Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It

I'm linking up with Tara at "4th Grade Frolics" for my first MMI this SUMMER!!! Don't get me wrong....I've been super busy making things for my classroom all month, but mostly digital products! In fact, this is how much I've been on my computer!!

Anyone else have this problem???

I really didn't have a big project list this summer like last summer........because well.....I made it all last summer! :) I made so much for my room last year....things that had been on my wishlist this year I really don't need anything! I have my room pretty much like I want it right now! But here are some things I did do this week!

Premade birthday bags for the year!!!

This was a "Bright Idea" from Mrs. Wheeler.
I just loved this idea and knew I had to do it! It seems I always find myself scrambling around on birthdays to put something together....or trying to remember where I put the pencils or where I put the birthday certificates!  
This is all I put in my bags!
Cheap, quick, easy, and DONE!!!!
Everything pictured came from Dollar Tree and I know my students will be excited to get these! 

And what's a birthday without a hat right!!!??
I don't know what it is, but my students just LOVE hats! We make them for nearly every occasion we can! I've been shopping b-day hats online and was contemplating getting {these}, but then decided I would make my own on my Silhouette. There are green for the boys! I love these! They are adjustable and will be stored flat until needed!

I finally got my math files organized into binders!!
I did this last summer with my ELA files and it worked like a charm!!! Best thing I ever did! Major space saver, everything is so easy to locate, and you're not wasting storage space on multiple copies of the same sheet like this......
With using the binders, you store only the master of all of your worksheets and activities!!! 

Here is what my math files previously looked like, but in a filing cabinet and about 4 times this for my multiple levels of students!
Now just think, 4 times this, all nicely organized and stored in just 7 binders and all in categories!!

I filled up about 3 of these......

And now have lots and lots of folders and paperclips!!!!

And editable version of these are available {here}.
Spines are also included!

And for the home.....

A new addition to my coffee themed kitchen......A coffee sign!!!
My 17 year old son cut these letters out himself using his scroll saw and I painted them!! I still think the solids may need a little something else, but for now this is it!! It was a small empty spot that definitely needed some attention!
What have you been working on this week???

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Tidbits of Scheduling

Hi! I'm linking up today with a sweet teacher friend I just met, Tasha from "A Tender Teacher For Special Needs." Every Sunday she is hosting a Special Tid-bits Linky where teachers link up a special tid-bit of information that may be helpful to other teachers. Her tid-bit today was about scheduling so I'm going to piggyback on that and share how I did my scheduling last year! We still have a little over 3 weeks of summer vaca here so I haven't even began to work on scheduling for this year yet! But here's a look at last year!

This changed a few times throughout the year, but this is how it looked at the end of the year! Our lunch times and specials worked so well last year and I really LOVED having specials at the end of the day!!! I hope it works out this well again this year!

This is an example of the rotation charts I used for most of my class! Three of my students (my little ones) followed a different system that involved a velcroed picture/shape/symbol system that they would match for each rotation. This system worked very well, but I'm planning to give it a little makeover! I will also have to revamp it a little to accommodate a couple students I lost and a couple new studen 

And last, here is a sample of my actual lesson plans (for one day) that were followed by my aides and turned into to my principal each week! With these plans, my aides can easily see exactly what they are supposed to be doing at all times! I like this system! I did lose one of my aides last year though, so I will be tweaking this a little and adjusting it to fit our new times. 

Our principal and office staff are off the whole month of July. Once they return next week, I'm sure our principal will be emailing out the new lunch and special schedules. Once I get that from her, I will be able to get my new schedules made for this year!

One last thing....
Have you heard about my new SPED discussion forum on Facebook?? Finally, a discussion forum just for SPECIAL Educators!!! Every Thursday I'll post the button above on my FB page and open it up for sped related questions! I'll then post your questions throughout the week and try to get answers for you!!! So start jotting down your questions, so you can post them on Thursday! You can get to my page and check out the questions being posted and answered this week {here}

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Using Communication Scripts & New SPED Forum

Students with expressive communication deficits have a difficult time expressing themselves. They need to be taught how to communicate and how to have a conversation with others. Typically, expressive communication deficits are seen in our students with Autism. Vocabulary development, rehearsal, and practicing the use of language during social situations are methods that can be used to help these children. But in some cases, these children have their labels down and have the vocabulary knowledge, they just don't know how to use it. So how do we teach them??

