Monday, December 1, 2014

Edmark Reading Program in an Autism Classroom

 Today I wanted to share something that I use in my classroom and love to use for almost all my students. Every one of us works with our students on reading. Whether we are working on reading signs in the community or books, newspapers, or something on a cereal box our students need to know how to read as much as they can.

One resource that I felt has been super helpful with my students is the Edmark Reading Program. This program is an intervention based and discrete trial based reading program that works with students on sight words to build their abilities to read. The one thing that I really like is the ability to implement repetition with the students to build their accuracy in reading the sight words. It provides you with multiple ways to access the same information so that the students can be super saturated with the information which for students like mine that take a lot of experiences with it to put it into their "known" file in their brain is very important.

The other thing that I like is there is tons of resources. Let me just show you a few, or maybe a ton!
I apologize for the orientation. I tried to fix it and when I did the quality of the pictures were horrible. That to me, defeated the whole purpose of the photos! You need to be able to read what is on them! Anyways, so here they are sideways, backwards, and upside down! Sorry! 

So here is the program book. You of course need to use the mastery test of pre-assessment tools to tell you where to start and at what lesson for each student depending on their prior reading ability. Once you have done that you use this book which is super easy to follow as a teacher, paraprofessional or a parent helper in your classroom. It tells you what less you are on and the activities that are available within that lesson. You can keep anecdotal records and dates of completion on it as well. 

This is an example of the Word Recognition piece of the lessons. This is there for every lesson to do with the students. You use the orange cover to only show one line at a time and you work through the pages asking the students to read them, find them, or repeat them. This is the discrete trial training model that the curriculum has. I think it is super effective. Even if you have students that learn patterns really quickly. No lesson is the same so you don't have to worry about a student memorizing it! 

This is the Stories section. There is not always a story for each lesson but, when you get a story the nice thing is that it only incorporates words that the student has mastered in other lessons. So, no new words will pop up on you. This makes it more predictable for students and easier to read. 

This is called Picture Match. This is with a lot of the earlier lessons but, still mixed in throughout the higher ones too. The student has to take the board, read the words and then on the next picture below use the picture cards to match to the words on the board. These also get harder as you get into higher lessons. 

Here are the Picture Match and Phrase Match cards. Both sets are super useful with the boards. The picture below shows you what the Phrase Match cards go to. The board has all pictures on it in a reverse style set up so that it assesses students ability to do skills in different ways! LOVE IT! 
 Then we come to the extras! There is another piece to Edmark Reading Program that can be purchased seperately. I got these materials on a jump drive that can be downloaded onto my laptop and be shared with others. This was very nice to have. Then your district doesn't have to buy a set for each teacher! This is an example of the Spelling component.  The students have to follow the directions to practice not only reading the words but, spelling them too.
 These are called Take Home Readers. They don't have to be taken home but, they are small decodable books that have comprehension questions with them that can be read by the students and answered. The words again aren't any harder then the lesson that the student is on.
 Another great piece to the extra resources are the comprehension worksheets. There are two examples here. The one above shows the easier or earlier lessons where the students do a lot of picture matching and small sentence reading. The picture below shows how the students have to find which word fits best into the sentence without picture support which for my students can be much harder.

 Lastly, the picture above and the two pictures below are considered Homework activities. These are things that could be sent home as homework. I am not as much of a fan of these but, I think that is because the students I work with are older and feel like they are too easy for them. I'd be more likely to send the comprehension, spelling, or take home readers home for homework then this. I can see where it has  it's benefits though.

Well, I hope that I provided you with some insight into Edmark Reading Program and shown how it was really been a great resource in my classroom. There is a second level to the version I have shown you with even harder words and concepts. There also is another program called Edmark Functional Words with more things likes grocery, job skills, restaurant, and community type words. With the same style and format of this program. Just got that and plan to let you know how that works too in the near future. 

In the meantime, there was one thing that I found when using Edmark that I still needed that the program did not provide. I had students that struggled with remembering some of the sight words so I created a product and it is available on TPT.  It is called Edmark Picture Word Cards - BUNDLE Here is a little sneak peak at it! 

