Sunday, November 29, 2015

New Product Round Up

With Cyber Monday quickly approaching I wanted to take a few minutes and do a round up post for my recently posted products. I worked non-stop to get some new products completed and in my store before Monday so you could shop til you drop and take advantage of some sale prices {hint hint}

That also means that for once I'm ahead of the game for holiday activities. Usually I'm creating as I plan, not creating and then having items to plan with a few weeks later! 

I've recently added Gingerbread Cookie Tray Activities to my store, which include 27 activity sheets with a gingerbread theme.

If you've never purchased any cookie tray activities from me before, they are activity sheets that you place on top of a cookie tray. The activity sheets either have included cards that you print, laminate, and add magnetic tape to the back of, or simply use magnetic letters or numbers to complete.
I also added 3 holiday themed shape sorting card sets; Santa, gingerbread, and holiday candy. These 3 sets were also added to the Seasonal/Holiday bundle and they are listed individually.
{Click each cover photo below to go to the individual listings, click the link above to go to the bundle}

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You can also grab those three shape sorting sets as part of a new Shape Sorting Christmas Bundle with 9 different Christmas/holiday themed shape sorting cards.

A few weeks ago a colleague was in need of a social story for a bed time routine. They asked if I already had one, but I did not. I worked on putting one together for them. I made a few tweaks to it to make it more generic and added it to my store as well for just $1.50. Should be pretty versatile to meet most bedtime routines!

Don't forget to shop with the promo code SMILE on Monday and Tuesday for up to 28% savings on all items in my TpT store!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How I'm Using Cookie Trays in 2015

It dawned on me today that I should I share with you how I am using my cookie tray activities for the 2015-2016 school year because it's completely different than how I was using them when I first posted. If you never saw the first post, you can catch up by reading it {here}. (The picture below is last years set up)

Last year when I started making cookie tray activities a part of daily routine we completed them as a rotation through 4 trays where each child did all 4. This year my classroom is much different and completing that kind of activity is not ideal for this group.

Instead we now use cookie tray activities as part of our arrival routine. Instead of planning activities that all the students will rotate through, I plan a specific activity sheet for each child for each day of the week. After students unpack their belongings, sign their name in, they comes to their spot at the table to complete their cookie tray. You can't see them in the photo, but there are name tags under each tray so each student knows where their spot is and what tray they will be doing.

When it comes time to sit down and plan this out it actually happens quicker than it sounds. It is a little time consuming to prep the bins for the week, but once it's done it's done. And again, this days of the week set is perfect! My paras know right where to look to either put away a students activity or set up activities for the next group of kids.

I keep an extra bucket at the end of this rack (the large orange one) that stores our non-seasonal activities like the one pictured above for the letter. I like to keep these handy if I need to fill in a gap here and there for a student with an activity outside of what our theme may be that week.

When it's time to plan activities I have students on similiar skill levels who I can just flip flop their activities for the following week, which makes planning that much easier and quicker. It's also helpful to keep a designated area in the classroom where all the activities and the extra materials can be stored together. Of course when we finish a theme I store all the activities in an envelope and that envelope gets placed in our theme container.

If you are looking to check out my cookie tray activities you can see all available theme sets by clicking {here} to go to my TpT store. 

What creative ways are you using cookie tray activities in your classroom? I know Gabrielle from Teaching Special Thinkers incorporates some of the activities into her magnet center! Love that idea!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Art Project Organization

I'm in the process of making a slow recovery from a computer crash so you might have to bear with me on this post. Thankfully I still had the photos available and Carbonite had all of my files backed up. (If you don't have Carbonite I strongly encourage it!- Thanks to Mary from Sharing Kindergarten it saved me from a two year old temper tantrum meltdown.)

I suppose the only silver lining in any of this is that my computer did need a good cleaning out :) But any who, let me get back to sharing with you why you came here in the first place. ORGANIZATION!

This idea could apply to any art projects you do in your classroom, but my photos show it with the Easy Art Packs created by Gabrielle from Teaching Special Thinkers. These packs are seriously awesome, or you can buy the bundle. She's taken all the work out of it. All I do is look at what's included, add it to my plans, and then prep the pieces. She's given you the stencils, photo direction cards- it's awesome!

