FREE Functional Skills Video Apps for iPads

I love having iPads in our classroom, and I love finding great free apps to go on those devices! These three apps shown below are the Life Skills Sampler, Social Skills Sampler, and Work Skills Sampler all by the Conover Company.
The life skills sampler and the work skills sampler each have TONS of short videos about functional items and/or signs. I love these videos, they are short and to the point. They repeat the main word and show the sign/word at both the beginning and the end of the video. These videos are SO helpful for my students in learning about these basic things. Plus, my students enjoy watching these videos (I've even caught them doing it in their free time!) The social skills sampler doesn't have quite as many videos (only 7) but they are longer and still really great.


Here's the links to download these apps in iTunes, or you should be able to use these keywords to find them easily as well.
Social Skills Sampler
Work Skills Sampler
Life Skills Sampler

Do you know of some other great free apps? Has anyone started using the free communication device app in their classroom? I'd love to hear about how you're using any iPads you might have in your classroom!

Teaching Students how to Tip at Restaurants {special education}

Knowing how and when to tip is an important part of community education. I taught this last year using the resources below. I like to create resources that can be used over and over again as opposed to one worksheet that it used and then done with. Plus, this way you can easily modify your instruction to what your students need.
Community Education for Special Education - Tipping at Restaurants

Tip Charts: Don't you hate those tiny teeny tip charts with random amounts?! Problem solved! I created tip charts by figuring out 15% and rounding. The front has prices $1-$20, and the back $21-$60. The card is small enough to fit in a wallet but still big enough to read. To get students interested, we started playing “games” when I would write down a price and students would have to find the tip and shout it out. 

Life Skill - tipping at restaurants using a tip chart
Restaurant worksheet:  For this next worksheet I would write on the name of a restaurant and the total bill (making these up off the top of my head). Students then used the worksheet to write the restaurant, circle yes or no to leave a tip, and then fill out the total and write in the tip (or $0 if no tip!) We talked a lot of about what restaurant you tip at and which ones you don't. This can be used over and over as the worksheet is not specific – it all has to do with what you write on the board. This way you can also make the restaurant names relevant to students and give prices as are appropriate for the levels of your learners.

Life Skills Education - tipping at restaurants using a tip chart
Tipping and Dollar Over/Change Back worksheet: This is similar to the last worksheet, with a few more steps added in, included dollar over and change back. I put the total in bold print to remind students to fill that in first since that is what is given to them, then they can figure out the dollar over amount to pay with and calculate change back by subtracting the two numbers. Finally, students figure out the tip. Like the last worksheet, you write the totals on the board and this can be used over and over again!

Community Education - tipping at restaurants using a tip chart 
What’s the Tip worksheet: Great for starting out – all that is needed is to figure out the tip for the amount given using the tip chart. In my tip packet, this worksheet has fill-able spaces for you to fill in your own numbers based on where your students are at and so you can use it over and over again.  

Get these resources over at my TpT store! Do you teach tipping with your students? Have you also wondered when you almost need a magnifying glass to read some tip charts?! :)

Work Tasks (TEACCH) Boxes

My work task station is one of my favorites in my classroom. Probably because it's main goal is independence and I love seeing my students working on their own. It makes me so proud! :) I have 31 boxes, labeled by letters A-Z and 5 different shapes.
Independent TEACCH / work task boxes for students with autism and special needs
Since that is a LOT of boxes, I'm just going to share 5 this post and will probably share more of them later! So here's letters A-E (I have not put my letters in any order of difficulty or anything like that, so this is totally random).
McDonald's fries counting TEACCH box
My kids have fun with this one just because it's McDonalds! The visual helps students count out 5 fries (pipe cleaners) to put in each bag. Get this visual here. Or grab this pack with counting visuals for numbers 1-20 and materials to create your own work task like this one here!

Dollar Over TEACCH task box for special education / autism
Here's a dollar over one. The student reads the price on the card and attaches the correct amount with the paper clip. (Side note - These next dollar over worksheets are great for additional practice!)

