8 Tips/Tricks You Need to Know About Velcro

As a special education teacher, I think it's pretty safe to say I am a pro at Velcro in the classroom. I use it for EVERYTHING! :) And I've learned a few tricks along the way. Here's what I think every teacher should know about using Velcro.

1. First, Velcro dots are amazing and will save your life and sanity. They are so quick to use!! I especially love using dots for my adapted books.

2. However...Velcro dots are also expensive. So to save money, buy the strips of Velcro. These can be wide, so I like to cut them in half. Long and skinny is the best way to cut it. This helps make your Velcro go farther and also helps with smaller activities (like file folders) by not making it stick too well (making it difficult to easier pull off).

3. When you have long and skinny pieces, I like to put all of the Velcro pieces on the file folder (book, or whatever) horizontally and then the Velcro on the cards vertically. This makes the Velcro easier to stick (if the student doesn't place it in exactly the 'right' spot) and also doesn't make it as hard to pull off (Velcro can be strong!)

4. Cut small pieces in advance. When I have a student absent, sometimes I will give their aide the (terrible) task of cutting apart Velcro. It can only be done so long before people start to go insane, so do be nice :) but it is so helpful when putting together an activity to have the Velcro all ready to go. When cut, I keep them separate in bags labeled "hard" and "soft"

5. Designate a Velcro scissors. Velcro can get stuck on some scissors and makes the scissors impossible to use. It's the worse. However, I've found that some scissors are pretty resilient to Velcro. I haven't figured out what exactly it is, but I know these pink scissors that I got from Michael's for $2 are the best!!! (Kathy recommend Fiskars nonstick titanium scissors in case you don't have magical pink scissors like me!)
6. Goo-be-Gone is a lifesaver. When the Velcro starts to build up on your scissors (or when someone uses the wrong scissors), a dab of this stuff will make them as good as new!

7. Be consistent with your Velcro placement across your classroom. Our rule is "Hard on the card. Soft on the surface." 

8. Another reason I like our 'Hard on the Card. Soft on the Surface' rule is that is allows me to use carpet squares for storing Velcro across my classroom. I even know some classrooms that have carpeted walls for this purpose! I bought rugs at the dollar store and stapled them to my walls in various areas to stick Velcro on. And then the other day I got this awesome divider made of carpet so Velcro works on it too! SCORE!
Those are carpet squares! Our rules are all on one carpet square and the money posters are on strips that I cut from a carpet square. 

Our Velcro crossword puzzle fits great on our carpeted bulletin board!

I use Velcro the most on my file folders and my many adapted books, but you can find it all over my room!

Alright, what tricks and tips did I miss? Please share how you use and manage Velcro in your classroom!

Direct Money Math Instruction with Students Tracking their Progress

In order to make money math functional for my students, I can't only do worksheets or task cards (even though I love and use both). My students need experience with as close to the real thing as they can get. Since my classroom has a lot of 1:1 aides, it is relatively easy to put these experiences into place using these instruction data sheets. However, even if you don't have a lot of 1:1 aides, this could still easily be done in a small group setting or while other students are working on worksheets/task cards.
Above is an example of counting money 1, a simple couple money scenario, all with one dollar bills. The student is given a certain amount of dollars and then has to count and tell you how many they have. For all of our money skills, I list the materials needed and the procedure for the staff to use with specific instructions to help out my aides.

The money instruction/data sheets I've created so far include:
  • Counting Money 1: Student is given a stack of $1 bills and needs to tell you how much they have.
  • Counting Money 2: Student has a stack of $1 bills and needs to give a certain amount.
  • Which one is More?: Student is given two bills and chooses the one worth more money.
  • Identifying Money: Student will identify $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills.
  • Dollar Over: Student is given a price and needs to count out the dollar over amount (using $1 bills).
  • Paying with the Right Bill: Student chooses a bill that is more than their total to pay for their purchase (2 levels, any bill larger or smallest bill possible).

Being able to show student growth is so important, and motivating for both yourself and your students. If you can get your students to participate in tracking their own scores, even better! Since each day we have the student go through 10 trials, it makes it easy to come up with their percent correct. Staff then will outline the part of the graph for the student to shade in and then they can shade it in with a crayon of their choice. It is exciting when you can start to see the graph going up!

Here is any example of how we set up our work area. I have staff sit directly across from their student with the data sheet in front of them. The bills are in front of the student. For this task (paying with the right bill) staff also needs to provide a price, which is written on the white board. (The price is then also what goes into the trial box)

All of my email subscribers will receive these data sheets for FREE in my next newsletter, coming out later this week! I know I hinted at this coming earlier, and I apologize for the delay, but it's coming I promise!

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