Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What's in my inclusion bag...

Working in a small district has it's positive and negatives.  One thing is that I never know what to expect every year.  Some years I am teaching a self-contained class for K-2, some years I have preschool and 2nd graders, and this year I have Kindergarten and second grade.  I have students who I do pull-out services in my room so all of those supplies are handy.  However, I spend a lot of time in other classrooms, so I carry a bag of stuff with me wherever I go. I thought it might be helpful for me to share all of this stuff.

Here is all is.  You can see my chrome book sticking out there.  Carrying my Chrome book has become a major plus for me as I use it for data collect. There are times that I am sitting behind a student helping him to complete work with one hand, while filling out an A-B-C form on another.  Not ideal, but it gets the job done 

Coffee and my water bottle are a daily essential.  I keep an extra k-cup just in case I need a pickme up when I am not near my classroom.  I usually only carry one of the cups at a time and sometimes I leave them somewhere.  Such as today I finally found my water cup in a classroom cubby. 

I carry two types of timers because I never know which one is going to be needed.  I also carry my cell phone to use as a timer when needed

I have pencils and pens along with a hole punch to add visuals to keychains on a whim .

Stickers for rewards and the tape is used to make places on the floor where a chair should be, a line should start, giving borders on a table, and lots of other little things.

I often use the round stickers for students who need to answer questions or spell words, but do not have the ability to write.  I will put their answer choices or letter, numbers on the stickers and then they can put the sticker where it is needed.  You can find out more about that at this post.

The index cards are to write notes one, make quick flash cards, etc.  I usually have sticky notes thrown in there somewhere also.

I carry various visuals.  The one on the left is a copy of one of my student's core boards, the middle is a behavior strip for carpet expectations and the right is a bathroom sign that has jumped off of a set of lanyard visuals.

The last thing I include in my bag are some of the intervention materials or assessment materials I may need for the day.   Today I wanted a student to try a quick comprehension sheet.  In the zipper pouch, I have a dry erase marker, and eraser and a laminated name card so a student can practice writing his name.

So now you have a pretty good idea of what I carry in my inclusion bag (the ones my paras carry have all kinds of different stuff), so I would love to know what you carry around with you.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Shaving cream pumpkin

Happy October!!!

Shaving Cream pumpkinI just wanted to share this quick activity I did with my 2-year-olds a few years ago.  Unfortunately, I only have one picture(insert sad face).

I am a huge fan of using shaving cream and glue to make a paint.  It smells great, the kids can use their hands, and it is such a great sensory experience.

To make out pumpkins, I printed out a pumpkin outline on white cardstock.  The kids and I worked together to mix the shaving cream, glue, and some red & yellow food coloring.  They each took turns stirring.  We then used out fingers to put the "paint" on the pumpkins.  I put the paper on old lunch trays so that I could contain the mess and move them easily to dry.  After the pumpkins were dry I cut them out and hung them up.

You can also add faces to the pumpkin by having precut shapes, from construction paper or even the foam shapes,  that the kids can stick on to make a face.  The shapes will stick to the shaving cream once dry.
Shaving Cream pumpkin

If you would like to see other activities where I have used shaving cream and glue, check out this post about snowmen by clicking here and another one here.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Name Practice

One of the first skills I like to work on with my students is identifying and spelling their names.  I have tons of ways that I do this and way too many for one post, so as I start this school year I plan on sharing the different ways that we practice in the classroom.  I wanted to start off with a few that I have done over the past few years. 

The first thing I do is make sure my student has their name posted all over on everything that is theirs.  Coat hooks, desk, chair, etc. If they are just starting I will add their picture next to their name so that they can identify it with a picture of their lovely selves (I should have a picture of this to share later this week).

Name Necklace:
 This activity I came up with last year.  It incorporates putting the letters of your name in order with fine motor skills.  To make it, I typed up each student's name and printed on cardstock.  I then laminated it for some extra durability.  I cut the letters apart and punched two holes in each card  Students then had to string the letters onto their necklace.  It is hard to see in this picture, but they also added a pony bead between the pictures.

Names in Shaving Cream:
Writing or playing in shaving cream is always fun (and messy!)  To help contain the mess a bit, I use a teacher lunch tray.  This keeps the mess contained.  Also, if I can't clean the trays up right away, I can stack them and wash them later.

 Name Tracing:
As part of our morning circle activity, my students will trace their names.  I simply typed their names and printed on regular paper.  I then put it in a page protector.  The students trace their names with a dry erase marker and wipe it clean with a Mr. Clean eraser.
Watercolor Names:
As you can see in this picture, my students have their name available to them on a small card so that they can refer to it if needed when writing their names.  In this activity we made apples.  The students wrote their name on the back of the plate.  Then they water colored the front. Prior to the start of the activity, I wrote a letter (the first letter in their name) in white crayon on the center of the plate.  When they painted over the letter, it came through the paint.  They just thought this was magic! 

I hope this gives you some ideas to get started.  I have more coming over the next few weeks!  
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Number practice with spider webs

number practice, fine motor, preschool
Looking  for a fun way to practice numbers and fine motor skills while incorporating spiders?  We made this awesome spider web to do just that!

I used number dot stamps and put numbers 0 -9 in random order around a paper plate.  The students traced the numbers with a smelly marker ( using smelly markers makes the activity jump up in the level of fun) as we counted from 0 - 9.
number practice, fine motor, preschool

 Next, we used hole punches (I like using this brand because they are easier for the kids to use) and the kids each punched a hole for each number.

