Welcome to Teacher Space. Scroll down the right margin to discover hundreds of quality, teaching and learning links for mainstream and special education teachers.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Be careful what you wish for ...

Hi Everyone,
I recently attended an 'Educator in Residence' workshop lead by Dr Loretta Giorcelli. This article was cited as recommended reading for educators committed to the development of inclusive education in mainstream settings.
Providing individual teacher aide or 'paraprofessional support', for students with a disability is a very common model of practice in classrooms around Australia.
My personal opinion is that is a practice which needs to change.
What do you think?
Click on the picture to read the article. I wonder if it will change your way of thinking, the way that you advocate for your own child or your teaching practice?
You can check out other online articles that I have been reading on the topic of inclusion by scrolling down the right margin of the blog, in the blue section and clicking on any of the links listed under 'Professional Readings 2010'.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DiVine - Online Community

DiVine- Victoria's Online Community for People with a Disability.
Click on the picture to enter.
Hi Everyone,
How wonderful!
This newly launched website not only provides information on a wide range of topics but also encourages readers to be contributors. Take a look for yourself.
Thanks for telling me about it Wendy :)

Gifted Education - Brainiac

Hi Everyone,
It has been quite a while between posts. The end of my school year has been no doubt as busy as yours. Now that transition programs and reports are complete I am looking forward to spending some more time blogging again.
I know that I am in 'relaxed holiday mode' when I start reading narratives. I'm not there yet!
I have been reading Tony Attwood's 'The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome', from cover to cover. I normally just flick to the section I need.
It's a great book. Today it got me thinking about the needs of gifted children on and off the autism spectrum .
My school runs fortnightly professional reading breakfasts. The teachers involved ( about 14 of us) meet in a cafe near the school, have breakfast together and reflect on a reading that has been selected by a group member the fortnight before. It's a fun way to keep up with our professional reading and gets each of us to look at material outside of our usual areas of interest. Colleen broke the tradition of providing a chapter or scholarly reading, in our last session for the year, by providing us with an episode of the SBS program ' Insight' to watch.
The program 'Brainiac' talks about intelligence, how it is defined and measured and how having an IQ in the gifted range can impact in both negative and positive ways on a person's life.
Click on the picture if you are interested in watching too.
I have also added some Gifted Education links to the blog margin today if you are interested in exploring the topic further.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Transition Advice for Students with ASD

Hi Everyone,
I have just read a brilliant fact sheet by the South Australian Special Education Resource Unit written at the beginning of this year about transition plans, strategies and resources for students with an ASD. The 40 pages provide a wealth of information for parents and teachers. I know I have already written two posts about this site this week but I can't promise not to write another because it is just so good! Click on the picture to read the report or on the hyperlinks to visit the SERU website.
PS: Jim has just let me know that you can be on the SERU mailing list. Click on the comments link below, where Jim has left the mailing list details. Thanks Jim :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Special Education Resource Unit - South Australia

Hi Everyone,
Today I received an email from James at the Special Education Resource Unit (SERU) in South Australia, alerting me to the fact that this blog has been featured in their Technology Inclusion Engagement and learning news letter this month.
Thanks James.
I have had a great time exploring their website this evening. It is such a great resource. The themed newsletters are packed with the latest information and research as well as best practice advise for special education teachers and our mainstream colleagues who are devloping their inclusive practices. My printer has been working flat out!
Check it out for yourself by clicking on the picture.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Autism Training Modules Online - Positive Partnerships Program

Hi Everyone,
The Positive Partnerships Program website has a range of great parent and teacher online information and professional development programs for people intereseted in learning more about the impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder on children and families. Click on the picture to take a class.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Out of Sync Child has Fun - Carol Stock Kranowitz

Hi Everyone,
I am fascinated by all things to do with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and the impact it can have on how children interact with the world and learn. This week I poured over Carol Stock Kranowitz's book 'The Out of Sync Child has fun'. It has a wonderful introduction which explains SPD in layman's terms as well as providing over 100, cheap and practical ideas for parents and teachers to use when working with children with sensory issues. It's well worth a read and readily available online for purchase. Click on the picture for the link to 'Book in Hand' if you live in Australia and would like to purchase a copy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Boohbah- Cause and Effect

