Entries by christajoy1765

Modifying Resources to Meet YOUR Needs

I am a big fan of Rachel Davis’s Podcast Elite Edupreneurs (link below).  Earlier this year, she did a special series spot lighting TPT authors from countries other than the United States.  I learned so much!!  I am so impressed with how other countries focus so strongly on content and rigor in their curriculum.  I […]

Making a Life-Sized Timeline

Full disclosure, this is not an original idea, but I know good teaching when I see it, and this is a must do activity if you teach in special education and (bless you) take the time to teach social studies. Many times when I find myself teaching historical content, I shudder at all the dates […]

How to Know When it is Time

I am putting down my teacher hat for this post, and picking up my mom hat.  However, I think teachers will find my thoughts helpful and thoughtful if you teach high school students. In most states, our kids with special learning needs can continue in the public school system until they are 21 years old.  […]

Lesson Plan Freebie

I have always been so hesitant to include my lesson plans in the units I create for teacherspayteachers.  How you teach is such an individual expression of who you are.  Teaching in special education, especially in mixed grade level classrooms, is even more personalized.  So when people asked me for my lesson plans, I always […]

Looking for Resources?

Time is so valuable.  If you are a teacher, you know the time spent out of the classroom is significant.  Special education teachers face the added challenge of often not having ready-made, published curriculum handed out to them that is applicable or accessible to their students.  We spend hours and hours making our own materials […]

Halloween Roundup

It is a holiday many of us fear as teachers.  There are so many differing opinions on this holiday.  What is and is not appropriate to teach?  And then there is all that candy!!  I’ve put together this group of resources, tips, blog posts and more to help you get through this spooky day.  So […]

Teaching About Halloween in Special Ed

Do You Teach Halloween?? So for years I was in an elementary public school setting that seriously frowned upon teaching anything relating directly to Halloween.  Kids were not allowed to dress up, and we did not have the parades around the track or parking lot I remembered as a kid.  I always respected this policy, […]

Hygiene : YUCK!!

Ok, so I admit it.  As a teacher I hated teaching hygiene skills.  I am somewhat of a germaphobe.  I like things to be neat and clean.  Keeping track of 5-10 hygiene kits meant LOTS of mess and potential for germs to spread.  I felt I had to: Make sure the bathroom was clean enough […]

Not Your Average Novel Study

Do you do read-alouds in your classroom?  I taught in a class for students with autism for 10 years.  I had students in grades kindergarten through 5th grade.  Some students were early readers, some students could not even identify their name.  Some of my students could hold an hour long conversation with me on the […]

Quilted Books: A great sensory choice

So this is Jimmy. Jimmy has had a book in his hands since before he could walk.  He LOVES his books, especially Sandra Boyton, Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle.  I have even made him a quilt of one of his favorites, Brown Bear Brown Bear.   But, Jimmy has a problem.  A problem that many […]

Teaching Topics that are Uncomfortable

As February begins, and I finish my monthly book club selection: Glory Over Everything, I realize that Black History Month is upon us.  It has been in the back of my mind for a while that I need to put a unit together on slavery.  But, it makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to research […]

Teachers that Give

Be sure to hop to all the blogs and sign up for ALL the giveaways!! Just click on the image below to see all the amazing teacher-authors who are participating. I am such a sucker for books.  I love to read, and I love to see kids reading.  While teaching, I would use a favorite story to teach […]

Through the Eyes of Autism

I love to quilt, and I love a challenge.  So, this year I decided to join a Quilting Challenge group.  Every two weeks, they give you a topic, and you have to come up with an original idea and turn it into a quilt in less than a week.  This week’s challenge was Through the […]

Being a Good Sport

Being a good sport is not always easy, but it is very important. Learning how to win and how to lose graciously is something every student deserves to be taught as well as witness from their heroes. Download this FREE social story today.

Subitizing and Why It’s Important

Subitizing is the ability to quickly identify the number of items or dots in a small set without counting. Researchers have demonstrated the ability to subitize is a necessary early math skill.  In addition, toddlers as young as 12 months have shown the ability to subitize.  Sadly, this is a skill many of our students are […]

Do You Hug Your Students?

