Helpful Educational Websites

Online resources are becoming increasingly popular in this digital age. A lot of online sites help teachers individualize learning and present material in a more visual, and interactive way. Below are some of my favorite sites I like to use in my classroom.

All Subjects:

  • BrainPop
  • BrainPop JR
  • Discovery Education

Reading:

  • RazKids
  • Achieve 3000
  • Study Island
  • StarFall
  • TumbleBooks
  • Wonderopolis
  • ReadWorks
  • Digital Read Works
  • NewsELA
  • Scholastic
  • Time For Kids
  • Learn Zillion
  • The Emergent Reader

Math

  • ST Math
  • IXL
  • Study Island
  • Khan Academy
  • Learn Zillion
  • EnVision

Assessments:

  • Thatquiz
  • GoogleForms

Curriculum Resources:

  • SuperTeacher
  • CommonCoreSheets

Place Value Centers

What is Place Value:

To teach children the numerical value of a digit in a number, students need visuals, models, and manipulatives to help them understand why the placement of numbers matter.

Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tips:

To introduce the concept, I start with tens and ones to help my students understand that numbers can be built with place value blocks. I teach them that ten ones (in yellow) equal one ten rod (in green). Students practice creating numbers with the ones, and then the tens and ones.

visual learning,

The board is also extremely helpful when helping students understand how many tens and ones are in a number. Students who are experiencing difficulty could build the number on the board and then easily transfer their results on the paper to help them understand the concept.

tips for teaching, visual learning

Another feature I love about this board is how it is color coded. This becomes useful when I write numbers since I can stay with the original color scheme when writing a number. Although yellow can be hard to read, orange can be used as a substitute if students are experiencing difficulty reading in that color.  Once I write the numbers, I then ask students to tell me the value of each number. This introduction to place value begins at the main teacher table (in my classroom, we have three to four rotating centers throughout our math period).

Greater Than/Less Than: Comparing Numbers

At station two, students practice comparing the value of each digit by comparing numbers. Since some students confuse the greater/than less sign, additional visuals of a gator can help students remember the meaning of the sign (the gator eats the largest number). At this station, students do a variety of activities to practice. One of my favorite includes a ‘roll and make’ game that has students roll the number, make the number, expand, and then compare the number. A free sample of the game is here.

place value, comparing, lesson ideas, visuals

Read and Write

At station 3, students practice reading and writing numbers. Students are taught to not say “and” when reading numbers. They can practice this over and over again with new numbers written by other students at the table. A great resource I love are the write and wipe boards featured below. This is a highly recommended resource when teaching place value!

elementary math tips visuals

math tips, read and write

Back-to-School Highlights

I find the first week of school to be one of the most exciting parts of the year. Teachers are fresh, students are ready to learn, and the upcoming year is filled with endless possibilities. I wanted to highlight some of my favorite activities my classroom participated in during the first week of school.

This year, I decided to start each day with a morning meeting. I am following the responsive classroom approach, which outlines the morning meeting time with a greeting, sharing time, an activity, and a morning message. My kids and I have loved this time to connect! I am using Roxann Kriete’s Morning Meeting book to guide my practice.

responsive classroom, classroom community, teaching, early ed

My first homework assignment was for students to create a “Me Bag”. This gave them something to share during our morning meeting the second day of school. Students generally feel comfortable talking about things they like and activities they are good at. Students brought in gymnastic medals, dance shoes, toy cars, pictures, and special monuments bought while traveling.

homework, new teachers, back to school, first day

Next, we talked about how we wanted our classroom to run for the year. Together, we created “the great classmate is” chart shown below. Students in higher grades can write their ideas and children in lower grades can draw pictures of the words written on the chart. We had students drawing people being responsible, helping others, and saying kind words to others. After we completed the chart, we acted out different scenarios in which students could practice being a great classmate. The next day, a student in our class had the opportunity to do one of the scenarios we acted out the day before. It was a great moment for all!

back to school activities, community building, kind classroom ideas

During our professional days before starting the official school year, our administration emphasized the importance of goal-setting. My classroom used BrainPop’s “setting goals” video to introduce what a goal was and how to set a goal. I had to break down each SMART step for my students, but felt it was a good video to help my students set their own goals for the year.

