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Monday, May 5, 2014

Sale :: TpT Loves Teachers Sale

Anyone else ready for summer!? I don't know about you, but this year has been a crazy one! And while everyone else is winding down, I feel like IEP season is just picking up. Meetings, paperwork, and goal writing  galore! To help you finish strong,TeachersPayTeachers is offering a year end sitewide sale! Just enter the promo code, "TPTXO," and receive an additional 10% off my already discounted products today and tomorrow!

So hurry on over and take advantage of these great savings! What a great way to stock up on high-quality lesson plans and teacher materials before the end of the year!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Product :: Incentive Punch Cards - Bubble Design

Incentive Punch Cards

If you've been around for a little while, you may have seen my Designer Behavior Incentive Punch Cards. Well, This past weekend I got around to making a bunch of other cool sets too!

Visual reinforcement is always best and these punch cards are a fun, easy way to encourage your students to do their best. Some ideas for use include homework completion, attendance, appropriate behavior during the day, reading logs – the possibilities are endless!

Incentive Punch Cards

Incentive Punch Cards

Incentive Punch Cards

I also have the following designs available too, so you can match basically anything in your classroom!:
- Rounded Box Design
- Striped Design
- Chevron Design


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fun Freebie :: Self-Esteem Rubrics

Self-Esteem Social Skills Rubrics

Recently, I designed a bunch of social skills rubrics covering a variety of skills:  school success, problem-solving, friendship, feelings, communication, and self-esteem goals.

Well, if you'd like to try some of them out for free, you can download the self-esteem pack! These rubrics were designed to help counselors, teachers, social workers, or SLPs keep track of a student’s progress on self-esteem goals. The set includes 5 rubrics in both a teacher and student version (for a total of 10 rubrics) in PDF format.

This pack contains the following skills:
- Positive Self-Talk
- Goal Setting
- Understanding Strengths
- Dealing with Peer Pressure
- Dealing with Mistakes

Goal Setting Rubric Positive Self-Talk RubricIf you'd like to save a little money, you can download the Complete Social Skills Rubric Pack for a discount! It includes 42 rubrics in both a teacher and student version (for a total of 84 rubrics + 2 blank ones to customize).

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Product :: Social Skills Rubrics

Social Skills Rubrics

These rubrics were designed to help counselors, teachers, social workers, or SLPs keep track of a student’s progress on school success, problem-solving, friendship, feelings, communication, and self-esteem goals. Each individual set includes 7 rubrics in both a teacher and student version (for a total of 14 rubrics + 2 blank ones to customize).

Rubrics are presented in PDF and editable Microsoft Powerpoint Format, so the wording can be customized to fit your students’ ability levels and needs. Also, you can use Powerpoint’s printing settings to print multiple rubrics per page. Great for when you have multiple students working on the same goal!

If you'd like to save a little money, you can download the Complete Social Skills Rubric Pack for a discount! It includes 42 rubrics in both a teacher and student version (for a total of 84 rubrics + 2 blank ones to customize). The following skills are included:

Enjoy :)

School Success Social Skills Rubrics

School Success Skills
- Following Directions
- Work Completion
- Remaining On-Task
- Asking Questions
- Being Prepared
- Attendance
- Following School Rules

Problem Solving Social Skills RubricsProblem-Solving Skills
- Debugging
- Tattling and Reporting
- Compromise
- Point of View
- Fact and Opinion
- Dealing with Disagreements
- Dealing with Gossip

Friendship Social Skills Rubrics

Friendship Skills
- Choosing Friends
- Feeling Left Out
- Being a Good Sport
- Apologizing
- Taking Turns
- Giving a Compliment
- Accepting a Compliment

Feelings Social Skills Rubrics

Feelings Skills
- Feelings Identification
- Reading Body Language
- Responding to Negative Emotions
- Feelings Demonstration
- Expressing Feelings
- Dealing with Anger or Frustration
- Dealing with Anxiety

Communication Social Skills Rubrics

Communication Skills
- Introducing
- Having a Conversation
- Talking on Topic
- Interrupting
- Conversation Body Language
- Personal Space
- Mental Filtering

Self-Esteem Social Skills Rubrics

Self-Esteem Skills - some skills offered as a freebie
- Positive Self-Talk
- Goal Setting
- Understanding Strengths
- Dealing with Peer Pressure
- Dealing with Mistakes
- Self-Reflection (Complete Pack only - not in freebie)
- Working in a Group (Complete Pack only - not in freebie)


Monday, March 24, 2014

Inspiration :: Thank Goodness for SLPs!

