Monday, December 31, 2012

Currently: January

I know I am a day early, but figured if Farley can post her January Currently on December 31....then so can I!  Check out Oh Boy 4th Grade to join in!  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  Hope you all have a great night saying goodbye to 2012 and ringing in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Books to Work on Emotions

Over the last couple days, I have shared a lot about my drama activities.  The main focus of drama in my room during my first year was emotions.  We continue to focus on this now, but are also trying to focus on more complex emotions, manners, and social skills (such as personal space, staying on topic, etc.).  Back when I was just starting out teaching my students about emotions, we spent a lot of time practicing/acting out a variety of emotions during drama.  Once my students were able to act out a variety of emotions, I wanted them to work on labeling them in the classroom as well so they could get daily practice.  I also wanted them to see their own faces and what they looked like when expressing different emotions.  I had each student make a book of their emotions.  We used them as a work task where the kids had to label their own emotions.  This was the cover.  Each kid got to label and draw themselves expressing an emotion of their choice.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And more drama games!

I didn't want to overwhelm you by sharing all my drama games in one day, so I have been trying to spread a couple across each day!  This should be the last of them for a little while.  If you want to read up more on set-up of drama time or other drama games, check out my posts from the last couple days.  Again, remember drama time takes place while all students are sitting on the floor in a circle.  

Hot Potato:  This game is a spin off of the traditional hot potato game.  There is no music though, and no one gets out of the game.  Instead, we choose an attribute for the potato (hot, slimy, stinky, tired, etc.).  Then, we pass the potato around the circle and pretend the potato has taken on that attribute.  So, if it is hot...we bounce him from one person to another so we don't have to touch him very long.  However, if he is sleepy....we cradle him and treat him very delicately.  The kids love this game...especially when we get to act like the potato is smelly or disgusting!  This is a great way to work on developing imagination as well as building vocabulary.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Drama Games!

Check out yesterday's post about drama time set-up and beginning activities.  Today, I will explain 3 more drama games we play at our weekly drama time.  Remember, for all of these games, we are sitting in a circle on the floor (each kid on their own carpet square).  The first game is Magic Wand.   For awhile, we used this duster from the dollar tree as our magic wand. It worked perfectly for about 2 years, until it's feathers starting falling off.    

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Drama Time Set-Up

So as I was getting ready to leave my classroom last Friday, I was thinking about some things I could share on my blog over winter break.  One of the first things that came to mind was Drama Time, our weekly drama activity where we work on addressing the social and emotional needs of our students.  I attended a training on this from the people at Red Kite (a play designed specifically for kids with autism) who had been doing drama with some students for several years and saw lots of great gains.  A lot of the ideas I will be sharing, came from them.  I have adapted them or added to them with some games of my own to meet my students' needs.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and a FREEBIE!

Merry Christmas!  I am so excited for today!  I get to spend the morning with my family and the evening with my fiancĂ©'s family...a day full of good food and good company!  As I shared in my goals yesterday, I am gearing up to share more ideas and resources about my weekly drama time.  A couple of years ago, I went to a training on how to do drama with kids with autism.  I remember sitting there and thinking, "There is no way my kids can play these imaginative games (at least, not yet!)"  However, that didn't stop me from trying.  And let me tell you, drama time has been so successful with my kids...I have watched students of all levels develop so many new social/emotional skills after specifically targeting and working on them during drama time!  

Today in honor of Christmas, I want to give away this Freebie from my TPT store.  It will only be available today for free, so hurry on over and get your download.  This product has some basic visuals and comprehension activities about emotions.  Over the course of the next couple days, I will explain the structure/set-up of Drama time as well as highlight some of the drama games we do in my classroom which help work on emotions/social skills in an active way!  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter Break Goals

Merry Christmas Eve day!  Today, as I was looking through the blogs I follow, I noticed people linking up with What I Have Learned  to discuss your goals for winter break.  I have so many things on my to-do list over this break...and I have a feeling my week and a half off is going to go by much too quickly to get it all done!  So, here's the brief version of my list:

