skills by counting jellybeans and matching them to the correct number. 

These are all FREE! Click on each picture to download each freebie! 

My students also love building sentences with my Scrambled Sentences resources! Here is the Easter Edition my students just did!

Each set includes 4, 5, and 6 word sentences for easy differentiation! The cards are also color and pattern coded for easy organization. 

Click here for a closer look! 

Sending bunches of Easter wishes your way, 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Our WDSD Classroom Celebration!

I promised I'd be back to share pictures of #WDSD16 in my classroom! Our spring break actually started today, but that didn't stop us! We celebrated WDSD in my classroom on Friday!! {Side note: Isn't this photo the cutest!? I've been saving it since last year to share with you!} 

We wore crazy socks!!

We all wore blue and yellow ribbons!!

We watched this video from "Just Like You, Inc." You can view it on You Tube here. 

 We learned facts about kids with Down syndrome!

This sheet is from my WDSD Freebie Set!
We also made the adorable hats from this set, but I completely forgot to take pics of them in their hats!!! :(

And at the end of the day, we enjoyed yellow and blue mini cupcakes, so they could each enjoy one of both colors!!

 We had alot of fun celebrating, spreading awareness at my school, and learning more about Down syndrome! This is my first year teaching that I have not had any students with Down syndrome in my class, and I have really missed working with this special group of individuals this year!!! Cheers to Down syndrome!!!! :) :) :)

I also started a collaborative Pinterest board in honor of these neat and loving individuals for WDSD! 

If you'd like access to pin your images, resources, and celebrations onto this board, leave your email in the comments and I'll send you an invite!! :)

Bunches of Love for Down Syndrome, 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

11 Ways to Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day!!!

Mark your calendars!!! World Down Syndrome Day is coming up on March 21st. WDSD is celebrated on the 21st day of March to honor and share our love for those living with Down syndrome and to create awareness for others. March 21st (3/21) was chosen as the day to signify the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome, which is what causes Down syndrome.

Every year on WDSD, we celebrate these awesome individuals in my classroom! I'm here to share some ideas with you to help you celebrate WDSD in your classroom!

1. Participate in the "Lots of Socks" campaign. 

The World Down Syndrome Day Organization is hosting the "Lots of Socks" campaign again this year! Wear lots of socks, colorful socks, crazy socks, or maybe even 3 socks to represent the 3 chromosomes. Stand out so others will ask you about your socks so you can share awareness and get others talking about WDSD! You can learn more about this campaign here and print flyers to spread the word and share with your colleagues here and here

My students wearing LOTS of SOCKS!

We even pinned them to our pants and shirts!
 2. Dress in blue and yellow or wear blue and yellow ribbons.
Blue and yellow are the designated colors for WDSD, so we also wear blue and yellow ribbons on our shirts.

3. Rock your designer genes (jeans).

LOL!!! :) One of my students did this last year.....LOVE!!!!!!!!!

4. Bring in blue and yellow cupcakes.

5. Show these videos at your school.

Just Like You, Inc. 

6. Read this book.

You can find it on Amazon here.

7. Share with your class or have them share 21 facts about Down syndrome.

8. Have your students share 21 things they love about their classmate, friend, or family member with Down syndrome.

9. Do something special for the children at your school or in your community with Down syndrome.

10. Host a Disability Awareness Day!

You can read all about the Disability Awareness Day I hosted at my school here, and get most of the materials needed to host your own!

11. Get the word out there!

In addition to celebrating in your classroom or at your school, get the word out there! Share WDSD and the "Lots of Socks" campaign with your family and friends and on your social media sites. Use the hashtag #wdsd16. 

UPDATE (3/13/16): I've created a freebie set you can download that includes a hat template, materials for making your ribbons, gift tags, and 21 facts about kids with DS. You can grab it here for free!!

MARCH 21st

Mark your calendars and spread the love and awareness for these precious individuals! 

I'll be back on the 22nd to share pictures of our 2016 WDSD classroom celebration and hopefully give you the opportunity to link up your own photos! So take lots of photos!!!!! 

Feel free to save and use this image to promote WDSD to your friends, family, parents, and colleagues!!!

Bunches of Love,