Sunday, March 28, 2010

Teaching Differently Abled Children

We all have certain people in life that we admire and love. People that emulate the Savior to a T. This little lady is one of them! While small to the eye, she is a spiritual giant and I hope one day to even be a smidgeon as wonderful and kind as she is. A while back she gave a beautiful presentation and was thoughtful enough to let me share with you. The following is written by Sister B...
"Kathie Snow said,
But what do apples have to do with disability?

One of the five apples is green.One American in five is a person with a disability.
(Which makes people with disabilities the largest minority group in the nation—and
it's the only group that anyone can join at any time!)
A green apple is more like red apples than different.
A person with a disability is more like people without disabilities than different.
Apples are natural . . . and having a disability is a "natural part of the human experience"
(as expressed in the U.S. Developmental Disabilities Act).
The sun shines equally on all the apples in the bowl,
and it's time for the light of inclusion, opportunity, freedom, and dignity
to shine equally on all people—including people with disabilities.

I was asked to share insights this evening in regards to inclusive education for children in our primary with disabilities. I have thought long and hard about this. In our home we are truly grateful for those who have taught, nurtured and included our family. I moved into our ward when I was 9 years old. My dad had died 2 years before, my mom was remarried to an awesome guy and we had moved here from Utah. There was a lot of transition in my life at that time. I was fortunate to have a wonderful primary teacher not long after we moved here by the name of Peter. Peter was a young man preparing to go on a mission. He did not make any special accommodations to help me be a part of the class but he did walk with me down the halls of the Prater Way Chapel to our classroom and he required the same of the other members of the class. He spoke to me with respect and most importantly, he helped me to feel loved and accepted. I needed that from him and from my peers. After receiving his mission call, Peter wrote letters to me ( He was a 19 yr old boy and he took time to write letters to me-a little 9 year old girl with cp.) It meant so much to me. I still have those letters as well as his wedding announcement to sweet, Laura. I still know that I can count on Peter over 30 years later. Every child in the church deserves to have a person like Peter in their lives.

My family is unique in that we all have diagnosed disabilities and health conditions. I even have concerns for our pug, Zeus because he has behavior issues that we cannot seem to extinguish no matter what we try.
I was born over 3 months prematurely and weighed 1lb13 oz at birth. As a result, I have cerebral palsy. My husband has bipolar disorder. Our oldest son, Denver has Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism) Our second son, Jordan has celiac disease and our daughters whom we adopted from foster care both have the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other challenges related to their traumatic beginnings.

In thinking about what has worked for my children in attending church.
1. Greet the children by name
2. Establish rules for class
a. Routine (kids with autism need to know what to expect-difficult to be flexible
b. Role play
c. Responsibility
d. Revere-love
e. Room to move-just because a child is wiggling doesn’t mean they are not learning (rocking chair for Heather helped her to move without distracting others)
f. Reinforce positive behavior
3. When calling on children with disabilities, ask a typical peer the same question first-if the child with a disability repeats what is already said it is ok…always validate answers
4. Model respect

5. Sit child with disability near the teacher

6. Give positive prompts

7. Spotlight children in class-it helps them to feel important and helps the children to get to know one another, focus on commonalities

8. Get to Know you games

9. Expand a child’s social circle

10. Praise for sitting reverently even for 3 seconds
11. Focus on strengths
12. Praise improvements even if they are slight
13. Learn from children
(if a child uses sign language or a communication device, learn a song in sign language)

14. Find out what the children want

15. All kids can learn with the correct supports-have high expectations-they will rise to it
16. Teach behaviors using puppets, etc…

17. Pre-teach expectations, find out about children from their parents

My son Jordan has celiac disease. We are so grateful for our primary presidency and their efforts to ensure that he can eat what is served at activities. I appreciate the phone calls asking me to bring food items for him that are similar to what the other children are consuming.

Denver as a deacon passed the sacrament to the same rows every week. It was an accommodation made for him that no one even knew about. We did not have to draw attention to it but it was a way for him to participate without feeling uneasy. When Denver was in primary he was mortified to stand up and sing with the other kids for the primary program. It was not ideal but he would hold a picture in front of his face and sing. At least he was up there, right?
We cannot simplify children as just a boy in a wheelchair; he is a complete person with a disability. People with disabilities don’t just want to glue Popsicle sticks together, we want to learn to do math and to learn about history. We want to change history. We want to enjoy friendships, gain testimonies, serve missions, get married, have families, pets and jobs and have a sense of belonging.

Inclusion is best for every child. Inclusion is an easy thing to do poorly. When all children are included appropriately, everyone benefits. Teachers become better teachers by inclusion. We should constantly think of how each child can be included in all activities.
The Monument

Before He Sent His children to earth
Gave each of them
A very carefully selected package of problems.

He promised, smiling,
Are yours alone. No one
Else may have the blessings
These problems will bring you.

And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Your servants.

Now go down to your birth and to your forgetfulness.
Know that I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
Are a symbol of the love.

