Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bully Free Card Game

I picked up this cool looking game while at my local autism conference a few months ago. It is recommended for 2-4 players and as I had 11 kids I didn't really play it as a game. I pushed two kidney tables together and we all sat around them (this is one of my favorite ways of teaching). I passed each colored stack around the table having the kids "take one" and "pass the others", which by the way, is a VERY difficult task that I am determined to conquer by the end of the year!! I then went around the table clockwise having the first student give me a card of his choosing from the 4 he had and we discussed each card as a group.

There are 4 categories. 
1. Confidence Builders - These cards say things like "what are you good at?" "what makes you a good person?" I was surprised that the kids could not think of one thing they were good at so I had to help out and ask questions like "who is good at dancing?" "who is kind to others?" It took that for them to see their good qualities.
2."What would you do if...." - These stated things like, "someone tried to beat you up", or "someone tripped you on purpose". We talked about how we would handle each situation and practiced saying. "please stop it" "leave me alone" and when it was time to tell someone.
3. Bully Busters - These tell how you can help someone who is being bullied.
4. Ways to stay bully free - These gave examples of things you can do if you or someone you know is being bullied. Again we discussed and practice using our words.

All in all I thought these cards were great for conversation starters. In 45 minutes each student only got to pass in 2 cards but everyone was engaged and participating the whole time. I can't wait to use them again!

You can find them online. Or HERE at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Making A Recipe You CAN'T Eat!

Today we practiced hands on cooking skills! And as to not break the "no edible food" rule, we made Gooey Gunk! One of my co-workers loaned me this great book that's full of ideas and recipes! We got to use measuring cups and spoons. We warmed water, practice our stirring skills and even got to knead the gunk before it was finished. I had everything all set out when the kids came back from their break. I wrote the whole recipe on the board and we went over it step by step as a class. I then sat back and let the kids make the recipe as I relayed the steps again one at a time. It was pretty cool how it all came together and it made quite a bit so each kid got to do a little of the kneading. Tons of fun! I can't wait to tackle more of them! If you go to Amazon and look up this book you will be able to find this recipe in their preview.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reading Time

I made it through my first week back with the kids and I just want to say, that was the LONGEST week I think I have ever had! I have 11 kids this year and 4 of them are new to our program. They are ALL absolutely amazing and unique. I look forward to getting to know them better and spending the year with each and every one of them! 

I started something new this year. I wanted to incorporate some reading comprehension into my schedule and so far it's going pretty good. I found these "Who Was.....?" books that I thought would totally keep the kids attention while teaching them a history lesson as well. I have about 20 books just begging to come to my room but for now they are sitting in a cart on my donorschoose page waiting for their turn to be purchased. In the mean time, I bought 4 books to get us going. This week we started "Who Was Ernest Shackleton?". I divided the book into 3 sections each being about 10 minutes worth of reading. Then I made a worksheet listing 8 multiple choice questions for each section we read. They kids were amazing! They really paid attention and knew the answers when we worked on the worksheet.

The books are also pretty inexpensive at about $4.99 each at Barnes and Noble and I bought 2 used on Ebay for $3.50 (free shipping). I plan on making worksheets for each book and will post them in my store as a bundle when I get at least a few of them done. For now, if you interested in getting this book I can send you the worksheet to try out with your kids. The books coming are "Who Was Clara Barton?", "Who Was Mark Twain?", and "Who Was Sacagawea?", so those worksheets will be ready soon as well. 

Hope you have a great weekend!

Update: thanks to Bill Gates, his wife, and their foundation this project got funded about an hour after I posted this! Life is good :-)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekly Schedule (for the time being)

Ugh, I feel like I'm losing my mind trying to come up with a schedule! I feel for you teachers that have to do this all year long, I've been so spoiled! Like I said in my last post, we will be on campus the first 30 days of school and I need to have a schedule put together before Monday on what I plan on doing. I have three events planned tomorrow and would really love a day of rest on Sunday so I'm trying to finish this tonight (if possible). So far this is what I have. Each period is an hour and since I can't imagine my kids be interesting in ANY subject for that long I have split each period into two. I tried to throw in some fun things I know they like throughout the day so I don't lose them. I don't want to leave anything out or have to make to many changes, tho I know it's inevitable. The first part of period 1 will only be 15 min and our morning chat consists of calendar skills, counting money by 5's, 10's, and quarters, current events, our day... etc. Our functional academic notebooks are in the morning too and cover a wide variety. Oh, and we will be doing some sort of PE during that outdoor time. 

Does anyone have a schedule prepared that I can peak at or can you let me know if you think I am missing something. I probably should have stayed longer today at work and did this cause now that I'm home I'm drawing blanks. 

