Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sort Tasks

Happy  March!!

We do a lot of sorting in my classroom.  We sort colors, shapes, letters, words, pictures, and the list goes on.  I just wanted to share a few of our favorite tasks.

I found these containers at Rite Aide in the dollar section and the eggs at the Dollar store in the spring.  They are an easy task and i can vary it between two or three colors or even just make it into a put in task.  After the kiddos sort I usually also have them put the lid on the container. 

This is a re-do of a shape sorter.  Our shape sorter was too difficult for my students one year so we just took a box, covered it and cut out the shapes.  The kids now just sort the shapes into the box and do not have to worry about rotating to all of the sides of a shape sorter. 

This is a simple color sorting task with pompoms and a muffin tin.  I put stickers for each color in the muffin tins so the kids know what color goes where. 

This task is simply small and big paper clips that are sorted onto the appropriate index card.  To make it a little more fine motor heavy students could attach the paper clip to the index card. 

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Intervention Binders

Last year I bought a Math intervention binder off of TpT.  While it is totally awesome, it did not suit all of my needs or my students' needs.  So, I came up with my own.  These were super easy to put together once I came up with what I was going to do.  I simply decide on the topic of the binder, then add various practice sheets and games about that topic.

I have several binders set up: alphabet, shapes, math, numbers, comprehension, number tracing, and letter tracing.  You have seen pictures of the number and letter binders before when I talked about my inclusion box.  Some pages I have made myself (such as the letter and number tracing pages), but  I use a lot of pages by the Moffat Girls and then other various sheets I have.  I like the Moffat girls because it is more than just tracing or writing.  Annie Moffat includes a lot of games and activities in her No Prep packs.  I put each sheet in a page protector so the sheets can be re-used.  Each binder is organized a bit differently.  The alphabet binder is more of a mix, where the shapes binder is organized by shape.  I also add a zipper pouch or resealable bag (just put duct tape on the edge to make it durable before you hole punch it) to the front that I can store dry erase markers, an eraser, dice for games, game markers, etc in.

 Now, we just grab a binder and use it to practice these skill at any time.  I find this great for when we have an extra 5 minutes or I end up with an extra person that can work with someone individually.   The kids think it is neat because they can write on the page protector and it just wipes off.

Just an extra note that the Learning Ahoy caddy next to all the binders holds clipboards, extra markers, erasers, etc.
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Alphabet Fun!: Part 2

I am knee deep in the alphabet right now and I wanted to share some of the activities that we are working on.  My students have moved on from learning the uppercase letters to now focusing on the lowercase letters and matching upper to lowercase letters.

Letter Match:

I introduced this activity last week and my student caught on really well.  I start by only giving him 3 choices.  As students become more confident I give more choices.  I put the cards that need to do cards in one basket and as the student matches the letter they then move to the card to the other basket.   To make this activity I made the board out of cardboard, styrofoam containers, and Velcro.  I then printed out and laminated the cards and then added velcro.   You can find a few more details and the cards (a freebie) for this activity by going to this blog post.

Alphabet Sensory Bag:

I made this bag using my Food Saver, hair gel, food coloring, and letter beads (You can find out more about how I make these in my http://www.learningahoy.com/2016/11/multi-sensory-learning.html.  I put one of each letter in the bag.  The student then needs to find a letter and color in the matching letter (upper or lowercase) in the same color as the letter is (if they are ready for this, otherwise, they just color the letter).  I use various sheets for the matching part that I get from Make Learning Fun.  

Erasers and the Alphabet:

This activity I learned about from one of my fabulous co-teachers.  To play, use seasonal or fun erasers (in this picture we are using snowflakes) and then a fun alphabet board.  Again, I get these from Make Learning Fun.  I vary the board by time of year, do upper or lowercase, and change the order the letters are in.  The teacher can call out a letter, letter sound, or show a letter and students have to find the matching letter.  Students can also play this in pairs.  My students love to be the "teacher" during this activity.     

Trace Letters:

I shared in my inclusion box post about my binder and dry erase markers that students use to practice tracing letters.  This is great to work on proper pencil grasp, letter formation, and fine motor skills.  I printed out the letters one to page and then put them in page protectors.  I then just use a zipper pouch in the front to add a few markers to choose from and an eraser. 