1.  Post more things to my TPT store.  I have quite a few ideas, just haven't had the time to sit down and get them done!
2.  Post more on my blog about my drama games/ideas for kids with autism (to work on emotions and social skills).
3. PLAN MY WEDDING!  I figure while I have all the family together, this would be a great time to get opinions and make some final decisions.
4.  Paper work for grad school.  I have loan papers to fill out and a thesis proposal to submit!
5.  And of course, find plenty of time to relax, spend time with family/friends, and work out!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Crafty Wrapping Job

Well, we are officially on winter break now...and I didn't even sleep in on my first day of vacation!  We are driving to visit my parents for the holidays so I had to get up early to get everything packed and ready to go.  So why not do a little blogging before we leave too?  Today's post will be short and sweet since I have a lot of road time ahead of me! This past week, I was trying to think of a creative way to wrap the presents for my students' parents.  I finally came up with putting these cute Santas made from my students' handprints on a brown paper bag.  These were pretty easy to do.  We did the hand print the first day and then added the details the second day.  Inside were the ornaments we made as well as a foam frame with a picture of their kid glued in. I really hope the parents like them!    

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wheel Of Fortune!!!

One of my students is OBSESSED with Wheel Of Fortune...for instance, he wanted us to have a birthday party for Pat Sajak...and he plays Wheel of Fortune every day on the iPad during his break.  So, one day, we had some down time and I thought about introducing the game Hang Man to my class.  I figured they all know the letters (and a majority are reading at beginning levels), so why not?!  It turns out, Hangman (referred to in my classroom as "Wheel of Fortune") is now a HUGE class favorite.

So, here is our beautiful game board.  My Wheel of Fortune Fanatic refers to me as "Vanna" during the game and when it's his turn he often says "I'd like to buy a vowel, Vanna."  Haha...cracks me up every time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Party

Phew...another exhausting day and another (somewhat) successful holiday party!  So today, we followed our traditional party set-up where we have 7 stations (with 7 different activities) and students rotate around the class in groups of 2-3.  Here is why today's party was only somewhat successful in my mind...I totally messed up my groupings of kids.  I did some last minute switching around of groups and ended up pairing two kids together who DO NOT get along.  They lasted 3 stations until one of them starting crying (too much change in his routine) and then the other started crying as well.  They both cried for the remainder of the party.... Whoops!  Definitely won't make be pairing them up together again in the future.

We started today with a sing-along assembly in the auditorium.  My kids did a great job singing along to all the fun holiday songs!  Next, we played some games in the class and made some cards for our parents.  For lunch today, we had a pizza party and then started our holiday party.  Here are some pictures of our activities!

 We used torn paper to decorate a Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Literacy Sequencing Activity

This activity was so much fun!  I bought these little mini gingerbread men cookies at the grocery store this weekend and we used them along with these great FREE Teachers Pay Teachers Worksheets.  We discussed what order we like to eat our gingerbread you eat the head first?  or the feet?  Then we took that conversation, put it on paper, and made it come true by eating some cookies!  Check out my students' great work!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Homemade Ornament

We have really been crafting it up in my classroom over the last week getting ready for the holidays.  I like to be able to send home a couple little crafts as gifts from my students to their parents.  The craft we made is a little ornament.  I drew the outside shape of Christmas trees and Snowmen in the cirlce of the ornament.  I let each student choose which type of ornament they wanted to make (Snowman or Tree).  Then, using Q-tips, my students had to fill the shapes with lots of little dots.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winter Fingerprint Craft

