Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Let's Get Talking Tuesday


So last week I attended an AAC conference on how to implement vocabulary core boards in your classroom (and we will be meeting again throughout the year!). Last year I started introducing it to my kiddos at the very end do the year and we saw a huge improvement in the kiddos and that was in just a short amount of time. So this year I am super excited to start the year with these vocab core boards. So every Tuesday I am going to start talking about what I have learned about using the boards, activities that we have done, and challenges we have faced. 




So how do you start with vocab core boards?

1. Find the board that you wan to use. At the conference we were given 4 different boards. 32 words, 57 words, 85 word and 194 words.
For whole group activities we are using the 57 word board. 
We will differentiate the boards based on the students ability to use the board. 



2. Decide how you are going to make it accessible in the classroom. 
I have decided to get one large board. Then, we are going to make a class set of the 57 word board and differentiate the boards based on need (I will talk more about how we do this as I go).



I will be updating the board to the one we got at the conference. (see above)


3. Decide when during the day you are going to have your vocab board time. This time should be 5-no longer than 20 minutes.
We have decided to do it during circle time #2. 

So we are starting with circle time to introduce the words and then we are going to gradually use the boards throughout the day. (we are going to do circle time, then snack, then centers, then sensory, then play). How fast will we increase?! We are not sure yet. We will see how comfortable we are with using the boards and how the kids seem to be responding to using the board. 

4. Initially for the first week we are going to MODEL! This is the key. Model, model, model. When teaching the students to use the board you do not want to prompt the kiddos because then they will become dependent on you doing it for them. Model it throughout as much of the day as possible for them. 
5. Last, but not least to get started...what words are you going to introduce? On the 32 word board the first 4 words most commonly used are: I, like, not, want. These words we are going to do specific activities with that will be geared towards these words. (The activities we will use are going to be introduced next week). To see the order of the words and how they should be introduced you can find that here. We were told one set may take one to four weeks so initially we are planning on introducing four words over a two week period. Again, this may be faster or slower depending on how the kiddos learn them.
If you are using core vocabulary words and have any tips or tricks to get started please let me know! I am learning as I go.
Also, follow me on instagram for some pictures in action! 
@funinecse


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Spedtacular Sunday Social Stories

Social stories are something I use in my classroom on a daily basis in my classroom and since starting to use them they have really helped reduce certain behaviors in my classroom. 


Social stories are short stories that explain a situation or behavior and why it is a good or sad choice. It also explains what a the better choice is and why it is more appropriate.

Many of my kiddos don't always know that what they are doing isn't a happy choice, but they also don't know what that happy choice is. So this is a great tool to show them why and what they should do in the classroom to stay safe and keep everyone else safe and also the better way to handle the situation.


We start reading social stories at the start of the school year before the behaviors occur. If we can prevent the behavior even before it starts then that is a plus (we usually read about how to use the playground, sit at circle time, not to run away). There are always behaviors that individual students do and if you see those you can read the social story after the behavior has occurred the first time and explain why it was a sad choice.Then, the next day if it is a behavior that is going to occur again then try to read the social story before it even occurs to prevent it. We sometimes do this at table time individually or with the small group. The biggest thing is to make sure the child is a calm enough that they are willing to look at the social story and are willing to listen because if they are all upset this may make them more upset. 

For some of my kiddos I have created simple happy or sad choice charts. The story is too long for their attention span and they do not quite understand what it is asking. By having to look at pictures with the choices it is much more concrete for them because most times they want to make the happy choice. 

Social stories are great for all students because it provides a visual way to show them what is the happy choice and why and how to handle a situation better.



Now for your freebie. 


I Do Not Touch Shirts Social Story Freebie


You can check out more social stories for your classroom here
Check out more fun freebies at The Bender Bunch!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Spedtacular Sunday Freebie

This year I decided to change up my circle time board. I used to have very large posters and decided to make them fit on the board so that the kiddos are able to see the shape and color of the week all week. So I made these smaller shape posters. You can grab them here. 


