Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Science Activities

Winter can be a challenge especially just coming back to the classroom after the holiday break.  A great way to keep students interested and active in the classroom in providing hands on activities to make learning fun.

Science is a great subject to incorporate hands on learning and experiments. I came across this wonderful article with ideas that will work with various grade levels.


Here is just a sample of one of the activities presented in the article. Enjoy!

Salt and a String

Kids can perform a “magic trick” with an ice cube, a string, and salt. Place an ice cube in a cup of water. Cut a piece of string a few inches long. Have the kids try to pick up the ice cube using just the string and not their fingers. They will see that it does not work.
Now dip the end of the string in the water and lay it across the ice cube. Sprinkle some salt on top of both the ice cube and the string. Wait a minute or so and then try to pick up the ice again using just the string. It should work this time because the salt will have melted the ice slightly and the water will have refrozen around the string. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

End of the Year Christmas Sale!

Just stopping by to thank everyone for a great year and for following and finding interest in what I do to provide for students with special needs.

To thank you, I am hosting a sale at my TpT store Adaptive Tasks. Save 20% on everything in my store and prepare your classroom or home school for the coming new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Classroom Stress

As the end of the year and holidays approach, class time can become a place of stress if not managed with some extra things in mind.

Students become antsy from the excitement that surrounds the Christmas holiday and it is hard to remain on track in order to meet curriculum needs.

With the thought of extra time off and the excitement of holiday festivities it is important to try to stick to as much routine as possible and reinforce the rules that were given at the beginning of the year.

The following article explains how to keep the learning going and hopefully bring a stress free environment before holiday break.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Keeping Kids Hands-On In The Classroom

It is so fun to see students wanting to do hands-on tasks in the classroom when so much technology is surrounding them. This skill is also important to help with their pincer grasp and manipulation.

Making tasks fun and offering great visuals and variety is also key to stimulate their desire to do the tasks. We now have a group of students that can't wait until vocational time so they can pick one of many tasks to work on.

Here are a few of the latest tasks added to our shelves. You can find these and more to fit your classroom needs at my store.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Make Learning Daily Life Tasks Fun!

Task time in our classroom is looked forward to everyday. Presentation can be made simple by using these wonderful Classroom Keeper boxes.

Tasks are stored in the boxes with name of task and pictures of my task cover pages offered in the task downloads. Check out some samples below of what I offer in my store and make learning fun for your classroom needs!

This is a sample of our Lunch Trays for School Days task:

Next is one of my newest tasks Cosmetic Bag Assembly Vocational Task

Here is one for the upcoming holiday Thanksgiving Family and Friends Meal Serving Task

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Busy Days

What busy weeks I have had! With school and product making for my store as well as keeping up at home, I have not connected here on my blog very often.
I must say that I am really enjoying the students in our class this year. I am proud of each one of them and what they are learning and accomplishing every day.  One of the favorites in our room is our task time.  I have had fun creating new tasks to meet the needs in our room and hope that you will enjoy them as well.
This is a fun task that helps students with tool recognition, assembly, and matching:
Vocational Task Fill the Toolbox

The toolbox task compliments my Construction Tasks and Worksheets/Lifeskills

Construction Task and Worksheets/Life Skill Another fun new task that is a hit is my Fast Food Employee Vocational Task

I posted this one earlier but wanted to provide a visual of how it works in the classroom to teach customer service skills.
I am sure you all have had a busy Fall as well. Thank you for taking time out to read my post. I wish you all a wonderful day and upcoming week ahead!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Importance of Character Education

Each year as I see students rotate in and out of the school system, I see more of an importance to incorporate character education along side assigned curriculum.

I work at the high school level with life skill students and I must say that I am so proud of how each of our students are respectful of their teachers, show manners, and have a true joy of learning.  I am sad to say I do not see a lot of these good character traits with several of the other students within the school system. I am not saying this for all students...just that I am seeing more and more of them as the years pass.

It is so important at an early age and all through the school years to teach character education simply because some students may not be taught this within the home and it is so important for educators to teach them before they transition from school to college as well as entering the workforce.

I came across a well written blog post by Laura Gurley that shares why it is important to teach this valuable concept.  Here is the post: http://www.the-teachers-lounge.com/blog/2011/11/why-character-education/  I encourage you to take the time to read this.  If you are not already teaching this to your students, I would encourage you to do so.

"Character is the firm foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect.  Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character."   --R. C. Samse

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Keeping it Real

Offering products in the classroom that are in color and make use of real images is something I like to offer our students. Beside the fact that the students love any task that involves food, presenting real images gives them a realistic experience when learning life skills and vocational skills.

Many classrooms are unable to offer field trips to show students how to shop for groceries or eating out and learning how to order and pay for purchases, so I enjoy making products to bring these types of real world experiences into the classroom.