The monument you make of your life
With the help of your problems
Will be a symbol of your Love for me,
Your Father. "
Thank you so much Sister B for sharing. (I love you and your sweet mother and family forever and always!) The Church has THIS PAGE to help and guide you, entitled Teaching All Children, Including Those with Disabilities. Food for thought people. Click around, they have especially helpful suggestions for teaching children with ADD and Autism. Hope this message from this amazing sister can be of help!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Church of Jesus Christ Song Helps and Ideas (CS pg. 77)

Yellow Umbrella Image Courtesy Creative Commons License Flickr by //soliedether Aug. 11,2007
* Joseph Smith received this revelation on April 26, 1838 "That the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth." (D&C 115:6) Bring in a colorful rain poncho, umbrella and rain boots. Being members of our church helps protect us from the storms of life! How can we keep each other safe?? Let a child who is singing very nicely dress up in the rain attire and lead the song with the umbrella (make sure it's a small and short one!)

* Have the church logo nice and large on a piece of poster board. Cover it up with a bunch of other logos/brands. We live in a world telling us to buy that, be part of this, wear this, shop at that place... none of those brands or logos matter! Sheri Dew said, "But though we don't always see beyond our hair and the labels on our clothing, the Lord does. For he 'seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.' (1 Sam. 16:7)" ( No Doubt About It, Sheri Dew p.47) Like the song says, "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.... I know who I am!" Nothing else matters, except what is in our hearts... We love our Savior! As the children sing boldly, let them come up and take off the other brands to reveal what is really important!

* Have a picture Alma baptizing in the waters of Mormon, Christ and His apostles, and a sign that says YOU and I! What do they all have in common? We all belong to the same church! Though different times, it's the same gospel! Have different costumes from different times for the children to wear. This would also be a good time to review Article of Faith number 6!

In Gospel Principles it says, 'Christ is the head of His Church today, just as He was in ancient times. The Lord has said that it is 'the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.' (D&C 1:30)" (p.111)

* Have a large sheet of butcher paper. Have a child come up front and lie down. Trace the child on it. Who are we? This song helps us realize important truths! On the outline of the child write lines from the song in different places- for example the I know phrases could be by the head, I'll follow phrases by the arms or legs, I will proclaim by the mouth... etc. And of course, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ could be right by the heart!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Monday!

Because what could be better than a singing pegasus/unicorn to brighten up your day! Have a wonderful super fantastic amazing week!!!!Add Image

"You have nothing in this world more precious than your children. When you grow old, when your hair turns white and your body grows weary, when you are prone to sit in a rocker and meditate on the things of your life, nothing will be so important as the question of how your children have turned out."
-President Hinckley

What can you do for your primary children today and this week?

Friday, March 12, 2010

April 2010 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Image courtesy Primary Nursery Manual: Behold Your Little Ones

Woah. Am I behind the times or what! I didn't even know about this AWESOME RESOURCE that the church has!

Week 1 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.

* Here is a gathering of testimonies of Joseph Smith in different languages. Have a laptop handy and invite a couple children to choose different people from around the world and listen to those testimonies in the people's native language. Have a globe or a map with the numbers 1 through 12 posted in different areas. Attach questions, songs and scriptures having to do with the story of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith. All over the world, the truth is the same - the gospel is restored!!! Hooray! (Need help with questions, click here!)

* Here is a BEAUTIFUL multimedia presentation, with great pictures and short quotes! I didn't hear any music, but I think it would be a great way to start off primary by showing this and having the pianist play O How Lovely Was the Morning softly in the background as you read the quotes. (For some odd reason, there is a video at the very end but it's short and not really finished ??)

* President Uchtdorf shares his testimony of Joseph Smith and personal story when he was a boy. Click Here to read. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The First Vision,” Friend, Jun 2008, 2–3) Share the story and take the above picture from the Nursery Manual. With a pen, draw slanted lines to make it into a mosaic like stained glass. Make a copy for each child and have them color with lots of different colors and answer the questions in the magazine article.

* 3 cheers for Diane Nichols!! She shares Grrrrrrrrrrrreat activities found here!!! (Diane Nichols, “Sharing Time: Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration,” Friend, Jul 2001, 14) Especially love this quote/idea from her, "Display a bouquet of four artificial flowers and one real flower. Ask how the flowers are different from one another. Point out that the main difference is that only one is a true flower. Explain that though there are many churches in the world today, only one of them is the true Church of Jesus Christ."

* This is an outline of songs and artwork telling the story of Joseph and His life. It would be great for older children who know the songs. Thanks for putting it together in one spot Sister Karen Robinson! (Kerri Robinson, “Sing a Song of Joseph,” Friend, May 2007, 4–6)

Have different questions written on the chalkboard. What ocean can you find blue whales in? How do you make chocolate cake with buttercream frosting? What is the largest city in the world? Next, ask the children where or what they could do to find out the answers to these questions. Erase the questions and put up a final question, What is the true Church here on the earth today? What would they do to find the answer to this question? Help children memorize James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." by doing hand movements to the words. Also, the best way to help them memorize is not spending 10 minutes repeating over and over!! Throughout the lesson, say the scripture for them, whoever knows it- join in! Leave out certain words, let the children fill in the blank. Tell the children you have lots of questions that need to be answered! Have them check under their chairs for questions, then quietly walk around and talk to each other to find out the answer to their question. (Good opportunity for older children to help younger children with their questions!)

