Saturday, January 26, 2013

Super Bowl Party After School Event

Once a month my school has an after school event for students to just "hangout" with their friends. We don't have a best buddies program at our school (wish we did) so this is our way to get students together to hang out with friends and enjoy some typical high school experiences. (Note: our students are also encouraged to participate in other school activities such as dances and what not. These are smaller events in addition to those all-school events.)
Special education after school activities 
This months event was Super Bowl / sports themed. We has crafts, games, and a snack. I added a green table runner that I drew yard lines on to look like a football field. I was feeling quite crafty with that! Not sure if any of the students even noticed, but it made me feel better.

First, students had options to play catch with friends or do a craft. I had printed off footballs and had students work on those during work skills, cutting them out, and punching the holes so students could lace their footballs. Then I printed off these Design a Helmet coloring sheets.
Football crafts
Football crafts - special education super bowl party
Super bowl theme special education event

Then we played a sports bingo game that I downloaded from Board Maker Share. I just changed a couple symbols because I'm assuming it was created in the UK and I didn't feel like explaining cricket or rugby! 
(So frustrating when these pictures won't upload correctly - can't even tell you how many times I rotated it..)
Sports bingo - special education
Then everyone got a cupcake to decorate and of course eat!! I had my math class make these cupcakes earlier, so they were nice and fresh.

Some students went a little overboard with the sugar and sprinkles, but hey, as long as they were having fun, right?
cupcake
We ended the event with an awesome game of hot potato. Because when is a game of hot potato not amazingly awesome?! I used the Pandora station "today's hits" to get some age appropriate beats. (In case you didn't know, "beats" is the new cool way to say "tunes" or "music", that's what I learn from subbing during my plan period!)

It went really well and I'm excited for our next event!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

3ELove - my new favorite company!

I just have to introduce you to one of my all-time favorite companies as a special education teacher. No, it's not anything curriculum or school supplies...it's clothing!!

Maybe you've seen this symbol before. If not, you're pretty much going to fall in love the second you look at it (I know I did!) Ready?? Here it is!
It's the wheelchair heart symbol - from the 3ELove site, described as "a symbol of society accepting people with disabilities as equals and a symbol that people with disabilities accept their challenges and even embrace them. By replacing the wheel with a heart, the stigma of the wheelchair is also removed, and it can be a symbol for people with any disability or impairment. It represents the person, not society's perception of him or her." Read more about the symbol here.

Are you not in love yet? As soon as I was introduced with the company, I got an order together with over 40 people in my department and now we all proudly wear our 3ELove attire.

Stevie, the CEO of this company, is awesome and I worked with him to put our order together. I had people getting all sorts of different things and he did awesome getting everything together so smoothly and quickly too! Everything came packaged individually for each person who ordered!! It was awesome. And in case you were wondering, no, this is not a sponsored post, Stevie doesn't even know I'm writing this :) I just love the company and the idea behind it all, so I want to help spread the word!

Last time I ordered from this company, I got these two shirts:
I obviously got the "special education" shirt from their occupational series, but they have one for everyone! Nurse, OT, Speech Path, Social Work, Bus Driver, etc! They have family ones too: brother, sister, mom, grandpa, etc. And I wore my pink shirt today :)

What might I get next time? The love hooded zip-up in asphalt! Sigh. It's beautiful!!

And right now they are having a SALE since this past Sunday, the 20th was the national day of acceptance. The sale runs through the 27th of this month! Many shirts just $12!!!!!!

I hope I introduced you to this awesome company if you hadn't heard of them before. Let me know if you pick anything out - so many fun things.

Now, onto the "What Did They Say?" linky party - click the button below to read more and to join in the fun!

What Did They Say!? 
I'm stealing borrowing sharing one of the cutest stories I have ever heard. One of my college friends is also a special educator and she got engaged over Christmas break. (YAY! And I just have to share, my husband and I totally set up them. They are so perfect for each other.) Anyway, she is telling her students this, and one of her kids asked, "So, who bowed down to you?" SOOO cute!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Interactive Life Lessons - GFClearnfree.org

GFC Learn Free - have you heard of it? Best website ever!!
This site has interactive lessons (I call them games to my students) on a whole slew of functional topics and skills. (And other stuff like powerpoint, excel, publisher, etc that you might find helpful even for yourself!)

