There's an Elf in the House!

So, I think it's safe to say by this point in time, everyone pretty much is aware of the whole Elf on the Shelf saga going on. Over the years, Elf on the Shelf has grown more and more popular in households all over the World! 

This year, for a bit of fun, I was actually going to purchase an Elf to have a bit of fun with everyday to give my followers something to giggle about, but two things stopped me;time and no kids.

I mean how quick is time going right now? It feels like only yesterday I was loving watching all my friends uploading pics of their Halloween decs, costumes, parties then I blink and it's almost the 1st December and i'm seeing everyones Christmas decs going up!

Ok, I admit it, mine are up too! A little earlier than usual, but with 1st December falling mid week I decided to get it all down from the attic this weekend and get it all ready! We are still in the middle of having a big clear out in the house so no big tree this year - but we have our small tree which looks just as beautiful and christmassy as well as all our christmas figures and lights, so I'll survive! Although, our clear out should be finished by next week, so maybe there will be time for a big tree after all! Here's hoping!

Oh, and of course the no kids factor. That's correct I have no kiddos. So, I figured the whole Elf on the Shelf idea with no kids would be a little strange, right? Never mind, I thought i'd gather some great ideas from online anyway to share with all of you who will be doing Elf on the Shelf this year!

P.S - if you have enough time next year, use eBay to purchase your Elf on the Shelf, some of them even come with a whole kit of items you can use throughout December for their mischief activities!

So, first up the arrival. I just LOVE this for an arrival, don't you? I'd have to probably go one step further though and use Santa themed pants or something and say in the arrival letter that'd he borrowed them from Santa!


Idea 2
Toasting marshmallows over a yankee candle! I love my yankee candles so this would go down a storm! I'd probably have to put them over my 'Fireside Treats' candle to make it a bit more fun, the mini marshmallows are a great idea for Elf size treats!


Idea 3
It's a great way to remind your children that Santa is always watching! Plus, you could even put a positive spin on it, how about something like this? I'm sure it will get your children worrying what else Santa is watching!


Idea 4
Slumber party!! Your kids will just love waking up in the morning to find their Elf has been at a slumber party all night! For a bit of added fun, why not add in a barbie for who he has been hanging out with all night!


Idea 5
It's time for a selfie! We all know how crazy the World has gone for selfies, so why can't an Elf join in too?!

Idea 6
Uh oh, looks like some toys are definitely going to be on Santa's naughty list this year! They've captured the Elf and held him hostage! Looks like they're a little jealous of all the fun and attention the Elf is getting!

Idea 7
Are you ready for a race? Set up your own little race track and see who is going to win out of all the toys!

Idea 8
It can be hard work going back and fore the North Pole every day, so nobody is more entitled to a quiet, movie night than poor Elf! 

Idea 9 
Let's go fishing! Wait, for sharks?! What will your Elf capture from your sink? I love the idea of using a candy cane and thread for the fishing rod! Although, if it were me, I'd probably fill the sink with water and fill it with lots of different fish toys too!

Idea 10
Snowball fight! Pick out a toy to go up against your Elf in a snowball fight! Build your forts out of big marshmallows and then use smaller marshmallows as the snowballs! Don't forget to make the scene look very snowy! 
 

Idea 11
The shoe shoe train! Elves love getting up to mischief so what better way than to steal everyone's shoes and make them into a train! Don't forget to add some toys into each of the shoes!

Idea 12
Oh no! The Elf has really gotten into trouble this time, he's managed to get himself trapped inside the washing machine!

Idea 13
Do your kids love all things superhero? How about having a spiderman Elf! Just print out a mask for him and hang him with string from a cupboard or anything you want!

Idea 14
The poor Elf is missing the snow back in the North Pole! So he's gone and tipped flour everywhere to try and make snow angels! Or you could go the extra mile and purchase fake snow from your local shop and say he brought some back with him!

Idea 15
Do you have a little somebody in your home who is still obsessed with Frozen? How about getting Elsa involved in the mischief and getting her to freeze the poor Elf! Just pop him in a cup of water and pop it in the freezer. Once it's frozen, just ease it out of the cup - or use silicone moulds to turn inside out.(Don't forget you're going to have to dry him off when he melts!)

