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Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Tracing Alphabet Book

 Even though summer holidays have just started here, I am always in teacher mode.  Every year I tell myself that "this year" I'm going to be more organized so that the fall is less stressful.

With that in mind I am beginning to prep some of my alphabet resources.  My alphabet tracing book is the perfect way to start the year.  

Alphabet tracing book

All of my students will be new to me, so I have no idea where they are with their alphabet knowledge.  This is fun and quick book to see how many letters and sounds they know and to see where their fine motor skills are at.

child coloring in alphabet book

I plan on making the colored posters into a tracing center by putting them in erasable sleeves.  This will save me so much laminating.

I also plan to putting up a color wall chart and printing small black and white charts for each of the children to color in themselves.  This will be perfect for when we start writing!

Alphabet chart

Last but not least, I'm going to put up the alphabet in large format on the wall.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to put up the color version or let each of the children color one letter each and put up that version.

alphabet posters

If you are interested in any of this alphabet package, you can find it by clicking on the picture below.

alphabet packet

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Christmas Visual Discrimination Freebie

I'm so excited to back.  It's been such a long time since I've written a post but I'm happy to be back blogging with my brand new redesigned blog.

In order to celebrate my grand re-do, I've made a new Christmas freebie.

Christmas visual discrimination freebie for pre-school

My students this year are very young.  Where I live, students can enter kindergarten at 3 years old.  Combine that with attention difficulties, vision issues and lack of exposure, we have a lot of work to do on visual discrimination.  Visual discrimination is really important for reading.  Being able to tell the difference between b and de and c or t and l are essential for beginning readers.  

Christmas visual discrimination freebie for pre-school

We are starting with being able to tell the difference between pictures as well as working on the concepts of  "same" and "different".  Using simple Christmas pictures, we played a game of Concentration. 

We placed the pictures face down on the table, which when getting the children to help me, was a learning experience in itself.

Christmas visual discrimination freebie for pre-school
The children took turns turning over two cards and seeing if they matched.  We emphasized the words "same" and "different".  Are these two pictures the same? Yes? Then you get to keep the pair.  Are the two pictures different? Yes? Then you need to turn them back over and the next person gets a turn.

This game is also great for practicing turn taking and following the rules of a game.

You can grab this free Christmas Matching Game by clicking on the picture below.

Christmas visual discrimination freebie for pre-school

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Start to Summer - Giveaway

I have four days left of school before my summer starts. 

4 DAYS!  

So how do I celebrate? 

 With a Giveaway.

Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $25 TpT gift card and start your back to school shopping now.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Polar Bear - Day One

"Polar Bear, Polar Bear" is another one of my favorite books by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle.  Like "Brown Bear" it has predictable text that makes it perfect for beginning readers.  Using this book I like to work on the names of the animals, the sight words "I", "a" and "hear" and sentence structure.

When I do this book I usually spend an entire week on it, concentrating on something different each day, while building on the knowledge gained from the day before.  On day one, we use the "I hear a...." board and a copy of the book.

We start by reading the story several times, taking note of the animals and the sounds they make.  Most of the children have heard this story before and are familiar with it but they may be unfamiliar with the sounds of some of the animals.  We often go to the internet to hear the real animals.

Once I'm sure that the children are comfortable with the story,  I have them make the sentence "I hear a ......." as I read each page.   At first I model the sentence along with them and then as they become more confident, they can do it by themselves. For children that cannot pick up the pieces, I hold them up and have them use eye gaze to make a choice.

Even at this early stage we work on punctuation. 

To finish up on the first day, I have the children make a little book to take home or I send it home for homework if we run out of time.  I have a couple of different versions depending on the abilities of my students.  One, they just need to color, the second is a "fill in the blank" and in the last one the children need to trace the animal word.  Sometimes we mix and match the pages.  I have each student complete a page and we make a class book.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

4 ways to help children with speech difficulties in the classroom

Do you have a child with speech difficulties in your class?  There seems to be a much greater prevalence of speech disabilities among young children these days.  Not all qualify for speech therapy but those that do often have to wait months or years on waiting lists (at least in our area).

Let's take a closer look.

What does the speech child look like?

They may have articulation problems.  They may leave off beginning sounds, ending sounds or substitute sounds in their speech.  They may demonstrate disfluency (stutter), that is, they may repeat a beginning sound, word or several words at the beginning of a sentence.  They may be speaking at a single word level or have no speech at all.

They may.......

* demonstrate inappropriate behaviour due to their frustration level
* be self-conscious if they have an awareness that they don't talk like their peers
* they may have poor language skills (but this is not always the case)

They may try.....

Repeating themselves over and over
Give up all together and rarely talk 

If your student is involved with a speech pathologist, please consult them before implementing any strategies.  If your student is still on a waiting list here are 4 strategies that you can try in the classroom.

