Learning at Crossroads

August 09, 2022

11 classrooms, 6 therapy departments including a clinic, a handful of offices, 90 something team members, and more than 100 students and their families – clearly there’s no one story here at Crossroads Center for Children. Indeed we have a myriad of stories, which are woven together and grow to make a whole series and all with a common theme of learning skills that are socially significant in the world we are in.

This blog spot will cover all sorts of stories of learning from around the building. We’ll show you groups and one-to-one sessions here, and you’ll get to know us.

Read Aloud with Early Journaling Activity – 8.5.22

It’s the end of the school day at Crossroads, and students in Room 6 have had a busy week. At this moment, Mrs. Jenn is reading a book to the class, while they work on early literacy activities that complement the story.

“N”, “E” and “B” draw on white boards about what they are hearing, while “R” puts letters and numbers in order along with the story’s characters. “L” likes to point to the pictures as Jenn reads about them. All have their snack available or finished; it is the end of the day and they need a tad of fuel.




Camping Day – 7.29.22

Students in Room 8 have a day of camping out today, with a tent, fishing, and even a (stuffed) campfire. What a fun way to practice something that many families will do this summer, and prepare for the types of activities of camping. And for some, what a great way to experience something new, and come to understand the concept of what camping is like.

5.30.22 Pattern Activity

Each child has a pattern board, a laminated sheet with three different pattern rows and Velcro pieces to complete the patterns that are started in each row.

Learning to recognize and repeat patterns is an important skill for literacy, mathematics and science, and children in Room 5 have increased the complexity of their pattern abilities across the school year. Something to be proud of for certain!

Literacy Groups – 5.9.22

We all know the story of Goldilocks and the  Three Bears, right? When you ponder all of the concepts that are woven into the fabric of this beloved story, it’s surely incredible. We have counting, sizes, spaces, colors, animals, safety- the list goes on and on.

Here we have a group of friends in Room 7 being read the story with an adorable copy of The Three Bears which is interactive, with doors and pop-outs, and things for little fingers to do.

By the way, if you get a chance to review the history of the story, it has changed ever so much from what it was when first written in 1837.

One-to-one Sessions – 4.25.22

One of the best tools for teaching children with special needs is discrete trial instruction, an Applied Behavior Analysis strategy which breaks a given skill down into its more manageable sets and steps for the child in an individualized manner. It is the way we work with the majority of our students with IEPs and, evidenced by extensive research, has been accepted as an effective way to teach children with autism. Once the skill is solid in a one-to-one format session, it will gradually be generalized, meaning that his materials, the people delivering the instruction, the setting, and even how to state the instruction or ask the question will all be changed one aspect at a time, until the skill is truly mastered.

Here we have Room 6‘s Ms. Jenn with “L” a youngster, who is learning to group objects to a number using this method, and doing well. You can also see how the teachers here keep students’ materials organized and ready to go with work buckets holding materials and reinforcers and a binder with all of the goals and data sheets. It’s a lot of work to keep the data graphed and the sets & steps up to date with what the team has decided during their analysis meetings, but it is what works for our students.

Matching Binders-3.16.22

For a child who, with staff support, has learned to match – letters, pictures, shapes, etc. – and is ready for a greater level of independence, these binders are amazing. The learner removes the pieces, connected with Velcro, mixes them up on the table, and then matches. They can work together in pairs, or by themselves, and flip to the next page after each is completed.

Centers and Transitions – 1.27.22

Centers are part of every classroom at a different level, but in Room 5, this year’s group is already doing a great job with transitioning from one table and activity to the next when the teacher gives a verbal direction.

Here are recent centers in the classroom. One features building with sticks and connectors, clearly challenging and interesting work. The other table is for handwriting practice, coloring, and stickering. Room 5 has come so far already this year in being able to transition and attend to the work at hand.

1.13.22 LWT

We’ve been using the Learning Without Tears program as a foundation of our curriculum here at Crossroads for years. How many exactly is questionable since some teachers were already using pieces of LWT before the school adopted the curriculum to use in all classrooms back in 2014.