*Dress up a child simply and have them act out the words while you sing The Sacred Grove. (CS p.87) Have another child be a sun, another hold up a picture of God the Father and Jesus appearing to Joseph and lastly a child holding a big heart.

* Have the children hold up their pointer fingers. How are the fingers different, how are they the same? (On different hands, one might have a shorter nail, etc. Yet they are both fingers.) John 17:21, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." We learn a very important truth from the first vision in that Heavenly Father and Jesus are separate, different bodies and persons, yet they are the same -Gods- and one in purpose.

“Yes, God does live. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate personal beings, alike in form, in whose image man is made. In order that these basic fundamental truths, lost to the world through centuries of erroneous teachings, might again be available to people of our day, a new revelation was necessary, and this was given to the fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith in the form of the most glorious vision ever given to mortal man, so far as the records indicate—a vision in which Father and Son appeared simultaneously” (Joseph F. Merrill, in Conference Report, Oct. 1948, 59).

Week 2 Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.

* Here is great reading from Chapter 5 of the Church History in the Fullness of Times manual. Highly recommend reading it and seeing where inspiration will take you!

* Here
is a matching activity in the friend that would be great for older children to do in pairs. (Scroll down a little)

* Have a bunch of copies of the Book of Mormon in different languages. Ask the children to try to come up and read. Sometimes it's even hard enough in our own language that we know! Have different bookmarks in the Books with scriptures, songs and questions having to do with Joseph Smith and the translation of the Book of Mormon attached. Let the children come up and pick a book mark! If there is time, perhaps they can even make a book mark with Joseph Smith on it, and give to the missionaries to give to investigators!

* Have a blow dryer unplugged and invite a child to press the on button. What happens? Now plug it in and get the power going!(Make sure the adult does this, not the child...say no to pain and lawsuits) What happens? And so it is also by the power of God that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.

* Sing The Books in the Book of Mormon. (CS pg. 119) Invite the children to turn to the Table of Contents in the Book of Mormon. Ask the children to share favorite stories from the Book of Mormon, then decide where you would find those stories. We only know those stories because Joseph Smith translated them by the power of God!

* I really liked the idea in the sharing time outline! I would expand it by dividing into groups and having different messages and codes for each group to figure out. Then have someone come to the front and share what their message was. All messages would be based on the week's theme. For example, "Joseph Smith had help translating from Oliver Cowdry." or "Joseph Smith used the Urim and Thummin to translate."

Week 3 Jesus Christ restored the gospel through Joseph Smith.

* This is a wonderful poem! Callie Buys, “Thank You, Brother Joseph,” Friend, May 2005, 7
You could divide a paper in half, have this poem on one side and have the children take home to illustrate a picture of Joseph Smith or event from his life.

Thank you, Brother Joseph,
For reading in James,
For translating plates,
For suffering pain.

Thank you, Brother Joseph,
For teaching the way,
For preaching the gospel,
For laughter and play.

Thank you, Brother Joseph,
For helping each hour,
For receiving restored
Priesthood power—

Power to hope
And help and heal.
Power to pray
And baptize and seal.

Power to preach
And translate and learn.
Power to teach
Of kingdoms to earn.

Thank you, Brother Joseph.

* For Senior Sharing Time, you can enlarge this crossword puzzle (click HERE) and do for sharing time.

* For Senior Sharing Time,click here for a time line activity for the children to do.

* Click here for a puzzle of the picture of Joseph Smith and highlights from his life.

“In many ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When Joseph Smith came on the scene, perhaps 100 pieces were in place. Then Joseph Smith came along and put many of the other 900 pieces in place so that people could say, ‘Oh, now I understand where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going.’ As for Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration, the Lord defined it clearly: ‘This generation shall have my word through you’ (D&C 5:10).” (Tad R. Callister, Joseph Smith-Propher of the Restoration, Ensign, Nov. 2009, 36)

* Have 3 cups. Put a ball under one cup and mix them up. Invite a child to guess where the ball is. Do again a couple times with different children. Heavenly Father would always know where the ball is because He is omnipotent (Big Word!!) He knows all things! And just as He knows all things, he carefully chose Joseph Smith to restore the gospel.

“It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was fore-ordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation” (Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 108).

* Invite someone to leave the room. They are gone, now send someone to bring that person back. So it is with the restoration, The Church of Jesus Christ had left the world and Joseph Smith brought it back, restored it by the power of God!

* The Restoration DVD might be appropriate to show! I haven't seen it in a while and am not sure how easy to understand for children it is. So keyword then is "might".