So here's the direct link to the Everyday Life Tutorials - http://www.gcflearnfree.org/everydaylife

Here you will find interactive lessons on baking, making change, using a map, paying bills, telling time, using a microwave and more! Oh, and did I mention it's all FREE!

Below is a snapshot from the interactive vending machine tutorial.
I use this website in many of my classes as whole class instructional activities as well as during independent student work. My students love this and even continue playing after the bell rings and it's break time! In case you can't tell, I'm quite excited about this site and hope you get a chance to check it out and use it in your classroom as well.

They also have a section for learning English. Great for ELL, ESL, or special education learners!
Check it out! I promise you'll find so many awesome things. Share any other favorite sites in the comments!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities

MLK Jr. Activities for special ed or early learners
 Since Martin Luther King Jr. day is coming up, I'm taking this week to talk about MLK Jr. in my history class. I figured I'd share my plans and ideas with you now so you can use them too! Be prepared to see a lot of TPT freebies that I found and loved! :)

First, you have to check out this YouTube video called "Martin Luther had a Dream" sung to Nelly's "Just a Dream." My students kept asking to watch it again. It might become a daily thing as we continue to talk about him! It's pretty catchy.
 
There is an awesome Brain Pop video on Martin Luther King Jr - and it's a free one! I love Brain Pop :) I usually use Brain Pop Jr. with the levels of students I have in my history class - but I just paused it frequently and discussed various parts of the video so it worked well.

I used the timeline worksheet found in Laura Candler's TPT freebie of MLK Jr. worksheets to go along with this Brain Pop video.  As we watched the video we would stop it as soon as we heard a date and then filled in the correct box. I wrote these on the board as we found them - check out my talented illustrations!
Martin Luther King timeline

After we were done with the video students cut out the squares the wrote on and put the dates in order. We then added boardmaker pictures to symbolize each major event in his life. You can see a few of the timelines below. Sorry, I can't seem to get this picture to rotate...
Martin Luther King Jr. Timelines w/ Free Brain Pop Video

Here's another amazing TPT project on listening for details from K. Ratliff. I love these little cards. Each one has a statement about Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and then asks a very simple question based on the statement. Below is an example of the choices I give students after reading a question such as this one. Some students don't need choices at all...and other students I know they will just pick the last one I read.
MLK Listening Activity 

The following activities are scheduled for the rest of this week. I'm excited to see how they go!
I'm planning on using this Just/Unjust sorting activity. It will be interesting to see what my kids think is fair / not fair.

Here's a 5 page book with an assessment page!  I really like this one because it has fill-in-the-blanks to complete the sentences on each page. I'll have some of my students write in the blanks and other students glue pictures with symbols in the right spots.

I also love this Mini MLK Reader from Simply Kinder.

If you have boardmaker, I found some great activities on Boardmaker Share too. There's a one page story written with symbols and a page of fill-in-the-blank questions to go along with the MLK story.

So, what are you doing for Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Behavior Puzzle & Update on Christmas Break Goals

So how was your first week back everyone? It was an interesting one for me. I have a new student who just transferred to our school. He is one of the higher students in my class and feels like he doesn't belong. He also is not at all motivated to do anything and has spent most of the week putting his head down on his desk or outside of the classroom refusing to work. He had a behavior management plan at his previous classroom, but when I tried to use the same materials he ripped them up. So...time to come up with a new plan.