Then we laced a piece of yarn through the 0 and taped it to the back of the plate.  We then laced through the numbers in order from 0 -9.  All of the webs looked different because I put the numbers in a different order on each plate.  After we were done, we left the sting long and hooked the spiders we made the day before to the bottom (I, of course, did not take a picture of the all of it put together).

number practice, fine motor, preschool

The kids loved this activity and it gave us a lot of practice on fine motor skills, number recognition, tracing and following directions.  One suggestion I will make is that the yarn needs to be a lot longer then you would think.  I made it to short and had to tie on extra for all of the kids.

number practice, fine motor, preschool

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Teacher Planner: SPED edition

teacher planner in special education
So a few years ago the teaching planner/binder craze really took off.  I started using a teacher binder (check it out here and here.) and I loved it, but it was huge.  I also really like the Erin Condren planners everyone was using, but could not see spending the money for something I could not use all of the pages on.  After some research, I found Plum Paper Planners.

teacher planner in special education
I have been using a Plum Paper Planner for 2 years now and just ordered a new one for this upcoming school year. I love it because all of my lessons and notes are in one spot.  I have places to add professional development, parent contact information, etc.  I use the notes section in each month to record PLC notes. The larger note section in the back I use to record notes from when I am having staffing meetings with the paraprofessionals I work with.  However, I also had a bunch of checklist pages that I never use.  I was also missing some components of the binder that I used to use such as having my standards and IEP information.  Then came the light bulb!

To make this planner work for me, I needed to make some minor adjustments.  I always type up all of my students' goals on one sheet so that I can easily refer to them (and so can the and gen ed teachers). I usually keep them in my data binder, but now I just put them on the checklist pages.  I also added my standards for ECSE (in VA we call them SOLs for grades K-12 and Foundation Blocks for early childhood).  In addition, I added my check sheet for progress reports and annual IEP meetings.  I also just taped in important info that I refer to often such as photo releases and parent contact information.
teacher planner in special education

When it comes to using the lesson planner portion this gets a little tricky.  Plum Paper gives you the option to have your classes pre-printed, but as a SPED teacher I know that my schedule is never set in stone.  This are always changing.  Also as SPED teachers we not only write plans for ourselves, but also for our paras.  Each year I have done things a bit differently.  This year, I put all of my plans (stuff that is for me to teach) in my planner.  I had separate sheets for my paras.  I did have one block on mu plans to jot notes in for what I wanted in my para plans.  This past year I taught 2nd grade in the morning and preschool (ECSE) in the afternoon.  To differentiate between the two in my planner I just drew a squiggly line.
teacher planner in special education

This year I will be making some minor changes in what I am adding to my planner.  I am going to make binder clips so I can laminate and hook in papers that I need to keep all year.  (I will share once I have it done)

If you are interested, there is a Plum Paper teacher planner group on Facebook where teachers share different ideas (more than just PP planners).

I hope this gave you some ideas on how you can still use the "cute" planners as a special education teacher. I would love to know how you use your planner. Please leave your blog posts or ideas in the comments below.

**This post is not sponsored by  Plum Paper.  I did not receive an compensation of any type. All opinions and ideas expressed are my own**

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Animal Hospital

ECSE, preschool, animal hospital, center

Today I just wanted to do a quick post to share my favorite dramatic play center from the school year.  During our animal unit, I turned our kitchen into an animal hospital.  I wish I had taken more pictures, but, hopefully,you will get the idea.

ECSE, preschool, animal hospital, center
To start, I gathered (stuffed) animals that I had in my classroom and at home.  Next, I went to thrift store and picked up a few animals that I thought would be good additions (snake, owl, hedgehog).  While at the thrift store I also looked for animal cages.  I found a cat carrier for $6.  I ran it through the dishwasher at home and it was good to go.  I also was able to get a few more small animal cages by asking friends on Facebook.  I also added scrub tops, stethoscopes, masks (I asked our school nurse for these) and other "doctor" supplies that I had.

I knew I wanted something more for out little hospital.  After thinking, I knew that last thing we needed was x-rays.  To make my x-rays, I used Google images to search for x-rays and printed them out on regular paper. I labeled each x-ray so the kids (and adults) would know what it was.  I then laminated the x-rays and put them in the center.

The kids loved this center (the ones in my classroom and my own kids before and after school)!

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Managing Related Services

The common question this time of year is "How many days do you have left?".  Well, I do know the answer (9, including the teacher workday) however, I also know that I am already planning for next year.  Knowing that I am not alone in this, I thought this post about how I remember who goes to which related service may help you get a head start in getting ready for the 2016-2017 school year.

                                                                                                                                               One of the more confusing things for me is figuring out and remembering who has which related service (OT, PT, speech, Vision, etc.) when.  I also have a few students who go to services outside of school so I need to remember when they might be leaving early or come in late.

To combat all of this confusion I made this chart.   On the left are the days of the week and on the top are the different services.  Each student is assigned a different color sticky note.  We put the student's initials and the time of the  service on the sticky note and then just stick it to the chart. 
related services chartThis provides a quick reference for me when setting up for the day.  This chart also allows for related services to come in and see if they could work with a student during another time to make up a service or rearrange the schedule.   I use sticky notes because I can easily change them out as needed. 

To protect confidentiality this chart does not hang out when it is visible by anyone.  It is in my desk area black cubby hole where no one dares to enter, but myself unless they really need to look at this chart. 

Related Services chart freeIn addition to the large chart, I have made a smaller chart that I can stick in my plan book.  I can laminate it and then write on it with a permanent marker.  When things change, a little bit of nail polish remover will take the marker right off.  Then I am able to write in the changes.  If you have a poster maker or access to a poster maker, you could also print this page out as a poster instead of hand drawing your page like I do.    If you would like to check it out, just click on this link and download it from my google drive. 

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