Friday, February 28, 2014

Do You Know What Time It Is?


I seriously get so excited for these sales!  As a TPT buyer (and seller) I love their sales because they allow my to stock up on everything I have been putting on my wish list!  As I go through Pinterest, I am always being taken to TPT for cute products I see….so I put them on my wish list and wait until I really need them or there's a sale. 

When sale time approaches, I also go through my curriculum maps/monthly lesson plans and look for topics I need more activities for…then search for them on TPT!

I cannot even tell you how much time I save as well as how much my kids love all the variety in activities!  The only thing that suffers is my printer!  

Also, do you provide feedback on your TPT purchases?  Sometimes I forget, but a sale is the perfect time to catch up because you get POINTS for providing feedback.  And those points, help you get products at an added DISCOUNT!  

My entire store will be 28% off until midnight tonight.  Just enter the code TPT3 at checkout!  Here are some of my newest products to checkout!  Click on the pictures or text to go directly to my store!

2 different sets of File Folders.  Matching File Folders and Sorting File Folders.

2 new science units Food Groups and Weather (just posted a couple days ago!)

My Life Skills Room Set-Up Kit.  I had a lot of requests for this after people read my blog post on our life skills room and it has been a popular seller since I posted it a few weeks ago!  

Also, check out this product I posted last year that includes a social story about St. Patrick's Day and Spring as well as comprehension worksheets to go along with each!

TGIF and Happy Shopping!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Science Unit Preview: Weather!

Weather is one of MY favorite topics because so many of my kids NEED to learn about it to help them function in their daily lives.  By this point in the year, we have covered most of the basic weather vocabulary from doing our daily weather in our morning group and binders.  So, this unit targets some more rare weather vocabulary like "tornado," "foggy," etc.  March is also the perfect month for us to work on weather, because we can see everything from -10 to 80 degrees over the course of 31 days!  You can get this unit on TPT here or by clicking the picture below.  Since today is the first day of the TPT sale, you can get this unit (or any other products in my store) for 28% off!  Enter code TPT3 at checkout!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cooking Fruit Snacks FREEBIE!

My students absolutely ADORE fruit snacks!  So, I figured why not try cooking our own?!  We used this visual recipe to make fruit snacks out of jello.  Of course, I found the recipe through Pinterest…and then adapted it for microwave instead of stove top!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Technology Tuesday: Guided Access for iPad

I went to an iPad training last week, and they talked about one of my favorite features: Guided Access.  Do you ever have students who decide they would rather play games than do the app you have picked out for them? 
Pa-lease!  I have caught all of my students trying to sneak out of their assigned apps or websites to go play Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies!  Have you ever wished you could lock your kids into an app or website on the iPad?  Now you can, with the "guided access" feature.  In today's post, I will walk you through the steps of setting it up!

First, go into your settings, click GENERAL, and click ACCESSIBILITY.  Under the learning category, you will see the choice for "GUIDED ACCESS."  Turn this puppy on!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five for Friday

This week, I have a lot of random small things to blog about, so decided to join in the 5 for Friday link-up with Doodle Bugs!  

This week, we started a token economy for appropriate behaviors with 4 most advanced students.  It has been working like a charm so far because my kids are obsessed with the points (I think they like getting the points even more than the actual things they can buy with their points).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Launch and Match Counting

Over Thanksgiving break, I wrote quite a few DonorsChoose projects.  People must have been in the giving holiday spirit, because I managed to get 3 projects funded!  One of these projects was for math materials for one of my lower math groups.  We are working on basic counting and number identification.  This Launch and Match game from Lakeshore was perfect!   If this is too easy for your kids, they have a whole line of similar games focusing on different math and reading skills.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Orton-Gillingam 3-Part Drill

Yesterday, I posted about some of the kinesthetic materials we are using in our reading instruction (see that post here).  I got these ideas from the Orton-Gillingham training I attended a few weeks ago.  Like I said yesterday, the main idea that I latched onto, was the idea that this program addresses learners from an auditory, visual, and kinesthetic approach.  Even though most of my kids are visual and kinesthetic learners, I love the idea of including the auditory piece to help my kids strengthen that modality.  The training I went to was a 5-day training in how to use a Multi-Sensory approach to teach reading in a phonics based program.  They incorporate review, how to teach new concepts, how to teach sight words, as well as some ideas on vocabulary/comprehension development.

