Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: Children With Disabilties Reading & Writing The Four Blocks Way

This is a Carson Dellosa book that I bought a year ago. I used a few things from this book, but plan on using more this year. This book covers how to teach self selected reading, guided reading, writing and working with words. This book gives really good examples for scheduling these in a regular classroom and special ed classroom. It gives wonderful inclusion ideas including using communication devices and alternative pencils. It has ideas for using other technology as well. It also gives clear examples of how to teach to children with moderate to severe disabilities and why each of these blocks are important for special needs students.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Long Time No Blog

I am back to blogging! I had a crazy life for a while, but now things are good. I am planning for the fall already.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Predictable Chart Writing

When I first started teaching I struggled with teaching writing to low functioning students. Now I have lots of ideas and one of my favorites is predictable chart writing. The plan below carries me through the whole week and I can make it meaningful to my students by choosing a topic that the student can relate to in their world. Day 1: Pick a title such as My Favorite Sport or read a book with a repetitive phrase or desired theme. Get some chart paper and have students dictate their sentences to you and model as you write the sentences. Don't forget to program devices. Day 2: Reread sentences as a group or take turns chanting, clapping, counting words, tracking print, discussing our inner voice, word patterns or initial sounds and much more. You can practice lots of phonemic awareness skills here. Day 3: Write each sentence onto a sentence strip. Have the students read their own sentence. Next, cut up the sentences and mix them up so the students can practice arranging words into correct order to make a sentence. You can also cut into subject and predicates. I usually have students trade sentences to get more practice. Day 4: Have students "be the sentence". Give each student a word and have them line up in correct order. Program devices if needed. Day 5: Make a book with the cut up sentences. Have some pictures or drawing supplies and some construction paper available for students. Have the students glue their sentence onto construction paper and then they can draw a picture or glue a printed picture. Now you can make a book and put it in your classroom reading center. I have also done this for our field trips. My students love this activity. I got this idea from a workshop, but there is also a book with this same format with lots of ideas, Predictable Charts: Shared Writing For Kindergarten and First Grade. I just adapted it for specific kids as needed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Alternatives To Worksheets Book Review

I have 2 books that I really love using with my students. Alternatives To Worksheets and More Alternatives To Worksheets. These books have hands on activities for students that can be used with any subject. There are lots of ideas for centers and class presentations. These can be adapted for various levels. It has some patterns to copy for projects and uses inexpensive materials like sentence strips, construction paper, cereal boxes. The activities include pop ups, foldables, and more.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Teaching Sentence Writing

I have student who struggle with fine motor skills and this makes it difficult for them to write. I love using Pixwriter software. Pixwriter is software that allows you to build word banks with or without pictures. The student touches the word or picture and it puts the word on the screen. it allows students to work on capitalization and punctuation too. There are various options such has colored borders that can be used for nouns and verbs.It has the option of reading the sentence with various voice options or no voice. I like using it on the Smart Board. I build my word banks using words from our weekly story. I also have seen great improvement in my students when I dictate sentences to my beginning writers daily. I have a separate time to work on pencil skills. I use Pixwriter to get a composition grade. I can print it off and send home.

Friday, August 3, 2012


The thing that I dread the most is scheduling. Sometimes it takes me 2 days to do this due to the amount of inclusion we have and the fact I have 3-4 grade levels and various therapies to consider. I have a assistants and usually 7-9 kids. So here are a couple of forms that I use to schedule my groups. The first one is from The Watson Institute. They have some wonderful documents for teachers. I like this one because it has the times, teacher, student names, where they go next and iep goals addressed. A blank form can be found here: Here is another one made in Excel. I usually color code this one. I assign each adult a color and highlight the students (time blocks) that work with that adult. I leave white for students who do not need adult support during that time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Cheat Sheet For Modifications & Accommodations

I created this cheat sheet that contains modifications and accommodations. I put the students initials and grade level at the top. I also include the last ARD date. I have enlarged this so you can read it, but at the bottom I have a spot for other. I try to make it fit on one page. This is a great resource to share with regular ed teachers if your students go out to classes. I just created a table in Microsoft Word.