Monday, December 15, 2014

What Fun It Is!

I wanted to get another post in before our break--when I'll be out of the country-- so here we go!
Work Tasks
Many of the students in the classroom are working on one to one correspondence so this is a task I created to help them work on that while also working on fine motor skills by clipping the clothes pin onto the circle.
If you'd like your own copy, you can download my file here.
 Another skill we're working on is sequencing color patterns. I made this task out of part of an egg carton and halves of notecards! What I like the most about this task is that it can be individualized for each student. If the student is not able to sequence yet, they can color match the chips, but putting the chips on top of the color instead of into the carton.
Classroom Organization
Something important for our students, especially those who are non-verbal are picture schedules. This helps give a clear idea of what to expect for the day and helps eliminate any distress from unexpected changes in the normal daily routine.
I created this daily schedule that I refer to throughout the day and move over the picture as that activity is completed.
Timers are also helpful in assisting in making transitions easier for students.  We have some timers that give visual cues, changing from green to yellow to red, and others that require audio cues-- usually a verbal reminder.

Winter Wonder-crafts!
Of course, one of my favorite things is getting to do crafts with the students. We have done more than what I have to post-- but here are some of our highlights!

 We have been doing some watercolors in class!

I found this free download from teachers pay teachers with the light bulb patterns. I printed it out on cardstock and used a white crayon to write different messages like "May your days be bright" or "Happy holidays to all" or "It's time to deck the halls." They turned out really nice and it was a very simple craft if you're looking for one!

I was very excited to try out this next craft with my brother Tommy. It was a great practice at measuring the ribbon with a ruler, cutting with scissors and then stuffing the ribbon into the clear ornament. In some of the ornaments, we put colored pom poms into them to fill extra space.
I think they turned out great as well and would certainly recommend trying it out!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fall Festivities!

Hello! I, of course, have been very busy creating new things for the classroom and doing more arts and crafts in the classroom.

Arts and Crafts

I often get to play art teacher at work and enjoy coming up with projects for the class to make.  This one with the fall trees was really great for helping them continuing to practice their fine motor skills-- particularly ripping. They had to rip all of the pieces for the trees and with assistance glued it down to make a fall tree picture!

I also had the class make scarecrows back in October. They practiced using scissors to cut the fringe for the "straw" coming out of their scarecrow and then with or without assistance they practiced using crayons. I had them draw circles and green lines for their pumpkins. They also practiced cutting out circles! It was a great cutting/gluing project.


Something really fun we've started to do in class is cooking!.. or a kind of cooking. So far we've made trail mix-- students practiced pouring ingredients into a bowl and stirring and scooping into bags. We've also made smores-- students practiced assembling the smores in the proper order.

Back in October, for our "cooking" we decorated cupcakes! I found a pinterest idea for mummy cupcakes. I just baked chocolate cupcakes and bought icing and M&Ms and ta-da! Mummy cupcakes! They helped me guide it in strips over the cupcake and then set the "eyes" on top. It was neat seeing some of the students very particular on making sure the M was face down. It was a delicious Halloween :)

Until Next Time

I've been asked to post about some of the different communication strategies I use in the classroom so I'm getting some pictures and information ready to post about that. Look for that next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Directions

Wow! It's been so long since I've updated. I've been in the middle of a career change (kind of). I'm starting my masters degree in functional special education with the hopes of then becoming an autism specialist.

So help with my pursuit of this dream, I have started working at the Sherwood Center which is a non-profit school that teaches students with autism. I started back in June and I am loving it! I teach in a classroom of six students ranging from ages 6-11 with a variety of abilities.

As usual I've been making lots of things for the classroom, many of them are more fine motor skills and basic academics. I've been working on creating a lot more file folder activities for academic practice skills. Pinterest has definitely been my friend as of late!

 Linking chain
For this task I cut off strips of felt and used color coordinated buttons sewn on to creating this linking chain. This is a great fine motor skill for students to practice linking and buttoning.

