Childcraft Lotto games

As I was looking through catalogs last year, I came across Childcraft's LOTTO games (click on the Childcraft catalog, then search for LOTTO) and I love them!!

Each grade level (PreK-K, 1st grade and 2nd grade) has lotto games for Science, Social Studies, Literacy and Math - and each set has 4 lotto boards. Each set is $39.99.
All told, there are 48 total boards if you purchase them all, and they all address grade level standards. And they can be used to play concentration-type memory games, BINGO or match the pictures to the board to play LOTTO. I typically use them as LOTTO games because several of my students are working on matching pictures.

Some of the topics covered include ...
Math - number recognition, multiplication, symmetry, geometric shapes
Literacy - plurals, letter sounds, consonant blends, adjectives
Social Studies - goods and services, map symbols, community signs, colonial days
Science - solids/liquids/gases, simple machines, seasons, habitats

Some of the pictures are identical to those on the boards, some are not (for example, in the colonial days game, the pictures on the board are of "present" and the pictures for matching are of "past", and you match a picture of how people did things in colonial days to how we do them today).

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I *love* these! They provide an activity that my students can successfully engage in while introducing them to the concepts covered by the standards. I find the social studies and science ones to be the most useful, as it's harder for me to adapt those standards than the language arts and math ones.

Here are pictures of the "inventions" board and how I use it with my class.

I put all of the loose pictures in a basket or box, shake it up, and have one student pick a card - then I look at it with them and say "This is what a bicycle looked like when it was invented in 1870 - can you show me what a bicycle looks like today?" then they find the bicycle on their board and match the picture.

What are some of your favorite materials for accessing or adapting the general education standards/curriculum?

Materials for accessing general education standards

I listed some of my favorite materials for accessing standards in a previous post, here are some others that I love from Mayer-Johnson (the company that makes Boardmaker). They have several books that are great at tying literacy, math and science/social studies together very neatly. I have (and frequently use) all of the following and highly recommend them:

All About Animals - WONDERFUL resource, including counting activities, spelling, sentence writing, and patterning activities (and more) all focusing on animals. There are activities to sort animals according to how they move or where they live. The best part is that there are four levels of EACH activity - Let's use, for example, the sorting activity I mentioned. The lowest level has pictures already on the chart (sorting by two) and the student simply matches the pictures. The next level has small pictures at the top of the chart as a cue to where each picture goes. The third level has words at the top of the chart and the hardest level doesn't have any cues.

Hands-on Reading - Another great resource. Each volume is associated with several popular and readily-available picture books organized into units based on common classroom themes. For each book there are multiple communication boards and several activities (cooking activities, songs, cut/paste, take-home books) and comprehension questions with picture choices.

Simple Symbol Stories has stories for long and short vowels. Each story is written with Boardmaker symbols along with the text. There are comprehension questions for each story.

Math Exercises for Nonreaders and Step Up to Math both have excellent math activities using boardmaker symbols. Math Exercises has lots of activities for identifying "more", counting pictures, connect-the-dots to practicing numerical order, and math problems based on grocery shopping. Step Up to Math includes sequencing and patterning activities, number recognition, counting and identifying same and different.

Curriculum Experiences - I use the primary and elementary levels, there is also a high school level available. These include original stories (using Boardmaker symbols) addressing different science or social studies topics (see an example of a Thanksgiving story at my class blog). Following each story are math and literacy activities. These are *great* ways to focus on (mostly social studies) topics that the general education classes are studying at a level that my students can understand and actively participate. (They do address a couple of science topics like grooming and forest animals - but for science I prefer ...

Step by Step Science, which has lots of very simple science experiments that my kids find fascinating (like "How do you make mud?"). Each experiment includes pictures of the materials you need, a page for making a hypothesis (they call it a guess), instructions for the experiment and charts for the results. There are also games, songs, and other activities as well.

Health Units for nonreaders is another science resource for health units. There are stories (written with Boardmaker symbols along with text) about different topics followed by questions (also with symbols) about the story (with picture choices for the answers).

Stories About Me is a good resource for addressing writing standards. The stories are written with picture symbols and the student fills in the blanks to write stories about activities and events relevant to their life (for example, participating in Special Olympics or going on a field trip).

And finally, Boardmaker's Curriculum Companions. These are software programs that provide activities related to general education standards. I have only recently purchased two of these and haven't used them yet in class, but from my initial experience previewing the activities it looks very promising! There are reading and writing activities that can be adapted for all levels. The software tracks student progress and the teacher can print progress reports, which is always great!

As a final word, just to reiterate - I love these resources (and many others from Mayer-Johnson) because they are created specifically for students with communication disorders and lower cognitive skills. They focus on the "big idea" of the general education standards using activities that my kids can do and actually *get* something out of. I don't have to do much adapting or modifying (like I do with most other activities) because it's already done!

