Sentence Helpers Trial Run!

Thursday, March 14, 2013
This student used color coding to help form her sentences. 

This student chose to use the word "see" in each sentence 

So, I have been struggling with providing my students independent writing experiences since...well forever! I have such a variety of levels in my class but there are two students who are reading and are ready to start writing sentences. I have been working on these printable writing templates for a while and yesterday was the first day I tried them out with my students and I was sooo excited! I had not planned on color coding but when one of my students was picking her words we decided to circle the words for each sentence in the same color. It really helped her remember which words she would be using to complete her sentence. Once my students are trained in the use of these forms it is really going to help them in spelling, sentence structure, and vocabulary. I made sure the first box has all capital letters as those are the sentence starters and each word in the last box has a period. My plan to create a graduated system to that eventually as they become more proficient I will take those tools (reminders) away. I'll be working more on my sheets and if anyone is interested in trying some out just leave me your email and I will send a few samples! I love sharing ideas!

UPDATE: I have since made three sets of these and I absolutely love them! You can find them in my TPT store here.... Sentence Helpers


Unique Learning Systems....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

So this year my class was selected to participate in an ipad pilot program. We received 5 new ipads for our classroom .....yay!

As part of the pilot program we are using a standards based curriculum ( yes, I said the word curriculum) designed specifically for children with special needs. This weekend I attended my first official training and HOLY COW! I am so excited! When I made the transition from teaching first grade general education to teaching in a self contained classroom the first thing I asked my principal was what curriculum I follow.....he basically said, "whatever you want". Uh.....excuse me? This did not sit well and since then I have been searching and making things and combing bits of pieces of this and that and adding in some functional curriculum and hoping that I was doing the right thing. Well, so far I am super impressed with Unique Learning Systems. It has meaning and it's functional and academic and incredibly differentiated and it does so much to include EVERYONE regardless of the disability. I am still in the preliminary stages of  implementation but so far it's amazing and I will have more more to post in the coming months......stay tuned! For those of you that are already using ULS please feel free to comment and provide suggestions. It's a lot to take in at first!

Oh....and here are some photos of my kids using the lessons. You can see in the photos the consistent use of photos and differentiation in material. Thank you Unique!

Data tracking by use of pre and post assessments.

Lessons differentiated by use of pictures! Love it!


My Donors Choose Items!

Sunday, March 3, 2013
New Writing Center!
New Book Case for my Library!

Over the summer I applied for some items from and it took a few months but here are two of the items donated to my classroom! I can't believe that people are so generous and donated the money so that my class could purchase these wonderful items. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend visiting to either request some items or even make a donation! It was totally worth it and my kids were so excited to receive the new items. In addition to the above items we also received writing journals and adaptive writing paper.


Our Class Valentine Hand Heart!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This is the card our class made for Valentines Day this year! I saw the idea on Pinterest but it was in different colors and it was for a Martin Luther King Jr. activity. I decided to use red and I made a card for our families. The card was made on my MacBook  using iphoto and it was super easy! Taking the picture on the other hand was NOT easy! Trying to get this many kiddos with special needs to stand still was quite a task! Just when you think you had one back.....another one would slip away! It took a while but I am sooooo happy with the results! Love Love Love it!