Thursday, August 17, 2017

10 Tips for Incorporating Sensory Strategies into Your Day

"He's overstimulated" "He needs a sensory space" "Maybe a fidget would help him focus" Do these phrases sound familiar? I feel like there is so much talk about sensory needs and fidgets these days and this topic can quickly become overwhelming.  I have no formal training in "sensory needs" (make sure you are consulting with your OTs since they are the experts), but we (teachers, parents, etc.) have invaluable knowledge about our students as well.  We know that some of our students need more movement in their day and that certain activities amp them up, while others seem to calm them down. Use that information (and take data) when deciding what sensory strategies you want to try to help keep your students calm, focused, and ready to learn.
Here are just some examples of sensory strategies you can try with your students...please leave me comments with any other ideas you have found to be successful...I love to hear things that are working for your students!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Product Preview: Color Books-3 Interactive Books for Kids with Autism

Are you looking for a great, hands-on activity for your beginning readers who are working on sight words or color words? Wanting to refresh your students' independent work tasks for the upcoming year?   Then this is the product for you!

This product comes with instructions as well as 3 short interactive books that work on identifying colors and forming simple sentences ("The car is___," "The pizza is___," and "The bird is___")



Each page follows a repetitive and predictable pattern (i.e. "The bird/car/pizza is ___").  Students match the words "The" "bird" and "is" to the sentence.  Then, students identify the color of the object on the page by finding the corresponding written color word. 

I have used these books in my class during one-on-one reading instruction and during independent work time.  Since this follows a predictable pattern, students seem to catch on quickly and then it can be used to work on generalization and maintenance during independent work time.  It could also be sent home as homework!  Check it out in my TPT store here!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Create Your Own Simple File Folder

Do you have random flashcards or pictures laying around your classroom that you aren't sure how to use?  Use them to create a fun new file folder for your kiddos!  I had these community helper flashcards laying around my classroom and wasn't quite sure how to use them.  I just simply glued them into the folder, laminated it and then created some matching pieces.

When make this file folder, I wanted something a little more challenging and something I could differentiate for my different level students.  My most advanced learners were expected to match the name of the community helper as well as the description of what they do.  My mid level students matched only the name of the community helper to the picture.  Since I had a ton of matching activities for my non-reading students already, I did not use this file folder for them, but you totally could!  You could either use a second set of flash cards or use real life images of community helpers from a google image search and have them match the pictures!

Simple enough idea, and it doesn't break the bank!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Drama Time PRODUCT PREVIEW

I can't even begin to explain how excited I am to share this AMAZING new product with you.  It took me FOREVER to buckle down and turn this into a product (some of you have been requesting these materials since I posted about Drama Time on my blog back in 2012...so this is especially for you!)  And the best part is, hop on over to my TPT store today and tomorrow to get 50% off this product!

Let's start with the basics...
What EVEN is Drama Time anyways?
*Drama Time is a weekly activity that usually lasts 30-45 minutes.
*It consists of engaging GAMES and PREDICTABLE ROUTINES
*It can meet the needs of all your students by addressing a huge RANGE of SKILLS
*You can do it in INCLUSIVE (or reverse inclusion) settings
*These activities and this product can last you ALL YEAR LONG.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Differentiated Writing Activity for ESY, Summer School or Home

Whenever my mom and dad came to visit my classroom, they always brought books, play doh, and other school supplies.  One time, they bought these amazing sticker books (link to book on Amazon)!  I saved them for a long time thinking they were so cool that I wanted to do something special with them, but couldn't figure out what to do.  Flash forward to when I was planning for ESY (extended school year) and I was looking around my classroom for ideas of what I could bring with me (ESY was located in a different building than my school).  I stumbled across these books again, tossed them into a milk crate (thank you school cafeteria!), and was one step closer to finally using them!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Social Skills: Where to Begin?

"Social Skills need to be taught" is what we hear all the time in schools these days, especially in special education...but WHERE are they taught? WHAT skills do we teach? HOW are they taught? WHAT curriculum should we use? are just some of the many questions we teachers are asking in response to this statement. I definitely don't have all the answers, but would love to get the conversation going. I would love to hear your input in the comments below or in an email (autismtank@gmail.com) as I feel like this blog post is just skimming the surface of this huge topic.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ice Cream Unit for ESY, Summer School, or Home

As a special education teacher, I am always looking for ways to make learning more motivating for my students. My students LOVE ice cream. I mean, they really really LOVE it. So, why not introduce matching skills, teach shapes, counting, writing, and graphing all about ice cream!  This can make a great mini-unit to use during ESY or summer school as well to help maintain skills in an engaging way.  Another idea would be to send this home as "homework" over the summer and have parents use these worksheets and activities with their children.
This mini-unit includes 9 worksheets that all have to do with ice cream!  Photo copy, laminate or just throw the worksheets in sheet protector sleeves to save some time!  You can even keep these in a binder and use during the school year at an independent work station for review.