Also, due to the upcoming holiday, from Friday November 28th to Sunday November 30th all products in my store will be 20% off! So get it now and save some money! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Special Educators Blog Hop and a Freebie!

This is exciting! I love when people that are so passionate about something can come together and do something awesome! All the bloggers that you are going to see during this hop are super talented and have great ideas to offer! I am just lucky to be considered a part of that group.

So first, I am going to start you off with a tip/trick. This might seem like a simple one but, it definitely keeps things running smoothly in my classroom. There are so many factors that can help or hurt a lesson when you are trying to keep students on the autism spectrum engaged. They can be focused on their favorite movie, the next ipad game they are going to play, and when they get to take their next break so you can NOT have anything putting your lesson to a stop because these students are so easily distracted. Things have to run smoothly, if you can make it that way.

 I started to notice a pattern in my classroom that the little things started hurting those lessons and I'd loose my students attention. I started paying attention to the details. The fact that I didn't have pencils right at the table where my kids worked was a distraction because someone had to get up go find pencils or the students had to go back to the desks and that was horrible trying to get them to come back to the table to work. I realized that everything having a "home" that made sense and was functional for everyone was very important.

So my big advice and tip to you is:

Have everything at your fingertips where you need it for each activity. Be proactive and plan ahead! 

That's it, I know super easy but, let me show you some pictures of my classroom set ups and give you an idea of what I mean. 

Yeah, I know that board is a mess, but it works! So, here is a break choice board that one of my students use to vary their reinforcers for their breaks. Otherwise we would draw 30948390 times a day! So, I have all the things there that she would need to check off, clean, and keep track of her breaks. You know how annoying it would be if she had to disturb someone teaching to get her a marker! 

Everything is accessible! If you have been to my blog before you have seen this chart. I use this to tell my students what work boxes they are working on that day. The part I wanted to point out is the marker ready to go already velcroed to the sheet so that if a box needs to be changed it can be done right then and there with no searching around the room for a marker. Also, the "Today is..." clip that gives a visual to my student helper that places all the letters and numbers on each student's desk is essential to helping that student be independent in completing that task. 

 I know weird basket of random objects. This is a caddy I use to store most of the materials that I use during my Morning Meeting time with my students. The point is, that it is all there and ready to go. I don't need to run around the room to look for a calendar number or a holiday marker. I got it all together!
Last but definitely not least, my caddy that I keep at my table when I'm working with students. There are endless tools in this puppy and I didn't post it but, right next to it is a second one with more goodies in it! There is no excuse for a student to get up when I have all this right here at both of our fingertips and I get to keep instructing and they get to keep learning. I even have visuals in the back and data sheets underneath for easy access! 

Speaking of keeping great things at your fingertips it is time for the freebie! I had to think hard about what I wanted to give you this time around. I wanted it to be useful and perhaps something that you'd keep in your bag of tricks close by like I suggested in my tip.

I decided that something I have at my table in a separate caddy is this product! My WH- Visual Chart. It can be used in lots of different ways but, mostly I whip it out in a quick situation where a student is being asked a question and they need a visual prompt to remind them of how they should answer their question. In this freebie you will find who, what, where, and when examples. Check out the freebie here WH-Visual and my TPT store  Teach.Love.Autism for other great products!

By the way, before you leave during the time of this blog hop from Friday, November 28th to Sunday November 30th everything in my TPT store is 20% and on December 1st-2nd I'm participating in the big sale from TPT. 

125 × 125

Thanks for checking in.  For more freebies and tips, continue the trip through the blog hop by checking out Mindful Rambles...just click the button below.
 photo mindfulramblesvintagebutton_zps5028e16d.png

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guess What's Coming!

On Friday November 28th all of these wonderful special educators are going to be involved in a blog hop. You can start here by looking at my blog for my great tip and freebie and then move along to others to get theirs as well! Stay tuned it's going to be fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Work Basket Wednesday, November Style...

