Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let's Talk Fine Motor [freebie included!]

Alright, now before we get started make sure you head on over to your Keurig, or walk back up to the barista and top off you coffee, latte, cappuccino, because this is going to get long!

In case you weren't around when I talked about the kids I would be working with this school year, here's a quick refresher. I have 10 students total. 4 of them are with me all day long. 2 of them are AM only, and 4 of them are PM only. If you're confused, it's okay. 2 of my PM students are typically developing peers/role models for my special education students (the other 8). When you break the day in half, I have 6 students in the AM, and 8 in the PM. (remember, 4 are all day!)

3 of my students have an autism diagnosis. 1 student has down syndrome. 1 other student is most likely on the autism spectrum, but no diagnosis yet. 1 fragile x, 1 orthopedic impairment, and 1 developmental delay. 

I should also mention that I do not work in a specialized school. For example, here in the state of DE, we have specialized schools for students with autism throughout the state. I do not work in this program. I work in a public school serving 3 & 4 year old special education students. If we are unable to meet the needs of our students with autism or other disabilities, then special schools are considered. We hope to meet the needs of our students in their "home district" as much as possible. 

Overall we have a lot of needs in our classroom. Fine motor skills are an overall area of need for all of my students. Thanks to the help of a professional autism guru as I like to think, I have recently pinpointed the areas of my routine where I need to adjust instructional grouping, time, and increase instructional trials.

Insert another autism resource who has become a major help to me, Sasha at The Autism Helper. Her blog is amazing. She even posts videos on how to use her TpT items and how she set's up and runs her classroom. Her ideas are amazing and spot on for this population of students. I think she's just about as crazy organized as I am and I want my classroom to run as perfectly as hers appears to. Clearly, I am a fan. She works with older students than I have, but we share some skill focuses, and her general ideas are amazing and I can just adjust to skills my students are working on instead.

So to my point (I promise there is one), I am going to be "re-vamping" some areas of instruction in my classroom over the next 2 months. I hope to share with you my ideas, the resources for those ideas, and how I'm implementing them in my classroom.

I will be using the month of December as my prep/planning for these adjustments. I have a student teacher who will be soloing and I don't want to turn the classroom upside down on him. We will implement all our major instructional changes when we return from Winter Break. The guru agrees.

Insert idea #1: Task Boxes with a fine motor focus.
Overall Resource: Sasha @ The Autism Helper

Sasha's "claim to fame" in her building as she refers to it is their task system. It really is amazing. I watched the post and immediately thought right away, I want to do that. I NEED to do that. You can check out the full post: here. In brief each student has a card with 3 numbers that velcro on. The student takes the number off, matches it to the front of the corresponding container (it velcros on) and then the student completes the task inside the box. When they are finished, they return the box to the shelf, then move on to the next number. AMAZING.

For my little guys I decided to go with colors for my boxes instead of numbers. I can always scaffold up to numbers if need be, but I thought colors would be a good start. Just the simple task of matching their color to the correct box will be an IEP benchmark trial for a few of my students.

 Throughout the month of December we will introduce these bins to the students during center time. This will help them learn the activities in each bin and what is expected of them for each bin. (I'm still planning the details of when we will do the task system. Most likely following arrival)

This is their current storage. I need to find the right shelf for when the students start using them.

Let's review what's inside of each bin, shall we?!

RED: Placing marbles on a golf tee in styrofoam
Source: Pink and Green Mama
ORANGE: One to one correspondence and color matching with bears
Source: Rockabye Butterfly
Freebie: Click here for a freebie printable of these bear counting cards. (Made with permission from Rockabye Butterfly)
YELLOW: Clipping clothes pins onto each dot on the card.
Source: File Folder Heaven
GREEN: Sliding colored clothespins onto the matching color card
Source: Our Country Home
BLUE: Bubble Wrap! How is that not fun?! There are large bubbles and small bubbles
Source: me!
PURPLE: Pushing beads onto a pipe cleaner. The source suggests numbering the amount of each pipe cleaner, but for now, we are going with color matching.
Source: Rockabye Butterfly
PINK: Spooning marbles into a bottle. This one is hard!
Source: Hands on As we Grow
BROWN: Nuts and bolts matching
Source: The Autism Helper
BLACK: Locks and keys. Students have to try the keys until they find the correct lock
Source: Irresistable Ideas for Play Based Learning
WHITE: Pushing pom-poms through small holes in recycled containers. This one is a classroom favorite!
Source: Fun and Engaging Activities for Toddlers

The best thing about the ideas in these bins is, they aren't rocket science! Many of these ideas I have seen before and in all kinds of locations. I listed sources for the pins on my pinterest board. Sasha at The Autism Helper has some of the same activities in her bins, and even more--she has about 50 of these task bins! Her post on them is a MUST read! 

I hope you've made it down to the bottom of this blog post! Don't forget to grab the freebie cards for the color bears before you leave. You're probably needing a snack to go with that latte you just finished! Be sure to follow my blog to keep up with the other changes I'll be sharing! And once I find the right shelf for these, and get our system in place I will be sure to update!


Sarah said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I am working more towards this system too!! I already have parts of it in place but trying to get a whole system in place for one of my kiddos!

I teacher 22 gen ed students w/ full pushin of all IEP students / aides and support. It can be overwhelming but its a nice challenge. This year its been an extreme challenge w/ one of my Autism kiddos ...but I think we are finally getting to something that works! PHEW!

My autism chickie, gave me a book called Building Independence: How to create and Use Structred Work Systems by Christine Reeve PhD BCBA-D and Susan Kabot EdD, CCC-SLP I have not had a chance to look at it yet but upon a glance it looks AMAZING!!

Good LUCK w/ your work!! I cant wait to keep reading along!!


Pennie said...

I do use work tasks with my special needs little ones. I would love to have a work system set up that the students could access and get out on their own. While my morning group is all self contained with some pull in of a couple of kinder kids my afternoon is general ed PK with special needs students so my room needs to be able to incorporate all the students. Therefore at this time I am stuck with hiding my tasks for my students and having to set them up every day until I figure out another way for it all to work within our district expectations. They like the room to be for the kids and since the work tasks take up so much space they would frown on the use of student space for just those tasks. I have tried to include tasks that can be put out on the shelves but then there is always the issue of something not put away properly or messed up so when I tried to bring a student to work on a task in the area I had to quickly put it together. It ended up wasting to much precious time. I agree with you I love reading The Autism Helpers blog too.

Unknown said...

Omigosh Erin I must have missed this post in all the final-week-of-school-before-break-craziness! I LOVE that you are using this! i use colors too for my students who are a bit lower functioning and I was always thought if I ever were to teach preschool I would do all color matching!

Can't wait to hear more updates about how it goes! This system has made my life MUCH easier and more organized!

Also thank you so much for all your sweet feedback :) Hope you had a great Christmas!

- Sasha
The Autism Helper

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