Friday, December 14, 2012

Social Skills

Wow!  It sure has been a LONG time since I have blogged.  I apologize for my absence, but I must say this move has been more difficult than I anticipated it being.  I thought it would be a walk in the park since I spoke the language.  Boy was I wrong!  It has taken me months to just figure out the grocery stores!  Anyway, now that I feel more comfortable, I am going to get better about blogging.


I know that I posted this fall about my new job, but I haven't posted anything about what I have actually been doing. I am working with 3 students who have been identified as Aspergers and are all in a mainstreamed classroom.  One of the students I am working with is in middle school & has been working on effectively working in cooperative groups.  Another student & I are working on social interaction.  He has the skills to interact with his peers, but as he says, "I just don't see why I have to play with other kids.  I like myself."  My third student is working on task completion and classroom participation.

I have been doing a wide variety of things with the kids I have been working with because they are all at different points in their AU lives.  I am working in much more of a therapist role, although if I am being honest, I still don't really feel as comfortable in this role as in my previous role.  I am hoping that blogging about my new job will help me sort myself out and help me become just as comfortable in this role.

First things first...

I have been using fewer picture cues and more lists & flow charts than ever before.  For my one child who likes himself, we had to develop a plan for how to approach people on the playground.  Recess at my school is very different than in the States.  Everyone, K-8, has recess at the same time two times a day.  It is wonderful, in that there are so many opportunities to interact with a variety of kids and to engage in a wider range of activities.  On the downside, it is a bit overwhelming when you don't know what to do.  This particular student didn't know how to join into a group or even how to approach someone to play. We were able to create a flow-chart to help him know what to do.  He was so funny when we were creating it, because he was very particular about how he wanted it to be color coded because the colors all had a significant meaning for him.  When he first began using the script, he was very rigid and couldn't vary the script at all; but eventually, he was able to deal with the fluctuations in responses and adapt his questions and statements. (The statements on this chart are in his own words.)

When we started to work on other ways to approach someone, he suggested that we make another flow-chart.  At one point, I think we had 5 different flow-charts on approaching people and asking to join and/or play a game!  I was so flow-charted out it was crazy, but he was so gung-ho for them I had to giggle.  Gotta love AU kiddos!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Collecting data digitally

So in my goal to go digital, I have been struggling with making things work. One of the things I have done to try to help my digital data collection, is to buy Notebinder. It is an app for my iPad. So far, I am liking this app because I can have virtual binders with tabs that resemble the binders I used previously. I like the virtual binder over the bound binder, because it takes up significantly less space and I can still separate things with tabs. I am able to write using my different color pens & everything. If there are notes that I take, I can directly email to anyone from the app itself. So I am more punctual about sending stuff to parents and peers.

My one problem has been actual data collection. I have found 2 apps to help me, one of which I threw out immediately. It was more of a way to track antecedents (which is not something I need right now). The other being BehaviorTrackerPro.

I used Behavior Tracker some last year on my phone and was able to get fabulous customer service switching the app from my Android phone to my iPad. So I am really keen on using it since they were so helpful. However, as I am not yet fluent with it, my data collection has been all over the board.
With my paper/pen data sheets, I was able to easily see how I collected data differently for each task. The electronic app only collects data in reserved ways. Has anyone else found an electronic way to track data that works for them. At this point, I am seriously considering downloading excell for my iPad so I can use my old sheets!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

So I feel that I have been out of touch with the blogging world for too long & it is time to get back into the swing of things.  I haven't even read any of my favorite blogs lately, I feel like I have forsaken my friends!!

What's new in the world of me?  I have a J-O-B!!  Yeah me!!!!!  I am only working part time right now, with the potential for full-time down the road, but it is better than nothing.  I am no longer a classroom teacher (boo-hoo), but I am with my personal kids and I am still working with autistic spectrum kiddos.  I am doing more therapy in my current role.  It's different, but I have some great kiddos and I'm enjoying it.

