The Bald Eagle - USA symbols & TPT sale!

Back in October I started teaching United States symbols to my US History class. One of the first ones we did (after the flag) was the bald eagle.
I planned a week of lessons for this little mini-unit. About 3 of these days we used materials that I created using the Writing with Symbols software. I love using Writing with Symbols, because my students who can't read can still feel like they know what is going on, and can circle the key words pictures along with the rest of the class. Even the students who can read benefit from the visuals that go along with the story.
This Bald Eagle mini-unit with all of the ideas I used plus the Writing with Symbols materials is in my TPT store for $2.50. For the rest of this week (through 12/21/12) I will have it marked down to only ONE DOLLAR!! I would love for you to be my first customer and I hope you LOVE this Bald Eagle mini-unit.
Photobucket Photobucket
My students all had fun with it and the parents thought the mini stories were really cool too and many read them at home as well, score!

I have WWS mini units on the Liberty Bell and Statue of Liberty for sale as well. I also have American symbols (just regular clip art) flash cards, powerpoint, and "I have, who has" game all for FREE on my TPT store!

All Day Mall Field Trip

Today was our annual all-day mall trip with our special education program. We had about 30 students attend, 5 teachers, and tons of staff members. We had a blast! AND, surprisingly, everything went smoothly!

We plan to go to a mall that is about 45 minutes away, and to be honest the long bus ride is kind of nice, but that's not why we do it :) This mall also has a movie theater which makes the all-day trip go quickly!

So, we got to the mall around 9:30, broke up into small groups and shopped for about an hour. This was awesome. I love seeing my students out in the community. I was surprised at how well many of my students did with shopping for others and not asking to buy things for themselves; however, we did end up browsing through the Disney store! We did have to check prices to see if we had enough money and even asked an employee how much an item without a price cost. I took a group of 3 boys into Forever 21 to find jewelry for their sisters. They were so cute in picking everything out. And one of my students stopped as we were walking by Bath and Body works and was like, "we NEED to go here!" and he picked a present for his mom by himself (complete with smelling different options and finding a holder for the hand sanitizer). That was really cool to see. I also try to take pictures of my students picking out the gift for the parents to see.

Also, I found out another group of my (boy) students who were with an aide, wanted to go inside Victoria's Secret (and were taking pictures of the ads) and wanted to go to Spencer's Gifts! Ummm, NO! As much as I want to work on age appropriate behaviors, and I guess these would have been "high-school appropriate", and definitely more so than the Disney store, they were definitely not appropriate and not allowed! :)

Then, we went to the movie theater and saw Wreck it Ralph. I loved the movie theater! No lie, the seats were all leather recliners with tons of aisle room! It was a great break in the middle of our trip. And we got to experience getting our tickets, some students got food from concessions, and practice appropriate behavior in a movie theater.

By the time the movie was over, it was 12:30, so we went out to the food court and everyone choose where to eat, ordered, and paid for their lunch. Some students finished early and walked around the mall a little bit longer and others just waited until it was time to leave. By 1:45 we were all on the bus and heading back to school!

I love this trip. Not only are we working on such important community skills, but it also provides our students with this typical high school, hanging out with friends, activity that they usually don't get the opportunity to do. (And the students are usually so excited about the gifts they found for their family members.)

December Currently

It's December and I'm linking up with Farley for this month's currently. So, I'm kinda embarrassed that I only have one post in between this currently and the previous one - but I hope to do better with posting more often this month! Wish me luck :)

In exciting news - I ended up getting an iPhone a couple weeks ago! Being able to go on the internet whenever I want has been awesome. I love the Instagram app! You can follow me at BreezyBrieJoy. Other favorite apps are shop savvy, scramble with friends, and the Bible (keeps me on track with devotions).

I have been enjoying Christmas shopping. I love finding gifts! So far, I've done most of my shopping online, so it's a double bonus because it's so fun receiving packages in the mail too!

On Tuesday I am participating in a holiday cookie exchange with some teachers from work. I'll try to share the recipe with you all, after I make them!

Happy December to you all!


The Star Spangled Banner Boardmaker Book & Boardmaker Share

I can't believe it's Sunday night already...and that it's Monday tomorrow...and that it's supposed to snow tonight, but hey, I guess that means we're just getting closer to Christmas which is so exciting!