For those of you already on winter break...I am insanely jealous!  But, I can handle 5 more days of school, right?!  I am so looking forward to a week and a half off of RELAXATION (and probably some blogging too!).  Well today I have been super busy crafting, baking, and wrapping all the Christmas presents we bought yesterday...but I wanted to take a brief moment to share this cute craft we did last week.  It is a fingerprint tree.  I found something similar on Pinterest that was an idea for a wedding guest book, but I thought it would be cute to do with my classroom.  Each kid put their painted fingerprint on the paper and then I wrote each kid's name by their fingerprint.   My speech therapist just announced she will be leaving us after winter break.  She has been amazingly supportive and helpful in my classroom.  Plus, she is fabulous with the kids.  We will miss her!  So, I had the kids make this for her as a going away gift.  I think it turned out super cute...I may need to do another one so I can post it in my classroom!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Memory Game Turned Work Task

Do you have any old memory games that are missing pieces?  I do!  And this one version was missing so many matches that it wasn't even worth playing as a game anymore (I had a student who liked to collect sets of I'm thinking my memory cards have made themselves comfortable somewhere in that student's house). So after looking at the box for a while trying to decide whether or not I should toss it, I decided why not make it into a work task!  I (kind of obsessive) taped on this picture of "work" so my kids wouldn't try and put the game back on the game shelf (we like to stay organized).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Cards

Well, December really has been flying by.  All of a sudden yesterday,  I realized I better get going with my Christmas preparations! I still need to shop for family (and a little something for my students), put together some home-made gifts,  and make Christmas cards with my students! First things first, our Christmas cards! Last night, I found this cute activity on pinterest.  Click here for the FREE printable from Contented at Home.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Phone Number Practice

We have been working away on the All About Me books I made back in November (Check out my post here).  My kids really like these books.  We have been completing them about 3 times a week.  Eventually, I want them to work on them independently, but for the first couple weeks, we have been completing them during a small group activity.  To work on learning our phone numbers, I began by writing in their phone numbers and having them match each number in order.  I also had to create a master copy of everyone's phone numbers so I don't get confused and teach them the wrong thing! After the first couple days, I erased the last number (I used overhead markers on the laminated page, so they wipe off easily). 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Restaurant Dining Experience

We often take our community trips to food-related places (my kids love to eat!).  But seriously, you can practice so many skills on these kind of trips (i.e. $-skills, social skills, communication with strangers, manners, etc.).   Not only are these trips a blast for the kids, but the parents appreciate the help as well.  We have had so many parents tell us how the skills we work on during our community trips carry over to time spent in the community with their families.  This allows our students' families to do more activities that typical families go out to eat.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Beginning Readers and FREEBIE!

I always struggle with how to teach reading to my nonverbal or low-verbal students.  Once they can use picture to communicate as well as match letters to letters, pictures to pictures, and words to words (especially words that only differ by a couple letters), I feel like they are ready to learn how to read.  One of the best ways I have found they can demonstrate reading is through matching words to pictures.  This takes an activity they are familiar with (matching) and takes it to the next level.  I also try and use functional words to begin with (food, colors, animals, etc.) so that they are motivated to learn them.

At first, I had a ton of file folders for matching words to pictures...but I quickly realized my smart little students were just memorizing them!  For instance, I had a file folder where the students had to match the color word to the appropriate color.  They could match it 100% of the time on the file folder, but if I gave them a flashcard with a color and the corresponding color word, they wouldn't get any correct.  

So I decided to make some re-usable worksheets that could be mixed up, so my students couldn't memorize where each word was supposed to go (and it worked!).  So here is the little worksheet I came up with.  I plain looking!  I just slid this into a top-loading sheet because I didn't feel like laminating and threw on some hard velcro.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Yummy? OR Yucky?

I used to ask my kids about their preferred foods, "do you like ___?" Most of them would say "yes" to everything.  Even when I had food to offer in the classroom, many of them would say "yes" to everything (even if they didn't like it).  So, I decided we needed to work on talking about the concept of "yummy" foods and "yucky" foods.  I made this book about different ice cream flavors.  Each page is a different flavor and kids have to say (or match a picture) whether or not that flavor of ice cream is "yummy" or "yucky."  I tried to make them pretty obvious (i.e. dirty sock ice cream is yucky) since the point of this book was more to help them discriminate between the terms "yummy" and "yucky."  Once this is mastered, I was able to offer food items to my kids and have them say "no thank you."  Also, at lunch or during cooking, we always ask "is it yummy? or yucky?"  Now they are able to answer! 

