Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Practicing Grocery Shopping in the Classroom

Sometimes you have to practice grocery shopping without going to the store. Our official grocery store community trip won't be until January, but we will be practicing our grocery shopping skills, specifically shopping from a list, all year long!

One way we do this is through a simulated grocery shopping experience. 

I created a mini shopping experience on a bookshelf. We have a variety of empty food boxes and containers. My first thought was to make mini departments and have a "refrigerated' section...but I haven't had time to be that awesome yet. :)
I created two levels of shopping lists, one including pictures and the other with only words. Each list has 3-4 items on it. I taped a folder with the directions written on it and each level goes in one of the two pockets. 

Students will take a shopping bag, fill it up with items on their list, and then put the list in the bag and move to the next one. I have students complete it this way so that we can check to see if they got the correct items. If you can find the same items I used, feel free to download the lists I created for free.

Another way we practice this is during our work task boxes. This is very similar to the grocery shopping set up, just on a much smaller scale. Student look at a shopping list and fill the bag with those items. I have shopping lists with pictures or with words, ranging from 3 to 5 items. This task is available to download at my TpT store.

I've talked about how much I love the GFCLearnFree website before. Seriously, if you are looking for functional life skills, you will find an interactive tutorial in their Everyday Life section! The grocery list tutorial goes over finding the right aisle and then finding those items on your list. Did I mention its interactive? Awesome! :)

And then there's my grocery store file folders that I've talked about in detail here. There are a total of 10 file folders, 2 which specifically deal with shopping from a list and the other cover a variety of grocery store topics.

And I almost forgot! I created this grocery store community unit that I haven't even been able to use that. We will start using that unit the month of our grocery store trip.

Honestly, I didn't realize I had so many grocery shopping resources when I started to type this post! What other things do you do to prepare your students for grocery shopping? I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

3 Ways to Adapt Keyboards to Promote Typing Skills

I have quite a few alpha smart keyboards in my room and have personalized them for a few of my students in order to improve their emerging typing skills.

One finger peckers
How many of you have one-finger peckers when it comes to typing? It can be frustrating because I know go some they could be so much faster!

I cut apart some circle stickers so they would fit on keys and stuck them on the keyboard to distinguish between the right and left hand. Hopefully this will help promote my one finger peckers to at least two finger peckers! :)

Emerging Letter Recognition 
Last year I used four colors to help a student narrow down where to find the keys (very beginning typing/letter recognition skills). So I would say "find E purple E" to help him focus on a smaller area.

Little/No Letter Recoginition - Name
I also have another keyboard where I have highlighted the four letters in that students name so he can type his name. He can find the first letter of his name and I hope he get used to the sequence of the rest of it. We still have to work on putting them in order but it's a start!!!

Do you do anything similar? How are your students at keyboarding?

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Currently

Happy November! I know we're all thinking it, but seriously, how is it already November?! Link up with this month's currently over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade!

Listening: Seriously, I am so sick of political commercials! So much negativity, it can really get you down! Sometimes I catch myself thinking, why even vote, if it's just one evil over another. But I will be out at the polls tomorrow! However, I feel like I need to do a little bit of research. I know who I want to vote for for governor, but there are so many other people...sigh. And then I think it doesn't really matter.

Loving: We got hardly any treat-or-treaters due to the nasty weather so I'm enjoying their candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Oh, and for snacks too :)

Thinking: See above in "listening"

Wanting: I'm at a point in the year when I am exhausted and just feel like I can't do anything. And everything's so difficult and nothing is going the way I want it to go. And my first IEP is coming up in 3 weeks. It was a nice break not having those for a while... Ugh. I'll get over it soon enough but I just want things to get easier again!!

Needing: See above to know why I need some energy and motivation! :)

Reading: I'm doing this book "One in a Million" by Priscilla Shirer with my Bible Study girls. I enjoy it, but would love to be reading a book just for fun!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Red Ribbon Week Poster

Anyone else doing red ribbon week activities this week? We are at my school and I like to have my students participate in at least some of the activities.

Each class makes a poster to submit, and here's what my class came up with (after a google search, I can't take all the credit...)
Isn't that too cute? I love the saying "Drugs are Despicable" and once you add the cute little minions (thanks to Learn.Create.Love), you just can't go wrong! Plus, I was going to print out the phrase with my color-in font, but then stumbled across this monster font I had downloaded a while back. WIN! :)

I think it's a winner, we shall see on Thursday!!!

For the rest of the week, I'll probably just pull out a few worksheets from my Red Ribbon Week binder I was given years back and then next month we will spend more time talking about Drugs/Alcohol as it is the November ULS topic. Which I am still trying to figure out, but am getting there, I think!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Halloween Peer Buddy Event - Carving Pumpkins

I won't lie, I was so nervous to carve pumpkins with a bunch of special education students! We had the most students signed up ever (20! And one signed up today, the morning of the event) and only 4 confirmed buddies. I was feeling a little nervous how everything was going to end up...and then over 20 buddies showed up to help us! AH-MAZING! We had a blast getting to know each other while carving pumpkins! Here's a few tips for carving pumpkins with a group of special education students that made today run smoothly. 
I lined totes with garbage bags for all of the pumpkin guts. Put plastic tablecloths from the dollar store on the table - made clean up so much easier! I had gloves available which helped some students to be brave enough to dig in and get all of the guts! I had the pumpkin scrapers that came in the kits and also large kitchen spoons to help spoon everything out!
I printed off templates that the kids could then attached to their pumpkins with push pins or tape. Both seemed to work well but tape (just regular scotch tape) seemed to be the easiest. Here's one of the packs of face templates I printed. This one is good too, but you have to click on each one you want to print. You can also find a ton of these on google!

I got a few sets of the pumpkin master carving tool sets - like this one - and they were crap! About half of the knives broke. I will be looking for larger, more sturdier ones at the end of the season this year to get them while they are cheap to stock up for next years event!

So, didn't these turn out awesome or what?! This event really was just one miracle after the other, from the pumpkin (requested 17, 20 were delivered), to the amount of buddies showing up! I am so thankful for how well it turned out and for all of the fun that my students had!!
The pumpkins took us a good hour to complete. We also used this get-to-know-you question page in the very beginning to help encourage conversations. Then at the end we had dirt dessert pudding with chocolate pudding that my daily living skills students made, with crushed oreo "dirt" on top, complete with a gummy worm!
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