Saturday, November 25, 2017

CVI Supplies at Dollar Tree Holiday 2017

It is not a secret that now is the time to buy CVI supplies such as Christmas lights, garland, tinsel, ornaments, etc. I have blogged about it myself for years to buy up these hot items (and then go back again at Valentine's Day for more!!). I was at Dollar Tree again and saw the new displays of holiday decorations and thought I would share some sweet buys from this season. I also wanted to share some important tips for using these decorations without overwhelming your student. 
Let's get started:
  • Most important:  how to keep your decorations meaningful for vision. The old saying KISS comes into play here. Keep It Simple for Students. Know your student's what and where vision. This means what can they see (color, shape, 2D vs 3D, etc.) and where can they see it (peripheral, central, left or right/up and or down). 
  • Environment matters: This may be old hat to some of you but if you are new or unfamiliar to CVI, always remember that the environment matters. This means to have contrast (black background always works so that the decoration shows up nice without visual clutter). Other important factors are sound, lighting, etc. Some students simply cannot tolerate a cluttered background (includes sounds, smells and visual items). 
  • Work in items gradually and then just wait and I mean WAIT! Present the decorations and then just let your student see the item.
Every year Dollar Tree puts out awesome holiday items. 
Here's this year's top picks for CVI this year:
(below picture is a rack of garland, ornaments, ribbon and snowman in traditional holiday colors)
The ornaments are good (I prefer going for the shatterproof ones at Michael's or Joann on sale). You can hang them in a variety of ways to catch your student's attention. I really like the garland! It is shiny, has fun movement and has good color. Don't discount the snowman either! They have fun texture, contrast and you can add lights. 

Picture (image description: lots of different holiday ribbons and bows in traditional holiday colors).
These curler ribbons and bows are totally a hit! You can pull at them or lace some bells or other fun toys on them and they are tough to destroy. I like the standard bows and add magnets to them. You can use a cookie sheet (also can be purchased from Dollar Tree) to do fun activities (see my last year post on Christmas/holiday activities: 

Picture (image description: shiny silver buckets, plates, for food display). 
I included this one because these platters, buckets, etc. are so fun to reflect light or even act as a mirror. Most people usually stick with the traditional holiday color/decorations but miss the silver mirror type objects. They are awesome accessory pieces!

I wanted to include the garland again because it is such a fun hit. All four of these colors: silver, red, gold and green, work together so nicely. The gold and silver provide a nice contrast to the red and green. Red is a fave CVI color but I also want to encourage you to try green. Green has been an increasingly great color with so many of my CVI students. This garland is pretty thick though so if you are thinking of using it to hang other items, keep an eye out. Your object must be larger than the garland. 

A few other items that I like are:
  • the cookie tins (wrap them in shiny wrapping paper and put things inside to shake for sound). 
  • wrapping paper (pick the shiny kind!)
  • holiday leaves and decorations like poinsettia (they are just fun textures--watch for choking). 
I also recommend hitting up the coupons from Joann and Michael's. Joann coupon deals for fabric are top notch. I like to buy velvet or fur (you can get it in black!). I use it as a big mat/blanket for students to lay on or as a background. I have bought a TON of of ribbon in a variety of textures and colors from Michael's. There are so many activities to make with ribbon (both super fat width, normal and a little wide). 

Have some fun holiday fun!! 
Check out my post from last year that has a ton of fun holiday activities:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

ECC Lesson Plan Template

Here is one of my favorite resources for teachers and paraprofessionals for learning how to implement the Expanded Core. This is a simple template to help zero in on ECC areas. Here's how it works: teachers write about everyday routines, activities or a specific lesson. Next, label all areas that are being addressed within the activity. Teachers can use this template for everyday routines such as handing in homework or the arrival/departure routine. They can use it for activities such as centers or a specific lesson. It's quick and easy for teachers to do and it focuses them on how they are embedding ECC areas throughout their day. 

pictures of the ECC lesson template
I also give this template to our support staff. This can also include related services. I think it is important for everyone on the team to embed ECC areas. I really like this for paraprofessionals because they often are the closest with ECC instruction with their direct time with students. This works for paraprofessionals who work in the elementary classroom but also with paras who work with middle and high school students. Paras of students in high school have the unique opportunity to be the biggest facilitators of ECC instruction because they have a lot of access to students. Many high school teachers (general ed) don't know how to implement ECC and TVIs may not have the service hours to provide several ECC lessons a day. But paras do! They are there from start to the end of the day. They can be the ones who can identify opportunities to embed ECC instruction throughout the day. 
I created this as a word document but also as a fillable pdf file so that teachers can quickly do this on the iPad. I specifically created this as a one page document so that it can be a 'snapshot' of how to embed ECC in a lesson/activity/routine. It also helps teachers and support staff to see how quickly they can infuse areas. I get a feeling that when teachers see big text areas they have to write a lot of information. This is sometimes true but most times you can make a quick bullet list of ECC skills. Teachers need to see that we need to teach the ECC all day, every day! 
You can email me and I will send it to you to use.