Sunday, July 24, 2016

DIY Materials for your Special Education Classroom

One thing I love is a little DIY. For many reasons.. it is usually cheap, it is sometimes free, and you get something exactly the way you want it! I posted a picture on Instagram about 2 weeks ago of  this...

If you don't follow me on Instagram you should! 
It is a sensory light box that I have in my sensory room.

It was made by a OT student teacher who helped my sensory room get a makeover. She was awesome and I was so sad to hear that she was moving to Virginia for a job, but she is doing fantastic there.

Anyways, when I posted the pic I got some questions on how it was made. I don't have pictures of how I made it (because I didn't) but, I thought I could share some pictures to show you how she did it.

There are a few items that you need:
-Multippurpose light
-rubbernaid tub box (shoe box size is good)
-hot glue gun
-materials to put on top!

You will probably want one of these. Here is the affiliate link!!

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You need to place it inside the box and then seal it with your glue gun. the case I have has the clamps on the side that lock so I didn't glue mine but, I know I wouldn't want little finger to get it open and mess with the light!  

I use this in my sensory room and loved that as I went through my Pinterest that I found all kinds of crazy ideas that I could use with my students. They are going to have so much fun this year!! 

Then, find some cool things to play with on top of the lid like... 

I love the versatility of this box and so do my students! If you take the plunge and make one please send me pics! I'd love to see how you did it! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sharing What Works: Work Tasks 4

I have not done one of these posts in AWHILE! I thought to myself that I owe you all another round of my work tasks in my classroom. I am constantly updating, changing and working on my work tasks in my classroom because lets face it. Our students are forever changing and we don't need them getting bored! If you'd like to see more of these posts you can look at these!

Work Tasks 1
Work Tasks 2
Work Tasks 3

 So, here is a work task that is like a mixture of a lot of things. I have a rubber maid container that is probably suppose to be used for storing your dinner when you don't want things to touch but, when I saw it at the Dollar Tree I was in my "work task mode" and thought what a great sorting vessel! So, I decided to cut holes in the top of the three sections so that they were the size of the items I wanted students to sort to make this work for a "put-in" task. I took beads of different shapes and counters that I didn't have another use for.
 With this task I was able to find things at the Target Dollar Spot (this was not recently though). I would say probably last winter I found the four section divided tray which came with a lid. I believe the real use for it was to organize makeup but, I again thought about how I could use it in my classroom, found these linking shapes at the Dollar Tree and was able to put together another sorting work task for $2!! The students have to sort by shape in this one.
Every year I get asked by my special education department about which stores in the area we would like gift cards too. Don't get too jealous we only get about $100 total worth of gift cards but, I'm not complaining here because every little bit helps! So, I asked for Five Below as one of my stores this past year. I was so excited when I went in there and found these! They are actually suppose to be things you put in your freezer and use as ice cubes in your drinks for some kind of fancy drink but, I thought of the packaging task right away. I have the students use these bags and take one of each fruit and package it in together.

 Sorry for the upside down picture. I am technically challenged when it comes to this and figured you can tell what it is so it doesn't matter. This work task is pretty awesome. I found these sight word/ classroom words on sentence strips with the picture cue to go with and didn't know what to do with them but, thought they were nice and being the packrat teacher I am I put them to the side until this year I decided to turn them into a task. I just cut them apart using different patterns so none of them would match up with the wrong answer (self-check made simple) and then added them to the box. Talk about a $1 work task. I think that should be a new hashtag. #dollarworktask

Last but most certainly not least. One of my favorites in my classroom this year has been these Life Skills Clothespin Tasks. I made these and you can find them at my TPT store. I have created a set for each room in the house such as:
-Living Room

I also put them all together in a BUNDLE that you can get right here too! The only thing you need to do with these is print, laminate, cut and add clothespins. The students can easily see the picture at the top with the word description and then clip the corresponding picture below that and it will make it super easy for them to identify some household vocabulary by words and pictures.

So, do you like these tasks? Think you want to set up one of these work stations in your classroom!?!? Well, I have got a new product for you.. CHECK IT OUT! Everything you need to get a work task system in your classroom. You can get this in my TPT store here!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check in again as I plan another Work Task post before the summer ends! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sharing What Works: Work Tasks

** This was originally posted on my blog on April 24, 2015. One of my first blog posts and I got a great response from it so I thought I'd re-post and let some of you new followers check it out!! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

There are a lot of things that I do in my room that I LOVE. One thing that I think I might possibly need rehab over is work task creation. I am a work task junkie! I can't get enough of them. I love looking on other blogs to see what other teachers have thought of. I love thinking outside of the box and finding things that can be used that maybe no one else would have thought of.

It is probably one of my weirder obsessions when it comes to teaching but, what can I say?!? They are so helpful in keeping students working on things that are still important (not busy work) and reinforcing skills that they need. They can be done independently and they are vital to teaching our students about schedules and routines.

I have gotten a lot of great ideas from other blogs and teachers. I've used products from TPT and turned them into work boxes. That might perhaps have to be another blog post when I learn how to appropriately tag blogs and TPT stores.

For now, I'll just share a few of the work tasks that are currently in my classroom that are working so well and I'm proud to say they are either my own concoctions or they were adapted from an idea another blog or teacher gave me. Also, please note I teach middle school. My students vary in abilities so some of these tasks might be harder or easier than what might work in your classroom. Especially at this time of the year my students know how to complete a lot of simpler tasks and I wanted to start working on more multi-step work tasks. Also, sorry some of the pictures are sideways. I'm still figuring out how to post pictures (such a newbie)!

