Using iMovie in the Special Education Classroom

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I'm always searching for ways I can make my life easier in my work. Work smarter, not harder. That's what we all want, right? Well I've figured out that using iMovie in the sped classroom is, well, pretty genius, if you ask me. Although I'm not trying to toot my own horn! haha. 

If you aren't familiar with iMovie you can google for tutorials on how to use it. It's fairly easy, but it will take some playing around to figure out all the settings and features. There are tons of resources out there already, so I'm not going to waste my time telling you how to use it. Instead, I'm going to give you a few ideas of how we use iMovie in the special ed classroom. 

1. Video Modeling- This is a great use for iMovie. We've recorded tasks and added words to the video so students can see and hear what we are modeling for them. We've recorded peers doing the task, the student themselves doing the task, or teachers or para's doing the task. It works great. 
(When recording though, always ask for parent permission) 

2. Social Skills Training- iMovie is great for showing certain social skills. When using the videos within the school setting students can see peers using social skills in a setting that is familiar to them. We've recorded peers using a specific skill (like eye contact, spacing in a conversation, etc.) to show specific skills as well as recording students working on a specific skill, and showing them what they look like doing it, vs, what it maybe should look like.

3. Creating BUZZ about a new unit- Sometimes you just don't get the excitement you'd like for a new unit. I've created a mini trailer for an upcoming unit to introduce the topic, or tease a field trip that after the unit we will go on. It's fun, and works wonderfully!

4. Real Life Social Stories- Social Stories are great, but putting video to a social story is SOO much better. We have a student who is transitioning from the Intermediate School to the Middle School. He is very nervous about the whole move. To help ease his fears we created a mini video. The video introduces him to teachers, classroom, fellow classmates, and the different areas of the school. This helped him immensely.

5. Student Successes- I once recorded a student tying his own shoes..... I know you get it. #TheStruggleIsReal. He was ridiculously proud, and so were we. He had worked all year to tie it, and finally was able to do it. We sent the video to his mom! She cried! She was so proud of him.

6. Student Portfolios- I haven't actually used iMovie for Student Portfolios just yet, but we are going to next year. We decided a portfolio of a student's ability to work within multiple settings would be a great way to show future employers just what they COULD do. Our hope is that seeing the mini video portfolio may make the hiring decision that. much. easier. We've heard some other schools have done it, and have seen amazing results. I'll report back later on what we find out.

7. End of Year Memories- Recap your year by showing your students a mini video of all the fun you've had together. I've done this almost every year I've taught, only I did a slide show. Video is way better and I got to add great songs. The result, a CRY fest, so don't say I didn't warn you.

I hope you've grabbed an idea or two to use in your classroom. Have an idea you don't see above? Use the comments below to add it. I'd love to hear your ideas!

The Sped-sentials

Monday, April 18, 2016

I love to fill my classroom with things that make my job easier, or make me happy. My Class was a smorgasbord of wonderful things. Now that I am in administration, my office is no different.
I adore all things colorful and things that make me smile. I've had several new teachers ask me what I think are the essentials for any new special education teachers starting out. So, I decided to make a list of all the things I consider to be my Special Education Essentials, which I lovingly refer to as my SPED-Sentials. =)

What is my first essential item? 

1. Westcott 8 Inch Straight Holidazed Scissors - Green Handle, Stripes - Apparently that tape stuff on them you see is supposed to be anti-bacterial or something, but honestly I found that it helps the velcro sticky stuff not to stay on my scissors. Which. is. awesome.

2. C-Line Reusable Dry Erase Pockets, 9 x 12 Inches, Assorted Primary Colors, 5 Pockets per Pack (40630) - Take any old boring worksheet and make it fun! I've also had students who try to rip up their work. I put the worksheet in one of these bad boys, and bam, so much harder to rip!

3. Learning Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers Set of 4 - Does your classroom use switches? These are very similar to those, only so much cheaper. I've used them with my non-verbal students and pre-programmed the answers in them. Any easy way to make sure that ALL my students are engaged.

4. Learning Resources Time Tracker Mini- Tracks the time, color changing, and it's mini so it can be a personal signal for one student, a small group, or the whole class. You set the time and watch it count down. It's great for making sure students stay on task or a visual reminder for transitions.

