Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life Skills: Can't Get to the Grocery Store for a Field Trip? No Problem!!

I am a big believer that the students in my classroom need to learn as many life skills as they can. They need to know how to tie their shoes, order at a restaurant, fold the laundry, cook, and clean.
Group of Student Chefs Learning with Instructor stock photo
Another skill that is vital is to work on understanding the concept of money. It seems like we always work with our students on coin and bill identification and naming the the values. They need to know how to count that money and even more important then that, they need to know if the money in their pocket or wallet is enough to buy the item that they want.

I love to hear when teachers work with students on generalizing those skills because that is where it really counts. Our students can know all day that a penny is worth one cent but, that means nothing if they haven't practiced walking into a convenience store or grocery store and used it to pay for something.

Money Matching Task Cards: Grocery Store Edition

It is hard to plan field trip after field trip for students to go out and practice. It is hard to have a mock "store" in your classroom (although that is a goal of mine, maybe next year). So, I thought about what I could use in my classroom that would be as close to the next best thing. And out came this baby!!

It provides multiple ways for students to emulate the grocery store and practice if they have enough money to buy an item. I made it so there are multiple levels in terms of the amount of money. There are coins only, dollars only, and a combination. There also are cards with visuals and cards with numeral amounts on them.

Here is a video product preview you can check out as well!!

If you want to look at more things that I feel are important life skills for our students you can check out my Pinterest board all about teaching life skills.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Helping to Make Inclusion Work

In my experience in special education I have found one thing that is a constant struggle is finding how students with disabilities and in my case more specifically autism can fit in a regular education classroom. 

All of my students have a part of their day out in regular education. Some of my students are out for just "specials" (music, art, gym, etc.). Then I have students that are out for some of their core subjects with support and without support of a paraprofessional or other type of adult assistance. 

I would say at least quarterly, if not more, I am contacted by regular education teachers or paraprofessionals asking for advice on what to expect from my students and how they can be more involved in the classroom activities that would best fit their abilities. This by no means bothers me because I am happy to hear that they want my students to be there and be involved in their classes. 

I often spend time explaining the students strengths and weaknesses and how that can play into being more involved in the class they are currently taking. This helps but, I always feel like the regular education teachers still need more information. I was one of those regular education teachers once who only had one special education class which in no way prepared me for the differentiated students I was faced with year after year which ultimately lead to me pursuing my special education certificate. 

So, I started thinking about how if there was a place that had bundles of information on different topics, specifically about my students needs that would be great. I could just shoot the gym teacher an email and say “If you want to know more about why David hates loud noises you could read this.”  And then I stumbled upon something you may all find beneficial.

It is called Bloomboard. BloomBoard is a place where educators can learn, share, and discuss the best teaching ideas to solve everyday classroom challenges and improve their practice.

And this month they are doing something great. They are getting a bunch of bloggers together to share some of their favorite resources on Bloomboard.

So, like I said I thought it would be great to have a resource to send those teachers that work with my students in the regular education classroom. 

Here is what I meant:

"Why Won't You Look Me In The Eye?" Helping Educators Understand the Needs of Autistic Students

And there are many more collections that could be beneficial to you or to any other educational professionals. 

I also love this video to show both the teachers, paraprofessionals, and even classmates of my students:

My Autism: Meet Rosie

The next blogger that is going to showcase how she likes to use Bloomboard is Teressa Potter at An English Teacher Techie

Here is a little bio about her: 

I am a High School and Middle School language arts teacher specializing in public speaking, rhetoric, and composition. I absolutely love teaching public speaking and helping students learn to share their ideas through speeches. I also coach competitive speech and debate. Three years ago I moved into an educational technology support position, helping teachers engage their students and improve outcomes with the use of technology. I still teach public speaking every summer and coach debate.

So check out all that Bloomboard has to offer. It is a great way to find resources that are meaningful for all types of educational professionals.