Saturday, June 6, 2015

Work Baskets and Fun Actvities for Boys!

I'm Back!  Sorry for my absence, I have been busy with my 'real job' lately.   That being said we have some great things in store for Early Childhood Educators in Kansas for the 2015-2016 school year be watching the TASN-ATBS Facebook page for more details Kansans!

Now on with today's post, what better way to start back up then with some Dollar Tree inspired work tasks and fun activities for boys!  All you need is to purchase the Dollar Tree items in the photo below: an Ultimate Spiderman board book and piggy bank, toy skateboards, 2 3 packs of match box cars, Easter egg cars and black ponytail holders.

Task 1: Spiderman Put In

Task 2: Spiderman Put On
We like to pretend that the black ponytail holders are spider webs.
A great activity for strengthening little hands:)

Task 3: Car Assembly
This tasks might be hard to come by the cars are actually Easter eggs. 
Write yourself a note to pick them up next spring. 

Task 4: Superhero Colors
Print page nine from this free Teachers Pay Teachers product and use scissors, packing tape, cardboard and Velcro to make this work task book.

And now for the activities! 

Activity 1: Skateboard Prepositions
Print page three and four from this free Teachers Pay Teachers product and place page three in a cardboard box lid. 

Have students push the skateboard across the sheet and then use the aided language board below to help them describe where the skateboard landed.  For example: "The red skateboardstopped behind the pig."  For similar activities for sports lovers click here!

Activity 2: Color Car Listening Activity
Print the cards on pages five through eight from this Teachers Pay Teachers product
Then use a Velveeta cheese box, scissors, a marker, and black duct tape to make a brown and black garage. 

Next use the cards shown in the examples below as a listening activity.  Read the text on each card without showing the student, then after they put the colored cars in the garage show them the card you read and let them lift the cardboard garage up to see if they listened correctly. 
You can do cards with both the black and brown garages to make it more difficult for higher students or even call out the numbers on the cars rather than the colors.

That's it for now!  But if you need a few more oldies but goodies that little boys with love click here:  Sports Sorting and Wiffle Ball Fun!
Best wishes! Until next time,

Workbasket Wednesday at Autism Classroom News

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Girlie Tasks for Work Basket Wednesday!

I have to say, I was some what of a giddy little school girl putting this month's tasks and work baskets together. Being the mom of two boys and the teacher of many preschool boys with special needs, it was a dream to shop for 'girlie' things at Dollar Tree!

So without further ado, I give you 4 girlie work basket ideas with 12 task variations.  Just purchase these 7 Dollar Tree items: a pink and purple tea set, fabric pony tail holders, day of the week princess rings, pink and purple party favor rings, a Strawberry Shortcake piggy bank, a foam number princess puzzle and a set of two 5 inches Styrofoam circles--plus plastic heart barrettes that are not pictured.   

I added Velcro coins to the pink and purple tea set to create an assembly task that works on matching with one to one correspondence.
You can create six variations of this task by adding letters, numbers, shapes or colors using a Vis-à-vis marker or permanent marker to each plate and each cup for matching practice.  TIP: the permanent marker obviously stays on better, if you wish to use permanent you are still able to change out the concepts by cleaning the tea set with oops cleaner or nail polish remover. 
Next up a simple put in task with Strawberry Shortcake!
And 2 variations for Miss Shortcake using pony tail holders, 2 strips of colored felt, and plastic heart barrettes also from Dollar Tree but unfortunately not pictured above in items purchased. 
Task one: use fine motor skills to stretch pony tails holders over the canister for Strawberry Shortcake hair.
Task two: cut out two strips of felt and stick them in the slit in the top of the canister.  Then have students put barrettes on the felt using fine motor and sorting skills. 
You can also do a two step direction put in task by having an all done can and the bowl of barrettes.  "close the barrette then put in all done."
Next up a ring put in--  Either errorless with one bowl of rings and one container for putting in or a sorting put in task with both the pink and purple rings using the color ring labels that you can find on my Teachers Pay Teachers store
Variation: add a popsicle stick to the top of the container and have students put on instead of putting  in. 
Need more?  use the day of the week princess rings and circle Styrofoam for practicing one to one correspondence.
Or print the day of the week ring visual, and circle with the days of the week on it from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Cut them out and glue the circle to the 5 inch Styrofoam circle. Then have the student assign the rings to the correct day of the week based on the visual.
For readers, print the visual list to assign the rings to the correct day of the week. 
And one last activity before I sign off, it is not a work task put instead a fun memory game using the foam numbered princess puzzles, and calling cards from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Cut the cards out and ask students to put the puzzle piece together in the numbered order you called out. Then turn the card over to the let them to check to see if they were right.  You can watch a video below of my son and I playing the game.  He wants you to be sure to know, he is not a girl though:)