Each year, each teacher and Occupational Therapist requests the materials needed for the class for the year from LWT and our other curricular programs. One of the mainstays for everyone is the “My First School Books”, which have come to be known as “the green books” by team members here. Grants and donations provide Crossroads with the means to access these wonderful items for our children and we are thankful for these and all grants and gifts we receive.

Here is a group of work products from Room 3, depicting some beautiful recent progress in their green books this year. As you can see, the children work on handwriting in straight and curved lines, following directions, connecting phonics with letters, upper and lower case, sight words, and counting in these books. 

Awesome job, kids, and thank you again to all who donate to Crossroads!

12.1.21 A-Z

One of the many specialties of our teachers and therapists is planning activities that are highly motivating to their students and target the goals each is working on. Here we have Room 4 students posing with a recent project that did just that.

You see, the children in this room are working on letters of the alphabet in various degrees: identifying them, labeling them, letter sounds, sequencing the letters, reciting the alphabet, and so on. At the same time, working on puzzles is a skill that needs practice, also in varying numbers of pieces.

They are pretty proud of their finished product!

Please leave a comment to let them know how you like it!

11.4.21 Construction Theme

Talk about integrating lots of skills into a wonderful theme, here’s a quote and gallery submitted by Katie, Room 2‘s (The Toddler Room) Teacher.

This week, we have been talking all about construction and the kids are LOVING it! The kids have been learning how there are special vehicles like bulldozers and diggers, how they can build things or take them down. In one of our group activities, we used play-doh and golf tees to practice fine motor skills. We talked about how the golf tees could poke holes with the tip or if used sideways could make lines. Another activity we did was with the large foam blocks. We build walls and then knocked them over just like construction workers.

— Katie Schwartz, Room 2 Teacher


10.7.21 Read Aloud

Research shows that the more children are read to, the more words they’ll know. Makes sense, right?

One article https://www.mother.ly/kids-who-are-read-to-hear-a-million-more-words-by-kindergarten stated that a child who is read to daily will have heard 296,660 words by the time he/she turns 5. They went on to cite a recent study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics that found that kids who were read five books a day start kindergarten having heard more than a million more words than children whose parents don’t read to them.

At Crossroads, teachers know that reading to children is an essential part of their education. Spending parts of the day immersed in books clearly only boosts their literacy and communication skills.

Here we get to see Room 1 in a read-aloud that Mrs. Kathy, teacher is facilitating. Not only are the kids sitting terrifically, but they are taking in pictures and words, and associating words and pictures with each other.

9.22.21 Playdoh Table

Where there’s playdoh, there’s fun! But not just fun. Learning too.

Kids with playdoh are exercising their fine motor skills as they push, press, roll, and pinch the dough and use the utensils that come with it. Additionally, they are problem-solving, and engineering as they design what they are creating in their mind’s eye.

One of our favorite things about playdoh, though, is that it gives a rich sensory experience to children, in color, smell, and texture, and the senses are part of Science. For the great majority of our students, subjects need to be hands-on and active, making this sort of activity a meaningful way to connect conversations about how something feels, looks and smells.

Room 3, shown here, is certainly enjoying their playdoh time!

Read past stories about Science below!

Science in Mind.

9.16.21 Early Writing

Crossroads students range in age and in skills. When it comes to writing, many are just now beginning to learn to hold a utensil and to make marks on a surface. While some students receive Occupational Therapy as an IEP service, all students practice early writing or writing skills in their classrooms. Teachers and Teaching Assistants engage students in fun activities in which the children can work on skills like holding a writing tool, making a mark, making specific lines and curves, writing letters and numbers, and eventually writing words. Names, sentences, paragraphs, and essays come along with much practice and time.

Here’s a group in Room 6 enjoying chalkboards from our Learning Without Tears Curriculum.

9.8.21 Morning Routines

After arrival, each classroom has a specific routine, allowing students to learn the expectations of the teachers and of school in general, as well as how to perform the various skills that are chained into that routine. Most classes go to their classrooms, then unpack and put their belongings into their own cubbies. Most then have students go to their desks or tables for an activity that is similar enough every day for students to know what is coming and develop a bit of independence. For some that activity is Snack Time, for others, morning work gets the day off on the right track, for others there are play centers to start the morning and for plenty, morning ADLs (activities of daily living) are the first step towards a successful day.

