Wednesday, December 26, 2012

TpT Update: Valentine Categories

The perk about a little blizzard-ish weather...I am being productive and adding materials to my TpT site.  If you need to find me on TpT, just search seller: au guys


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

TpT Update

A new January Classroom Packet is available on my TpT site.  The packet includes calendar number cards (2 sets), Fry words 1-400 (word wall cards/flash cards), preposition flash cards and preposition game.

Please leave comments with feedback!  Let me know if there is something that you would like to see added to it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Let's Talk iPads

Thank you Steve Jobs!  I love your products for both personal and professional use!

iPads and Autism
The use of iPads in the autism classroom are endless and incredibly beneficial.  iPads can provide students with a visual schedule, augmentative communication device, choice board, token economy system, and a teaching/learning tool.  iPads provide the opportunity for visual supports and video modeling; an intervention that is very effective for students with Autism. 

Click here for the 60 Minutes special: Apps for Autism

In my current K-1 classroom each student is fortunate to have their own indivdual iPad for the first half of the day (when I am in the building); the second half of the day, two of the iPads go with me to my PK AU classroom.  One student now has her own iPad that is used as an AAC device.  The iPad, paired with the TouchChat app, has proven to be a motivating communication tool for her. 

Another student use the iPad to complete TEACCH tasks, learn newly introduced vocabulary in an ABA format, make choices, and communicate.  The YesNoHD app is wonderful for students in the beginning stages of choice making and communication.  He uses this app to communicate choices, grettings and requests. 

Lately I feel like I have been advocating more than usual for my students.  My preschool position allows me the opportunity to have access to monetary resources that many do not have the luxury to access at the school age level.  In my preschool classroom we have two iPads (1st and 2nd Generation).  The problem I am faced with is that in a year or so my PK classroom will no longer exist.  I have begun to address the necessity of purchasing iPads for the school age Autism Units.  Possibly crossing the line, I commented that each general education classroom has multiple iPads per room; however the special education classrooms have none, unless purchased from a parent.  My comment was that I feel that our students with special needs are be discriminated against, and that they are not being given the same opportunities as our general education students in regards to technology; technology that provides the opportunity to learn and communicate.

So now I fear that I have over-stepped the boundries (did I mention that I stated this to an admin...).  So in order to avoid a professional dilemma, I am on the search for research articles regarding the efficacy of iPads and students with Autism.  If anyone has any research to share it would be greatly appreciated. 

How are you all using the iPads in your special education classrooms?

It's cold outside!

Happy Sunday/Day Light Savings Time

Why is it so cold? Well the weather inspired me to create a set of touch points.  So here you go... Touch Math SNOWFLAKE number cards. Visit my TpT store for a freebie!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Finally!  With the support and encouragement of my fellow co-worker and amazing blogger/artist...I have finally begun to create and upload materials onto teacherspayteachers.

My first one is a freebie: File Folder Task
This file folder includes 2 letter words to build and/or match with adorable graphics from my co-worker.  Check out her blog:

My second upload is a complete activity packet for the classic book: I Know and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  I love the twist on the classic book.  My students always enjoy "feeding" the old lady while reading this book.  The packet includes varied levels of activities; wonderful for a classroom with varying levels of learners.  Wonderful graphics from

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012


We have noticed that we as a whole class were saying “HEY” entirely too much.  When we were saying “HEY” it was to convey many things: hello, I want that, I am mad, I want to play, look at this, etc.  I started to prompt the students quite a bit to use their words.  This became quite monotonous and annoying both to me and the students (entirely way to many verbal directions for an autism classroom!).  Then lightbulb!  Remember the game Taboo?  Well the premise behind it was that you would get buzzed if you used a word that was not allowed.  So we developed BUZZ!  BUZZ! is our own take on the game and is generalized throughout the entire day.  Whenever a student and/or staff member says "Hey!" they get buzzed.

We have now started to say “BUZZ!” followed up with “Try again” or “Pick a different word.”  Everyone is doing very well with “buzzing” each other, including buzzing me (guilty as charged).  Everyone is also doing well with finding different words to use.  Do not be surprised if you here a random word after someone is buzzed.  We have found that a word such as “turtle” or “cat” have been said after being  buzzed.  We are accepting this for the time being.  The students are using this as a filler word while they think of a new word/phrase to use. I am very pleased with how each student is developing new vocabulary to use in various situations.  

