Thursday, 29 November 2012

ASDAN Course

So today I have been on an ASDAN course...and you know how venue's for courses can sometimes be lovely and then there's the ones that can be a bit shoddy...well this is where I had my course...

York National Railway Museum
It was an amazing venue and the catering was fantastic...although I should probably concentrate on the course content...

The course was really informative, it was the preparatory program course and information about future courses can be found here:
The course covered 5 different pre entry programs -
  • New Horizons (KS3 P.S.H.E. based program)
  • Transition Challenge (KS4 program)
  • Towards Independence (KS5 program)
  • Workright (accreditation for work experience)
  • Literacy and Numeracy in Everyday Life (for P1-8)
It gave the opportunity to gain a better understanding about the content of the preparatory programs as well as the accreditation process and a chance to see the support materials.

The trainer was great and she gave everyone the opportunity to ask questions and she went into a lot of detail and raised a range of issues and FAQ's usually asked by a range of practitioners.

If you are interested in the ASDAN courses follow the link and consider the courses, they are incredibly informative. You could also follow ASDAN on twitter - @ASDANeducation

ALSO...I have added some resources/a 2 year plan for teaching New Horizons to TES which also may be a useful starting point - I will keep adding more as we progress through the modules. 

2 year plan -
Personal Units 1-3 resources -


And the big sigh of relief goes to...

So I haven't posted anything in a very long time...GTP is intense! I haven't had a lot of spare time but now my first observation is over I can breathe a big sigh of relief!

It went very very well!

I had a practice at the start of the week and managed to set the fire alarm off evacuating 2 school (about 2000 students) which wasn't a promising start! But after a few adjustments I managed to hit the nail on the head.

My tutor observed 2 lessons - Phonics with a group of 4 students, which was deemed outstanding and a science lesson where we looked at changing materials (which was also deemed outstanding!)

So for everyone out there doing a GTP...don't panic, it's hard work but it's all worth it after that first observation. If you put the work in then you will reap the rewards.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Readers Toolkit

So I haven't posted for ages because I am somewhere buried under half a rainforest worth of paper from my GTP course!! So here I am finally working down my to do list just a little!

In the holidays I tried to really get ahead of myself and prep loads of different resources ready for the new year because my class has extended it's range yet again to go from students working at about P5-NC level I really had to get my English up to scratch!

So I devised my very own 'Readers Toolkit'...This is quite literally what it says on the tin...I went out to B n Q and bought a tool box and filled it with everything I may ever need to teach Read Write Inc.

And I may is brilliant! it really is working a treat and the kids really love it - I have everything I need all in one place no matter where I am in school and it's all there when someone else has to step in and take my lesson!

So as you can see the internal and external pockets are great for storing different sets of word cards and speed sounds in stets and the case is great to host a full range of reading and writing books, speed sound cards, large flash cards, sounds we know and words we can read wallets and training manuals!

I also put together a little prompt card to prompt myself and the kids about the order we cover everything in in a RWI lesson! Everything you could possibly need!

I have also made some additional workbooks for books such as the non fiction book and worksheets for the ditty books to build in some writing activities - I will try to put these on TES but if you would like a copy then comment and I can point you in the right direction!

All the tools you need for a successful RWI lesson!


Monday, 23 July 2012

Shoebox tasks

Just had to share this... Our shoebox tasks have been in school for a while now and there are some drawbacks to them but I think generally that they have been really useful and they are a massive time saver! I have just collected them all in because it is the end of term and I wanted to take stock and label them all up... This makes me very happy to see :)

End of year Art

So you know how that last week is always really choppy and you never really get chance to sit down as a class and do anything productive...well we managed to find a little bit of time hear there and everywhere in the week to make 4 pictures which tell the story of our year as a class. We took 2 national/global events and 2 class events that I thought would be the most memorable and created art pieces around them...
1. 'The Olympics'
2. 'The Jubilee'
3. 'Our trip to the seaside'
4. 'Our trip to the butterfly house'
They look really great and were really easy to make:

1. Make a frame or buy one (I made a simple frame from 4 pieces of wood)
2. Grab a square of fabric, best to use white.
3. use a selection of different soft papers such as tissue paper and crepe paper and LOADS of watered down PVA glue and keep gluing and layering the colours up until the whole piece of fabric is covered.
4. Add pictures/objects/text on top when it has dried!

