Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Activities Kick Off

I don't know about your neck of the woods but here in Connecticut we have seen some pretty good summer weather despite it still not being officially summer. That in mind, I thought it would be a fun post to write up some fun ways to kick off to a good summer!
A few ideas and resources to get your summer mojo going:
1. Field day at school. Consult with the APE teacher or TVI and find out what activities are planned for your child. Review these activities with your child to give them a heads up on the activities. It is helpful if you can support this because depending on your APE or TVI's caseload, their frequency to help with this the day before is usually hard. Make sure you also think about sending in a hat for help with the bright sun. Other things that may be helpful are tactile maps (consult OM), guide wire, tethers, etc. for running or relay activities (consult APE) and visual modifications (consult TVI). Some visual mods are using red duct tape around a target to highlight it, making an identical game board so the child doesn't have to look far to see things, etc. Lastly, peer buddy support (consult classroom teacher). Instead of having the para assist in field day, use a peer buddy or buddies for support. It's OKAY for the paras to hang back and supervise.

2. has some activities for youngsters on Pinterest:

3. Family Fun website (which is a GEM! I love scouring their magazine and site for ideas, recipes, handouts---everything!!). I know it can be overwhelming when looking thru a site or magazine like this when you don't know how to do the modifications for out kiddos. No worries! I happily spent some time this fine not-quite-yet summer evening and scouted out some starter ideas:
I loved their backyard activities: Not all of them are totally doable but most of the forts & structure section are doable for our kids (and their sighted siblings). Just remember, make the mods based on your child's visual needs. It doesn't have to be a special ed project. Something else to keep in mind: Even if it is a little tough for our kids, that's still OKAY! When it (the project, fort, etc.) is on our kids own turf, it gives a bit more confidence to jump in and explore. Then you can invite neighborhood kids over.

Thought about making a sensory garden? 

Garden BedThat's a great idea for preschool through school age AND kids who are MIVI/DB. I had a garden plot when I was a DB teacher and we loved it! We planted all kinds of textured plants and herbs that had great smells (chocolate mint!). I did this in Vegas so if we can make this work there, you can make it work anywhere. I found a link on making a gardening bed on FF, You can also make smaller beds and make them by theme: a touch garden, smell garden, edible garden---ideas are endless.....

I liked this idea: It's a multitasking bench that is portable-

Multitasking Bench, Goal & Carrier
- The idea itself is just cool for typical kids but here's my ideas on how this could be a gem for our kids. First, you can add on things that is helpful for your child (think a built on finished basket), Next, add some texture or permanently attach some items that can fall off by string (the child trails the string to retrieve the item). Why is this a cool idea? Because sometimes our kids, especially those who are MIVI or ASD/VI need that permanent place that they know and when you summer vacay it in a new place, it may be hard to play. If they get to know their 'summer play table' then you can add on when in a new place and keep consistency. I will admit, this does look a bit bulky but I think with the right amount of flair and help from someone who can use tools, this idea has potential....

Water FUN!
First, let me plead with you to enroll your child in swim lessons! Swimming is an excellent sport/recreation & leisure activity for our kids (usually at any level so MIVI kids, too!). It's a lifelong activity that our kids can really thrive in. At Camp Abilities CT this year our goal is to teach every kid how to swim!! It can be a tad tough some times for parks and rec places to agree to swim lessons for our kids. This makes me frustrated! Fight smarter, not harder when this happens. Do your homework and get some materials to show that this is a doable sport and not a bigger liability for places. In fact, it gives me an idea! I am going to do some leg work for you and come up with how to teach blind kids to swim so you can use it as a resource. Sound good?

Here's some ideas for preschool fun with water:

Water Works
Just remember--these ideas are doable! You may just have to make the contrast stronger or put the pool in a more shaded area. Match textures instead of colors for our totally blind little ones!

Hopefully this is enough to get you started! Have you seen or did something that was cool for summer activities? Email me the details and I will be happy to share!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beep Kickball fun

I thought it would be fun to show some of us teachers (including me!!) having fun with beep kickball. We decided to pull some pranks on each other while playing. You can also see how beep kickball is played. Notice the teacher positions the athlete that is at bat. This is definitely not an instruction video but I thought it would be fun to share!

