Monday, October 17, 2016

Interactive Books

I think by now most people have heard of interactive books (sometimes called adapted books, or other names). I have fallen in love...and some might same have become obsessed with creating, buying, and making these fun books for my classroom. 

There are 2 great ways I use interactive books:

1. Independent Reading --> within independent schedules and work bins

2. Target or reinforce individuals skills and themes

Independent Reading
I love including reading as an independent task for my students....but there is typically no way to know if they are actually reading, understanding, etc. 

I don't know about you.... but my students are pretty smart...and they know how to quickly skip pages when I am not looking. 

Interactive hooks have helped take care of this problem while simultaneously making the books much more reinforcing for my kiddos. 

Individual Skills

My FAVORITE interactive books are ones about essential skills I already need/want to work on --- ADL skills, community skills, safety skills, etc. Now I can DOUBLE DIP--- I introduce or reinforce a skill such as "brushing teeth" while also working on independent reading, matching, and attending skills. This is a major WIN in my book!


I use interactive books across many subjects -- Math, Life Skills, and of course.... Language Arts. 

I also have books for the same skills across multiple different themes
- back to school
- seasons
- holidays

Here are a couple of my own interactive books you can purchase from MY TPT STORE. I love their simplicity and reinforcement of basic skills my students need lots of practice with all year long. 

CVC Flipbooks

CATEGORY Flipbooks


Math Skills- SHAPES

"I see" what color/how many? (BACK TO SCHOOL THEME)

There are TONS of amazing interactive books on TPT from so many creative special educators (I have MANY in my classroom library). Check them out and get busy making books -- trust me you won't regret it!!

* AUsome Adolescents *

Sunday, October 9, 2016

High Tech Schedules

"High Tech" Schedules

I am very fortunate to work in a school district where most of my students have unlimited access to high tech electronic devices. At the middle school and high school level almost every student has either a personal iPod, iPad, or iPhone purchased by their family....or a district provided device. 

These devices allow my students to develop a variety of new skills that will likely prove essential to their future. 

Enter INDIVIDUALIZED SCHEDULES ON iDevices. This is one of my favorite skills to teach my students. 

The use of devices for individual schedules is amazing for a few reasons: 

1. They are super portable. 
 We know many of our kiddos thrive from the structure that schedules provide. Furthermore, schedules can help introduce changes ahead of time...which is a huge antecedent behavior strategy that works for many.  
Smaller electronic devices fit in our pocket and can go everywhere with the student. This helps ensure they are with the learner when they need to be. Amazing!

2. They are discreet. 
I cannot tell you how many times I am observing my students in community settings and realize they look completely TYPICAL looking at their schedules compared to others around them also on their phones. I know my students are running their individual motivational system or using their device to access a prompt they need..... but everyone else just sees another teenager checking their text messages or email. Devices help our students stay achieve independence completing various life skills AND they help them blend with others in their environment..... WIN-WIN!

3. They are age appropriate!
This is one of my favorite reasons. It is so important to help our older students with age appropriateness....not always easy when you have students who exclusively wear Blues Clues backpacks and quote Sesame Street. There may be a place for allowing access to baby TV shows as reinforcement....however, the place for these things is not in the middle school classroom. 
Many adolescents have personal phones, tablets, or iPods. The devices keep them connected to their friends, family, and the world.....and this can also be true for our students. 

4. They are motivating. 
This likely does not come as a suprise to many of you that tablets and iDevices are super motivating to our learners....just as they are to typical kids. Besides schedules...students can access reinforcement on their devices. There are so many options!

My FAVORITE schedule apps:
Re-Do (Repeatable To-Do) --> Great age appropriate schedules for older learners who know how to read and do not need visual supports. 

Pros: Allows for creation of multiple schedules. Schedules are easy to follow/view multiple steps at once. Allows you to put extra information in "notes" sections. I use this for shopping lists and embedded prompts. Excellent low price. 
Cons: Does not have ability to embed pictures or videos

FTVS HD- First Then Visual Schedule --> Great schedule for non-readers or those who need extra visual/behavioral supports. 

Pros: Allows you to embed pictures, videos, and token economies to support students. 
Cons: More expensive than Re-Do. 

I know it may not be possible for everyone to have a personal device, but if it is an option.....start teaching your students as soon as you can--- these skills are irreplaceable. 

Ideas if your students do not have access ?:
- bring your own device from home to use in the classroom
- ask for donations of outdated/unused phones from other can still charge and use an old phone for apps without their being a data plan. You just need WIFI
- ask your PTO, principal, etc. You may be surprised what you can get for your students once you ask. 

Good Luck! :)

-- AU-some Adolescents