This new job has really made me miss my classroom days though.  That being said, I am enjoying doing things I haven't been able to do in YEARS!  I never thought I would miss having to always wear sneakers everyday, and although I like cute shoes, they aren't entirely comfortable.  I have actually been able to wear jewelry to work.  I don't think I have done that in at least 12 years!  I was toying with the idea of wearing a skirt to work next week, but it has been so long, I don't know if I have one that fits.  I am enjoying these "perks", but I do miss the classroom.  As challenging as everything was, and all of the angst it caused me, I truly miss it!

More to come on my adventures in England!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Big Move

WOW!  Things have been quite insane in my family for the last few weeks.  We are finally in our new  house (minus our stuff).  We lived with relatives for a little over 1 week, because the movers came to pack all of our stuff up in early August.  We landed in the UK about 2 weeks ago, but didn't have reliable internet access until today.  My family is living out of suitcases and sleeping on rental furniture until our container arrives.  I got word yesterday that it was here & had cleared customs, now we are just waiting for the movers to bring it to us this coming Monday.  It should be interesting for the remainder of the week, because my kids start school tomorrow!  No lunch boxes or "school" clothes.  Oh well, we will make due.

I have been offered a position, but I am still not 100% sure of my role.  Everyone here is much more laid back about everything & as such, I still don't have a start date.  All that I do know is that I won't have a classroom, but I will be working with students on the spectrum.

I have no idea what this new role means for my blog, not that I have gotten very far into it.  We shall see.  Hopefully I will get a better understanding of my new role in the coming days.  In the meantime, I am going to practice driving on the left side of the road & try not to get honked at in roundabouts!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Versatile Blogger

Karlie, over at We are ALL Special! has nominated me for The Versatile Blogger award.  Thank you Karlie!  I am very new to the whole blog thing, so I still find it surprising that anyone reads my blog!  Thanks for being one of my followers Karlie!

One of the rules for receiving this award, is to give 7 random facts about myself, so here goes...

1.  Wonder Woman is my hero!  During rough weeks, I pack my lunch in a Wonder Woman lunch box.  It always makes me feel better!
2.  I prefer the mountains to the beach.
3.  I wish I could wear a dress to work; not every day, just once in a while.          
4.  I constantly quote movies, even when I'm teaching.
5.  I love teaching Science.
6.  My favorite color is green.
7.  I love Vietnamese food.  My family goes just about every Friday to our favorite vietnamese restaurant for dinner.

I have nominated others for this award based on a few things.  First, if I was able to improve my teaching because I something I learned while reading their blog.  Second, if I was able to "steal" an idea for an organizational method or task.  Third, if I was inspired or uplifted by reading their blog.  Here are the people I nominate for The Versatile Blogger award:

Busy Bee Andrea

Adapting Creatively

Keeping it True in K-1-2

Special Ed Pre-k: Early Intervention Special Education

Adventures in Tutoring & Special Education

A Special Kind of Class

Creating & TeachingCreating and Teaching

I am supposed to nominate 15 people for this award, but I don't have 15 blogs to nominate so instead, I am nominating these 8 people for their blogs.

Thank you for helping me become a better teacher!

Here are the seven rules to follow when receiving this award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.  
2. Include a link to their blog.  

3. Include the award image in your post.  
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.  

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.  
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog.  
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Data Collection...continued

Ok, so I got a bit sidetracked by my well-deserved and much needed vacation.  But I'm back now, still working, even though I have offically resigned my position.  A Special Ed teacher's job is NEVER finished! 

I have spent the last few hours trying to clean off my laptop so I can return it to the MOST awesome media tech person I have ever worked with! In the process of doing that, I came across the pictures I "lost" in my pictures folder.  Now that I have found them, I can continue my post on data. 

The Process...

of collecting data is always easier when you have the right tools.  One of my favorites...

my colored pens!  Colored pens save my eyes when it comes time to write progress reports and new IEPs.
I end up with tons in my car by the end of the week. 

This is one of my data collection sheets I keep at my Morning Meeting table.  One of my kids got carried away with the BENQ & spilled my coffee all over the table. 
 This is the type of clipboard I use.  Mine has stuff taped all over it, but I couldn't find it.  It's packed up somewhere!

