Archive for the ‘Life Skills’ Category

Life Skills students participate in a mock sword fight during a trip to the Renaissance Festival on March 3. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

Life Skills students participate in a mock sword fight during a trip to the Renaissance Festival on March 3. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

     Students in the CCJH Life Skills class and Student Council recently went to the Renaissance Fair for their yearly trip.
     Desirae Bickle’s Life Skills class and the Student Council, led by Jason Davis, went on a one-day trip to the fair on March 3 so that the Life Skills kids could interact in a new environment.
     “The Life Skills students go every year,” said Mr. Davis. “StuCo kids get to come with because we work with those students during seventh hour most days.”
     The Life Skills students’ goal was to learn in a new situation where they weren’t completely comfortable and learn how to react to it. This was to teach them how to cope with uncomfortable situations.
     One of the Life Skills class’ goal is to teach social skills. To be polite in public, to deal with weather and people, and to teach them how to be positive. This trip was a good test run on their people-skills.
     “You have to make decisions about what activities to do, deal with hot weather and thousands of other people, and be polite when talking to the vendors and workers at the fair,” said Mr. Davis.
     In addition to social skills, the kids also had some fun during the course of the day when they weren’t learning.
     “One of the things I enjoyed was the show in which a person juggled sticks with fire on them,” said JoseAntonio DeSantiago.



By Gracie Lentz
Cougar News Blog

     The CCJH PTO donated money to yearbook, art, physical education and the life skills program at its meeting in December..
     The group decided to donate $1,500 to Gail McFarland’s art class, Brad Rumple’s P.E. class, Jason Davis’ yearbook and Desirae Bickle’s Life Skills. This money is going to be used to pay for things the class needs or is using for a project of some sort.
     The art class was donated $500, P.E. and yearbook each received $400, and the Life Skills program was donated $200.
     Mr. Davis said he appreciated the donation and will use some to buy better camera equipment.
     “Some of the money went toward the purchase of five yearbooks,” Davis said. “We will be using rest of the the money to buy a new lens or two. They are very expensive, so we may have to save up a little bit.”
     Some of the money will be used to improve older equipment that is no longer useful. It will be used to buy new equipment for the class and new materials that needed to be replaced. Coach Rumple says he appreciates what the PTO has done and will use the money to buy new dodge balls. McFarland is using some of the money to buy ceramic clay for her clay unit.
     “The PTO has helped my classroom in need they have bought weight training equipment and have helped to improve our PE equipment,” he said. “They always come through.”
     The classes having better equipment and materials will benefit students who take the classes.
     “It helps students in class by giving them access to better equipment, which helps everyone produce better images,” Davis said. “Ultimately, that makes our book better, and that benefits everyone who buys one. The nice thing about buying nice equipment is that we can use it for many years so it is a gift that keeps on giving.”

By Haley M.
Cougar News Blog

     Desirae Davis, Life Skills teacher at Cactus Canyon, took her Life Skills class to the Phoenix Zoo in November.
     Ms. Davis teaches a class with seven seventh- and eighth-grade special needs students to educate them on different ways to have fun while also learning new objectives.
     “My students learned community skills,” said Davis.
     Ms. Davis and her students decided to take a trip to the zoo to where they learned about animals, got to touch some of them, and also learned about what the animals classifications are.
     “We finished up our science unit about animals with a trip to the zoo,” told Davis.
     Davis wanted her students to go to the zoo so that they could have fun while also gaining community experiences. The students said that they enjoyed the trip and the experiences they got to have.
     “I was excited to go there for the zebras,” said Katherine Wood, seventh-grade student. “I love their black and white stripe designs, they are so cute and I had a lot of fun spending a day at the zoo.”