brain pop, videos about goal setting, SMART goals, back to school activities

One of the goals for our classroom this year is to think before we speak. Our classroom talked about the importance of good communication and speech. I posted this acronym on a bulletin board close to my desk to help guide all of our talking for the year. This “think before you speak” practice is helpful when doing partner or group work, and creates a safe and friendly classroom environment for all.

think before you speak, classroom, kind, back to school activities

Another importance aspect of a great classroom is putting up functional posters and schedules that guide student learning. The “I love reading” bulletin board in my classroom outlines what great readers do, highlights our small group schedule which will eventually showcase our different stations and has a poster that records how many books each student will, in time, read throughout the month. During our goal-setting activity, my students’ individual goals are to read between 8-12 books by September 30th. To help achieve this goal, we are using our “We love reading” chart to record the number of books each student reads in class and at home.

bulletin board ideas, back to school, classroom decoration

We have had a great first week and I am looking forward to learning with my students throughout this school year. I am thankful for all the ideas I was able to pull from the internet and hope this post can guide your second week of teaching! Thanks as always for reading. 🙂

An Introduction to ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

What is applied behavior analysis (ABA)?

Applied behavior analysis is a field that works with individuals to determine the function of behavior as well as environmental reinforcers that encourage or discourage the likelihood of individuals displaying target behaviors.

What is a target behavior?

A target behavior is any behavior that is being addressed or talked about by a professional, parent, or client.

What is a problem behavior?

A problem behavior is an action or verbal statement that is deemed inappropriate.

Why do people engage in problem behavior?

According to the field, there are four functions (or reasons) individuals engage in any behavior: attention seeking, access to a tangible (item), sensory stimulation (produces a good feeling), or avoidance (of a task, person, or environment). In short, individuals engage in multiple behavior to get what they want or don’t want.

What is a replacement behavior?

A replacement behavior is an agreed upon appropriate behavior that serves the same function as the problem behavior displayed by the individual. A replacement behavior must be: developmentally appropriate, context appropriate, and provide the same access to the desired function of the behavior. Essentially, it replaces the problem behavior in exchange for a more appropriate behavior.

What is the ABC approach to understanding behavior?

When a behavior takes place, professionals consider what takes place before the behavior occurred (the antecedent) and what takes place after the behavior occurred (the consequence). The ABC approach allows analyst to track behavior for patterns, trends, and other factors that may provide insight on why an individual is behaving in a certain way. An example of a familiar chart using the ABC approach is below.

***all scenarios are made up

behavior monitoring, function, shaping, identifying

Why is ABA helpful?

Behavior analysts can help individuals adapt to their environment as well as train care givers various effective ways to prevent and react to problem behaviors displayed by an individual. It also can help individuals achieve personal goals and shape their behavior in a way that is beneficial. ABA is used in public and private schools, hospitals, group homes, mental care facilities, rehab centers, self-help institutes, and specialized disability learning centers.

New Jersey: Early Intervention Services

What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention provides services for infants and toddlers (age birth to three years of age) with developmental delays and disabilities. The goal is to provide needed services as early as possible to help individuals mature and reach their fullest potential.

Does Early Intervention differ state to state?

Yes, each state outlines their own early intervention services as well as insurance plans available for families and their children. Grants may differ state to state as well as treatments (such as applied behavior analysis) covered or not covered by insurance companies.

Who is in charge of Early Intervention? 

The Department of Health and more specifically the Division of Family Health Services. Formally (in the 90s), the Department of Education was responsible in New Jersey.

What do New Jersey Early Intervention Services look like?

New Jersey offers Early Intervention Services to New Jersey residents. Some of these services include: assistive technology services/devices; audiology services; developmental intervention; family training, counseling and home visits; health services; nursing services; nutrition services; occupational therapy; psychological services; social work services; speech and language therapy; vision services; and other early intervention services.

The goal of the state is to promote collaboration, provide a family centered approach, and reflect on the best practices for early intervention.

How does Early Intervention work?

