Special Education Math: Core Words, Xtra Math, and Monsters!

This week for #BSEspedinspiration, I asked everyone to share something that they were doing in math this week. I loved seeing everyone's responses (even though math definitely isn't my favorite!)

Here's a few highlights from the week. Be sure to follow these Instagrammers if you don't already!
If you want to see more, search the hashtags #BSEspedinspiration and #spedmath

Core Word Math

this_teach_loves_speechHere is what we are doing this week for Math. We are non-verbal and try to incorporate our core words (what we use to communicate) into everything we do. This week we are playing fun games using our core words then graphing them in different ways. The students are learning how to read graphs, how to graph information, counting, colors,etc. #bsespedinspiration #spedmath#iteachsped #weteachsped#teacheraofinstagram#teachersfollowteachers#this_teach_loves_speech#multipledisabilities #autism #nonverbal

I thought this idea was absolutely genius! Sure, math is important, but it's SO important that our kids can speak, so I love how this_teach_loves_speech included core words in her math lessons!

Xtra Math Website

theautismvaultWhat are we doing in math? We recently started using the site#xtramath to practice addition. We also just started recording our weekly scores so we can see our progress over time.#iteachsped #spedtribe#teachersfollowingteachers#bsespedinspiration

A fun website AND progress monitoring - what's not to love?! Check out XtraMath.com to see if you could use this with your students too.

Monster Addition Mats

mrspspecialtiesLinking up with@breezyspecialed for #bsespedinspirationThis week is all about math. Here's what we were up to today in math. We use a variety of visual organizers to help us learn. What are you doing in math? Link up!#visuallearners #spedclass #math#mrspspecialties

I love that the students can practice different ways, or whichever way they learn best. You can find these monster math mats here.

Colored Clocks for Telling Time

breezyspecialedA telling time file folder even my lowest students can complete! I love using color supports for my early learners. I find it gives them much needed confidence. #bsespedinspiration#spedmath #iteachsped #spedtribe

Color makes me happy. And it helps my students too! :) You can see all of my time file folders in this blog post!

This week, get ready to share a fun craft! Be sure to follow me at @BreezySpecialEd, and remember if you're a private account, let me know so I can follow you. 

Don't forget to use the hashtags (#BSEspedinspiration and #spedcrafts).  
I can't wait to see what you have to share!

Telling Time File Folders for Special Education with color support

When we talk about life skills and math, telling time is one of the first concepts that probably pops into your head. Understanding time is an important skill for so many reasons, which is why we work on it so often in special education classrooms. I created this pack of telling time file folders that ALL of my students could work on.
Telling Digital and Analog Time - File Folders - great for Special Education

But wait, what about your students who aren't able to recognize numbers yet, or maybe are just mastering numbers but aren't ready to move to a clock yet? I have something for them too!

Level One Time File Folders: Digital and Analog clocks with color matching! 

These file folders are great for those students who can't master number matching yet, but are able to color match, and allows them to feel like they are a part of the class. They can work on time too!

Level Two Time File Folders: Digital and Analog clocks matching (without any additional supports)

I love that these too can be used for students who can't recognize numbers, but can match the arrows on the clocks or the shapes of the individual numbers. It's a great first step to recognizing numbers and telling time!

Level Three File Folders: Matching digital time to analog time (times separated by :00, :15, :30, and :45)
This is usually the first one that students are able to complete successful, since telling time by the hour is just looking for where that little hand is pointing.

Level 3 and a 1/2 File Folder: Mixed time with color support (each time frame, such as :15, is all one color)

Level 4 File Folder: All mixed up!!

So there you have it. Telling time file folders for your entire class! Grab this pack of telling time file folders in my TpT store! And if you love activities like this, you'll also love these file folders!

Visuals in a Special Education Classoom

You can't have a special education classroom without visuals. Probably LOTS and LOTS of visuals! I asked you all on Instagram this week to share your favorite (or most used) classroom visuals and I love what everyone shared!

Check them all out at #BSEspedinspiration and #spedvisuals. Here's a few of my favorites...

I am in love with all four of Miss Lulu's favorite visuals!

@missluluspecialedJoining@breezyspecialed for #BSEspedinspiration. Some of my favorite visuals are my 1) computer stop signs, 2) my reinforcer chart, 3) my math materials board, and 4) my noise levels chart. Can't live without my#spedvisuals!

This next one cracks me up. I totally had the same visual in my classroom a couple of years ago! Go pick your nose in private please ;)

@bobcatshackThis is the most used sign in my room. All I do is point, and the guilty one goes and washes their hands without a word spoken. The struggle is real....but I love my job. #BSEspedinspiration

And I absolutely love how clear the expectations for this student are over at Delightfully Dedicated!

And then I shared this keychain that was an absolute lifesaver in my classroom last year! A similar visual keychain can be found here.

