Special Education Final Exams

I like to have some fun with our final exams! I can't quite give my students paper and a scan-tron, so we do things a little differently and a whole lot more fun.

This year, during our language arts and resource final we made homemade ice cream! The kids were so excited and completely focused. We went to the kitchen to heat up the milk (which they all thought was really weird) and then combine all the ingredients together (heavy whipping cream, half and half, sugar, salt, vanilla - it was the recipe on the box). That then had to go in the fridge for a half hour so we went back to class and reviewed some of our environmental print stories.

Then the fun began!! First students had to fill the surrounding part with ice and rock salt. Then we took turns cracking the ice cream. The ice cream maker we used was awesome because you can start by hand-cranking and then switch to electric. The electric cranker is awesome, but I have to admit, it got a whole lot louder as it started to turn into ice cream, so next time I'd do it outside of my classroom. During this time I took my students out to assess them on the community signs we had learned this year for their resource final. After 45 minutes of the electric stirring the ice cream was ready to eat! We loaded on the toppings and sprinkles and every single one of my students had seconds. It was probably the best ice cream I have ever had, no joke! Students were assessed on their ability to behave and follow directions.

For my fine arts finals, I had students identify the different instruments on the garage band app and while I was working with individual students the others had time to compose their own music. It was a lot of fun to watch them be creative. Then I had them paint a picture and assessed their ability to get started, choose colors, and paint on their own. I just used a simple +/- system to assess both of these skills and determined percentages from those. We also watched a movie that we had created of video clips and pictures throughout the year.

Last, we had our math final exam. Similar to what I did last semester, but this time instead of a restaurant, I set up a store and put a bill in front of each item to purchase. Students then were given money and had to match/pay with the correct bill to get each item they wanted.

And now, let summer break begin!!! Until I start ESY in 10 days that is :)

Free Tracing Apps for iPad / iPhone

I have downloaded so many free tracing apps for my students, and let me tell you...most of them aren't that great for what I need. My students need tracing practice that is clearly defined (they can't be allowed to draw all over the screen). I have found two that I love for my students. The majority of my students are working on writing their own name independently (with practice tracing) and working on tracing letters.

AlphabetTrace: I like this app because it shows a video on the side of the order in how to create the letter, but you don't have to necessarily follow the video. You also can't make the letter wrong. You have to stay in the "road" but you have to draw a line in each spot otherwise it will make you do it again. The settings are helpful on this app as well, such as the ability to adjust accuracy needed, time, etc.

Little Writer - The Tracing App for Kids: One of my students chooses this app to play almost daily during her break time! It's cute and fun, students start with the large animal or whatever it might be and follow it to eat all of the little fruits, or hay bales, or something. You have to complete each line correctly the entire way or start over. Also, I'm not sure about some of the letter formation, but it's fine for what my students use it for. You can also customize this app by adding your students name and your (or your students voice).

Those have been my favorite in the free tracing category so far. Do you have any other tracing apps that you enjoy? Please share in the comments! Thanks!

Handmade Heart Art - Mothers Day Gifts

This year I wanted to have my students make something (mostly independently) for Mothers Day...but also wanted it to something nice...and not look like a kid made it!

I pinned some great ideas on my Pinterest fine arts board, and ended up with the heart art canvas idea (but we used paper since canvases aren't really in the budget.)

My students first painted a piece of construction paper with colors of their choice. When that dried, each student cut out hearts using a heart punch.

I made 9 dots on a piece of 12x12 paper, forming a 3x3 grid. Students then took their hearts, folded them in half, and put glue on the folded edges. Then they glued it on a dot. The final touch was to sign their name at the bottom.

Easy and they look great too! I just hope they made it home okay. Maybe parents will put it in a frame to enjoy!

Teacher Appreciation Sale - 28% off!

Wow, this sale came up fast! It's another quarterly TpT sale, these only happen four times a year so I get pretty excited! I can't wait to buy some products to spice up the end of the year and start preparing for ESY.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Breezy-Special-Ed
My entire store will be 20% off and then you can use the promo code "TPTXO"  to get an additional 10% off of the already discounted prices.

Not sure what to buy? Well, here are some of my favorites!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Zoo-Unit-for-Field-Trips-Special-Education-1207587
I will be using this Zoo Unit during our ESY program this summer...as long as our trip to the Zoo is approved! It better be, because I can't wait! My community units like this all include Bingo boards, vocab cards, a social game, a social story coloring book, field trip social story, and worksheets.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Grocery-Store-File-Folder-Activities-special-education-1196888
These Grocery Store file folders have been selling like crazy since I put them up last month. So, you all must love them! My students really enjoy them too. It's a great way to work on simple skills while making it seem more challenging (if that even makes sense?!)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Environmental-Print-Store-Adapted-Book-and-Worksheets-Special-Ed-Autism-1045506
And while we are talking about favorites, these Environmental Print packets are awesome! The Store Environmental Print version includes a 10 page book with an additional page of interactive pieces, a 10 page student research book, and 9 matching worksheets, plus a page of ideas for extension activities. I also have a Fast Food version in my store that is my best seller!

There are a ton of stores participating so go check them all out and don't forget to use the promo code TPTXO. Sale begins tonight at midnight!

While we are talking about teacher appreciation, tomorrow May 6th, you can get buy one get one free at Chipotle and a free sandwich at Chick-fil-a. Check the locations by you to see if they are doing the same deals! Are there any other good ones I should know about?

May Currently - Time for Sunshine and Ice Cream!

May is finally here!!! One month left of school! We can do this people :)

So, here's what is going on currently, link up with Farley if you haven't already!

Listening: Commercials were on as I was writing this. Now it's some music thing. I'm clearly not watching, my husband is in charge of the remote and I'm perfectly happy with my computer!

Loving: My sister got engaged this past weekend and I am SO excited for her and her fiance to get married! They are great for each other. They are thinking to get married this summer, so it would be fast but exciting to get everything together on short notice!

Thinking: I'm getting old...my body seems to be slowly turning against me! The last few weeks I have been having neck pains and headaches and my back hurts too. Where did this come from? Ugh. So annoying. Maybe I need to do yoga again. Or maybe I just need summer! :)

Wanting: I can't even explain how excited I am for summer! And this came all of the sudden too (probably along with my back pain, ha). I was doing so great for so long. I was even excited to come back after spring break. But I'm ready to break for summer and come back fresh. I want to change some of the procedures in my room especially with my staff as I'm learning more about how to manage multiple adults in my room, so I'm just waiting for next school year. And where is this sunshine? It's time for may flowers, no more showers!

Needing: The weekend. Can you tell I just need a break from school?! Really, I need something to get me excited again, which might be my ice cream field trip coming up this month! 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ice-Cream-Unit-for-Community-Trips-special-education-1189569
And it has a pink cover and pink Bingo boards, so that makes me happy. As soon as we get started preparing with that (I prepared the materials today), I'm sure I will be more excited.Themed units aren't just for the kids, teachers need them too.

Surprise: Farley asked us to choose a favorite blogger to highlight, and I am so excited to share with all of you this amazing new blog called Teach.Love.Autism. I LOVE the work task posts she has been sharing lately and can't wait to see what else she shares. Go check out her blog now and be sure to follow!!
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