Sunday, December 22, 2013

Therapy Shoppe - Last Giveaway of the Year

The last giveaway of 2013 is here!  As our winter vacation begins, the last thing I want to think about is what I will be teaching when I return in January, but of course it crosses my mind every once in awhile.

One great social skill to talk about around the holidays is thanking others. Many children take things for granted too often, but as teachers we are always trying to teach children to be polite.  Today's giveaway from Therapy Shoppe will help with the skill of showing thankfulness -- Printing Practice Greeting Cards.

These adorable cards have phrases for tracing on primary handwriting lines.  Children can choose a card and thank someone for their Christmas gifts or for doing something nice for them.  Theses cards could be laminated to be used in a center activity for repeated practice with dry erase markers also.  They are a durable material and perfect for a child's first thank you card.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Classroom Management System for Groups

When teaching in a self-contained and pull-out Emotional Disabilities classroom, I had so many different behavior plans going at one time.  I had an overall plan, but it was individualized in many ways.  When working with students in an inclusion setting, it becomes a bit different.  I am working in small groups within the classroom many times, and I have short pull-out groups.

I tried ClassDojo this year, and my kids were too obsessed with what score that they had.  They were constantly staring at the app and wanting to talk about that.  I would try to praise others that were doing work by giving points, and then they would be watching how many points they had in comparison to others.   Was not working!

I decided to try teams.  I randomly drew teams, brought in stuffed animals for the mascots, and let the children name the animals.  I did not have the buy in needed at all!  Some kids didn't care at all, and they weren't working to encourage each other to do better.  Back to square one.

I had a lot of success with I'm working for charts last year.  They were a lot of teacher directed work with moving pennies.  You can read about it here. I set out to find a way to use these back make them less work than less year.

These were born:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Share: Chronicle - One of a kind data tracking app for teachers

I was asked to try out a fairly new app for teachers called Chronicle.  I was absolutely surprised by this one of a kind app for data tracking!   I have written a review about it on Smart Apps for Special Needs and gave it 5 stars. 

Here is a bit of my review:
This app provides the opportunity to track data about students easily. When using this in class, I am able to input a date and an assessment tag. Then, I can quickly mark red, yellow, or green dots by each child's name to show their understanding. Every lesson has to have an assessment with it in my school's lesson plans, but as teachers know, we don't always give a paper and pencil test each day. We do a lot through informal assessments. This app would assist in keeping a record of those informal assessments and daily observations. Even if a teacher didn't have time to mark every student, he or she could mark those with red that really need more practice on the skill for planning reteaching and even center activities.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaching The Rules of Fidgets

During my observation conference, my principal stated that she thought I was crazy for handing out fidget toys to my students at the beginning of the lesson, but in the end she was very impressed with how well they used them.  Fidgets can be very difficult to teach about, and they can be very difficult for some students and even adults to understand the benefits of, if students are not taught how to use them correctly.

Whenever I introduce fidgets to my students, it is definitely a process.  I wanted to share that process with you.

1.  I take time on one day to show the students the fidgets and explain what each one does.  They do NOT get to touch them on this day.  They just have to listen and watch me.  We discuss rules for the fidgets.  I have 3 main rules that I taught my students:

Rule Number 1 - Fidget must remain out of sight (unless it is something that is worn, like a glove or bracelet).  For most fidgets, this means that the child must have it in one hand, and this hand must remain under the table or the desk.

Rule Number 2 - You may NOT look at the fidget.  Fidgets are used to help you calm.  They are not to be a distraction.

Rule Number 3 - The fidget may NOT be used to get other people's attention.  If the fidget is under the table where it is supposed to be, this is not usually an issue.  This is more for the ones that are being worn.  A child is not allowed to wave their hand or arm around for other kids to see it.

Rule Number 4 - You may only use fidgets that require one hand when completing work.  My groups are usually very active, so most of the time the students are using fidgets that fit in or on one hand. 

That is the end of use on the day they are introduced.

These are fidgets that are worn and cannot be waved around

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