Today we can glimpse students back from summer break falling quickly into routines in Room 13 and Room 14.  We can see children engaging in all of the above.

Students receive support when needed, and team members will also teach and maximize opportunities for growth and independence by refraining from over-assisting students with tasks they have demonstrated the ability to perform partially or wholly independently.

It’s amazing to think that this is just the first of a whole school year full of days. So much potential and so much to learn. We are excited in every part of our organization about what will be accomplished this year.

9.1.21 Circle Time

Today’s story is from Room 2. This is our “Toddler Room,” a classroom for kiddos just 18 months and up. Ms. Katie is teaching them to participate in a Circle Time. Circle Time is something that is part of every classroom’s day, not just at Crossroads but in most elementary schools, where students practice assorted skills such as those associated with the calendar, weather, pledge of allegiance, and getting to know each other. Today’s lesson included learning some new words of things; Katie is showing the children a tile with a picture and a word, and asking them to say the word with her. The tiles are from the Learning Without Tears curriculum which is utilized across our school program. Over the course of the year, we will see lots of growth in the words students can use functionally. She is also starting off circle time with a mutually enjoyed toy since children as young as this are not expected to sit at length to attend to a teacher.

Check out our circle time blogs from the archives:





8.19.21 We Love Books!

One of the most awesome feelings on earth, at least for those of us in education, is the satisfaction and pride of seeing your students growing and knowing you played a part. So it’s not surprising that this picture was sent from Room 14 with exclamation points and the explanation that after playing board games, the students in this group were given time to choose whatever they wanted to do as a free leisure activity, and they chose to read.

Warms your heart, doesn’t it?

7.16.21 A Walk to the Library

The Rotterdam Library has a new display going on, and it’s not only outdoors but interactive. They’ve made and displayed a sidewalk long stroll called a story walk. It’s pretty awesome.

This week, Room 6 decided to take a walk over to the story walk, since the library is right on our grounds, in the same industrial park.

For many of our kiddos, outings present challenges. One of the biggest concerns for our parents is safety when they have to go anywhere. So it’s something team members address in the ways they can, and one way is by going for walks with the group, learning rules for staying with a group or with your adult, learning the traffic signs and other community signs, learning to stay safe during different scenarios, and so on. Often classes are seen taking walks around our parking lot, which is a great start. Some classes have walked to the local park or Boys & Girls Club. Most classes have walked to the Library, where we even had monthly visit times arranged for a storytime, pre-covid. Learning the skills along the way isn’t always simple, and there are always times when a class has to turn back due to the challenges or to work through difficulties en route.

So you can see how proud we are when a group gets to the point where they can have a successful outing with all hands on deck happy and safe. The class enjoyed the display and also rested in the shade of the outdoor stone gathering space with cups of water.

6.10.21 Eric Carle

Eric Carle was an American-German author, designer and illustrator of children’s books. His picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, first published in 1969, has been translated into more than 66 languages and sold more than 50 million copies.

— Wikipedia
BornJune 25, 1929, Syracuse, NY
DiedMay 23, 2021, Northampton, MA

Room 8 has been spending time honoring the late Eric Carle, with an Eric Carle books unit. They’ve read as many books as they could get their hands on, including the world-acclaimed and beloved The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. On this occasion, a visit to the classroom gave an opportunity to engage with a group practicing colors and counting using the animals from Brown Bear and m&m counters. Students had to match the color m&m to the animal, name the color, count the m&ms, and hardest for everyone, wait until the teachers direction to eat them. Meanwhile in other parts of the room, other students had their turns to work individually with teachers and therapists.

4.1.2021 Mat Man

Mat Man is a friendly hero from Learning Without Tears (LWT) who loves learning and hands-on activities. Our school uses the LWT curriculum and we love it. Here in Room 2, students are making Mat Man with the wooden lines that are in the kits each class has.

Here’s a link to find lots of Mat Man resources from LWT: https://www.lwtears.com/search?s=mat+man

3.29.2021 Reading Comprehension.

Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows.

— Wikipedia

Today we see a small group in Room 11 working on the important skill of Reading Comprehension. The students have a print text with several pages. They read the booklet together, and then go through page by page to discuss the questions and then answer in writing. Teaching Assistants provide one-to-one support for the students as they work through the lesson. When complete each learner will be able to bring home a book that he has both read and written!

