Frontier Texas in Abilene is a great educational experience. In fact, it has even made the New York Times and they describe it as “kind of like a little Disney World only with cowboys and Indians.” When our family visited there, I thought it would probably be the average historical type of museum but I was mistaken. It’s an impressive museum where one can experience state-of-the-art technology. I won’t tell you too much so you can discover it for yourself if you’re ever fortunate enough to visit there.
Abilene is located in west Texas and has a lot to offer. Not only is it home to Frontier Texas but Abilene is also the Children’s Storybook Capital of America. It was designated by the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas and was later designated in 2019 as the Children’s Storybook Capital of America. This charming west Texas town is off I-20 and is definitely worth visiting!
These are some good techniques for teaching ESL children:
- Face the children when you are speaking.
- Speak clearly at an average to slow rate. Do not exaggerate your words. Speak normally.
- Avoid using idioms or confusing phrases.
- Explain things in more than one way.
- Repeat key words, phrases, and ideas.
- Use comparisons, similes, analogies, and opposites when appropriate.
- Brainstorm using a white board or chalk board or if you’re at home then a piece of computer paper works great.
- Build upon the children’s experiences.
- Use visuals and props as often as possible.
- Use culturally appropriate materials.
- Demonstrate whenever you can (act it out).
- Provide a print-rich environment. Label objects with the name of the object written on an index card.
- Ask children questions often to determine understanding.
- Have the children role play.
Here is an awesome resource for teachers and students! Khan Academy, a nonprofit global classroom for anyone in the world who has access to a computer, has a library of thousands of videos online that are free. This provides quality instruction to people all over the world, no matter where they are located. They also offer Teacher Resources as well. Here is an example of some of the topics they cover:
ALGEBRA (many lessons in each of these subtopics):
- Algebra Intro
- Linear Equations
- Rations & Proportions
- Absolute Value
- Exponents and Radicals
- Conic Sections
- Complex Numbers
It’s easy to see by this listing that there are many lessons from which to choose. Here is a partial list of more topics without subtopics listed:
- American Civics
- Arithmetic & Pre-Algebra
- Art History (for many different eras)
- Banking & Money
- Brain Teasers
- Differential Equations
- Healthcare & Medicine
- Computer Science
Khan Academy is a global classroom of students who learn at their own rate and choose what they want to study. Here are reviews and stories of the academy so you can read first hand from teachers and students all over the world.
A very simple, inexpensive way to start out teaching young children patterns would be to have three different colors of caps from gallon containers of milk or water. Have several of each color. If you don’t have the caps, then cut squares out of colored cardboard or paper. Start with a very simple pattern and then make it progressively harder. Start out demonstrating the whole pattern at first, showing how to duplicate the pattern to make sure the child understands the concept of “pattern.” Then see if the child can duplicate it. For example:
- Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, green, red, green, red, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, blue, blue, red, blue, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, red, blue, red, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, blue, green, red, blue, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
- Red, green, green, blue, red, green, green, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
As the child masters each level, have more complicated patterns.
Then add in two dimensions of color and shape:
- red circle, blue square, red circle, blue square
- red circle, green square, blue triangle, red circle, green square, blue triangle
As the child progresses, make patterns out of stickers (excellent way to make patterns) and other things besides color and shapes. Or you can use game pieces if you have multiple pieces that are the same. You could even use cans of green beans, corn, and tomatoes. Be creative with things around your house.
Carly’s Voice: Breaking Though Autism
by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann
I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with children or adults with non-verbal autism and to anyone who would like to have a better understanding. My friend, who has a granddaughter with this type of autism, recommended this book to me. I’m so glad she did! It gives insights into non-verbal autism in a way that a therapist or doctor cannot do, through the “voice” of Carly. The book begins with Carly’s early years, her struggles with her severe autism, and the struggles of her family. But with undying persistence for many years, Carly was finally able to communicate through typing her responses at age ten.
If you read the book, be sure to read “A Conversation with Carly: The Truths and Myths About Autism” at the very end of the book. But don’t read it until you’ve read the whole story so that you have insight into Carly’s personality and character. Through reading the book, the reader gets a better understanding of just how hard it is to overcome the difficulties that accompany autism and also gets a glimpse into the day-to-day life, year-after-year.
Here are some tips that Carly gives, along with my opinions, that are useful to me in the classroom:
- Medications can cause mood changes for no reason. This could result in crying or feeling angry.
- Carly was around nine years old when she was able to “audio filter” all the sounds around her. She took in many sounds at once, some sounds that most people couldn’t hear, some sounds being louder than others. (headphones are helpful for some to do audio filtering in the classroom )
- Make sure kids with autism are around words all the time so they can develop their ability to spell. (label everything you can in the classroom) Work on simple words at first. They just need someone to give them a push and encourage them.
