Sunday, April 23, 2017

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies!


Welcome to SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies!! Every Sunday I host this freebie link up here on my blog for Special Education Teachers! Visit every week to download free resources for your classroom! If this is your first time visiting, you can access all of the freebies from previous link ups by clicking on "SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies" under "My Files" on my right sidebar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you're a TPT seller, blogger, or resource creator, I invite you to link up and share your own freebie using the link up tool below! 


Link Up Rules

1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. Your freebie may link to your blog or store.
3. Freebie does not have to be related specifically to SPED, but should be practical for SPED.
4. If you are linking up from your blog, using this image in your post and linking back to my blog is not required, but is greatly appreciated! Be sure to share this image on your social media so others can see your freebie!

*I recommend using an image of your freebie & not your button when linking up. 

 Feel free to share the image above all over your social media to let other teachers know about these freebies! 

The link up tool will close on Saturday each week, but "forever" freebies will remain accessible! Come back every Sunday to link up or download new freebies!

Thanks for dropping by!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

11 LAST MINUTE EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES



If you forgot that Earth Day is Saturday...I have several simple activities that you can still easily pull off with your students! And since it falls on Saturday, a no-school day, you can get away will celebrating it next week if you need to!

Here are some easy, quick, and fun Earth Day activities that I do with my students. 


Every year my class plants flowers to beautify the school. With these long window planters from Walmart planting is super easy and requires no digging or preparing a flower bed. The flowers are also super cheap at Walmart and my students absolutely LOVE planting. Each week we have an assigned "Gardener" that is responsible for watering and pruning our flowers. 

Place a recycle can in your classroom. Teach your students to recycle all year long with a classroom recycle bin. You can still pull this off by printing a recycle symbol from google and attaching it to a trashcan in your classroom. Gather some household items before school and start a lesson today on recycling with your students!
Gather some trash bags from the custodian and some gloves and have your students pick up trash around the school. Afterwards, use the trash they collected to sort the trash into the appropriate cans in your classroom that you created above. 
We have planted 4 trees at my school over the years. We lost one, but are still proud to have 3 of the four growing strong. 


 We planted both of these trees.

And this is our lemon tree (bush) haha! Our gardener doesn't do a very good job of grooming them, but this baby just produced her first batch of lemons this year and that was very exciting for the kids. We made our own lemonade!
We love walking by them and watching them grow each year.



 We will be visiting our landfill for the first time this year! This is going to be a great experience for my students. I was really hoping to do it prior to Earth Day and this post, but it didn't work out. I will share our visit next month.



We started a worm farm last month and have been learning about how worms take care of our earth. We will be releasing them tomorrow to help our earth. 


Spice up your Earth Day with a little cooking by making these easy Earth Day Cupcakes. 



This recipe is from my "Cook to Learn" Unit, but I've made it available for you to download for FREE here for Earth Day! 

Take a twist on Rice Krispie Treats and make Edible Earth Day Balls.



This recipe is also from my "Cook to Learn" Unit, but you can get it as an exclusive Earth Day FREEBIE here

 If you're looking for a fun, last minute craft, last year we made coffee filter earths for Earth Day. They're super simple, cheap, and fun and you can get the directions here


This is an alternative to this craft project and a great opportunity to get some motor skill practice in. Students just cut and paste small pieces of construction paper to make their earth. Check out the tutorial here.


This year we are making these paper mache earths for the first time. You can find the tutorial I'm using here
I saved the best for last...and while this isn't a "last minute" activity, and it's a little late for you to do this year, I have to share, because you will DEFINITELY want to put this on the lesson plans for for next year! 

This is the best Earth Day activity EVER from The Brown Bag Teacher!


We filled this pumpkin up with biodegradable and non-biodegradable items and buried it in October. We dug it up in April for Earth Day and this is literally all that was left. 
 Our food and pumpkin had completely vanished, but our garbage was still there! This was such a meaningful lesson for my students about what our garbage can do to the earth! And the "Woahs," "Oooohhs," and "Ahhhhs" are priceless!

I hope these activities will ease your Earth Day planning even if it is last minute!! 

I'd love to hear about your exciting Earth Day projects too! What is your favorite Earth Day activity?


Sunday, April 16, 2017

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies!

HAPPY EASTER!!!
Welcome to SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies!! Every Sunday I host this freebie link up here on my blog for Special Education Teachers! Visit every week to download free resources for your classroom! If this is your first time visiting, you can access all of the freebies from previous link ups by clicking on "SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies" under "My Files" on my right sidebar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you're a TPT seller, blogger, or resource creator, I invite you to link up and share your own freebie using the link up tool below! 


Link Up Rules

1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. Your freebie may link to your blog or store.
3. Freebie does not have to be related specifically to SPED, but should be practical for SPED.
4. If you are linking up from your blog, using this image in your post and linking back to my blog is not required, but is greatly appreciated! Be sure to share this image on your social media so others can see your freebie!

*I recommend using an image of your freebie & not your button when linking up. 

 Feel free to share the image above all over your social media to let other teachers know about these freebies! 