Hi Everyone,
Boohbah is another wonderful site to entice very young children or non reading children with special needs, to engage with technology while learning. Like Poisson Rouge ( see my previous post) there are no written instructions about how to use the site. The aim instead is to encourage children to navigate around the site themselves by clicking on the screen and watching what happens. There are so many fantastic learning opportunities available through these sites least of all being hand eye coordination skills. I find both of these programs great for kids who will only engage in learning activities on their own terms. I am sure we all know some precious people who are like that :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Poisson Rouge - Cause and Effect Games

Hi Everyone,
The kids in my class working on cause and effect activities are going to love using this gorgeous application in class tomorrow. There are no instructions because the idea is to explore on your own and find out what happens. Poisson Rouge is great for developing hand eye coordination and mouse skills too. Have fun with it.

E2BN - Homerton Children's Centre

Hi Everyone,
I have a million things to do tonight but instead of getting on with what I should be doing I have been exploring the E2BN wesite created by Homerton Children's Centre. It is filled with ideas to make ICT a meaningful learning experience for Early Years children in all settings. My head is spinning with new ideas. Don't check it out if you are busy, it's a real trap!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Free Online Books for Kids

Hi Everyone,
The Junior Crew Bookshelf has brought together the best of free online stories and videos on the web for preschool and primary aged kids. Click on the picture to follow the link. You will find a permanent link to the site in the right margin of this blog.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Downloads for Special Needs Students - SEN Teacher

It is time for me to reload my classroom laptop with some new games and activities so I am going to get busy downloading a range of new applications form the Sen Teacher website. There are a huge range of activities on this site covering a range of domains that have been specifically developed for kids with special learning needs.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New York Department of Education - Adapted Books

Hi Everyone,
I have been exploring the New York Department of Education website today. They have some fantastic free download able adapted books, in PowerPoint and PDF format, using Writing with Symbols and some great links to other sites such as Tumble Books which you will find in the Literacy Resource section in the left margin. I have been busy downloading all morning.
Don't forget that there are loads of links to free online books and videos in the Junior Crew Bookshelf. Click on the hyperlink or you will find a permanent link to this site in the right margin.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Speech and language Games - School District of Bonduel

Hi Everyone,

While in search of some simple ways to teach pronouns to kids on the Autism spectrum, I came across this terrific speech and language site hosted by The School District of Bonduel. The games and resources are supported by Board Maker images and are visually engaging without being cluttered. Click on the picture to take a look.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interactive Australian Money Activities

Hi Everyone,
My class had a great time today, making up money totals using a variety of Australian coins, on the Rosetta Primary interactive money site. The applications work brilliantly on personal computers and interactive whiteboards. Click on the hyperlink or on the picture to explore the site.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Hi Everyone,
If you are feeling a bit 'ho-hum' about teaching another unit of environmental studies or that obligatory recycling unit one more time, take a look at this short movie. It just might get you all fired up again. It's a US production that runs for fifteen minutes and it would be a great resource for mainstream Middle Years and Senior students. Click on the picture to take a look.

Visy Enviromaniacs

Hi Everyone,
Visy, one of the world's leading packaging , paper and recycling companies has set up a new environmental education website to introduce environmental topics to children. I registered my class and school this morning. The site has interactive games for students to play which link to great lesson plans that are provided for teachers. Visy is also giving away prize money to schools that register. Take a look, it's a fantastic site teaching important life skills to 21st century learners in all settings.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Make your own interactive Books.

Hi Everyone,
I have spent the last couple of hours preparing an interactive book for my class to add sound files to later in the week. I found the application at Bev Evans Communications 4 All site. If you
have basic PowerPoint skills you will have no trouble making some fantastic books with this tool . Click on the picture and I will take you there. Once you have arrived, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the template link. I bet you will be distracted by all of the other interactive features you have to scroll past before you get there!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

21st Century e Learning Conference (online)

Today this blog will be hosting a session at the 21st Century elearning Conference. The posts that follow serve as my notes for the presentation.
About Me
My name is Sue King and I am a primary trained Generation X teacher working at Belvoir Special School in Wodonga .
I am passionate about helping students with learning challenges to engage in learning in both Special Education and Mainstream settings and to help them to achieve outcomes that will lead to enviable lives.
I am also a self confessed 'technophobe'.
ICT skills have never come easily to me.
I used to be able to do my banking, pay my bills, turn on my TV, listen to music using a range of devices, answer a phone and take a photo all by myself. These days I require the technical assistance of my husband or teenage sons to guide me through the process and a written step by step procedure with diagrams to follow if they are not around!
If I can blog anyone can and I hope that after this session you will consider giving it a go or at least use the sites of others who do blog, to gain access to valuable resources and broaden your personal and professional learning networks.

