Friday, April 4, 2014

At School - Social Story

A social story  according to Wikipedia, is "a tool to help individuals on the autism spectrum better understand the nuances of interpersonal communication so that they could interact in an effective and appropriate manner."

I have used social stories in various manners with children along the spectrum as well as with "normal" children.  Why? Because it is an effective tool to teach and show expectations.  

If you have ever taught kindergarten, you understand that we spend a great deal of our day modeling and teaching expectations.  A social story is just another support; usually a visual support to explicitly show what you expect.

For example, in the beginning of the year, our kindergarten children were having difficulty keeping our restrooms clean. Each teacher had talked about the expectations, but the behaviors did not improve until a visual support and modeling was provided and taught.

This was especially true for my friend who needed a reminder each and every time he went to the restroom.  It was right there for him.  All I had to do was remind him verbally, "In the bathroom, I pee in the toilet."  He would return, happily reporting that he peed in the toilet.  I would congratulate him and reward him with a PBIS reward.  Eventually, he stopped needing that verbal support and reward but the visual is still there for him and others.



Sometimes it is hard for some children to understand the expectations of a school/classroom setting. This can be true for children who have never been to school or for the child who may need more explicit modeling. I created this Social Story to to teach classroom expectations.  The language is easy enough to be read independently but the pictures explicitly shows my expectations.  


I used this with all my students at the beginning of the year.  It was our shared reading story the first week of school.  At the end of the week, each child was able to read it and understand for the most part what are our classroom expectations. Eventually, the children took it home, except for the child who still needs it.  It continues to be in his book box so that we can review it if I notice a behavior needs review or after a long break.  The book is a reinforcer of the positive behaviors that I expect in my classroom.  It has helped him be more independent as well as helped me teach more effectively.  A win-win for all of us!

I am not an expert, just a teacher, who wants each child in my classroom to be as successful as possible. I've also use this paid site to create more specific social stories. If you would like to learn more about social stories go here.

I hope you enjoy this freebie and consider leaving a comment or following me on Bloglovin'.

Lastly, stop by Melondheadz Illustrating to get this adorable clip art set in honor of Autism Awareness month.

Happy Teaching!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Life Changers - Autism Awareness

As teachers, we are used to teaching all sorts of children.  But nothing really prepares us for those children who will affect who you are forever.

Well, it happened to me four years ago when I was the inclusion classroom to 3 special needs children. One of the children, N. was autistic.  That year, I learned about the token system, My Turn/Your Turn, sensory input, diet, etc.  I saw my students care and nurture him.  My students could tell when he needed a break or should get a reward.  It was a magical year.  One that I will always cherish.

He changed my life as a teacher and mother forever.  I am a better person because he entered my life.  He taught me patience, acceptance, perseverance, and most of all to love unconditionally.



Since then, Autism Awareness month means much more to me.  So when Nikki of Melonheadz Illustrating fulfilled my request of a clip art for Autism Awareness month, I was in awe.  I asked for an image to upload on the sidebar of my blog.  Instead, she created an entire set of images!
Please stop by her blog to "get" this beautiful set.

I think Temple Gardin sums it up best; with these two quotes:
"Different. Not Less"
"I can not emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher."



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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Educational Journey Through Oz





My class and I have been on a journey; an educational journey through Oz.  For the past few weeks, we have enjoyed listening to The Wizard of Oz.

Each day, we read one page of the book and complete an extension activity.  I like thematic teaching and this book lends itself well to learning about many things.

Here are some highlights of our learning during our unit of study.







We're Not In Kansas Anymore
As you know, the book begins with Dorothy being transported to the land of Oz via a tornado.  We are not familiar with tornadoes so we used this resource here and here to provide background knowledge.  Afterwards, we wrote about our learning.  Here is the finished product.



I'm Melting
We conducted a science experiment to illustrate melting.  (To read why this happens go here.)

This was a perfect experiment to talk about making a hypothesis and how sometimes we are wrong in making our predictions.  Great teachable moment.


We're Off to See the Wizard

We created this pictograph to go with the question - Which would you rather have? Brains? Heart? Courage?.  I gave each child a half sheet containing each of the pictures and they had to pick one.  Each secretly went to a hiding spot in the classroom to make their selection.  Afterwards, we shared our choice with each other.  Later on, they used their choice to write.