Accessing and Adapting curriculum

In my last post, I addressed the fact that, in the U.S. at least, we are required to teach the general education curriculum to all students - even those with significant cognitive delays. I happen to teach in Georgia, so I will use Georgia standards but they are similar from state to state.

From regarding students with significant cognitive impairments:

The new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) are Georgia’s curriculum standards for all students in Kindergarten through 12th grade in the areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) require access to appropriate grade-level educational standards developed by the state be provided for students with significant cognitive impairments.
Access to the GPS can be in the form of objectives in the Individual Education Program (IEP) aligned (matched) with standards in the GPS or in the form of grade-level activities in which the student will practice and use skills and knowledge. Students will be assessed on using these skills as part of their educational program through the Georgia Alternative Assessment (GAA), when required.
Providing access to grade-level GPS will be different for each student, based upon individual strengths and needs. Teachers may utilize different types of instructional materials to teach academic content (including pictures, symbols, tactile objects, adapted books, and assistive technology), and students may show understanding using different methods (including using Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) devices to answer questions, matching symbols or tactile objects, using switches to make choices). Other skills important to the student, such as adapted behavior, self-help, communication and motor, will continue to be a part of each student’s IEP and instructional day.

So, how do I go about planning essons that allow my students to access the general eucation curriculum?

The first thing I do is go through all of the standards for each grade level and choose the ones that I think are most relevant to my students. Then, because I have students in every grade, I look across grade levels and see how I can use one or two activities or lessons to address different standards. (For example, 4th graders learn about simple machines - including inclined planes, 2nd graders learn about motion - including rolling objects down inclines of different angles to see how the speed changes, kindergarteners learn about describing the motion of objects - I can address all of these with one "unit" of lessons/activities.)

Once I've decided which standards to focus on, I look at each grade level's curriculum maps so I can try to coordinate and work on topics at the same time as the general education classes as much as possible. This way if a grade level plans a special speaker, field trip, project, etc. my students can be included and it will me more meaninfgul to them (as they are learning about the topic at that time).

The Georgia Standards Resource Guide instructs teachers to identify the "Big idea" of the standard, determine what all students are expected to learn and then plan activities to help students understand that big idea. From here, I'll show you an example. Here's a kindergarten, 2nd and 4th grade standard - I've italicized the portion I will address with my students
Kindergarten: SKP2. Students will investigate different types of motion.
a. Sort objects into categories according to their motion. (straight, zigzag, round and round, back and forth, fast and slow, and motionless)
b. Push, pull, and roll common objects and describe their motions.
Second grade: S2P3. Students will demonstrate changes in speed and direction using pushes and pulls.
a. Demonstrate how pushing and pulling an object affects the motion of the object.
b. Demonstrate the effects of changes of speed on an object.
Fourth grade: S4P3. Students will demonstrate the relationship between the application of a force and the resulting change in position and motion on an object.
a. Identify simple machines and explain their uses (lever, pulley, wedge, inclined plane, screw, wheel and axle).
b. Using different size objects, observe how force affects speed and motion.
c. Explain what happens to the speed or direction of an object when a greater force than the initial one is applied.
d. Demonstrate the effect of gravitational force on the motion of an object.
I print out boardmaker pictures of important vocabulary (push, pull, fast, slow, lever, pulley, wedge, inclined plane, screw, wheel and axle). I also print pictures of examples of simple machines and of things that move back/forth, round and round, and straight.
I also use boardmaker pictures to write a very simple explanation of the ideas (i.e. if you push a toy car hard, it will go fast ... if you push a toy car soft, it will go slow) to make a book for the unit. On the first couple of days, we read the book together as a class and I show concrete examples of the concepts. (i.e. I push a toy car hard and soft - then I let the students do the same). I find different ways to illustrate the concepts and use the same terminology and simple explanations repetetively. We play matching games with the vocabulary pictures (most of my students have IEP goals of matching pictures), practice with flashcards (which one of these is a pulley?), sorting (fast and slow animals - using color cues for some students - fast animals are on red cards, slow ones on blue cards, then they sort by color and we then go through the animals and tell them the jaguar is fast, etc.). We count, add, make patterns and graphs with pulleys, levers, wedges, etc. in math. We color, cut out, etc pictures of things that move back and forth, things that go round and round, etc. to work on fine motor skills. We trace, copy or write sentences ("A turtle is slow.", "This is a wedge.") to describe pictures.
Here are some examples of activities we did in my class to wrap up our unit focusing on these standards:

We made our own simple machines.
We found examples of different simple machines around our school.

The fourth graders built complex machines and presented them to us, pointing out the simple machines that made them up.

This activity was fun to do on the interactive whiteboard.
We found examples of machines here and here.
We pulled each other on scooters to illustrate fast and slow.