Workbasket Wednesday at Autism Classroom News

Yes! I think this is my favorite time of the month! Work Basket (or in my classroom Work Task) Time! I love working with my students on these. They are the most independent and functional tasks my students do in the classroom. I was lucky enough to have 2 areas of my room that I can dedicate to this. The theme was "packaging tasks" and as I looked in my room I wasn't sure if I had them and then it dawned on me. So keep reading as I share my tasks for this month's linkup with Autism Classroom News.

My work task shelves are my pride and joy. I got great ideas from The Autism Helper and a few other awesome special education bloggers out there on how to set this up the first year in my classroom. I have over 100 boxes currently available for my students to use and I have tons more just stored away neatly in ready to go bags that all I have to do is dump and go! I love it! It is so efficient and so fast and my students get countless hours of meaningful work to do!

This month for Work Basket Wednesday I decided to share two that I have shared in the past. These are new ones for the school year but, I did do a post on them previously ------> here. Check them out!

With this box the students have to repackage the clips in the boxes that they belong it. Way easy to come up with! I just had an abundance of these clips in my supply closet! 

The next one is a packaging task where the students have to follow the template to fill the small square containers with one of each color of the blocks and close it with the lid. Simple but, multi-steps are needed to do this so following structure and routine is important. 

My other new baby this year is my "Life Skills Area". In this area I have taken things that students are likely to be doing at home or on a job site to practice in a more meaningful way. They vaccuum, wipe tables, sort laundry, and more! (A post about this is coming so I don't want to give away the juicy details!) So I choose 2 tasks from there as well to share! Here they are!

For this task the students have to put together the test tube and the top and place it into the carrier tray. Once they have filled it they have to take them out and take them apart again.
Sorry this pic is upside down. I can't figure it out so hopefully all you teachers out there can read it! This is a packaging task where the students take the beads that match the colors on the paper and have to package them as if they were pills into the pill container. I love this because it is definitely something they would need to do in their real life! 

Well, I hope you got some great ideas and please stop by again soon as I plan to share the rest of the making of my "Life Skills Area" of my classroom. I am so proud of the work my students do and so proud to share it with all of you! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Currently...

Okay, okay I was just getting back into the blogging groove and I lost it again. I'm late on my currently, and a few other monthly posts I like to join in on. Here is my super brief currently. Thanks to Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for making this super cute one! Take a gander! :)

Listening- I always have background noise on when she sleeps and when I sleep.
Loving- I think that this is my favorite time of the year. Then my least favorite comes... WINTER
Thinking- I have so many great things going on in my life right now. Just feeling super BLESSED!
Wanting - I ruined my current pair when dealing with a student while having a meltdown. That's what I get for trying to be trendy at work.
Needing- This bed time thing just never seems to come early enough. Like tonight.
Reading- I am not much of a reader, but if I find a good blog I like I will stay up forever and read it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Weekend Sale!

Hello There!

I can't believe it has almost been 2 months of school done and down the drain! Feels like it was just summer and I was worried about getting things ready.

AnyBOO, (ha, did you get it??)... I decided that in honor of that and Halloween I would throw a sale. Grab everything in my TPT store for 20% off from Thursday, October 30th through Sunday November 2nd. Stock up on some of those wishlisted items or check out my store for the first time and see what I have! Here are a few of my best sellers..

So, while you are on that sugar high from eating all that candy, take some time to check out what I have in my store and get a great deal!  Happy Halloween Everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Teaching Pet Peeves

So, as I was reading around some fellow bloggers blogs I found one that was all about that bloggers pet peeves (non-teaching blogger). It kind of inspired me to work on a post that talked about about my pet peeves as a teacher.

1. I hate disorganization. Everything in my classroom has to have a home. So, students that lack this capability really get on my nerves and I make it my goal to get them organized. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

2.  I hate crooked things. Things need to by symmetrical and/or lined up straight. I literally stagger my bulletin board titles so that you can't tell if they are not lined up right. (Teacher trick I learned. 