One method I recently began using with one of my students is "Communication Scripts." With communication scripts, we provide the child with a script of exactly what to say. This begins to teach them the back-and-forth nature of communication as well as decreases their dependency of verbal prompts. Prior to using the scripts, I was verbally prompting this student and she was becoming prompt dependent. For example, if she was pointing to computer, I would say to her, "Say computer." 

The communication scripts will promote more independent verbal communication, require more than one word, model more natural speech, and is much easier to fade than a verbal prompt. Here are a few examples of some of the scripts I have made for my student. 

Now these will be different for each child. I made these centered around activities and situations that specifically occur in this child's day. To make yours, just ask yourself "What does the child point to during the day?" "What situations require the student to speak during the day?" "When am I currently prompting this child?"

Now of course with any prompt, you will want to fade as soon as possible! You'll also want to give the child immediate praise every time for "using their words." Let them know it's a good thing and that you are proud of them! 
If you have further questions on this topic, I'd like to introduce to you my new SPED discussion forum I started today on my FB page! There are discussion forums all over the web for general Ed teachers, but nothing for Special Educators!! Even on our campuses, most Sped teachers continue to lack the support and advice that general Ed teachers have right at their fingertips! I'm the only SPED teacher at my school besides the Resource Room teacher, so I have no one to turn to if I need advice or no department to collaborate with!  

Here's how it works! Every Thursday afternoon I will post the button above on my FB page inviting teachers to post their SPED related questions. I will then post the most relevant questions throughout the week and try to get answers for you! And it just went live what are you waiting for??? Head over to my FB page and post your question!!! Easy access to my page {here}.

Look forward to hearing from you!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tips for Choosing A Custom Blog Design

Are you thinking about a custom blog design?? 
Then it's your lucky day!

Deciding on a new design and shopping around for the best deals and designers can be very time consuming and requires a lot of patience! 

First, you'll want to start keeping notes of the blog designs you love? 
Jot down the blog name and scroll down to the bottom of their blog to see who designed their blog. You can find this usually at the bottom of the sidebar or the bottom of their page.

Start jotting down and brainstorming what you like! 
What colors, fonts, graphics, styles, patterns, etc. do you especially like or want on your blog design? Do you prefer the simple modern blog or do you want graphics and layered papers? What extras will you want like social buttons, pin it or back to top buttons?? 

Decide how much you can spend on a custom design?

Decide when you want your new design or how long you are willing to wait if there is a waiting list. 

Once you begin shopping for designers, some things you'll want to look at besides their prices are:

What is the wait time?
Is there a deposit required?
Is the ordering process simple?
Do they charge for revisions?
If you want graphics or a scrapkit, is there an additional charge for this?
Their Terms of Use. {Read this}

After jotting down the blogs that I most admire, I came up with a list of 5 blog designers that I had to choose from!!! I spent several hours doing my homework and outweighing the pros and cons of each! It was a very difficult decision!!!

 "A Bird in Hand Designs" offers some reasonable prices....I mean 10 add-ons in the Luxe package??! Most deluxe packages only offer up to 6 and you pay $5 to $15 for any after that!
While she has reasonable prices, a small deposit, and does small revisions after installation.....all pluses....I did not want to wait until December! Which is probably the only reason I did not go with this designer. 

"The Cutest Blog On The Block" really does design some of the truly most cutest blogs on the block, but you're going to pay over $200 for a really nice blog design!! It's really about what you can afford. If you can't afford this option, you may want to check out some of the other options I've posted. 

"Designs by Kassie" is another great designer that you're seeing on blogs everywhere! Her designs are absolutely to die for, but her luxe package is $10 more than "A Bird in a Hand Designs" and only includes 6 add-ons. She offers one of the easiest order forms, but does have quite a few people on her wait list!

"Blog Queen" has some super great prices, as well as a low deposit, easy ordering system, short wait time, and offers unlimited revisions to make sure you get just what you want!!! Her add-ons are also the cheapest by far at only $5 each!

Last, but not least is who I've chosen to custom design my blog! "Design by Christi."
Her wait time is very short, less than a month and her prices seem the most reasonable. The Couture package I'm getting is only $100 and includes 8 add-ons!! Now that's a steal! While I know I'm still going to need a few more add-ons, I should still be able to keep it under $150 bucks! The one thing that did scare me a little though is that she only allows two revisions! Then, $35/hr. Yikes! I pray we get it right the first two times! 

It really depends on what you're looking for and what is most important to you! Decide what matters the most......price, wait time, ordering process, appearance.....maybe reputation!  

Good luck with your new design!
I hope this information has been helpful for you! 
I know it will save you a great deal of time!

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