I work with students in a high school setting so many of them are learning how to do various jobs and basic skills to be more independent.  These skills can also be introduced with younger grades as well.

I just completed two new fun vocational food tasks that have turned into class favorites already! Who doesn't like food right?  Our students go to these choices before any others because they are drawn to the visuals and can relate with their own experiences while preforming the tasks. What is wonderful to see is the encouragement they feel when they complete the tasks with little or no help.

Here are 2 of my newest tasks that are popular in our classroom:
Build a Breakfast Fast Food Vocational Task Fast Food Employee

These new products can be purchased individually or in my newest real image bundle:


Morning Break Donuts, Chinese Take-Out, and Ice Cream Parlor are also sold individually or as part of other bundles available.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

1st Day of Fall Savings!

Stop on by my store tomorrow for a 1st Day of Fall Sale on September 22nd!
Enjoy 15% savings on everything in my store at Adaptive Tasks.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vocational Tasks

As the new school year is well underway,  I am seeing the needs of students and the different tasks that will benefit them to learn new skills and reach IEP goals.

We have such a variety of skill levels and I really try to make tasks adaptable for everyone.  We may have one or two students that read well and can do a task from beginning to end with little or no assistance where others may be non verbal or limited with reading skills that need help.

What is nice to see is the students working together to help one another.  For example,  I have a donut order filling task that two of our students like to work on together.  The non verbal student likes to separate all the donuts by flavors and the other student fills the orders by reading the order cards.

No matter what the task, offering variety helps the students learn several skills needed to become more independent as well as learn valuable skills for various job types.

Here is my newest task that helps teach fast food working skills by filling orders.  To see what the task looks like, please click the link below and check out the preview.


Fast Food Employee

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Opportunities Beyond High School

Finding employment opportunities for students with special needs when they transition from high school can be very limited and many times the waiting lists are long for some to be placed.

I came upon this heart warming video that shares the story of a special family and how they are providing opportunities for these very special young men and women.  I think what they are doing is so tremendous and just the looks on the employees faces when they receive their first paychecks is priceless!

I encourage you to take time to watch this video and I can only hope more families and businesses will model after them and give these young men and women a chance to show how much they can contribute to the communities of which they live.

 Special Kneads and Treats Bakery

Friday, August 29, 2014

Creativity in the Classroom

I love finding new ways for the kids to use their creative side.  Currently we are doing a unit on food and this would be a fun project for the students to create their own masterpiece using various sections of vegetables.

Here are some picture samples and where you can read more about this fun activity! http://www.socreativethings.com/creative-craft-using-vegetables-as-stamps/

Creative craft Using vegetables as stamps 2 Creative Craft   Using vegetables As Stamps

Creative craft Using vegetables as stamps 3 Creative Craft   Using vegetables As Stamps

Creative craft Using vegetables as stamps 1 Creative Craft   Using vegetables As Stamps

Creative craft Using vegetables as stamps 5 Creative Craft   Using vegetables As Stamps

Creative craft Using vegetables as stamps 4 Creative Craft   Using vegetables As Stamps

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Working With Students With Special Needs

We are well in to our second full week of school and things could not be better.

I am a para that works in a high school life skills room with some of the most wonderful students you can imagine.  Often times people ask me where I work and what I do.  When I tell them I work with students with special needs I hear a variety of responses most of which includes, "Oh my, you have a very tough job"   My response to that is, "I work with some of the best students in the school and they are a joy to be around."

Now my days do come with struggles as with any classroom setting, but overall, these students can put such a smile on my face and brighten my day.  It is such a satisfying experience to know that what you teach them begins to take hold and you see growth in their abilities that exceed every expectation.

Another wonderful experience is seeing the parents of our students comforted in knowing that their child is safe and is enjoying their learning experience.  A lot has been said about the low pay we receive which I do agree, but I try to overlook this fact and remind myself that my true reward is getting to be a part of these special lives.

One of the favorite parts of what I do is working with these students trying to help them increase their independence by learning life skills and vocational skills.  Although nowhere in my job description does it state to provide materials to help with these skills, I take it upon myself to make sure we provide as much variety of materials to help each student meet their needs.

I love creating and I have great in site to what these students need by following IEP goals or observing areas that each student may be struggling with.  As I began creating more materials and saw how effective they were with our students, I found a way to provide them for anyone that found them useful for their own classroom or home school needs through TPT.

I would encourage you to check out my store and see the variety of materials that we have used with great success at: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Adaptive-Tasks

Here is my newest FREE product for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  It can be used as file folder matching, as matching task cards, or maybe a memory game.  Enjoy!!

Thanksgiving Visual Matching

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Take Two!!

It's a one day only BOOSTER sale with TPT!

TPT wants to help you with products you need to start out your school year by offering a second sale, one day only, on August 20th.