- Even when it may appear they are not paying attention, they usually are. They are looking at things all the time, and they are probably looking out of the corner of their eyes.
- In the very early years, use pictures to help communication.
- It takes a lot of concentration to be able to type words.
- Carly said, “Flapping and humming and rocking does not calm me down(.) it helps me cope with stuff around me.” All the sensory input can be overwhelming to those with autism – sensory overload.
- Some, like Carly, have a photographic memory that allows them to memorize a page of a book in seconds.
- Here’s insight to what it feels like for some like Carly: “…you don’t know what it’s like to be me. You don’t (know) what it feels like when you can’t sit still because your legs feel like they are on fire or it feels like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms. How can you help me when you don’t know?”
- Carly said once, “I act up because I feel so trapped inside myself.”
- “When I look at someone I take over a thousand images of that person’s face in less than a minute. The more I look…the more pictures I take…my brain…gets full. I am no longer able to process…and I am forced to turn away.” (Carly’s experience)
- Many with non-verbal autism have an inner voice but don’t know how to express themselves. Don’t give up on them!
- You can visit Carly on Facebook @ Carly Fleischmann.
UPDATE: I’m incorporating my blog, How to Teach Kids, in with my Healthy Home Blog.
If you teach a lower elementary grade or you home school, and you’re needing to teach a lesson about our president, there are some materials on my other blog, How To Teach Kids. For teachers, these worksheets are good when you need to get a grade. There is a simple lesson about President Trump and several free printables including:
- A simple story
- Vocabulary words page (the chart can be cut apart to make a match game out of it)
- Fill-in-the-blank worksheet
- Crossword puzzle
- Word search
Pardon the dust, though. How to Teach Kids is still under construction. But hopefully, it will be back before too long. FYI, my site was hacked and I completely lost my original theme. Hope you find something that will be helpful to you there!
If you answered “zoo,” you’re correct. The Fort Worth Zoo is a beautiful place to visit. Definitely worth coming to if you’re anywhere in the area. It has won awards and is included in the top museums of the U.S., depending on which list you’re reading.
Most people have their favorite animals they enjoy watching. At this zoo, the giraffes, zebras, lions and elephants are amazing to me. What awesome creatures! But they are not the only ones I enjoy. Just about every exhibit is interesting and fascinating.
I do have one word of warning! If you go in the wire-enclosed area where birds fly around and above you, beware! I went with my family, and my grand kids were enjoying looking around, that is until one of them pooped down the back of my grandson’s head and neck. He was terrified and it really was so gross. It wasn’t just a little bit of poop. It was massive! Needless to say, Mom and Dad cleaned him up and had to throw away his shirt. The gift shop saved the day by selling T-shirts and then everything was OK.
Now, I must add for those of you that answered, “Rain Forest,” that the Fort Worth Zoo does have a rain forest in their atrium area. And I forget to mention that the atrium is another one of my favorite things about this zoo. So if you’re thinking about visiting, I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed. I’ve never known anyone who was.
Teaching a special ed class, we do a lot of bending over, kneeling down, and sitting on the floor with students during the week. We have to help some students stand up. Needless to say, we’ve been having sore backs this week. It would be nice to send for a massage therapist to come and give us all back massages in the classroom. It would be really nice to have them come every week. Ok, I’m dreaming! Actually, my husband gives me a back rub when I have a backache. It’s wonderful!
Black bear, black bear, what do you see? I see a human looking at me!
It was so cool when the bear came up close to us on our field trip in May. Even though I teach third and fourth graders, we were still quoting Black Bear. The kids were so excited that the bear was coming close to them, and it made the Black Bear story come alive. Their reactions were priceless.
If you have young children and some of their story books are about animals that can be found in the zoo, consider going to visit the zoo to look at those animals. It will make the stories come alive.
This bear, by the way, can be seen at the Fort Worth Zoo. Check it out sometime at Zoo or Tropical Forest? It’s a pretty awesome zoo!
Here are some good links for teaching about Earth Day:
Starfall: A story about Earth Day
These are the T-shirts we (the Special Ed department) are wearing to school on April 2.
Being a teacher, I use multiple whiteboards every day at school. I don’t know what we would do without them now. Years ago, we used chalkboards and had to deal with messy chalk dust at school. Back then, we had no idea about a whiteboard, whiteboard mount, whiteboard marker, or whiteboard eraser. I wonder how many people’s allergies were affected by all that chalk dust? I’m so glad we have whiteboards today!