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September 22, 2013

Check out my products!

I have been adding some products to my teacher pay teachers page. 

Check out the latest additions! :)

TeachersPayTeachers  - Lesson Plans,Teaching Materials and Other Teacher-Created Resources

Data..Take Data!!!!

Sorry I have been MIA (Missing in action)! I have been super busy with my new class.

I can't began to stress the importance of taking data. Not only is it good to records keeping but it will help you CYA (Cover your assessts!! LOL). Yes. I am trying to become very data driven for several purposes.

I have data for bathroom... to show student's independence when attending to the bathroom.

I have data to show prompting levels needed throughout a day.. to show that is student requires x amount of prompts to complete given task. (this is good to show the need a student truly has)

I have data for devices... to show if a student is using the correct assigned communication device or to show a student being successful in a trial for a device or just to show a student is successful with their communication device.

I have data for each IEP goals... very important to prove if a student is progressing or regressing.

I have posted on teachers pay teachers some of the data sheets I have created. Take a look.

September 5, 2013

Open House.. What to do?

Beginning schools entails Open House... I know the name varies state to state.

But I wanted to review some of the details of what I do for my open house.

Around 3 years ago, I discovered that use a powerpoint presentation to cover everything needed. Normally this helps direct our parents to avoid discussing anything specific on their child.

I always begin by create a take home folder.

Inside I make a copy of my contact and the autism coach information. I put any forms I need to be completed. Also I add a copy of the homenote, agenda, t-shirt and communication triangle. Of course, I have some art and craft created by the students, and some edible with cute note.

Onto the powerpoint...the more descriptive on every detail, the less parents will have any questions at then.

I has always seemed to cover all their questions with my presentation. I always start my night by stating "Please parents remember this night is for me to review all the classroom and academic details, I cannot review anything specific on a students IEP or a student specific question." It will set the tone from the beginning.

Here is what I review in the powerpoint:

1. Meet the teacher (Quick Bio)
2. Triangle of success (Communication)
3. Ways to communicate
4. Arrival/Dismissal Procedures
5. Snack
6. Classroom Rules
7. Behavior Plan
8. Hierarchy Prompt Chart
9. Media Center
10. Our Daily Schedule (Not specific just overall general)
11. Schedules
12. Classroom Design
13. Each Center and their description
14. Occupational and Speech Therapy
15. Curriculum (I go through each available curriculum and a brief description)
16. Homework (My philosophy and how I handle homework)
17. Online Resources
18. Ieps
19. Conferences
20. Progress Reports/ Report Cards
21. Volunteering/Chaperoning Policy
22. Room Parents
23. Autism Coach
24. Questions
25. To do before leaving check list.

This may seem like a lot.. but it works like magic!!! Promise.. Keeps everyone guided and normally I have no questions. Parents have loved it! :)

Hope this helped..

September 3, 2013


I have 7 students... 3 nonverbal. It can be very challenging to make the schedule work, especially if you have never met the students.

I was asked to post my schedule. This has changed like 7 times by now and it might be changing again.

I have 2 paras in my classroom. Some students rotate centers 2 times. 

MW Morning Work
TT- Teacher Time
Lang Language
WG  Whole Group
FM Fine Motor
Comp Computer
B Bathroom

Calendar And Morning Group

 Morning Group has varied through the years depending on the schools needs. 

I had a lot of goals this summer for morning group.. but as we all know students will always direct your class. 
We have had to take it slowly!!! Therefore... much of my morning set up is display right now.

I am going to be creating a morning board based on the Adventures of Room 83 since I feel it would be more engaging for my students. Right now it is too distracting and busy for my students.

However, we use other morning activities.

When students arrive they each must make their name. Depending on their abilities, it is in order or scrambled. 

For one student, I had to make a name to match letter by letter since he was having trouble.  
This activity helps students be busy as soon as they sit down, while students are getting their folders/lunch/snacks out of their backpacks. You can call it our bell work.

Then, we sing our morning song. :)

Afterwards, we review our monthly events... Everyday! Yes you heard me, everyday.
We try to make this interactive. 

Summer: Use visuals or tangibles... beach ball, bathing suits, review what we do and where we go during summer time.

School starts: Students will identify the school they go to. 
I use a visual strip that say "I go to ...School"
Each student has to say the complete sentence.

Meet Teachers: The group will say good morning to each teacher. We play a game to see who can identify each teacher's name.

Meet Friends: The group will say good morning to each friend. 

 For nonverbal students I use the tech talk. 

When it is time for meet teachers, student have pictures of all the teachers they encounter and class friends. 
They will receptively identify each teacher/friend.
The device will state for their verbally.

2013-2014 Classroom... Take a look!!

This year I decided to go with a primary theme... Since I have KG-1st.

I couldn't have set up my class without my assistant and her kids help!! :) It takes a team to get this done. :)

I have added the student's pictures in every area, due to their needs to relate their names to themselves. :)

August 5, 2013

Cafeteria and Hallway Rules

I am still shocked that school is only 1 week away. I have been planning many different things for the kids this upcoming year.

As we all know, the beginning of the school year means boot camp training on classroom management. It is time to review the routines and classroom expectations.

I created two adapted books.

One for what to expect and do in the cafeteria and another one for hallway expectations. :)

I wanted to show my two new products to review for my students! It is very basic since I didn't want to overload students.