As a previous elementary teacher in an autism classroom, I often got asked why I was not more affectionate with my students.  Don’t get me wrong, I did the occasional hugs, but in general I was not a big one for physical affection with my students.  This was sometimes mistaken as aloofness or coldness, but […]

Circle Maps in Special Ed

Circle maps are a type of graphic organizer or thinking map.  It is a wonderful tool for helping students visualize what they know about a particular topic.  Below is a short video of how these can be used in a typical classroom setting. So, how and why should you use circle maps in your special […]

Buying the Perfect “Autism” Gift

I love Christmas.  I love coming up with the perfect gift for my teenage daughter.  There are so many great things I can find for her.  My son, however, is another story.  He is almost 19 but has interests similar to a 2 year old.  He loves sesame street, veggie tales, and yes, even Barney. […]

Why I Teach Social Studies

There seems to be barely enough time in the day to fit in all the required material that the school district throws our way.  On top of that, imagine being in a class with students who have the most significant disabilities in the school, and it can be a recipe for pure survival mode.  But, even […]

Assessment in the Special Education Setting

Why I Assess Even My Most Affected Students I spent almost 10 years in a classroom serving the most severely affected students in the elementary school where I worked.  The challenges were real and daily, but my ultimate challenge was trying to determine if what I was doing was working.  One of the ways I […]

If Keywords Don’t Work, Then What?

Full disclosure: I used keywords when teaching my students how to solve word problems. I had a K-5 classroom for students with autism.  There were so many different learning styles and needs just within my small class.  In addition, these students, for the most part, were severely affected.  Many did not speak, most did not […]

5 Things About Me

So here are 5 things about me…  I am a veterinarian.  I graduated in 1995 from the College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, NC.  I practiced small animal medicine until my son was born in 1997.  I LOVED it.  But, due to his needs and diagnosis of autism,  I gave up my career to try […]

Teaching the Letter of the Week

Do you use a letter of the week strategy in your classroom?  I found it a helpful way to teach letters and sounds in a self-contained setting.  After years of tweaking, I came up with a lesson plan that not only was engaging and helped students make real world connections but greatly decreased my stress […]

Living Between Two Worlds

This has been an interesting couple of weeks with my family, so I thought I would take a break from school posts and write something more personal that I know so many of my friends with special kids can relate to. So, as most of you know I have an 18 year old son, Jimmy, […]

Reading Novels to a Low Incidence Class

At one point in my teaching career, my class schedule worked out so I had this 15  minute block of time when the kids came back from specials and before they had to go to lunch.  It was not enough time to really teach anything, but it was definitely enough time for them to get […]

Using Color Coding for Differentiation

Our special education classes tend to have such a HUGE variety of learning levels and needs.  It can drive a teacher to insanity trying to come up with separate lessons for each child that is differentiated to their specific learning style.  Here is a quick way I found to take one task and make it […]

A New Transition Strategy

The time we dread as special education teachers:  transitioning from one activity to another, or moving from one location to another.  You have all your students, or small groups, where they are supposed to be, relatively engaged, and then time is up and everyone needs to move.  Ugh!!  Although I destested transition times, I also knew […]

Back to School Tip

It is the first week of school, and all the teachers are going through the school rules with their students.  You see them in the hallway, in the library, and in the cafeteria.  They are all standing at attention (even the kindergartners) listening attentively and being quiet.  BUT then there is your class.  Your class […]

Re-purposing Old Calendars

So, I cannot take credit for the invention of this idea, but once I saw it, I ran with it.  My students loved matching tasks, and so did I.  It allowed me to gather some IEP data as well as allow them to do some work independently.  But, printing out those file folder games takes a […]

Social Media Overload

So I have been on teacherspayteachers for a few years now.  Up until this year, I really did not devote much time or attention to my store.  I realized what a great venue it could be, but I was more a user of the website than active participant or author.  When we moved to PA […]

Summer School : 2015

Friday was the last day of summer school for Jimmy in 2015.  It is the first time he has ever had the opportunity to continue his educational experience during the summer months.  As many of you know, we moved to Pennsylvania from North Carolina one year ago.  I was terrified leaving all of Jimmy’s support […]

Repetition Repetition Repetition

This 4 minute video talks about the importance of utilizing repetition in your daily lesson plans.  I walk through an example of how I used one of my favorite tools, a literacy unit.  I never felt like I was cheating my students by repeating the same lesson plan several days in a row.  I just […]

Don’t Feel Sorry For Me

So once again, I find myself holding down the fort this week.  This Memorial Day weekend, Jim had a Caterpillar meeting and event that led him to Indianapolis.  He actually got to participate in many of the Indy 500 pre-race festivities and then got to sit in turn 3 on race day.  He grew up […]

Watering the Grass

Well we made it through the week with minimal issues.  Just one night of almost no sleep which is pretty good.  Jim had asked me to water the new grass we had seeded while he was gone.  It would take about an hour and needed to be done either early in the morning or later […]

Juggling it All

As I approach this week on my own with my hubby in NC for the week, I feel the anxiety of trying to juggle it all.  I know there are so many parents out there with special needs children who feel the same.  It is especially hard now that we are in a new state […]