Right now the expectation is to participate in class (head up, answer questions, do work given). Those three forms of participation are listed on his daily communication sheet along with his class schedule, what he did in each class, and a place for a + or - for behavior. He will receive a + for behavior if he receives less than 3 warnings. Then the immediate reward for receiving a + (starting at the 5 minute bell and continuing through the passing period) could be 1)lifting weights in the fitness center for 5-10 minutes or 2)take a break walking the school or 3) something else he chooses.
Also, for each class that he has expected behavior he can also receive a piece of a puzzle, either an Xbox or a dollar – whatever the reward might be that he will receive at home (which will change so it will be interesting to see if he responds better to a certain one). There are 7 class periods, so 7 opportunities to earn a piece of the puzzle, and we are starting with just a 4 piece puzzle. Above you can see the example of the puzzle for the dollar reward. Below is the story for the Xbox puzzle:

I enjoy playing Xbox.
My parents will let me play Xbox if I have a good day at school.
I can earn a piece of my Xbox puzzle for each class period I am good.
I need to:
  • Keep my head up
  • Participate
  • Do my work
If I do those things I will earn a piece of the Xbox puzzle.
Once I have earned all of the pieces of my Xbox, I will be able to play my Xbox at home.
 
If you would like a copy of this story and puzzle to edit for yourself feel free to email me. I tried to upload it onto Goggle Docs but the format got all messed up. Also, feel free to ask questions if I made this confusing! :) Anyway, wish me luck with this one!

So, how did you do on your Christmas break goals? My goals were...
1) Read at least THREE books. I read one! It was called The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America - a great book on the care of many Russian children with special needs. It was shocking and crazy to think that this was all happening while I was growing up and is probably still going on today.

2) Stencil our bedroom wall! I won a Cutting Edge stencil earlier this year, and can't figure out what to do with it, so I should just go for it! Done! Except I didn't do our bedroom wall, I did a wall in our living room! I love it, and you can see all of the pictures here!

3) Make banket to give to my family. (It's dutch thing) Gave it to my aunts and uncles for Christmas presents. And grandparents and parents too! Everyone loved it :) See it here on instagram!

4) Update my Breezy Pink Daisies blog button and a few blog updatey things, like social network buttons for both this blog and my other one. I kinda did this one - on my Breezy Pink Daisies blog. I updated my about me on my sidebar with linked social network buttons...but I don't like it and feel like I just need to start all with my blog design. However, I'm loving the format of this blog :)

5) Work on my TPT store, upload a few more things I already use my in my classroom so I can share those with all of you! I didn't work on my store too much...but I had my very first sale!!! It was my liberty bell mini-unit. I hope the teacher and her students love it!

6) Increase my blog followers by 21 to 50. Can I do it? It's a big jump, but go big or go home, right?! :) Help out if you don't follow me already, do so on my sidebar please, and let me know so I can follow you back!! So close, made it to 44. That's pretty awesome, so I'm excited even though I didn't quite make my goal.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reading and Paying Bills + my funny students

Money, money, money, money, monnnnnney...

So most of my students probably won't have to pay bills, but who knows maybe some of them will. Even if they never pay a bill in their life I figure it's good to know what's going on - because someone in their life is paying for all the things they have. So with this activity, I expect that my students will know what a bill is, the things we have to pay for (electricity, phones, internet, etc), and that money is need to pay for things - all good concepts for better understanding life. And if they can actually learn how to pay a bill on their own, even better!

So technically, I use this activity and worksheet in our math class, but we use a lot of reading skills as well, so it can totally be for language arts too. I give my students a bill - I don't simplify them at all but will highlight some of the key info for some students (you can find a variety of bills to use with a simple google search) - and the fun begins!!
We go over this many times as a class and we look for basic information such as due date, amount due, account number, company name, and address. The worksheet available on my TPT store (for free) has these items listed so students can record them as they find them, as well as address an envelope (I know you don't actually have to address the envelope when paying a bill, but it's a good skill to have!) and write out a check. I also project this worksheet right onto my whiteboard so I can fill in the worksheet along with them.

When writing a check I obviously have students sign their name...and one time I wrote "your name" on the signature line up on my whiteboard as an example. Can you see where this is going? :) Definitely had two students write "your name" on their paper...lol I love my students!

And now for part 2 of this post: I saw this linky party at A Turn to Learn and HAD to join! The theme is funny things your students said this week. Well, since I didn't see any students these week (Christmas break, yay!!!), I'll share one of my favorites that happened last year:
What Did They Say!?