Feel free to email me too @

Thank you!!!


I've been back at school now for a couple days and am really getting excited to see the kids on Monday. Our school,which was actually the temporary school for a new continuation high school in our town a few years ago, went through a beautification process over the summer. It went from "state penitentiary" style to something that actually resembles a school. We now have grass, trees, new ramps, A PARKING LOT, and 3 huge awnings covering the quad area! I've been at this site for 3 full years so this is really a huge blessing especially for the kids as you can tell from my sad pre-beautification picture here. 

Now lets talk about these changes. Special ed is under huge scrutiny right now at least in my district. There have been huge changes in those who are above us and we found out yesterday that there is also going to be huge changes for our classrooms. I've talked about the cooking changes that were implemented last year and that's still going to be an issue this year. The kids can only consume food that is provided by cafeteria staff or something they brought from home for their own consumption and all microwaves have been removed, so they can not heat any food they have brought. We will also have an additional day on campus (as opposed to going off campus) so I'm going to have to figure out how I am going to fill that time with the kids. Oh, and we may not be able to leave campus for up to 30 days! So technically that's an additional 8 hours a week I am going to have to figure out how to fill (in 3 days). They have also added more paperwork. We can't just "go" to Target now for CBI. We have to put in a request stating what we will be doing and how it obtains to their goals (2), Permission slips from parent and RTBA's for all staff for each outing will also be required. This will have to be done weekly. I was never one to take my kids to some store to walk around each week. We always had a purpose and usually a worksheet of some sort when doing CBI, but I think it will be helpful for othersWe have also been given a "prep period" which we never had before! That will really help in getting all those things done that I used to stay after work to do. 

I don't really mind changes, especially when they are needed, and the others I will adapt to. I am a kind of a "go with the flow kinda person" and hope these new changes will be in the best interest of all the kids and our program. Has there been many changes going on in your district? New rules you have to follow this year? I'm wondering if it's only us or if this is something happening all over. I would love to know.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Social Skills Packet

I have had numerous requests for more social skills worksheets in the past and guess what? I finally have some more to add! I don't know why but these are the worksheets that I struggle with the most. I swear by the time I'm done doing one, I have read and re-read it hundreds of times! 

These are what I have added:
Telling the Truth
Asking Appropriate Questions
Dealing With Losing
Common Courtesy
Waiting Your Turn
Friendship Boundaries

I went ahead and bound them together with the existing social skills worksheets I already have online: Interrupting, Peer Pressure, Interrupting Others, Personal Space, Self Control, Apologizing, and my 3 friend worksheets. 

I am only charging for the new worksheets but added the others you probably already have as my plan is to dissolve the individual worksheets and only offer the bundle withing a couple months.

If you have any more ideas of a social skills I have not covered please let me know. I would love to have one per week of the school year if possible. You can check out the full preview HERE.

 I hope things are running smoothly for those of you who have already gone back. I am savoring my last two days off! 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

And The Countdown Begins

Summer is coming to a close and boy has it been an interesting one. Since last summer I never did get the bug to create curriculum, this summer I decided to put myself into an atmosphere that would be ideal for working. Something about being home makes it really easy for me to find other things to do that seem much more important than getting the things done that I really need for the new year.

So, I rented a cabin, on a lake, in the San Bernardino mountains of California for a week. I packed up my laptop, my sweats, food, and a couple bottles of good wine and headed on my 3 1/2 hour drive to peaceful bliss. I actually was really excited to sit on the patio overlooking the lake and let my mind flow. 

After taking a walk around the lake I was ready! I was going to create! I put on comfy clothes, poured myself a drink and headed to my sanctuary on the porch with my laptop.

Now, you're not going to believe this but........

MY LAPTOP WOULD NOT BOOT UP!!!! Nothing, Nado, No Can Do! It had worked fine in the morning before I left so I have no idea what happened. Now, I guess I could have driven down the hill and found a computer repair store that could look at it but frankly I had given up. When I got home (7 days and 5 books later), I took it to my tech guy who tells me my hard drive is shot... Ugh. I went ahead and bought a new computer and luckily they were able to transfer over 90% of my stuff onto my new one. So, it's been 13 days all together and I finally am up and running again!

On another note, I am meeting my friends that I teach with for lunch tomorrow so we can catch up before we start back next week. I made each one of them a cute emergency kids with all the things us teachers seem to need at one point during the year (eye glass fixing kit, floss, deodorant, nail clippers, hair ties, nail files, mints, tweezers, bandages, Tums, toothbrush, cough drops, Shout wipes, safety pins, and a needle and thread). Oh, and chocolate! 

Hope everyone is ready to get back to school. I know I am ready for it!