For our Olympics picture:
We used white for the background and then went crazy with the silver glitter to create a really lovely textured effect. 
We added 5 rings...
...and a gold torch
 For our Jubilee picture:
We used red, blue and white for the background to represent the flag but in the end it created a great 'confetti' effect

We also added a crown and '2012' to create a 3D effect...nice and simple
For our 'seaside' picture:
we were careful to split the fabric in half to create a beach and a sea

we collected loads of interesting shells on our trip and I carefully glue gunned them onto the canvas

Then we added fish and a crab to finish it off!
For the butterfly house picture:
We wanted the picture to stand out so we aimed to use 3D effects

we stuck our butterflies on so they stood out to make the picture have a 3D effect.

We used the skills that the art teacher had taught us to create effects on acetate

we added some other insects using the same 3D effects!
Have a go yourself at home or with your class, the effects were really easy and it looks great!


Monday, 25 June 2012


I had a quick look at my traffic sources and saw that a few people had 'pinned' me on pintrest...I am going to confess that I only have a very basic understanding of pintrest and am still getting into it but I suppose it's worth a look - here are a few decent pintrest sites I have found for you guys...

Wendy Smith - just a few pins so far but it looks promising

MaryLea Burkhalter - Absolutely brilliant pintrest page with loads of SEN stuff on it -

Amanda Winn -

Cassandra Viater - Some nice worksheets here to use for literacy and maths -

Lyndsey Tyler - Some great maths and English idea that are a bit different from the boring usual stuff here -

Delmma Vazquez - Some really great TEACCH and motor skills ideas here -

Love this idea for a quiet book as well -

I will keep scouting pintrest and maybe even get myself an account - really great ideas coming from this!

Enjoy...more to come soon :)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fancy a trip to ikea?

I really love Ikea...

...I very often go round imagining that each of the rooms are in my house and I play out little scenes in my head...what would I be doing if that was my house? How cool would it be to have a circular bed? or I might do the 'look at me I live in a swanky New York apartment' routine (then I have to come back down to earth and think...I am so not that cool)

But on a different note! While I was walking around today I found a few things that may be really useful for school - either in a PMLD class as part of a sensory diet or for my SLD group in different subject areas. Have a look - Ikea is really great because everything is so cheap!

1. Awesome rainbow curtain - it does look really flimsy but the strips are made out of quite a thick plastic which looks and feels quite durable so if you use it with quite active and unpredictable students the strips probably wont snap...handy!

2. Leaf canopy - I absolutely love this... I used this in my class for a whole term - I had it over the board and created a mini rainforest display when we were focusing on 'animals' as our theme and I used it the term after for the English story 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' for our theme of 'food and drink'. Really useful and it is great for hanging bits and bobs from the inside to create a giant mobile!

3. Night time bed canopy - again a really useful piece of equipment for hanging interesting objects to create a visually interesting display piece - BUT I have seen some really interesting sensory booths using this before...attach this to portable display board to create a sensory booth and fill it with exciting objects to explore - this would be really handy if you are focusing on 'space' as a theme and the sensory booth idea is fantastic for PMLD!

4. Material bed canopies - here are 3 different types - different sizes and different designs - these are great for projecting onto in a dark room or projecting on from the inside with an array of different sensory lights such as light star ships (see for ideas). This creates fantastic mini sensory rooms or areas for students. Also it could be used to create a role play area for classrooms - get your students designing decorations for the outsides.

5. Wall lights - Really cheap and great for a range of different activities - it could be used for Science, R.E. English, etc etc etc... They come in a few different designs and would be great for small projects or to add to a wall display.

6. These are great...You will find these in the kids section holding a range of different soft toys...I used a green one and turned it into a giant caterpillar when we looked at 'the very hungry caterpillar' for our 'food and drink' theme. I stuck a symbols of the the days of the week on the side of each compartment and the caterpillar 'ate' the different foods as we went though the story. Very cheap as well!

7. 1, 2, 3 collapsible containers - great for maths - enough said really...ordering numbers? counting out? Doesn't matter if these get thrown the length of the room...they aren't going to hurt anyone...excellent!

8. Film reel - These are great for sequencing activities - especially if you are sequencing English text pictures - you will find these in the photo/art/frames section. 

9. Air cushion -  These are really fun and great for smaller students (primary?) they are not a bean bag - they are filled with air like an air bed - I only saw these 2 designs but there may be different ones too!