Idea 16
Elves love to be up to mischief all the time so why not decorate some fruit around the home! Oranges and bananas are great to draw things on! Plus, it might entice them to eat those fruits!

Idea 17
Oh no! The Elf is in trouble! If your child loves Thomas the Tank Engine or anything train wise, why not do this one!? You could have a teddy of the Grinch watching who is the one that's tied the poor Elf up!

Idea 18
How about having some fun with ketchup!? That naughty Elf has squeezed it all over the kitchen! For some added fun why not have a hot dog close by that the Elf has tried to put ketchup on!

Idea 19
How about some mini pancakes! The Elf has made everyone breakfast! Just buy a really small cookie cutter and cut the pancakes into little circles!

Idea 20
If you have a Toy Story fan in your household, this would be the perfect scenario to wake up to one morning! Woody and Buzz saving poor Elf!

Idea 21
Uh oh! The poor Elf has gotten himself stuck inside a glass cup! 

Idea 22
Living in the North Pole can have it's downsides - the poor Elf is craving some sunshine and warmth! So why not set him up with a sun bathing session!

Idea 23
How about getting the Elf to put different things on photos around the house! You can purchase 'photo booth prop sets' on amazon that come packed full of moustaches, hats, glasses etc. Put them on photographs around the house - the children will love running around seeing what the Elf has done to all the photos!

Last day, time to go home!
This is usually on Christmas Eve. I'd highly recommend a little goodbye message from the Elf - this one is fabulous and done with spray on snow! You could even stick the elf on the window first of all to spray around him for that perfect shape!  

But, I think it would also nice for the children to have a little goodbye present and a certificate to have on Christmas Eve. I have made some letters from the Elf that you can download for free below. 

If you do Elf on the Shelf be sure to send me some pictures of what your Elf has been getting up to! I LOVE seeing them all :)

Nikki 





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Introducing..TpT Newbies; 2014-15

Roll up, roll up
to meet the newbie TpT sellers of 2014-15..


Here are just 50 sellers who are new for 2014-15 and all of them will be having 28% off in their stores this Nov 30th & Dec 1st - remember to add the code; SMILE at TpT checkout!

So, as you know, my entire store will be 28% off for the sale - this includes everything in my store, even already discounted bundles. 

The top 5 picks from my store this sale will be;



My Community Helpers comprehension pack is now released! If you're a follower of my store you'll probably have noticed all the comprehension packets being released in different themes over the past few weeks - and they are going down a storm! Everyone is loving them, the students are enjoying them and best of all, they are learning without even noticing! This pack is themed all around community helpers, there is a short passage on each community helper with a matching question/answer page with 5 questions. 



This huge bundle consists of 4 different sentence building books. The books are great for helping spec ed/autistic students to build sentences, order sentences correctly, improve their reading and improve upon their attention to detail. They come in clipart animals as well as real photographs, all the symbols are included too! At the start of each book is instructions on how you can put it together to get the most from the books! The types of animals are; 
* clipart
* baby animals
* zoo animals
* farm animals



This resource is pretty much what it says on the cover! Christmas Elf Activities, this is all about having your own little Elf friend in class! Students absolutely love doing all the different activities surrounding their 'Classroom Elf' and it's a great way to get into the spirit of Christmas! It's a whopping 96 pages in total and is full of great, fun, learning activities that students will be very engaged with! This is sure to keep your students motivated and engaged in the lead up to Christmas, so if you want to do a little something different in your class this year - this is the way! 



This bundle has been carefully put together with lots of great resources from my store that will help you set up a wonderful classroom suitable for Spec Ed/Autistic students. Note - it will not make your classroom perfect, the only thing that could ever make any classroom perfect is pixie dust! (Impossible!) 

This bundle includes 11 different resources from my store and if you purchase it at full price you save a whopping $14.50 BUT if your purchase it through the sale - you will get an EXTRA 28% off! So, if this is on your wish list to buy, now is a great time to get it purchased!





Last, but certainly not least, is my Giant Christmas Activity Bundle. When I say giant, I literally mean giant here. There's a total of 799 pages included, y'all! That's just crazy and is sure to keep your class focused, engaged and motivated this Christmas season! The bundle is made up of two of my smaller bundles - Christmas Activities and Nativity Activities. It literally includes a little bit of everything, English, Math, Fine Motor, Problem Solving etc. There are so many activities included in this bundle that I literally can't name them all here or it would take up the entire page! So be sure to head on over to the page to check all the activities out!