Student: Mrs. Holtrop, are you pregnant?
Me: (shocked) Um, no. Why do you ask?
Student: Well, uh, don't those things take about nine months and you've been married for... (student starts counting on his fingers)
Me: Uhhh, that's not quite how it works.
Student: Wait, but I thought that once you...
Me: (Quickly interrupting) Nope and, um, what are you working on, oh yes let's work on math.

:) Wish you could have been there. Head over to A Turn to Learn and link up - I love this idea for a linky party and will love to read what your students have said!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Janurary Currently

 Well, you are lucky today because here's post #2 of the day! I can't pass up a "currently"! :)

As odd as this might sound, I think I'm more surprised that it is January than the fact that it's a new year! How did this happen? We've hardly gotten any snow yet, and I live in Chicago (grew up in Michigan), I'm used to snow! Well, with a new month comes a new currently from Farley's! YAY! :)
Photobucket
These are always so much fun to fill out.

Listening: I am so blessed with a husband who cleans. Yes - he leaves dirty dishes everywhere but at least he vacuums and cleans the tub. I love that :) Oh, and he does laundry too. Yeah, he's a keeper.

Loving: I got some awesome gifts this year, including an electric sander! I'm looking forward to trying out my DIY skills with that one. Let's hope I don't ruin anything...

Thinking: Seriously - how do I only have 3 more days of break left (4 including today, but today is already half over!) I really need to be more productive and work on that list I wrote myself. Ha!

Wanting: Yes, a fireplace TV stand. How awesome is that?! My husband and I were going to buy one for ourselves as a Christmas gift - but they never go on sale.We might end up paying full price, but we're both quite frugal so it might be a little while longer!

Needing: I don't know why, but my feet are always SO cold. I even got lots of furry sock for Christmas and am wearing some right now. It's like they just enjoy being cold. Sad day.

OLW: Pray. I really would love to take more time this year to pray, about everything!
Ephesians 6:18 Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Breezy Special Ed

Monday Mornings in my classroom: Weekend Reports

I love Monday mornings in my classroom :)

Why? Because I have a lesson planned for every Monday morning with practically no planning on my part. Ahhh...it's wonderful. But, don't start thinking that I'm a lazy teacher! It's a great activity that works on listening, speaking, writing, reading, and social skills. It can't get any better than that, right?

On Fridays all students get their homework for the weekend - to write down what they did over the weekend. I have different formats based on student needs. Some students write their responses and other students type and email them in. (Since I can't count on all of the parents, um I mean students to finish their homework, I allow about 15 minutes at the beginning of the class for students to finish their work if they didn't do it while other students work on a different task.)

They all take turns sharing their reports. I have an "accomplishment checklist" that students mark off after they presented their report which motivates some students. I also have students volunteer to read their report instead of me calling on anyone. Sometimes we have awkward silence and it took a while at first, but now, halfway through the year of doing this, I have most of my students volunteering on their own which is awesome! Also, I now have students asking me what I did over the weekend! It's great to see these skills being carried over to typical social situations.

Other students are reminded to listen when others are talking and to think about what the speaker is saying. Students have a sheet that they write down something each person did and they can also ask questions (sometimes prompted by me. Ex. hm, he said he went to see a movie. I wonder what movie he saw. What could we ask to find out?)

I have included my weekend report packet on my TPT store.
Special Ed Weekend Reports Social LA ActivitySpecial Education Weekend Writing Prompt

Pages included are:
2-3: (Advanced) Basic weekend prompt, p3 has more space between lines
4-6: (Beginner) Detailed weekend prompts (On Friday I watched…), p5-6 have more writing space
7-8: (Higher) Weekend prompts with Who, What, and Where, p8 has more space between lines for writing
9: Weekend Fill-ins on Monday

I would love for you to download this AMAZING resource and try it out in your classroom! If you use it, I would love to hear how it goes so either leave a comment here or leave feedback on my TPT store. Morning mornings will never be the same again - you can thank me for that later :)

and Happy New Year!!
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