3. I hate when other teachers think I do nothing all day and basically tell me that. 

4. I hate when a student is absent because it makes the day go sooooooo much longer. 

5. I hate when my ipad is dying. I sometimes forget to plug the charger in before I leave for the day and then the whole next day I am stuck attached to this cord and unable to move around the classroom because if I unplug it I can't work on it. 

6. I hate when the volume on my smartboard is on an odd number. This also goes for my car, my TV and anything else with a numbered volume. I know that's just weird. 

7. I hate when my to-do list looks like a small child has written all over it (sometimes that maybe true in my case). It is so annoying and I cannot move forward on my to-do list until it looks nice, neat, and organized. 

8. I hate that other people have no idea (well except the small few other teachers like me in the world) how hard I work on a daily basis to provide appropriate education for my students. I bust my butt and I can't stand when someone tries to tell me I don't do anything or my students are incapable of "real work". Talk about someone really wanting to get me into a rage... 
9. I hate no schedule (I'm like my students on this one). I hate not knowing what is coming next and for how long I'm going to have to do it for. This includes inservice professional development trainings that feel like drag on for days... 

10.  Lastly, I hate that a majority of the students in my building have no awareness of my students. I feel like part of that can be fixed by me and I've seen other teachers do trainings or seminars in their schools for other students to allow them to understand autism and other learning disabilities. Just having a student come up to me and ask, "Is there something wrong with her?" drives me bonkers. I can't imagine if I was a parent of a student with autism and the lack of understanding most people out in public would probably have. 

Alright, so I've vented, I've told you what is my major pet peeves as a teacher.  Now I'm going to challenge all my fellow blogger friends out there to share!! What are your teacher pet peeves???

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Learning to Be Proud of My Classroom...

Well, I have to say going into my second year of teaching special education and my 7th year of teaching overall has been as different as all the rest. There have been highs, lows, and times that fall somewhere in between. This blog post is going to share a time when I may have not felt confident as a teacher. I know, most of us don't show this side, but I thought it was important because I am sure I am not alone.

Last year as a first year teacher in a new subject, new grade, and new school I was nervous about when my principals sent an email out asking all the teachers in the school to make use of the walls in the hallways and display student work. I wasn't nervous because I didn't have work to hang. I had plenty of examples of work that I had stored away that I use during IEP time to show parents their child's portfolio of progress. I work my students hard and they work hard for me. We have a great thing going in my room where students are always doing something that is going to help them for the rest of their lives. I thrive on making that happen everyday for my students.

My nerves came about because I knew that what I would be putting out in the hallway would not be similar to what the other teachers were putting out there. I work in a middle school and most of my students are not working at a typical middle schoolers ability. I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they are making progress. Honestly, I bet that some of my students make more progress in a year then most students in my building do but, in my head I worried about what other teachers and students would think if I hung addition and subtraction problems while most students are doing algebra. I was worried about my students being made fun of for not being as smart as them. I was worried that other teachers would think all I do is babysit all day or teach preschool because the skills I am working on are more functional and things that many of the other students in the building learned in elementary school.

At first, I tried to have my students create these writing pieces that would look somewhat like the writing pieces that were out in the seventh grade english classroom. It was was horrible and hard. The kids hated doing it, I hated making them do it, and it just was frustrating and inappropriate all the way around. I sat in my classroom that day afterschool and looked at the writing pieces thinking. "This is not my students, this is not their work, this is not what we strive to do and be everyday of the school year."

So, I decided I wasn't going to care if kids were going to look at my bulletin board and wonder why there was counting money on a worksheet. I wasn't going to worry about if a student's writing piece looked like someone younger had done it. I knew, my staff knew, my students knew, and their parents knew that we are all working out butts off in my classroom everyday to produce this work and make it beneficial for the students so that they can be more independent and better in their lives as adults.

So, this year I decided to go all out and put up some of my student's work that we are all proud of.