There are a variety of levels in the card set, 3 numbers in order, 4 numbers in order, 3 random numbers and 4 random numbers.   
So there you have it, 4 girlie work tasks, with 12 variations-- PLUS a fun memory game!  Be sure to come back next month when I get back in my element and share work baskets and tasks for boys:)
But in the meantime, do you have any ideas for making the foam princess puzzle into a work task?  I came up with the fun memory game in lieu of a workbasket because I could think of a good workbasket but I know there has got to be one out there for these cool puzzle pieces.  Please post your ideas below.  (Dollar Tree has boy versions of this puzzle too:)
Happy Dollar Tree Shopping and Workbasket Making!

Workbasket Wednesday at Autism Classroom News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

18 Teacher Made Graduation, Retirement and Special Occasion Keepsakes and Gifts

Tis' the season for gift giving!  Although it is not Christmas, in education this time of the year can seem like it! With graduations, retirements, goodbyes, and designated days for special people. . .

I felt like now would be the perfect time to share some of my favorite student and teacher made gifts and keepsake idea.  (Some of them may look familiar as I have posted them on the Considerate Classroom Facebook page at one point or another but this will serve as a one stop shop for creative ideas rather than searching through hours and hours of photos on Facebook.)

1. A Vase of Yummy Candies and Clever Sayings. This gift was given to my paras for our districts para week a few years back.

Below are photos of the sayings that are taped to the back of each candy.  Feel free to print them by clicking this link! 
2. A Personalized Vase  We made this one for the retirement of our amazing OT last year.  Each child drew themselves with a sharpie in appropriate Matman fashion as she had taught them. Then I sealed the vase by putting it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  We added flowers and presented it to her on the last day of school. 

 3. A Keepsake Notebook I modge podged a morning class photo from every year I had taught the Buddy Bears on the front of a composition notebook with some of my favorite quotes. Then I modge podged afternoon class photos to the back of the notebook with more favorite quotes. 

This gift was given to all the Buddy Bear staff on my last day as the Buddy Bear with this special note. 

4. 'Tee'rific T-shirts For our school district's para week last year, I designed this t-shirt for my staff. This image was in the front upper left corner. 

And this image was on the back.  "If you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts." SO TRUE!

I wrapped the t-shirts with this t-shirt shaped card that all the students signed. 

5.  Para Trophies Also during para week last year, I had trophies of appreciation made from Crown Awards.  Each one was personalized with something unique that each para offered to the team. 

The paras were presented their trophies during a red carpet ceremony complete with flowers, princess crowns, and beautiful beads (each student had something to present to one of these amazing ladies to be a part of the cermony!)

6. Oh, the Place You Will Go  This gift was inspired by Pinterest!  Instead of using Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Place You Will Go for a student graduation gift, we gave it to our speech pathology practicum students at the end of their internship.  The children signed the book and predicted where they thought the practicum students would go throughout life.  They choose everything from Mars, to the circus, to Kansas City.  (Note: I used an aided language board for my students who are nonverbal to predict a place too.)