Here are some picture of the copy of the book we use in my classroom.  Here are the cover and first page.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gingerbread Man Activities

In November, I totally spaced and my kids didn't finish their turkey art projects until the day before Thanksgiving, so we never got them out in the hall for display!  So this month, I am starting EARLY.  This week, we have been focusing on gingerbread men!

First off, we watched/listened to this version of the gingerbread man story.  I liked it because it has the words on the bottom for the kids to read along, but has enough pictures/action that the kids stay engaged.  The kids really seemed to like it.  I created a short quiz here for FREE about the video.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just Little Something I Whipped Up

So today I had one of those days where you finally think everything is on track in your classroom, only to find out you are wrong!  The day even started out poorly...I overslept, then forgot I had a meeting first thing with my principal (which I hadn't started prepping for yet!).  So I raced to school (with barely combed hair!) just in time to have some run-ins with parking wars in my school parking lot.  Then, finally in my classroom, I got my prepping done for the meeting.  But then, enter the children...I don't know if my morning attitude brushed off on them, but they were ALL cranky and rather naughty today. Luckily we survived with only a few time-outs and scoldings. what do I do once I get home?  Well, I wanted to come home and be a bum on the couch...but my Random Act of Kindness I committed to in this month's currently was to cook my fiancĂ© dinner every night this week!  He kept offering to help cook (so kind!) but I refused him (he put up the Christmas lights instead!!) and proceeded to spend 2.5 hours on making a pin-spired recipe for a vegetarian pot pie.

So here is a picture of the pinterest recipe.         

...And, here is how mine turned out (not quite as pretty...but very tasty!).  I used my Wisconsin "W," badger, and football cookie cutters incase you are wondering!!  So that's it for me tonight people. I'm off to eat my dinner, spike some apple cider and watch some Game of Thrones.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Special Olympics Med-Fest

How many of you guys do Special Olympics?  We have been doing it for the past 4 years now and my kids ABSOLUTELY love it.  We do a basketball skills competition (where kids compete individually in shooting, dribbling, and passing) as well as the track and field events (3 days of running, long jump, and relay races!).  Special Olympics is an awesome way for my kiddos to get exercise as well as work on building self-confidence.  I have never seen my kids look prouder (seriously brings tears to my eyes) as when they have receive a medal at the Special Olympics.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Don't Squeal Unless it's a Big Deal

Do any of you have problems with tattling?  I have a student who tattles all them time for everything...and gets super emotional about everything too!  And to be honest, I think about half the time, he is getting kids in trouble on purpose so he can tattle.  For instance, last week I saw him step in front of a kid (who has problems with his vision) so that he would get bumped into.  Then he instantly tattled to me that the other kid pushed him.  Hmm...I'm thinking this is a combination of a couple things.  First of all, I'm assuming some of these behaviors are serving the function of wanting attention.  Also, I'm thinking this student doesn't have the skills to know how to 1) problem solve with other kids and 2) how to ask appropriately for attention.

If you work in special ed, I'm sure you have seen this over and over.  So many of our kids are lacking in basic social skills and the only way for them learn these skills is through explicitly teaching each skill, providing tons of practice opportunities, and of course lots of reinforcement! 

So this past week, I started a little mini-unit with 2 students who tattle often.  We read this book about tattling.  The two kids I am working with had enough language to be able to understand what "tattling" means. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently

Happy Sunday!  And in honor of the second day of December, I am posting this month's Currently from Farley's Blog Oh Boy 4th Grade.  Click the link to join in!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mr. Potato Head Language Activities

I love using Mr. Potato head with some of my beginning talkers!  I started this when I had 1-3 graders and am thinking it is on the verge of not being age-appropriate for my current 3-4 graders.  But, I still love whipping it out every once and awhile.  Over the course of one Christmas season (sales!), I collected about 3 different potato heads and accessories.  I store everything in this big plastic tub.  Basically, the goal is to get the child to request each item they want for their potato head.  For some students, I have them ask for the items vocally, while with others, I use PECS.  Not only does this work on developing complete spoken sentences, but it also works on learning body parts, taking turns, and increasing vocabulary.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Let's Talk About Weather