Check them out.

July 17, 2013

Airport Field Trip for ASD Students

This past school year, our school was selected to be the pilot airport field trip for Florida!

What is an airport field trip? Students will go with their parents to the airport, bring a carry on bag, check in and get an airline ticket, go through the security TSA check point, wait for airplane, board airplane and experience the routine of seatbelts, waiting for airplane to leave, the door was shut and the plane was turned on.  Although we did not move, the experience was very rewarding for students to experience.

This project took a village: TSA, Jet Blue staff, school staff, and many more. 

It was truly a privilege and an honor to work with such wonderful people in this project.

As we know for most field trips, we must prepare students ahead of time, in order to ensure success. My co workers and I put a lot of effort in to ensuring the student will get a duplicate experience as close as possible.

We started brainstorming how we could help our students ensure the would model and experience the activities they would at the airport.

We took an empty portable and decided to turn into an airplane/TSA check point. We used black fabric to divide the portable in 2. Then since we had two doors, we used the door with stairs for TSA check points and then they had to get off and go to the side with the ramp to board the airplane.

First, we used pvc pipes to create an arc and cover it with a tarp. This was used to simulate the boarding bridge experience. Our students will often struggle through this area due to the sound and closed/dark space. The ramp simulated the sounds you would hear in the boarding bridge. I think this was the most helpful component of our simulation. Students were desensitized by the time we got to the airport field trip. 

TSA Checkpoint

 Students had to come in, put their belonging in the baskets, take off their shoes. Then pass through the metal detector, we taught them to put their hands up and count to five. As well, we taught them that sometimes TSA security might ask to check their hands and wipe their hands. We imitated this by cleaning them with a baby wipe.

Another important thing to do, is have students bring a preferred toy through the process to practice relinquishing the item at checkpoint.  We used stop and go visuals. And reviewed hand signals for stop and go that they might see at the airport.


Inside, we created chairs with seat numbers. We provided laminated airplane ticket and assigned different seat numbers each times. This would help students learn that they don't always get the same seat number. In this process, we would model for students where to place carry on bags, how to pretend to put seatbelts. We had to separators infront of the the front chairs, where we put seatbelt pictures.

I was honored to be selected to go train airport staff. I was truly freaking out!!! And to top it all, I had lost my voice the day of the training. I tried everything various tea, non stop drinking water, cough drops and you name it, but my voice was not full back. My principal just said make it work, and so I did!! 

I was a little overwhelmed, and scared. I kept thinking these people will not take me seriously. 
Remember I would be training the scary TSA people who never smile!!! The top directors of TSA and customer service managers were there!!! Sheriff, pilots, check in staff, stewards, and anyone you could possibly meet! 

As I prepared the presentation, I thought what would be beneficial for airport staff to know to work with our students with autism spectrum disorder. I began by providing basic information about autism and the struggles they go through. But my direction was towards explaining language deficits and how to handle them in the airport setting. I reviewed using brief short phrases and provided them a review of using visuals/pecs with our students. As well, I explained a little about devices and the importance for some of our nonverbal students. 

The training became a wonderful experience, as these people were the most collaborating team. They were so cooperating and willing to participate, I was amazed and touched. They would not only listen to me in my ugly voice!!! But bring up their concerns and different scenarios they have experience and how they could handle them. I was shocked to hear that they would now be adapting the visuals I provided each of them to add in each security line!!! WHOOOHOOOO making changes. 

Remember, knowledge is power. Tell you parents to please advise the airline that their children have a disability. The airport staff cannot help IF THEY DO NOT KNOW YOU NEED HELP! We were told if they are given heads up, they will provided separate lines to go through security. This will give each parent the opportunity to take their time, have less pressure from other people waiting behind them and this is a great source in case their children are having difficulty!

Check out my social story I created. It is quite long as this airport experience has numerous long steps. I added pictures and pecs, therefore it can be used with various verbal and non verbal students. I tried to keep it in short sentences per page to not overwhelm the students. 

I had the privilege to be my school's spokesperson throughout the event!!! 
So check out how this event turn out... I had minute fame spots, as we came out in the news!! LOL

I hope other teachers and administrators look into this for our students. This is a life skill that many parents are unable to do with their kids. If they get use to it, the students are no longer worried about going to the airport. The only anxiety is taking off and flying.

Hopefully this inspires your school to make a difference!!! 
 Contact your local airport and Jet Blue. 
 They were absolutely wonderful.

July 9, 2013

Your questions and opinion matters!

I wanted to give a chance to ESE or self contained teachers out there to ask me or comment on any topics they would like to see. 
I want to help out others as much as I could. Of course to the best of my ability! 

What do you want to read about? 

Once school starts, I will post more things and pics from the class, curriculum and more. 


July 8, 2013

Velcro.. How to remove

You are not an ESE teacher if you do not have velcro scissors. Problem is when they all start getting sticky you get another scissor and then another. When you finally realize you have ruined a couple of them, you start to wonder how to clean them out, but it not all product work well...

But I found the perfect stickiness removal.
Goo Gone.

It is also great for permanent and marker removal. But I used it the most to clean out any items that have the velcro glue... walls, doors, cabinets and boards. :) 

Hope this helps!