Every classroom teacher has “Must Have’s” in their classroom of which I call educational tools. If I had an educational toolbox, it would be as big as a garage. I have my own specific tools used in my classroom for students who have special needs specifically autism and multiple cognitive and physical handicaps. These materials or tools are not the basic pens, pencils, crayons, markers and paper that is needed in a classroom on a daily basis. The educational tools I am talking about are used to motivate learning, make learning materials last and encourage students to participate and cooperate in school for successful learning. Some of the tools I use in my classroom are pictured below.
1) Plastic bins labeled with each student’s name (pictured below with folders and notebooks in them): used to organize student work and data
2) Lamination machine/paper: used to laminate various student work, visuals, classroom decor, etc.
3) Velcro: used to create visuals for students for their communication books
4) Page protectors: used for student worksheets used with dry eraser markers, social stories, and books
5) Mini chalk board, plastic drawing board: used for writing practice, drawing, etc.
6) Rainbow-colored parachute: Used for student play/movement
7) Ikea spinning chair (blue and white): used for students who need sensory input and used as a reward. This chair is a popular item!
8) Rocking chair: Used for students who need it for sensory input
9) Labeled plastic bins with covers: Used to organize toys and manipulatives. The covers are important to have because when the boxes are uncovered, it becomes a distraction for students during the school day.
10) White dry eraser boards for each student: used with dry eraser markers during lessons/activities
11) Pictures/visuals that are laminated and velcroed: Used to help and support students who are nonverbal to communicate and to present choices for all students
12) Toy microphone: Used to motivate students to speak loud and clear during all activities and lessons during the school day. It is a great tool. There is an echo of the voice that is spoken into the microphone. During Morning Circle, it is used when I sing “good morning” to each student and it motivates each student to say it to me. It is also used during the day when I ask questions and it helps to prompt students to answer the questions. My goal is for the students to speak loud and clear, form complete sentences and encourage my students who are nonverbal to speak.
Below is a bingo game that teaches about various positions (up, down, through, around, under, etc.). I have each student choose a bingo card and announce what they chose on the microphone. The microphone encourages the students to say what is on the card. For example, the student will say, “the ball is under the table.”