3.10.2021 Labeling colors.

What’s important about learning skills of any time is that you can eventually learn to perform them in any environment, with any person, not just in a discrete one-to-one setting, and not just with one or two people asking. This phase of learning is called “generalization,” and is strived for to the greatest extent appropriate for each learner.

Here is “O” with Ms. Logan, as they practice colors while waiting for the bathroom. He finds a lot of GREEN in this hallway, as some of the office doors are decorated for St. Patrick’s Day. He’s so proud to not only find something green to show Logan, but also to label it!

3.3.2021 Learning is what we do best, Room 2.

When you are learning to count, it’s fun to use objects and pictures. One-to-one correspondence here shows up as one block for each animal; at snack time, this practice will translate to one snack for each student, and at art time, one brush for each painter.

Similarly, R, E, and N here are having a go at matching letter magnets to picture tiles to match the beginning sounds. They are also using straight and curved wooden lines to build letters.

2.16.2021 End-of-the-day BOOK routine, Room 5.

Reading books to children is oh so important! In fact, a vast amount of research in this area points to the impact on comprehension and literacy development of the number of times a child is read to on a daily basis. Further, the quantity of books and access to printed materials is a huge factor in how kids develop their reading.

In all classrooms here at Crossroads, students are read to by adults on a daily basis and have access throughout the day to books and other print. One example is the way that Room 5 ends their day each afternoon. Once they’ve eaten and cleaned up from snack, they grab a book and bring it to the rug to read. It’s a time of day the students enjoy and look forward to, and one that brings them a step closer to developing life-long reading skills and habits.

Here are some pictures caught recently in Room 5 at this time. See if you can pick out some of their title choices! When you’re done, if you’d like some helpful links to scholarly articles regarding this topic, click below!




12.29.2020 Learning Without Tears lesson, Room 3.

Crossroads uses the Learning Without Tears curriculum, which encompasses handwriting, literacy, numeration, concepts, and social skills, a comprehensive approach to classroom curriculum which is multi-sensory, hands-on, and research-based. It’s a curriculum used in many of the schools and classrooms that our students will someday transition to, and it’s one that our teachers and students alike, enjoy.

While all classrooms here use the curriculum at their own pace and to address the individual needs of the students within, most classrooms are using the My First School Books, more commonly known at Crossroads as “the green books.”

Here we enjoy seeing the children in Room 3 as they participate in their green book activity for the day, something they do two to three days each week.

On this day they are counting birds and then coloring each using a different color. The first bird is yellow, and the children all have an opportunity to find their yellow crayon, name the color, and then color just one bird and to STOP coloring when it is filled in. Ms. Melissa, Special Education Teacher, and Ms. Lindsay, Teaching Assistant provide assistance on an individual basis; some support is hands-on, and some support is gestural or verbal, but all children are given the supervision they need.

To be clear, the power of this visual story should not go unnoticed. For some of these youngsters, just in their second year of preschool, sitting at the table as a group has, in itself, been a goal to accomplish. To attend to the books, to hold a crayon, to select and use a requested color, and to count with one’s friends… these are hard-earned skills that are to be respected and applauded. Accomplishments, when practiced with classmates, are celebrations.

Once again, we are grateful for the use of this curriculum which is made possible by the kindness of our community who has provided donations and grants to purchase its pieces.

11.12.2020 LWT Curriculum materials have arrived!

Every year we place at least one large order with Learning Without Tears for materials needed for the school year. As well, throughout the year, we also need to purchase a slew of other curricular supplies, which are done on a monthly basis.

We’re so thankful for donations from so many folks and grants from foundations such as the Nora Roberts Foundation, Berkshire Bank Foundation, and Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation for supporting our curricular needs this year!


9.17.2020 Journaling Joy, Room 11

Nothing beats journaling as a way to practice and grow writing skills. It’s a great literacy habit that allows students to express thoughts, share experiences, and explore individual interests. The new school year has this group of learners breaking out their journals every morning, and they are getting into this excellent routine very well. The class also made firefighter hats recently; “J” wanted to wear his for his picture and took a quick break from his journal to put it on for the camera.