If you are a special education teacher, I sure hope you know about this fabulous site called Boardmaker Share. Oh my. When I discovered this site it was like Christmas came early. Search anything you want, and someone has probably uploaded something about it that you can download and use for FREE!!!

I like sharing, but I don't understand Boardmaker very well to do half of the amazing things you can do on there...but I've uploaded a couple of things I've made, including my Star Spangled Banner book. My plan was to make activities to go along with this book, but it hasn't happened yet, so if you want to make an activity to go along with it feel free to do so and share with me :)

As I'm pretty sure I've said before I love teaching my US History class - but since it's my first year teaching this class I've had to find/make a lot of materials. We've been leaning a lot about United States symbols. If I ever get organized, I will have a lot of materials to share with you!

I made a pretty awesome board-maker book on The Star Spangled Banner that you can download for FREE over at Boardmaker Share!

Do you use Boardmaker Share too? If so, leave a link or two of your favorite document you uploaded (or just found) on there!


November Currently - my very first!

Yay! I'm excited to be doing my first currently and linking up at Farley's Oh' Boy Fourth Grade blog!!!

I keep telling everyone I can't believe it's November already. And it's true, I feel like time has been flying by, but I am so glad it's November! I love fall. I love Black Friday (oh, and Thanksgiving too) and November also means that Christmas is on the way!!!
I have been having a blast with my US History class. We have been wrapping up learning about the United States symbols, and it flowed perfectly into learning about the white house and the president, which of course flowed perfectly into discussions on voting and the election.

We've been voting in class on many various things. For example: whether to listen to Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber (sadly, Bieber won), whether to have celery or carrots for a snack, or whether to have a green or purple bookmark. I have been loving that.

And that student that I told you I wrote the Dr. Seuss social story for...well, he's the one I have the behavior meeting for on Monday. I'm so grateful for the staff I work with who are all trying hard to come up with a plan for this student with me. Don't know what I'd do without them.

And on non-school related notes, we are still looking for furniture for our living room. I'm just too cheap - thinking of all those student loans we're still paying off... And we have furniture in our family room anyway...but still it looks a little empty up there! And Hunter Hayes - in love with his voice! I could listen to "Wanted" forever. My little sister even called me when she heard it on Dancing with the Stars, to let me know "your song is on."

Hope you all enjoyed your extra hour of sleep last night!! :) Love Daylight Saving Time for that very reason!


A New Kind of Social Story - The Cat in the Hat gets Angry

Social stories are a staple in special education and can be so helpful for a variety of situations! But I wasn't having any luck with social stories for one of my students...but I didn't give up!

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." - One of my favorite quotes but I'm not sure who said it. And I would like to add "and try it a different way."

So, I have a student who has always had some behavior issues, but all of a sudden it escalated to more extreme behaviors which was extremely unusual for this student.

This is one of my highest academic students. He has a ton of language and loves to read! He especially enjoys reading Dr. Seuss books and I am always amazed at the different voices he has for each character. As for his behavior, he definitely knows what he is doing is wrong.

Enter: Social Story. But, he does not like typical social stories and would tear them up and create new problem.  I believe it's because he doesn't like to be told what to do, and that the social stories imply that he was doing something wrong before. So, the social stories I had been writing seemed to be doing the opposite of helping.

But, last week, I wrote a social story and he loved it. All I did was put it on his desk and when he came in this morning I told him I put a new story on his desk to read. He read it independently. I didn't even talk to him about it. He kept it with him the entire day. He had none of his new extreme negative behaviors that first day and not even his whining / screaming behaviors.Not every day since has been perfect, in fact - he doesn't want to read his story right now - BUT he is still keeping it in his folder. Not being torn up and thrown away is a step in the right direction, right?!
Cat in the Hat - Social Story - Autism
What was different about this story? Well, for starters, the social story wasn't about this student (at least he didn't think so). It was about the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. I honestly took a Dr. Seuss book while I was writing his social story and tried to use some of the Dr. Seuss language as well as incorporating some of the language we use at school. You can view/download "Sometimes the Cat in the Hat gets Angry" on Google Docs.