This is a file folder task that is in a center basket for 3 of my kids. Some times, I have to add keys to the bottom of my data sheets, but most of them are there in the key.  I tape a lot of stuff to the back of my tasks (or to the bottom of work baskets).

This is an old data sheet that I used for a while to document the behavior of one of my kids, but it only had one behavior to track and I was constantly flipping back & forth to the pages..

so I created this one instead.

This one tracks multiple behaviors in the same 15 min increments and I can keep 2 days worth of data on the same page.

This is a data sheet that I got from someone else.  I was using it to try and determine an antecedent for behavior.  It certainly helped me narrow it down to 2 antecedents.  Too bad my kid is moving on, but so is his data, so hopefully his teacher next year will be able to tease it out even further.  I kept these in a folder near the timeout area, because it was the most convienent.  I have a folder for each of my kids that I keep in a standing file on a shelf with at least 3 pens (just in case one runs out).  The colored pens especially helped on these pages, because I would write in a different color for each day.  It helped with teasing out antecedents.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Last Day

Last Day...

I had intended for my next post to be a continuation of my previous post on data collection, but I just couldn't let today be over-looked.

Today was my last day at school, both with students and in general.  My resignation was effective today, so I have no workdays, no professional development, nothing left.  It has been a really difficult day for me.  Not only did I graduate 3 of my students who have been with me since our school opened, but it was also the last day I will work in NC!

Don't get me wrong, I am really excited about my family's move "across the pond", but I am really going to miss my life here.  I have taught in my county for 12 years.  I have made many friends and I have some incredible colleagues.

I always get emotional on the last day, because in Special Ed., you usually have kids for multiple years and they become almost like your family.  I refer to my class as "my kids".  They aren't my students, they are my kids.  I have personal kids and I have school kids.  I teach so much more than reading, writing, math, science and social studies.  I teach manners; I potty train; I teach independence; I teach self-expression.  Today I got to look back on how we have grown as a class and it amazes me.  It amazed and overwhelmed me.

Three times this week, a new staff member commented to me about how well behaved and vocal one of my students was.  It has been a gradual progression with this student, so people who have been at our school for a while don't see the change like a new comer does.  I have been feeling nostalgic this week, so it really took me aback, because if you knew this student 3 years ago, you never would have thought we would be where we are today.  Three years ago, I had bruises ALL over my arms & legs from where she would hit & kick me or from when I would trip over furniture when I attempted to hurdle an object to catch her before she bolted out of the door.  She didn't talk and you couldn't get within 5 feet of her without her hissing and lashing out at you.  I had to call 911 once when she escaped.  She ran so often, the Sheriff's Department provided her with a GPS bracelet!   Today, she greeted everyone as they came into class.  And today, she also sat in close proximity to others during our Talent Show.  I have not only been able to teach with the door open, but we don't have to keep our door alarm set!

Another of my kids who has been with me since the beginning, not only walked down our "aisle" to Pomp & Circumstance, but he wore his cap for the entire ceremony and even let me put 2 medals around his neck.  This is a kid, who 3 years ago when we went to Special Olympics, it took 3 of us just to get him from the competition area to the awards podium.  When I tried to pin the ribbon on him, he punched me.

One of my students even sang in the Talent Show today!  The kid has always been a ham, but he was the kind of kid who was constantly moving, even when he was sitting still.  And goodness gracious, if he touched anything, it would bounce on the floor 800 times because he would fumble so bad trying to pick it up and there were times when he would fall down in the process.  Today, he stood on stage, swaying to the music (very appropriately) and didn't fumble with the microphone at all!  His song was beautiful and I wasn't the only one who cried when he sang!

I have watched this group of kids go from a rag-tag group, to a polite, well-behaved class.  Don't get me wrong, we certainly still have our moments, but today was wonderful.  Compared to other days this year, it wasn't much different, but compared to days that first year...WOW!  We sure have come a long way!

