Academic Skills



Back to School Block Party week 4: Best TPT resources for a successful year!

Hi everyone! This is the FINAL week in our back to school Block party! I hope you all enjoyed learning from the myself and my three blogger friends :) 

This week we are chatting about MUST have TPT items to have in your classroom. These are all things that I have bought, prepped, and couldn't live without! 

Lets Start off with Mrs. D's Corner I just love her stuff for a self contained classroom. The two products I can not live without is her Back to school Parent Flip Book 

This is SO easy to prep and it is also FREE! She has some paid ones too that are amazing, but this year I do not have any new students so I didn't have a ton of information to put in--but next year I will be upgrading to the paid ones that hold much more information! 

 The second MUST have from Mrs. D is her calendar writing! My kids will use these everyday as part of their morning work and it is a life saver! 

My next MUST have is from Especially Education  She is a newer TPT seller, but her stuff is ALL ON MY WISH LIST---I want everything in her store! I just HAD to buy her whole body listening bulletin board back! WOW is all I have to say! It is such a great classroom management tool! 

Next up is Kayla from My Special Learners  Her Basic Skills file folders are a daily activity in our independent center. Each month the adorable clip art changes, but the skills stay the same and my students are able to increase their ability to work independently! HIGHLY recommend! Plus they are super cute! 

I can not live without Autism Adventures  Home work pack. They are no prep and are super functional for a self contained classroom. The students and the parents LOVE these! 

Circle time is my favorite part of the day. We work on SO many skills and my kids love the songs and stories. My circle time could not be complete without Teaching Special Thinkers  NO PREP interactive story time books OK they can be prepped and used along with the book OR you can download the interactive PDF to your IPAD and the kids can answer the questions on there. They love it and it keeps my students so engaged. She does include a great story map which I have displayed to go over as we are reading/reviewing the story through out the week 

Lastly, I have a few must haves that I have created and are available in MY TPT STORE
For back to school we work on making green choices and the difference between red and green choices. I created a mini unit to help my students learn these choices! Check it out here

I also could not live without my extended standards report card. I love this because in OHIO we follow extended standards. The parents love getting a report card catered to their students curriculum and I also print off a blank copy and use it as a check list through out the year so I make sure I hit all the standards! 

Make sure to check out all these great resources and see if they fit into your classroom! 

AND head over to instagram and enter in our last give-a-way for the block party! $20.00 TPT gift card to spend in ANY store you wish! Just make sure you like, follow, and answer our question! 

LASTLY! Tomorrow I will be going on FB LIVE! AH I am so nervous, it is my first time ever! I am going to be sharing how I use my Erin Condren Planner as a special ed teacher! 

Head on over to Especially Education to see her favorite TPT products and I hope everyone has an AMAZING Back to School Season! 


Back to School Block Party: Week 3 Communicating with Parents

Hey everyone! Welcome to the third week of the back to school block party! This week we will all be chatting about communicating with parents. In a self contained special ed classroom, my students are not always able to go home and tell their parents all about their day. Parents are so desperately craving this type of communication at home so I want to do my part to help them along the way! 

I don't know about you, but I LOVE SHARK TANK! I mean it is some great tv on a Friday night after a long week in the classroom. Well last year I was watching this show (and maybe drinking some wine :)) and THE BEST  APP EVER showed up in the tank. It is called Brightwheel. 

This amazing app was designed for students in a day care that can't go home and tell their parents about their day and a light bulb went off in my head that this will be PERFECT to implement in the 2016-2017 school year. 

I highly suggest that you check out this app if you have parents with smart phones. It is like DOJO, but it doesn't require any incentive---I feel like I have so much incentive going on in my classroom I don't need DOJO points (but that is JUST ME--I know dojo can be super successful many classrooms. 

Here are some of my favorite features of Brightwheel: 

You can send pictures of the students to the parents! I love this because I do not give out my personal number so the parents can have instant pictures without e-mailing them which can prompt some conversations at home between parent and child. 

