Independent Reading in a Special Education Classroom

If you don't already have independent reading time in your schedule, then it's definitely something you should consider! And don't say, "No way!" just because your students "aren't readers" yet or are emergent readers!

According to Fountas & Pinnel, "During independent reading, students read books of their choosing for a sustained period of time. Minilessons, brief conferences, and opportunities to share thinking support students' engagement with books and increase their competencies." 

If you want to read more about independent reading (including the benefits and set up tips) from the literacy gurus, Fountas & Pinnell, check out this link!

Structured Play in the Classroom

I'm all about teaching students to play independently and to play with other children without adult support (or with minimal adult support) in the classroom.
Play is such a great functional skill! Not only is play an important social skill... but think about it this way too:
At home: If children can play independently or with siblings without adult support- it can give families the opportunity to cook, do chores, or practice a little self-care without needing to constantly tend to the children.

In the classroom: If children can play independently or with peers without adult support- it can give teachers the opportunity to work in small groups or 1:1 with other students!

10 Hands On Fine Motor Activity Ideas

I LOVE fine motor activities that keep students engaged and excited to strengthen their hands.

I decided to do a little round of up 10 of our favorite fine motor activities in our classroom.

Some of these activities can be made with materials you probably already have, some will require you to make simple things, and others will require you to buy some things. But they're all sure to make your students excited!









Structuring Math Groups in a Special Needs Classroom

It seems like every school year I'm tweaking our systems/ routines for  how we run groups. I do this for a few reasons:

  • Students' needs change from year to year, so systems need to change too!
  • I get bored and like a little change sometimes, and I know my entire class benefits from change too!
  • When I reflect on past school years, I can often see gaps and what I can do better.
We mixed up how we are running math groups quite a bit this school year. We are heading into week 6 of the year and the new routine has honestly been great, so I want to share it with you!



Creating a Peace Corner or Calm Down Space in the Classroom

Teachers everywhere are starting to use peace corners or calm down corners to meet the social/ emotional needs of students.

First, everyone calls these spaces something different... For years I called ours a "calm down corner" but I'm trying to train myself to start calling it the "peace corner." I really don't see anything wrong with calling it a "calm down corner," I just think that a "peace corner" sounds a little more positive, so I'm trying to make the change.

So, for the rest of this post, I'm going to refer it as a peace corner. I will explain how we use our peace corner and share some tips for setting one up so students can learn to use it independently.