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Thursday 19 May 2016

Cool Resources for the SPED Classroom

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and if you are like me, you may be already thinking of what you would like to do differently next year.  And if you have a classroom budget provided by your school board, you may also have money that you need to spend before the end of the school year.  If this is your situation, then you may want to consider adding these to your wishlist!

Five SPED Classroom Must-Haves

1.  Iris Photo Box Organizer 

I love having an organized classroom - it's makes daily life in the classroom so much easier!  Plus, I like my room to be neat and tidy.  I discovered these photo boxes this year and fell in love!  They make organizing flashcards and extra PECS so easy.   They come with 16 individual cases which are housed in the larger box.  I use my label maker to label each box and now we can easily find what we need in a hurry.  I got mine at Micheal's (make sure you have a coupon, they're a bit pricey), but you can also find them on Amazon.

2.  Classroom Magnetic Number and Letter Sets  

These sets from Lakeshore Learning are great for math and literacy centers.  They make it easy to create hands-on learning activities for your students.  And I love how the boxes are organized!  It makes easy for students to find the letters or numbers they need.

3.  Kitchen Scissors

If you use edible reinforcers in your classroom, then you are going to need a good pair of kitchen scissors to cut those candies in half or quarters.  We try to stretch our edible reinforcers and make them last by cutting them into smaller pieces.  This also reduces the amount of junk food our students eat on a daily basis.  These scissors have made cutting those hard candies, like Skittles so much easy! We use the Cuisinart X Series ones.  I got mine at Canadian Tire on sale, but you can also get them at places like Costco or Walmart.

4.  Plastic CD/DVD Sleeves

I love using these for storing pieces for file folder games.   We used to use library pockets for this purpose, but after time, they would rip or the pieces would fall out.  We then switched to ziplock baggies, but found that our students had a difficult time opening these, and would often rip the bag to get the pieces out.  So then we tried Memorex plastic CD/DVD sleeves.  These are sturdy, have a flap that closes to keep the pieces inside and are easy to open.  But, this brand is a rather expensive option.  They cost about $10 for 50 sleeves.  So, I search Amazon to see if I could them for less and discovered a similar product, which cost $25 for 1000 sleeves.  The plastic on these ones isn't as thick as the Memorex brand, but they do hold up well and my students can open them easily.

5.  Thirty-One Oh Snap Pockets

If you are a teacher, then you may have heard of Thirty-One Gifts.  If you haven't, you should really check them out!  It's a direct sales company that sells cute and functional bags and organizing items.  My favourite teacher bags are from Thirty-One and one of my favourite classroom organizers is as well.  I love the Oh Snap Pockets because they are much more sturdy than other hanging pockets that I have bought from teacher stores.  The other nice feature is that you can snap them together eliminating the need for multiple hooks on your wall.  They have two versions, one that has a plain front (but you can add embroidered words) or one with a chalkboard front so you can label them with chalk and then change the label when you want.  I have both in my classroom and use them to store books, playdoh mats, play scripts and props, prepped art projects (we use Teaching Special Thinkers' Easy Art kits) and papers I need to file, or have handy.

Five Resources on My Wishlist

1.  Osmo

I was introduced to Osmo last year by a colleague and fellow tech geek.  He let me borrow his to test out with my students and while I loved the concept of incorporating manipulatives while using the iPad, they only offered one learning game at the time.  So, I didn't buy it.  Now, however, they have introduced 3 more games, including a drawing game, spelling and counting game, so it has moved onto my wishlist for next year.

2.  Touchtronic Letters and Numbers

Similar to Oslo, Touchtronic Letters and Numbers allows for the use of manipulatives when using apps on the iPad.  With these manipulatives, students can match letters or numbers, spell words, or make equations to solve by placing the manipulatives right on the screen of the iPad.  This is something that I know my students will love!

3.  Rubicoil Coil Binding Machine

This is the most expensive item on my wishlist, but I am convinced that it is worth the investment!  Most of the time, we use binder rings or the comb binding machine to assemble our interactive books or play scripts.  With the binder rings, we find that students sometimes have a hard time turning the pages and with the comb binding, the pages often come apart after use.  I know SPED teachers that have a rubicoil and love the durability of the coil binding.  I love how professional it makes their resources look and can't wait until mine look like that!

4.  Hokki Stool

I have a couple of students who are very wiggly and have a hard time sitting still during table tasks.  I know that they need to move, but because we don't have any flexible seating options that work for them, I really want to get a couple of Hokki stools.  I've asked around and teachers seem to love this brand the best.

5.  IKEA PS LĂ–MSK Swivel armchair

Sadly, I don't have a lot of space in my classroom for a sensory area.  So, I have use space wisely and choose sensory items that are smaller.  This chair is great as it doesn't take up a lot of room, but provides sensory feedback through the spinning motion and with the cover that can be closed, kiddos can close out the world when they need to.

What's on your wishlist?  I'd love to hear about any cool resources you have in your room or on your wishlist!  Leave me a comment below!

And don't forget to like the We Teach SPED Facebook page to find out about more awesome tips and resources!

Until next time,

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