Media Center Activity – Therapy Dog for Students

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Thursday afternoons have gone to the dogs at Boston Middle School in Laporte, Indiana. Well, actually only one dog! Her name is Newdle and she is a licensed therapy dog. Newdle is part Newfoundland and part Standard Poodle. Her owner, Colleen Mellendy brings her to The Media Center at Boston Middle School every Thursday afternoon to work with the special needs students. She also is part of a Grief Counseling group for students experiencing a loss through death. Newdle and Mellendy were found through Therapy Dogs International. They also work with Hospice patients.

Prior to Newdle’s arrival at Boston, students were taught how to approach a dog. They were told to always ask the owner if they could pet them before they made physical contact. They were shown to approach a dog with the back of their hand and to let the dog get to know them by sniffing their hand. Students were also taught how to give treats to a dog with an open hand and not with their fingers. Newdle’s favorite treats are belly rubs! Continue reading



How to Use Storytelling Yoga in the Classroom

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classroom storytelling yogaIf you have an extra 15 minutes you can accomplish three things in your classroom:

  • Calm yourself and your students
  • Engage them in a story
  • Become more physically fit

You can accomplish all of this through Storytelling Yoga. It combines two popular yet age old activities; storytelling and yoga. The benefits of both activities alone are incredible, but when combined, you will likely engage more students than you normally would using only one of the two. This appeals to visual learners, audio learners and kinesthetic learners. Continue reading



Activities to Support Dementia Awareness Week

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dementia awareness week seniors

Raising Awareness About Dementia

It is so important to bring awareness to dementia related diseases because there is not yet a cure, but early diagnosis can help improve the life of people with dementia and their families. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, being the 6th leading cause of death in United States. Although it is true that memory loss can happen more frequently as we age, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, those with dementia show significant impairment of two of the below items.

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Dementia related diseases like Alzheimer’s alter the communication between brain cells causing mental, emotional, physical and behavioral changes. This is much more than just forgetting things as we age. It is important to monitor aging loved ones for changes in their behavior and bring them to see a doctor early on, since most cases of dementia start slowly and progress. Continue reading



Sensory Balls – DIY STEAM Activity

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sensory ball activity

My 10 year old daughter came home after being at her friend’s house with some sensory balls that she made herself. I thought it was a really cool concept, and asked if she could teach me how to make them! So we turned this idea into a weekend STEAM project. These sensory balls were fun to make, plus they were educational! This project can go in a number of directions with different color polymer beads, balloon sizes, and amount of water.

Materials:

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3 Ways to Engage Students in Your Special Education Classroom

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special education Now that the school year is well underway, whether you are a new teacher or a 30+ year veteran teacher, you are certainly learning a lot about your students and what is or is not working for you, your students, or your classroom.  You may even be noticing that some students are not as engaged in learning as you would like them to be, or are struggling to keep up with new concepts.

I am a resource room special educator for students in grades 5-8 in a small, rural preschool through grade eight school.  My students all have a variety of strengths and challenges, from Autism, Down Syndrome, learning disabilities/dyslexia, and emotional disturbance/behavior challenges.  I have found that in our fourth week, the honeymoon is over, and I am constantly looking for ways to keep my students focused, engaged, and learning! Continue reading



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