We literally just started using this last week, so I am still pretty new to it.  I used the assessments provided in the program to determine where my higher level students should begin.  The assessment showed that this group knew a variety of phonics sounds (including a few vowels and digraphs), so we were able to jump right in and start working on learning new sounds.  My lower group, however, is still working on learning letter names/sounds, so I am going to start at the very beginning with them.  This program starts with teaching the letters c, o, a, d, and g because they all have similar letter formation, very different sounds, and look pretty different from one another as well.  This program works on letter formation as well as phonics, which I like too for my beginners.  Also, once they learn these first 5 letters, they can already write some basic words phonetically! I will post more on how this program is working with these guys, once we get through a couple letters.

Since my higher students were ready to jump right in, we started by learning some of the basic routines involved in this program.  I love that these routines are built in because we all know how much our kids love structured activities  In this program, they recommend incorporating a review 3 times a week as well as introducing one new sound or sound family per week.  Last week, we started working on learning how the review is structured.  The review is called a "3-part drill" and students review the sounds they already know through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities.  I made this summary sheet to post so that eventually, I can put a kid in charge of this activity.

It starts with the visual part, where the kids see the letters and say the sound.  

Next up is the auditory/kinesthetic part.  This seems complicated when typing it out, but I promise, the kids caught on really quick.  For this, the teacher says a sound (i.e. "buh" for b).  Then the kids repeat the sound.  Then, as they write the letter in their sand or gel, they say "b says buh."  If there is more than 1 letter that makes that sound (i.e. both "c" and "k" make the "kuh" sound), then the kids would write/say all of the letters that make that sound (i.e. "c says kuh, k says kuh").

The last part is blending.  The kids practice saying each sound separately in order and then blend the word together.  This is fun for the kids too, because we talk about whether the word is a real word or a silly word.  

This was easy to add into our morning because it only takes about 10 minutes.  My kids take awhile to trickle in and get settled, so I have this group come in first and start working while the other kids put away their stuff, go to the bathroom, etc.  

This is the tracking sheet I filled out based on my students' assessments.  As you go through the program, you highlight the mastered sounds.  This helps you keep your flash card decks up-to-date with only mastered sounds as well as helps remind you which sounds to review during the auditory/kinesthetic activity.  

Have any of you used this program in your classroom?  I am interested to hear your feelings/experiences on using it with kids with autism.  I really like that it doesn't take up much time in your day, so I can still do all of my other guided reading activities and just fit this in as a part of my lesson or even incorporate it into aid run stations.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gel Bags: Kid Made

A couple weeks ago, I sat through a week long training on Orton Gillingham Multi-Sensory approach to teaching reading.  Have any of you tried this in your classrooms?  Some of the ideas I loved and have started to implement in my classroom.  One of the main ideas is to approach teaching reading through a variety of learning modalities.  Even though most of my kids are very visual learners, it still helps them (A LOT) to strengthen their auditory and kinesthetic skills.  I will talk more about how I am implementing this program in tomorrow's post.  But for today, I wanted to talk about the different kinesthetic activities we will be utilizing.

While sitting in the training, the adults got a chance to be the kids and use sand to practice writing our letters in.  This sand is pretty cool, because it has 2 colors (green and blue) and is 2 different gradients (1 is very fine while the other is very course).   I won some of the sand in a raffle at the training and then bought these tortilla containers at the Dollar Tree to store it in.  Looking back, I wish I bought a different color container (it came in a variety of colors), because the green sand is harder to see in the green container.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Par-Tay!

Well, we survived another holiday party!  As promised earlier in the week, today I am posting pics of how all our activities turned out today!  And, I am happy to say, that all of our projects were a success!

Earlier this week, we made cupid's crunch…which turned out delicious, but was too time-consuming for our party today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Product Preview: 8 Sorting File Folders

Earlier this week, I posted my newest packet of File Folder activities to TPT.  This packet comes with 8 file folders and I will give you a preview of each one below.  I have only shown 1 page below, but each file folder comes with 2 pages of sorting (1 for each side of your file folder).  You can find them here.  

