Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spelling Words

We are still alive!  Life has been more than a little busy and I'm not really sure what I want to do with this blog, but for now, I might use it as a place to share ideas that we come across that seem to be working for us.  Sweet Pea is fully included in the 1st grade now and she is doing very well.  She has her struggles, but she is blessed with a great team and we are all working together to try to give her the educational support that she needs to be successful.

Spelling tests have been a major issue for us.  At first the tests weren't modified at all.  Full number of words (10), same complex sentence, everything was the same as every other student.  This did not work for Sweet Pea and she had almost no success with them.  We have started implementing different ideas over the course of the school year and I feel like we are finally getting traction.

What is working:
  • We have shortened her list to only 6 words.
  • Letter blocks to show general outline of words (you will see this used in the video).
  • Her sentence is simpler and shorter.
  • Her sentence is tested by:
    • using word blocks that she picks from including punctuation
    • then she copies the sentence that she created from the word blocks
We also have been creating videos to help her practice both her sight words and spelling words.  I used to make them all myself, but after hearing that she could use the app Explain Everything on the classroom iPad, I thought I would incorporate her into this weeks video.  Here is the final outcome and she is very proud of it!

A great program that we have also enjoyed using is Spelling City which is accessible via both their website and an iPad app.

Hope this helps others!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

It is so hard to believe that Sweet Pea started Kindergarten today!  It was only for an hour and parents were there the entire time, but it was her first official day.  She is in a typical kinder classroom with a 2:1 aide there to assist when needed.  She really does a good job following her peers so I think this will be another good year for her, but it is still nerve wrecking!

Tomorrow will be a full day so let's hope she does just as good!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sweet Pea Started Dance Class

Sweet Pea has fallen in love with dancing since the Twinkle Toes movie has played about 5,000 times in our house.  A friend finally convinced me that I should try a dance class at a local studio and I could not be happier that I listened to her!  Sweet Pea has now gone to class twice and she absolutely loves it!  The other students have been in the class for a few months, but Sweet Pea is trying her best to keep up and I think you will agree, she is doing a darn good job too!  Way to go Sweet Pea!!!!!!

Here are videos from her first week:

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

Merry Christmas

We have been very busy enjoying the Christmas season and here are a few pictures to share with you all.

Sweet Pea's preschools holiday breakfast:

Santa came to visit
Their friend L did face/hand paintings

Angel made snowman & reindeer donuts and enjoyed the frosting the best

The kids sang a few holiday songs
Angel's preschool did a holiday concert as well.  We were fairly positive that Angel would not sing or even go on stage, but she did!  Cookie bribe apparently worked!  She sang most of the songs and looked pretty happy doing it.  Here is a video clip of one song.  She is sitting on the ground, the third row back so it is hard to see her:

This is at the end of the performance

Angel being cute while dressed up

We have enjoyed Candy Cane Lane:

"I'm scared of the Grinch"
The irony is that Angel is the Grinch!

Sweet Pea enjoyed visiting with Santa again...Angel, not so much

Sweet Pea's favorite mode of transportation

This was the activity of the night...
In a variety of forms...

Enjoying the trains

Waiting for Santa...she loved this Magnolia pod

One of Angel's preferred modes of transportation

 Tonight they even sold hot cocoa to Candy Cane Lane visitors.  They made $18 in 10 minutes!  Do these kids have a sales career in their future?

We've done a few other things, but photos either weren't taken or can't be found. :-)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trouble Times Two

We captured another video tonight that was just too good to pass up posting.  Just a taste of the chaos that happens in our house.  Angel teaches Sweet Pea things all the time...they just are not normally quite this entertaining.  The upside is that it is a great example of taking turns!  The downside is that nothing will ever be safe in the fridge or freezer again.

Twinkle Toes

Sweet Pea is INFATUATED with Twinkle Toes: The Movie by Skechers. She was given the DVD by the amazing people at Skechers last Thursday and hasn't stopped watching it in a week!  It's about a girl who has terrible stage fright, but with the help of some friends she overcomes it.  She wears shoes that sparkle and light up and you will notice that Sweet Pea is wearing a pair of them as well in this video (also courtesy of Skechers).  While the story is cute, what we like most is that it is getting Sweet Pea to dance!  She rarely dances, but she is dancing along with this video!  Her dancing is getting better and more involved with each viewing.  I get the biggest smile when I watch her.  The problem is...she doesn't like me watching!  If she turns around and see me watching she stops, sits down and yells at me to go away.  Lovely!  Luckily, Mommy is a little sneaky and I turned my back to her with the camera in between my arm and body to record this video.  You will see her looking back to see if I'm watching and watch for her huge grin when she thinks I'm not!  It's priceless!  I hope you all enjoy this video as much as we do!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Learning Program

Today is October 1st and marks the beginning of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  I don't have any big plans to celebrate it this year on the blog, but who knows...maybe I will actually make a few posts!  Here is at least one for the month that shows how my little girl is learning to read and loving every step of the process.

I enrolled Sweet Pea in Level 1 of the Learning Program this fall and I'm very happy with the program that is being run by Club 21 in partnership with DSFOC.  I've had some of the materials for a couple of years, but I needed to actually enroll to get my behind in gear to use them regularly.  I've only attended one class so far, but I'm getting into a good routine of pulling out the books and working with Sweet Pea regularly.  She LOVES the books and requests them regularly.  I try to not let her access them without me, but sometimes she gets her hands on them and I'm happy that out of all the toys in the house she wants to play with those!

Here are some videos that I wanted to share of Sweet Pea reading through our session. 

The first video is what initiated this post.  I wanted to share a cool technique that is really working for us.  The books are all available via pdf so I used the iPad to screencast me reading the book using a laser pointer to highlight the words.  She LOVES the 3 books that I did this with.  She follows along and engages verbally as it is being read to her.  I am going to have Daddy and Grandma read some too so she has more variety and we can keep them fun.  I am happy that she is actually looking at each word as it is being said as when I read the books in person with her she is normally looking at everything in the room EXCEPT the words when it is my turn.  This was my first attempt and I will record future ones a little slower, but I'm still happy with the result.  Hope you like the idea and might be able to incorporate it into other uses too!  (BTW I used Explain Everything to create the video.  The app came highly recommended from the Technology for the Journey Conference so I decided to splurge and pay the $3 for it.  So far I'm happy with the purchase as it is very easy to use.

This video shows an example of how Sweet Pea isn't looking at the words as I point to them.  It's not the best video as I'm holding the camera so I can't be at the normal angle so that I'm not covering the words with my pencil, but she does the same thing when I'm in the preferred position as well.  Sorry for the bad audio!

This next video shows how she likes to assume she knows the words without really looking at what she is doing.  She catches on though...

Now this video is just strange.  You get to watch her recognize a word upside down, a freak out because the card isn't staying put and her guessing two words before even turning the cards over to see the words.  But she enjoys this activity and I just recently added the part where she picks the card and she is a big fan of that change.

The final video (ran out of space on my phone partway through it) was Sweet Pea doing one of the accompanying worksheets.  She requested this activity by saying "write" so I gladly gave this sweet little girl what she wanted.

I look forward to lots of progress in the next few months and I will have a reader on my hands before I know it!