Stop on by my store for a 28% savings at Adaptive Tasks.  Make sure and use the promo code BOOST when you are checking out!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Countdown to Day One!

It is unbelievable how quickly the summers seem to come and go.  The first day of school is all but here and the class preparation has begun.

Having a life skill classroom is such a rewarding experience and so much fun!  Teaching students valuable skills needed for living more independently is something I enjoy doing and providing interactive bulletin boards is just a small part of the classroom theme.

This year we are "Cooking Up a Great Year" and showing students the "Recipes for Success"

I had fun expressing these quotes by way of interactive bulletin boards.  These pictures show how I made use of presentation boards. I cut and painted them to make cabinets, refrigerator, oven, and a microwave that open and close with use of magnets.  I also used clip art images and online images to make things to go in them like pots and pans, pie plates, foods, etc...

This type of bulletin board allows students to interact with it by taking the items out and placing them back in the matching place that each item belongs.  To do this, the student looks on the back of each item where the word it written of what the object is.  The student matches the words and places the items where they belong.  Here are the pictures of the finished boards:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

August 4th-5th TPT Sale!

It's time for the TPT site wide sale.  Check out my store and enjoy a 28% savings on all of my products!!

Back to School Home Cooking

Well it's almost time to set those alarm clocks for the back to school routine.  If you are at all like me, I've had many times where it seems so much easier to grab something quick for a meal and spend less time cooking home meals.  I don't want to feel this way, so  I'm always looking for easier meals to avoid this costly habit.

The thought of grabbing food to take home mainly stems from not wanting to spend the time preparing and making a meal when I get home.  One easy solution to this is crock pot meals.  Many recipes can be put together with some pre-preparation on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon so that they can be easily put together during the week and cooking while you are at work. Who doesn't love a meal ready when you get home!

Here is a nice collection of recipes that I found, 35 Back to School Crockpot Recipes.


baked potato soup

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Simple Craft for Upcoming Holidays and Special Occasions

Don't you just love easy inexpensive ideas for gift giving, or crafting ideas for your students!

This is a simple way to give a gift for different occasions by simply using a paper plate.  The creativity is endless, and for students they can decorate the plates before folding and adding things like ribbon, buttons, etc...

If you are anything like me I like to think ahead on fun things to do with the students to help them create gifts for special occasions to give to friends, family members, etc.

I read about this idea on the following blog, so click on the link to find out more.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Let Students Know What You and Your Classroom Are About

"Take time to plan carefully what you will do on the first day in order to give students a clear impression of the course content and your expectations. If you plan to lecture on most days, lecture on the first day; if you plan to engage students in discussions, do so on the first day. No matter what methods you use, your overall aim should be to engage your students in learning."

I really do agree with what is said in this statement from the Teaching Center.  I feel that first impressions and how you handle your classroom learning is important to detail from day one.

Many teachers go over the rules of class and do routine introductory activities on the first day of school. Along with this, I think that making sure the students know how you will approach your lessons will give them a general sense of what to expect for the school year.

In our life skill/functional curriculum classroom we are blessed to have technology at each student's fingertips.  Whether it be a laptop or an iPad, each students has one in our 1:1 school program.  We introduce the use of this technology on the first day as well as letting students know that we will have one on one time with each of them so they know what kind of support they will have. Each student is at a different level so we can adjust the levels by use of grade level content via the Web. We also let the students know that we take other approaches along with technology use such as student interactive lessons, games, and reinforcing hands on tasks to aid in their learning.

Here is one of the products we use to reinforce a unit on shopping...using currency and coupons.  By practicing the task, it reinforces what they learn during classroom instruction.


Grocery Shopping Ultimate Life Skill Task

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Task Organization

As the new year approaches I am always looking for better ways to store and present the multiple tasks we use in our classroom. I came across this image (http://www.pinterest.com/leanneclayton/) and I love the skinny sided trays and the labels. We already have the benefit of having two of these shelving units so I am off to find some trays!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Technology in Today's Classroom

More and more schools K-12 are using technology in the classroom to reinforce or introduce lessons as well as communicate lesson plans and updates with their students.  Some high schools have implemented a 1:1 program where every student gets a laptop/tablet to access digital curriculum materials and share documents via Google Docs with their teachers.

Knowing how to use different types of technology helps students when applying for jobs in today's workforce. "In most places of business, a computer is standard. In the bank they use computers to look up your account information. They use computers in the auto repair shop to assess your car. You can't find books in the library by looking in a card catalog --you must use a computerized database. Doctor's offices utilize computers to store patient information. The point is this -- no matter where you find employment, there is a good chance a computer will be a basic tool you will have to use." (about.com)

It is important for students to learn the basic computer skills early on in their education to improve their knowledge of computer use.