By Pauline Harner
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High’s student council and the life skills class went to the Renaissance Festival on Tuesday, March 3.
     Life Skills teacher Desirae Davis wanted her students to learn about how to act at a public event, how to socialize with others, how to pay for things, and how to use a map to find things.
     “I expected my students to learn about history and community skills,” said Miss Davis. “This trip was to involve the students into a life experience and to make friends with student council students.”
     StuCo went on this trip as a reminder that they are all a Student Council family and that they do a lot of fun activities with each other and the Life Skills students.
     “It was a fun bonding experience for StuCo,” said Matthew Martinez.
     Students between Student Council and Life Skills had lots of fun getting henna tattoos, going to the fairy shop, riding elephants and one student even got a coffee mug. All the students learned lots about helping others, bonding with each other, and the culture from the Renaissance era. Those lessons will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
     “I learned the culture of the Renaissance era,” said Martinez.
     “I learned it is important to help others,” said seventh grader Haley Loftis.
     The planning process for this trip took a couple of months due to paperwork being sent to the Renaissance Festival and the school district.
     Student Council and Life Skills were gone for about five hours in all. They left during second hour and came back around seventh hour.

By Abigail Vidana
Cougar News Blog

     Students in the Life Skills class at Cactus Canyon Junior High have recently learned about teamwork, sportsmanship, accomplishment, and being included in a hidden and concealed way, through playing sports.
     The Life Skills class recently competed in a tournament in the Special Olympics of Arizona at a bowling alley located in Mesa, Arizona. They played individual bowling resulting in rewarding of 5 students.
     “My students learn many things from participating in bowling through Special Olympics,” said Ms. Desirae Davis, Life Skills Teacher. ”They learn the skills of bowling, being included and teamwork. It’s like any other sport, except there are accommodations and modifications for each and every athlete.”
     Five medals were granted the night of the tournament. Joshua Delintt took home a gold medal, Enias Victorio and Raini Cotton received silver medals, while Katherine Wood and Maelynn Oliver claimed bronze medallions.
     “My students love socializing and interacting with people from other teams during competitions. Each one of the athletes feel a sense of accomplishment. Inclusion is definitely the biggest impact on them,” said Ms. Davis.
     Ms. Davis’ Life Skills class also competed in a basketball individual skills tournament in late January which completed their sports season for the 2014-2015 school year.
     “The athletes have great sportsmanship,” says Ms. Davis. “That’s something that I teach them every year. We have an oath in Special Olympics.”
     “The Special Olympics oath being “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
     After the game, the athletes congratulated each other and they said great job to the winner. The winner says great job to the other athletes as well.
     “I think being apart of any sports team boosts self-esteem,” said Ms. Davis.

Peter Piper Pizza EventFlyer (1)

By Shea Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon Life Skills class is having a fundraiser at Peter Piper Pizza. This event will happen on Friday, Nov. 7.
     They are doing the fundraiser for to support the class’ community-based learning program that includes grocery shopping and recycling.
     Ms. Davis’ Life skills class is welcoming everyone with a flyer to go to Peter piper pizza on Elsworth and Baseline. It will start at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. In that class they learn how to interact in public.
     Ms. Davis hopes to get at least $100-$200 from the fundraiser, which will include a raffle and other contests. The class will get 20 percent of the total bill if a supporter shows a flyer for the fundraiser.
     Some teachers will hopefully be working the price counter.
     “Staff will hopefully be working the price counter, so we are all involved in the community, also if anyone wants to come they are welcome to come,” said Ms. Davis. “(Being) inclusive with the community is involving them (in activities).
     The Life Skills students are excited about the fundraiser.
     “I’m most excited about the pizza,” said Josh, one of the Life Skills students.


By Kathy G.
Cougar News Blog

The Phoenix Suns and APS teamed up and put together a “Green Team,” for grades 7 through 12 who want to be friendlier to the environment.
Cactus Canyon’s Life Skills class, which started a program to recycle bottles and cans at the school was recognized for their accomplishment and invited to attend a Suns game. The group received 30 lower-level tickets to to the March 4 game and Green Team T – shirts. At halftime, everyone who went got to be honored on the court for the accomplishment of how much recycling was done.
Even though the Suns lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, students enjoyed the game and were glad they had the opportunity to go.
“The Phoenix Suns big entrance was my favorite part,” said eighth grader Richard Medina.
During the outing, Mrs. Davis’ students were able to practice the skills they learn in class, by hanging out with each other, being quiet when needed, and being loud and cheering for their favorite team when appropriate.
“My students learned community skills, “ said Ms. Davis.

