Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Teaching punctuation

I just checked out some books from the local library to teach Ramam punctuation.
Here are the titles.

Punctuation takes a vacation
Punctuation station
Alfie the apostrophe
Yo! yes
The girl's like spaghetti, why, you cant imagine without apostrophes!
Greedy Apostrophe: a cautionary tale.
Twenty-odd ducks: why , every punctuation mark counts!

                               The illustrations are a delight in themselves in all the books.  This one is form the book, twenty- odd ducks.

                                             The punctuation station book also has some beautiful illustrations with a ticket window for the tall animals and an another one for the shorter ones, My 6 th grader daughter also enjoyed these books.

                                             The punctuation takes a vacation lends itself to humor with the comma calling themselves the list makers, the exclamatory marks calling themselves emotional. More importantly they drive home the importance of punctuation, without boring you. Wish I had  these books to read when growing up!

                                           All the books listed are a must -read!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Ramam being in ESE high school, my priorities as to what I should teach him in functional academics seems to be getting clearer. This would be a long term project with the beginning, interim and advanced stages.
a) One being to execute a simple transaction, which would be to do with word problems and actual handling of money.
b)To know where to look for the items in the correct aisles
c)To know after a purchase where would the things go in , do they belong to the pantry, to the fridge, basically categorization
d) Making a grocery list
e) Buy items needed selectively for a recipe.
f) Compare the prices of generic and branded products
g) Understand the savings when buying things on a discount.
h) comparing the prices online, with brick and mortar stores.
i) Making a budget to go shopping
Now to begin the process I the process. Eventually a used the online shopping app of Publix and their fliers.I found the app Proloquo2 go very handy to help me put the categorization in place. I give Ramam  pictures form the flyers and ask him to categorize. Eventually I plan to give a list and ask him to look for items in the correct aisles.  

I shall keep posting when I make some progress:)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Facts , facts

I found these two websites good for non -fiction passages for RPM

Friday, March 18, 2016

Re-telling a story

Retelling a story is not always easy for a child on the spectrum, communication difficulties, articulating difficulties, structure sequencing, comprehension. It has been my goal for a long time that Ramam should be able to tell a  story independently, but my concerns swing left  right , center and I lose sight of the goals .
                                 I was looking at some of my son rise notes , it was my goal back then about 5-6 years back and I still had not accomplished it. I unearthed materials I had made long back, did some online reading, found some graphic organizers I liked, The scoop chart , The First-Next-Then-Finally sequence of the story.
                                     The first picture are simple stories cut out from the magazine Magic Pot.


 The second being the SCOOP Chart.

                    And so it is back to story re-telling. I also vary the stories with unexpected endings. I tried a different version of the hare and tortoise race, where they were actually racing on a motor cycle , and how the hare lost the race by forgetting to follow traffic rules and carrying his helmet .Ramam enjoyed every bit of it.

The joy of teaching and learning

I did a lesson with my son on rainbows.This was actually a lesson on the  why's of weather.
          To actually explain the phenomenon of rainbow, I had to explain how when light passes through a 3D prism the white light breaks into seven components.  There were no prisms in the sky and how water droplets act as prism.  I knew it was very vague for him. And so I drew a diagram of a prism , still had my doubts because it was important for him to understand the difference between a 2d and 3d object. So I explained the various 2 Dand 3D shapes.
                         I then drew a 2 d pizza and exclaimed how boring and then drew a 3 d pizza and  told him " How exciting"! My drawings have their limitations :) I still was not sure if he understood the concept. I went on to give examples of 3D movies, tried to explain the concept of depth.
                   By now, I had digressed from the topic of rainbow . So I actually found a  glass prism like object and showed the dispersion of life. The joy on his face was so worth it. My daughter and I were also super excited. Not yet figured how to upload photos from the iPad on to the blog , so will have to make do with the post sans the photo :((
                    There is so much joy in teaching and learning.......


Monday, March 14, 2016

Articulation drills

Doing the rounds of articulation drills with Ramam. He has complied so far, but just to make it little fun we did this.

We wove a story around the "At" words...

 The CAT chased the RAT.
 The RAT hid under the MAT.
 The CAT hit the HAT with a BAT.
 The RAT hid under the MAT.
 Postman  PAT scooped up his CAT.

And then came the "An" words, we were a little more adventurous with them.

The MAN tossed the empty CAN.
The CAN landed on the PAN.
The chef  tossed the PAN.
The CAN hit the FAN.
The Can flew out of the window into a moving VAN.
Sometimes things don't work as per PLAN:)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dirty Everest

We watched the movie Everest recently. Ramam gave it a thumbs up and said he enjoyed it. Later at home during one of his talk time sessions , this is what he had to say about Everest.
                                              Dirty Everest , it scares everyone. He also added it is close to the moon. :):):)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The crocodile's teeth, an attempt at creative writing

A story told by Ramam, with some inputs from me. He began the story saying there was a crocodile and something  got stuck in it's teeth. The crocodile wanted to remove it.  I asked him how to go about it and he suggested using a tooth brush. I said neither the crocodile has hands or tooth brush, We  had recently read a passage on invention of tooth brush, where earlier people used animal hair for the brush. So he suggested we use  tiger's hair and the lion could brush the teeth for the crocodile. The story ends with a simple " Thank you" and  "welcome" by the crocodile and lion respectively.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sentence construction board