In our building, we are SUPER fortunate to have 3 amazing speech-language pathologists. While this may seem like a luxury to many districts who don't even have 1 whole SLP to themselves, our ladies still stay extremely busy! Our building is primary low-income, so a lot of our students need language interventions (wait, you mean they're not just "speech" teachers!?)

Most days, I don't know what I would do without our SLPs! Sometimes being a social worker in a school can make me feel like an outsider, but these ladies know exactly what it's like to balance caseloads, IEP meetings, and medicaid billing, on top of the "usual" school duties. The other day, one of them posted this article to her Facebook. I thought it hit the nail on the head in terms of what working with SLPs is like and thought I 'd share it with you all. Hopefully it'll bring a smile to your face!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pinterest Find :: Toys for Vestibular Development

Toys for Vestibular Development

The other day, I came across this awesome blog post from The Inspired Treehouse. Now, I'm most definitely not an Occupational Therapist, but I feel like sometimes teachers come to me thinking that I am! It's probably because our poor OT friends are often stretched so thin and across so many buildings that they aren't always around every time a teacher has a question. That being said, I try to at least have SOME idea of some strategies I can recommend for teachers to try until I can consult with our OT and make sure I'm not just making things up!

Which is why I was very excited when I found this post discussing the best toys for helping kids develop their Vestibular System! At our school, we have several students with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, or other sensory difficulties. One of major areas they need extra support is with movement (usually needing more of it!). This post is actually written by OT's (which means they know significantly more than I can pretend to know!). It's one I bookmarked right away and will refer teachers to next time I have a question about a movement-seeking kiddo.

Check it out here!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New Product :: Positive Thinking Cards

Positive Thinking Cards

I admit I've been a little slow rolling out new products recently. My husband and I are expecting our first child in a couple weeks, so time has been diverted to assembling furniture, washing miniature socks, finding miniature socks ones they get lost in the washer, etc!

However, I've been thinking about this product for awhile and have had a few people requesting it, so I really wanted to make sure to get it out before the baby gets here. So, here it is!

This deck was designed to help students learn how to change negative thoughts into positive ones. It’s helpful for students who struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or other mental health issues. Many times, the root of these issues is in a student's difficulty looking at a situation objectively or in a positive light - everything is bad or reflects poorly on them in some way. Most times, students don't even know they're doing it, so if we can focus their attention on their own thoughts, we can help them move past the negative feelings they experience.

The download includes 2 separate decks – a version for older students and a version for younger students – as well as an ink-friendly version of each deck! Blank cards are also included so you can customize your own. I've made something similar that I use with my students and what I like to do is to laminate the blank cards and have students come up with their own negative and positive thoughts. They're really good at it!

Positive Thinking Cards


Monday, March 10, 2014

Quote :: Being a Rebel

Steve Jobs Quote

I've written a post before about how to help kids who break the mold - who don't fit in and who fight the way that things are "supposed to be." Call them stubborn, headstrong, spirited, whatever you want. Regardless of the term, these kids have the potential to make working in a school exhausting! Yet these are the very kids who have the potential to take what we know as a human race and stretch the boundaries. These are the visionaries, the trail-blazers, the innovators.

As a kid, my parents would both tell you that I was a troublemaker. They recently gave me some letters I had written to Santa as a child and rather than give the traditional, "For Christmas I want..." list, I instead interrogated him as to how he could possibly make it to all the houses in one night, how millions of toys could fit into one sled, and whether or not Rudolph existed. Why couldn't I just accept that a jolly man in a red suit could deliver presents to all the good boys and girls like every adult had told me?

Yet despite the headaches I undoubtedly caused my parents as a child, many of those same characteristics have helped me to serve my students. Whether it's fighting for or against a special education placement for a student because I truly believed it to be in their best interest, or questioning why we have to treat a student "the same as we've always treated other students like them," working in schools can be messy. And what our kids need isn't a world of "yes ma'am," "go-with-the-flow" people. What they need are advocates, champions, and strong examples of confident adults.

It's a great reminder for us as we think about working with our more challenging students.
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."

- Steve Jobs

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Product :: Summer 1 Backgrounds & Alphabets

Summer 1 Backgrounds

If you've been looking for a way to spice up some of your TeachersPayTeachers or homemade classroom activities, check out my new Summer Digital Background Pack!  It includes 30 different 12" x 12" backgrounds in PNG format, so they can be scaled to fit any sized project. And because you're all awesome, loyal blog readers, you can get 2 of them for free!