If you are looking for a way for stories to be more successful with your students, try framing your stories around their interests. I'm so excited about the possibilities! :)


Functional Math - Making Pancakes

I made pancakes last week with four of my math students. We read the directions off a Bisquik box (all we needed to add was water). We kept referring back to the directions in order to promote independence instead of staff telling them what to do. (I love picture recipes as much as the next special education teacher, really, I promise. BUT with these more simple recipe and my higher level students, I want them to learn to read the recipe on the box since they are capable and that's what they will have with them in the real world.)
There are so many skills to teach and practice in a simple(ish) task of making pancakes. That's why I love working with my students on activities like this, because I actually make them do everything! It's fun to see what they do and sometimes surprising to see what they do not think to do.

Using the stove – the directions said to turn to medium-low, so we found high, medium, low, and put the knob in the middle of the "m" and the "l". We talked about basic pan safety, keeping the handle in. We also checked if it was hot by sprinkling water on to see if it would sizzle. We also discussed the difference between a griddle, which gets plugged in, and a skillet, which goes on the stove. We also discussed (and practiced) TURNING IT OFF when we were done.

Making the batter – finding the right cups that we needed (many students first went to the measuring spoons – so we reviewed the difference between those), and we also talked about being able to use a 1/3 cup to measuring 2/3 (working on those adding fractions skills!), measuring those cups to the TOP, and also the difference between a spatula and a wire whisk

Cooking the pancakes - We used a ¼ cup to pour the pancakes so they would all be about the same size. We watched the pancakes for bubbles and then worked on getting the spatula under the pancake and using our wrist to flip (very tricky - a lot of hand-over-hand was needed here at first). We couldn’t see bubbles on the other side, so we needed to wait and flip to check. We talked about them being done when they are brown. And they they could eat their pancakes (after finding the right utensils of course!)

So, have you thought of all these skills that are including in making pancakes? I know I sure didn't but loved seeing a lot of these teachable moments come up. What's your favorite recipe to make with students?

US History: Me on the Map Project

I am teaching United States History this year which I am super excited about. I have been searching everywhere for materials and have been really busy creating/finding materials!

I started out the year with a "Me on the Map" project. I downloaded the circles from here and we did one circle a day. We talked about how our planet is earth, our contintent is North America, our country is the USA, all the way down to each student's address!
 Me on the Map project Me on the Map Circles Me on the Map - my country 
I really enjoyed this activity because 1) it is a great visual representation of the different "levels" of where we live and 2) the process is very similar so toward the end, my students were getting pretty independent in knowing to cut out the circle and paste the items on - and independence is huge!

I used many short YouTube videos when talking about each place that we live - just search the name and you'll find something on the first page! When we got to our cities and streets I used Google Maps - and the students got SO excited as they recognized places such as our school, the community pool, etc. This is also cool because you can zoom in and out to really show the difference between state and street, for example.

Welcome to Breezy Special Ed!

Welcome to my NEW special education blog, Breezy Special Ed!
I have transferred all my special education posts from Breezy Pink Daisies and am SO excited to be sharing my special education lessons and ideas from my classroom on this page now! :)

Grab my button on my sidebar ----->

I would love it if you could follow me on GFC, by email, or even on facebook! (Find the options to follow by GFC and email on my sidebar)

And please share any other great special ed blogs you know (or if you have one) so I can follow that too!

Special Education: Work Skills Schedule

So this year I am teaching a work skills class with 9 students and 7 adults, and I also have a health class of 3 students and 2 adults running at the same time. It can get a little crazy. My work schedule helps a lot!

Students (and adults) know to check the schedule (by finding their picture) to see what their jobs are for the day, and they can get started without needing too much assistance from me. O, the wonderful power of Velcro and laminating. And then every 2 weeks or so I change up everyone's jobs - or sometimes, as things change, daily.

And, as you can see, I have added a few more jobs that I need to create new boardmaker pictures for, but for now, sticky notes are working just fine!

If you have any questions about some of the jobs we do, let me know - I love to share ideas! Other special education teachers out there, what kinds of jobs do you have your students do?