TEACCH work task boxes for special education / autism
This one is a simple 1:1 correspondence activity - to put one object (in this case a foam letter) in each container. I have considered making this a matching activity by gluing a matching letter to each lid, but I needed to keep some of my boxes very simple.

Simple TEACCH work task box for special education / autism
Speaking of simple, this one is just sticking the Popsicle stick into the wet ones container!

TEACCH work task box for counting and fine motor #specialeducation #autism
This one is color matching and counting. This one is challenging for many of my current students, but the visual helps and I often remove a majority of the numbers.

The materials I used to set up my work task station (labels, schedules, and data sheets) are for sale here in my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Update: More work task posts can be found below.
Do you have work task boxes in your classroom? Any similar ones?! :)

Snow Sensory Activities

While it might be too cold to bring your class outside to play with the snow...it's not too cold to bring it in!

For my fine arts class, I filled up a recycling bin of snow and separated it into student trays. Students who had gloves wore them, but the snow actually got warmer as it sat in the room and it wasn't too cold to play with using our bare hands.

Here's some of the activities we did:
  • Snow potato heads (minus the potato)
  • Snowmen
  • Snow castles (using yogurt cups as molds)
  • Painting the snow (using water dyed with food coloring)
  • Hiding (and finding) bears
  • Stamping (which only kinda worked, but actually helped clean my stamps out because apparently there was a lot of ink left on them!)

Enjoy the pictures! 

So consider bringing the snow in if you have some by you! Again, I'm always surprised at my students who LOVE these different sensory activities. You just never know :)

Celebrate Student Achievements with Super Easy Certificates!

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen the huge accomplishment one of my students made the day after coming back from break - no swearing the entire day! Say what?! That hasn't ever happened in the three years he has been in our program...so I kinda had to make a big deal about it :)
Today when he came in I had this certificate ready for him. 100% perfect Respectful Language. He was beaming ear to ear. And this even stopped a rant he was on after coming in from the cold! He showed off his certificate to staff and smiled whenever we told someone knew. Today wasn't perfect, but we made it through the day with about 15 swearing instances - still really good! I'm quite optimistic about 2014.
http://123certificates.com/
And fellow teachers, the best part about this certificate is it took me about 1 minute to create. That's right. No more than 60 seconds. It's an awesome site called 123certificates.com. You can choose a certificate from their wide variety of options (200+ according to their website) and quickly personalize and print - all online. Easy peasy.

What could you reward a student for? Check out this site now! And tell me what you could use it for! Happy certificate-making!

January Currently and Happy 2014 Resolutions!

I'm so excited for the new year! I may have written some SMART goals with objectives for myself this year. LOL Life of a special education teacher...anyway here's my currently for this year! Link up with Farley here.
Listening: As much as I really do love Christmas music, it's nice to get back to my regular country music :)

Loving: It's been snowing practically all day long and I'm absolutely loving it! It's so beautiful and it's nice that I don't have to drive anywhere either. Don't have to go back to school until Monday!

Thinking: I've been having a lot of fun with TpT lately and created a video tutorial for one of my products. You can see my tutorial here if you want to check it out. I'm trying to decide if this is something I should do for all of my products. It wasn't that difficult...but I'm not sure I like my voice.

Wanting: I'm sure as soon as I started I would change my mind, but I just think it would be fun to build a snowman like I did when I was a little kid.

Needing: I really stink at planning dinners...and with a picky eater for a husband, we usually end up eating pasta or pizza most nights. Ugh, so boring. I will gladly take any advice anyone has or any good easy recipes! I need to use my crockpot more often as well.

Memory / Tradition: Check out the picture of our matching family sweatshirts from my grandparents. Seriously, how can you not LOVE that?!

And because there is a fun link up party at First Grade Nest, I decided to make some New Year's Resolutions. That's a good enough reason, right? For real though, these are all things I want to do this year and think that I can achieve....and now you all have to hold me accountable!

I can do it! And, as a side note, I am a rock star at Facebook, so follow me over there to get more frequent updates and cool ideas!
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