Diagonal Stripes

Yellow Circles


Another thing I've been playing around with is designing clipart letters. I wanted some letters to match all the backgrounds for new products, but also that could be used for bulletin boards. So, here they are!

Summer 1 Alphabets

It contains 10 different patterned alphabets, for a total of 260 letters. Each letter is a 6" x 6" png. Here's one of the alphabets for free! Just click the "A" below to download the entire alphabet as a .zip file! After you're taken to Google Drive, just click "file" --> "download" and you're good to go! For the rest of the alphabets, click the image above!





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sale :: 3 Million Teacher Sale

TpT Celebration Sale

When I joined a little tiny teacher materials site called TeachersPayTeachers a couple years go, I never would have thought it would become the best place online to buy teacher materials from other teachers. And I definitely wouldn't have thought they'd have 3 million teachers on board by 2014, but here we are! In celebration for these awesome accomplishments, you can get 28% off at many stores across the site, including One-Stop Counseling Shop Thursday and Friday.

So hurry on over and take advantage of these great savings! What a great way to stock up on high-quality lesson plans and teacher materials for spring.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pinterest Find :: Student Self-Reflection Report Card

The other day, I came across this awesome student reflection page by Inspire Me, ASAP! I'm always looking for ways to help students gain awareness over their actions as well as insight into their strengths and weaknesses. I love that this is cute, brief, and provides a visual indicator rather than a number scale. My younger students do so much better with pictures! Want to add it to your toolbox? Click the images below to get them for free!


Student Self-ReflectionStudent Self-Reflection

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tips & Tricks :: Classroom Transitions

Classroom Transitions

Many kids have a lot of difficulty changing from one activity to another during the school day. Add to that Autism, ADHD, or another disorder and you've got the scene set for distractions, tantrums, and frustration.

I'm not sure what it is about this time of year - maybe it's the fact that it's too cold to go outside (at least here in Illinois!), that the sun isn't out nearly enough, or just that routines are getting boring for some kids now, but I feel like February and March are two of the most difficult months to get through as educators!

To help fight the transition blues, here is a list of some ways to spice up and tighten up classroom transitions to help keep things moving in the right direction!

1.  Establish a consistent schedule or routine for the student to follow.  As unpredictable as the school day can be, consistency can go a long way in reducing anxiety or disorder in transitions, especially for students with disabilities.

2.  Adjust students' schedules to have the fewest amount of transition times possible.  For example, if a student is already out of class to go to P.E. or Music,  it may be a good time to schedule social work or speech-language time in order to reduce the number of transitions in and out of the classroom.  Another option would be to provide push in therapy services to avoid transitioning in and out of the room. On the other hand, if improving transitions is a skill a student is working on, gradually increasing the number of transitions during the day as they can tolerate them may be important.

Visual Timers

3. Provide visuals for the students to follow. Not only does this help students with diagnoses such as Autism, but it helps most other students as well! I've written some information about visual transition timers in a previous post about Autism here. You can buy a bunch online or make your own!

4.  Before an activity begins, be sure a student understands what is expect of him or her at transition time. This may take a few times of role playing and practicing the transition. For example, after a student is somewhat familiar with a routine, the conversation might go like this:

Me: "Johnny, I'm going to set my timer for 5 minutes for your break. When it goes off, it will be time to clean up and go back to your classroom.

Johnny: "I know."
Me: "So how much time do you have?"
Johnny: "5 minutes."
Me: "What happens when the timer goes off?"
Johnny: "I go back to class."
Me: "Perfect! Enjoy your break!" [set the timer]

5. Give verbal and/or physical cues before transitioning to an activity. Depending on the age and needs of the student, I like using at least a 5 and 1 minute warning.

6.  Sing songs or chants to signal transitions.  Use the same songs each time so children can anticipate what is to happen next. Here are a few of my favorites:

Classroom Transition Chants

7.  Keep it simple with directions for the transition.  Concise one or two-step directions are often the most effective.

Positive Reinforcement

8.  Positive reinforcement! If a student did a good job transitioning, reward them with praise, a high-five, a smile, etc. Students often learn about appropriate behavior by watching what happens when other students perform well or not.

9.  Scaffold as skills improve. As a student demonstrates increased competence, gradually pull back the support you give. Fade and reduce any verbal or physical prompts to all the student to transition as independently as possible.