Additionally, we can note that all of the children and staff are doing a great job with wearing masks during the day. While students throughout the school have mask-breaks and different plans for increasing their individual length of time of wearing them, it’s awesome to see wearing their masks and working happily at this time!

5.11.2020 Art Projects and Learning Activities, Room 5

With students at home for school these past several weeks, our kids are not only receiving resources and interactions virtually. Young learners need hands-on activities to do, they need to touch and see and engage. Sometimes materials can be emailed, but what about the parents who don’t have a printer at home, or even those who don’t have a computer? What about the sky-high creativity that comes about when making things with high-interest supplies that moms and dads might not happen to have around the house. That’s why teachers have been compiling packets to mail and, in many cases, drop them off at their students’ homes.

Here, Room 5 compiled packets for each student in the class, with projects that their students can engage in independently or with some guidance from parents. These envelopes will go out this week, and then further packets will be put together. Parents can later send pictures or videos to the teacher of the finished product.

Thank you for sharing with us, Room 5. Thanks for all you are doing to help your children keep learning and your parents have the tools they need to manage this situation as best as they can at home.

5.1.2020 Library Mouse, with Ms. Adriana, Room 11

On Friday late morning, Room 11 gathers together to hear a read aloud by Ms. Adriana. Today she will read Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk.


It’s a sweet tale of a little mouse who lives in a library and writes books. Today’s lesson was to listen to a text being read aloud by a teacher and to answer questions posed by the teacher.

“J” and his family joined in this group today, as did “S” and his family. The teachers wish that everyone was able to join the read aloud, but it’s not always possible for some of the families. Kerry and Adriana are happy to welcome the students and families who are there today, and those who will join another day.

As Adriana read the book  to them, Mrs. Kerry, the classroom teacher, asked questions to exercise their comprehension of the story.

Kerry: What do you want to write a book about?

J: “Spider.” Adriana remembers aloud that J has shown an interest in spiders in the past.

Kerry? What was Sam making?

J: A book!

Kerry: Did you like the story?

S: Yes I like the story very much! His excitement brings a smile to the present adult faces.

Great job, Room 11! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

4.30.2020 A Read-aloud of Book! Book! Book! with Ms. Adriana

Room 11 is one of our school-aged classrooms. This lively class of 9 -11 year-olds are doing their best, with the help of their parents and the guidance of their team members, to keep making gains on important skills. The following is from Mrs. Kerry, Room 11’s teacher. She writes,

Our theme this week is libraries and reading. Ms. Adriana hosted a live story time via Zoom and read the book: Book, Book, Book by Deborah Bruss. We had one student join, “S,” and he answered questions about the book like, “What does a pig say?,” “What does the hen want?,” “Where are the animals going?,” “What is your favorite animal?” and “How many animals are there?” I attached two pictures of our story time.
Thanks, Kerry

This is a truly a very changed way of teaching for all of us here, and of learning for our students. Thank you to the educators, parents and students who are all working so hard to make the best of a highly challenging situation. Thanks to Kerry, Adriana and the rest of the team for sharing your story!

4.27.2020 Here’s a new resource that Room 12’s teacher, Mrs. Erin has found at https://vcuautismcenter.org. She’s love to share it with our readers.

She writes, “This comic is a neat way for some of our students to read about COVID-19.  Kind of a cool way to discuss it!” Erin 

Check it out, and let us know what you think by commenting!

My Life with COVID-19 Comic Strip Printable

4.23.2020 Room 11’s Reading time each day is usually done following a large group model. The students typically work from the same text, with objectives and tasks that are adapted per individual goals.

Room 11’s kiddos are some of the eldest children in the school which goes to age 12. Currently, as for all of our learners, Room 11’s students are meeting with their teaching team daily, via platforms such as Zoom, ClassDojo, and Google Hangouts. Students frequently have assignments to complete on their own once the remote group has ended. Below, Mrs. Kerry, Room 11’s teacher has shared a video from one such assignment.

Here’s what she said:

“Here is a video of “J” answering comprehension questions after watching a read aloud of this book on YouTube: The Butterfly by Anna Milbourne & Cathy Shimmen.

