Friday, January 31, 2014

Fluency Flash Cards

I am super excited to tell you about the new sets of flash cards I set up for my fluency station!  (to learn more about this station, check out this post!).  I have my data for this station set up on the iPad (more on that next week!).  Recently, I went through each student's data and saw that it was time for some of my kids to get some new, more challenging work!

I have quite a collection of flash card sets now, so often, I just end up taking out one deck and putting in the next level up.  For instance, one of my kids mastered telling time to the hour, so I bumped him up to a deck of cards containing time to the half hours.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Food Group Sorting Freebie

Yesterday's post was about my newest science unit on Food Groups.  Today's post is about a Freebie to go along with that unit…or you can use it in your room for a great sorting work task.  

I have made a sorting sheet and pictures for each food group.  Here is what they look like.  There are more than enough pictures for the sorting page, so you can pick and choose the ones you want to use!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Science Unit Preview: Food Groups

This month's science unit is all about Food Groups!  At least having Monday and Tuesday off due to extreme cold weather was good for something productive.  Otherwise there was just a lot of sitting around in PJs and catching up on trashy TV.

This month's unit focuses on the following 9 vocabulary words centering around food groups (dairy, protein, fruit, vegetable, grains, sweets, eat, drink, and healthy). It's available on TPT here.

This packet includes:
-Materials to create a vocabulary velcro-matching activity
-3 Levels of Assessments
-21 different worksheets
-1 Game (food group bingo).  2 versions based on level of difficulty.
-1 Adapted book (with matching pieces and comprehension worksheet)
-13 Journal pages (includes to levels of difficulty)
-Parent note home about the unit
-1 Cover sheet for kids to color and use as a cover for all their completed work.

This unit has materials for learners at different levels.   Also, it includes a variety of worksheets which allow my students to work on their science IEP goals as well as a variety of other goals (language arts, math, speech, and OT).  I use this unit over the course of an entire month.  The kids repeat some of the work, but the repetition seems to help them learn the concepts as well as work on becoming more independent.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Making Snow Inside (FREEBIE!)

This is a perfect thing to post about as I sit at home on my second "cold day" this week.  Last week, we made "snow" inside our classroom.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and it seemed SO easy.  Just mix together cornstarch and shaving cream and you can make this amazing looking snow man (picture from Modern Parents Messy Kids).

Well, ours didn't turn out quite as perfect.  We played around a lot with the ingredients to figure out the right proportions.  When we thought we got it just right, we tried to make it again….only that time it didn't turn out at all.  Here is our cute little snowman from the first batch we made.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Independent Art Task

Some days during my direct instruction time (where I work alone with 2 students), I need to focus most of my attention on one of my students as we work on a more difficult skill.  On these days, I still need something fun and engaging for my other student that they can do mostly by themselves.  

For my students who can handle working with markers on their own, these simple tasks often involve using my good old trusty Do-A-Dot Bingo Markers.  

Last week, we created these rainbows.  I drew in a colored line for each of the colors of the rainbow and had the kids go over them with their bingo markers.  Not only did it take them some time to complete, they also turned out as nice cheery artwork to hang up in the classroom during these cold gloomy days!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Math Facts and Graphing

Math is such a great time for the kids to work on taking their own data!  It is usually on something concrete and the actual process of data collection involves the use of many math skills.  This year in our math groups, we have downloaded the app Flash to Pass (FREE) for our iPads.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pinterest Fail(?) Snowflakes

Once a week, we do "reverse inclusion" where students from the gen ed come into my class to participate in social activities with my students.  These activities range from playing games, to doing crafts, cooking, or working on simple academic tasks together like reading a book.  This is a super great opportunity for my students who struggle to be included in the gen ed classroom because it allows them the chance to interact with typical peers from the comfort of their own structured classroom.  I also love that this year, the gen ed teacher is the one who suggested it!  Usually I am the one trying to beg teachers to let kids come to my class for these type of activities.  

Well, anyways, this past week, I tried a Pinterest craft with them.  The craft consisted of creating a snowflake out of tape.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Putting Kids "In Charge"

I totally meant to post yesterday, but was busy all weekend playing with nieces and nephews and enjoying a (very) belated Christmas with my husband's side of the family.  But, I am back today with a post about the newest change to my classroom.

