Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weather Experiment

Our thematic unit this month for science was weather.  This is a hot topic in my classroom every day, but especially during the months where seasons are changing.  For instance, why is it still snowing when it is Spring? My kids get very confused about the weather during this time of year, so it makes it a perfect time to really target the topic.  

For each science topic, we have a little experiment.  This month, we made the old school tornado out of two 2-liter bottles.  My kids LOVE this simple little thing.  Some of them even work for it as a reinforcer throughout the school day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Part Part Whole Math Work

 I was lucky enough to win this great packet of worksheets from TheHappyTeacher earlier this month.  They have been a great addition to our math time!  Since these kind of worksheets are completely new to my kiddos, I have been using them as work in our small, direct instruction math time.  Eventually, these will be great to include as homework, independent work, or as part of a math center.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weather Graphing

I just added this weather graphing activity to my TPT store (you can find it by clicking here).  This is a great addition to my morning binders (see this post) that we do each day after we finish our morning group/circle.  During our morning group, my students practice identifying the weather on the board together as a group.  

They also have an opportunity to do so by themselves in their morning binders.  

This new activity allows each student to track weather patterns over an entire month.  Each day, students add the appropriate weather picture to their graph.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Plural vs. Singular FREEBIE

Plural nouns vs. singular nouns are one of the concepts we decided to target as we planned our guided reading groups this month.  My students really struggle with this skill that comes so naturally to most of us.  They need to be directly taught the difference between singular items vs. multiple items and how to express these differences appropriately through their speech and writing.   In order to do this, I try and provide them with as many examples and non-examples as possible.  Another thing we wanted to target this month with this specific reading group was reading accurately.  When many of my students are reading, they often leave off the endings of words.  For instance, if it says "apples," my students will read it as "apple."  So, I am hoping that by targeting plural vs. singular nouns in our guided reading groups, I will not only see improved spoken/written grammar, but also, more accurate reading.   

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Silly Sally and FREEBIE

Due to the fact that I am missing a couple work days for my wedding, I have been working to plan some guided reading activities that can be done independently or with minimal adult support (i.e. a substitute or one of my assistants).  Silly Sally, by Audrey Wood, is meant for younger children, but sometimes I think these books are good to re-visit when kids get a little older too.  When we read this book in my first grade class, we only worked on matching pictures and reading some of the animal words.  Now, with my 3rd and 4th graders, I want to focus on content, sequencing, and rhyming words.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Story and Comprehension

I think this is the longest blogging break I have taken since I started...4 whole days with no posts!  I have been super busy with my last minute wedding celebrations and planning!  I cannot believe I am getting married in less than 3 weeks!  So, please forgive me if my posts are spread a little thinner than normal over the next couple weeks...I promise to be back in full swing after the wedding!  To make it up to you, I will try and post some extra Freebies this month!  So check back soon for those....

I love having my students read these little stories about seasons and holidays.  Adding pictures to them helps aid in their comprehension as well.  When explaining seasons, I find them helpful to prepare students for changes in the weather.  It also helps them understand the concept of each season and what to expect in the upcoming months.  The same is true for holidays.  A little story like this helps explain what the holiday celebrates, as well as any traditions that come with it.  You can also tie in calendar concepts with both seasons and holidays to work on identifying months, days, and dates.

I recently added this packet to my TPT store (you can find it by clicking here).  It includes a story for St. Patrick's Day and Spring.

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Journal Prompts

I am super excited about this new writing tool we got from my latest donorschoose grant (check out this post for info on donorschoose!)  As a part of our morning group, we write a journal together as a class.  (Some of my more advanced students write their journal on their own now!)  For awhile, I was just choosing a topic (i.e. bears or firefighters) and having students come up with any sentence related to that topic.  With this new tool, students take turns picking a "who," "what," and "where" card to guide us in our journal writing.  We are working on elaborating on a more specific topic.  Now, if we get "Bear" "Biking" and "Snow" we have a lot more details to add to our story.  We also have to come up with other sentences that are related to this same topic.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring Break FREEBIE!

All right, all right, I know spring break doesn't happen for a couple more weeks for most of us, but I am getting ready to start preparing my students already!  Like most kids with autism, my students struggle with change in their routine.  Well, school IS their routine.  My kids love coming to school... they love the structure and they know exactly what to expect, for the most part, each day.  When my kids saw the March calendar with an ENTIRE week of "no school,"  some of them seemed a little nervous.  We talk about spring break while we do calendar every morning, but I also like to send home this social story to help parents explain spring break to their children.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Currently: March!

I am so happy it is finally March!  Spring is almost here (fingers crossed...currently there is a snow storm blowing around outside my windows!).  So what better way than to celebrate a new month than with Farley's Currently Linky Party.  Click here to join in!  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Great Target Find!

While shopping at Target a couple weeks ago, I came across these great dry-erase activities in the dollar spot!  A couple people have asked me how I keep students on such a tight schedule?  What happens when students finish their work ahead of schedule?  Well, one great thing to do for students who finish ahead of schedule is keep a basket of extra work around.  I have a couple great dry-erase books for writing and math practice as well as some puzzles in my extra work basket.  For the dry erase books, students are able to complete a few pages in the activity book and then later, an assistant can erase the book so it is ready for use the next day.  When I saw these cool spinner/dry erase activities in the dollar spot, I thought they would be a great addition to my basket of extra work!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lucky Charms Graphing and FREEBIE!

We usually use this activity as a station at our St. Patrick's day party...but it doesn't hurt for my kids to do it more than once this month!  I think we will use this on Thursday, when our high school volunteers come in!  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

More Advanced Sorting File Folders

So many file folders that I see are more for basic skills like sorting by shape, size, or color.  These are great for my beginner learners, but as they get more advanced, I want some more challenging tasks for them.  I LOVE file folders because they are easy to store and are re-useable.  I get so tired of making photo copies of worksheets, so these are a great replacement!  The only downside is, often times, kids just end up memorizing what goes where and not truly mastering the topics.  This is just an important thing to keep in mind and make sure we use a variety of activities or methods to assess mastery of skills.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Madness

In honor of the first day of March, today I am giving away this FREE story about March Madness.  My kids participate in basketball for Special Olympics, so we LOVE basketball.  Every year, we follow the March Madness basketball tournament in our classroom.  Some of our more advanced students keep their own brackets and we even have a poster sized bracket that we hang in the hallway.  

We usually review the scores the day after the games.  Either we look them up on the internet or I tell them the scores and they have to update their brackets.  Using the March Madness bracket is an awesome way to work on "more" and "less" math skills. 

"If Team A has 45 points and Team B had 30 point, who had more?  Who won?"  Questions like these are so hard for my students to answer, so why not address it through a more motivating topic?!  

Click here to get your copy of the March Madness social story.  Sorry, brackets aren't out until later this month, or I would have included that for you as well!