For April, we have been learning about animal life cycles and this was a book about butterflies.”

J’s Butterfly Book Video

Wow! We’re all so proud of J for such great work.

We’re also grateful to his mother, and to ALL of the amazing parents who are currently guiding the school work of their children. We know it’s not easy, and are acutely aware that remote learning is not in the best interest of what our students truly need. But we do feel blessed to have such strong determination from these parents who are not willing to give up despite the challenges.

Truly, the amazing progress children make is the reason we all – employees, families, volunteers and friends – are brought together in our mission.

Many thanks to J’s mom and J for your hard work here, and to Mrs. Kerry for sharing this wonderful story today.

4.15.2020 PBS is a great resource for at home learning during the COVID-19 school closure.

Everyone at Crossroads is working harder than ever to make sure our students and families have what they need during this school closure. Therapeutic and educational team members are making every effort to create, find, plan and provide materials and activities that parents can implement at home, and in ways that students can engage. And all through virtual means, no less. We are so proud of the way that our Crossroads family has embraced stepping up to the difficult tasks at hand, and come together for the good of the students.

Although each day, individual instruction is being provided directly to students and parents, still teachers are sharing resources that they’d like others to also see.

Today’s share comes from Mrs. Erin, Room 12’s Special Education Teacher.

She writes, “I have been reading articles to try to come up with ideas for families that may be different from just websites and things. The PBS site is really good for educational shows. I wanted to share it.”


Thank you, Erin, for your thoughtfulness and help. Whether you are looking for help with literacy, math, science or something different, this is a great place to check out.


PS- Don’t forget to visit the Parent Resources page from time to time, as new items are added almost daily!

Parent Resources


There’s nothing children love more than having a parent or teacher read a book aloud to them. Time set aside for a “read aloud” is a daily part of the schedule in most classrooms at Crossroads. While school is closed, Ms. Rebecca, Room 5’s teacher has started sharing a Virtual Read Aloud via You Tube, as well as a Circle Time for her students. Here is her channel, which readers and viewers can go directly to from this point on, in order to see her updates as she posts them.

Thank you, Rebecca!

Ms. Becca’s Storytime & Preschool

PS- Even though Ms. Becca is a preschool teacher, school age students are highly likely to enjoy this as well!


Earlier today, this post was updated with some wonderful resources for Learning Without Tears, but our teachers continue to share materials. Here we have a video created by Mrs. Rebecca, Room 5’s teacher. It’s a sweet read-aloud called “Goose on the Loose.” Thank you to Mrs. Rebecca for her creativity!


Now in Week 2 of our COVID-19 school closure, teachers and therapists are continuing to create and discover the best resources for at home learning to share with the parents of the students we serve.
This one is from Mrs. Erin, Room 12’s Special Education Teacher. She writes, “Learning Without Tears has opened up free resources for distance learning!”
This, from LWT:
Distance Learning
Whether you’ve already closed for the school year, or are considering a path forward, the following resources can help you continue children’s handwriting, keyboarding, and pre-kindergarten development from a distance.
Thank you, Erin, for finding this resource and sharing it. As this is a fundamental curriculum at Crossroads, all of our students can benefit!


Mrs. Rebecca, Room 5’s Early Childhood Teacher, shares a great list of authors reading their own works that she has come across. She says, “There is a variety of different levels listed. Some are live events, but some can be accessed at any time because they are recorded. I thought it might be good to list as a resource for parents.”


Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing for our families during this challenging time.


This week, since we are closed for COVID-19 precautions, we are trying to help our families who now have children at home for the time being. Our teachers and therapists are putting together resources to share for their students. In many cases, individual paper packets were sent through the mail, or documents sent through email, but as much as possible we’re attempting to post their resources here on our website on various blog spots and also on our Parent Resources page.

Today we have a wonderful list from Mrs. Susanna, Room 8’s Special Education Teacher.

Hello everyone, happy Tuesday! I found some great resources I thought we could share for parents.

Here are a few online activities and resources I thought could be useful and fun to use during the school closure.

