Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Fire Drill

We have been back in school for exactly 2 weeks and I am exhausted! I think we have ironed out most of the glitches our main one being getting 175 kids on 22 buses at two different loading zones at the end of the day! Thursday our office staff color coded each route and we made tags for each students to wear showing their color, name, and route number.  Yesterday was only our second day trying the color coding and I actually think it went pretty smooth.  Now all we need to do is get the teachers to REMEMBER to send the kids down to the cafeteria with their color tags!  Here is a worksheet we will be using in the next couple weeks about fire drills.  Let's hope that goes smoothly as well. 

Hope everyone is enjoying the new year!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Community Based Outings

 Our program does a lot of community based outings. As much as we are trying to get our kids used to being in the community we are also trying to get the community used to being around our kids.  Once a week I have to arrange some sort of hour long outing for my kids to attend.  With limited "free" attractions where I live. Coming up with new, entertaining, educational and interesting outings to do can sometimes be difficult especially the later in the year it gets.  
 So, to avoid trying to find "101 ways to entertain yourself at Walmart" I have started putting together activity sheets for a variety of stores in our community.  Last year I posted some that could be used at the pharmacy, grocery store and Walmart or Target.  Here are the links if you missed them.

I put together these three worksheets over the weekend that I plan on using this year. It's a good idea to go over the worksheets before you leave for the outing in case there is any explaining to do.  I think it also gets them excited to get there and start working.  I keep my kids in small groups (2-3 per staff) so that we don't clog any aisle with our presence.  I am sure when these stores see a bus unloading a bunch of kids out front of their doors they might be a little concerned. Remember we want this to be a great experience for EVERYONE involved!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ready or Not Here They Come!

 Well here it is, my classroom, ready for another year!  We have a new teacher this year that referred to my classroom the other day as the "Pinterest" room.  She says it was a compliment, so I am going to take it as that, lol.
 I am not quite done with this one yet (I had to print more coins), but this year everyday after reading the morning message we are going to practice counting coins.  I'm hoping by doing it daily, it will make it easier to remember.
We will continue to work on our timeline which I loved doing last year. I also have a couple NEW ideas up which I am keeping a secret until we start working on them so you will get a better picture about what we are doing.  Can't wait!!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Gift Cards and Special Education

I am not a huge fan of gift cards when it comes to my students.  I understand that they are more convenient to add funds too and using them prevents the students from spending their money on things other than what it was intended for. The problem with gift cards, in my opinion, is that's keeping the kids from learning the real concept of money.  Most of the time they have no idea how much is even on the card.  They just use it until someone tells them it's no good anymore.  Nothing like waiting in line for 10 minutes at Target with a student who is waiting to purchase his lunch with a gift card he has with zero balance, right? 

I try to encourage my parents throughout the year to send cash with the students when we go on our outings.  No better way to teach kids about money, making purchases, and getting change than letting them actually do it themselves!

I did go ahead and put together a worksheet on using gift cards. I know we will continue to see them throughout the school year so we might as well be prepared.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Activity Box Contents

I started back to work yesterday calling my parents and adding a few fun things to the walls.  I have so many great things I am going to be doing with my kids this year I can hardly wait!  I had a request from a couple people wanting to know what the contents of my activity boxes were, so I took some pictures to show you.  Currently we have 22 activity boxes on our shelves. If you have any questions about a box just leave me a comment and I will get back to you.  A few of these items I found on Pinterest and I'm sure I can find the links if you need them.
L - R *Students have to separate money by denomination, tall the amount of each coin, write the amount of money they have of each coin, then graph each coin.  *Pattern Blocks - especially loved by my autistic students * For each number on the card the students have to add that many mini clothespins. * Sorting by colors into the corresponding bowls.
L - R * Make each pattern using the blocks * Link the amount of clips to each number so they match * Stamping out their personal info * 100 chart (my higher kids use the other side that doesn't have the numbers
L - R * Money eggs - open each egg, add up the amount of coins and write it on the corresponding number on their answer page * Playdough measuring - Students roll playdough into snake like figures to match the measurement shown on each card * Roll two dice add the numbers of each dice to the worksheet and add * Dice in Dice - Roll two dice, use the outside number first and write that amount on the first line, do the same for the second dice, then add the amounts.
L - R *Place the proper nut onto each bolt sort into buckets (not shown) * Make a clock - students much add numbers, cut, out clock and hands, punch holes and put together * Roll 1 dice in dice, use the outside number than the inside number to get your total.  Then do 10 more and ten less of that number * Students must weigh each of the items on their worksheet (lbs and oz) for example, 3 books, 10 markers, then find three more things they want to measure and add those to their answer sheet as well.
L - R * Geoboards- follow the patterns on the laminated cards to make a matching pattern.  * Students put their color blocks randomly on the card.  Taking turns, roll 2 dice and if one of the numbers matches a number you have a block on you can remove 1 block from that number * Counting Coins - there are 5  cards up to 41 - 50 place the amount of money asked for in the row provided * Match the time on each block to the time on the sheet.
L - R * students need to add the proper amount of each item into each first aid kit according to the paper.  * Peg blocks. - for my lower kids I may only bring out one box and pegs, my higher kids like to bring them all out and see who can do it the fastest.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Temple Grandin

As many of you know (or maybe not) I have always had this huge fascination with autism. I have been to many conferences over the years and love all the information they have to offer.  I am super excited this upcoming weekend to have the opportunity to hear Temple Grandin speak IN PERSON!  I have watched her movie, read her book and have seen her speak on varies talk shows and documentaries, but to be in the same room as her will be such an honor.  Who better to get information on autism from, than someone who has autism.  Right?

This school year I will be adding 3 incoming students to my class.  All boys, all with autism.  I figure the more I know, the better equipped I am to be the teacher they deserve. So here's to hoping I learn many new things this weekend!

Here is a link to the conference (it's in Pasadena Ca) if anyone wants to make some last minute plans.  It looks like it's going to be a good one!