@breezyspecialedThese were most definitely our most used visuals at the beginning of last year. We used them with one student so much that another student would come up and flip it to the visual we needed if the staff didn't do it fast enough! And the first one on this keychain was "shoes on" - I'd be okay if I never have to see that again! Oh the struggle!#bsespedinspiration #spedvisuals #spedtribe

Okay, now this week I would love to see what you are doing in math. It could be a worksheet, flashcards, math manipulatives, board work, etc. 
Make sure to use both the hashtags #BSEspedinspiration and #spedmath. If you are a private account, let me know so I can follow you and see your awesomeness!

Calendars in Special Education Classrooms #BSEspedinspiration

The first week of #BSEspedinspiration was so much fun! We had 32 different posts and it was so much fun to look through and see everyone's calendars in their classrooms. I loved them all! This is going to be hard, but I'm going to limit my feature to three each week, and you'll just have to check out the rest on instagram #bsespedinspiration!

Use a Desk Calendar as a Classroom Calendar
This great pic is from @n1colette09, who says "Writing on a posted desk calendar has given my calendar time more meaning than ever before! I'll never go back to Velcro numbers!" There are so many things I love about this. The home visuals help students understand weekends and days off. It is easy to set up! And it's extremely age appropriate for older students as well!

Space Saving Calendar Area: Tri-fold to the rescue!

This post is from @wittyinautism: "My calendar is on a foam trifold because I don't have enough board space. I (LOVE) the calendar bundle from @autismadventures83 " I love this idea and it can be used for so much more than calendars.  If you run out of room, grab a tri-fold! Read more about these calendar visuals from Autism Adventures here.

Fun Friday Visuals

@rtschetter91 writes: "I have a K-1 resource room, so kids come in and out for groups throughout the day. If they do their work and follow all our classroom rules they earn beads to put in little treasure boxes they paint at the beginning of the year! Then at the end of the week we spend time counting beads into 10 frames and they have a menu to "purchase" from of short activities or prizes. Adding "bead day" to the calendar stopped the question "is it count bead day??" from happening all the time now that the kids can just look at where we are in the week!" I love her bead day idea and the visuals really help students see when it is coming up.

Color Coded Calendars
This last one is mine! "One of my awesome aides snapped a pic of our color coded calendar! This is the classroom sample (which by the way my maternity sub clearly colors better than I do) but all my students have one that they make and keep in their binders and cross off daily." The different colors mean different things (yellow = school day, blue = weekend, etc) which helps students see what is coming up and what to expect each month. Read more about these color coded calendars here.
Join us this next week as our topic is visuals! 
Use hashtags #BSEspedinspiration and #spedvisuals so we all can check them out.  Can't wait to see them!

Winter Themed LA, Math, and Crafts: Lessons for Special Education

Hello winter! They say it's going to get to -2 degrees today. I had to shovel our driveway yesterday. Brrr. In fact, I'm drinking hot chocolate right now. Winter is indeed here so it's time to bring some winter activities in the classroom!

Let's get started with some winter journals!
These journals are my absolute favorite as they reach all of the needs of my students. A classroom sample provides sentence starters and three errorless options. The options are errorless because so many of my students are concerned about getting the right answer that they always look for help. I want them to be successful and these journals help them be confident about their writing abilities.

Level one students color the picture, trace the word as best as they can (scribbles are totally okay!), and then choose from two visual options to complete each sentence starter. I then have my students practice reading their journal by repeating words or using their communication device.

Level two students color the picture and then can draw it on their own. They then trace the sentence starters and then choose from the three options to complete their sentence, which are below each line.

Level three students will draw the pictures on their own and then write the paragraph using the classroom sample and options.

You can get this set of winter journals here.

Next, bring some winter fun into your math life skill skills with this differentiated pack!
Included in this winter math pack are 5 life skill topics, each including 6 different worksheets at 3 different levels (plus 3 bonus number worksheets).
Money: Level 1 works on recognizing and matching bills. Level 2 works on matching bills to their dollar amount. Level 3 works on combining multiple bills to reach certain dollar amounts. A reading component is included as scenarios such as "You want to go sledding with your friends, but you need a new sled. Go to the store and buy one for $15." Pictured is a level 2 and a level 3 worksheet.

Directions (Top, Bottom, Left, Right): Level 1 works on these directions using arrows as support. Level 2 works on following directions without the arrow support (using the word only). Level 3 adds a little extra to the level 2 worksheets by adding a part to the directions in the front, so instead of "circle the boots on the left" it might say "color in" or "draw a line under" or "put an X on", etc. Pictured is a level 1 (top/bottom) and a level 2 (left/right) worksheet.

More/Less: The main difference between the levels on these worksheets is the amounts. Level 1 goes up to 3. Level 2 goes up to 5, and level 3 goes up to 10. Different worksheets ask students to circle the group with more or to count and number each group and then for level 3 figure out how many more are in the box with more. Both worksheets pictured above are level 2.

Sizes: Level 1 works on big and small only. Levels 2 and 3 work on small, medium, and large. Level 3 also works on arranging in order of size where the other levels just sort between the sizes. Pictured is a level 2 and a level 3 worksheet.

