Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How to Decorate a Gingerbread Cookie

My kids are experts as you can see! During the holiday time, you can never go wrong with different versions of The Gingerbread Man! We decorate cookies, and then I made this little goodie that you can get for free on my TPT store.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cooking Club! Reading, Writing, Social Skills, and a Yummy Time!

I discovered a great kids' magazine called Chop Chop! put out by the American Pediatric Association. My students selected this Soba Noodle Salad for Cooking Club this week. I originally started the lunchtime group for a resource student who hated reading. She is in the 6th grade and is leading the group now. And....her reading level has increased by a year since we started reading children's cookbooks, and double-dosing her with lots of other interested books!
We also have two students with autism in this group, and they really look forward to Cooking Club. They invite a couple of friends from their general ed classes, and we end up with an eclectic group of students, included English Language Learners. 
Needless to say, we always make a mess, have a blast and everybody wins!

Here's my TPT product "A Recipe For...."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

And I am Definitely Not an Autism Specialist!

More and more of my students are on the autism spectrum. I have participated in many trainings over the years, and have learned so much from specialists who really are trained in the area of autism.  But my college training was way-back-when, when the autism label was reserved for children with severe disabilities, and there were not the array of terrific interventions and research.
But, I have definitely developed my own bag of tricks over the years for students with behavioral, social, and communication difficulties, autism eligibility, or not.
Here's a sample of tools that I am calling "I Can" statements, and I have updated my Resource Specialist Manual to include them. The kids enjoy reflecting and reading their own ideas in the form of replacement behaviors for tricky situations.
No, I do not consider myself an autism expert, but these simple charts are working with my students!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Behavior Expert- Not!!!

I have never considered behavior management my area of expertise, but I have learned a lot from all the specialists, teachers, and students I have met in the last 33 years. And have you noticed that behaviors are getting a bit escalated right now? Maybe we are getting into the school year enough, and really digging into the academics, thus causing at-risk students to fall apart!
I am really not into complicated behavior management systems, and I use a variety of tricks and tools. I developed a couple of simple charts to use in a journal to take home. The idea is a quick snapshot of the child's day, and simple to fill out by the paraeducator or the teacher at the very busy end of the day. Here's a peek:

These can be found in my manual: How to Be a Resource Specialist

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkins are......

I found these great scribble pumpkins and the heading from Graphics from the Pond on TPT!
My amazing assistant made this glorious big pumpkin, and I made this simple open-ended writing activity to go with it! It is also fun that I have big windows opening to a courtyard on one side of my room, and everyone gets to see!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Update~ How to Be a Resource Specialist!

I am updating this manual as the school year progresses. I have found that older kids really take ownership of getting their work done, if they have a checklist to fill out and then check off their assignments and activities as they complete them! These are included in my updated manual~

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Special Education Students and Art

I love working with students with disabilites and differences, and I love art! I have never considered my self an expert in either area, but those are my loves. Throw in some good literature too! I am convinced that when our students find a medium where they can be successful, it opens windows for other areas that they struggle with. Everyone is an artist, whether they know it or not. With the right instruction( and maybe a little directed drawing) kids can create masterpieces. I pair the art lesson with reading and writing, which makes the whole process a little lesson painful! I just ran across this painting from Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, that one of my students did 7-8 years ago(she's graduating this year!). 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Where's the Bacon?-finished art project and Freebie

 I am keeping this product free for the weekend because I discovered that the art project is so do-able and the kids love it! My older resource kids are reading the book and doing the art project now!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My kids love Charlie and Bacon!

Freebie for one day!
We read Charlie the Ranch Dog, Where's the Bacon by Ree Drummond with my primary group this week. I did it as a shared reading, although my third grader can almost read it on his own. This is the first time I have been able to do the unit I created this summer, and it is sooooo fun! We have a variety of disabilities in this group, including autism, and so far, so good. Here is our progress on the art project:

Now all I need is a real Bassett Hound to bring in! The kids have already let me know that it is OK if I bring some bacon......