I am mentally and physically drained from the emotional roller coaster I have been on this week, but especially from today.  When I was finally ready to leave today and my room was bare, I must have stood in the doorway for 5 minutes having one of those movie moments.  The one, where the past flashes before your eyes and you remember exactly where a certain person was at a certain moment in time.  I won't even teach in room 1407 again and I cried for a little while.  I could go on crying, but I know that I have left my kids with great skills that will help them in the future.  Although, that gets me crying for a whole other reason...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Data Collection

One of the things that no one every told me how to do when I began teaching Special Education upteen-thousand years ago was how to collect data.  Don't get me wrong, my undergrad classes emphasized the importance of data collection.  Those classes just never taught me HOW to collect data.  Through the years, I have realized that I am not the only one out there struggling.  Some of my district peers don't do it at all.  I don't think it is because they don't care, I think it is that they just don't know how to get started.

Since my first day in the classroom I have collected data, but it has been very haphazard.  For years, I knew that if someone had to come in and pick up where I left off, they would wonder what all those scraps of paper were on my desk!  Writing progress reports or report cards was horribly painful.  My husband always hated the week before report cards went out, because our dining room (not just the table, but the floor as well) would be COVERED with paper.  I would be so frustrated & cranky that its a wonder he never ran out of the room screaming!

By a stroke of luck 3 years ago, I finally figured out the data collection mystery.  It was a huge amount of trial and error those first few weeks in my new classroom.  I don't have a clue why after all these years, it finally clicked, but it did.

Here's what I finally figured out:
    1.  Just do it!  (make the time & just write it down)
    2.  Not everything has to look the same
    3.  Make sure it is idiot proof (no offense to subs, but a sub in a special ed class is already shell-
         shocked, so don't over do it with a complicated process)
    4.  Make it as convenient as possible (make sure you have a place to write it down with as much pre-
         filled in as possible & something to write with--don't laugh, you'd be surprised!)

Once I figured that out, it was easier to actually collect the data in a way that would work for me.

I think this was the most difficult thing for me to overcome.  I always thought that when it came to data collection that 1, single format would do.  Not sure why, but for years it was what I tried to do.  I only collected data on a single skill.  If I had a kid whose IEP dictated that they work on letter identification, I was a champ at collecting that data...on sticky notes...or...note cards...that would then get lost in the pile that would always over-take my desk.

But when I had behavior goals to address on an IEP...DOCUMENT?  Seriously???  How in the world do you do that?  I had no clue.  It was obvious that the kid was making progress on the goal, but if I had ever been called out on my documentation, I would have been hard pressed to provide ANYTHING!  I could provide behavior contracts for some kids, but only a few.

Moving to an Autistic class forced me to address my inability to handle these situations.  Let's face it, 90% of an autistic class is behavioral.  I was really going to have to step up my game.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I found a few data sheets that I used for a while.

Just a little while was all I could manage, because it still wasn't working for me.  How was I going to do this?  I had 2 kids in my room that first year whose parents scared me.  (You know what I mean)  I wanted to be on point if I was ever asked to provide my documentation.  How was I going to do that?  I decided to do what I do with my kids.  I worked backward.  What was I trying to get out of my data collection?  I wanted to be able to support my IEP goals.  Once I figured that out, it was a little easier for me.

Once I figured out what I wanted to obtain, it was only a matter of figuring out how to go about collecting the data.

Not everything has to look the same...
I was trying to fit everyone into the same data collection box.  I don't do that with my kids.  They all have different schedules and work stations.  Why do they all have to have the same data collection process?  They don't.  It was amazing how freeing that thought was!  Can't believe it took me so long to come to that conclusion!

The data sheets I found online were great for some skills, but not for others.  So I began to play with my own.  I decided what worked best from each of the ones I had been using.

First & foremost, time!  I needed to be able to document on the fly, because coming back to something in my class is a luxury I just couldn't afford.  I also needed to be able to have it readily accessible, because if it wasn't, I wasn't going to get it down.  (see aforementioned statement)

Second, simplicity, anyone needed to be able to do it:  Me, my TA, a sub, my teammate, the Art teacher.  I had to make it as simple as possible, so I didn't have to stop and explain or have to go without.

