Friday, August 31, 2012

Teaching Strategy 3: Flexibility

As a teacher in an autism classroom, it is hard to figure out when you need should be flexible and when you need to ensure that students are following the rules.  It is hard to know when a student pops out of their desk and runs around the room in the middle of a lesson, if that student is trying to escape the activity or if they need to go to the bathroom, but can't find a way to communicate that to you.  This is where flexibility comes in.  If a student jumps up, before reprimanding or redirecting, you may want to give them 30 seconds to explore what the function of this behavior could be.  Show them visuals of bathroom/water fountain or remind them that when they finish their work, they will have a break/earn a preferred item. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Teaching Strategy 2: Organization

For so many students with autism, it seems that everything needs to have order and follow the rules.  Having an organized classroom may not feel like a "teaching strategy," but it sets up our students' learning environment.  And in our classrooms, since students struggle so much with communication/language, our room and most of our activities need to be set up so students know exactly what is expected of them (without needing to be told through spoken directions).  For instance, I have several stations/centers in my classroom that are independent.  When setting up these stations, I think through several questions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 Teaching Strategies to Implement in your Autism Classroom

Over the next five days, I will post about 5 different, important teaching strategies to help an autism classroom run smoothly.  
1.   Visuals/Minimize Talking
2.  Organization
3.  Flexibility
4.  Schedules
5.  Behavior Management Tools

Today I will start with Visuals/Minimize Talking

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Work Task Tuesday

On Tuesdays, I will be posting pictures of different work tasks I have set up in my room.  This week, I will start with a couple sorting tasks that are simple to make!  All you need are pocket folders and pictures (I got my pictures off of google images)!  

I chose to do these sorting tasks all related to food...a very motivating topic for most of my students!

This one is sorting MEATS vs. BREADS

Monday, August 27, 2012

Autism Awareness...

I know Autism Awareness month isn't until April, but why wait until then?!  Our principal is having a couple of the Autism teachers at our school present to the general education teachers during this first week back of professional development.  The professional development we are leading this year is about how we incorporate academics into our classrooms (some people think it is all fun and games in an autism room...haha).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Computer Rules...

I may need to change these to apply to the iPads!  Lately (since the iPad arrived in our class) my kids don't seem quite as into the computer as they used to be.  However, for awhile, we had a lot of trouble with waiting and taking turns at the computer!  For some reason, all my kids would always finish their work at the same time and all of them would be working to earn computer.  We always had someone waiting while the other person finished up their turn.

I created a designated waiting area (right next to the computer station) and hung this visual right next to the "waiting chair" to help out the kids.  I also set up a timer system (we set the timer for around 2 to 5 minutes) so that waiting wouldn't be unbearable.  CLICK HERE to get a copy for the iPad and Computer!  

Tomorrow I can FINALLY get into my classroom to start setting up.  Is it sad that I am SUPER excited?!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

All About Me Worksheet (FREE!)

This worksheet is a fun one for kids that are beginning writers.  The questions are concrete for the most part and ask mostly about colors of different things (clothes, hair, eyes, etc.).  It is nice because you can use it more than once since the answers to some of the questions will be different depending on what clothes the kids wears, how they are feeling, etc. each day.  I currently use this as a homework sheet or for my students to complete during independent work time.

I have created three different versions of this worksheet (for learners at different levels).  Here is a picture of the mid-level worksheet.  Click Here to get all 3 versions for FREE!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Morning Attendance

I always thought the idea of calling out each kid's name, and waiting for them to say "here" was a silly thing to do with my students....but then I started thinking about all the times we call our students with autism by name and they show no response at all.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Silly Sentences

So today, I was shopping for furniture and decorations for my new apartment!  And, of course, the only things I ended up purchasing were games for my classroom.  How I found kid games in a furniture store., I don't even know...haha.

One of the games I found is called Very Silly Sentences and I think my kids are going to love it!  Last year, I made an activity  "Silly Sentences" with an idea from someone on pinterest, and this game is almost the same concept.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Worksheet Genius

 I am obsessed with this site!  It allows you to make tons of different types of worksheets.  And then, instead of having to make it over and over again to get new versions, you just push a button and it scrambles the worksheet for you!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale

I am throwing a BACK TO SCHOOL SALE on Teachers Pay Teachers from August 20-August 23 (Monday-Thursday) this week.  EVERYTHING in my store is on stop by and take a look.  I have everything from adapted books, to visuals for the home/classroom, social stories, academic games, sorting tasks, and academic activities/worksheets.  All with a focus on kids with autism.  

<---------------------Click here to get to my store

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back To School Shopping!

Back to school shopping isn't just for kids, we teachers like to capitalize on all the deals out there too!  Here are my latest pick ups for the upcoming school year.

Fuzzy fingers from THE CONTAINER STORE.  Awesome for cleaning off iPods, iPads, computer screens, and keyboards!  Cheap too ($2.99)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

iPad Apps...Teacher Favorites

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite apps to help kids with Autism work on learning new skills as well as those apps that I use for data collection! Click on any of the pictures to get more information on the app from iTunes.

First off, I love all of the ABA Flashcards, ABA Receptive Identification, and ABA Problem Solving Games by 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

iPad Apps...Kid Favorites

What better way to get started than with a list of iPad/iPod Touch Applications.  In my classroom we have both iPod Touches and iPads.  My students absolutely adore all of these devices.  Even my lowest functioning students are crazed for these apple products!  We use them in the classroom as reinforcers (for completing work) as well as to supplement our academics!

My First Post...A Little About Me

Six years ago, I came into a chaotic classroom of four students with autism and was provided no resources.  Now, I have an orderly classroom of 12 students and resources that have been differentiated for varying ability levels.  I hope to offer some advice and support to those who are just starting as well as a new idea here or there for those veteran teachers out there!

Also want to thank my fabulous friend Jamie for designing a logo for my blog!  

Picture is of my fiancee and me at a cabin enjoying my summer break!