1.  Children are often very excited to tell us a story.  When they come up to us out of the blue and start talking, for the unfamiliar listener, a child with a speech difficulty can be virtually impossible to decipher.  When you don't know the topic, you don't have any reference to start figuring out the conversation.  One resource we have found helpful in the classroom is a clarification board.
With a clarification board you can ask the child "who" questions.  
"Who are you talking about?"
"Your family?", "A friend?" etc.
Wait for conformation and/or move on to where.
"Are you talking about something that happened at school?"
Continuing using the board to narrow down the scope of what the child is trying to tell you.  Below is an example of might a clarification board might look like.

2.  Augmentation communication boards are essential for children with little to no speech.  In our classroom setting we have moved to CORE boards.  CORE boards contain high frequency words.  These words can be used in different situations and with a variety of people.  CORE words make up about 80% of the words that we use everyday.  Fringe words can added to the boards.  These are words that are specific to locations or situations.  The CORE board featured below is available for free from the Minspeak website 

3. Children using augmentative systems need lots of exposure to the symbol set they are using.  We put symbols up all the room, and use them on a daily basis.  Seeing everyone using symbols helps the children realize that this is "normal" and an acceptable way to communicate.  The picture featured below uses Pixon symbols.

4.  Using visual schedules is another great way to incorporate symbols into your classroom.  They can be used to schedule the day, part of the day or a single activity.  They can be used for the whole class, such as the whole day schedule or they can be individualized for particular children for certain activities or routines throughout the day, such as a bathroom routine.

I hope I've given you a few ideas that you can take back to your classroom and implement with students in your class that have speech difficulties.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

First Day of School Poem

I can't believe that Tuesday is the first day of school.

Are you ready?

I'm not sure I am. I'm excited and I must admit a little nervous.
The first day is always a bit nerve wracking. 

I know that my students are excited though.

I also know that on the first day of kindergarten, the most nervous people will be the parents.  Many of them have never been away from their child before.  This is new.  This is scary.  

Special needs parents are a unique bunch.  Imagine having a child that can't talk, can't walk, can't do anything for themselves.  It would be the most terrifying thing in the world to entrust your most vulnerable child to complete strangers.   

That's why on the first day I like to do a little hand print poem.
It's something to show the parents that their child did have a great day.  
They accomplished something. 
They participated.

It's something they can keep forever.

Better yet, it's free.
To grab the poem, click on the last picture.

Have a great first day!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

6 Ways to Help the Sensory Sensitive Child

Have you been told you will have a child or children in your class with sensory issues?  
Did you say to yourself "What on earth does that mean?"
Do you have a child you think might be autistic but isn't diagnosed or the testing has come back negative? 

If that's the case, you might have a student that is sensitive to sensory input.

Each year I seem to get more and more students with sensory issues, with or without another diagnosis such as low/high tone, autism or CP.

Let's take a closer look.

What do they look like?

They may be the child with no friends. The one who sits alone. The one other children avoid because they are "odd".  They may become overwhelmed or distracted in situations in which they become over stimulated.  They may seem like they have autism or behaviour problems because of the coping mechanisms they have been using to get through the day.

They may......  

Chew:  On their hands, on their clothes, on toys, on virtually anything.
Scream:  Loud and often.
Hide: These are the kids hiding under the desk or the table, curled into a ball.
Cover their ears: Having their hands over their ears is common.
Throw things: When frustrated, things go flying including their own body.
Spin: Round and round, with or without their arms out.

They may be sensitive to.......

Loud noises

They may have difficulty:

Staying still
With transitions

What can we do for them?

Whether your student has been diagnosed or not, here are 6 easy to implement ideas for you to try in the classroom.

1.  Use chew toys

There are lots of inexpensive commercially available chew toys (Chewlry and Chewigem are just two names).  They come in necklaces and bracelets, pencil tops and clip-ons. They have both boy and girl styles and have age appropriate models for any age.

2.  Use headphones

In order to block out loud noises in the auditorium, gym or classroom,  you can get noise cancelling headphones or a regular headset depending on how much sound needs to be muffled.  Some students prefer wearing hats or hoods over their ears if that is enough to make them feel secure.

3. Weighted toys.

Adding weight often helps a child with sensory issues feel more secure and less fidgety.  You can buy commercially made toys or vests in various weights or you can make one yourself.  Add beans or rice to long socks and sew up the end.  Add googly eyes and you have a snake.  Drape over the child's shoulders or across their lap.  Simple and inexpensive.

4. Alternate seating or flexible seating.

Letting your student pick how and where they sit may help reduce off task behaviors.  If they need to stand, let them.  If they need something firm or soft, let them pick.  This ties in with self regulation and advocating for themselves as well.  Giving them control of their environment will reduce their need to fight back against it.

5.  Quiet area

A quiet area is important for the child to have.  They need a space they can go to, to get away from everything that is overwhelming them. This gives them an area to be able to calm down in that is safe, is familiar and has calming items in it such as books, pillows or a favorite toy. 

6. Sensory Area

Having a sensory area available to students with high sensory needs is important for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it can be quite calming.  The deep pressure of pushing and pulling putty or other gooey substances can be soothing while working on fine motor skills and strength.  For another, many children find it calming to look into sensory bottles or lava lamps.  Add these items to your quiet area if they help.

I hope I've given you a few ideas that you can take back to your classroom and implement with the students in your class that are sensory sensitive.