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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Free Calendar Pieces

I can't believe that the end of summer is around the corner.  Where did the time go?  Are starting to panic a little like I am?  Do I have everything?  Am I ready?

To help you get a little more organized I put together all of my free calendar pieces in one place for you.



Whether you need numbers for a specific month, such as March.


or you are doing a special theme, such as pets,  I've got some numbers for you.

Also, you can print out 2 sets of numbers and use them in your math centers for a memory game.



Click on the pictures below to get your free numbers.









If you download any of the calendar numbers, I would love if you leave me some feedback.
Enjoy.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

3 ways to increase vocabulary using word wall cards


Many special education students don't have the experiences that their typically developing peers have.  If a child cannot walk or talk, cannot hold things or turn their head in certain directions, then their view of the world is different from other children.  Autistic children often experience the world in ways that differ from those of other children due to the nature of their condition.

Because of this, it is very important for us as teachers to make sure that our students have experiences to expose them to situations, events and vocabulary that they may otherwise not experience.

Word walls cards also known as flash cards are a great tool to use for testing and practicing new vocabulary.  How to you use them in your class?  Here are 3 ways that I use word cards in my class to test prior knowledge and increase the vocabulary skills of my students.


When introducing a new topic to my students, word wall cards are a great way to see what they know.  When we started our farm theme I asked my students if  they had been to a farm before.  Did they know what a farm was?   What kind of things would we see on a farm.  We made several CHARTS which demonstrated what they knew about farms.  Testing prior knowledge is very important to know where you are starting from.  We started out by just putting up words they knew such as the animals on the farm.  As the month progressed we added vocabulary that did not belong on a farm and I had the children tell me what did belong on farm and what might not be on a farm.  You can make charts of farm animals and farm people and farm equipment.  The possibilities are endless.  Display the charts around the room for your students to refer to throughout the day.

Do you have a child that can't talk?  No problem.  Hold up two pictures, one that belongs on a farm and one that doesn't.  If they can point, have them point to the correct answer.  If they can't point, have them look at the right answer. 


Once I've determined what vocabulary my students know and what they have to work on, I add the word cards to my WRITING center.  Students can practice writing just the words, they can use the cards to help with spelling in their stories or they can use them as story starters.

Did you have a child that can't print?  Put the cards at the computer station for them to type.  Even children using assistive technology can practice typing.


The third activity I do with my word cards is to put them in a literacy center as a CONCENTRATION game.  I make two copies of the cards and put out a varying number depending on the group and how well them know the pictures.   The kids love this game.  It's also great for working on turn taking.

For children with poor fine motor skills, laminate and put Velcro on the cards.  Attach them to a Velcro board so they don't get knocked to the ground.  


How do you use word wall cards in your class?




Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spring Adapted Readers

April is Autism acceptance month and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to show you how I use my adapted readers with ASD students.  My students often have several  characteristics that impact their learning such as little to no speech, poor or no fine motor skills and poor attention skills. 

  The first thing to remember is that all children, including those with autism, CAN learn to read.  The second thing to remember is that a child does not need to be able to speak in order to read.  
So how do we teach students with little to no verbal skills?  How do we prove it?

I had been adapting some of my commercially bought leveled readers by reproducing the text and then having the children move the words to make the sentence in the book.  The only problem was that because my students needed so many opportunities to practice the same words over and over again in different contexts, I ran out of books that were simple enough for them to read.

The other issue was that some of my students had poor fine motor skills and pieces would often slide off slant boards or get knocked to the ground by shaky fingers.  I needed Velcro.

I decided then that I would have to make my own. 


Since spring was coming up, this first set is geared toward spring activities.  Book one has three words per page and book two has four.

By limiting the options that I give to the children, I gear it to their level.  Once the child gets good at finding words, I will add some distractors to make sure they are reading the words in the book.


I also made some take home books that the kids could cut and paste, color and then share with their family.


Flash cards with some of the vocabulary in the books were used for "write the room" and comprehension activities.