Hope this gives you some ideas - there are probably loads more bits and bobs you could pick up from Ikea - feel free to comment and add what you have found!


Friday, 15 June 2012

Olympics Theme Work

It's an Olympic half term!!! I know a lot of people have been working on Olympic activities for some time now but we are just taking the one half term so I thought I would just share with you my plans and resources...

We have planned to split the half term into 5 separate weeks focusing on one country from each continent that is prominent within games each week.
Week 1: Greece (obviously)
Week 2: USA (they normally win loads of medals!)
Week 3: Africa (I am aware it's not a country but it leaves us the option to focus on either Egypt or South Africa or elsewhere, whatever is most appropriate)
Week 4: Russia (we have grouped Russia with Asia...again I know it isn't but we really wanted a cold country for comparison and we spent a whole half term looking at China in January so Asia has been done to death really in my class!)
Week 5: Australia (because we plan to have a massive beach barbeque for lunch one day out on the playground...get in!)

I will keep you informed of what I have planned each week :) but to keep you going here is a selection of resources I have found useful!

The TES have some really great 'Olympics' resources for SEN and they can be found here:

But also I have found a few bits that have been really useful with my guys:
Olympics information booklet:
Olympic flags:
Olympics key facts:
2012 Olympic games timeline:

I have also managed to add a couple of resource that may be useful for anyone planning to cover...
Olympic addition and subtraction in their maths:

Greek food tasting:

Hope this is a starting point for all your olympic activities...

Jessie's Fund and Music Therapy

What an awesome start to the half term...we have a creative golden day coming up (for which the theme is 'the circus') and for this my class have had the opportunity to take part in some music therapy which has been run by Jessie's fund which is a UK based Charity primarily concerned with providing music therapy for children who are seriously ill or have disabilities.

At this point I just want to say...THEY ARE AMAZING! We've had 2 guys come in and they have worked with my class for 3 days this week and the kids have loved it, we have 2 more sessions coming up. Most of my students don't get access to a taught music lesson which is a shame but this has unearthed some real talent!

We have been making our own music by exploring sounds and looking at speed and noises which are loud and quiet and we have also been practicing a song, which all students can play along to when we perform it for an audience. The song related to the theme of the circus and has some great lyrics to it which go something like 'jump acrobat jump, here he goes flying through the air'.

Have a look at the web site -

I hear they have a lot of experience working with students who have autism as well as students with challenging behaviors and physical disabilities. Really worth getting in touch with if your are interested in music therapy work. I would highly recommend the two guys working with us (sorry but their names have slipped my mind!)

Happy reading :)

Friday, 8 June 2012

Food and Drunk!

Our theme for the last half term has been food and drink and it has been really great! But it hasn't half done me in!! There have been more than a few evenings I have resorted to a bottle of beer!

It was that half term where you are constantly chasing your tail and you never feel like you have caught up with the constantly increasing pile of work on your desk! But it is all good fun...theres been new IEP's,   reports, B2 updating from start to finish as well as a mound of planning, reviewing targets, school celebrations and all the rest!

Aside from this we have managed to produce some really wonderful work! I will try and add some pictures over the next few days or at the start of next week. Our English text was 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' which is a classic so we managed to visit the local butterfly farm...winner! And our wider world and PSHE focus was healthy eating where we made a giant eat well plate display which was good fun and we visited a local farm where we were able to track where food comes from - we saw the animals in the field, the production unit and then made out own meatballs! A really relaxed but informative day!

I will add some recent display pictures next week and hopefully may have made a start on some 'Olympics' work to post as well!


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Animals Displays

For our last theme just before Easter we looked at animals and here are 2 displays we did on that theme, the first was a really simple display that our art teacher did about animals under the sea:

The sea animals were made using coloured acetate and glass pens and they made sea plants and grasses for the base.

The second is one I did with my class - we went on a trip to the zoo and before we went we looked at animal prints and identified different animals by their prints, as part of this we make some collage board and made a 3D display of animal prints and we added some of the pictures we took when we got back. Quite effective really.


Oh help...Oh no...It's a Gruffalo!

Well last half term our topic was animals and we therefore studied the book 'The Gruffalo'. It coincided nicely with World Book Day so we did loads of drama work around an adapted version of the story and performed it for the school as part of a Performance Poetry project. For the performance we made some great masks from a template which you can get on the TES: and we found a Gruffalo template on the official site as well.

