Powered by Blogger.

Teaching About Community Signs

One of the life skills we need to work on with students is community signs. It's important that students not only know how to read the signs, but they also need to know what they mean. Here are some of the ways that we target the skills.

One of the life skills we need to work on with students is community signs. It's important that students not only know how to read the signs, but they also need to know what they mean. Here are some of the ways that we target the skills.
May contain affiliate links

We begin by looking for and noticing the signs around us. We take a walk around our school neighborhood to find signs. We also make a list of the signs we see on the bus. Then we read this book, I Read Signs, Tana Hoban. If you don't have this book, I highly recommend it. It's great for community signs and language development. 



This book, I Read Signs, is a wordless book, but the pictures are fantastic for discussions about the community. On the pages below, we talked about what the signs means, where you see the sign, etc. 
Students were able to make connections between the text, signs and their experiences. 



Practice safety skills by talking about what these signs mean, where you see them, why it is important to follow them and dangerous not to. SOOOO many ways to practice language, comprehension, life skills and safety!!!



Next, we start working on generalized practice with different pictures and different types of practice. We use the file folders and clip cards from the Community Signs Skill Pack. Different levels are included in the pack, so all of my students can practice at their level. 

Students who are still working on identifying the signs work on this file folder (below). To complete this file folder, student match picture to picture. 



Students match meaning of signs to the picture in the other file folder. Great way to add in reading comprehension skills!



Since we are still trying to relate this info to their life outside of school, I usually ask students questions after they have completed these tasks. For example:

Which of these signs do you see on your way to school?

Have you ever seen this sign? Where?

Can I use this bathroom? How come?


I also use these leveled community signs clip cards in work task boxes.



Additionally, we also teach about community signs during our direct instruction work centers. Read more about our work centers HERE

No matter how you teach community signs, they are a vital component of life skills training!

One of the life skills we need to work on with students is community signs. It's important that students not only know how to read the signs, but they also need to know what they mean. Here are some of the ways that we target the skills.



More blog posts about life skills training:

Using Guided Reading Centers In Self-Contained Programs

When you read about guided reading centers and all of the wonderful learning that goes on in them your teacher heart automatically starts screaming YES!! But... then you think about how it would look if your students were at the centers. You might get discouraged, but it CAN be done!! Here are some tips on how to make it work...

When you read about guided reading centers and all of the wonderful learning that goes on in them your teacher heart automatically starts screaming YES!! But... then you think about how it would look if your students were at the centers. You might get discouraged, but it CAN be done!! Here are some tips on how to make it work...
May include affiliate links

Independence

Many books on how to run guided reading centers talk about students being independent and self-regulated enough to manage completing the centers on their own. If your students can, awesome! My students can not. Instead, I have assigned an adult to each center.

I have 3 paras and 8 students, so I set up 3 reading centers that the students rotate through every 15 minutes in groups of 2 or 3 students. To make it work and to set my students up for success, our centers are shorter than most regular ed. centers. Students are only at a center for 15 minutes and often have several short things to do at that center since they do not have long attention spans.

**Tip: if you are going to have an adult assigned to each center, have a plan for when an adult is out and you don't have a sub. We make one of the centers a listening center when we are down a person. Students listen to books on CD or the iPad during the listening center. We also regularly practice this skill, so students can be independent when they need to be.


Planning Is Essential

Everyone involved in the reading centers needs to know their role and responsibilities to make the time go smoothly. In my classroom, we have 3 centers going. The centers are the writing center, word work and the listening center/retelling center. I post the plans (example below) in the classroom at least the week before so everyone in the room knows what they will be doing with every student that comes through their center. It also tells them the order that the students will be coming.

When you read about guided reading centers and all of the wonderful learning that goes on in them your teacher heart automatically starts screaming YES!! But... then you think about how it would look if your students were at the centers. You might get discouraged, but it CAN be done!! Here are some tips on how to make it work...


I have this posted in my room, but the paras like personal copies that they can keep at their center and refer to without having to leave their center.

Centers Storage


Each para has also been given a spot in the room to store the materials that they will be using in their center. It is important that they have sufficient space to keep their materials organized. It will help the para feel more prepared and the center will run smoothly if materials are easily accessed.

Below are 2 different storage systems we use for these materials. We have tried many systems, but these are my absolute favorite. I have several of each in my classroom. I really like that they are contained and my students don't get into all of my materials all of the time. The surfaces are easy to clean, too!

                                               


Reinforcement

Reading and writing can be challenging for our students. Many students become anxious or automatically engage in inappropriate behaviors at the mere mention of reading and or writing. Reinforcement or well chosen motivation is a crucial component in my opinion.

In my classroom, we use a token economy system. I also scheduled our reading centers right before recess because many of my students find reading, writing and attending to text less than thrilling! Knowing that this type of center work is new to my students and that reading and writing is very challenging for them, I went for the highest level of reinforcement.... token economy system & recess.

Below are examples of our work for cards from our classroom behavior system. Click the picture to read how to make durable & inexpensive work for cards:




Need help figuring out how to fit reading instruction into your already packed schedule? Click the picture below for some inspiration:




When you read about guided reading centers and all of the wonderful learning that goes on in them your teacher heart automatically starts screaming YES!! But... then you think about how it would look if your students were at the centers. You might get discouraged, but it CAN be done!! Here are some tips on how to make it work...


