This week we learned about dinosaurs (the kids LOVE it!). Here are some of the activities we did! 
1. We dug for dinosaur letters. For my morning class since many of them are nonverbal I had them match the letters and attempt to say them. 

2. We made dinosaur tracks. For some of the kiddos to make it a little less messy we used stamp pads to put the dinosaurs in. 

3. We discriminated between the dinosaur and egg...the same color or different?!

4. On Tuesday, we didn't have school because of the primaries so we went to IKEA and enjoyed some fun time at the park! It was a beautiful 70 degrees (and last week on this day I was hoping for a snow day...only in MI!)

4. I have been crafting! I love to craft and it is a great stress reliever! 
I found this cute idea on Childhood 101. I thought my kiddos would like this and it was easy to make!

I am longing for spring! My inspiration for this wreath came from Autumn Wren Designs. 

5. This Sunday is #SpedDollarDeals! Make sure to check it out!

Have a great weekend! :)

I have struggles with making my visuals accessible to my students and this year I tried this and it has helped a lot!

I have my class rules and green/ red choices up in the front of the room. Very accessible for circle time. They are are also very easy to get to when needed. To make the rules that much more accessible I have added a smaller picture of the rule underneath and attached it with velcro. If a child is struggling during circle time or any time throughout the day I take the picture off (instead of just pointing) and hand it to the child. The child is able to hold the picture until they are doing it. This also gives some of my students the opportunity to process what they are doing and what they need to be doing. It is quick and easy and does not take a lot of time from the other students during whole group. 

Red and green choices are also the new terminology I have been using this year. This has helped a lot! It is very clear cut for the students green is good and red are sad choices (I try to avoid the word bad because some of the students can't always control some of the things they do or they do not know that it isn't a good choice). 
These came from Jackie from Pocket of Preschool. She had a lot of picture choices but I just chose the ones that apply to my students specifically. I rarely pull from the red choices, but I will refer to it. 
For example, touching your friends is a red choice, a green choice is to keep your hands to yourself and I give them the green choice (the choice they should be making). Usually they stop doing the red choice and start doing the green choice. Making green choices is a big deal to my kiddos and they have started to recognize when they are making green and red choices and when others are making green or red choices. 
If a child recognizes their friend is making a red choice they will sometimes tell them that is a red choice and we have been working on how to do that appropriately. 
You can find the rules with pictures premade here or they are easy to make with your pre-existing classroom rules. It has helped a lot with whole group circle time and throughout the day! 

Throughout the year we have ASD consultants come in and give suggestions specifically for a child. I will be honest, when these suggestions are given I sometimes feel like I am a failure. I am trying my best to help all the kiddos and when I hear the suggestions (which sometimes are a lot) I feel like I am not doing all that I can as a teacher. As special ed teachers you need to constantly be tweaking things throughout the year depending on your group of kiddos, changes within individual students, and changes with the curriculum, IEP Goals, and other demands (teacher evaluations, etc.). 
Then, you meet with your ASD consultant and she or he gives you a whole list of suggestions to try in your classroom for that child. After last week's meeting I felt like I was about to cry. I felt I had failed. I felt overwhelmed. I felt had to make a ton more visuals, more schedules, more work tasks for him. However, when I got home and breathed I looked at my scribbled notes and began to think about what the consultant had said, "these suggestions are for this child." So too feel a little less overwhelmed (hopefully!) try these tips!
1. During your meeting with the consultant write everything down. 
2. Breathe.
3. Form a list. What can be done now with what I have?
What can be tweaked with what I have?
What will need to be made? 
What will have to wait?
(we can't do everything and our ASD consultant this year brought that up to me too...What can you do now?!)
3. For the things that need to be tweaked or made what materials will I need?
4. Create a Plan of Action. 
Will everything start the next day? No, take time to figure out what needs to be done and to inform everyone that is involved in helping with this plan. 
Do you want to start all these new ideas the next week? If the week is choppy (we have Tuesday and Friday off for students so next week for me is probably not the best week to start everything either) then probably not. If you can make these changes easily then go to it.
5. Create the other necessary materials and implement when you can. 
6. If you need help with creating things ask your para, speech pathologist, social worker, or the ASD consultant for help because they may have some of these things already readily made and it will be less work for yourself.
7. To make the plan run smoothly make sure to talk to all the people that are working with that child about what changes you are making because if they don't know then they will not be able to help the child or you.
8. Remember the consultant is there to help you help that child. 
9. Breathe, have some extra coffee and it will all work out! (I know...easier said than done!). 
Here are some of the changes I made very easily and quickly. 

I hope this helps! If you have any other tips to help reduce the overwhelming feeling you are sometimes left with after those meetings please let me know! :)

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