Thursday, January 15, 2009

Follow the Yellow Brick Road...

Part 3 in our journey through Oz...
This week we have had a blast doing Oz activities. We read a story synopsis that I created using Boardmaker and liberally pirating the illustrations from Pete Wells' sensory story. It has sound effects and everything. Combined with a few tactile props for my visually impaired kids and we had a hit. The most popular part of Part 1 was the tornado. I made a tactile/visual version in a water bottle half filled with crystal beads. And EVERYONE got 100% on the comprehension questions. How cool is that?

We also started writing our own versions of the story. Each page of the book has a story prompt with three choices, basically a choose-your-own adventure. They've had lots of fun choosing and reading their books. I'm still waiting to hear back from Pete about whether or not it's OK to share these activities since I've used his work to create them. Hopefully he'll get back to me soon. This project was so popular with the kids I'm going to have to come up with more.

This afternoon we started the Wind Experiments. Between being short handed for staff, running late, and uncooperative kids, we didn't get very far. Only one student finished the experiment. The others variously protested, went on strike, or were too distracted by the other kids to concentrate. In retrospect I should have done a lesson on weight (heavy vs. light) and let them explore the objects as a group and set up the "wind" at a separate station in another area for individual use. The blow dryer was a real distractor to the kids who were still making choices or working on concepts. Not to mention that we were right on top of each other in our rather cramped space. That's how we'll set things up tomorrow when we try again.

We'll also do the Part 1 sensory story with our peer buddies tomorrow. If the response of my home bound student is any indication, it should be a lot of fun. Then our buddies can help us make tornado bottles.

This project has been wonderful for state assessment data for the portfolios. That's always a nice benefit. Interested in what we've done? Drop me a comment.

Next week, in Part 2, we meet the Munchkins, Glinda the Good Witch, and the Scarecrow. Lots of singing planned too. Goodness knows we've listened to the soundtrack enough. HA HA!

Other projects include:
  • Bubbles (for Glinda); so much fun and everyone is always motivated to talk; think I'll break out our bubble machine and hook it up to the powerlink

  • Magic wand craft to add to our story props

  • Scarecrow craft, although I think we'll use up some of the multitude of fabric scraps we have in the closet rather than neckties; this is a nicely tactile project with lots of choices

  • And of course the adapted story and the sensory story

The plan is to eventually post pictures of the whole project. I really liked the Voicethread Kate Ahern shared on her blog. I haven't explored Voicethread yet so this might be the perfect opportunity. We also have an Open House type night coming up at the end of the month. The first floor of the building (where my room is) will be opened up to parents and patrons during a home basketball games and we're all being encouraged to put up displays. I think we'll do a Yellow Brick Road timeline on the wall outside our room and put up the projects we've done, or photos of them.


  1. Love all the Wizard of Oz stuff. Will you listen to Wicked too afterwards? How I love Wicked and Elphaba!

    Also my last name is Ahern - no extra "a". Thanks.


  2. Thanks! I loved the book. Would like to do the audio book of Wicked as at least one of my girls would really like it and the version is very well done. She and I have very similar tastes in books and movies. Of course, this is the same kiddo who has been torturing me with the sound track from the original movie. HA HA The book is so expensive though! Too bad the musical isn't playing anywhere near. I'll check out the soundtrack. I did just purchase a DVD of Tin Man, which I really enjoyed when it aired on TV and I think she'll like watching that on a swimming day when she can't go (too cold for her).

    Sorry about misspelling your name. I hate it when people do that to me (and I have a relatively simple one, especially compared to what it was before I got married!).