Classroom Notes – September 2008


Welcome to this first edition of the Louis Braille School’s Classroom Notes. The monthly publication will be archived on our website blog under the category “Classroom Notes” for your future reference.

Each month, we would like to share with you instructional milestones which our special students are achieving through our holistic approach to education.

In addition to highlighting student achievements, we will be including upcoming school events and fundraising activities, as well as individual profiles of teachers and administrative staff.

We hope you will find our articles to be inspiring and

Apple Picking Time

This month we’ve been talking about the seasons and what we do during different times of the year.

Since fall is apple picking time, the students have been participating in educational and fun-filled activities involving apples:

Learning about Johnny Appleseed
Singing songs about apples
Creating apple art
Planting apple seeds
Making delicious, mouth-watering applesauce in our microwave oven

Before making the applesauce, we did some research.
First, we tasted 3 different types of apples (red, yellow, green) and made a tactile bar graph to show which we liked the best. We kept the seeds from the apples and counted them to see which apples had the most and the least seeds. One of the apples had only one seed. We planted the seeds in little pots and put them on our windowsill.

Next we visited a grocery store to purchase applesauce ingredients. Each student chose two apples and weighed them on the scale.

We are including the quick and easy recipe for those of you who like applesauce.

Microwave Applesauce
6-8 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut up
1/4 cup water or apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a 1½ quart covered glass casserole, combine all ingredients. If making unsweetened applesauce, omit the sugars.

Microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes, or until apples are tender. Add a little more water if needed.

For chunky applesauce, mash apples with a fork or potato masher. For a smoother texture, put cooled mixture through a blender or food processor.

Student Highlights

One of our students has learned to zip his jacket by himself. It is sometimes difficult to get two hands and ten fingers to work together. Since the weather is getting colder, accomplishing this goal seems quite appropriate.

Another student is mastering the concept of “grouping” in math. Grouping is being able to arrange items in different clusters yielding the same answer. For example, there are three ways to make 3: 1+1+1, 2+1, and 1+2. Our young student understands the groupings for numbers all the way up to 8.

A student enjoyed a breakthrough at the computer in learning to control the screen by using the mouse. Educational software programs with bright colors and appealing pictures give rewarding results.

Fall Crafts

Apple Art Prints
Cut an apple into different shapes. Using the apple pieces like stamps, dip an edge into paint and then press the painted side onto a piece of paper. Paints in shades of apple red and apple green make especially appealing apple art prints.

Leaf Art
Cut a leaf shape from construction paper. Brush glue all over the leaf shape. Crinkle dry leaves and scatter the pieces over the glue.

Fall Leaf Stained Glass
Take a walk outside to collect 4 or 5 fall leaves.

Scrape pieces of crayons with an ice cream stick to make shavings.

Arrange fall leaves on a 12 inch piece of waxed paper. Put the crayon shavings in the spaces between the leaves. Lay a second piece of waxed paper on top of the arrangement. Hold the two pieces of waxed paper together with paperclips.

Place a towel over the waxed paper and iron at a low temperature. Display in a window.

Our School in Bloom

Thanks to a kind donation from Edmonds in Bloom, and the expertise of master gardener Barbara Chase, a planter of fall color brightens the front of our school. The planter box is full of asters, sedge, hebes, euonymus, sedum and “hen and chickens.” Barbara also helped us plant grape hyacinth bulbs that will bloom in the spring.

planter box of fall color

Looking Ahead

October 2 – HibernationParty Students may wear pajamas to school while they learn how animals prepare for the winter.

October 22 field trip to Fairbank Pumpkin and Animal Farm in Lynnwood. Date to be announced.

Science In October, we will begin a series of lessons about how our bodies work using our 4-foot skeleton and tactile models of various organs.

Social Studies We will begin a series of lessons about the Native Americans and the early settlers known as Pilgrims. Our students will learn the importance of respecting the land and will consider what it would be like without electricity, cars, plumbing, television, and computers.

October 10 Noon dismissal, teacher half-day.

October 24 Noon dismissal, first quarter parent conferences.