You can find other alphabet ideas by checking out all of my blog posts about the ABCs or checking out my Alphabet Activities Pinterest board.  

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Inclusion Box

I have talked before about what I carry around in my inclusion bag, but I also keep an inclusion box in some of the classrooms I work in.  This box is usually for students who are working below grade level, have 1:1 adult support, and in larger districts may be in a self-contained classroom.

The contents of the box are various activities that the student can work on while in the inclusion classroom,  when the work being done by the class may be too much or when the class has some free choice or independent centers.  The items are often review and activities that I have already provided direct instruction with.  The box I currently have set up is for a Kindergarten student so that activities I am going to share are based around that particular students needs.

The Essentials:

The first thing I always include is a pencil box (or a zipper pouch) with dry erase markers, an eraser, a die, and sometimes pencils/crayons. I also may include fun erasers or counters.   I try to make sure that everything needed to complete the tasks is in the box.   This makes it easier for the adult working with the student and the student to stay on task.

Math activities:

The first thing I have is a number puzzle.  This is just a basic puzzle that I bought at the dollar store.  Sometimes my student does this for fun, sometimes to practice their number identification. 

The next activity is self-correcting puzzles that I found on the giveaway table a few year ago.  The student has to count the dots and match with the correct number.  At this time, we do hand over hand to help the student count the dots. 

Another number activity is simply the numbers 1 - 10 that can be traced with dry erase markers.  The numbers are printed 1 to a page and put into sleeve protectors.  I then put all of the pages into a binder. 

Other times during the year I may include shapes, count a clip cards, and simple addition activities.

Language Arts Activities: 

This particular student is still working on letter recognition so they have a letter puzzle, again from the dollar store. 

There is also 2 sets of uppercase letter cards that allow the student to match letter to letter. 

Another activity is the prewriting pages.  I have various levels of difficulty of these and I have ones for different themes and times of the year.  

The last thing includes is another binder.  This one has all of the letters of the alphabet for the student to practice tracing.


I also include a folder that has simple worksheets in it that can be used as needed.  These include tracing practice, cutting practice, number identification, letter identification or anything else that I may add in there. 

Do you keep anything particular in classes where your students are in the inclusion setting?

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

8 Freebies to Jump Start 2017

Start 2017 off right with some great freebies from myself and other special educators that can help make your transition back to school after winter break a bit smoother.

1.  Color Snow Flake Matching

I love using this activity with my students who are learning color words! Students match the color word with the correct snowflake.  Check it out here!

2. January Work Tasks

Mrs. P's Specialties has  3 work tasks that are perfect for January!  Matching, labeling and how many. Check them out here!

3. Editable Activity Matrix

 Erin from You AUT-a Know has a great activity matrix that will be perfect to use with embedding instruction.  It enables you to make activity matrices to plan out how to work on student IEP goals throughout the day.  Check it out here!

4.  Counting Snowball 0 - 20

Traci from The Bender Bunch has an awesome count & clip task card freebie that practices numbers 1-20. The clothes pins allow for extra fine motor practice, but you could also use dry erase markers.  Check it out here!

5. Social Story

 All Things Special Ed has a Being Good Friends Social story that will be great to remind some of our friends what it looks like to be a good friend.  After about 2 weeks of possible unstructured activities at home, our kids may need those gentle reminders.  Check it out here!

6. Winter Hat Glyph

Delightfully Dedicated Special Education has this adorable hat glyph that uses Smarty Symbols. The students design their hats based on the answer to the questions.  This is a great way to work on IEP goals that focus on answering questions wth 2 choices.  You can find it here!

7. New Year Goal Writing

Teaching students to develop goals is an important skill.  Autism Educators has developed this goal setting for visual learners. You can find it here!

8. Short A practice

Need some easy phonic practice for your students?  One Room School House has a no-prep freebie for short A practice.  Directions to use the file on the ipad are also included.  Find it here!

If you have another freebie that you would like to share please leave it in the comments!!

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Embedded Learning

Working with students with special needs we need to make sure we give every opportunity to learn that we can.   This means we need to embed learning and instruction into daily routines and activities.  We need to make conscious decisions that we are going to address a certain skill during a certain time period.  In order to do this we need to go through a few simple steps.

