I’m on my way to Texas for a few days of school visits. Received the following email from Ardyth Fritts in Casper a couple of days ago. It made my day!
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith:
My name is Ardyth Fritts and I am the Intensive Life Skills Class here at Frontier Middle School in Casper, Wyoming. My students are 11-21 years of age with multiple disabilities and most are non-verbal. At Frontier we are reading the book PEAK as a school. I wasn\’t really sure if my students would get into it but I thought,\” okay if it\’s a school thing then we will just jump on board too. \” So began our wonderful adventure. I started off by showing the students where Tibet and Nepal was and a few videos from the internet about mountain climbing. The kids were super interested and I researched music from the countries so they could hear it. Loved it!
I have read to the students 30-40 minutes a day and sometimes the kids are so interested that when I ask if they want me to keep reading, they get upset because I have stoped. We created a wall that teaches for the whole school but the kids picked out the pictures as Peak went through his adventures. We created out Mountains by using white paper tapped to the floor and used a switch activiated marker so that the kids could give some color/design to their mountains which we then laminated and put on our bulletin board. We then took words from the chapter and put the word and kid friendly definition which the kids had to match correctly. It has been so much fun to have the regular education students come in and say \”Are you all going to change the definitions today? Are you putting up the new pictures?\” They ask if they can take my students out to help them with the definitions. We have created kind of a stirr because the regular education students always want to know how far we have gotten.. (Shhhh, don\’t tell them but we have finished it..)
I have to share with you that we were on the last few chapters and I thought well, they are tired of it.. so I told them what page we were on and that I was going to wait until next week. Oh my you would have thought I had told them that they were going to have shots or something.. they were really agitated and let me know by their voices and body gestures that I was totally off my rocker. So I kept reading. Later in the day I gave them a choice of a dvd,music or finish PEAK.. can you guess which one they picked? PEAK.. today it has been very rocky because we are done and they want me to read it again.. well.. we have been invited to another class so that they can hear it again!!!! They are so excited!
So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for letting my students have an experience of a lifetime with PEAK.. they climb many mountains daily but no one seems to notice. This was one story where they could relate to being tired just by walking.. they experience that every day in their physical therapy.. lungs not wanting to get the air into their bodies.. we have to do drumming on all students to break up the congestion that gets in their lungs.. they do climb high every day and sleep low at night in their own beds where their bodies get restored for the adventure of doing it all over again! Peak has become our classroom hero!
Thank you so much for letting me share with you our celebration! Today we made prayer flags after we did some research on them and we also watched some Youtube videos of climbs.. the kids have loved it!! Our next book we start in October is My Side of the Mountainbut we wanted you to know that you are still our favorite author! Keep on having adventures and writing! We want to go on another adventure with you!
Have a wonderful day!
Smiles, Laughter and Adventure Always,
Ardyth E. Fritts, ILS Teacher
Frontier Middle School
900 South Beverly
Casper, Wyoming 82601