Here's my tip. Or two. Because it's the season and I want to start it off with being generous ;).
I have worked with students with a wide variety of disabilities. Currently, I am in a self-contained middle school classroom for students with Autism. I pretty much teach every subject, and believe that middle school should be the transition into Life skills. Therefore, besides the academic subjects, I also teach pre-vocational skills and other life skills. Although I teach this in several different ways (community outings, daily skills, cooking, etc), a main staple in my room are independent work boxes.
These are boxes filled with a variety of tasks, from academic to fine motor, to pre-vocational, to life skills kinds of tasks. I change these out regularly. Currently, they are labeled with either double letters, or single letters and numbers. But when I am in a hurry, it's hard to remember what is what in these boxes. Many of the boxes are the same size and color and because I change them out, I was having difficulty with remembering what was in the boxes and whether they would be appropriate for a student or not. I don't have time to write them all down, and I don't have time to look in all the boxes when they are assigned. So I needed a system that could tell me instantly what kind of task was in the box, and the level of difficulty.
This new system is color coded for the type of task, and the lower numbers will be easier tasks for my lower functioning students and will increase in complexity for my students that can do more. When I change the tasks out, I just need to put it in the right colored box according to how difficult the task is. I go up to 10, but you can just use the numbers/letters you want. You can find these here, if you're interested.
I teach in an international school, which is fun. We are supposed to infuse an international point of view into all we teach. For example, if you teach about Native Americans in the US, you can also teach that other countries also have their own indigenous people, and talk about how their experiences are the same or different from one another. I love this, especially since I am also an immigrant. But how to infuse it in my program, when my students are so concrete and don't necessarily have the breath of knowledge and reading levels of their peers?
I decided to start with holidays, as most of mine are aware of, and love, Halloween, Valentine's Day, and the other staple American Holidays. I did some research on different holidays around the world, and will be teaching about them throughout the year. This also works well if you are restricted from teaching about just Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, etc. If you teach them all, then it becomes a history lesson rather than just one teacher's point of view.
Here is a simple power point that I have put together describing 2 holidays per month that are celebrated around the world. You can leave it as a power point, or you can print it out into a book and add icons, which I will also do. It's a lot of pages, so you can print out just a few at a time, or shrink it down and make 2 or 4 images per page. You can find this book here.
I hope you found some of this useful.
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