Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Special Education Featured Teacher {April}

I would like to welcome Caitlin from Learning Ahoy! as my Special Education Featured Teacher for the month of April!  I know you are going to love her post about adapted books and how you can make your own.  She also is sharing something special with us all!  Thanks, Caitlin!!

Hello everyone!  My name is Caitlin and I am the author of the blog Learning Ahoy!!  I have been teaching special education for 10 years and have taught kiddos ages 2 – 12.   I have been married to my husband for almost 8 years and I am mom to 3 little boys (although they are going really fast).   My passion is the students who need the most help.  The ones who do not have a traditional communication system, who have medical needs, who may need help learning to navigate in their wheel chair and everything else that comes naturally to so many. 

In trying to help my students learn (and be engaged in what they are learning) I have found that the more hands on I make something, the better they grasp it.  For this reason, I try to make books as interactive as possible.   I do this in a number of ways. One way is,  I adapt book is by using board books (more durable) and making pictures (I usually use boardmaker) to go along with them.   I look for board books when I am at garage sales and thrift stores that was I can get them for 25¢ each (sometimes even free when I mention what I am using them for).  Once I have a stack of a few books, I sit down and make all of the pictures at once.  I go through the book and find words or pictures that I can use to help build vocabulary and keep my students engaged.  I print the pictures out and laminate using 5mil film (again, durability).  I then cut them out and use Velcro to attach them to each page.  When we read the book, I like to start by putting all of the picture on a vellum board I made and talking about what each picture is.  We then read the book and add the pictures when needed.  The Velcro on the pages are my cues that we need to add something.   This has worked great with my students this year!  They have more involved when we do read alouds and are demonstrating higher rates of comprehension.

 Another way is that I often write my own interactive books or use ones that have been written by other special education teachers.  Some examples of these are Shamrock, Shamrock, What are you hiding? (A freebie in my TpT store!) and Where is the Turkey? .  Just last weekend I wrote a book called Plants Need because I could not find anything simple enough (and still age appropriate) for my students .  I used it this week with my class and it was a hit.  My students blew me away with how they retained the information throughout the week.

Well, if you made it this far, I have a surprise for you!  I have a new interactive book that I am posting just for this guest post. And guess what?!? It is free until Saturday!  It is called “Where is themonkey?”.  I have read it with my students multiple times and the cute monkey is a huge hit.  You can get it by going to this link

I hope this post helped you see how to make your students more engaged in reading and learning.  I would love if you would hop on board the Learning Ahoy ship by following me on Facebook, Pinterest, TpT (lots of free stuff) and subscribing to email posts.  You can read more about the happenings in my classroom by sailing over to Learning Ahoy!!

Also I just wanted to thank Kim for having me as a guest blogger.  I love sharing and collaborating with other special education teachers.

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