Safety Pin Colors
I've used safety pins on reading group activities before, but I am loving them for creating dual purpose tasks. This works on fine motor skills and academics. Students here are practicing matching the color word to the color while also squeezing the clothespin.
I will do better about keeping up with updates now that things have settled down. If you're interested in learning more about the school I teach at now, visit the Sherwood Center website.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lots of Learning!

 Anchor Charts

I never underestimate a good anchor chart. I often see students look to it to double check themselves and
even after I've taken one down they still look in the direction of where it was hanging as if they can see the invisible words still there.

Lately, we've been working on on -ed and -ing suffixes and it gets pretty confusing because there are a lot of special cases, but I think this really helped clear some things up. 

The biggest thing I've been trying to do lately is have interactive anchor charts. I think this makes the class pay even more attention to what the message is because they are interacting with the chart and building to it as the week progresses.

For this biography chart, all the students were reading different
biographies and looking for commonalities that were in all or most of the biographies that they'd read. This was a great way to help prepare the class for our biography research project that we're working on now!

Text structure was a real struggle until I started this anchor chart. I'd gone through my classroom library, chosen books that fit into different categories, copied the cover and then had the class work in small groups to read or reread the books and categorize them. The pair or group would have to then defend their answer to the class by giving examples from the book that fit into the category. It was great practice and the class loved doing it!

I plan on having at least one interactive anchor chart going on in my room at all times! It's so great to see them enjoying building up their learning :)

Subtraction with Regrouping

This is always so tough for 2nd graders, but this anchor chart was on pinterest and it shows a neat strategy that I really used this year that helped the class a lot. We used highlighters while working on our subtraction problems and after we'd highlight the larger number in the ones, then we'd say which rule it followed "More on TOP no need to STOP," "More on the FLOOR go next DOOR and get 10 MORE" or "Numbers the SAME zero is your GAME." 

I highly recommend this strategy. I plan to use it for next year for sure!

Martin Luther King Day

I added to what I'd done in the past for MLK day (see previous post-- in tags). I still had the students watch Dr. King's speech and write a summary of his speech and create their own dreams, but this time I put them all together in a class book. The class has really enjoyed being able to read their classmates dreams of how they want to help make the world a better place.

We started by brainstorming a list of people who still need help today and then talked about how to could help those people-- what did they need help with. As always, there are some very caring and creative students in class :)

I also used symbaloo to create a bunch of video and text resources about Dr. King that I then posted on the class Edmodo so they could watch any of the videos again or look through pictures or read his biography. Here is a link to that if you're interested in checking it out: MLK Symbaloo.


I'll try to post again soon! I'm really enjoying my new school, but I continue to come of with more and more ideas for next year and how I want to keep growing so I'm not great at keeping up with this. I know this summer though that I'll be posting a lot! I've already started planning some projects so be looking for that!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Math Strategies


We've been working on lots of different strategies with the new Math Envisions program.

In topic 7, we worked on mental math strategies for addition and subtraction. I taught the class to circle the ones place (because ones starts with an O) and underline the tens place. This way, students make sure that they are adding the right numbers together when they can use mental math.

This strategy was also helpful in comparing numbers using <,>, and = symbols to help make sure that they are looking at the right number at the right time.

Another strategy that one of my co-workers showed me was using dots. For the greater than (>) symbol, you start by putting the two dots next to the bigger number and one dot by the smaller dot. Then you connect the dots.

This is a great strategy for students struggling knowing which way to point their arrows (if the alligator trick isn't working!).

Also in the Envisions program they teach how to subtract on a hundreds chart using addition. So when subtracting 74-58, you're supposed to start with 58 and then count over the ones until you're above the ones place of the first number and then count down the tens.

It was a difficult concept for students to get at first, but I think it is helpful in the long-term because it helps students see the relationship between addition and subtraction.