What's in the Goody Bag?

By the end of this session participants will have:
  • An understanding of how and why this blog was created
  • Knowledge of how blogs can be used to motivate and facilitate learning experiences for a variety of audiences.
  • Access to thousands of web links to use in their own classrooms
  • A desire to engage in teaching and learning activities that are possibly outside of their usual ICT experience
  • A new way to develop world wide professional and personal learning networks specific to their own needs
  • Courage to try something outside of their comfort zone
  • Inspiration to go alongside students and teachers who need extra support to achieve learning outcomes.

The Journey - Putting the Pieces Together

In 2008 , when this learning journey began was teaching a mixed ability group of special needs Junior school students who were very motivated to learn when information was presented using technology, especially computer based learning tasks. Our aging equipment provided me with loads of challenges and lessons in patience!
When I told people that I was planning to create a blog most people suggested that nobody would want to read a blog about day to day activities in a special school.
They were wrong!
The blog has helped me to achieve outcomes that I would have only dreamed about a year ago:
  • Quick access to quality programs that I want to use with the children .
  • It keeps a record of the activities we have completed in the classroom
  • It keeps parents and other interested parties informed of what is happening in our room.
  • Educates others about what a special needs classroom in the 21st century is like.
  • Allows the children to access programs with minimal effort at school and at home.
  • It helps us to connect and collaborate with other mainstream and special education classrooms internationally.
  • Helps me to learn valuable ICT skills because I am motivated to produce a quality product for the children , their families and blogging buddies to engage with.
  • It allows me to to respond to Giorchelli Report's call for special education teachers to share their knowledge and skills with their mainstream counterparts so that children with special needs could be more easily and successfully integrated into the mainstream system. Hence the Teacher Space Blog was created.
  • In 2009 I took up a role as a key local professional with the Australian Autism Education and Training Consortium supporting teachers in the Hume Region who are new to teaching students on the Autism Spectrum. The blog is like a portable resource library that travels with me from school to school and I can leave my resources with them after I have gone.
  • My blog is used as an educational learning resource for people from over 30 countries from all sorts of different backgrounds.
  • As a direct result of engaging with teachers via the blog , I even get requests from non departmental schools to come and help them set up learning environments for their special needs students.
  • The best indicator of how my journey has come full circle is that other teachers ask me to show them how to blog!
  • E5 - No problem !

The Nuts & Bolts of the Blog

Edublogs is a blogging application for educators. It is the application most favoured by the Education Department because of cyber -safety issues. I have tried on a number of occasions to create a blog using the Edublogs site but find the site difficult to navigate my way around and the online tutorials confusing because of my lack of technical knowledge once I get past the set up stage. However, I'm sure that if I sat alongside a very patient 'flesh and blood' ICT coach who was prepared to work at my pace I would be able to master the Edublogs application.

Blogger is much more user friendly for technically challenged people like myself and I like the blog templates, which allow you to create a site that appeals to visual learners. Many schools use the Blogger application to produce fantastic sites .

My Blog is really 8 blogs which have been designed with a specific propose and audience in mind that have been linked to form a blogging network.

Teacher Space
All of the blogs follow a similar organisational pattern .
So let's take a tour !

Sunday, July 26, 2009

English language Learners with Learning Disabilities.

Click on the picture to watch the web cast

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reading Rockets

Hi Everyone,
I have decided to use the Reading Rockets web site as my professional reading this week. It has hundreds of articles, video and other resource links about the teaching and learning of reading. The great thing about this site is that it is directed at a variety of audiences. There are sections for teachers, parents, principals and librarians, and allied services such as speech pathologists and psychologists. Take a look for yourself. It will be well worth the effort.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Hi Everyone,
The kids in my class will be completing activities from the Literactive site this week. Literactive is a free online comprehensive, phonics based reading program for early learners. There are online games to play, guided reading books to share and games and worksheets that can be downloaded if you apply for free registration with the site.
Why don't you take a look. It might be just the program you need to add some mid year variety for readers who need that extra bit of support.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Roots & Wings

Hi Everyone,
I spend a lot of time reading the blogs of parents who have children with special needs. It helps me to keep my priorities in order and keep the end goal in mind. I am just part of a team of people who want to give our children the best possible opportunity to lead an enviable life.
I have a blogroll of parent blogs right at the bottom of this page. It's a great place to go when you are feeling overwhelmed because these blogs are filled with such great ideas and exude positive energy.

