classroom focus

Classroom Focus: High School

This installment of our Classroom Focus takes us behind the scenes of our HS2 classroom, led by Therese B. 

Despite the cold, our High School folks have braved the elements to enjoy a few indoor community outings this month.

Bowling was a big hit for everyone:



A trip to the local coffee shop for some hot chocolate (or milkshakes!) ... 

And when all else fails, a little indoor competition:

We're all hoping for some warmer weather in the coming weeks!

Classroom Focus: Transition

This Classroom Focus takes a peek behind the scenes at our Transition Program, led by Katie G.:

PACTT Transition had a very busy and fun month!

Besides learning in our classroom, we were able to visit different community sites. We toured a local YMCA, which we will start visiting regularly in the beginning of 2014. We also played a few friendly games at the local arcade and visited local restaurants!

Everyone helped cook (and eat!) sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce for our school's Thanksgiving Feast. It was a great way to end November!


Classroom Focus: High School

This month's classroom focus is from our High School classroom, lead by Laura K. Enjoy!


Well I don’t know about you, but here in the high school class we are so happy it’s finally Spring! It’s hard not to want to spend ALL day outside with the sun, but we certainly take advantage when we are out there!

We started to prepare our garden and undo everything that our beloved midwest winter did. Everyone is pitching in to make this the best gardening season yet. We are learning that weeds hurt the plants, but water helps them grow. First step: clear out those pesky weeds!

The high school is also expanding our cooking class to include more exciting, fun and healthy recipes. Everyone is really enjoying the class and looks forward to it each week …including the staff!

The body sock: Yes, there's someone in there!

We got a new sensory tool … a body sock! It might look pretty silly if you have never seen one, but the "body sock" is awesome. It provides a heavy work/deep pressure input that is both calming and regulating. Students are relaxed inside the resistive material as they push against it and the body sock pushes against them.

Our students love to curl up inside this thing … one at a time, of course!

A few students from each class also went to a concert at Stuart G. Ferst again this month, for their last concert of the year. They had a live band from Old Town School of Folk Music, and a great vibe. We have some amazing dancers … boogie down!



Classroom Focus: Transition

We continue with our newest addition to the Blog: Classroom Focus. Each month, one of our teachers will share a behind-the-scenes peek into the life of our classes. This month: Our Transition classroom, led by teacher Lauren M:

We haven’t wasted any time getting back into the swing of things at Transition this year. We have been hard at work putting our vocational skills to good use in our community work sites. We have been working on collating, stapling, hole punching, photo copying and laminating, as well as stocking products, wiping tables and chairs, sweeping and recycling, just to name a few. While there is always endless work to be done at Transition, ALL of our students have paid or volunteer jobs in the community. Some students help set up at a restaurant every morning, and a few students help out at a local nursing home, while others help an office run at optimal levels with an always freshly stocked fridge, watered plants, clean windows and shredded papers. There is also an area thrift store that relies on our students’ help with folding clothes and organizing their inventory of shoes and books. 

Aside from all the vocational work we do at Transition there is always time for lessons! Every week we read a different lesson about the rights we are all entitled to, such as the right to medical care, the right to send and receive mail, the right to vote, the right to freedom of speech and the right to privacy. After reading each lesson, the students answer questions based on their understanding of what we are learning, if they want to learn more about the subject and if they practice this right in their lives. 

We also have weekly lessons in cooking (cupcakes for Halloween!!), art and making purchases in the community. The students really enjoy picking a location, usually Family Dollar or 7-11, and walking to make a purchase as independently as they can, from choosing a snack that is within their budget to paying the cashier.

All of the students at Transition have scheduled time in our workstations room, where they master independent tasks and build upon previously learned tasks. This has been instrumental in having the students work by themselves at their own pace without verbal redirection from a teacher. Watching the independence shown by every student is exciting!!

Before you start thinking Transition is all work and no fun, we always have weekly Friday outings. So far this year we have visited the Garfield Park Conservatory, Goebberts Farm, and Loyola University as well as many parks and libraries! We look forward to our community outings where we can practice our skills and independence. 

We’re excited to see what the rest of this year will bring to Transition!

Thank you, Transition Team! Next month, we'll hear from our Jr. High class.

Classroom Focus: High School

Introducing our newest addition to the Blog: Classroom Focus. Each month, one of our teachers will share a behind-the-scenes peek into the life of our classes. First up: Our High School classroom, with teacher Laura K.!


This year has started off great in the High School classroom. Everyone is adjusting to our new schedule filled with cool classes. We are learning about our rights as citizens, our rights to manage our own personal items, our rights in the workplace and skills we’ll need to be successful there. To learn about our responsibilities as citizens, we are using a curriculum that focuses on rights such as voting, choosing a place to live and finding a career. 

We have a space set up in the school where we are practicing vocational skills. We have the chance to work on tasks like shredding, collating, stapling and copying in a place outside the classroom. Some of us are volunteering in the community, helping clean for our friends at the Transition Program, and picking up trash and setting tables at a local nursing home.

We are using games to practice communicating, and to learn more about each other. One of our favorites is the question game. We take turns moving around the board and answering questions about ourselves, then share the answers with the class. Old favorites like Connect 4 and Trouble are a great opportunity to talk about colors and numbers and to practice taking turns.

Once a week we have a cooking class, where we practice making easy, healthy snacks. This week's recipe was peanut butter and jelly - yum!

Each week we have been adding to our scrapbooks. We include pictures of things we’re working on at school and pictures of our families and friends. Writing and talking about the pictures is a good way to help remember what we’ve done and to practice expressing ourselves.

Our class has been on several fun outings. We took a trip to 7-11 to practice making a purchase, then took our snacks to the beach and enjoyed some sun. A couple of us had the chance to visit our peers at the Stuart G Ferst School for an Old Town School of Folk Music concert, it was cool to make new friends and do some dancing! We have also continued our connection with the students at Francis Parker High School this year. They came to visit this month, and joined us for some games and recess. We look forward to getting to know them throughout this year.

We are all very happy to be off to an exciting and successful start. We have a great year planned, with plenty of interesting activities, fun outings, and opportunities to hang out with friends from other schools.

Thanks, High School Team! Next month: Behind the scenes at Transition.