10.  If changes need to be made, give feedback quickly and move on. Don't dwell on the negatives or allow them to take over the next 10 minutes! The more you delay the start of the next activity, the more a student learns that if they don't transition well, you'll get wrapped up in the drama and they can avoid transitioning even more!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sale :: Milestone Celebration Sale

One-Stop Counseling Shop Celebration Sale

In celebration for meeting a major goal for me on TeachersPayTeachers, I'm offering all of you 20% off all my games until February 22nd! This includes several of your favorites such as:

Social Superstar  Coping Skills Bingo  Social Emotional Trivia Games
Escape from Anger Volcano  Social Skills Land  Following Directions Game and No-Print

and more!
Enjoy and thank you so much for your support over the last year :)!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

New Product :: Following Directions Game & No-Print Version

Following Directions Game and No-Print

I'm really really excited about this new product! One of the things I love about TpT is having an excuse to pull out my lovely Scotch laminator and have an excuse to spend a few minutes laminating, cutting, and assembling the new things I just bought!

That being said, there are many times when I'm in a bind and just need something quick to pull and put together 2 seconds before a counseling group comes in my room (Monday mornings, anyone??).

So, I combined 2 products in 1 for this next one.

Lots of students have difficulty following directions, but not all directions are the same. Some struggle with motor-skill-based directions, while others struggle with cognitive directions, such as those involving basic concepts or basic math/reading tasks. That’s where this game can help! It can help students with ADHD, Autism, Cognitive Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, or other difficulties improve their memory and concentration.

Not only does this download include printable cards (PowerPoint) and scorecards (PDF), but it also contains everything as a no-print version in PowerPoint format for use on laptops or Smart Boards! No printing, cutting or laminating required! I read each card only 1 time and award a point if the student does the tasks correctly. There are also a few “gain a point” and “lose a point” cards thrown in too.

Following Directions Game and No-Print

Following Directions Game and No-Print

Following Directions Game and No-Print

Cards are color and symbol coded, so you can easily find the deck you need. The following cards are included:

(10) 1-Step Directions - Movement-Based
(10) 1-Step Directions - Basic Concepts Skills
(10) 1-Step Directions - Academic (Basic Math & Reading Tasks)

(10) 2-Step Directions - Movement-Based
(10) 2-Step Directions - Basic Concepts Skills
(10) 2-Step Directions - Academic (Basic Math & Reading Tasks)
(15) 2-Step Directions - Combination of all areas

(10) 3-Step Directions - Movement-Based
(10) 3-Step Directions - Basic Concepts Skills
(10) 3-Step Directions - Academic (Basic Math & Reading Tasks)
(15) 3-Step Directions - Combination of all areas

120 cards in all! And since they're in PowerPoint, you can edit the directions for your students' needs!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tips & Tricks :: Visuals for Students with Autism

Siblings Taking a Picture

One of the most effective interventions for students with Autism is using visuals. Yet whether your school district uses PECS, Boardmaker, Microsoft Office Clipart, or my personal favorite...Google Images, the process of searching for and resizing images can easily eat a big chunk out of your day.


Visual Schedule

Classroom Rules

And since none of us have lots and lots of time laying around, I was really excited when a special education teacher in our district shared this site with me! It's called ConnectAbility and on the site there's an awesome tool called Visuals Engine. The Visuals Engine contains thousands of images you can choose, and what I really love is that they're REAL images. Then, you can select page layouts of 1, 2, 4, 6, 12, or 16 images per page - the site automatically resizes all your images to be the same size! You can also add in whatever text you want to accompany your images (or leave it blank). After you create your page of visuals you can choose to either print the page or save it as a PDF. There's nothing worse than spending all your time making visuals for a student only to have them lose all the pieces by Friday! Since you can save your work super easily, it can be a huge time saver.

Here's a page I made with 12 images per page. This took me less than 2 minutes!


Hopefully this will help you save a few minutes while allowing you to make great visuals for your students!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fun Freebie :: 45 Classroom-Friendly Fidgets

rubber bands

Recently, I've been on the quest for fidgets that teachers won't throw a fit when I give their students. Come on, we've all been there. :) Well, luckily, I found this awesome freebie on TeachersPayTeachers from Snagglebox that gives great ideas all about different types of fidgets!
Fidget Toys

Here's another idea for a fidget!

While I was working through school this week, I noticed several of my more energetic students sporting a good 5-10 rubber band bracelets. It's amazing how you can wait 10 years, start making friendship bracelets out of rubber bands, change their name, and all of a sudden, the boys like making them even more than girls! While they were standing in line, my students were spinning them, twisting them, and rolling them in their hands. Natural fidgets! Now of course, teachers have had to set ground rules about them (no making bracelets during class, no sling- shooting rubber bands, etc.), but what do we NOT have to make rules about at school?


What fidgets do you have that work well for your kids??