7.  A Thumbprint Tree This gift was originally created for a student teacher, I had several years back.  You have to use your imagination a bit as it is not the best photo, but what I did was frame this document after having each student put a thumbprint on it.  I then included a green ink pad with the gift for our student teacher to add her future students' thumbprints as an on going tradition!

8. A Quote Plaque This plaque was made for the amazing secretaries that I have worked with.  As those of you who know me know, I love quotes!  I find them inspiring and motivating so what better way to support the core of our schools than with a quote board for staff to drop off quotes and give some inspiration in the school office. (It was made out of a simple plaque from the craft section at Wal-Mart.  I stained it and then painted it with clear chalkboard paint.) 

9. Candle Plaque This gift was given as a birthday gift to EJ's kindergarten teacher.  Yet another quote inspired creation:)  Pretty simple I just painted a wooden plaque from the craft section at Wal-Mart and tacky glued candles to the bottom for a 3D look.  Then EJ and I used paint pens to decorate it. 

10. Thumbprint Art This gift included 689 student thumbprints as a thank you to a very kind family who gave a generous donation to our special education program a few years back.  It is a great gift idea to share exactly how many people, students or staff are impacted by a donation or action.  The phrase at the bottom of the gift said: "In this frame are 689 thumbprints to represent the 689 students who will be impacted by your generous donation.  Thank you so much for your support!"

11.  A Keepsake Plate  This keepsake was painted with love for a special educator to let her know we were thinking of her during a hard time.  Special thank you to our Pam at Pottery Works for conveniently allowing us to borrow paint from the pottery store and firing it after creating it at school. 

12. Memory Blocks I have made this simple gift for several co-workers and friends who have lost love ones.  They can put photos in the wire paperclips to remember their special loved one in the many roles they hold within their family.  This gift as well as the next one were inspired by Miss Karlie and her mom's students. 

13.  Class Memory Block This gift was created by and for each of the Buddy Bears last year. They each painted their own two by four then we modge podged scrapbook paper with the words Buddy Bears Forever on the front and drilled a hole in the top for a spiral paperclip to hold a class photo.

14. Retirement Magnets These magnets were created from the inspiration of Hobby Lobby's Spare Parts Collection.  I simply printed the phrases below, punched them out and placed them in spare parts' bottle cap with the self-adhesive bubbles shown in the top right picture below. Note the bottom pictures were specific to the amount of time the special education teacher who was retiring has served our district and our school. 

15. Dry Erase To Do List This gift was made for our Speech Language Pathologist during Better Speech and Hearing  in May.  All it is, is a frame that has a clipart of a notebook page inside and a dry erase marker velcroed to the side of it. 

16. Dry Erase To Do List and Inspiring Quote Board This gift was created for some special friends at the end of last school year.  I purchased the 3 picture frame at Hobby Lobby and then added my own words as described below, to transform it into a dry erase board/frame!

17. Home Sweet Home Painting This gift was created for my mom and mother in law for mother's day last year with the help of my little artists. Using a photograph of each of their homes, EJ drew their houses with a pencil. Then I traced them with permanent marker, he colored them with crayon, and Payton covered them with blue and green watercolor.

18. Everything Grows with Love Canvas The boys and I made this gift for the grandmas on their birthdays last year.  We collected green crayons.  I then hot glued them to the bottom of a canvas and we melted the tips of them using a blow dryer to create stems.  Next the boys put their handprints on them for flowers and EJ wrote "Everything Grows with Love" on the top. 

And there you have it, 18 creative gifts and keepsakes for any occasion!  Giving thoughtful and personalized gifts can be a very powerful thing. I like to think, it is a wonderful trait that I learned from my mom.  She has always been a loving, caring person who would give the shirt off her back to show her love, appreciation and gratitude for others so I write this post in honor of her!  Love you MOM! 

Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but what we give. -Ben Carson