If you try this in your classroom please leave a comment and let me know how it works!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Classroom Setup

I have finally uploaded pictures of my classroom.  So here are a few pictures of my Kindergarten/1st Grade Autism Classroom.

Communication Board.  This is located next to the student schedules.  Another post dedicated to the communication board will follow.

I CAN board (weekly statements related to the common core standard, put into child friendly language)

Students add words to the word wall as necessary (student write on index cards words they want added/cards are inserted into library pocket cards)

Students each have their own independent work area (TEACCH system)

Our "Coffee Lounge."  The students enjoy reading a book or working on the iPad in this area.   The books are located directly across from the chairs.

This is the best system I have found to store icons that are used daily!

Another view of individual student work area (TEACCH).  the left set of shelves holds art supplies and the right holds books sorted by category, author, and/or reading level.

I found these on TpT... how perfect!

The classroom also has a break area that is used by the students which includes a trampoline, exercise ball and choice board of calming activities.

Our SmartBoard is being installed tonight!  It is located in our whole group area.  More pictures will follow.

I feel that over the past month I have spent way to much time at Walmart buying supplies and materials.  I am so glad to be done with the initial process of setup!  I big thank you to everyone who has helped, including all those people of Walmart who made me giggle or smile during my time spent there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pica Box and the First Day of School

Today was our first official day of school! Thankfully my kindergartners are doing a staggered start (one started today and another starts tomorrow). The day went fairly smoothly. My room is missing a few essentials that would have made it a little better (mind you I was told all of these would be completed by the first day of school). These missing essentials included dividers, SmartBoard, Vizzle installed on computers (thankfully I was able to login through the web), touchscreen, and a few other small things. The good news is we all survived and the students had a good day!

So what is a Pica Box? A colleague told me about this idea. A Pica Box is used as a replacement behavior for students who eat inedible objects. When the students goes to eat something they shouldn't, you direct them to the box. The box contains items they are allowed to eat. As the student progresses, the intent is that the student will independently go to the box when they feel the need. Here are a few ideas: decorate the box to motivate the child; we are starting with a clear box and a clear sticker so the student trusts us and is motivated by the food. Next idea, use a box with a hole that they put their hand in; eliminate they "hmmmm, what should I pick" game. As the child utilizes the box, switch to healthier options. We are starting with foods that are highly motivating to our student and foods that have similar consistency to the inedible objects the student tries to place in their mouth.

I hope everyone's year starts well! I will post classroom pictures soon!

The research article about the Pica Box is titled: "The use of a pica box in reducing pica behavior in a student with autism" by Nancy and Brenda Smith-Myles.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


And here we are, day 2 of summer school complete.  I only have 2 of my usual students, the other 4, oh boy....what a handful!  Our preschoolers are used to a 2.5 hour day (unless they are with me, in which case they are used to full day programming); however, for summer school we are asking them to attend and focus for 4 hours.  Needless to say these 4 kiddos are EXHAUSTED!  I even had one fall asleep yesterday...oops!

This week our "theme" (and oh how I use that term loosely!) was farm animals.  We made such a fun craft! And I am the most un-crafty person, so any time we do a craft in my room it is a pretty big deal.  Our classroom art motto is "Art is a Process, NOT a Product."  I took a separate picture of each step and copy and pasted into a BoardMaker schedule.  The kiddos responded well to this and were proud of their cows!

In my class when I want the students to check their schedules I will ring a bell.  Of course I had left my bell down on the first day, and low and behold, my student did not want to continue with the activity we were doing, rang the bell and yelled "Check schedule!" I love how she wants to communicate and loves/thrives on the routine of our classroom.

My classroom aides for summer are not my aides that I have during the school year.  Today the one aide asks, "Is it going well?  Am I doing ok?"  My response, "Nobody hurt each other, there were no death threats, there was no blood, and no one filed workmen's comp...yep, it's going pretty well!"  Here's to next week going just as well :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Hi all,
This blog will be devoted to special education with a focus in autism and severe behavior strategies.  I will post pictures of classroom set-up, data collection, TEACCH bins, etc.  I am a sixth year teacher.  I currently run a preschool Autism/Resource classroom, in addition to my preschool class, I have been asked to start-up/run a K-1 grade AU unit as well.  I invite you to embark on a this journey with me.