Saturday, January 14, 2017

Task Boxes Glore

Here are some of the task boxes I've knocked out since we went back to school after winter break. Most of the materials came from the Target dollar stop. If you need a few tips for making task boxes, check out this post!

I found these cute little guys at IKEA for $3.99! They make a great color matching/ fine motor task!

The little mailboxes are from the Valentine's Day section of the dollar spot at Target. The balls are also from the dollar spot!

I removed the lids from the mailboxes (above) and used them as color sorting contains for these little foam heart pieces (also from the Target dollar spot). 
I love these little textured balls from Target. They make a great put-in task for my kiddos with visual impairments. 

Super easy Valentine's Day themed task box! Just printed 2 black and white coloring sheets, colored them and BAM!

These little winter/ Christmas themed erasers are on clearance at Target and are great for a sorting task.

Dominoes and coins make a cheap and easy sorting task. 

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Core Vocabulary Tubs/ Activities

A few weeks ago I got a few questions about what I store in my core vocabulary tubs. I have been meaning to work on this post since then, but I was busy finishing grad. school (YAY!) and then I got sick. So better late than never, right?!

Go/ Stop-

Material ideas:
  • wind up toys (animals or vehicles are easy to find at the dollar store)
  • cars, trains,
  • books about transportation/ vehicles, things that go, etc. Get a books for free here, here, and here.
Activity ideas:
  • Talk about how vehicles go. Then practice saying, "GO, train, GO!" or "GO, car, GO!" and have the toy car/ train go. 
  • Read books about things that go. 
  • Make the sentence "I go." Then run around (the kids will think this is hilarious), then make the sentence "You go." and point to a student and encourage them to run. 
Put/ in/ on

Material ideas:
  • cans or containers
  • manipulatives for put in, my kiddos love bells and balls that make noises
  • magnet and metal manipulatives
  • Stuffed animals/ toys
Activity ideas:
  • Practice putting objects in a can/ container. The more noise the object makes as it goes into the container, the better!
  • Practice putting objects on magnets
  • Practice putting preferred items on body parts ("PUT Pete the Cat ON your head")
Turn/ want

Material ideas:
  • motivating toys, instruments 
Activity ideas:
  • Give all the students 2-3 options (for example: piano, tambourine, and maraca), have each student say "I want ___". You will need voice output devices and picture cards for kiddos who are non-verbal. Then practice taking turns with the instruments. We will give a kiddo what they requested and then do a 10 second count down. Then we let the kid pick who will have the next turn.

Material ideas:
  • light up toys/ manipulatives 
Activity ideas:
  • Practice looking at the light up toys. I will normally hold the "look" card in one hand and the light up object in the other and say something like "Good! You're LOOKING at the light!"
  • Practice looking at certain objects or people in the classroom. You can give students cues like "Look at Ms. Kim!" "Look at Billy!" "Look at the door!" etc.

Same/ Different-

Material ideas:
  • Same and different books (get them for free here)
  • Variety of objects (some that are the same and some that are different)
Activity ideas:
  • Pair objects together and ask students if they are the same or different. Students can answer using the core 40 cards, by answering yes/no, shaking their head, signing, etc.
  • You can say, "I'm wearing a ___ (insert color) shirt. Who else is wearing the same color?." 

Material ideas:
  • Motivating items like stickers, M&Ms, cereal, etc.
  • Containers with lids, ziplocks (The container should be difficult for the students to open. You might need to use different containers for different kiddos.)
Activity ideas:
  • Open container and show the students the motivating items. Then close the container, hand it to the student and say "open it!" When the student starts to struggle to open it, prompt them to ask for help. 
  • Fake fall or sit on the ground and then say "Help me, help me!" and encourage students to help you up. Then students can do the same thing. My kids think this is particularly funny.

You can find a free core vocabulary books for go, same, different from my TpT here.
I hope this helps so you have any idea of how I teach core vocabulary in a hands on way. I wanted to put videos of myself teaching the mini-lessons but I'm a little too techy-challenged.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tips and Tricks for Making Task Boxes

I've had a few questions/ comments on some of my task box posts, so I wanted to share some of my responses, tips and tricks!

1) If you're cutting the lid, DON'T use the boxes from the Dollar Tree!
If you are going to cut the lid for "put in" or level 1 tasks, make sure you don't use the shoe boxes from a dollar store. Instead, get the Sterilite shoe boxes (they're still only $1.00, or less if you get them on sale). The lid on Sterilite shoe boxes is a lot thicker/ sturdier so it cuts waaay better! The lids from the Dollar Tree normally crack and split, but the thicker lids don't!
Look at the horrible crack on the left (Dollar Tree box) and then look at the perfect hole on the right (Sterilite box).
2) Use a marker and utility knife to cut the lid.
When cutting the lid, I start by using a Sharpie to mark how big of a hole I need to cut. Then I use a utility knife like this to cut the lid. You can normally get a really clean line with a good knife!