Matching Bottle Tops to Bottle Bottoms- I took travel size bottles from the dollar store and placed stickers on both and require the students to assemble the bottles by matching the exact sticker of the bottom to the lid. I made it tricky so they have to match both the letter on the sticker and the color! 

Paint Chip Matching-  I love Lowes! I took the two sets of each of the free samples and laminated them. One set I cut up into individual pieces and placed soft velcro on the back and the other I left whole and put pieces of hard velcro on each section. My higher students match more towards the name of the colors. My lower students will match on color. 

Safety Word Bracelets- These I found at Dollar General over the summer. They were a set of bracelets that had letters that you strung onto like beads on a piece of yarn. So I created words that the students had to make with them. In the beginning of the year I started with student names and have progressed from there. Now we are doing functional safety words. 

Edmark Word Writing- I found this little magnadoodle in the Target Dollar section over the summer and just thought to myself that I could use it for something eventually. Ta da! My work task reinforcing those Edmark words! My students have to take the word cards  and spell and write them onto the magnadoodle. 

Geography Puzzles- I told you I teach middle school. In middle school we learn geography. I adapted this by creating a work box that is a refresher on what we did in the beginning of the year. I printed two maps (only the states is shown) and I laminated both sets but cut one out and left the other whole. Then I added velcro so that multiple states were together and continents were cut out for students to match and place in the appropriate place on the puzzle.

I hope that some of these give you some thoughts on some great ways to fill in every extra minute of your day so that your students are constantly engaged. I know that my students are worked to the bone because they are doing something all day long whether it is working with an adult or completing work tasks at their desks. It helps to make a variety of these for your room because then some of the students don't see them all as work. There are actually some favorites that my students love to do and I have kept them all year! They asked where they went if I changed them out! Feel free to share thoughts and ideas of what works in your room! Happy Work Tasking!

Need a Push to get to Summer??

Hey there! I am excited to be posting and yet, I'm not really going to say much. I just thought I'd pop in and say Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope all of you are relaxing before this last big push to get the school year finished!! Maybe some of you are already done and in that case I am super jealous! I have 4 1/2 days left and I know there are a million things to be doing in my classroom.. So I decided that in honor of the holiday weekend and the end of the school year coming that I'd have a sale at my TPT Store!

Go to my store: TEACH LOVE AUTISM and save 20% on everything starting today until Tuesday when I get back from a mini vacation with family!

Here are some pictures of my products in action!

Hopefully you can find some goodies in my store that you can either use to finish off the year or to prep and have ready to start the next year!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

4..3..2..1.. Summer Countdown! Freebie Time!

Image result for end of school meme

I feel like I am at Kennedy Space Station ready to set off a rocket ship to space. The countdown in my class started a week or so ago and my class is super pumped for summer! I know that this time of year can get crazy in all sorts of ways with students, paraprofessionals, and even the field trips and special events at the end of the year.

 A bunch of fellow bloggers and I have decided to team up to bring you this blog hop filled with tips and freebies to help you get through these last few days and fill up the hours while your students are dreaming (and you probably too) of beaches, popsicles, and swimming pools.

So, my biggest tip which has always been my go to at this time of the year is kind of two fold.
This is what I am constantly telling my staff at this time of year. It is because everyone wants to just take it easy, we are almost done and it just feels good to take a break. Well, in my classroom it is not breaktime until the bell on the last day of school rings. I tell my staff that everyday that we have with our students is important and taking it easy these last few weeks is not the way to go. 

We need to teach the students that they have to work hard all the way up to the end of the year to instill that sense of a strong work ethic for when they have jobs or are in charge of maintaining their homes, and other aspects of their lives. 

We need to teach our students that every day is important and just because the end is near it does not mean we give up or let up. Also, I feel everyday that I can work with my students is another day that I give them that opportunity to get that skill that they have been working on all month, all marking period, or all year!

(Uh oh, I'm getting on my soapbox!)

So, do what my pal here is saying and just keep swimming!! :)

Oh, and by the way, get this FREEBIE for your classroom to countdown the days til summer!

Summer Countdown Posters

Monday, May 2, 2016

Getting Ready??!?!?

So, just think about it. You have worked hard, like REALLY hard all year long. Don't you think it's about time that you get some appreciation for that work?? Seriously, don't cheat yourself! 

It is time for the TPT Sitewide Teacher Appreciation Week Sale!! 

I decided to join the party and link up with Jenn from Teaching in the Tongass for this little linky full of TPTers that are showing you what everyone else has wishlisted from their stores. Check out what is being wishlisted in my store so you can stock up on some of the favorites in my store!! 

Check out a countdown of my top 3 wishlisted products! 

This product has been my newest love by all that purchase it! It is loaded with activities, center based, and independent based type activities to keep students engaged and excited while reviewing basic concepts about coins! 

This one, was made out of pure necessity and has also been a fav in my store. Check out an easy but oh so necessary set of task cards to help your students tackle those simple life skills from your morning meetings! 

Last but not least, if you follow me on Facebook you would have seen that this oldie but goodie got a face lift and major additions! I have had this product in my store almost from the start! It is a great way to practice signs with your students and help them identify them! 

So, don't forget to use the code: CELEBRATE and save up to 28% in my store. Head there NOW!!