The one thing that is on each of my data sheets, regardless of what it looks like, is a key.  That way, I don't spend time explaining everything when there isn't time.

Everywhere in my room, you will find pens!  They are velcroed to the underside of bookshelves (so they don't end up in someone's mouth).  They are in containers around the room, I always have at least 2 stuffed in my back pockets, they are everywhere.  I decided a long time ago that I liked colored pens.  It makes it easier for me to compile data at the end of the quarter/skill/IEP process when they are colored.  Looking at only black ink can make my eyes hurt & then I loose track of where I was.  Colored ink makes compilation much faster.

Placement of the data sheets is important too.  For years I always tried to keep everything all together in a notebook, a rolodex, a notecard box, a single clipboard and many other places.  That was INSANE!  It was never where I needed it to be, when I needed it to be.  Now, I have data sheets taped to the backs of file folders, the bottoms of tasks and the bookshelf.  I have multiple clipboards now.  My ABC documentation is next to my timeout area, because I usually have to sit with someone to keep them in timeout.  My group documentation is in the large group area, teacher time data is taped to the folder that each student's work is organized in for 1:1 time.

Life is so much easier now and report cards are less nerve racking!  In hindsight, this seems so easy, but it was the most difficult thing I have ever had to learn in Special Ed.!  I feel great about my data collection now.  I am no longer scared to send report cards/progress reports home to "those" parents anymore.  I have a TON of documentation to support my comments now!

Lesson learned!  (I will post some examples of my data sheets and "hiding" places in my next post)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adaptive Books

I think that I have done all that I can do to prepare for this move until we get closer to the final countdown!  So, in the meantime, I am focusing on my class.

In packing up and reorganizing my classroom, I have been thinking a great deal about things that are critical to an Autistic classroom.  While there is a ton of information out in the world about structured teaching, schedule creation and behavior management, there is little in the way of how to incorporate non-verbal students into daily language instruction.  If you have worked with non-verbal students, you know that there is often more going on than ways to communicate.  There are hundreds of ways that we work around communication difficulties in special education and this is just one small, small way I begin incorporating those skills.

In honor of all of my non-verbal students, I am starting with adaptive books.

When I first heard the term "adapted book", I had no clue what the term referred to.  I was moving from a resource setting to an autistic classroom, so I thought I might ought to attended a training in structured teaching since it had been years since I had attended any TEACCH training.  There wasn't much that I didn't already know, but the phrase "adapted books" threw me for a loop.  It was on our agenda and it was supposed to be addressed after an afternoon break on the first day of a 3 day training.  The training went longer than scheduled and "adapted books" was pushed back to the 2nd day.  When I got home, I did an on-line search and found NOTHING, nada, zilch.  I went into that 2nd day still completely clueless.  Needless to say, we only touched on the topic briefly and the discussion was extremely one dimensional.  We talked about a single way to to adapt books.  Over the years, I have adapted books many ways, depending on who I was adapting for.  Here is what I have learned:

      •            Copyrights are important!  That being said, you are allowed to copy books AS LONG AS YOU OWN THE ORIGINAL & KEEP THE ADAPTED BOOK ALONGSIDE THE ORIGINAL & you are adapting the book for instructional purposes.
      • Keep an open mind about how to adapt 
      • Check out The Dollar Store, yardsales, 2nd hand stores, library sales and even your classroom neighbor
      • Boardbooks are just as adaptable as paperback and hardback books
      • If you didn't save the file electronically, scan the pieces, because something will get eaten, lost, torn or bent until it is unusable
      • Just because a book has a torn page or a broken spine, doesn't mean you can't adapt it
      • Don't be afraid to pull a book apart
      • Putting a book in the freezer for 15 minutes will loosen the glue on the spine and allow the pages to pull apart easier and without ripping
      •  Decide WHY you are adapting the book
        • Are you focusing on the ablity to turn the page?
        • Are you focusing on each page on 1 specific aspect of the book?
        • Are you focusing on retelling?
        • Are you focusing on naming/identifying?
        • Are you focusing on a curricular skill (counting, classifying)?
        • Are you focusing on comprehension?