Here is my latest FREE product that is useful to help reinforce an introductory lesson on computer skills.  This product helps students learn key placement and what all the keys represent on most PC keyboards.

I encourage you to click on the following link for your FREE download as well as check out my other life skill and vocational tasks.  I also have basic functional curriculum materials.


FREE Keyboard Basics

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Importance of Vocational Skills

It is never to early for students to start learning skills to help them obtain jobs during and beyond their school years.

Learning the basics like how to count money and follow directions are very important skills to begin with. So many times I see students that learn basic money skills during their elementary years and then begin to lose the skill by high school because they simply do not practice the skill.

How many times have you seen a worker at a store register or fast food register that struggle to figure out what change you need back even when the register tells them the amount to give? Many times, if you are not practicing these skills you tend to forget what you have learned.

As a mom, I turned opportunities like going through the drive-thru as a lesson time for my kids. We would place an order and the employee would tell what the amount owed would be. As soon as I was told the amount I would tell my kids that I was giving the cashier a certain bill and asked them "what will my change be?"  Sometimes they would get it and sometimes not because it does not take long to get from one window to the next to figure it out. These are the simple types of opportunities you can use to help teach your children the basics.

As a para in the classroom I try to provide opportunities to help with hands on basic skills such as these so students can practice them and gain confidence in their abilities.

This is a sample page of my latest vocational task that helps students learn a customer service task. They fill orders that are given, add order totals, and count out the correct amount to pay for each order.

Check out my store for other great vocational and life skill tasks for your special needs!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Keep Kids Learning During Summer Break

Summer is a time to have fun and relax but for your child it also needs to be a time to continue learning.

"On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Studies reveal that the greatest areas of summer loss for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, are in factual or procedural knowledge."

To keep the learning process going, you can incorporate fun and help increase your child's skill level. Here is a site that has some suggestions about how to make summer learning a fun time for the kids.


Teachers Pay Teachers is filled with all levels of products your child might need in all of the core subject areas.  I would like to encourage you to browse this site and see the thousands of products available to anyone who joins the site. It is FREE to join and many do to be able to purchase these products that are successful in today's classroom. Here is the site for you to start browsing:


Here is a sample of my newest product that helps students to learn functional math for grades 2-4.

Functional Math- Volume 1- Grocery Shopping

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer Creating Begins!

If you are like me, you like to prepare and plan ahead for the upcoming school year. I love creating tasks for the special needs classroom that can also be used in other classrooms or home schools.

Here is my newest task that incorporates math, following direction, reading, and animal care. This task can be purchased for your needs at my TpT store. Come check it out!

Working at the Zoo- Life Skill/Vocational Task

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Preparing for 2014-2015 School Year

If you are like me, I like to be prepared when the new year begins.  I plan on creating and getting ready for the next school year on some of my days off during summer break.

Here is my latest project that works well for learning about the next school year calendar August 2014-July 2014. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2014-2015-Calendar-Worksheets-1254919

2014-2015 Calendar Worksheets

Saturday, May 24, 2014

End of School Year Gift Ideas

The end of the school year is approaching fast! It is hard to believe another year has come and gone.
Here is a site with some really cute ideas for the younger grades. There are teacher, student, and even bus driver gift ideas!
Bus Drive Appreciation Gift

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Teacher Appreciation TpT Sale

Excited for an end of the school year sale with TpT! Check out my store for 28% off all of my products. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Adaptive-Tasks
Type in promo code TPTXO at check out!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Another Customer Service Favorite

Here is another customer service favorite and how we use it in the classroom. This is my Chinese Take-Out Task where students learn to fill orders, figure totals, and pay with correct currency and coin amounts.

For your own download of this task go to:


Customer Service in the Classroom

Here is a picture of how one of my newest products is used effectively in the classroom to learn a customer service skill. If interested in your own download of this product please go to:


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Delicious St. Patrick's Day Goodies

Oh my goodness! I have seen some fun and wonderful St. Patrick's Day ideas and desserts. Pampered Chef has posted some amazing looking desserts! I just have to pick which one I like the most. Here is the link to their latest holiday treat. Yummy!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Extension Activities for the Classroom

In today's classroom, no matter what is assigned, some students will get done faster than others.
To keep students from reaching boredom or idle time that can lead to disruptions it is a good idea to offer extension activities that will keep these students engaged and learning valuable skills.

Some of the best tasks and activities to offer are life skill and vocational related. These are the type of tasks that help students learn valuable skills that they will use later in life and help to increase their independence.

I have a store full of just that, tasks for special needs classrooms that can also be used in classrooms with independent activity centers. These tasks are great for students completing their work early, during testing times, life skill classrooms, vocational classrooms, and home schools.

Check my store out for your classroom needs!

Here are a few examples of items at my store with TpT: