Tag Archives: kindergarten

a good friend to me

As I collected Mac from school yesterday one of his classmates came up to me.

“You know, Mac is a VERY good friend to me”, he told me.

I smiled . “He tells me you are an AWESOME friend to him, you guys are lucky to be in the same class.”

What is most amazing is that this young boy is the same boy who, in week one of Kindergarten last year, proclaimed he “didn’t want to sit near the stinky baby!”

This boy had just repeated Kindy and I knew he was feeling a bit out of sorts, so I made sure I always put Mac (aka stinky baby) on the other side of the group to him.

Because the class was 50% of Mac’s peers from pre-school and daycare noone else would succumb to the ‘stinky baby’ line – Mac was their friend.  It only took a few weeks and he was interacting and enjoying Mac’s company – courtesy of some fine modeling by his classmates.

I never worried about it at the time – because someone told me a long time ago that…

“often your greatest protagonists become your greatest advocates… if you just give them time”.

How true that insight was.

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Filed under first grade here I come, friends, Inclusion... straight up!

60 seconds from PDF to PPT

Need some PDF files converted to Keynote or Powerpoint to use for switch adapted access (or any other reason)… here’s my solution, happy to hear others.

CLICK SNAPSHOT TO OPEN

60secs snapshot

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Filed under Access all Areas, Technology - things that help

chucking a sickie?

Mac stayed away from school on Wednesday.  There was a dreadful dust storm and we decided that two days in the dust for someone with potentially ‘titchy lungs’ was not a wise move.

Dusty Days

So Mac stayed at home.  We snuck out briefly to get Mac a long overdue haircut.  (If kids didn’t have wear hats at school it would be fine, a good slab of hair product to keep it high and spiky works a treat… but when you have to put the obligatory school hat on your head and then it goes flat and pokes you in the eye.  On weekends he was able to get around with ‘mad’ hair, not so at school)

Thursday the sky was clear and school was on the agenda.  Mac wasn’t enjoying breakfast but we thought he was just tired.  He started to get quite distressed so I picked him up to give him a hug and he was boiling hot… a raging temperature.  So… no school Thursday.

Friday he was still spiking some temps with no other symptoms so yet again, a day at home.  

We did have to call in at the school on Friday afternoon to collect one of the other kids and pop round to her house.  As we wandered over to the playground some of his classmates spotted him.  Out of the classroom ran about eight of the Kindy kids, checking up on their friend, telling him they missed him, checking he wasn’t too sick, and determining just what, in fact, the actual illness was.  Mac was grinning from ear to ear not looking one bit sick.

When bell rang his ‘posse’ of senior friends spotted him, over they ran, checking up on him.  When they asked him if he was sick he gave the most evil smile as if to say ‘nuh, just pretending’.  So they now think he was ‘wagging’ which apparently is pretty cool.

The temps have now turned into sinus and hayfever, most likely a result of the dust.  He is a bit miserable so here’s hoping he is well for Monday.  He misses being at school as much as the kids miss having him there.

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‘gotcha’

The school system is not completely without hope.  Just as I believe much of the problem in DET lies at a grass roots attitudinal level…

I also know the silver lining is found in the same place.  NSW DET has some amazing teachers who simply ‘get it’ when it comes to teaching & including children with additional support needs.

Mac’s teacher for Term 2 and Term 3 is a recent grad, and, let’s face it… his class is not a ‘walk in the park’.  Mac, with his multiple, severe, complex disabilities is not the only child with additional support requirements in their class of 23 children.

It is wonderful to see her embrace this challenge – a lesser mortal may have run a mile.  

Miss A is a great teacher and this experience so early in her career will ensure she goes on to become a phenomenal teacher.

What I love most is seeing the development of the relationship with Mac and Miss A go from guarded uncertainty, to slight wariness, to reasonable comfort and finally, what is now a full on ‘gotcha’.  

Miss A and Mac sent a text message to one of Mac’s aides the other day.  The text went something like this…

“Dear R, I have just snuck over to Miss A’s desk to use her phone while she is busy with all the other kids.  I just want to send you a very Maccy Moo Birthday Wish.  Love Mac”

What I love about this wasn’t just hearing how excited ‘R’ was about receiving it. 

I love Miss A understands that these moments do need to be facilitated, but that doesn’t make them fake.  

It shows her recognition and respect for Mac by providing him a delightful one on one opportunity with her, his teacher.  She said he loved doing it – he knew they were up to something tricky.

Often kids with Teachers Aide supports miss out on ‘one on one’ opportunities to interact with their teachers – Mac’s teachers have been excellent at ensuring this isn’t the case.

Oh, also… we know Miss A is ‘fully got’ because she has had the ‘Mac running & talking’ dream – that is more impressive than the ‘Mac walking’ so many others have had.  

Now there’s an IEP goal if ever I saw one…

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bleary-eyed superhero


It was a day worth celebrating – 100 days of Kindergarten!

Party fever was in the air.  Zero the Hero was due to visit.  Everyone was taking ‘zero shaped party food’. 

superheroMac, well he was just a bit weary.  100 days is a lot of days to have to be dragged out of bed when you would rather be sleeping – he ‘channels’ teenager very well. 

Mac, like many children with brain injuries, believes sleeping is optional.  It certainly shouldn’t occur under the cover of darkness, and as far as Mac is concerned, the most appropriate time for sleep is between 4am and 11am.  This doesn’t auger well for the standard school day (nor the sanity of his parents). 

So despite the excitement of wearing ‘superhero’ clothing rather than school uniform, having a new zero chest-plate harness to finish off the red & blue outfit and taking zero shaped lollies made into flowers on toothpicks… it took a while for the bleary zzzs to leave.flowerlolly

It was revealed a bit of chocolate at first break had him sparking up – he does love the chocolate.  By the time I collected him at the end of the day the sugar highs had kicked in and he was his normal, wild little self.   He was a good kid though, he did eat all his lunch.

If only school was a party every day – oh, that’s right, for Mac… IT IS!

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the ME project

Term 2 saw our first official ‘project’ due.  You know the type, cardboard, photos, glue, glitter (optional).

It was an “About Me” project and it took some thinking about what to put in and what to leave out.

It was an opportunity to provide some education, without being “in your face” about it.

We left out:

  • pictures with tubes, medical imagery or obvious ‘premmie’ shots 
  • the term Cerebral Palsy as it doesn’t really explain anything about Mac and who he is and what he can/can’t do to Kindy kids (well, to anyone really)

We put in:

  • who he is, what he likes, his family portrait, where he lives and a couple of his footprints (1 month of age and 6 years)
  • an explanation of how/when he got his brain injury
  • reference to his ‘angel sister’ (as quite a few kids know of Meg)

Cardboard posters are difficult to store.  So I had a play with one of my new(ish) bits of software.

Here’s a ‘gallery’ version of the pictures that appeared on his poster.

It does need some audio – we haven’t yet decided whether to go with background music or have Mac’s cousin, Alex, voice the text and convert it to Mac’s pitch to retain as audio.

The software is PulpMotion Advanced.  I bought it initially to make some eBooks and I have been having lots of fun with it.  Mac’s cousin Lucy has recorded the audio for  a couple of books for him.
PulpMotion Logo

 

 

 

 

I plan to make some ‘sight words’ options as well as some more ‘numbers & letters’ versions.  

I’ll be sure to share when I get them organised.

By the way… I wasn’t the only parent who had to help their children in the preparation.  I possibly will be in a few years, but am sure we will get better at them in time.

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wheels for every occasion

Today was the annual Book Fair at school.  The theme of the day was ‘safari’ and everyone was encouraged to dress up.  And so they did, there were lions and tigers and bears [oh my]!

Our new wheel covers in honour of the day…

More Wheels

Cute jungle animals running round one wheel and, on the other,
a fearsome tiger claw bursting through…
Mac was ‘fitted out’ in full khaki, pith helmet and the obligatory crocodile strung across the ‘bow’ of his wheelchair as a handy footrest.

He came home with a ‘haul’ of four new books courstesy of Mum’s credit card.  If only the publishers (all publishers) would make picture books available in TRUE eBook format so he could access them himself (ie with picture and text support, an option for adding your own audio and the ability to use ‘switch’ or ‘touchscreen’ technology to access them).

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Filed under kindergarten at last