The sentence board has a long story to it. It had its humble beginnings with a carpenter going about the simple task of cutting a piece of plywood at home. However a lot of foresight, planning went into it. Frankly speaking the sentence board was way ahead of its time.   It was my hubby’s idea. Soon the board was ready and therein began the task of deciding what words Ramam would want to use in his everyday life.
                     A quick inventory of his favourite food, activities, and objects was taken. This was easy, we were just looking at nouns.  I am a pro at this, having done this inventory taking with various therapists trying to teach him various things such as making choices, language, fine motor skills. Then came the verbs, adjectives, phrases, (I want, I don’t want, please give me). And then a long list of all the helping verbs, prepositions, conjunctions… soon the ambitious project was already weighing us down. Then came the task of sorting and then putting them in boxes labelled it as nouns, verbs all of course colour coded to make life easy for ram. We were finally ready with the board, the cards with affixed Velcro.
                                              Then came the task of getting him to use the board, but that was surprisingly the easy part, he took to it easily. He soon began to wear us down with the same requests every time. Somebody came up with the brilliant suggestion rotate the cards, so that he knows these are the choices available to him. So every day morning I set about doing this meticulously. A pouch was made and hung next to the board so that he could put all the used cards and no they were no longer available to him during the day.
                                         Before long, the house was full of these cards.  I have no idea how it happened.  Ramam started playing with these cards. If I remember right he started pulling out the cards from the pouch and started playing with them. My husband would shout, “I found them lying here!”. The maid when sweeping would hand over few cards. Much later I realized there were other parents also who shared similar experiences. The cards had become playthings but we were not to give up easily.
                                             We lugged the board through three transfers. I no longer have the cards with me, but the much weathered board now has a place of pride in his study room. One or two cards do pop up sometimes at the bottom of some box and we reminisce about those days. I made a different set of cards but this time the purpose of the board is different. It is a sentence construction board. I have made a set of cards specific to a picture we are going to talk about.  The cards are all of various sizes, not color-coded…. but are serving the purpose. And Ramam enjoys the activity. An hour just whizzes by.

The board has finally arrived!!!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Popsicle magic

Be it art

Be it Maths
Addition sticks where he is given various permutation and combinations for a numbers say 5 (5+0, 4+1,3+2). He has to put the correct stick  in the  cup.The cups have been labelled with the numbers. Good idea for independent activity.


Language activities

I started with 6 talking sticks ,( That's what they have been named) but Ramam wanted to add more variety to it. Had an unexpected holiday yesterday and as both kids were at home, tried this talking sticks idea. I keep this sticks upturned . They pick up one stick, read the instructions and do accordingly.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Scholastic blog

I stumbled  upon another find , the blog on

 The think then  jot bookmarks is a wonderful idea . I tried this with Ramam on two stories we have read. Right now of course he needs a lot  of prompting. There are some days  I am excited about an idea and wait for Rama to be back from school . I  want to try out  the ideas and see how well they work for him.Yesterday was one such day. Luckily he  got a project book as a return gift in school for a birthday party  and we immediately put it to good use.
                               I tried to do an  activity loosely based on this idea, with a hotel visit of his. Asking him what picture did he have in mind when I said hotel . He came up with the answer  masala dosa. I asked him did he rethink his order when he saw other customers eating different stuff. He said yes. Then has he had a wow moment in a hotel? Probably when he had his first sizzler or a falooda, or an interesting presentation of food. He was listening so intently. It is at a very basic level, but again this organiser give me a path to lead a conversation with him,  till he actually begins to actively take part in the conversation.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Language activities

I have been trying to make a transistion for ramam to the early chapter books.  Here a list of some of the books that Ramam has been reading in the process….  
Snail and the whale, Stick man, room on the broom, Jack and the flum flum tree all four by Julia Donaldson.
The little critter series.
Postman Pat series.
Amelia Bedelia series.
Tikki tikka Tembo .
A chair for my mother.
Cherries and cherry pits.
Those shoes.
Step into reading level 3. This series has both stories and nonfiction titles as Christopher Columbus, early inventions.
Milly Molly Mandy.
Alexander has a terrible no good horrible day.
Fatuma’s new cloth. This book gives you an insight into East African culture.
                                           These books generally have good illustrations and help with the narration. I have tried pairing these books with language activities mostly making use of graphic organisers. I have fallen in love with these organisers as they help you answer the basic wh questions. There is much more to story telling than just narration and some relevant questions. Sequencing, discussing feelings, especially how the character feels at some point in the story, has Ramam experienced similar feelings, comparing and contrasting physical features, mental abilities. It has been a huge learning for myself too.

                                       I have been using the Venn diagrams to compare and contrast the characters in a story, what is similar and dissimilar between two characters in the story. Yesterday was reading an Aesop fable so we did a language activity based on comparing and contrasting an oil lamp and the sun.
This is again another wonderful website for reading activities
Sentence construction with jumbled sentences, deconstructing a sentence into 3 parts- the beginning part, middle part and last part. I-like to play-in the park      is a website where educators, buy, sell and share materials.  I found it useful for lesson plans some of which are paid and some free for the stories I have mentioned above.
 This is another website where one can read online books for free.     These are simple stories both fiction and non-fiction.
                                         I have gathered this much in that apart from doing things like doing a picture talk on say cars, boats, having this lttle tidbits of information as to Columbus sailed out for the East indies in his three boats, or Henry Ford designed his first car Model T, broadens their horizons. So when he has to talk about say car, I ask him which was the story you read about a car?
                                         I am also following it up with him doing sketches on the stories he reads.

I tried some witch stories to see how he likes fantasy tales. Tried a story of how a girl misplaced her shoes. and wears chicken subs for footwear, how the teacher and other kids also misplace their footwear and wear  different things.His look was a mix of disbelief and surprise.
But one thing, Ramam enjoys reading immensely.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Building writing stamina

I came across this sandwich model for para writing in one of the fb groups and it seems to be helping ram.

I also add the tags first, then, next and last to do away with the verbal prompts.

Do try it out as it seems to be an effective model

Happy holidays!!!

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