Fitting 90 Minutes of Reading Instruction In A Special Education Class

Does your district have a policy or recommendation for how many minutes of reading instruction you need to do a day? Many people ask me how to get in 60 to 90 minutes of reading instruction a day when we have SO. MUCH. TO. COVER!!

Does your district have a policy or recommendation for how many minutes of reading instruction you need to do a day? Many people ask me how to get in 60 to 90 minutes of reading instruction a day when we have SO. MUCH. TO. COVER!!


It can feel really overwhelming to hear such a big number. A couple of things to keep in mind.... First, your district probably came up with the policy with regular education classrooms in mind. It will look different in our programs. Second, we are SKILLED at multi-tasking and creating activities that target more than one skill at a time. That's literally what we do all day, every day!! So take a deep breath and read on 😀




Here are some ways I spread 90 minutes of instruction into our school day:

We do direct instruction every morning for an hour. During that hour, students rotate through conepts, math and writing centers. I also pull students for 1:1 instruction during this hour. In our district, read and writing tasks both count towards our 90 minutes.

Our reading centers are in the afternoon. We have 3 centers students rotate through every 15 minutes for a total of 45 minutes. The first center is word work, the 2nd center is listening to a book on tape or being read to by an adult and the 3rd center is the writing center.

During our reading centers we use our reading comprehension books with visuals, and the reading tasks in our theme units. We use our CVC word builders and sight word tasks for reading and writing sight words.

For my students who very early learners I use interactive books. For them, my focus is on building attention to text, directionality, etc.




Our read to self time is right after lunch and also targets sensory and self-regulation. During this time, students spread out on towels or in our gaming chairs and read quietly. We also roll the therapy ball on students during this time, and work on self-regulation strategies during this time.

Does your district have a policy or recommendation for how many minutes of reading instruction you need to do a day? Many people ask me how to get in 60 to 90 minutes of reading instruction a day when we have SO. MUCH. TO. COVER!!



Here is an example from another day:


Science is an easy time to add in both reading and writing. Read more about how we integrate science and reading by clicking:



Science naturally lends itself to reading and writing because you need to teach vocabulary, read and hear about experiments and concepts. Science journals where you write about what you did or learned counts towards your 90 minutes!




On Mondays, students do a journal page about something they did over the weekend. If you have students that didn't do anything they could also draw or write about what they wanted to do, the weather, etc. Not only does this count in your 90 minutes, it is great for working on memory, talking about something that isn't present, etc.

While my class is writing or drawing in their journal, we target stretching words, hearing sounds, letter identification, writing a dictated letter, copying, sequencing, reading & spelling sight words, etc. There is so much you can do with journals!

I hope these suggestions have sparked some ideas of how you can take what you are already doing and make small tweaks to count it towards your reading time block. You have got this!!

Looking for ideas on targeting specific reading skills? Check out these blog posts...











Does your district have a policy or recommendation for how many minutes of reading instruction you need to do a day? Many people ask me how to get in 60 to 90 minutes of reading instruction a day when we have SO. MUCH. TO. COVER!!

Autism Awareness: Moving Towards Acceptance

In this day and age, we need to stop striving for autism awareness. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on making sure that students with autism are accepted and included.

In this day and age, we need to stop striving for autism awareness. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on making sure that students with autism are accepted and included.
Affiliate links included

Children can be wary of people who are new or act differently than the other people around them. It is important for us to help them understand what autism is. If you aren't sure of what to say, try reading a book to the children. Recently, I discovered a newer book called, Why Is He Doing That? It is written by the sister of a boy with autism, Gerald.


This book sparked some really nice conversation in my classroom even with my students who are very accepting of my students with autism. Many of my students could recognize something about Gerald that was similar to him.

Simulations


Another idea is to ask to present at both the faculty meeting and to an assembly with students. At the presentations, put people in simulations to help them understand what sensory overload, motor delays and processing disorders feel like. While I have a deep understanding (and acceptance) of students with autism, these simulations really do give you a whole different perspective.

For language processing simulations, have the person wear noise canceling headphones while you teach them something. These headphones will let bits and pieces of what you are saying through, but much of what you say will be missed. For example, hold flashcards up one at a time asking random questions and score the person with headphones answers. It is likely participants won't do well.

For fine motor simulations, have the person wear over-sized work gloves while they have to sort mixed coins into stacks. Another good task is to have them have to string small beads.

For sensory overload simulations, blare loud music while another person moves around the room talking with a blow horn. While that is all going on, stand in front of the group and read or tell them about a new skill. Then, turn everything off and see if they are able to answer any questions.

For a simulation of visual disorders, have participants wear goggles that have been spray painted black and only have a few random spots to look through. How much longer will it take for the person to do a fine motor or sorting task than without them?

While you could do one or two of these simulations, going through all of the simulations give participants a deeper understanding. To make these simulations more manageable, we had the participants rotate through each simulation. Once the person has gone through all of the stations, have them observe others going through them.


In this day and age, we need to stop striving for autism awareness. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on making sure that students with autism are accepted and included.



Back to Top