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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 4 materials-Skinneez Jumbo Bite Dog Tot, a filling of your choice, duct tape 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!

** Update-wrap the ziplock bags in duct tape before you fill the dog toy. Otherwsie, the bags will bust and spill rice!

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 🙂

 


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End of August/Back to School!

My third week is almost done and I’m happy to say things have been pretty smooth! We are quickly sliding into a routine and working out the kinks! I was going to check in on my progress but to quickly summarize, I didn’t get to everything but that is OKAY!

Much of my classroom is up and running. I’m going to do several posts over the next couple of weeks: follow along to see what I am going to post. Topics include

  • My data collection process
  • Color coding the students
  • A classroom tour
  • A student documentation binder

Some freebies will be rolling out as well so be sure to follow!

 


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Setting Up a Teacher Binder

I finally got my teacher binder up and running, and I am excited to show it to you all today! I’m also excited to use my married name this year!!

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I finally decided to type up my parent’s most used phone numbers and typed a grid to tape in the front of my binder. I’m so glad I did this! Instead of having to hunt down their emergency card or log into the system, I can grab my binder and have the numbers on the tip of my fingers. I also have a grid that lists the contents of my binder to stay organized.

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Section one of my binder is a set of my student’s data sheets. The master data sheet is in their own IEP binder, but I keep a copy in my binder. My assistants also have sets of the data in their binder. We all take data during the week, then merge on the master copy on Fridays. The student’s IEPs are also kept in their IEP binder, so I keep an IEP snapshot on each in section 2 that has the important information. I uploaded the snapshot as a freebie, grab it here!

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I downloaded these monthly calendars from Erin with You-AUT-A Know, I am hoping they help me keep track of all of the deadlines! This makes up section 3 of my binder-section 4 is for our state assessment. I have a monthly planning guide to make sure I plan for all of the standards as well as a copy of the manual for reference.

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My lesson plans are a two page spread that incorporate my schedule so I always know what is happening. The next week tab is reminders for me-for example, if I need to buy mentos for a science experiment we are doing on Wednesday, I would write it on the next week page so I remember. The week at a glance page lets me highlight parties, assemblies and other miscellaneous activities coming up. I keep all the pages of my lesson plans in section 5.

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I downloaded this meeting notes template from Tickled for Teaching. I will keep a bunch of copies in section 6 to keep track of staff meetings and professional developments. Sections 7-12 are my grade book sections. Each section has a grade book template from English Bulldog-the section I keep are Reading, Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Health.

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It took me a whole to get it set up, hopefully I can stick with it and stay organized!


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Mid August Update

Wow, summer is already over! I went back on contact today and honestly, I am a mix of emotions. I am super eager to get into my routine and get back to normal. I am one of those weird teachers who does not do well with a lot of time off. On the other hand, I’m nervous because I have changed so much. My classroom looks totally different, but I have the same assistants, therapists and kiddos from last year. Having to teach them all how my classroom runs and help them change the norm while still figuring it out feels daunting, but I can do it!

We have moved rooms, again. This is how my classroom looked when I walked in yesterday. I am sorry to say I have not gotten very far-a lot will be done when my husband comes to help me on Saturday.

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As for my to do list, I did not conquer everything. I was too busy soaking up those last sweet moments of relaxation, so I guess it was well deserved! Here is what is on my end of August to do list for academics:

  • 3 little pigs materials
  • Vowel task cards
  • Graphing worksheets
  • Expanded scientific method worksheets
  • All Rules and Laws materials
  • All government materials

As you can see, the academics took a hit. Luckily, these are my October plans so I have time to get them done!

I have most of my October adapted materials printed, I just need to assemble. That’s also on my to-do list. I did get the kid’s binders set up, it’s a great start 🙂

Part 2 of my to-do list, everything else! That includes

  • Finish student binder set up
  • Create my own grade book
  • Create lesson plans
  • Create schedules
  • First week of school plans
  • IEP snapshots
  • Make teacher binder
  • Set up classroom.

Kids come to school on August 29, 12 days until go time!!