Saturday, August 27, 2016

Three worksheet hacks for children with poor fine motor skills and learning disabilities

Do you have students with poor fine motor skills?  Is their printing so messy and/or big that they run out of space or you can't read what they have written?  Well my son was that kid.  Diagnosed with a learning disability, his printing was often sloppy, full of spelling mistakes and letter reversals, and he often ran out of room before he finished his sentence because his printing was so big.

Last year I found the app Snaptype and it changed his life.

Here's how it works.

Using the program, take a picture of your worksheet. He's 12 so he can do this himself.  If you have younger children, you can do this part beforehand.

Rotate it the way you want and crop it.

Tap anywhere on the screen and start typing.  You can easily change the size of the text by sliding the ball across the top.  You can also move what you have typed around the screen to get it in the perfect spot.

Once you're done, the page can be emailed to the teacher or printed out.  The yellow highlighting does not show up in the printed copy.

The best part is that the app is free.  The paid version has more features but the free version is great to find out if it would work for you.

The second amazing feature that we use is the word prediction.  It's built right in to the iPhone and iPad. Word prediction anticipates what you want to write and gives you suggestions.  Tap on the full word and it will insert it.  This feature dramatically speeds up a child's writing.

The third trick is the microphone option.  It helps speed up writing when having to do long sentences or paragraphs. As long as your child has good speaking skills, it should be fairly accurate.

Both of these can be combined with Snaptype to make filling in worksheets a breeze.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway

I'm so excited to be announcing that TpT is having a boost back to school sale on Monday.  To celebrate I'm joining up with several other bloggers to give away $10 TpT gift certificates.

The contest runs all day today and on Monday I will announce a winner so you will have a chance to use it during the sale.

To enter my contest, visit my store and tell me what you would buy if you won.
While you are there, I hope you choose to follow my store.

Here is the entry form.

A Special Kind of Class

Once you have entered my contest, click on the picture below to head on over to the next blogger.  The more blogs you visit, the greater your chances are of winning.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

How to Make 5 Green and Speckled Frogs

With the move to a play based curriculum here in Ontario I spent the last half of last school year really examining what I'm doing in the classroom.  I want to move to a more inquiry based program but being in special ed my students often need to be taught specifically how to do something and then have the opportunity to practice that skill over and over again.  A lot of what I do is very hands on as it is.  

My 5 Green and Speckled Frog Interactive books were a big hit with the kids and they used them over and over again as they acted the song.

For those students that need something more concrete, I thought, what about an actual log and some stone frogs.

So I went on the hunt for the perfect log.

I found 5 smooth stones and painted them like frogs (I hope they look like frogs).

Originally I went looking for some blue construction paper for my pool, when I came across this blue cookie tray.  I was perfect for what I needed.

Once the children had used the frogs and log for a few days, I added some magnetic numbers to see what they would do with them.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Printing Time

The summer has been ticking by and I've been trying to get a head start on few things I need to prepare for the new school year.

I'm starting by making copies of my Monthly Printing Assessment Journal.

I use my Assessment Journal to keep track of my students fine motor and printing skills each month.  Since most of my students have speech and language disabilities, I find that fine motor difficulties are more likely to be an issue when they come to school. 

I start by getting the children to color the front cover.

They then put their name on the front.  

I sometimes get children who can't print their name when they get to school and these are kids that show the most progress.

Each month I get them to fill out the appropriate pages.
I usually take a small group at a time and I guide them through each section.   I find this keeps me accountable because we don't want to miss a month.

It's amazing to see the progress as the months go by.  I also love to have the book handy for parent interviews.  It's also a wonderful keepsake at the end of the year for parents to keep.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Canada Freebie

Happy Canada Day!!!

July 1 is Canada Day.  School is finally over and it's time to celebrate.

Here is a little alphabet freebie for your little ones.

The Mountie Alphabet has both upper and lower case letters.

Have your child put them in alphabetical order.

Match upper to lower case letters.

Or play a matching game.

Monday, June 13, 2016

2 for Tuesday

This week I'm joining in on 2 for Tuesday.

What is 2 for Tuesday you ask?

2 for Tuesday is a group of sellers who put two of their items for sale for Tuesday only.

I'm putting 2 of my items for 1/2 price for Tuesday the 14th of June only.

The first one is my summer literacy and math pack.

There are eight math and literacy activities to practice over the summer.

Here are a couple of examples.

My second item is my newest interactive books.
There are 2 interactive books with matching mini black and white take home books.

Book one requires the children to find the right word for the pictures.
  And book two requires the children to find the right picture for the sentence.

Click on the first picture in this post to head to my store to grab these great deals.  Check out more great deals below or put #2forTuesday in the TpT search engine.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Adapted Calendar for SPED kids

For me, school isn't finished yet but I'm already thinking about next year.  
My calendar is one of my favorite parts of the day and these take a bit to get set up so I want to start now.

When I first started to do a calendar program with my students, I struggled with how to include everyone.  I had a diverse group of kids.

I had several students with no verbal skills at all but their fine motor skills were fine.
And I had children with verbal skills but poor fine motor skills.
And then I had some children that didn't have any verbal or fine motor skills.

How was I going to include everyone?

What I came up with was a interactive calendar that everyone could participate in.

We start our calendar by talking about what day it is.  At the beginning of the year I only have "Today is" showing but when they get good at that, I replace the page with this one that includes yesterday and tomorrow.

In order to keep my "printers" busy while other students are still picking the day and making their sentence, I have them fill out this sheet that has them print out the date.

I also have them trace the number on the calendar.

We count the number of days that we have been at school.  In order to give students that can't colour an opportunity to participate, I made this 100 with Velcro.  The squares are removable so that the children can see the number of days.

For my students that can colour, I use this sheet.

I have a couple of options for the weather depending on the skill level of each child.

I then have each child read their sentence back to me.

We also make a graph of the weather for the month.  This one is for my students that can't colour.


And this is one for my students who can colour.

After we talk about the weather we dress our friend for the day.  I have boy and girl friends and they love dressing them.

We do patterns next.  We start off doing simple patterns and progress to more difficult ones as the year goes by.

This year we started doing 10 frames.  I would hold up a number or a set of dots or say a number out loud and the children would have to fill in their 10 frame with the correct number of dots.

As the year progresses I add more and more pages to the book.  I start out with a basic book and as the children become more proficient in their skills, I add harder skills.

One of the higher level skills I add is adding.  Each day we pick a domino.  I have the children make the domino at the top of their sheet.

They then translate that to numbers and then show the total.

For my students that need more fine motor practice I also have some extra sheets for the to work on.

Tracing at the beginning of the year.

The alphabet as the year progresses.

After the 100th day of school I switch from counting to 100 to doing tally's.   

 I do time with my grade one's.

This one I've done several ways.  At the beginning of the year I call out a number and have the children colour in the matching circle.  I use bingo daubers with children with poor fine motor skills.  Later on in the year I hold up circles with dots in them, have the children count the dots and then colour in the circles.  I also have a sheet with teen numbers.

The last one I do is shapes.  I call out a shape and have the children colour in the matching one on their sheet.