Happy Cyber Sale!
Nikki 



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QR Task Cards: Dinosaur Prepositions

So, trying to keep up with all the new teaching trends, new technology and all new fun, great ideas in the teaching world can be such a headache.

I mean, I remember when we were excited to have interactive white boards! Then it went onto iPads, now we are having apple TVs in every class! I mean, like woah?!

Anyway, in trying to keep up with the 21st century trends, I decided to try out some QR task card codes. Now, our students just love dinosaurs. I mean, for real, they are obsessed with them, so what better way to introduce them than with something they would enjoy - dinosaurs. Plus, I added in a bit of their target work with the prepositions! 

Prepositions can be so hard for children to grasp, so I'm hoping with practice and a new fun way of learning - iPad and QR codes, then we're going to be off to a good start.

So, here is the resource before you all think I'm going to natter on and not even explain what it's about!



Yeah, I know it's a bit of a mouthful, but I mean how could I even shorten that?! Dino?! Lol. 

Anyway, so there are 20 question cards in total. Each on a task card. The task cards just look like you can see in the image above. They have the question number on top, a dinosaur and a QR code.

(Don't worry - there are instructions included, please note, if you want to use this activity in your class you are going to need some sort of smart device where you can download a QR reader app - these can be found for free - and access to wifi and a camera to scan the code). 

So, first of all, the student gets their device, loads up the QR reader app and holds it over the task card - this works through the camera, once the camera/device can pick up the QR code it will read it then re-direct to another page. The page that opens will then reveal a picture of a dinosaur on/in/under/next to/behind/in front of an object. There will also be a sentence prompt underneath the image i.e 'The dinosaur is on the table.' 

Students then have to look closely at the picture/text to find out what the preposition is, they then go to their answer sheet, find the correct box and right the answer in. Each task card is numbered i.e 'Question 1 - Question 20' and the answer sheet has boxes with numbers '1 - 20' on. So, the answer to question 1 will be written in box number 1 on the answer sheet.

Don't worry - there's an answer key included too!

I'm also a little wary of students being of different abilities, I mean we have a student who is so clever you literally wouldn't believe, but he can't write it down, so the answer sheet where he would write down the answer wouldn't work for him, so I mixed it up a bit and we have an answer sheet with choice of 2 answers of preposition symbols - the student just simply circles the preposition they feel is the correct answer.

To explain a little further I done a little video (I must apologise, it's not the greatest quality, I underestimated how hard it is to record and complete the activity at once, it's no good having nobody around to help you out with a video!) of both styles of activity (i.e the written answer sheet and the circle the answer sheet.)

See below..

video

So, above is the video with the written answer sheet. This is up to you - you can either ask the student to write simply the preposition i.e 'on' or you can get them to answer the 'Where is the dinosaur?' question fully i.e 'The dinosaur is on the table.'

video

For this video, you will see the example of choosing the correct answer out of a choice of two. The symbols represent the preposition that can be seen. 

So, if your students like dinosaurs, enjoy trying out new activities, you have use of technology and you want to get started on some preposition work - this will be a great addition to your class! Just click here to be directed to the page where you can see all the info on this activity at my TpT. 

As always, thanks for stopping by,
Nikki 

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Black Friday 2015

Can you believe it's already Black Friday?
That's the shopping Black Friday - not the drinking Black Friday. Although, I'm still unsure if the whole drinking Black Friday is just a UK thing or a world wide thing? It's the last Friday before Christmas and pretty much everyone goes out drinking etc.

Except me.. I don't drink. But that's ok!

Anyway, Black Friday (shopping) is in full force today. I'm still a little torn here in the UK, I mean, have you seen how CRAZY people get?!

Here are some images from over the years;

(Daily mail)

(Telegraph)

(Telegraph)

Ok.. so this has totally made my mind up - I am not heading to the shops tomorrow! I think I'll stick to some online deals.

Although, to be honest, I have done all my Christmas shopping and I'm not a big believer in spending because there's a saving.. only spending if I need it!

