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New 2013 Pictorial Dictionary


Read Me First

  • About the Curriculum
    I believe Life Skills teachers have the hardest job in the school district just teaching the kids functional skills. Teaching simple academics was kind of an added bonus if there was time, when I started teaching.
    What I learned was that my students felt a sense of accomplishment if they were taught academics. When they finally got it, they were invigorated to learn more. Most had been in school 6-7 years by 4th grade and all they had been taught was what they couldn’t learn.
    I used research based learning methods and a little spit and vigor to show them that if it’s hard then they are learning. “Everything worth learning is hard” I told them. They learned and some of them skipped resource class and went straight to regular education classes. Why, because they had learned how to learn.
    So, I finally retired and had time to write this curriculum to help you have success. Your kids can learn. Not all of them can learn academics but you will be surprised how many can.

    What is in Each File?
    Each file has these subjects:
    123rd Reading, Math, Writing, Science     
    4, 5,6th Reading, Math, Writing, Science
    6, 7,8th Reading, Math, Writing, Science and Social Studies
    EOC      Algebra, Biology, English 1, 2, and American History

                The files are in PDF and must be open in Adobe Reader to allow the links to work. You will find links in this order:

    1. Essence statements and TEK with Skills
      1. Click on the blue type to go to the lesson plan.
        1. Note: I did not do every skill. It would be impossible to cover every skill in Life Skills.

    I did cover everything that I believe could be tested.

    1. Lesson Plans
      1. Click on the links in materials for the Social Studies Mats
      2. Click on web page links for videos, worksheets, games, and information.
      3. Click on the yellow box to go back to the skills page.
    2. Mats
      1. Click on the yellow box to go back to the lesson plan.

    How to use the Curriculum?
    This is done in 3 grade levels because the skills and lesson plans are so similar. Also, so many school districts have multiple grade classes. You can follow this plan to use this curriculum.

    1. Choose what you will use
      1. There will be some skills that you teach every week like topic, characters, scene, author’s view point, writing, adding and subtracting and much more.
      2. You can choose to follow a plan similar to your reg. ed. Classes.
      3. You can just choose topics to teach from the list (the method I used to fit my mood and my students)
      4. You can go from some testing of skills that your district uses to decide what to teach.
    2. Print the lesson plans and mats to use
      1. Once you decide what TEK you will use, print the lesson plan and attach it to a folder.
      2. Print materials you need for all your students and put it in the folder.
      3. Look at the videos and see if they are active and appropriate for your kids.
    1. Gather all the supplies needed and if possible put them in the folder or put a note as to where they are.
    2. Put the folders for what you will teach in a file. My file was for 2 weeks set up with days of the week and classes where it would be taught (8:30-9:15, 9:30-10:15, etc.).
  • You teach the skill before it goes for practice.
    1. If you need another period to teach the skill, push it forward to another day’s time. That could also push forward other lessons.
    2. I usually allowed 2-4 periods  on different days for a skill before it went to my aides for practice.
  • Assign students and have a place for aides to pick it up to work with students assigned.
    1. I do not assign a skill to a student that is low level if there is not way they can learn it. That student still has lower level skills assigned to work on.
  • You test for mastery.
    1. On Fridays, I test for mastery of anything that my aides not has been mastered.

How to use Worksheets?
I’m not going to lie to you and say that it is never ok to give a student a worksheet to do independently. I can’t say I haven’t done it myself. What I do want you to know is that a worksheet can be a great teaching tool.
What I want you to know most about worksheets is that they should never be given to a student who has not learned a lesson on the skill unless it is given to reinforce a skill previously learned. If the student needs practice in the skill or following directions then it is a good activity. Otherwise, worksheets are a waste of time.
This is how to use a worksheet as experiential learning.

  1. Do the worksheet as a class activity with a small group.
    1. Display it on the board with a projection machine.
    2. Point to a copy in front of you on a table with a small group.
    3. Have students work it out together first
    4. You model how you find the answer.
  2. Put the worksheet or one similar in the student’s work folder.
    1. This allows the student’s teacher assistant to repeat what you have done except giving him more time to figure it out on his own.
    2. When the assistant thinks that the skill is mastered, he can try it or one like it independently.
  3. The student does the worksheet or one similar independently.
    1. This is the only worksheet that should be graded.
    2. To test for mastery, one week later, give the student a short test on the skill.

How to use Videos?
The only time to show your students a video without interaction is as a reward or to waste time. That is harsh but it does happen. If your students are in a darkened room with a video on the screen and there is no adult interaction, then they are not learning. So, how do you interact in a video?

  1. Stop the action and ask a question.
    1. Example: “Ok, who can tell me when we would leave a bus that “watch that again and see some more.”
    2. Example: “Who caught that? What keeps us from floating off the Earth? ____.  Didn’t catch that? Let’s see it again.”
  2. Stop the action and teach some background to aid understanding.
    1. Example: “I’m not sure you understand that. He said, ‘He said coat was threadbare. Does that mean it was new or worn-out? ___. It means it was so worn-out that you can see through it in spots. Let’s hear that again now that we all understand it.”
  3. Stop the action and reteach the topic just played, rewind and watch again.
    1. Example: “Let’s make sure everyone got that. When you hit the volleyball, do it with the cupped portion of your hand – not the fist.”
    2. Example: “What did she do? She mixed the flour, baking powder and salt in the hot milk mixture. I’ve got that. What next?”
  4. Stop the action and ask for predictions.
    1. Example: “Ok, the princess has run out of the castle to get away from the wicked queen. What do you think she will do? _____. Is there anything else she can do? Does she have a friend to call? We don’t know, the story hasn’t told us. What would you do if somebody wicked was in your house and you had to run?”
    2. Example: “Well, look what happened? He is hanging over a hole on a tree. What are his options? What could happen? ___. Hmmm. Those are good ideas. Let’s find out what happens.”
  5. Stop the action and ask for details about the character, scene or plot.
    1. Example: “I am going to stop to put up a description of the main character. Tell me about her.  What color is her hair? Is she fat? What kind of clothes does she have on. . . “
  6. While the action is going on make comments about how it makes you feel.
    1. Example: “Oh, my. I think I might cry.” “This makes me so sad.” “Seeing all this food makes me hungry.” “I can’t believe she jumped off that building!”

What if I Have a Problem?
This is the easy one.
Email me any problem you have using the curriculum. Maybe it is something that I need to fix? Maybe it is something I need to train. Let me know how it is going. I am working on more helpers to put out. Things like a vocabulary-spelling set for the year, a card set for my dictionary, a social story set that is really useful, communication cards for nurses, and on and on. Thank you for taking this journey with me.