1. How to catch a leprechaun read aloud. Following the activity you could build a leprechaun trap with your child 🙂

2. Virtual field trips! Take a moment and go to the San Diego Zoo and watch the animals on their live feed cameras. Yesterday my son and I watched the penguins get fed 🙂

3. Sorting, gross motor fun and more! See the attached pictures for some fun ideas to practice sorting, matching color identification, and number identification.

4. Cincinnati Zoo will have a Facebook live event every day at 2pm-2:15pm featuring an animal from their zoo.

5. Atlantic Shark White Conservatory will hold a live Facebook event at 10am every day this week. They will read a new shark themed book each day.

6. Attached is a photo of websites that offer free online academic activities for kids!

Stay safe and healthy and most importantly have fun!!


We love literacy, math, science, concepts… simply put, we love learning!

2.19.2020 Making the World a Better Place.

Room 14’s theme, We Can Change the World With Our Own 2 Hands, brought students together in art-making, writing and reading this month. Their sentence completion projects and mural are a beautiful tribute to ways students determined that they could make the world better, by smiling, hugging, laughing and more!

2.4.20 1 Fish, 2 Fish in the Clinic. 

Ms. Meggie’s student asked to see the fish, and also counted them! He counted to 10, pointing his little finger at the tank throughout. He needed no prompting to do so, and was super proud of himself when he finished. Fantastic job!

1.17.2020 A Reading Corner in Room 6

Room 6 has created this cozy book nook to encourage independent reading. Children can select books to look at, and whether they are at the level of reading words or enjoying the pictures, this activity will help with literacy development. Awesome job, Room 6!

1.14.2020 Feeling our Fables!

Room 11’s Literacy Theme brings together concepts and skills that students can relate to. This month, their unit is Fables, Folk Tales and Fairy Tales, using curriculum from Mrs. Moe’s Modifications.  

Goals being addressed include sequencing a story, matching words to pictures, and answering comprehension questions. The activities include interactive books, which Mrs. Kerry prints out for the students, giving some students word choices and others picture choices to answer questions for each page of each story. The lesson of the moral of the story is always part of the discussion, something that children of this age group are keenly interested in. Social skills, such as learning in a group, allowing others to have input, and attending to others are also targeted during this unit.

Kerry and her teaching team relate that the students are doing great with the unit. They enjoy the interactive books and the team enjoys finding opportunities to apply the story morals to real life throughout the week. The group

The daily art project is planned to go along with the story of the day. Can you tell what the tale is for each art work from our gallery?

12.18.19  Straight lines make letters A and K!

The way Learning Without Tears introduces letters is not alphabetically. First, kids learn about straight lines and curved lines, big lines and little lines. Little by little, lines become shapes, letters and numbers. The curriculum is more than just handwriting. Everything is integrated with academic concepts, social skills, school readiness and numeration skills. It’s very hands on, and extremely fun for the students. Check out a group this week in Room 8!

12.16.19 Hooray for My First School Books!

We were so fortunate this year to have funds developed specifically for our curricular programming. We’re proud that, as we’ve grown in enrollment, we were able to order replacements and updates to our Learning Without Tears curriculum mid-year! These consumable work books are so greatly appreciated! Thanks again to SEFCU, Nora Roberts Foundation, and Schenectady Kiwanis Club for grant funding for these and other curricular supplies this year!

12.11.19 Reading and Writing Group

In Room 11 this week, the students are learning about holiday customs. Their reading and writing group today gave them practice with essential academic skills and also with this highly interesting classroom theme.

Using a book from their Reading A-Z curriculum, students take turns reading aloud. Providing assistance as individually needed, classroom Teaching Assistants and the Teacher work with students on reading strategies such as sound-spelling, recognizing sight words, using pictorial cues, and so on.

Today’s lesson deals with customs that we might experience in the upcoming holiday season. Discussion of the material being read gives students a chance to share thoughts about familiar concepts, such as Santa, whereas new ideas, such as mistletoe, can be introduced to scaffold upon prior learning. A student whose current main form of communication is adaptive has several opportunities to use the assistive device to respond to the discussion, and is also prompted by the teacher to attempt verbal practice of the words.

Motor integration of concepts helps to reinforce what is being learned; a cut and paste activity for reading comprehension allows the young learners to experience learning with visual and tactile materials in addition to the reading component. Written responses in combination with answer selection helps students learn that there are a variety of ways to respond to text.