1. Determine what IEP goals or skills you are addressing for an individual student. 
 For example ,right now one of my student's (A) goals is to identify numbers 1 -3. Another student, (B) is working greeting adults and peers appropriately.

2.  Determine what routines/activities these goals can be embedded into.
This is where the planning part comes in.  Depending on the type of classroom you have, this can be done in various ways.  If you have a self-contained room where all your kids are on the same schedule, you can develop a matrix of your schedule.  There would be a column for each student and their goal.  You then go through the schedule and see where you can work on the goals.  You can do something similar if you have students in various classes or  go between buildings.  Your matrix, just might look a bit different.  Using the matrix also enables you an easy way to collect data on the goal.

To work on B greeting adults, I prompt him in the hallway on the way to class when an adult greets him.  I have planned with one of the paraprofessionals that she will greet him daily.  I am working on fading my prompts so that he can become independent in this task.

If I was in preschool and focusing on building vocabulary with my students, I may make sure that my snack includes various farm animals such as having animal crackers.  This way we can talk about the animals as we eat them!

In this post you can see how I used our science lesson to work on sight words.

3. Use your matrix!
Now that you have determined where your teaching and instruction is happening, get to it!  This part should be easy.  If you can, take data on your matrix show that you can demonstrate progress and note what you need to change.

4. Change your matrix as needed.
 You will need to update your matrix when a student masters a skill, a unit changes, your schedule changes, or for a variety of other reasons.  I keep a template on my computer so that I can easily change it.

If you are interested in learning more about embedded instruction, I originally learned about it from Sharon Raver.  I took a few classes that she taught while working towards my Master's degree.  She has written many professional articles and books that include using a matrix and embedded learning.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Alphabet Fun!!

It seems every year I have at least one student focusing on the alphabet.  Sometimes, I am teaching preschool so it is natural to fit into the curriculum and same with kindergarten.  Other years I have 2nd graders, who I have to sneak the learning in on.  This year.... I have both.  I am working with kindergartners and 2nd graders.

I wanted to share just a few ideas that have worked great for me.  Some I have shared before, some are new.  I hope you can use a few and I would love the read about some of things you do, so please leave a few comments below!

So let's jump right in!!

Oh Pumpkin is a game I made a few years ago that is still going strong.  It is simple  to play and the kids love it! You print out the cards, laminate for durability and then put them into a basket (I try to use something seasonal to add to the fun factor).  The kids take turns drawing out one card at a time.  I differentiate by having some kids say just the letter, some kids say the sounds, some even give me a word that starts with that letter.  Then the student passes the basket.  If the student gets "Oh Pumpkin!" They have to put all of their cards back.  This game has been a hit with my kindergarten students this year and I have tied it into our social skills learning by having the kids say to the person before them "May I have the basket, please?".   If you like this game, there is another version here that was requested by some of my paraprofessionals a few years ago.

An activity that I am doing this year that is also with one of my kindergarteners centers around whatever the theme is for the week.  When I took these pictures, our theme was bats.  I printed out a clipart picture of a bat on card stock and cut it out.  On day one, I had my student punch holes around it.  Day 2, he had to lace it.  Day 3, I wrote letters on the bat and he had to match the round stickers with the same letter to the letter on the bat.  This worked out great and I have continued to do this with other shapes. You could also write numbers, shapes, or really anything on the object to have the student match.  It all depends on your needs.

With my 2nd graders I had to sneak in the learning a bit.  I took these spider webs that I made last year and put them on the ground.  I then gave each student a fake spider.  I called out a letter sound and they had to be the first to find the letter and put their spider on the web.  I had strict rules on no pushing or shoving.  You would have thought that I was giving the winner a free trip to Disney World. The kids loved it and have asked to play again.

This next activity is just a simple ball that was on the giveaway table a few years ago.  You could do the same thing with any ball, you would just need to write your own letters on it.  I have used this ball with one student up to 5.  We toss the ball back and forth and where ever your right thumb lands you need to use that letter.  I differentiate by having a student name the letter, sound, or word that starts with that sound.  This is another activity that spans the grade levels.

I hope this gave you some ideas that you can use in your classroom!!
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