Sorting clothes by color (yellow vs. brown):

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Journal Rules

In my advanced morning group, we have been working on writing "journals" for a couple years.  My kids are now at the point where they can come up with 3-5 sentences about a topic on their own.  So, this year, I decided to let my students work on their journals during an independent work time.  We also switched over from using my journal template to actual notebook paper.  Over the course of the year, I have started to notice some slip-ups in basic things such as spacing, sizing, punctuation, etc.  These are things we have targeted in our direct instruction time, so I know my kids are capable of it.  When they are left to work independently, they just go back to their old habits.  So, in order to keep this an independent task, I created some "journal rules" for my kids to follow to ensure their journals are still good quality.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Activity Ideas

Valentine's Day is coming up quick!  And since I was out all last week, this is really the only week I have to do all my fun Valentine's Day themed activities!!  In today's post, I just wanted to share some ideas we will be trying out!  
We will be making Valentine's Day cards using this fun art technique using pencil erasers from I Like to Decorate.

We will also be doing this fun bingo-stamper activity from Your Face is Like the Sunshine and this paper tearing activity.

We will be cooking "Cupid's Crunch" which I found on This Mama Loves

I also love this math activity involving candy hearts from Learning Ahoy.  These are free…so definitely check them out!  It involves estimation, sorting, even/odd, addition, and graphing!

Of course, no month would be complete without a holiday Bingo!

I also have a fun "pin the heart" game where kids get blindfolded and have to try and stick the heart on the target.

Many of these activities will be for our Valentine's Day party on Friday!  Check back then to see how ours turn out…we may have some Pinterest Fails on our hands!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Setting Up for a Sub

Leaving my kids with a sub is so hard for me.  Even though my aids are great and my kids can practically run a most of our activities themselves, I still struggle.  (I guess I have control issues??).  Anyways, this week, I have training EVERY SINGLE DAY.  A whole week without my kiddos!  My assistants have been good at telling me what works best when I am out.  They like when I leave activities at my stations that the kids can practically do alone.  That way, the sub can be "me" and run my stations and the kids don't need to interact a lot with them (since we all know how hard social interaction and challenging academic tasks can be for our kids…they need to be approached in just the right way…and most likely my sub hasn't been trained in how to work with kids with autism).

Thursday, February 6, 2014

LIFE SKILLS Product Preview

Many of you have emailed me asking about resources for setting up your own Life Skills Classroom.  I have some great news….I finally have a TPT product that supplies you with everything to start your own life skills classroom!
This product includes:
*4 Labels for different areas of the room (Kitchen, Bathroom, Laundry, and Office).
*14 Tasks (3-4 from each different area).  All of the directions/visuals are included for each task. 
(NOTE: You will still need the "real life items" for tasks…i.e. silverware, containers, clothes, etc.).  
*Color-Coded Schedule System (enough task labels and schedule pieces for 20 tasks).
*Editable Schedule to add in students' names.
*Data sheet for tracking level of independence on the life skills tasks.
*Real life photos of all tasks.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Data Collection on the iPad: Implementation

In yesterday's post, I wrote about how to set up your data collection system on the iPad.  In today's post, I want to show you how I utilize this data collection in my classroom.

We take data on all of the IEP goals in our classroom as well as other behaviors of interest.  We do not chart it all onto graphs (with 13 kids X 8 IEP goals each, we are talking about at least 104 graphs….and we don't have that kind of time!).  So, the main things I graph are my students fluency flashcards as well any significant behaviors we are tracking.  I also try and teach my students to take their own data to encourage self monitoring.  Here is one of my student's graphs for math facts.  See this post to get this free graph template.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Data Collection on the iPad: Set Up

Several of you have emailed me about how I take data on the iPad, so I am here to share the nitty gritty details with you!  First of all, I use the app called Numbers.  This app is Apple's version of Excel.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Currently: February

I know I am a few days late with this, but better late than never!  To join in the Currently fun, go on over to Farley's website and link up!