Beep Kickball!!

I know what you are visited my blog this past week and were bummed because I hadn't posted anything new. I know, I know, but I had good reason. This past week I purchased two new beep kickballs and took them to camp to try them out and now I am blogging all about it. I got word of beep kickball and was definitely intrigued about it. After all, who doesn't love kickball? We gave it a test run this past weekend program and it was a huge hit! Our students loved it! They had a great success rate. Here's all the info on beep kickball. 
First, here's the site where you can purchase the beep kickballs and get more information:

Second, here's the beep kickball:

And this is how you play:
 Beep Kickball Guide
 Compiled by John Peralta, Adapted PE Teacher, modified by Judy Byrd
        Six (6) innings of play, unless more are needed to break a tie.
        Three (3) outs per inning. An out is made if the ball if fielded before the runner gets to his or her padded cylinder (Beeping Bag/base).
        A kicker is allowed three kicks. Fouls count as kicks.  The third kick must be a clean miss. The umpire hands the kicker the beeping ball and the kicker may place kick or drop kick the ball starting with his foot on home plate.
        First and third bases, four foot padded cylinders with speakers, are placed 75 feet down their respective lines and ten (10) feet off the foul line.
        A kicked ball must travel at 30 feet to be considered fair. A kicked ball that does not reach the 30 foot line is considered foul. A ball that travels one hundred feet in the air is considered a home run.

        VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW FIELDERS NUMBERS. Vests with numbers may be helpful.
        Six players on defense with numbers starting with  the first baseman as one; two, right fielder; three, middle; four, left fielder; five, third baseman; and six, back fielder.
·        There are two sighted spotters positioned in the outfield, one on either side of the field (one field spotter is also allowed, positioned in center outfield). These people are very important to a team’s success. They need to make quick and accurate calls (fielder’s numbers) to where the ball is heading. Ex (ball is hit towards left field the spotters most yell 4 so that all fielders move towards the ball).Spotters may only call out one number if they call out more than one number the runner is awarded the run. 
 Modification for elementary aged kids:

 Foul arc is 25 feet, bases are 60 feet and home run is 75 feet.

The beep kickballs cost about $100. All the proceeds go directly back to the organization. They are very nice there and work hard to provide opportunities for our kids to play. We loved it and will definitely be playing it at Camp Abilities CT this year!!

Our adventures of beep kickball:
My fave APE teachers who teach at our programs wearing our beep blacked out goggles with our base.

We had a teachers vs. students game. Here's one of our PE teachers up to bat. 

Students listen for the base and then run towards it. 

We use an APH Sound Source for a better sound with our bases. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Awesome Resource!

Hi blog friends!
Whew!! Time has just been flying by for me so my apologies for not posting my usual Tuesday night post. I was so excited to be at Perkins School for the Blind's Early Connections conference. Two of my super fave students came up and helped me present as well as spoke on a panel discussion. I couldn't have been more proud! I have also recorded another webinar for AER with Justin A. Haegele (super fave APE teacher) so feel free to collect some CEUs or just some good ideas and check it out.

Anyways, back to business! I have an awesome resource that I want all of you to bookmark on your favorites that was sitting underneath my nose and I didn't even know until this past Perkins conference! Two of my super fab colleagues, Gail Feld and Gigi Whitford (CVI gurus and great TVIs) have put together a website called the Tip Sheet of the Month (and more!). Now I have seen some of these tip sheet handouts when we have collaborated on projects before but I had no idea that they had a whole website with resource treasures!

An example of one of their awesome handouts:

And another example of their handouts:

Go and download them with their expert advice and tips for the home and classroom on their site. Then make sure you add it to your favorites and check back each month. This is a great resource for general education teachers, special ed teachers, families, paras----I could really keep going! The other special spark about Gigi and Gail is that they are CVI gurus so there are lots of special notes and advice about that and you can email them about their handouts. Love this resource!!