Calendar: I can update the parents on class/school events 

Food/Bathroom Data: My para will have access as a teacher as well so when they are at lunch and the child isn't eating or seems to still be hungry she can give a quick note...these are the types of things that tend to be forgotten at the end of a busy day. Bathroom data, to help with potty training from school to home!

Learning/Assessments: I am able to click on different topics such as fine motor, cognitive, social and give a little report about successes and struggles though out the day. 

Now the only con I see to this is there is not a feature for the parents to write a note to me. I am hoping this is in the works. They have updates all the time! 

If you are curious about bright wheel check out this video from their web site here

Hop on over and check out how Especially Education communicates with parents!


Back to School Block Party Week 2: Planning the first two weeks (when you don't have a curriculum)!

Welcome to the second week of the back to school block party I am hosting along side some of my favorite SPED bloggers out there! I am currently writing to you from a beach house in Ohio (yes we have beaches in Ohio and they are pretty awesome!), but I am already thinking about how I am going to plan the first few weeks of school. As many of you know teaching in a self contained special education classroom can come with MANY pro's and cons....the biggest con for me and we have NO curriculum. This is not by the fault of my school district it is just that the students in my classroom's needs change from year to year and I have many students for multiple years so the curriculum can't be the same every year. 

Lets start with the basics....I don't actually write formal lesson plan....#sorrynotsorry. I did buy a beautiful Erin Condrin Lesson planner this year ( which will be arriving this week) and I plan on using it ---actually I am going to force myself to use it. HOWEVER I don't write too much in my lesson plan books. I am a full believer in the bullet point lesson plans...I will get into this more in a blog post scheduled for the end of August when I can show you HOW I use my Erin Condren Planner...But basically I just bullet point what I want to accomplish in each big park of my day. 

Now a constant THREE Times a year (beginning, middle, and during the student's IEP time) I take some very important data. My school purchases for the Intensive Needs Teachers the ABLLS (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills) workbook. I was SUPER intimidated of ABLLS when I was handed it two years ago and I will be 100% honest with you that I did nothing but read the manual the first year. The second year I purchased the an amazing resource from the Autism helper called The ABLLS Resource Kit. Now this product requires A TON of prep, but it is well worth it when I was finished because I have my binders ready to go each time I want to assess my students. This assessment gives me a great baseline on what they know/need to accomplish in the school year so I can design their curriculum. You then fill in these beautiful graphs that I attach to every IEP and then pass on to the next teacher so they don't have to begin the test from scratch they can just assess where the skills left off. It is amazing and if you have more questions about ABLLS let me know, because I see a future blog post solely about ABLLS in the very near future! 

Ok, so WHAT in the heck is everyone is in the room doing while I am working on ABLLS assessment with my students 1:1----well we are working on MASTERED TASKS People! My students (and all students with severe needs) struggles with change....and the change from summer break to back to school is stressful on everyone. I want to make sure that they understand the rules in my classroom, the structure of the classroom, and have a smooth transition into a new school year. So how do I do this? WELL I put together a bunch of back to school resources that will keep my kids busy in the classroom while getting back into the swing of things as opposed to being stressed out about a new routine/classmates/teachers. You need to build rapport in the classroom with staff and students and I for one do not like to stress my kids out with learning things that can be hard for them such as new skills. You can check out my Back to school pack, which includes Math activities, fine motor actives, reading comprehension activities/adaptive book, and making green vs. red choices, here This bundle is a great $$$ saver and includes 5 products for a discounted price! Here are some pictures of these products in this bundle!

LASTLY, know that what happens in the first twos weeks is a whirl wind of chaos....hopfully organized chaos, but as long as everyone goes home with a smile on their face (staff included) I consider that a WIN for the day! 

Let me know how you spend your first two weeks in the your classroom in the comments below and make sure you hop on over to the wonderful Especially Education to see what she does to prep for the first two weeks...and don't forget to hop thru every blog :) 

OHHHH and the BEST PART---check out INSTAGRAM we are giving away a Blog Hop Give-A-Way of a 1 year personal use license to Smarty Symbols! 

Have a Great time Prepping everyone!!!