It will be up all year and due to the fact that I can just change out the work on the clothespins that is what I will be doing. I will find new pieces and put them out every once in a while so that people can see all the hard work we do in my room everyday.

I know that this blog post is not to convince the other special education teachers out there. You all know that we work hard everyday. You all know that we are usually looked at as people that don't have to teach the hard stuff. This is for the people who don't know or understand the work, heart, and dedication that every special education teacher, paraprofessional, student and their families put into getting that student at their very best. And this is one of the reasons that I got into special education is because the work is hard, but the reward is even greater when that student that couldn't talk is talking to you and when that student that couldn't write their name, is writing it. This is what special education is all about and this is why I love my job, my students, my school, and my staff everyday. We do amazing things in my room and I am proud of it!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sharing What Works: Work Tasks System

I've noticed a new found love by many special education teachers. Whatever you want to call it... work tasks, job boxes, work boxes, etc. These systems that allow students to build independence in their lives through the use of some little rubbermaid containers and mostly dollar store finds is making teachers so excited! I am no different!

This was one of the first things that I set up in my room when I found out I was going to be teaching students with ASD in a self-contained classroom. I have read a lot lately though that teachers have trouble storing the items and they have problems setting it up. That students couldn't be kept engaged because they were just given whatever task was available.
My work tasks behind the blue curtain and my newly added on black shelf with about 25 more tasks in it and even more on top of it! I love them all! They are like my babies! 

Well there is a solution to all that. It is called labeling and scheduling. YES another schedule! I know it hurts to think that you have come up with another fool-proof schedule in your classroom.

If you classroom is anything like mine you have multiple schedules. You have:
-the regular building schedule
-the teacher's job duty schedule
-the para professional job duty schedule
-the students work schedule
-a schedule for when to collect data and work on IEP's

...and the list could go on and on and on for-EV-ER! Well, yes I'm going to tell you. If you haven't already added a schedule for your work tasks in your classroom then you are going to want to do it now. The time and headaches that are saved is amazing!

Here is a picture of what my work task schedule looks like.
Each student has a different set of boxes that no one else in the room has that day (so there are no mixups) and they don't do the same box twice during the week (unless I make a special exception).

Here is a close up of the Work Task Schedule in my room. This is what my student who puts the numbers on the desks uses as a reference to know what numbers and letters to put on.
I have this schedule right next to my shelves of work tasks. This is so everyone in the room can read it and knows what each student is doing at any given time during their Work Task time. The great thing about it is that it is simple, easy to read and understand, and it is laminated! So I write the number or letters under each students' name for the time being and use a dry-erase marker so that I can change easily without having to re-laminate or re-print something that was typed out. 

Here is what my students desks look like with all their tasks on them. 
I even got smart this year and made the whole process of placing the numbers or letters on the students desks into a job that another student does as part of their morning chores. I was asking one of my paras to do this every morning and she would pull her hair out trying to find the stinkin' numbers. Now, I solved the problem by getting one of my super organized students to help us out!

So, within my classroom schedule each student has time in their day to work on their work task boxes for that day. On the schedule for each day they have a different set of boxes. I have had times in the past where I had students that couldn't handle different boxes on different days so they did the same ones over and over. I don't like doing this because I think students should have variety because not everyday in their life is realistically going to be the same but, for this particular student it worked well. 

During their "Work Task" time and during any other "down time" students may work to complete their work boxes. They know that when they are finished they are allowed to take a break. Again, I have adapted this for students who may need more breaks. I have students that have breaks in between boxes and halfway through depending on their ability to work independently for periods of time. 

As you have seen in many of my other posts I have all kinds of work tasks. If you haven't you can check my blog posts about work tasks here, and here, and here, and here.   Yes, they are all different links to different posts I have done on work tasks. 

Well, as I change things (because I always do) I will keep you posted. I plan to continue this with a post all about my new "Life/Functional Skills Area" that I have created new in my classroom this year. I've shared pictures but now I'm going to explain how it works too! It is a whole other type of work task time for my students but mostly focusing on Life and Functional Job Skills.