Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celebration Sale (20% Off) & New Items!

Hey friends! 

Guess what!? 

My husband's birthday is February 1st! I'm thankful for another year spent with him. To share my gratitude, I'm throwing a sale for 20% off! It starts on January 31st and goes through February 2nd. Go check out my store for these great deals! 

I've also added a couple of new items! Check them out. 

Here, I have the Morning Group Work for Emerging Writers. I needed something different for my students, and I'm definitely excited about this! Click on the picture for more details. 

I also created a fun item just in time for Valentine's Day!! These heart puzzles are perfect for literacy centers! Click on the picture for more details. 

Happy shopping!! 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Free Handwriting Lines for your Products!

Hey everyone! 

I had to share this great find!! You can download a font to use in your products that will allow you to type in writing lines. Just use the forward slash. Click on Font-db to download!

I also found some free handwriting lines clip art from Dancing Crayon Designs

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Personal Space: Teaching Boundaries & Diagram Freebie


I am blogging over at The Learning Highway today. Click here to go read about this topic and to grab your freebie! 

Have a fabulous week! 

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Social Stories for Classroom Management

Hello friends! 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I got an extra week added on to my winter break because the roads have been bad. I'm definitely rested and ready to go back! 

I have mentioned before that another sped teacher and I are working in the same room together. It can be challenging with so many students in one room, but thankfully the adults work well together! I'm excited to announce that my room is scheduled to be complete by this Wednesday!! I will miss the kids and adults that won't be moving with me, but I'm also excited. I'm ready to have my own room and develop my own routines and way of doing things. 

My biggest concern about the new room is transitioning the students!! It's going to be a big change for them. I assume that they will need to get adjusted again... just like they do at the beginning of the year. I won't go into all of my plans, but I will mention that I have plans of using social stories. I am a big fan of them. They are easy to understand and they have clear visuals. I bought the School Behavior Bundle from Melissa Toth, and I hope to buy the other bundles! The bundles are $8, I think. That isn't a bad price for 5 books, but I got a great deal on this bundle because I bought it during the cyber sale. I'm sure everyone has their own way of assembling printable books, but this is how I put them together: 

After laminating and cutting the pages out, I took a hole punch and punched a hole in the upper left corner of each page. To keep them even, I put one page behind the title page. I used the title page for punching a hole in each page because they are colorful. It made it easier to see where I needed to go. 

After I punched the holes in each page, I used ring clips to hold them together!

I'm pretty excited about using these. They are so versatile. You can use them for whole group lessons, practice during centers, or maybe just read one for a quick reminder before transitioning into another activity. Let me know how you assemble your printable books! I may end up liking your idea better! :-)  

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome Kara from Spedventures on Adapting Books

Let's give a warm welcome to Kara from Spedventures. I'd also like to apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused her! I had her post scheduled for the 5th at 6 a.m. Eastern Time. For whatever reason, it did not post. She has some awesome ideas on how to adapt books for your special learners!! Check it out!

