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Reindeer Treat Bags

My kids run a treat cart every Monday. Next Monday is the last Monday before winter break and we wanted to do something fun and festive. After a lot of searching, I came up with these reindeer treat bags.

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The supplies are super simple. You need

  • Baggies
  • Red Candy
  • Popcorn and other treats
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Google Eyes

Pastry or piping bags were recommended, but I bought twist tie bags from Walmart that worked just as well. I ended up using Brach’s cinnamon hard candies for the reindeer nose, although any red candy would work. We also mixed preztels into our popcorn mixture. You can tweak the popcorn mixture or just leave it as popcorn if you want!

The kids need to put a red candy in the corner of the bag, then fill it with the popcorn mixture. The red candy will be the nose and the popcorn will make up the body.img_6409

Once the body is made, the kids need to tie off the “reindeerr”. This was tough for my kiddos, but a couple of them were able to figure it out. It was great fine motor practice! If your kids cannot get it, they can also tie it off with a twist tie. img_6417

The last steps are to wrap a brown pipe cleaner around the top and add googly eyes. We did use a hot glue gun for the googly eye. We learned that the hot glue itself will not melt the plastic baggie, but the tip of the glue gun will. It worked best when we put the glue on the back of the eye, then stuck the eye to the baggie.

 

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Want to try this recipe in your classroom? Grab the visual here for free! Let me know how it works for you!!


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Homework-Love it or Hate it?

I have a love/hate relationship with homework. In some ways, I love how my kids are able to go home and showcase their skills with mom and dad. In other ways, I feel like my kids already have so much going on and the homework is just an added level of stress. Either way, EVERY SINGLE PARENT in my self-contained class wants homework-so I do it every week.

I send home one homework packet a week on Mondays. My students can complete these anytime during the week, but are expected to turn them in no later then Fridays. for my more academically based students, I like to include a mix of reading and math skills, something related to the content lesson of the week, some work to focus on IEP goals and seasonal activities from time to time.

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I love using the News 2 You articles as the reading homework. They usually have two different articles up, each one offered in several levels. My kids use either the regular or the simplified article and I send home the game page, the review page and the think page for homework. The regular version has more questions and the simplified version is reduced for that level!

For kids who need extra comprehension practice, I will supplement with either my comprehension worksheets or my main idea worksheets, depending on their need. For my kids who need some higher level thinking, these Problem and Solution worksheets can be the answer!

My math homework tends to be directly related to the math lesson of the week. If we are working on graphing in school, I will put  graphing worksheet in the backpack. Sometimes I supplement with no-prep packs-you can find some great options on TPT. Right now I’m using packs from My Special Learners and Especially Education and they are a perfect fit! I also send home touch money for one of my kiddos-she actually gets a print off from my file folder pack!

But what about the kids who are not on that level? I have a couple of friends who are not ready for reading and math skills. These kids are at a pre-academic level and need more focus on foundation pieces and fine motor skills. I feature one letter a week from my Alphabet Weekly Work pack for their homework. I also love to supplement with the preschool printable packs from Little Monkeys Printable!

All of my featured resources will be 50% off through this Friday! Tell me how you do homework in your self-contained classroom!


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Great Resources from TPT!

I shared this photo on social media last night and I got a lot of questions about where I got the materials. I thought this format would be easiest, look below to see links to all the resources featured in this photo:

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The colorful book in the bottom left corner is the Three Little Pigs Adapted Book from Creative Curriculum Adaptations-Ginger Joyce. She also created the blue cover book in the top right corner, that’s her School Rules Adapted Book.

The file folder games with the yellow and green tabs are the Basic Concepts File Folders (Christmas) from Adapting for Autism.

The file folder games with the white tabs are the Happy Holidays File Folders from My Special Learners-Kayla Coffman.

The green and orange half sheets are the Telling Time to the Hour Flipbooks from You Aut-a Know-Erin Hagey.

The colorful shapes sitting next to it are the Beginning Sound Clothespins Tasks from Teaching Special Thinkers.

The half sheet with the Orange and Blue monsters in front of the shapes is the Monster Themed Basic Math Adapted Book from Delightfully Dedicated Special Education.

The gray colorful mat is part of the Color Sorting Mats from Mrs. D’s Corner.

The sheet with the boy’s face on it is from the Getting to Know You Interactive Book from Cat Says Meow.

The book below it with the boy in the blue shirt is from the Whole Body Listening set from Especially Education. The product printed on the hot pink card stock is also from her-that’s her Hands on Phonics: CVC Bundle.

That white sheet with the small red oval at the top is the Colors from School Bells and Whistles.

These are AMAZING TPT authors-I’ve put a lot of money in but every single penny has been worth it. Check out their stores, they each have fabulous offerings perfect for the special education world. Happy shopping 🙂

 


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Easy Weighted Lap Animal for Sensory Needs

When I found this video from Early Venton LLC on Mrs. D’s Corner’s Facebook page I knew I had to try it myself. As a teacher of students with Autism-I have a TON of sensory needs that I need to meet. As someone who doesn’t know how to sew-I needed an easy way to make weighted materials. This weighted lap animal was the answer!