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Color words are on my TPT site- Freebie

You can print these, cut on the paper cutter, and mount them on colored construction paper!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Color Word Wall

Don't you love my color word wall? May fabulous assistant put all the words on coordinating students love to use these words instead of the boring basic color words!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elmer Elevator....Reading and Writing about My Father's Dragon

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Garnett is a classic! It is a fabulous, accessible read for Special Education students and English Language Learners. We have started our Reader's and Writer's Interactive Notebooks as our back-to-school activity. The group I am doing this activity with are 4th, 5th, and 6th grade resource students with an array of eligibilities, including autism, emotional disturbance, and learning disabilities. Some are English Language Learners as well. I am always pleasantly surprised when I pull out this book, which was written in 1948, and kids can't wait to read ahead to the next chapter. Below is a knapsack (isn't that a great vocabulary word?) that some English Learners from Korea created several years ago.... I am not a big laminator, but glad I have covered this knapsack in plastic, because it has gotten a lot of use! The kids read the list of items Elmer packed for his trip to Wild Island, and study the knapsack carefully to make sure there are the right number of lollipops and apples in it!

Friday, August 23, 2013


YIKES! the beginning of the school year! Being a resource specialist requires a lot of planning and organizing, but the beginning of the year is also a time to observe, wait, listen, and watch. While I would like to have my schedule set in stone, and start organizing activities, and teaching, it cannot happen right off the bat.
The goal is to help the kids be successful in their general education class. That may look quite different for each child. I have spent this week

  • Listening to parents, and gathering information about preferred activities
  • Scheduling paraeducators with new children on the autism spectrum
  • Listening to teachers voice concerns over new programs
  • Scheduling all my IEP's for the year
  • Giving an ice cream party for kids who filled their summer reading chart
  • Listening to children tell what's in their "Me Box"
  • Checking from Kindergarten to 6th grade to see how everyone is settling in(including teachers)
  • Attending Writer's Workshop inservice
  • Listening to specialists brainstorming ideas for behavior issues
  • Completing Interim placement forms for new students
  • Listening to the sound of the lunchroom buzzing with the excitement, as well as the frustrations of a new school year.......
Did I say listening?
As I get more and more experienced in this  job, I think I am finally realizing that at the beginning of the year, it will not all come together neatly and quickly in the first week or two. I have to get a feel for all the class communities, new staff and kids, and slowly form my schedule and get ready to dive into the new school year. I will leave the kids in their math classes for the First 20 Days to learn the fabulous games and routines, even though their work will have to be modified. I will watch a new student throughout the day before tweaking a behavior chart to fit her personality and the teacher's style. And I will listen. To teachers, to parents, to children.....
And enjoy the best job in town!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Charlie is on sale!

The TPT sale is on, so all of my stuff is 28% off for two days.
I have ordered several of the books for my primary reading group, and can't wait to do the art project!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to Reality and Sale

Time to arrange some furniture, read some files on new cool students, and see how the TPT sale treats us all! I have some reading and writing goodies on my wishlist.....and here are some pages from my best-selling How to Be a Resource Specialist Manual.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Greetings from Poipu

I bought a couple of children's books at the Costco in Lihue at the start of our know how we teachers just can't resist children's picture books!
Too Many Mangos by Tammy Paikai has adorable pictures and a sweet message about sharing. G is for Gecko by Don Robinson also has fabulous fun pictures and cute ABC connections.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Where's the Bacon?" is finished! How exciting is your Saturday night?

I am going to post this for free until midnight Pacific time.....please leave feedback on my TPT store! If you grab it, I will know that your Saturday night is as exciting as mine!
Ree Drummond is a talented author and really knows kids. This is such a sweet book; I cannot wait to read it with my students and have basset hounds and bacon all over my classroom!