Special Education Classroom

And you thought it was just a bag of cookies.

I’m lucky to work at an amazing school with a staff that cares deeply about my students. When I first came around and pitched the idea of a treat cart to them, they didn’t hesitate to jump in. Over the course of a year, I had over 60 different staff members participate! That’s unbelievable to me!

I don’t always explain the background of my classroom initiatives well. In my self-contained program, we participate in Community Based Instruction (CBI). This allows my students to take the skills they are learning in the classroom and apply them in a hand-on skills. In my four years of teaching, the treat cart was hands down the best project I ever implemented.

It’s one thing for my students to role play in my classroom. It’s a complete different story when they get to run a snack shop themselves. It wasn’t boring Ms. Morris who wanted the fake cookies. It was the real music teacher who wanted a ginger ale and their beloved 5th grade general education teacher who asked for cookies each week. My kids had the food, and everyone wanted it. They became the suppliers and everything became real.

As the person buying from the treat cart, you see a cute kid offering you cookies. I see so much more. I watched children who couldn’t count mixed coins count more than $100 in bills. I watched children who couldn’t use one-to-one correspondence count 20 bags of chips to put on the cart. I watched children go from one word phrases to asking a question in a complete sentence.  I watched the confidence grow and shine through each of the students. And you thought it was just a bag of cookies 🙂

If you don’t know what a treat cart is, check back next week. I’ll post a lot of pictures to show it in action. If you work at a school where a special needs class runs any sort of store, just know they aren’t looking to make money. They are looking for so much more.

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

 

 

Monthly Plans, Teachers Pay Teachers

Weekly Thematic Packs

What started as a mini project to help me power through the first week of ESY ended up evolving into a huge project, and I’m loving every second of it!

If you have been hanging around my Facebook or Instagram then you know about my thematic packs and everything that is included! If you are not familiar, look below for an idea of what you get! The theme featured in this blog is the zoo theme, but a huge variety of themes is available in my store as well!

 

unnamed-6.jpg

The first set I wanted to show you were the adapted materials. These are for my lower students who are still working on a lot of pre-academic skills. The adapted materials include an adapted book, a tracing book and task boxes. These are perfect for my friends who are using a lot of adapted materials.

unnamed.jpg

The bulk of the reading and language arts work is leveled into 3 levels. You get 3 levels of emergent readers and 3 levels of a weekly journal book. Look below for an idea of what each level is for the reading and writing:

  • Level A: The emergent reader names the vocabulary for the week. The journal has sentence frameworks for students to copy, to get used to writing descriptive sentences.
  • Level B: The emergent reader includes the color of the item (I.e. the tiger is orange) in additional to the vocabulary words. The journal provides the topic and some facts, but the students need to create their own sentence using the content given.
  • Level C: The emergent reader includes a fact in addition to the vocabulary word. The journal provides just a topic, and allows students to generate their own ideas about the topic.

unnamed-1.jpg

There are also 3 levels of comprehension worksheets, with differentiation built into each level. Although I have leveled them according to the emergent readers, feel free to mix and match. For one of my students, his best match was 3 worksheets from level B and 2 from level C. It is totally customizable, do what works for you!

unnamed-2

You also get 3 sets of sight word packs and an alphabet pack to add to a work work center. The sight words and letters are rotated through the different packs, but it will always be 6 different words or 6 different letters featured in one pack.

unnamed-9

The math portion of this pack has a huge range of skills, because my classroom has a huge range of skills! In this pack you get addition, subtraction, multiplication and division worksheets. You also get telling time, 3 levels of graphing worksheets, basic number sense, patterning and a money board.

unnamed-3.jpg

The visual directions are perfect for whole group activities. A scientific experiment, an edible recipe, a sensory recipe and a craft are always included.

unnamed-4.jpg

Additional materials include a set of gross motor movement cards, suggested supplemental books, songs and apps and 10 bingo boards!

I realize that this pack might be overwhelming when you first open it, which is why I created a suggested weekly lay out. You, by no means, need to follow this. Maybe your kids are not ready for telling time! Maybe you want to do the craft over two days! Maybe you want to play bingo every day. Whatever works with your class, go for it. This is just to give you an idea of how to use the pack.

unnamed-8

This weekly guide will be included in all of the units. Click here to go to the bundle on TPT. Each theme is listed within this page, or grab the whole bundle to get you through the tough spots of the year!

Homework, Uncategorized

Homework-Love it or Hate it?

I have a love/hate relationship with homework. In some ways, I love how my kids are able to go home and showcase their skills with mom and dad. In other ways, I feel like my kids already have so much going on and the homework is just an added level of stress. Either way, EVERY SINGLE PARENT in my self-contained class wants homework-so I do it every week.

I send home one homework packet a week on Mondays. My students can complete these anytime during the week, but are expected to turn them in no later then Fridays. for my more academically based students, I like to include a mix of reading and math skills, something related to the content lesson of the week, some work to focus on IEP goals and seasonal activities from time to time.

img_6268

I love using the News 2 You articles as the reading homework. They usually have two different articles up, each one offered in several levels. My kids use either the regular or the simplified article and I send home the game page, the review page and the think page for homework. The regular version has more questions and the simplified version is reduced for that level!

For kids who need extra comprehension practice, I will supplement with either my comprehension worksheets or my main idea worksheets, depending on their need. For my kids who need some higher level thinking, these Problem and Solution worksheets can be the answer!

My math homework tends to be directly related to the math lesson of the week. If we are working on graphing in school, I will put  graphing worksheet in the backpack. Sometimes I supplement with no-prep packs-you can find some great options on TPT. Right now I’m using packs from My Special Learners and Especially Education and they are a perfect fit! I also send home touch money for one of my kiddos-she actually gets a print off from my file folder pack!

But what about the kids who are not on that level? I have a couple of friends who are not ready for reading and math skills. These kids are at a pre-academic level and need more focus on foundation pieces and fine motor skills. I feature one letter a week from my Alphabet Weekly Work pack for their homework. I also love to supplement with the preschool printable packs from Little Monkeys Printable!

All of my featured resources will be 50% off through this Friday! Tell me how you do homework in your self-contained classroom!