Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Special Education Blog Hop

This is my first time participating in a blog hop. Of course, I have no idea what I am doing or if this will even work, but I am giving it a shot all the same.

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.

Thanks for checking in.  For more freebies and tips, continue the trip through the blog hop by checking out ABCs and IEPs...just click the button below.


  1. Jannike, I love the idea of independent work boxes. I was thinking I could make these up for my early finishers to work from! Thanks for sharing. I also love your powerpoint!

    The Bender Bunch

  2. That was a great idea about having independent work ready. Currently I have mine in folders, but then I am responsible for what they do next.
    Burke's Special Kids

  3. I love the way you stay organized! Great tips and freebies :)
    Mindful Rambles

  4. Hi Jannike,
    I am new to your blog. I Love the header and button for your blog! So creative! I have to say I am a bit jealous :) as I struggle to come up with a button for mine.
    Best wishes! Your international school sounds so interesting!
    Lindy McDaniel
    Considerate Classroom

    1. I can't take credit for the design, which is from BL designs. I did ask for a tree, and hearts, and a child in a wheelchair, but the rest was all hers. As for being an international school, we are just a regular public middle school, but the staff voted to also have the international school focus, as we are already a pretty diverse school (1/4 African-American, 1/4 Asian, 1/4 Hispanic, and 1/4 Caucasian). I love it!

  5. OMG! Color coding work stations! Why didn't I think of that?! Such a smart idea! Thank you for sharing!

  6. I also use work stations and I love the way you have yours organized. I struggle every time it is time to switch out stations, because I can't remember what is in each tub without taking off the lids. I love your system! I may just try something like this out!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room