Everyday, as part of our morning group, we discuss the weather.  Weather is such an important topic and is very meaningful to my students. My students absolutely adore going to the playground every day for recess.  Even one of my pretty much nonverbal students (he says about 10 words) asks me probably 15 times a day "Swing?"
Many of them become really confused and sometimes upset on days when we can't go to the playground due to weather (i.e. too cold, rain, snow, etc.).  The most confusing thing is when it is hot in our classroom, sunny outside, but below zero outside.  We have had several students who ask us to change the weather.  One kids would say "Come on please.  Make it sunny." Haha.  So, we use this visual every day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Liebster Award

Thanks to First Grade Carousel and Resource Room Rules for nominating me for a Liebster Award.  This award is given by other bloggers to new bloggers with less than 200 followers.  It is meant to help spread the word about new blogs ☺.  I started my blog in August and have been really enjoying posting about my classroom.  I especially love seeing other people's great ideas (and using them in my classroom!) and hearing back from readers who have benefitted from my posts/resources.  

This is kind of chain-letterish...but also kind of fun to learn more about other bloggers!

The rules are:
1.  Post 11 random things about yourself.
2.  Answer the questions the nominator set for you.
3.  Create 11 questions for your nominees.
4.  Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to your post.
5.  Leave a comment on this post if you were nominated so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

I don't know about you, but for my students talking about the past is very difficult!  The day after Halloween, I had some students who still had a few Halloween worksheets to finish and they refused (even though the worksheets had been a huge hit the entire week before!).  One kid said, "No.  It is November.  Time for Thanksgiving."  It was actually pretty funny.  But being able to understand and talk about the past is an important skill, so this month I decided I would make them do a Thanksgiving activity....AFTER Thanksgiving.  The activity involved students interviewing other students about their Thanksgiving celebration and then writing about their friend's Thanksgiving.  This was also very difficult for my students...after they asked the other student a question, they would try and answer it about themselves instead of listening to their friend and recording their answer.  But surprisingly, even though my students faced some challenges with this activity, it went extremely well.  Here is what the interview sheets looked like.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Most of us are heading back to work today after a (hopefully) relaxing long weekend.  I didn't get to do any Black Friday shopping this year, since I was cruising on a ship.  But, I have told myself for the last couple weeks I was going to make up for it on Cyber Monday.  I have actually never participated in Cyber Monday before....hoping I find some good deals!  Any recommendations?? join in the holiday spirit...Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday Sale as well.
So, I am putting my entire store on sale for 20% off and then TPT will take an additional 10% off that (for a total of 28% off every item in my store).  Not too shabby when all the items are already priced below $6 :-).  This sale will last all day today (Monday) through Tuesday night.

The TPT promo code is CMT12

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Great Game for Initial Letter Sounds!

The past two days, I showed you spelling activities for students working on short vowels (although they can be adapted to any level).  The game I am going to show you today is for beginning spellers/readers.  The game is called Alphabet Mystery Box and sells for $35 from Lakeshore (♥).  This game is great for students working on learning their letters and/or their initial word sounds!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Short Vowel Spelling Game

Over the last couple days, I have been on a real spelling kick.  Today, I will continue on that kick as I show you a spelling game my students like to play.  Part of the idea behind Words Their Way and the Bear Spelling Assessment is that people make sense of the world by sorting things into categories.  So, why not do that for spelling as well.  This actually makes a lot of sense for people with autism as well since they tend to be very rule governed and visual learners.  To make categories when working on short vowels, we do word sorts.  I don't have any pictures of my kids doing word sorts on my home computer, but this is kind of what they would look like.  For instance, for sorting "a" and "i" short vowels, one row of words could be (bat, sat, nap, tan) and the other row would be (bit, sip, win, rib).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Short Vowel Spelling Activity