The link up tool will close on Saturday each week, but "forever" freebies will remain accessible! Come back every Sunday to link up or download new freebies!

Thanks for dropping by and enjoy your Easter Sunday!



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Host A Successful Disability Awareness Day



I get so excited every year about my Disability Awareness Day!! It brings so much awareness onto our school campus, is so life-changing for so so many, and it's so much fun for everyone! I recently posted about the event last month and many of you have reached out to me about how you would love to host your own Disability Awareness Day, but don't know where to start. So, today I'm sharing with you everything you need to know to host your own event.  

I have six stations. I number each station and place a large task card at each station with step-by-step directions for each task they will complete at that station. This also makes it super easy for your volunteers helping out to follow. I use clear, plastic photo frames from Dollar Tree for this, but you can also choose to tape the numbers and task cards on the table too. 

Here's a peek at each station.

Students begin this station by having a piece of sandpaper taped inside the back of their shirt and they must tolerate it as long as they possibly can.
 Students practice communicating using only picture symbols and other communication devices.
The static activity requires them to communicate with their peers and try to focus on an activity while background noise plays in their ears. You can achieve this by placing it on a radio station that is just static.


In this station, students get to feel what it might feel like to have an Intellectual Disability by completing a German test, the f's test, and trying to express themselves without using any words. The mother working this station said to me upon arrival, "Oh, I don't know German." And I said, "HaHa, that's the point." 


In this station, students try reading a jumbled passage that simulates what a child with a reading disability, such as Dyslexia, may see when they try to read. 
 Students also complete the "Brain Scatter" activity which challenges them to read the color, not the word. 
It's more challenging than you think!


This is always a favorite!

Students get to practice signing phrases, learn how to sign their name, and try to listen and have conversations with cotton balls in their ears.


 At this station, students learn what it might feel like to have a vision impairment by trying to copy a blurred passage from the board...

 They learn about Braille and get to make a Braille name tag.
 And they choose a slip of paper with a drawing task on it and try their luck at "Blind Drawing."



In this station, students see what it might feel like to have a physical impairment. 
 They try to go up and down steps and sit down with a yardstick taped to their leg.

 Another activity requires them to open and close containers using only one hand, and place socks or gloves on their hand and try to pick up pennies.

This is optional, and something new I did this year. Each participant received a cupcake at the end of the event. One of my mothers and volunteers made this sign since we held the event on WDSD this year.

Her and I also made awareness ribbons for all of the participants too, but again this is optional.

Following the event, I gave my volunteers a little gift. It's a note cube, a $10 Kohl's gift card, and an Autism Awareness heart pin. Again, optional, but I want my volunteers to know how much I appreciate them!


I have to brag a little here! This year our event even made front page headlines. Woohoo! 
And 2 of the classes even wrote thank you letters to us. 


I get so many questions about this event from people wanting to host their own. Since you may have many of the same questions, I've posted them here.

Q: What grades is this event for?
A: I host the event for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I feel that is a good age for them to begin to understand students with disabilities.

Q: How many students attend?
A: 156 students attended this year from six different classes. That included two 3rd grade classes, two 4th grade classes, and two 5th grade classes. 

Q: Do all students attend at once?
A: No, I break the event up into two sessions. There is a morning session and an afternoon session. 

Q: How long is each session? 
A: Each session is 2 hours and 15 minutes long. 

Q: How long is each station?
A: Each station is 20 minutes long, which equals 2 hours. The other 15 minutes is for my opening and closing statement.

Q: How do you manage the stations?
A: When students arrive, I count them off, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6....1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6....and over again until all students have been counted off. They go to the station that corresponds with the number they were given. Every 20 minutes, I blow a whistle and students rotate clockwise. I explain all of this to them in my opening statement.  

Q: Where do you host the event?
A: I host the event in our gymnasium. 

Q: Our students eat lunch in the gymnasium. How did you work around this?
A: All students have lunch outside on this day.

Q: How did I get volunteers for each station?
A: I send home a parent letter a couple of weeks prior. I only had two parents volunteer, so my husband and best friend also worked a station, and my two paras worked the other two stations. I also expect the teachers from the participating classes to help out too.

Q: Where are my students during the event?
A: My students are assigned to a station to assist with. 

Q: What are the blue and yellow folders each student has?
A: At the very first station, each student is given a sheet of 12x18 construction paper to fold in half and write their name on. They take this from station to station to store any activities they complete at each station.

Q: Where can I get the table signs and activities at that you used?
A: All of the signs, tasks, parent letters, and printables are available in my Disability Awareness Day Kit here.

Q: What other materials do I need to gather for the event?
A: If you have my kit, the only other materials you'll need to gather are yard sticks, masking tape, pennies, containers with lids, socks, blindfolds, radio/listening center, sandpaper, tape, cotton balls, scratch paper and pencils. 

The kit also includes a pretest and a post test that teachers can give to their students. 


I hope you'll consider hosting a Disability Awareness Day at your school to spread awareness, promote acceptance, and decrease bullying. The outcome is just amazing and touches so many!  

I hope you'll find the information I've shared helpful when hosting your own event! Don't hesitate to write me with any questions you may still have that weren't covered here.