11.4.19 I Know My Numbers

The I Know My Numbers books from Learning Without Tears are getting some great use! Here are some students in Room 6 working on number 5. The lesson integrates handwriting, spelling, counting and reading, and these youngsters are doing a great job!


We’re ever thankful for the grants we’ve received to help gain the curricular materials needed for the 2019-20 school year.



Thank you, Kiwanis Club!

8.9.19 Research projects at the Rotterdam Public Library

Room 11’s students took their research projects out of school yesterday, by spending time at the public library. They’ve been working on a science and literacy unit all summer and this represents their culminating work.

“The trip to the library was an extension of our animal classification unit we have been working on this summer. Students chose an animal, found a nonfiction book with their teachers help, and then wrote information about their animal,” explains Mrs. Kerry, the class’s teacher.

This outing was not only academic, however. Since it can often be challenging for our students to participate in public places, this opportunity to work on social and community behaviors was fantastic. Great job, Team 11!


5/31/2019: Art and Literacy: A Rosy Combination

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose! By Lucille Colandro was the topic of a recent literacy theme in Room 11.

Some valuable resources can be found to go along with Room 11’s work here from theautismhelper.com :  http://theautismhelper.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/There-Was-an-Old-Lady-Rose-1.pdf

Meanwhile, we want to show you what they did to integrate an engaging creative activity into this literacy theme.

Paint was used on paper, but the interesting part is that the application of the paint was done with celery!

The cut off ends of celery, dipped in paint, created a beautiful rose impression.

These are so inventive and lovely in the upstairs hallways of our school-age program!

These are so inventive and lovely in the upstairs hallways of our school-age program!

Thanks, Room 11! Well done!










12/4/2018: Organizing a classroom theme around a book is an terrific way to integrate a wide variety of subject areas as well as skill levels and interests.

In a school-age classroom, it works exceptionally well. Here’s a fantastic example of a book theme from Room 11.

The book they used was Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner.

Room 11 used this book to introduce the theme of Winter. The book also brings in many interesting related topics, such as animals, gingerbread, snow, snowmen and the North Pole. During their book theme activities, teachers were also targeting skills for reading, listening, comprehension, position words and prepositions.

First the students listened and read the book. They used templates to create animals and then place them in a large class poster with scenery.

The students also made their own posters. Ms. Kerry reports that they did a wonderful job of listening and placing the figures and working together, and she was very proud of them.







Many of our classrooms are looking for volunteers. Interested? Click to learn more!

Volunteer at Crossroads Center for Children

2.28.19   Loving literacy leads to loving learning.

Giving students a lifetime love of learning is the goal of every teacher around. By making activities meaningful and incorporating the students’ needs and interests into the lessons and skills being taught, teachers at Crossroads engage students and foster a love for literacy that translates into a love of learning.

Check out what’s happening!

Room 14 is our newest classroom, a school age room that opened in September 2018. This group is currently using readers from the curriculum Kids A-Z .  Each week, they work with a reader and an accompanying 5-day vocabulary lesson.

This weeks reader is called “I Love Pirates.” The students take turns reading pages of the reader and answering the questions. They are also given the opportunity to come up to the board to add to the teacher copy of the worksheets for their peers to copy the answers down.
These pictures are day 1 of the worksheets vocabulary words and drawing pictures to go with them.



Another favorite recent activity was analogies. Teachers note that the boys did a great job taking turns reading the book, then the questions then working together to fill in the analogies.

Excellent work, Room 14! We are so proud of you!

1/25/2019: Here’s how Room 11 is integrating science and literacy!

Room 11 has been working on  FABLES unit. The kids, all boys at this time. are really relating to the fables.  Fables teach life lessons in addition to being important in a literary sense.

They’ve also been incorporating other work into their unit. Other subjects that that this group of pre-tweens are interested in. One is Science.

Here’s a cool science experiment they did recently. It’s an extension of The Crow and the Pitcher.
The science experiment is one of water displacement. Students made predictions regarding the number of pebbles it would take to raise water to lines on cups.
Great work, Room 11!




Fundraising, Donations and Other Ways to Help the SchoolStewart’s Shops Appreciation