So yesterday, I gave a detailed explanation of the Bear Spelling Assessment.  Once I figure out which area of spelling my students need to work on, I create spelling lists, have students complete word sorts, and create fun hands-on activities/games for them to play.
Currently,  I have a few students working at each level (initial/final sounds,  blends/digraphs, long vowel patterns, and short vowel patterns).  Having students at each level is always a challenge, but a variety of my activities can be adapted to fit all learning levels.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bear Spelling Assessment

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am currently getting ready to go on a cruise...never thought that would be how I spent my Thanksgiving...but should be a welcome break!  Mostly, I am looking forward to warm weather...I miss summer already.  So over the next few days, I have some posts ready to show you how I assess spelling in my class as well as some fun hands-on activities my kids do to work on their individual targeted spelling goals.  Today, I will focus on assessment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Party

Today's party was a great success!  Well, we did have one kid with pink eye who was exiled to sit at his own desk all day....but last year I had a kid projectile things are looking up!   Yesterday was our final grocery shopping trip where we bought all the rest of our ingredients.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Are You Thankful For Project

Today, we made these cute little turkeys that say what we are thankful for.  This was not an easy task for my students.  I couldn't just ask them "What are you thankful for?", have them make a list, and then do the project.  With our students' language deficits, this is not an easy topic to address.  I don't know if you can read what this student is thankful for, but they are T-Trains, H-Hamburgers, A-April, N-Nurses, K-KMart, and S-Sunshine.  I love the variety...haha.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Worksheets

Last week, I made each student a packet of Thanksgiving worksheets at their level so we could work on some Thanksgiving vocabulary and concepts.  My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE working on their thematic packets!  We work on them during small groups (teacher time) or during our morning group time.

First off, we read a one-page explanation of Thanksgiving from News-2-You and complete a comprehension worksheet.  (This is an old one and has the wrong I had to white it out and switch it).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Party

Woohoo! It is almost Thanksgiving!  I don't know about you, but Thanksgiving really came up quickly this year.  We only have three days of school this week, and one day is pretty much devoted to our lavish (haha) Thanksgiving party.  Our party is a very similar set-up to our Halloween Party, but all of the stations are cooking activities and students do not go to every station.  

So, kids get split up into groups of 3 and take turns going to a few of the stations.  We cook/prepare a Thanksgiving feast consisting of pumpkin pie (no bake version), mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberries, yams, and turkey/gravy.  Once all the food is prepared, we set it up buffet style and send the kids down the line (this allows lots of practice for requesting politely for food!). As you can see we have PECs available for our students who are nonverbal to use to request each food item.  


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Inclusion Data

Obviously, in our field data is super important for a variety of show academic/behavioral growth, make changes to our teaching methods/interventions, and figure out functions of behavior.  Another important reason for data is to promote independence in inclusion classes! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Social Time

Social time is one of my students' favorite parts of our morning group.  Each week, we change our question.  The weekly question is written on a sheet of paper and each question has picture choices available to aid in responding.  There is also a place to record answers on each sheet.  The questions I ask range are mainly yes/no or multiple choice.  The questions cover a range of topics mostly focusing on physical attributes (hair color, eye color) and favorites (foods, seasons, holidays, sports, animals).   This week, our question is "Which season do you like best?"  For most students simply responding is the goal.  But for students with higher social skills, I like to throw in a "why" question here and there for  a little challenge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All About Me Book

As I talked about last week, we are getting ready to start our All About Me Unit this month.  Last week, I sent home a note to all my students asking their parents to fill out a current phone number and address that their child could learn.  When I tested all of my kids, only ONE knew his phone number and address (part of this could be because my kids didn't understand the questions, but still...we obviously need to work on this!) Back when I first started teaching, I used to teach my students their home phone number, but lately I have been thinking that knowing a parent's cell phone number might be more appropriate if a student is ever needing to get ahold of their parents (I mentioned this in the note as well for parents to consider when providing a phone number for their child to learn).  Once I got all the information back from the parents, I created these cute re-usable books for each student so we can work on learning their personal information every day!