I have been emailing back a forth with an amazing mum this week. Katrina has a son with special needs and she shares a blog' Roots and Wings' with two of her sisters. They write about all sorts of things. I was really impressed with a post that Katrina wrote, that passed on great tips from her years of working side by side with an occupational therapist, to help her son with some sensory/ motor issues. Click on the picture above and scroll down to the post on April 28th to see for yourself.

Tomorrow will be the Junior Crew's first day back at school. I hope that they have enjoyed the holidays and are just as excited to be coming back to school as I am. You can visit our classroom by clicking on the rocket link in the right margin any time. We'd love to hear from you too :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Special Education Resources- TES Connect

Hi Everyone,
I registered with TES Connect last year and have been downloading resources and reading great articles, on Mainstream and Special Education topics from this site every week.
I didn't know that they have over 900 Special Needs resources but I'm not at all surprised!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

18 Nursery Rhymes- Northumberland Grid for Learning

Hi Everyone,
I added this reading activity to the Junior Crew Book Shelf last night.
The site has 18 well known nursery rhymes, set up in 3 sets of 6 rhymes so they can be be easily used as a 'make a choice activity' during Circle Time. I am looking forward to using the program on an interactive white board, during our next junior assembly. The program allows you to read the rhymes yourself, have them read to you or sing along with a group of children.
If you want to test out your student's memory skills, there are sequencing activities and teaching notes for each of the rhymes too. I am constantly amazed at the number of fantastic free resources there are online if you are prepared to look for them. Check out this one by clicking on the pictures and and the Junior Crew Bookshelf by clicking on the hyperlinks.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Junior Crew Book Shelf

Hi Everyone,
Over the past year I have been putting together a virtual bookshelf of hundreds of online stories, videos and information text sites. I got tired of finding really great sites and then forgetting where I had found the material when I went to search for it again.
The kids in my class explore this site independently but we really enjoy reading online books or watching an educational video together at the end of the day.
I hope that you find the resources helpful.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Learn to be Buddies

Hi Everyone,
This morning I spent some time visiting Amanda Gray's web site and blog. Amanda is an Australian university lecturer who specialises in working with kids with challenging behaviours. I have been following her blog for some time and really enjoy reading her posts which are full of easy to read, evidence based interventions and strategies.
Make sure that you scroll down the right margin of her blog to find the web site link because Amanda also writes ( very inexpensive) books, music and designs games that can be used in the classroom to teach pragmatic skills and support anti -bullying programs.
Take some time to read the blog posts that were written in May as they contain some great practical ideas for teachers in both mainstream and special education classes and while you're at it, sign up for the newsletter.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Jig Zone - Online Puzzles

Hi Everyone,
Have you discovered Jig Zone yet?
It is a child friendly online jig saw puzzle program which allows you to tailor make and /or complete jigsaws at your own level of ability. There are hundreds of different puzzles available in a range of cuts.
This site is a favourite free choice activity for many of the students in my classroom and is used as a soothing activity for one of my students with ASD.
The puzzles can be embedded into blogs and websites and are great fun to do together on an interactive white board.

Messy Art - Teacher's TV

Junior Crew Virtual Gallery

Teacher's TV

Hi Everyone,

I am a very big fan of Teacher's TV. During the school holidays I love to sit up in bed with my lap top on my lap and watch their latest videos while sipping coffee. Today I watched some of their art videos.

I am not art trained but love to teach it. The videos give me some great ideas but also provide me with the technical knowledge I need to teach well.

Teacher's TV has a range of filters so that you can search for videos that relate to your setting. They have some fantastic resources for mainstream and special education teachers.
If you would like to check out what my class has been working on lately just click on the Virtual Gallery Link.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Speaking of Speech.com

Hi Everyone,

The Speaking of Speech web site is a great one to explore for all sorts of language reasons however today I want to point out that it is loaded with ready made social stories. Some are photographic others made with Board Maker. The site covers an incredible number of social skills topics. Nose picking is something that has come up regularly in my conversations with other teachers of late which is why I have linked to that particular social but you will find a social story or script to cover almost any social emergency for any age or ability range. If that's not enough incentive to explore the site click on the 'Guess Who' board to access their ready made Board Maker speech therapy games. Click on any one of the pictures to discover the site for yourself.