But. this could be an excuse for some shopping on TpT! I know a few sellers are throwing a sale this Black Friday for 20% off - so be sure to head on over, check out your wish list, browse around for some great resources for your class and save some $$! 

So, as you have probably guessed, my store will be on sale for 20% off today only. So, head on over quickly people and check it out and see if there are any resources that you are after and get them discounted!

Here are 5 of my top picks from my store that I just love and really do work in the classroom! Grab them today for 20% off!



My Community Helpers comprehension pack is now released! If you're a follower of my store you'll probably have noticed all the comprehension packets being released in different themes over the past few weeks - and they are going down a storm! Everyone is loving them, the students are enjoying them and best of all, they are learning without even noticing! This pack is themed all around community helpers, there is a short passage on each community helper with a matching question/answer page with 5 questions. 



This huge bundle consists of 4 different sentence building books. The books are great for helping spec ed/autistic students to build sentences, order sentences correctly, improve their reading and improve upon their attention to detail. They come in clipart animals as well as real photographs, all the symbols are included too! At the start of each book is instructions on how you can put it together to get the most from the books! The types of animals are; 
* clipart
* baby animals
* zoo animals
* farm animals



This resource is pretty much what it says on the cover! Christmas Elf Activities, this is all about having your own little Elf friend in class! Students absolutely love doing all the different activities surrounding their 'Classroom Elf' and it's a great way to get into the spirit of Christmas! It's a whopping 96 pages in total and is full of great, fun, learning activities that students will be very engaged with! This is sure to keep your students motivated and engaged in the lead up to Christmas, so if you want to do a little something different in your class this year - this is the way! 



This bundle has been carefully put together with lots of great resources from my store that will help you set up a wonderful classroom suitable for Spec Ed/Autistic students. Note - it will not make your classroom perfect, the only thing that could ever make any classroom perfect is pixie dust! (Impossible!) 

This bundle includes 11 different resources from my store and if you purchase it at full price you save a whopping $14.50 BUT if your purchase it today - you will get an EXTRA 20% off! So, if this is on your wish list to buy, now is a great time to get it purchased!





Last, but certainly not least, is my Giant Christmas Activity Bundle. When I say giant, I literally mean giant here. There's a total of 799 pages included, y'all! That's just crazy and is sure to keep your class focused, engaged and motivated this Christmas season! The bundle is made up of two of my smaller bundles - Christmas Activities and Nativity Activities. It literally includes a little bit of everything, English, Math, Fine Motor, Problem Solving etc. There are so many activities included in this bundle that I literally can't name them all here or it would take up the entire page! So be sure to head on over to the page to check all the activities out!


And that's a wrap from me! Happy Black Friday everyone! Whether you are venturing out to fight the crowds for some great bargains, sat at home relaxing with a hot chocolate and browsing the bargains online or just having a complete break away from the whole Black Friday saga - have a great weekend!

Nikki 

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Classroom Management within an Autistic Classroom

This is the blog post that I had the fantastic opportunity to have showcased on Rachel Lynette's amazing blog Minds in Bloom and I am now sharing it here for my followers to be given another chance to read all about it!




Visuals

Timelines



So, each student has their own timeline. One of our children is half day, so he has a different timeline to the others, another child doesn't yet understand symbols - so he has objects for his timeline i.e swimming trunk for swimming, a bus toy for a trip, calculator for maths etc. By having individual timelines, the students can have it more personalised to them and their needs. (Our children all have they own colour which is used for everything.)

First, Then

We all know how hard it can be for our students with autism to engage in an activity, especially if they don't really understand why they need to work, they would much prefer to go back to playing elsewhere or having some free choice. The first, then boards are great for helping students to understand better that they WILL have what they want - but first, they have to work! Be sure to have these on you and ready for when they sit down for work. Before calling a student to the work desk, get everything laid out, that way you can go straight into the activity as opposed to rustling about trying to find things. 



I am working for

These are not very commonly known but are a GREAT asset, especially for students who understand a reward system. You can individualise these to different students as well - putting their favourite characters on etc. I recommend building it up - you may start with the student only having to achieve 3 boxes, then move on to 4,5,6 etc. This is a great visual to show them throughout the session/morning/day how close they are to achieving their reward!