Hi - I'm Kara from over at Spedventures and I'm excited to be guest blogging here today! Thank you to Tasha for this opportunity! For those not familiar with me and my blog, I teach middle-school aged students in a center-based special education school. My students have severe multiple impairments (cognitive and physical) - they range from moderately to severely cognitively impaired, and have a wide range of physical or other impairments, as well. We do a mixture of functional activities and pre-academic/academic activities in our classroom. Today I want to talk about some of the ways and reasons I adapt books for my students. We do a lot of teacher read-alouds to work on comprehension, listening and concept/content, as well as just for enjoyment! But there are also many times I want my kids' hands on the books, manipulating them and exploring the books for themselves, for a variety of purposes. Enter my adapted/interactive books! The first thing I do when I'm going to adapt a book is to take it apart and laminate it - it's all about durability! If you are not sure how to go about laminating a trade book, you can click the photo below of a "Cars" book I laminated to get the how-to. It's super easy! Just be sure to come back here to find out more :)
Laminating makes the pages more durable, and binding them with book rings or a binding machine helps the pages lay flat and stay open so they're more accessible to students with motor impairments. There's nothing like the frustration of getting a page turned, only to have the book shut on you because it won't stay open on its own!
The most simple way I make a book interactive is to make it into a matching activity. Below is a book in which students need to choose the correct icon to go with the subject on each page. I use Boardmaker icons (but you could use any clip art or photo, depending on your kids' levels), laminate and affix to the pages with velcro.
In this book, I placed the icons next to the illustration it corresponds to, so students merely match pictures - baker to baker, bus driver to bus driver, etc. There is one icon per page, so I can either offer just one at a time for errorless matching, or give the student every icon at the start of the book so they have to match from many, or a variation of that.
Different book, same concept - but this time the icon is placed by the text word, not the illustration. Of course, students still have the picture support, but in order for correct placement of their icon, they need to look for the written word to match it up. A little higher level skill for my pre-reader kiddos.
Some of my higher functioning kids are beginning to read some sight words.
In this book, there is a repeated sentence ("Dog is hot.") on about every other page. Prior to laminating this book, I typed that sentence with picture supports (via Boardmaker Plus) and taped it directly under the text in the book. My beginning readers can have more success reading this simple sentence with the picture supports included. You could also velcro it to the page so once students are able to read that sentence with the picture supports you can remove the supports and have them read just the plain text.
Another way I like to make books interactive is to get some content/concept practice in within the book.
This is a simple early science concept book that talks about adult and baby animals. Some of my students have IEP goals related to category/function and "wh" questions. So on each page, prior to laminating, I added a "wh" question related to the content on the page. Students now circle the correct picture answer with a dry erase marker.
Don't forget to utilize the glossary, index, table of contents, or other "extra" pages in books, too! On this photo glossary in the back of the above science book, students match adult animal icons to the baby animal photos.
I also like to have even non-verbal or limited-verbal students participate in read-alouds. This is particularly simple to do with books that have repeated lines or words. 
I record the repeated line ("Dog is hot.") onto a Big Mac or other voice output switch. Since I already have the picture-support version of the sentence in the book, I put that on the switch so the visual sentence is now the prompt to activate the switch. My students pass the switch around the group and take turns "reading" the sentence.
In this book, I am a bit more subtle with the prompting - the switch and the text look different. I simply outlined the repeated text in red Sharpie, so the students really have to be paying attention to the text in order to know when the repeated sentence is coming up. For the label on this switch, I just scanned the cover of the book, since the repeated sentence also happens to be the title. I keep the prompts/labels for the switch velcroed to the covers of the books so I can easily find them and change them for a different book.
Many of my students cannot focus on too much text (either written or verbal) at a time, so another way I adapt books is to simplify the text.
This is my simplified, picture-supported text for the first six pages of "Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan" by Cynthia Rylant. I haven't put this book together yet, but what I'll do is simply cut out the simplified sentences and tape them into the book. When I simplify text, I just re-word each page, leaving out unnecessary details and/or using more familiar vocabulary as needed, while still keeping the main ideas of the story/plot. Just enough so my lower-functioning students can follow along without becoming overwhelmed by "extras." And I pair it with picture supports so my higher students can begin to read some of the words.
I'll end with some general tips and tricks for adapting books:
-If you're laminating, the small "beginning reader" type books are best, as the pages will fit into a personal laminator.
-Look at your students' IEP goals for adapting ideas. Have a goal about number words? Adapt a counting book and have students match numerals to number words. Etc.
-Higher functioning students can "read" an adapted book to lower functioning students.
-You can scan pages or illustrations of books (or purchase two copies) for very concrete/beginning matching or visual discrimination activities.
-The sky is the limit, really. Just be sure you start with why you are adapting (rather than just adapting for adapting's sake). Do you want to make a book physically accessible to students with motor impairments? Do you want to make the text more understandable for lower-functioning students? Do you want to allow students to participate in reading the book? Do you want to improve comprehension? Do you want to use the book to work on certain concepts? Etc...
Thank you for reading - I'd love to hear more ideas or ways you adapt books in your classrooms! Thanks so much to Tasha for hosting me!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Super Saturday Sale hosted by The Learning Highway

Hello friends,

One Saturday a month, TLH is going to have a Super Saturday Sale!! I know we are all getting back into school mode. Go check out the great items we have to offer at 50% off! I went ahead and added the links to this blog post to make it easier for you! 

From Where the Magic Happens by Laura G:

To get this product 50% off  CLICK HERE!!

To get this product 50% off CLICK HERE!!

To get this product 50% off CLICK HERE!!

From Kenzie's Tree House:

To get the Math Play-Dough Mats at 50% off CLICK HERE!

To get the Word Family Games Bundle at 50% off CLICK HERE!

To get the Representing Numbers in Different Ways Warm-up Activities at 50% off CLICK HERE!

From Totally Sweet Math Centers by Tabitha:

All Winter Laughs, grades 1-4, are 50% off! Click here to see them all!

From A Tender Teacher for Special Needs:

To get the "Don't Eat the Teacher" Unit at 50% off CLICK HERE!

To get "The Gruffalo" Unit at 50% off CLICK HERE!

To get the "Add & Subtract for Cookies" game at 50% off CLICK HERE!

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