Positively Autsim - Free resources

Hi Everyone,
If you haven't had a look a the Positively Autism site yet the school holidays are a good time to do some serious downloading. I used the site last term to download work tasks and some fine motor cutting templates. You will also find lots of free data collection forms, game boards and visual aids. The site managers are adding new material to the site regularly so make sure you keep checking in to see what's new. Don't forget to check out all of the other online ASD resources in the blog margin under Autism links. I hope that you are all enjoying the holiday break :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Board Maker Free Trial

Hi Everyone,

Mayer-Johnson, the makers of the Board Maker visual aid program, are offering a 30 day free trial of their product which can be downloaded from the Internet. Although expensive, Board Maker is an excellent visual tool to assist children with learning challenges. This is a great opportunity to convince school principals and unit leaders that your school needs to invest in the software !

Monday, June 29, 2009

Typing / Keyboarding Programs for Kids

Power Typing

Dance Mat
Hi Everyone,

This term I used the Dance Mat Typing Program in my classroom to teach the kids keyboard awareness skills. I had no expectations that the kids would learn to touch type, but that is exactly what happened!

This highly engaging program kept my kids glued to the keyboard during keyboarding lessons and I found them choosing to work on their typing skills during 'choice time'.

I have been looking for a follow up program that will appeal to my students who have finished the Dance Mat program. I think the Power Typing program might just be the one!
Scroll down the right margin of the blog until you find my ICT links. You will find lots of great keyboarding games there.

Mr Jenkinsons' Cupboard

Hi Everyone,
If you haven't discovered Teacher's TV yet the site has set up a fun way of generating interest. A visit to Mr Jenkinson's Cupboard might be just the motivation you need to become a Teacher's TV devotee!
When you visit the cupboard you will be asked to choose a primary or secondary focus, play a quick game and then you will be presented with 6 inspiring short videos that relate to your setting . Check it out!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

ESL Flashcards.com

Hi Everyone,
ESL Flashcards.com is a great source of free visual materials for children who are visual learners as well as those students learning a second language. it covers a huge range of topics and has a host of other resources linked to it that will have you browsing for hours!

Eye Tracking Exercises

Hi Everyone,
I have been working on eye tracking exercises with some of my students who are challenged in this area. Eye Can learn is a fun site which allows children to work on exercises online. Some of these activities work brilliantly on our Smart Board for a quick whole group focus. I have added them to my class blog page so that we have quick access in breaks between lessons. Little and often is the rule that I use when presenting students with this kind of activity because your eyes will definitely feel like they have had a work out when you have finished!
The site also has lots of links to other vision sites which may be of interest. Have fun with it!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sparkle Box

Hi Everyone,
Sparkle Box is a great site to explore if you are looking for downloadable resources to support visual learners in both mainstream and special education settings.Take the time to download the free tool bar and save yourself loads of time preparing visual aids for your classroom!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ten things Every Child with Autism Wishes You knew

Hi Everyone,
While researching information for an I was writing, I found Ellen Notbohm's web site. Ellen wrote the book Ten things Every Child with Autism Wishes You knew. You will find information on all of her books by clicking on the picture link to her web site. Or you can have a look at a PDF version of her Ten Things Every child with Autism Wishes You knew by clicking on the PDF picture link. it's a good read so check it out.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sensory Processing Disorder

Hi Everyone,

I am on study leave at the moment writing an essay for my ASD course. The topic is on Sensory Modulation Disorder. This is a huge issue in my classroom for my students with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students with Sensory Processing Disorders are often incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD and given inappropriate drug interventions for a problem better worked through with an occupational therapist.

Lucy Jane Miller Ph. D. has produced a great body of literature and research on the topic. The first photo link will take you to a 1/2 hour podcast where Lucy explains in very simple terms . Click on the red arrow to download the podcast( it took about 3 minutes to download on my system ).
The second photo link will take you to a video news report about sensory processing disorders. Following this hyperlink will take you to an interesting article I am using for my research into the topic.

Universal Design for Learning

A is for Autism F is for Friend - Video