We also made some description cards which took a couple of days to make but looked fantastic! The students LOVED making these as we used modroc to build up the key features on each card and then we covered them with tissue paper and watered down PVA to create a papier mache effect and then to finish it off we painted round the edge of each card with a light blue. Students held these up in turn as we read through the poem. They look really effective and everyone commented on how great the work looked.

We also used these as part of our story each week and it really got the students engaging with the repetative verses and it acted as cued articulation.

Take a look:


We also linked this to Maths with a great game:
We found that the board game was a little much for some of our students to we played it like a simple beetle drive or a 'Gruffalo Drive'. Download from the link.


GTP: I didn't quite fall at the finish line!

For the second year running I have been applying for GTP and for the second year running it has been a barrage of NO's! This has been for a number of reasons...I work in SEN, I don't have a national curriculum subject as my degree and I have no desire to work in mainstream (I have been a little too honest about this one in my interviews!)

Then  a few weeks ago I went for an interview at Bradford and it was quite literally my last hope! If I didn't get on this time I was considering trying clearing but as far as I was concerned that was the end of the road for me...I was going back to Psychology and perusing a PhD! BUT...on Wednesday it all paid off...I GOT ON THE GTP!!! What a for everyone out there I will tell you the sorts of questions I got in the hope that you might be able to prepare for your interview.

  • Why do you want to be a teacher
  • What strengths do you have that would make you a good teacher
  • Why do you want to do the GTP
  • What makes a good teacher
  • How would you deal with behaviour
  • How would you deal with bullying 
  • Tell me about an experience you have had where you has to overcome a problem
  • How would you go about dealing with an issue with a colleague
  • What does inclusion and equality mean to you
  • What educational issues can you tell me about in the Primary sector
  • Tell me about the important of phonics and some examples of how to deliver a phonics programme
These were the sort of questions that I had, in some of the other interviews I have had there has been a distinct focus on curriculum knowledge and understanding. So questions about how to deliver a topic are quite popular or questions which try to get you to demonstrate what you know (or what you don't know) are a favourite!

Hope this helps everyone, I will try and keep posting about my experiences through the GTP... I don't for a second expect it to be easy! My induction is the 10th July...wish me luck!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Shoebox tasks

My Shoebox tasks are on the way!!

We placed the order at school this week - after much head scratching about processing a payment on our end but its all gone through and they should arrive through Easter!! Very exciting!

Cannot wait to go and have a play with them!

You can take a look at the website and see for yourself -

This is an awesome company with a great ethos - it basically provides supported employment for Autistic students coming out of TEACCH programmes in America and provides them with paid work...couldn't have ordered from a better company really!

We are also getting something similar made by some lovely students I know, that's a really exciting venture as well - Pictures to follow!

Special days, ICT and Incident reporting resources

Here are the last few resources that I have uploaded recently via the TES all about Special days, ICT and incident reporting. They are all free to download

Mothers Day PowerPoint:

R.E. Easter Story: (PowerPoint)

ICT How to guide - Microsoft Surface Collage (Touch Pack):

ABC Tracking forms (Incident reporting/behaviour management): (PDF)


Maths and Geography Resources

Here are some maths and Geography (animals) resources I have uploaded via the TES that are free to download.

Maths - more and less terms chatter mat: (PDF)

Gruffalo more and less workbook: (PDF)

Going to the Zoo - Social story: (PDF)

Animal Guessing game (Animal prints) - (PowerPoint)


Science: Plants and Flowers Resources

I haven't posted for a while so I have quite a few resources to link for you from the TES that I have been adding over the last month.

The first lot is a load of Science resources from our plants and flowers topic we have been covering this half term...check them out. All free to download via the TES website.

My Bean diary:  (Microsoft Publisher)

Naming parts of a plant with symbols: (PDF)

Sequencing growing a bean: (PDF)

Plants and Flowers - key words chatter mat: (PDF)


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Just bring the chocolate

What a fantastic blog!

I came across this when a friend tweeted it to me and was truly inspired by it! The most recent post just gives you an insight into the dedication by this mother to not only her sons well being but to his enjoyment despite disability! I am very jealous of this awesome standing frame!!!
If I ever have a down day at work or feel a bit off then I know where to look to for inspiration!