What DO you teach? Unwritten Sped Curriculum

I'm joining Karla over at Life in Special Education who is hosting a linky party for special education teachers to list the skills we teach constantly that will never be on any standardized test, but are so essential for our students to be successful! Some times I get strange looks for others in our school who don't understand why I'm not "helping" my students complete certain tasks, or when I sit in my student's desk just to see if they will ask for me to move.

Yes, I teach language arts, math and others...but  there's a lot more to those classes than meets the eye!
Here's some of the unwritten curriculum that I teach daily:

1. How to greet individuals
2. Appropriately interrupting conversations
3. Saying "I'm finished" and ask for more work
4. Knocking on closed doors instead of walking away
5. Delivering handwritten messages
6. Pushing the handicapped button for the door to open
7. How to do google/youtube searches for entertainment
8. Using a kleenex
9. Asking to go to the bathroom
10. Walking to the lunchroom independently
11. Dealing with changes in a schedule
12. Self-management strategies
13. Independently going through the lunch line
14. Not stealing food
15. Waiting in line.
16. Personal space
17. Saying "No" if someone wants to take something that is yours
18. Asking someone to move if they are in your seat.
19. Asking relevant questions in a conversation
20. Answering questions with a reasonable answer
21. Choosing a preferred activity during breaks
22. Getting pencil and paper when needed to do work
23. Asking for help
24. Making eye contact
25. Following simple directions (motor planning)

25 seems like a good place to stop, but I'm sure I could keep going! My job might not fit into the "normal" teaching category, but I LOVE it and wouldn't trade it for anything!

What else do you teach that doesn't fit into the standard curriculum?

And I just had to borrow this picture from Kara! Love it! 

Feel free to add to my list below or create your own post and add it to Karla's linky!

Work Olympics - Vocational Assessment

I am excited to share our “Work Olympics” with you!
This week was state testing week. But not for me! My special needs, functional level students do not participate in the regular standardized testing. So, our department has adapted a special vocational assessment day called the Work Olympics. It’s pretty awesome.
So first we grouped our students so that they would be doing activities appropriate to their ability level. Yellow = low, Orange = middle, and Green = high. And, as always in special education, different modifications are given to students so that they understand and are able to complete their tasks. Students all received a card with the activities listed and had to complete all of the activities on their card and then could check out some of the other ones. 

Rolling Silverware

Alpha Order

After completing each station students received a sticker to mark off that they had completed that activity.
Students were timed at each station and the amount they completed in that time frame was recorded on the data sheets at each station. Below are the different stations and a few pictures that I took yesterday.
Yellow Group
Sorting silverware
Rolling Silverware
Sticker/Sort Items

Dry Trays
Wiping Tables
Sorting Laundry

Orange Group
Haul trash
Fold Laundry

Wrap Burgers

Next Dollar Up work box

If you teach special education you should be familiar with the "next dollar" method, or "dollar over" strategy. If not, well you should. :) Basically, the student looks at the number before the decimal point, counts out those dollars and then adds one more dollar for the change.

Here is a work box that I use with my students for independent practice with the dollar over strategy (I got this wonderful idea from my mentor teacher!).
Dollar Over - Special Education task box
 All the materials needed are in this box. (index cards with dollar amounts, paper clips, prompt, and dollars)

Next Dollar Up - Special Education Money Math tasks
 So the student takes the card and counts the amount of dollars and "adds one for the change."

Dollar Over - Special Education work box 
Then the student slides all the dollars under the paper clip on the index card so that I can check them when they are done!

Looking for more next dollar resources? Check out these Next Dollar Up task cards and these Next Dollar worksheets.


The Remedy @ Andew Idol

Hello dear friends! I've been super busy the last couple of weeks practicing for Andrew Idol - the teacher talent show at my school! We performed last night and it was a blast!! Photobucket
We danced lots of cool dances (Wop, Bernie, Party Rock Shuffle, etc) and wore lots of neon! Check out the video of the performance below. Seriously, you have to check it out! It's AWESOME! 
We get up to the stage at about 50 seconds if you want to start there!
(I'm the one with the green shirt and pink socks)
And here's some up close pictures of my shirt. We painted them with puffy paint and added glitter. 
I'm quite proud of my shuffle man.