3) Storage tip: Create an organizational system to save space.
Save space by using one box for multiple put-in tasks. You can group like sized objects together and then cut a hole in 1 box that will fit all of the different objects. Store objects in ziplocks and then change them out every couple of days. This saves space of having tons of boxes and the money of buying tons of boxes!! Win win!
All of the manipulatives in the baggies fit into the whole in the box. Manipulatives can be switched out so kiddos don't get bored!

REMEMBER!! Make sure you use a velcro system for put-in boxes (for example, always put soft velcro on the box and always put hard on the objects) so that the manipulatives/ boxes can be interchangeable.

Here are a few other views of how we store task boxes.

Do you have any tips or tricks for making task boxes?!
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Tips for Ensuring Paraprofessionals Take GOOD Data

Data collection can be hard, so you should take some load off of yourself and utilize your paraprofessionals for taking meaningful data! However, you can't expect to hand a data sheet to a para and get good data... Here are a few tips to ensure that your paras are able to take GOOD data.

1) Train your paras!
I know this might sound crazy and simple, but you should thoroughly train your paras to take data before you expect them to do it! If you use different data sheets for different students, behaviors, or IEP goals, make sure you go over all the data sheets, keys on the sheets, and how often you want them taking data. Here's a link to a super basic training I did with my paras a few weeks ago. You can see, download and edit the training PPT I used here.

2) Post visuals to reinforce prompt levels 
If you're a center-based/ self-contained teacher like me, you can't just take data on whether or not a kiddo did something. In my classroom, the level of prompt needed for the student to emit the answer/ response is super important so that we can show growth. If you have to record the level of prompting that a kiddo needs to give a response, make sure you teach paras about the different prompts, the hierarchy and then post visuals around the classroom to reinforce the idea. If you want to save time, you can download the visuals for free here.

3) Simplify your data sheets
Something that can make data easier for your paras AND you is to do little steps to simplify your data collection sheets. Just think... the less writing required, the easier data collection is! So try to make sheets that can be completed by circling a prompt/code or just writing an abbreviation.

4) KISS- Keep It Super Simple
At the end of the day, make sure you create a data collection system that is easy for YOU and your paraprofessionals. If you don't keep it simple, everyone will be reluctant to take data and when data is taken, it will likely not be as reliable.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New "Put in" task boxes

With so many of our kiddos only doing level 1 or "put in" task boxes, we are constantly making new boxes to keep the kids from getting bored. We have also been trying to use materials that make noise because we have a few kiddos with vision impairments this year. Here are the latest boxes we've made all from cheap supplies from the Dollar Tree or items we already had in the classroom.

These are small yo-yo's from the Dollar Tree. They were $1 for 8! They were in the party favor section.

These little rattles were $1 for 6! I found them in the baby shower section. They're super fun because they actually make noise!

These mini-maracas are great because they make noise too! I found them in the party favor section at  the Dollar Tree.

Simple counting bears!

I found a whole bag of coins in the toy section at the Dollar Tree.

Rubber ducks! I had to buy 2 bags of ducks (there were only 4 ducks in a package) but it was well worth the $2!
I'm linking up at Autism Classroom News here!

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Quick & Easy Leveled Independent Work Activities

Creating new independent work activities is important so students don't get burned out on work, but it can be VERY time consuming! I'm all about creating quick and easy materials for independent work time/ task boxes. In this post, I wrote about how I use free printed worksheets, charts, etc. to create cheap and simple work activities.
I love using printables for work activities, but I felt like I needed a way to differentiate or level the materials so more of my kiddos could use them. So... I set out to figure out a way to created EASY leveled work activities!

What I ended up doing was printing 4 copies of a variety of black and white worksheets and charts. I used 2 copies to make a set without visual cues (or color coding) and then used the other 2 copies to create a task with visual cues. So I ended up with 2 independent work activities in two different levels! For example, the activity without color coding requires the student to have the skills to match the numbers, shapes, letters, etc., but the color coded task provides kiddos with a visual cue if they can't already match the numbers, shapes, or letters.

Check out some of the easy work activities we made. One activity is color coded, and the second doesn't have visual cues/ color coding. I'm so happy with how they came out!

Do you have any tips or ideas for creating differentiated independent work activities?

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