The first step when thinking that your child is developing differently is to visit the Early Intervention System (NJEIS) website http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/eis/. Although the website is a bit hard to navigate, a parent can make a referral by calling 888-653-4463. A copy of the state flyer is here: http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/documents/schs_cmu.pdf.

Who provides the services for my child? 

While the state utilizes a lot of different providers, I wanted to highlight two found in the annual county performance report.  http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/eis/documents/county_performance_report_13_14.pdf

1. Progressive Steps is a comprehensive service provider that consists of a team of specialist that provides early intervention throughout the state of New Jersey. The team of occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language therapists, special educators, psychologists, social workers, nurses, child development associates, child development specialists, behavioral specialists, and nutritionists all work together to provide individuals and their families individualized services. These services are performed in the home/natural environment, at school, or in the community. Progressive steps can be reached at 201-525-6199 or on their website: http://www.progressivestepsnj.com/index.htm.

2. Team Hope is a speech and pediatric therapy center that prides itself in a variety of therapies including: speech/language, feeding, myofunctional therapy, PROMT, sensory integration, occupational, physical, and play therapy, social thinking groups, verbal behavior, and applied behavior analysis. The center assess, evaluates, and provides an individualized program for each person. Team Hope can be reached at 908-375-8237 or at http://teamhopetherapy.com.

Does my insurance cover these services? 

It depends. Therapy can be expensive, but New Jersey luckily passed the New Jersey’s Autism Insurance Act which requires insurers to cover the cost of screening and the diagnoses of autism and other developmental disabilities, provide the cost of occupational, speech, and physical therapy as listed in the treatment plan, and  provide behavior interventions treatments founded in applied behavior analysis principles until the age of 21.

Out of pocket expenesives for these programs depend on family income as outlined by the State: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/documents/extraordinary_expenses.pdf. State expenses may not cover auditory integration, facilitated communication, cranial sacral therapy, certain medial procedures, and music therapy. Detailed insurance information can be found at: https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/advocacy/NJ_FAQ.pdf

In addition, grants are given annual to each county since services are organized throughout. Phone numbers for each county can be found at:  http://www.state.nj.us/njhealthlink.

I have other questions. Where do I go? 

This post is written to just get you started! Frequently asked questions about Early Interventions Services for New Jersey can be found by clicking on the blue link.

Remember that life is a journey and it is best to know your rights as a parent with a disability. Providing your child with the proper services can be hard, but with proper support, you can move in the right direction and make the best decisions for you and your child. The most important step is to learn what is available and to push through the paperwork needed to get the services promised to you by the state.

Review Games-Kahoot

Reviewing for a test or a quiz can seem like a drag for some students. To avoid students losing focus, there are fun apps that can help students review in class or at home.

My new favorite is the website kahoot. Students log into the game code and are asked questions and answers in a format that gives points for answering the question accurately and quickly. Students choose from different choices predetermined by the teacher and gain points for choosing the correct answer in the least amount of time.

Students love this game since it is colorful, engaging, and fun. The game allows students to enter their real names or nicknames and shows who has the most points after each question answered.

This website is highly recommended to anyone who can access tablets or computers in the classroom. It is appropriate for any age, any subject, and any moment when wishing to create a review that is meaningful and fun.

Teaching the 5 Literary Elements

“Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme, Setting…” An interactive Prezi presentation that teaches the five literary elements through style and song.

Recommended Use: 3rd to 8th grade (Applicable in high school for some students/settings)

 

Other video resources can be found on BrainPop.

Experience Autism through Video

Ever wonder what it is like to feel over-stimulated? Carly Fleischmann shows through video what it is like to experience sensory overload in everyday settings.

Video 1: Coffee shop

Video 2: Walking down the street 

3. Video 3: Shopping at a store

Carly Fleischmann created these videos through her own experience. As we know, every individual sees the world through a different lens, which can lead to a different experience than those shown above. The reason I still appreciate these videos are that they highlight important characteristics that are common with those who experience sensory overload:

1. Increased brightness

2. Jumbled noise

3. Sensitivity to certain smells

4. Distracted by individual objects that become the complete focus of the individual