You need 3 materials-Skinneez Jumbo Bite Dog Tot, a filling of your choice and zip block bags. It is important to get the Jumbo Bite dog toy-the others won’t work. You can find the dog toy for about $8 on Amazon.

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Some people use River Rocks to fill because its more weight per volume-I choose to try rice because it is softer and molds more to the student’s lap. The process is pretty simple-fill zip block bags with your chosen stuffing, fill the dog toy with the bags and Velcro closed!

If you want, you can wrap the bags of stuffing in a dish cloth and drop essential oils on it. This will add a nice scent component too.

All in all very easy to make!

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Take the Sick Day

As I right this, I know I am a complete hypocrite. I am the worst at taking my sick days. Even when I feel horrible, I still come in to work. Case in point this week.

I was diagnosed with Bronchitis on Monday night. I did stay home from work on Tuesday (doctor’s orders) but the only reason I actually stayed home was because it was a teacher work day. I dragged myself into work on Wednesday and on Thursday and I felt horrible. I am finally starting to feel better but I’m pretty sure I drug this along more then I needed to.

Why am I so afraid of the sick day? Why do I feel so much guilt when I stay home? I have a great class and a good routine. I have assistants and students who could help the sub out. Most importantly I need to take care of myself.

When you feel sick, take the sick day. Sleep in. Drink tea. Eat lunch, take medicine and go back to sleep. Give your body the time it needs to recover. Here’s to hoping I take my own advice next time.

 


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IEP Reference Flipbook

When you have 8 kids with a comhined total of 97 g0als-it is hard to keep track of it all! I created these flipbooks to help both of my assistants as well as myself remember all of the goals! This comes in handy in many ways. For example, if my TA and a student get to inclusuon early and have 5 spare minutes, she can flip to his section to have a quic reference of his goals and work on one! It’s super easy to put together!

I typed each of my student’s goals into small boxes, printed the paper, cut out the boxes and glued them to index cards. I glued front and back to the card to save index cards.

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First, all of my students are color-coded. I took an index card, split it into 8 section and colored each section to match the student colors.I then cut off a strip of the colored index cards-this will be used to create the tabs.

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Cut apart each color to make a tab. Lay a piece of tape down on the table, and place the small square color side down.Take the end of the tape it and fold it over so the colored square is facing up. The square should be covered with tape on both sides now.

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Cut the square away from the tape, and trim it down. This will be the tab!

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Cut small strips of white index cards. Place the tab colored side down on the table. Place the strip on the back of the tab, and use a small piece of tape to connect the two.

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Tape the strip to the back of the index card. I find it helpful to line up the cover index card for each student’s section to make sure none of the sections overlap.

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To finish up, hole punch all of the cards and put them on a binder ring. At the end, you will have this awesome flipbook! It is so easy to reference goals this way. When I’m working with N., I just flip to the purple tab to see what she is working on. When a new IEP is written, I just have to remove that one section and replace the index cards with new goals-how easy is that?

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Student Binders

I used to be a HOT MESS teacher. I was very disorganized and I could never find the data sheet or work sample I needed right when I needed it. Not a good trait for a special education teacher. Everything was fine until it wasn’t and after a messy end to the year back in May, I knew I had to get myself into gear. I’m trying super hard this year and I’m excited to do a blog series to show what I’m doing. Today’s topic are my beautiful student binders!

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Just look how beautiful this binder is! Each kiddo has been assigned a different color (I’ll do a more in depth blog post on the color coding later this month). I prefer the binders with the clear view cover so I can slip a cover sheet it-on the cover sheet I type the student name, the grade they are in and the school dates.

Here is the layout of the student binders:

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The Autism Helper suggested these Avery tabs because they stick out and can be easily seen and I love them! I get them from Amazon for a pretty good price!

Tab 1 is the current data sheet as well as the copies of the data sheets. Tab 2 has the programming guide that accompanies the IEP. I will also being doing blog posts on each of these components. Here’s a sneak peak of my data sheets!

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Tab 4 is specifically for parent-teacher communication. I keep a log to keep track of communication, especially face to face conversations. These conversations normally happen at drop off or early pick up and catch me a little off guard, so I make sure to write it all down. Tab 5 is a note session-for example if my OT and I do some brainstorming I will jot some notes in this section.

Tab 6 is for graded work. This is mainly the pre-tests and post-tests, but some other grades go in there as well. Tab 7 is for work samples-this is mainly some probes, special projects and any other word samples that might be important. Tab 8 is completed data sheets. As we work though the week we stick any paper evidence of the goal (word problem worksheets, writing prompts, reading passages etc) into the front of the binder.

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At the end of the week, I staple that week’s evidence to the back of the data sheet and move it to tab 8. That way it is always readily available in case anyone has questions. For example, if someone had a questions about this week’s writing prompt data (as seen above) they could just look at the attached sheet and find it quickly.

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Tab 9 keeps any original copies, including spare data sheets and communication logs. Tab 10 is listed as other-this is to capture anything else. For example, I have a kid who has medical alert due to his seizure disorder. I store those papers in this tab.

We are only in our fourth week of school but this system is working pretty well. I hope it gives you some inspiration for getting yourself organized 🙂