When I first started adapting books, I only focused on matching picture to picture.  Since that first day, I have progressed in why/how I adapt books.

Here is a book I made from a task I downloaded from (if you haven't checked it out, you should).  The student must complete the simple sentence to match the picture:
  2012-06-12 23.33.51.jpg

Here is a book I created to teach one of my students to learn how to turn a page.  It was a book I found in the recycle bin in a peer's classroom, because the binding was shot and had been taped too many times to count.  Once I laminated it, it didn't matter:
2012-06-12 23.32.54.jpg

This was one of the first books I made.  It was the only type of book I learned to adapt from my class.  I purchased a few copies of this book from the Dollar Store and cut it up.  I originally purchased 2 copies, but since the pages were double sided, I was only able to cut out certain pictures.  I can't believe I didn't think about that before, but sometimes it takes a few trials to make something work.  My goal for this book was just to get one of my students to sit with a book.  I needed a board book, because I needed it to take a beating. Since it came from the Dollar Store, I wasn't too upset when he threw it against the wall or beat the desk with it.

2012-06-12 23.31.28.jpg

Here is another book I downloaded from BoardmakerShare (you REALLY should check it out).  This one I used when I taught simple machines.  My students had to complete the sentence using the correct tool.  It was both a labeling (because of the picture clue) and comprehension task.
2012-06-12 23.30.30.jpg

In this book, the author used the symbolate tool in Boardmaker to create this book.  There is nothing to match, but the words have corresponding pictures to them:

2012-06-12 23.28.51.jpg

Another favorite site of mine is They have a few free items, but their stuff is pretty cheap and it is perfect for what I need it to be:
2012-06-12 23.26.45.jpg

This was an unexpected find when I went to TJMaxx last year.  It was in the clearance bin and I think it cost less than $1.00 and I didn't even have to do anything to it to work!  Score!
2012-06-12 23.25.05.jpg

This is another download from  It is the simplest comprehension task I could think of.  The student always has two words to choose from:

2012-06-12 23.23.42.jpg

Another favorite of mine is  Our school has a subscription for each teacher K-2 plus our AU classrooms.  We use them as take-home readers mostly, but I have adapted them.  This book has three options.  In the first book I made, I highlighted the word so that the student would know what to focus on (in addition to the huge picture!).  Once the child was focusing on the picture, I printed a 2nd copy without the word highlights and the child still had to match the picture.  Somewhere in the abyss is the 3rd copy.  I covered the picture and the student had to figure out which picture matched the word.  

     (The picture refuses to load.  I will try to do a follow-up later with these pictures)

I hope that someone finds this blog useful to helping them create adaptive books!  

Good Night All!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oh, my!  My world has turned upside down since I first started this blog & I am just now getting my feet under me.  While I was on Spring Break, my husband came home to say that he had gotten a promotion.  Very exciting and well deserved...but...he was promoted to a post in England and we are supposed to be there by the beginning of August!  Which, isn't that bad, until you realize that my son & I are in a year-round school.  We do not finish school until June 28th!  That is not a lot of time to sell a house, pack & have stuff shipped.  I have contacted a shipping company & they tell me it will take 5-7 weeks to ship everything, which means that I will have to have stuff packed BEFORE the school year ends!  I do intend to teach somewhere in the UK (not stressing that one right now), but what do I take & what do I leave.

I am packing up my classroom slowly, but surely, but it isn't easy!  I am currently teaching at a brand new school, so there wasn't a single thing in the room for me when I first started.  I have put a lot of my own money into my classroom, not to mention my blood, sweat & tears!  It kills me that I am going to have to leave all of the Unique stuff that I have made, but my system did purchase the rights to it & supplied me with cardstock (most of it anyway).  I am hoping that the person who takes my place will not be a brand new teacher & will have some stuff to work with.

While it KILLS me, I am also going to leave ALL of the "stuff" I have amassed to create tasks with.  I can always collect more, right?