At the conclusion of the unit, we watched the movie version and compared it to the book.  All in all, it was a great unit of study.


Happy Teaching!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Lucky Me and Lucky You

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


It is days like today which makes teaching all worth it! Seeing the smiles on my students' faces make the long hours worth it!  I owe much of it to many of you who create the wonderful resources that fill my classroom.

My kids adored Fran's emergent reader and were so proud of themselves when they created their own little books.


Today, we enjoyed St. Patrick's Day centers.  Students made leprechaun boys and girls and wrote about what they would do if they found a pot of gold.  They spied CVC words and rolled real and nonsense words.  For math, they made a math book and searched for missing numbers. Lastly, we enjoyed some Shamrock milkshakes.

Here is a list of resources which I used:

In the midst of 1-1 testing, we accomplished so much!  I highly recommend each of these resources.  Download them now and you'll be set for next year.


Lastly, congratulations to Doreen!  You've won a classroom set of SitSpots!  Please reply within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Happy Teaching!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Revolutionize Your Classroom with Sit Spots: A Giveaway

I love SitSpots!

SitSpots are traditionally used as a management system. They work perfectly for those of us who may not have a large area rug.  The SitSpots help kids know where to sit or stand.

When I first read about it them on Ms.M's blog, I was intrigued.  So, I ordered the sample.


When the free sample apple arrived, I used it to help my class know where to line up for recess.  This system has worked perfectly.  After months of use, the free SitSpot sample is still holding strong.

A few months later, I decided to purchase more SitSpots.  But this time, I had an idea.  I wanted the SitSpots to help support my teaching.  Often when reading blogs and browsing through Pinterest, I see many engaging lessons using the area rug.  Unfortunately, my classroom is not the size of a traditional kindergarten classroom.  With SitSpots, I am able to create similar lessons.

I purchased 5 red and 5 yellow SitSpots to mimic our red and yellow counters.  I use these to create addition sentences.  If I had had these in the beginning of the year, I would have used them to help with substizing and working with the five or ten frame.

But my favorite use for SitSpots is to support Phonological Awareness.

Using three SitSpots of the same color and two footprint spots, my students hop and blend phonemes to   produce words orally.  This system has worked wonders for my little ones who are struggling to hear and blend sounds into words.  First I give them a picture card found here.  Then, as a group, we review the sounds for each spot.  Finally, the child hops the sound for each spot and says the word when they hop onto the footprints.  I can immediately hear their errors if any and correct them.  

My kids love this activity. They think we are playing a hopping game! They don't realize that they are learning. But truly they are as we are now able to apply this skill onto print.  

Would you like to try SitSpots?  Joyce, a kindergarten teacher and the creator of SitSpots, has graciously offered to giveaway a classroom set of 30 SitSpots of your choice.  For more details, see below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is only open to US residents only.  

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dental Health - A Collection of Resources and a Freebie

Are you looking for some resources to teach dental health to your little ones as well as address the Common Core Standards?  I have created a collection of resources that you can use anytime of the year. 


Reading:
These books will be sure to get your little ones excited about talking about the dentist, their teeth, and the tooth fairy.

Show Me Your Smile
Moose's Loose Tooth
Why Do I Brush My Teeth?
Dr. De Soto
The Tooth Book
Never Take a Shark to the Dentist
Just Going to the Dentist
Brush, Brush, Brush
I Know Why I Brush My Teeth
What If You Had Animal Teeth?
The Night Before the Tooth Fairy
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist

Math:
As an early primary teacher, wiggly teeth are a fact of life.  I like using this song to introduce subtraction. (I've had it so long, I can't remember the source.)



Here are few math activities to use in your classroom.
1. Help the Tooth Fairy Count Her Teeth by Can Do Kinders
2. Shark Teeth Addition by HeidiSongs
3. Subtraction Smiles by Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten
4. Exploring Teeth with Dr. Seuss
5. Monster Teeth Subraction by HeidiSongs
6. Brushing Up on Teen Numbers Using QR Codes by me

The QR Code freebie works on decomposing teen numbers. I am using this as a progress monitoring assessment with my students.


Here is a sample page.

Hope you enjoy it.  

Happy Teaching!
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