But then I had to rack my brain about the best way to store these awesome packs. I love putting stuff in binders, it's easy to grab them. I didn't want to use page protectors because I felt like the stuff would fall out easily or not be large enough to hold everything.

I thought about zipper pouches, but the opposite, they would be too small. I knew a large sealed folder that fit inside of a 3 ring binder had to exist. So like most innovative teachers I went to Amazon. Voila! There they were, Zippered Binder Pockets. They are perfect. I do have to order quite a few of them though to put all the art projects from her pack in them. 

I use the large photo from her individual steps to put in the front and then put the stencils, extra pieces, sample, and photo direction cards inside each pocket.

You can click the links above to get her art packs AND to go to amazon to find these same files. Both binders I used in the photo are 2 inch. Now we just have to convince Gabrielle to start adding binder spines to her packs, right? 

Friday, November 06, 2015

Sensory Table Visual Support {FREEBIE}

Do you work with students with low verbal skills? I have students in my classroom who are completely non-verbal, communicating with only pictures, students who use an AAC device, and some students who use verbal speech, but still benefit from some visual supports here and there.

The other thing about my students? They LOVE the sensory table. I think some of them would put their whole bodies inside of it if I'd let them. I try to change the table each month to provide different sensory experiences and build in some thematic vocabulary.

This month, for November, the base to our table is hay and I've added fake leaves, acorns, feathers, and some pine cones. You can also find pom-poms, some glitter foam leaves and plastic acorns/leaves.

I've created a visual support to use while working with kiddos at the sensory table. It is great for labeling, commenting, and in some cases even matching. We can practice identifying the colors we see the table, the objects we see and also placing items on top of the pictures to match the real item to the picture.

You can snag this visual support for {free} in my TpT store. I also had one created for the month of October if you want to grab that one for next year you can find it {here}.

I can't remember exactly what is in our December one, I know the base is green and red noodles with I believe tiny presents and pom-poms. There are other items as well, but I can't remember them right now.

Hope this freebie is something you can use!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sped Tricks & Treats {including a FREEBIE}

Are you looking for some tricks and treats this Halloween?! You're in the right place! If you're just reading my blog post to start, be sure to keep hoping along at the end of this post until you've come back to my blog. Myself and many other special education bloggers are sharing with you tricks we use in our classrooms and some freebie treats too!

I had a hard time deciding exactly what trick I was going to share with you from my classroom. I often feel like all the things I'm doing in my classroom are all things everyone else does too and therefore it's not really a "trick" if everyone knows about it already.

Hopefully I've got something you're not already doing in your classroom & something you'll be interested in trying!

To help keep myself organized with all of the visuals we use in the classroom I color code them. I like putting our visuals on construction paper before I laminate them. Then I don't have to run to the color printer to put in card stock, then back to the classroom, blah blah blah. I just put them on construction paper for added durability.

By color coding them I can quickly remember what visuals go where in the classroom and it's also helpful for my aides too. For example I snapped some photos of the visuals we use when we are sitting on the carpet. All of these visuals are on yellow construction paper.

Sand table visuals go on blue construction paper, work box visuals on black construction paper, etc. Two of these visuals are actually taped to our message board so there isn't exactly the need to remember where they are used in the classroom; but that will be nice at the end of the year when it's time to pack everything up for the summer.

Hopefully that's just a simple small trick you can take back to your classroom. It comes in handy the most with smaller visuals that can easily be placed in an apron pocket or left on a table and misplaced. And now for the even better stuff; THE TREAT!

I can only image that a few of you looked at the pictures I shared from our greeting/carpet time and thought to yourself- "Hey! I want that for my classroom!" The schedule that I use for the things we do during our greeting time would be a little more challenging to share with you seeing as that probably looks very different in a lot of classrooms. But what I can share with you is the visual board for choosing where you want to play. There is enough space for 10 different options and these options will always be changing depending on what toys/games are available that week. Students simply move the picture to the bottom to create the sentence and then point to each picture as they repeat the sentence or an adult repeats it for them.

The freebie includes some images of possible toy selections & choices you may have in your classroom, but you can obviously use pictures you have existing in your classroom already. I CANNOT share the pictures shown in the image above that are for block area, toy area, etc. because those are images from our High Scope curriculum so they will NOT be apart of the freebie.

Click the image below to download your freebie!

Don't forget to keep going! Find more great tricks and treats by clicking below and heading over to the next blog!