Here is a sample cover (of me!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homework Binders

Well, today is our first day of home visits!  We are going to over 10 houses today and splitting the rest over the next two afternoons (after school).  One thing I really wanted to get done in time for the home visits were homework binders.  For most of my kids' homework, I send home a packet of worksheets at their appropriate level in a home work folder each day.  But, for my kids who can't write, this system doesn't work.  So, what I have done in the past, is make a binder of work (similar to their morning group binder) for these kids to keep at home.  This is a great way for students to get extra practice and for parents to see what their child is capable of doing independently.  Here are some pictures of the binder I put together last night and I will be delivering to my student's house today! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life Skills Logistics

Yesterday, I posted some pictures of our Life Skills Classroom. Today, I will discuss more about how it works.  We started by creating a list of each task in the Life Skills Classroom.  We numbered the tasks 1-25.  Then we created large (different colored) numbers to post at each task which corresponds to their number on the list.  On the list,  I highlighted tasks yellow that an adult would need to take apart and left the others white (some tasks work both ways...they can be educational when being put together or taken apart, while others are only educational when being put together).  Also at the bottom of this list (not pictured here), I have each student listed with the tasks they are able to do independently/with assistance to help out whoever sets up the schedules.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life Skills Classroom

A couple years ago, our principal gave my coworker and I an empty classroom for us to use as a life skills classroom.  We both wanted to incorporate these tasks into our classrooms, but many of them just took up too much space!  So, once we got the empty classroom, we combined some materials we already had with a trip to the dollar store.  I think we spent about $75 on that first trip to the dollar store, but that was enough to get the room up and running.  We also collected donations from friends (mostly clothes for our laundry area).

We split the room into four areas:  KITCHEN,  LAUNDRY,  OFFICE, and BATHROOM.  Then we created tasks that had something to do with these general topics (we currently have about 25 tasks).

Today I will show you some pictures of the tasks and tomorrow, I will show you how the room works (how it is scheduled, data collection, etc.)

This is from the KITCHEN area.  This task is setting the table.  The dishes we use are in the clear plastic bin sitting on the "table."

Friday, November 9, 2012


Listening...I am so behind on TV since I had been trying to watch all 4 seasons of Damages on Netflix before we canceled our subscription (I was successful)!  So My newest TV marathon is Revenge on ABC...catching up on season 2.

Wanting...I just really am tired of my closet!  I am craving a good shopping spree!

Music...Over the last 2 weeks,  I have had two parent meetings where parents told me how much their children LOVE listening to music in the home...and I was so surprised at their musical preferences.  One boy loves blues and jazz while one of my little girls loves the cha cha slide...looks like I will be updating our ipods this weekends with some new tunes!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Home Visits: Part Two

Yesterday, I posted about the idea behind our yearly home visits.  Today, I wanted to share some materials I have created for students/parents to use at home.

First off, some behavior resources.  I have given parents a copy of this "Good behavior" and "Bad behavior" list we keep posted in our classroom.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Home Visits: Part One

Every year, our school has Report Card Pick-up days at the end of the 1st and 3rd quarter.  These are basically parent conference days.  We (my coworker and I) have decided that since we already meet with the parents for the students' IEPs once a year, that we will utilize the Fall Report Card Pick-Up day to do home visits. For our home visits, we go to each child's house for 20-30 minutes.  We discuss school progress as well as needs in the home.  We often bring materials that have been successful at school for behavior, bring homework tasks for the parents to utilize, bring materials to set-up routines in the home, as well as provide materials for parents to utilize in the community (SEE Tomorrow's Post for Examples).

I have found these home visits to be very enlightening. So often, we make parents come into schools and have them sit around while a team of people tries to tell them all about THEIR child.  Going into the homes allows the parents to be the expert and makes us a guest...and let me tell you, I have learned SO MUCH about my students from doing home visits!