By Anna Gray
Cougar NewsBlog

The Life Skills class recently took a field trip to the Renaissance Festival and they brought along their buddies from Student Council. It was the first time the groups have gone to the festival together. Desirae Davis organized the trip and was kind enough to invite student council along.
The students spent March 6 with at the festival and were able to participate in many activities. They consisted of a bird show, a sword swallower, a mud show, shooting a bow and arrow, throwing ninja stars, and making candles. Some students also got to see jousting while others got henna tattoos.
Student Council members work with the Life Skills students most days during seventh hour- a program they call Paw Pals – but this was their first outing outside of school.
“The best takeaway from a trip like this is the bonding,” said Student Council adviser, Jason Davis. “We spend time with them in class all the time, but it’s fun to get to know people ‘out in the wild’ and see what their personalities are like when they are doing goofy, real-life things.”
For some of the students it was their first time going to the Renaissance Festival, and everyone who attended the trip had a great time.
“This trip was really fun because I was bonding with StuCo and Paw Pals at the same time,” said StuCo member Janelle Digos. “We ate lots of food and we were just happy all that time.”
Going on the trip was a different experience for all the students. Inside their groups, they all participated in different activities than the others.
“This trip was different from others I have been on previously because we got to include the Paw Pals kids, and they loved it,” said StuCo member Ashli Albertsen. “I loved seeing their smiles when they watched the joust or when the fairy sprinkled ‘fairy dust’ on them.”
The Life Skills class hopes they will be able to have the same field trip next year because students were able to learn and have fun at the same time. Ms. Davis said the trip was very successful and had a good impact on the students.
“I wanted my students to get a community experience from this trip,” she said. “They also learned different things about the era.”

By Cassidy Hoxeng
Cougar News Blog

Many of students have noticed, CCJH now has a recycling box in each classroom, where students can recycle their bottles and cans.
This is the first year Cactus Canyon has been recycling cans and bottles. Before they only recycled paper.
“This will affect CCJH by making our community a more clean environment,” said Desirae Davis.
This recycling project is to help Davis’ life skills program. The life skills program is to help students learn various life skills and one of those is taking care of the environment.
“They will be learning out to take care of the environment and how it will help our earth,” said Davis.
Some doubted students would recycle and continue to throw their trash on the floor, but students have been recycling and taking care of the environment.
“I believe (that) if there are recycle bins around school, students will recycle,” said eighth grade student Madison Greathouse.
Some have wondered why the recycle bins are only in the classrooms and not in the courtyard or in the mall area. Students often have water with lunch and aren’t as likely to recycle the bottle if they have to hold it until they are in a classroom. Davis plans on putting the bins in the mall area and the courtyard.
“Eventually I will,” said Davis.

By Mario Duran
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon Student Council Members spent their second quarter participating in Healthy LEAP, a wellness program hosted by the Special Olympics of Arizona.
Students who participated in the Healthy LEAP program learned about different safety and exercise topics, from behavior and stress management all the way to safety while playing in the sun. At the end of each lesson, the students were given a survey to judge the effectiveness of the curriculum and to see what they learned.
Different subjects were taught using sports or assignments provided by the Special Olympics, many of which involve activities that can be done at home, with parents or other students. The program was advised by life skills teacher Desirae Davis.
“The LEAP Program made me realize that I still need to worry about my eating habits and how much I exercise at this age,” said Ashli Albertson, a student that participated in the program. “I would encourage other students to do it.”
This is the only year that Cactus Canyon has participated in the event. The program will return for a second year to reinforce what was learned in the first, with the ultimate goal of getting students to lead a healthier life, even after completing the course.
“The ultimate goal is to get [the students] to live healthier,” said Davis. “It’s a really awesome program and it’s awesome that our school can be part of it.”