Time: Level 1 works on recognizing the difference between morning/night and am/pm. Level 2 focuses on digital time to the hour and half hours, with some analog time. Level 3 works on analog time to the 5 minute intervals. Each level also includes a reading component along with the time, and level 2 and 3 also reinforce am/pm concepts.

Grab this math pack here.

Of course, language arts and math are essential to every school day, but crafts are oh so much fun too! So here's a few of my favorite wintery crafts.

Like these stencil polar bears with a beautiful salty purple sky,

or these shredded paper polar bears...

or there's this awesome hot chocolate sensory craft!!

Check out all of these crafts (and more) with links to their instructions here.

Bundle up and stay warm everyone :)

Celebrating Birthdays in a Special Education Classroom

I love it when we have a birthday in my class because it's a great opportunity to practice tons of life skills! Whenever we have a birthday to celebrate, we plan a party. This is usually pretty low-key (because I usually don't think of it until the day of) but awesome just the same and my students love it!
(clip art in graphic by Monkeying around in First)

Here are some of our QUICK and EASY birthday party planning steps:

Food: We go to the kitchen and see if there is a cake mix we can cook (It's always good to have a few cake mixes and cans of frosting on hand. We would then cook in the morning, decorate and eat in the afternoon). If you don't have time or access to an oven, another fun birthday snack is frosting on graham crackers and the students can add sprinkles! We have also made quick and easy snacks, such as microwavable popcorn.

Decorations: I have students draw pictures on the white board. If we have streamers and balloons available we will put up some of those as well.

Music: I have a student pull up "Happy Birthday" videos on YouTube. If the students has a specific interest, such as cats for example, then we would search "happy birthday cats". You can usually find something for just about anything. Make sure you have your filter on though!!! Then we usually let the birthday student pick which one they want to play. This is great, especially if you have a bunch of students who do not sing...and you don't want to be singing Happy Birthday by yourself!

Cards: This is quite possibly my favorite life skill. It works on writing, but in a super fun and sneaky way! For each birthday I would print out a bunch of cards, type up a bunch of symbols, write examples on the board, and honestly, it got to be a lot of prep work every time. So I created this birthday card set with SEVEN different levels included in order to reach the unique needs of all of my students.

Each card is designed so that students can add their own unique thoughts to the card. Student who use symbol support will choose between 5-6 symbols to complete their sentences as seen below. 

Students who trace can use the symbol options and either glue the symbols, copy the word from the symbol, or come up with their own ideas. And students who can copy can mix and match from three different birthday messages, also including sentence starters for them to complete.

If you are familiar with my leveled journals, these cards follow the same basic levels of symbol support, tracing, and copying/writing. You can check out these birthday cards here.

Surprise! For students who can handle it, we like to throw in the element of surprise as well. We send the student out on an errand (with a staff member) and then we get everything ready. My aide and I text so that we know when the student is coming back to the room, and then we have everyone "hide" and get ready to say "surprise"! I usually pass out pom-poms, noisemakers, and bubbles as well. The kids usually have a lot of fun with this. I make the fact that it is "secret" a pretty big deal and they love whispering and hiding!

Birthday Tin: This idea came from a reader and fellow special education teacher, Amy, and I absolutely love it! "I have a birthday cake (a decorated tin can full of Hershey kisses) that has real candles glued in top. I light the candles we sing happy birthday then everyone gets a birthday kiss from the tin. The birthday boy or girl gets a rubber bracelet, pencil and eraser. It's quick but makes them feel super special!"

I hope that gave you some good ideas. Remember, you can grab the set of birthday cards here and be prepared to celebrate the next birthday in your classroom! How else do you celebrate student's birthdays in your classroom?

Insta-Inspiration #BSEspedinspiration @BreezySpecialEd

Starting next week, I'm calling all special education teachers (and SLPs) to inspire and be inspired by sharing posts of their classrooms through Instagram. Throughout each week you can share pictures related to that weeks topic using the hashtags #BSEspedinspiration and #spedclassrooms.

Sometimes it's easy to feel alone in special ed, especially if you are the only (or one of the few) classrooms in your school. I hope this will be a great way for us to connect and share ideas among our fellow sped teachers! Teachers can then search those hashtags to checkout other classrooms and maybe even get new ideas for their classroom as well. (This should totally count as professional development IMHO!) I will post some of my favorites in a weekly round-up on Sundays on my blog for those of you who don't have Instagram.

Doesn't that sound awesome?! We aren't officially starting until Monday January 11th, but I'll let you in on week 1's topic....
To get you thinking, it could be a picture of your classroom calendar, your planner, your schedule calendar, etc. I know everyone has something they can share on this topic!

By sharing with the hashtags above, you are giving permission for me to repost and share on my blog. Remember to respect your student's privacy when posting.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @BreezySpecialEd to join in on the fun! (If you have a private account let me know so I can follow you and see what you share.)
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