Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Practice at Home FREEBIES and Welcome!

I want to welcome all my new visitors from my friend Megan's blog at Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade Tidbits! I hope you like what you see and come visit me again soon!

As a gift for all my new visitors and to my followers tonight I am going to post several more Practice at Home lists FREEBIES!

These lists are a great resource for parents wanting a creative way to work with their child at home. I hope your parents enjoy them as much as mine do!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day!

Anyone who knows me or has visited my blog knows that children with autism are a very important part of my life. As I shared earlier this week in my Newest Autism Research post, Autism is on the rise. It is so important that we support autism awareness. Tomorrow, April 2nd, is Autism Awareness Day. Please show your support by wearing blue!

Thanks to Sylvia @ Learning with Mrs. Parker for the great button!

Must-Have IEP Organization Kit

Every SpEd teacher knows that unfortunately our jobs entails TONS of paperwork! When it came time for writing IEPs or progress reports, I always felt like I was swimming in piles of papers on my desk. I have developed some forms which help me to stay organized and prevent me from being overwhelmed.

I have compiled all of these forms to create the The SpEd Teachers’ Must-Have IEP Organization Kit and I am SO excited to share it with all of my SpEd blogger friends for FREE!!! I hope you all enjoy some if not all of what my kit has to offer!

Here is what the kit includes:

IEP Idea Organization Sheet: I use this form to gather all of my thoughts when I am brainstorming for an upcoming IEP. It is a great tool to have when meeting with homeroom teachers or related service providers because all of the teams thoughts can be recorded in one spot and you can easily see the big picture all at once rather than flipping through a notebook.

Future Planning Parent Questionnaire: I modified an old survey that our district used to include the important medical information at the bottom. It was amazing how many parents forgot to inform us of important medical information about their kids... especially when they are supposed to have glasses that we don't see all year! I like to include this information on my IEPs as well either in the Additional Information section or in the Profile.

IEP Meeting Attendance Checklist: I use Microsoft Outlook to invite all of my meeting participants (except parents) and it can be so crazy trying to keep track of who needs to attend and who has RSVP'd. When I start to plan a student's meeting I take a look at this checklist and determine which of the listed members need to attend and then I send the Outlook invite to each of them. Then, I post the list near my computer and whenever I get an RSVP I just check them off on the list.

Important Document Envelope Cover: My kids have binders that travel home every night. Many times parents check the binder without reviewing the important information I send home. This can be a problem when IEP invites, progress reports, and other important documents end up in the trash. To remedy this problem I attach this cover sheet to a large manilla envelope that only goes home when there is something important that needs the parents' attention. Additionally, it is a great way for them to return any important correspondence so I am sure to see it as well.

Progress Report Organization Cover Sheets: There are two variations of this form based on the needs of my students: MD (Multiple Disabilities) and Inclusion. There are only slight variations between the two. The purpose of these forms is to organize everything needed for progress reports each quarter. On the last day of the quarter, I remove all of my students' progress monitoring sheets and quarterly work samples and clip them together with this cover sheet on the front. Then, I just have one packet of paperwork per kid and everything is organized. Then, I begin calculating percentages and recording data within the progress report system and report card. Additionally, I make notes on the cover page related to what vocabulary or concepts the student has mastered and what needs to be introduced during the next quarter. Additionally, I make notes to share with my paras for when they monitor students (for instance if they are forgetting to write what mistakes students made on an assignment or if I would like more emphasis on a particular skill).

7. End of Year Inclusion Teacher Survey: At the end of each year, I ask my students' homeroom teachers to complete this inclusion survey. I use this survey for planning their inclusion opportunities for the following year and I use it to complete my "Student Cheat Sheet" that I give to the child's homeroom teacher the following year as a brief preview before school starts. 

Since this is one of my most popular posts via pinterest I wanted to share it through Classroom Freebies Manic Monday. Welcome new readers from Classroom Freebies! Enjoy!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

When in doubt, use heavy work

This year I have dedicated a lot of time to developing a better understanding of my students' sensory needs. Throughout all of my research and my many conversations with regional occupational therapists I have learned these words to live by: "When in doubt, use heavy work." The use of heavy work (or proprioceptive input) provides a calming affect to kiddos exhibiting a variety of sensory behaviors.

The key is to incorporate heavy work continually throughout the student's school day. Therefore, you are continually meeting this sensory need rather than waiting for a meltdown to signal that you need to do more to meet that child's needs.

Heavy work should also ALWAYS be used following other sensory input such as vestibular (linear movement) or tactile (touch). This is true even for those low-register kids that you are trying to "wake up" a bit. This is because you have to walk that thin line between under and over stimulation. Therefore, even after you wake them up you may want to even them out with some heavy work input.

Here is a quick and easy reference list I made for my classroom to remind us of the tons of activities that fall under "heavy work". It also provides classroom modifications, jobs, and snacks that could provide this important input.

Click the link below and Enjoy!!

Practicing Letters at Home FREEBIE

Many times at conferences and IEP meetings, parents will express frustration about being able to practice skills at home with their child. Many times when I ask parents how they practice specific skills they will say they have their child write it 5 times each. AHHH! What a flashback to my days in elementary school! I hated this monotonous task, and knowing my super hands-on SpEd kids I am sure this is a nightmare for them as well.

To address this issue I developed several Practice at Home lists that I share with parents to give them creative, multi-sensory ways to work with their children. An added bonus is many of these methods are easy and involve materials most families already have at home so they are cost-effective as well.

Click the link below to enjoy my first ever FREEBIE!!

Practicing Letters at Home

If you like what you see, come back throughout the week to get more Practice at Home freebies!