With my mid-level group of students, we do a full morning group every day that covers calendar, weather, social skills, etc.  My kids have gotten so good at this routine, that if I do something wrong, they come up and correct me.  So, I decided it was time to put them in charge.  I think this helps develop my students' independent functioning skills as well as allows them more opportunities to interact with their peers.

We already have this "Schedule" posted for the order of activities in our morning group.  So, all I did was write my students' names on clothespins and clip one onto each activity.  It worked out that we had the perfect amount of activities to be in charge of.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five for Friday

Friday…the best day of the week!  This week I am joining in on Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs where you post about 5 random things from your week….so, here you go.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Matching File Folders

When I first started teaching, I made file folders like crazy.  I had those black and white books you could use to create your file folders, but you had to color all the pictures by hand.  Well, my fist year of teaching, my boyfriend (now husband) and I would sit around coloring all night until our hands hurt.  Then the next night we would be cutting out all the pieces I had laminated…I'm sure our fine motor skills got much stronger!  But after that year, I realized it was much easier to make my own file folders on the computer or buy pre-made ones (of course from Lakeshore!).  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Math Game: Counting by 2s

I love this FREE game from Sara Rhodes on TPT!  So many games require so much set up and work…but this one required no velcro and just a little cutting!  My mid-level math group has been working on some counting skills such as counting on, counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, etc.   My kids totally got counting by 5s and 10s, but they were really struggling with the concept of counting by 2s. We also had been working on a dinosaur unit in science, so this game was a perfect fit.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Differentiated Stamping Activity

When I found this resource on TPT for Free last month, I had no idea how many skills it could address for my students!  I have students working on matching letters, naming letters, and spelling/reading basic words.  So, this same activity could be used for 9 of my students to address these varying goals!

Also, this activity was hands-on and more interactive than a regular worksheet, so my kids enjoyed the change in pace.  Even for those kids who don't like to get messy, this activity was safe.  They just had to touch the stamp…not get their hands/fingers dirty in paint or something like that.

Monday, January 13, 2014

TheraSimplicity Resource

TheraSimplicity is a great resource I found a few years ago.  They offer a free 14 day trial where you can print up to 10 things.  This site offers a huge variety of resources…and the best part is they are all very visual in nature!  They offer everything from worksheets to games, informational resources, AAC templates, and more.

I love that you can create your own worksheets and games.  Here is an example from their "Bingo" game section.  You can choose what your bingo board looks like, what topic you want the game to cover (i.e. body parts, animals, clothes, transportation, food, people, school, etc.), and then add whichever pictures you want from that topic.  When I looked at body parts, it gave me over 40 pictures to choose from!  Other games you can create include simple board games and tic-tac-toe.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Teacher Time Planning: January

On Monday, I shared my guided reading plans for January.  My guided reading group is with 4 of my higher functioning students.  The rest of my students have "Morning Group" where we work on basic calendar, weather, social time skills as a group, and Teacher Time, where I work with kids in groups of 2 on IEP goals.  Similar to my  guided reading group, I make a monthly plan for Teacher Time.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More and More Schedules

My name is Hailey, and I am a schedule addict!  How many of you have students with individualized schedules for your students?  How many of you know the pain of setting up a Velcro schedule every day for every student?!  As much as I LOVE Velcro schedules and they work wonders for so many of our students, I LOVE LOVE it when I can get my kids to transition to a more functional picture or word schedule!

A few weeks ago, 3 of my students went from a picture schedule like this…

Monday, January 6, 2014

January Plans for Guided Reading

In January for guided reading, we are trying a more structured format…mostly because it was the easiest way to plan before winter break.  Here is the plan…and I have links to resources throughout.  Most of these resources I purchased from TPT over the Cyber Monday Sale…which also made planning for this month super easy!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Life Skills Room

Since I am gone on my honeymoon (!!!), I am posting some oldies but goodies.  This post was a little bitter/sweet to look at since we lost our life skills room this year!  Our school got a large influx of students and we needed to use all of the space in the school, so we lost our extra special life skills room.  We have taken some of the tasks and incorporated them into the classroom, but is hard to find space for activities like setting the table, or hanging clothes on hangers.  Oh well…that's life…but it is kind of fun to reminisce about this fun classroom we once had! 

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).