I am leaving most of my Social Studies tasks/folders because most of it is either NC or USA history related.  I am also leaving most of my money tasks because I don't foresee teaching American monetary units to British children!  But I am struggling with all of the other units I have built.  I worked hard to put everything together & I don't want to leave it all behind.  But I also don't want to pay to have it shipped if I don't need it.

How much of a library do I leave in my room?  The school hasn't bought me any books for my classroom.  Most of my books have been donated to me through the years, so I won't be out money there.  If I take everything, there won't be a library for the students if the new person doesn't already have one.  However I do want to take a library with me.  I am really struggling with this, as my system is in such a budget crunch that I know there won't be any money to give to a new teacher to build a classroom library.

What do I leave?  How do I pair everything down?  What do/did you leave behind when you move(d)?

So much to do, so much to think about!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Unique Learning Linky Party

Late last year my system "strongly suggested" that we use ULS in our self-contained classes.  I went to the training, but was unsure how to actually implement the program in my room.  I have spent the last 6 months trying to figure out what works best in my room.  Things I have discovered about making ULS work in my classroom:
   *DATA, DATA, DATA...I keep a data sheet in the front of each hanging folder (each lesson is the
          same subject; similar skills, so I am able to keep data on the same sheet over a few months)
   *Keep each lesson divided in a hanging file folder in a large tub
   *Not everything needs to be printed
   *Non-skid shelf paper hot glued to the back works better, is cheaper and takes up less room than
   *Make at least 1 extra copy of the non-fiction reading, science & math to place in a work center
   *When scheduling, my teacher assistant & I take turns each week teaching either math or lang. arts
   *Science and Social Studies are taught whole group
   *Look for supplemental materials on before I make them myself

After finding the ULS Linky Party, I printed this month's lessons 2 to a page like SPED-Ventures does.  I really liked her idea; I was able to create file folders easier, because the pieces fit.  I'm not finished with Spring Break yet, so I don't know how it will work in actuality though, time will tell.

I still struggle with ULS at times, because I have a few kids who don't quite fit with ULS.  One is too high for most of the lessons, and I have one who is not quite ready for them; so I am still having to make additional materials.

I can't wait to hear how others use ULS.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First time for everything!

It seems as if there is a first time for everything!  Today seems as good as any day to start blogging about my classroom adventures.  

I am supposed to be on Spring Break, but instead I worked all in my classroom.  I am getting a new student the day we return from Spring Break, so I had to get my room prepared.  I still don't have a new schedule for her, but I do have work tasks completed.  I was stressing myself out over the work tasks, so I feel good about everything I accomplished today.  

In honor of all of the tasks that I completed today, I will call today Task Tuesday.  (I hope I can figure out how to post the pictures of the ones I created.)

I don't know if she can count money, but I made this task to see if she could match coins to the pictures I attached to the cards.  If she can count money, I will print out a new set of cards minus the coin pictures. All of the items are less than $1.00.

I made this 1:1 correspondence task for another of my students so I could take one of his tasks and give it to my new student.  This student is famous for trying to cram as much as he can into a container as possible.  Each pill bottle will only hold one chess piece.  If he tries to stuff anymore in the pill bottle, he won't be able to close it!

This is a classification task I made for my new student.  I don't know if she has any abilities to classify yet, as I haven't read her IEP, so we will see how this one works for her.

This is a picture matching task.  I have pictures taped to the inside of the soap dishes that correspond to the items in the cups on the left.  I have all of the items in separate cups, because if this task doesn't work for my new student, I can pass it on to another student who has a habit of grabbing handfuls of items and stuffing them wherever he can. (I keep garbage cans far away from him!)

Here is another sorting task I made today (courtesy of Tasks Galore by Laurie Eckenrode).  My goal for this task was to make sure that none of the items would fit in the spot for any of the other items.  I had to tape the slots heavily to keep stuff from being shoved in; we will see how well it works.

Here is a functional assembly task I made.  These are soap boxes (I taped a first aid tag on the top of each box) that will be filled with 1 antiseptic wipe and 1 band-aid.

Here is another functional assembly task.  The pill bottles in the back are for the filled toothbrush holders.  This limits where the finish product can be placed, since it will only hold all of the items if the holders are filled properly.