Communication Books

Picture yourself in a foreign country, nobody speaks your language, you're in a busy restaurant and you're trying to order something, nobody understands you, the menus are in a different language, how do you communicate? That is how some of our children feel on a day to day basis, they know what they want, they just don't know what you're asking of them - or how to tell you what they want. Communication books are great in the way that each student has their own one, it's personal to them, you can add the symbols that are most relevant to them and depending on their ability. 



Timers

Have you ever said to one of your students "just one more minute" then looked at the clock and 3/4 minutes have passed? Yep, it happens to everyone. The best thing to use is a timer, the sand timers are great and come in all sorts of different times - ranging from 30 seconds to 1 hour - some even more! 
It's a great motivator for students to keep going, especially when they can physically see that time is going and they'll soon be on their way for free choice!


Transition Boards

Transition is hard for many of our students, they may not understand where they are going or what they are going for. A transition board is great to have somewhere that is easily accessible and preferably on the way to the door to the exit of the classroom. We have a few main areas; class, bus, home, playground, assembly, lunch. The children are able to put themselves onto the place they are going next or can have support from staff so they are able to see where they are going. Each morning the children come in and check themselves in by moving their faces from home to class!



Traffic Light System

This is a great system that is really popular with a lot of our classes. You can personalise it to say whatever you want or just have it as a general traffic light system. You can use an arrow to move it onto the part that you feel necessary or have children's faces by it - however you feel it would work best with your class. You can use it for noise levels, behaviours etc. We tend to use this for behaviours, if a child starts to display challenging behaviours we head to the traffic light and show them orange and we have lots of visuals around on how they can get back to green, the same for red, some of our students take themselves to the poster now and show us how they feel!



Greeting Books

 The greeting books (Good Morning/Good Afternoon) are great to help the students settle down read for their work and get them focused. Their greeting books are all different levels - depending on the individual. They contain things like; What day is it? What month is it? What season is it? Who's in class today? How's the weather today? What should we wear in this weather? How do you spell your name? (Not necessarily in that order.) 



Movement Breaks 

Movement breaks are all about getting the students moving, getting them back to being focused and re-energised to carry on with their work. You can either have print-outs that you can use with the students as visuals or you can put some songs on youtube that are just great! The students love it and helps to re-charge their batteries, these work especially great during wet playtimes - if the children have been indoor all day!



Transition Songs

Transition is a big issue with children with autism and one of the best ways that we get our children ready for what is coming next is songs! We have; Good Morning (welcome the children in) Counting (for maths work) Literacy (alphabet), Playtime, Dinner, Snack, Goodbye etc. These are played consistently in a routine of when the activities happen next so that the children can learn what happens after certain songs and prepare themselves for what is coming next.

Achievements

Each week, on a Friday we have an achievement assembly. One child in each class is given a star of the week certificate for something they did well that week and they get to put their face on the giant star on display in the hall. There is also a pupil of the week- where one pupil from the whole School is chosen to be on the IWB for everyone to watch and see what they have done so well that week, this is then followed by 'Reach for the Stars' (song by S Club 7) where students are encouraged to sing, dance and sign along to the music! 

When the pupils complete work we also put it up for show on our display;



Professional Documents

IEPs are great but we also use Pen Portraits which are great for staff and parents/guardians to discuss/find out more of the day to day needs of children, it's on one sheet of paper and this gets updated yearly (or more if necessary), it's also great to pass to anyone new in the room. It's a document that follows the children onto their next class in the next year too.




Class Meetings

Class meetings are a really important when working with Spec Ed. Monday morning, just before the children come in we have a planning session, we go over the weekly plan and what is going on each day (this is pretty much similar each week just different art activities, cooking etc). On Friday morning we reflect on how the week went, what worked etc.

Liaise with parents

We liaise on a daily basis with parents/guardians through our home/school books;



And finally, 
Displays

It's best to keep displays nice and simple, not too busy or overpowering that's going to take their attention away from other tasks in the classroom. Here's one of ours;


Thank you for reading my post on Classroom Management in an Autism Classroom. I have been working with Autism for almost 6 years now and still learn new things each and every day in this World! Feel free to head on over to my blog for more info or check out my store with lots of great resources to set up your classroom! Have a great year and enjoy each moment with your students!

Nikki 

  




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