Teaching Multiplication and Division

My students have been BEGGING me to learn multiplication and division. So, I caved. :) I just introduced the concept last week using fruit loops and little construction paper squares. (These were simply the items that were available to me - I would recommend using a mono-colored cereal, some of my students were focused on color sorting the cereal instead of multiplying/dividing)

 Hopefully this is pretty self explanatory, but here's some examples. 

Division: For a problem like 6 divided by 3, I told my students to first count out 6 fruit loops. Then they were to divide the 6 fruit loops equally between 3 of their squares. So, how many fruit loops are on each square?  
Teaching Division with Fruit Loops {Breezy Pink Daisies}

Multiplication: For a problem like 3 times 3, I would tell my students to put 3 fruit loops on each of the 3 squares. Then, count how many total fruit loops you have on the squares. (Sorry, I don't have a picture of this one)

 And one of my students grabbed some sticky tack and I found this on his desk :) 
Kellogg's Fruit Loops
I also created a worksheet with some word problems and space to solve them using this type of visual method, and so far it's working great!

The Thumbtack Thief

Now for a very special teaching moment of the week brought to you by Breezy Pink Daisies :)

It was brought to my attention that a (green) thumbtack was placed right on the bench by a certain student's locker, let's call him Evan, who another student often likes to tease. Now, this would be a pretty serious matter, placing a thumbtack so that someone would sit on it, so I wanted to get to the bottom of this.
Evan sometimes collects colorful classroom treasures, so I talked with him first.

Me: Evan, did you take a thumbtack from my room to PE class?
Evan: NOooo!!!

Me: Hm, okay. What color was the thumbtack you took from my room?
Evan: It. Was. green.


A Facebook Wall for my Classroom

The words "Facebook wall" have never been so literal...or actually maybe not, because our Facebook wall is actually a Facebook door...but still! I created a Facebook wall for my classroom. A lot of my students are working on social skills especially starting (and continuing conversations).
Facebook in the Classroom - status updates 

A few morning each week we start our day with updating our status (by sharing anything that's on your mind) or leaving a comment. This has also been a good activity for students who finish early.
Facebook in the Classroom - status updates and comments
With some students I focus on spelling or verb tense, other students I focus on them starting their sentences with capital letters and ending with punctuation, and even other students I just focus on the ability to get their thoughts out on paper, no matter how difficult it might be to read!
Social Special Education classroom experiences
The Facebook strips were simple to create. I just wrote each students name on two sentence strips, put the Facebook logo on it and got them laminated so that we could use them over and over again. (I thought about using individual pictures, but wanted to work on my student recognizing their classmates names as well.)

Oh! And posting my messy classroom last week motivated me enough to organize my back counter and bulletin boards. Tada! So much neater now: 
Thanks for stopping by on this lovely President's Day!  :)

Classroom Update - 6 months into the year!

I have been teaching for almost six months now and I haven't posted a picture of how my classroom looks since August! So here's my desk area and the back counter/bulletin board area. Seriously, no matter how often I try to keep it organized, by the next day it's a disaster again!

If you remember my previous classroom post, I've moved some things around. My desk is now by my computer - which is wonderful. And I got a table just recently which inspired the desk move. I love having a table as a work space for students. Now I just need to figure out a better way to organize that back counter!
As you can see, my bulletin board has a lot of papers on it. That is where I store some of the work I have planned for the upcoming week, or something that we have started as a class and haven't had a chance to finish yet. It's functional, but not all that pretty! Hopefully by posting this mess I will motivate myself to think of a better way to organize it all!

So enough for classroom organization. Here's something fun that I created after seeing the idea on pinterest: an All About Number... poster. Here's the original:
I loved the idea so I created my own version on Word and had it printed poster sized and laminated.

Sometimes we do this as a class activity, and other times, like the one you see here, I have two students work together to complete the poster (See the color marks on the side - that shows students which ones to do). I really like making this a small group activity, because I've noticed the students helping each other out with the more difficult aspects like spelling the name or tallying!

The number we use is usually the date, or a countdown to some special event.

If you would like to use this in your classroom, you can download it here.

Happy Monday!
(C) Brie Holtrop- Breezy Special Ed. Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top