5. Mr. Sketch Stix Scented Markers, Fine Tip, Set of 10, Assorted Colors -  Colorful, and they smell good... Where can you go wrong. I like to use these instead of highlighters sometimes, because let's face it, as an adult, I don't get to use markers on an everyday basis. =)

6. Crayola Dry Erase Washable Tool Kit - When I was in the classroom, my students would always tease me that I hate chalk boards, and boy were they right. I loathed them. This little set allowed me to use Markers and Crayons on my Dry Erase Board. #Love.

7. Scotch Thermal Laminator, 2 Roller System, Fast Warm-up, Quick Laminating Speed (TL901C-T) - Yes. Your classroom isn't complete until you own a personal laminator. How many times have you thought, I'm just going to run down to the work room and laminate this, only to run down and find out it's not on (and takes 30 mins to warm up), or it's broken (again), or it ran out of lamination (and only 1 person in the school has been trained to change it).... There's a list, and I am telling you, a girl can only handle so many of those before she brakes down and just buys her own.

8. Best Laminating® - 5 Mil Clear Letter Size Thermal Laminating Pouches - 9 X 11.5 - Qty 100 - Because you have to have the sheets for the laminator to be of any use to you.... but also because the 5 mil. stuff is WAY more sturdier than the 3mil, or less that your school uses.

9. Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener

I cannot say enough about this sharpener. I. Love. It.
You know that student that you have that NEEDS their pencil sharpened before they can do their work, but after 10 minutes at the pencil sharpener perfecting that pencil point, you realize it was all a ruse? Well this pencil sharpener, will stop that lolly-gagging student in their tracks. Sharpen. One. and Done. Every time I sharpened a pencil it was a perfect sharpen. I'm kind of OCD about my pencil points, and this made my OCD at piece. =)  It's SO easy and fun too. It is much quieter than your typical pencil sharpener. It's also quite the conversation piece too. Everyone also asks me what it is... once I tell them it is a sharpener, they want to use it. After they use it, they want one! haha. I'm not going to tell you that the first day I got this, I spent 15 minutes sharpening EVERY pencil in my office. nope. I'll keep that tidbit to myself.....

10. My TpT products are a real time saver for me. I've spent hours tailoring them for my students, and then even more hours making them teacher friendly so you all can use them. So, I'm giving you $10 bucks to spend.



 •This giveaway is open to FULL-TIME TEACHERS only. This includes classroom teachers, Intervention specialists, etc. Full-time bloggers, I ask that you sit this one out.

 • US RESIDENTS ONLY: I love all teachers all over the world, but unfortunately, these
sped-sentials just can’t be shipped outside the country. Thanks for understanding!

 •One winner will be chosen to win EVERYTHING listed above and will be contacted by email at the end of the giveaway.

 • The Sped-sential goodies will be shipped directly to the winner from Amazon/School Specialty
– I’ll contact the winner for their shipping address and information.

 •The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click them and then make a purchase, Amazon tosses a few pennies my way. Those earnings don’t pay for much more than a cheap cup of coffee, but they DO help me to provide you with these awesome giveaways, so I really appreciate your support in making that possible! 😀
* I was given a school specialty sharpener for a shout-out in my blog. The opinions expressed above are my own. It is awesome, and if it wasn't I'd tell y'all.

So HOW do you enter it?

Use the Rafflecopter Below to get some entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

iPad Apps For Students with Special Needs

Saturday, April 16, 2016

If you're like me, you love the iPad. It is a great tool to help our students learn, it's also very engaging for them.

There are SO MANY apps out there, where do you start? I created a downloadable guide you can use as a starting list. The apps listed in there include apps for communication, social skills, autism, math, reading, and special needs. Its jam packed with over 100 apps! Yes, you read that right! ONE HUNDRED APPS. So, get to it, and go download it! It's free right here, if you click on the picture below.

I also wanted to take a minute to tell you about my favorite APP website.
It is called AppyMall. It is THEE BEST APP WEBSITE (period.) Check it out. You won't be sorry. Here's an App I found through that website. Autism Language Learner is an app that is regularly $39.99 but right now it is FREE. But it is only free for a limited amount of time. So hop to it, and get it downloaded. It's already back to paid! That was quick. You can check out this great counting coins app that is free now too!

If you see any apps that you use regularly, please email me, or leave a comment below, so I can add it to this growing resource guide!

Happy Teaching!

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