The problem with standardized assessment kits is that the comprehension question require verbal skills.  How do we prove a child with no verbal skills can read?

Can they pick out sight words?
Can they match sentences to a given picture? 
Can they answer comprehension questions?

I made some comprehension questions to go with my stories.  There is one question per page.  Some of the questions require general knowledge and some require relating the story to their life.  All the questions can be answered without verbal skills.


I've included an assessment sheet to keep track of your students answers.
Comprehension question choices can be reduced to three or even two choices if students need more limited options.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Alphabet Freebie

I can't believe that spring break will be over tomorrow.  
It hasn't felt much like spring here yet.
It's been too cold.

 I thought I would brighten up the day with a little freebie for back to school.

I still have some students that don't know all their letters yet, and those that do, still need to practice matching upper and lower letters.

Here are some pictures of it in action.

Click on the last picture to grab it for free.



Match the upper case bears with the lower case flowers.






Sunday, February 12, 2017

More Pigs

Pigs, pigs and more pigs.  

My kids are totally into pigs right now, so I decided to make up some more pig books.  

I love making interactive books.  Designed especially for my SPED students, I find that interactive books improve expressive and receptive language skills while allowing my students with poor fine motor and attention skills to participate.  Interactive books also allow children with no verbal skills to participate in the reading process by using eye gaze.

I made three different books so my students could work on number skills at the same time.
The first one has a blank spot in the sentence that the kids have to put the right number in.


Count the pigs and add the number.


Switch the numbers for number words if your students are working on words.


The second and third books are the same (one has the number word and the other the numeral).  In these books, the children have to add the right number of pigs to match the sentence.  There's a surprise at the end of the book.




My students always like to make their own books too, so I also made black and white take home versions.


I also made some flash cards.  I find them handy for students to refer to.






Monday, February 6, 2017

Hungry Pigs Core Boards



When I got "Ten Hungry Pigs" in my Scholastic book order a couple of months ago, I instantly fell in love with it.  It's cute, funny and perfect for working on counting skills.  I knew this was the next book I wanted to adapt for my students.  



Core vocabulary is at the heart of all we do.  It's so much easier to work activities around core vocabulary (those set of words that we use most often) and add some fringe (those words specific to an activity) than to make theme or activity boards.  This way the children begin to learn where certain words are on their boards and learn to communicate faster.



When I do shared reading activities with the children, I read the same book everyday but vary the activities each day.

On the first day I have the children work on making the sentence "I see # pigs" by pointing to the words on their board.





We then make a large class book.  Each child makes one page and then we bind it together.  Some children are ready for the number word and some are working on the numerals.  The aim of this activity is to work on sentence structure.  Just because my students can't talk doesn't mean we can't be working on proper sentences.



On the second day we worked on making a big chart about what food each pig liked.  Again, we worked on making sentences and putting words together.



The children then made individual books to demonstrate their learning.  They completed the sentence and added the picture of the food item.  For children who are able to draw, I had them draw a picture of the food item.  For child who are non-verbal and have little fine motor skills, I held up two food item choices and had them eye gaze to the one they wanted.  I then used hand-over-hand to help them glue their choice into their book.




On day three we talked about personal preferences and what the children themselves liked or didn't like. These types of questions are great for getting to know the likes and dislikes of our class.  Don't worry about the vocabulary being exact on their communication boards.  "Not like" is perfectly acceptable.  Remember, we want them to use what they have to get their point across.  There isn't room on the boards for every negative.  Teaching the children to use the "not" symbol, opens up a wide range of options when it is combined with other words ( ie. "not happy" rather than "unhappy").



On the forth day we talked about what each pig put on the pile in order.  In this way we are retelling the story in order.  The children have practiced using a lot of the vocabulary already.





On the last day I concentrated on asking the children questions about the story.  It's important to practice answering questions that require more than a "yes/no" answer.  I tried to include some fringe vocabulary that would lend itself to questions.  The response sheet is made up of yes/no questions so that we practice both.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have.