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Integrating Science and Reading

Integrating science and reading is super easy when you use a text to anchor both domains. While my examples are from our apple theme, you can apply these ideas to any theme.


Easy examples to help you integrate science and reading skills in your special education classrooms. These ideas are easily applied to any theme unit.

We have been studying apples all week. We have been reading books, doing crafts, learning associated vocabulary and have worked on the life cycle of an apple. We introduced the apple life cycle through our interactive book:



We then read the big book, I Am An Apple by Jean Marzollo. It is a fantastic book about the life cycle with clear illustrations to help students really understand what is happening.



Next, we wrote a group paragraph about the book on our white board.

Easy examples to help you integrate science and reading skills in your special education classrooms. These ideas are easily applied to any theme unit.

After reading the book, we started by talking about the title and author. Next, we begin writing the paragraph. Since it is early in the school year, I am writing a lot of the words. My writing is in black and students are sharing the orange dry erase marker.  

Here are some of the ways we accommodated the different skill levels of students in the group. We didn't break the group up by skill level. We wrote this paragraph with students of all different levels from working on letter identification up to students who are working on reading fluently and decoding skills.

*Have students spell words for each other... one student is practicing letter identification and the other is working on listening to a peer and writing/spelling words. 

*Have students copy words other students have already sounded out and spelled.

*Have students work together to stretch out and identify spelling patterns in words.  For example, I wrote the word 'turned' but we sounded it out together. Students identified the beginning and ending sounds in 'turn' while another student added the 2 letters that make the word past tense. 

*Integrate students with communication devices by having them use their device to spell words, to fill in blanks, to describe colors, etc. 

Read more about running group lessons with mixed groupings HERE.

Easy examples to help you integrate science and reading skills in your special education classrooms. These ideas are easily applied to any theme unit.

Easy Fall Science Activities For Special Education Classrooms

Fall lends itself to some great EASY science lessons for students who need hands on lessons. Here are a few engaging science lessons that my students have greatly enjoyed.

Fall lends itself to some great EASY science lessons for students who need hands on lessons. Here are a few engaging science lessons that my students have greatly enjoyed.



Apples are perfect for science lessons! We do a whole apple theme unit so students can learn vocabulary, concepts and about the life cycle. During this unit, we explore the different colored apples. We talk about how they look different and taste different, but look the same inside.



I'm a huge advocate of integrating subjects. Our students have a lot of needs, so combining subjects whenever possible is a win in my book. To integrate subjects with this science activity, we have students try bites of  each apple and we made a graph their answers. We then review the life cycle of an apple with this interactive book:





Pumpkins are also a great item to use in your science lessons. A favorite in my class is sink or float with mini pumpkins. Read HERE for more details on ways to run the lesson. There are tons of different things you can do with this one!




You can easily make this a 2 part science lesson by targeting the parts of a pumpkin while hallowing the pumpkins out. We did this the day before the sink and float activity.




October is fire safety month! Here is a fun science activity to do during your fire safety theme unit. Click the photo for information on how to do this experiment.


In this science experiment we talk about how the fire fighters come to put out fires and their tools. We integrate reading & literacy by reading this fire safety interactive book about the tools the fire fighters will bring and what they will look like.



Does your class have a favorite fall science activity? Drop it in the comments so everyone can hear about it!


Fall lends itself to some great EASY science lessons for students who need hands on lessons. Here are a few engaging science lessons that my students have greatly enjoyed.



Using Write The Room Activities In Small Spaces

Write and count the room are fantastic activities for combining movement and learning, but having enough space can be challenging. Here is a great alternative for small spaces...


Write and count the room are fantastic activities for combining movement and learning, but having enough space can be challenging. Here is a great alternative for small spaces...

How To Move Towards Mastery Of Skills Through Repetition

Most students with disabilities need a high level of repetition in order to achieve mastery on a given skill. The tricky part... fitting it in, not boring your students and how and where to find enough of the same tasks. Here are some tips on how to conquer those tricky parts!

Most students with disabilities need a high level of repetition in order to achieve mastery on a given skill. The tricky part... fitting it in, not boring your students and how and where to find enough of the same tasks. Here are some tips on how to conquer those tricky parts!


Many traditional curriculum don't have the high level of repetition that our students need. We need to find and add in opportunities for our students to practice skills over and over. In my classroom, my students respond best to hands on practice- worksheets don't work well with most of my students.  Things I look for when searching for tasks to build in repetition...

*Hands on- my students are "doing" something

*Non-consumable- I can laminate it and use it year after year to save myself time

*Visually appealing, but not over stimulating

*Not complicated- staff and students easily understand the directions 


Depending on the skill, I also look for something that is leveled. It saves me time if I can easily switch out a level as the student demonstrates progress. Below is an example from our coin unit. Once students are able to match identical coins, we move towards matching by name and eventually to value of the coins. Having the same structure, but upping the difficulty level is perfect for my students. I don't have to take time to teach them how the task works- they can just get right to work. 






Here is another example from one of the life skills units. We practice the vocabulary associated with the life skill concept. These are tasks from our cooking unit.





Once you have your tasks to practice the skill, add the practice tasks into your student's schedule. I try to find at least 3 opportunities for my students to practice. The activities we most often weave the practice into are centers, task boxes and direct instruction.

Another thing to think about when preparing for high repetitions is if you want the practice to be exactly the same every time the student practices or not. For my students on the spectrum, I like to vary the practice so that it is the same skill, but not always the same task. Varying the types of tasks helps them be more flexible in their thinking.

You can see below that all of these tasks practice number concepts, but the way they practice the concept are different.


All of the tasks in the picture above are from our theme units. One of my favorite things about the theme units is that we are able to practice the skills over and over, but the visuals change to keep it interesting for the students.

Here are the resources I use the most to build in high repetitions for my students. Click the pictures for more details...







Most students with disabilities need a high level of repetition in order to achieve mastery on a given skill. The tricky part... fitting it in, not boring your students and how and where to find enough of the same tasks. Here are some tips on how to conquer those tricky parts!


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