Shape Posters Freebie

Enjoy! Find more freebies here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Five for Friday


1. Preschool Screener went very smoothly this week. Now on to writing up IEPs and holding the meetings next week.
2. I am on instagram...I know I am super late to the party! I signed up a long time ago and was overwhelmed and didn't really try it, but I am going to be trying it again (and with more success!). 
Follow me on Instagram here or @funinecse

3.So this week was a super crazy! I have been in the dr with my kids 4/5 days. We have had pink eye, strep throat, dislocated elbow, and ear infection. Needless to say, since returning to work this week I have felt some major Mom guilt! :(
4.  Before the dislocated elbow incident yesterday I was able to get in my room for a short time and get my 'closet area' all made up. 

Everything is labeled.

Workboxes are sorted.


And it is good to go!

5. Check out this fun Apple Maze Freebie here
Ethan loves mazes and was super excited about this!
If your kiddos like that check out my ABC Mazes or Number Mazes or Shape Mazes
They are great for fine motor practice and identification!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Art Center Blog Hop





When I first started in ECSE my fine motor center was mostly arts and crafts. As my students needs have changed so has the 'art center'. Now it is more of a fine motor center. It is more about pre-writing skills, pre-cutting skills, increasing their core strength, and all about fine motor practice. 
This center is a daily center. While at the center the students is led by my aid. The center consists of 3-4 students. 
The importance of this center is to prepare students for writing and cutting.  
It teaches students how to follow directions. I do this through visuals that show what to do step by step. You can find these visuals here
You can read more about how I store and use these pictures here
This center also teaches students how to ask for help or clarification.
Teaches students to be creative. 
Exposes students to a variety of art materials. 
It exposes students to shapes, colors, awareness of lines, and dimensions. 
Increases spatial awareness (where things need to be placed and the size of items). 
This center also increases students social skills by talking with their peers about what they are making. Answering questions that are posed and asking questions about others work.
 

Materials Needed:
kwik stix (love these because they are mess free!)
variety of paint
pom-poms
salad spinner- (my kids love spin art projects)
a variety of tongs
pipsqueak markers (forces students not to grasp the marker incorrectly)
large crayons broken into pieces (again forces students to grasp correctly)
chalk
lacing cards
Feed the Animals from Lakeshore
a variety of scissors
paintbrushes
glue
Aluminum foil
cardboard
variety size of paper and construction paper
contact paper
easel (helps increase the core so students hold the writing utensil correctly)
chalkboards (also in a vertical position)
stickers
bingo daubers
yarn
There is probably a ton of other items we use that I totally forgot about! Is there anything you cannot live without in your art center area?
The teacher's role is to help students grasp the items correctly and to guide them, but to let the student's create without making it identical to the model or the exact same. Encourage creativity and how to make an idea come to life.
Hop on over to Preschool Wonders for more great Art center ideas!
Inline image 1

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fun with ABC's

Last year I created a variety of ABC activities to help my little ones learn to identify the letters, letter sounds, discriminate letters, beginning sounds, and write the letter. 
The great thing about the amount of activities is you can reach your students that are just learning to identify letters to students that are ready for beginning sounds. Also, if you have students for more than one year (I have some of my kiddos for up to three or four years) you have enough different activities that the kiddos won't have to repeat any. 
There are Alphabet Language Cards great for increasing vocabulary and talking about beginning sounds. 
There are ABC foldable books. Students trace the lower case letter and at the back of the book practice tracing and writing the letter. 

There are ABC Adapted Books great for reinforcing words that begin with a particular letter. 
There are cut and sort beginning sound word sorts.
There is upper and lower case discrimination stamping.  
Beginning Sound Spin and Color
Write, Color and Stamp Letters






You can find the ABC Mega Pack here. It is half off for the next 24 hours!



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday





Well, my summer is over and preschool screener has begun! We do a child find every summer and then screen the students to determine appropriate preschool placement. It is a two-week process. 





My room is in the process of being put together. I did a lot of rearranging to make more defined areas in the room and to add some storage for my our gross motor materials. 
Disclaimer: It is still a work in progress! :)












A couple of weekends ago one of my best friends from college got married! It was a fun wedding on the water on the west side of MI. It is beautiful over there!





I have been trying to spend as much time in the pool and with my kiddos these last few weeks. We went to the zoo and saw the baby giraffe and visited the penguin house one more time! We have gone for some bike rides and to the park too!