Posts tagged “Rhonda Crowdis Hardisty

Alphabet of Thankfulness: G is for Graphing Activities


Apple variety for sampling

One of my wonderful classroom Aides, Dawn Dill, put together this apple activity to introduce our students with Autism to the taste, smell, texture, sound, and sight of apples in a few different varieties, namely red delicious, golden delicious, and granny smith.


Bites of golden delicious, granny smith, and red delicious

It’s a great opportunity to document student opinions regarding their likes and dislikes versus those of their classmates. It’s also a way to introduce graphs and charts to your students in a fun and entertaining environment. Often my students are apprehensive about learning a new skill, but this teaches it to them without it feeling like they are learning. The following apple graph can be found at


Chart for graphing favorite apple type.


Chart for documenting adjectives regarding what we found with the apples.


trace and color student work sample


trace and color student work sample


trace and color student work sample


Student work and graphs displayed in the hallway


Alphabet of Thankfulness: F is for Freebie’s!

I am thankful for teachers who post free items on their blogs and their Teachers Pay Teachers sites. So, to pay this forward, the following Dolch Sight Word Read Trace Write Paste are all FREE on my TpT site:

My students typically cut the Read column into individual words and paste them on the paste column in line with the correct word so they are also doing a matching exercise with this activity. Each link takes you to the entire set of words for that level. There are 7-9 pages for each set. My students do a sheet a day while we are working on these words in isolation before we move into putting them into sentences. Enjoy!

Alphabet of Thankfulness – E is for Electronics

ipad-apps-for-teachersI am thankful for electronics in my classroom. Almost 4 years ago the district invested in iPods and iPads for all Special Education classrooms. This has allowed us to add several more learning opportunities to each day. Following is a list of just a few of the FREE apps that I use in my classroom:

  • Shapes Toddler Preschool by Toddler Teasers
  • Tiny Hands Sorting 3 by Tiny Hands apps
  • Amazing Coins by Joy Preschool Game
  • Articulation Station by Little Bee Speech
  • Paint Sparkles Draw by Kids Games Club
  • ABC Magnet Board Plus by Tatiana Churanova
  • Baby Sign and Learn by Baby Sign and Learn
  • Spelling Bug by Power Math Apps
  • ABC Phonics Rhyming Words Lite by Abitalk Incorporated
  • Spelling City by Spelling City
  • Stack the States Lite by Dan Russell Pinson
  • Toddler Counting Free by iTot Apps, LLC
  • Preschool Memory Match by Darren Murtha Designs
  • Mathmateer Free by Dan Russell-Pinson

Two of my favorite developers with free apps to check out are: 

  • ABC Alphabet by Little Sorter
  • Rhyming words
  • Little Reader
  • Little Speller
  • Things That Go Together
  • Sight Words by Photo Touch

  • ABA Receptive Identification by Class
  • ABA Which go Together?
  • ABA What Rhymes?
  • ABA Alphabet Flash Cards
  • ABA Animal Flash Cards
  • ABA Food Flash Cards

I paid nothing for each of these apps over the past 4 years, but there is a possibility they are no longer free. There are great free apps available all the time and make great remediation and practice for students or your own children.

Alphabet of Thankfulness: D is for Daily Routines

Children learn best through repetition. So, it is important to offer repetitive activities for reinforcement of skills you are teaching. In younger grades and in every level of special education, a morning calendar time is important for so many areas of learning. Click here to for more on Morning Meeting – Circle Time.

In addition to  morning meeting or calendar circle, there are other daily routines that students need to be taught. These include social skills and things as simple as toileting or hand washing. When students of any age or level know what is coming next or what is expected of them, they find it easier to focus on what they are doing now. Many times, student misbehavior is caused by perceptions of things to come. To alleviate negative behaviors, students need a routine in which they can relax and know their time frames and boundaries. Some example of these would be as follows:

Toileting Routine:


Obviously you could add more or less to this as needed.

Picture Schedule:


This is a small section of a full day schedule

Hallway Procedures:


Students change the location they are headed to before they leave the room each time.

These picture cards were created in Board Maker, but could easily be created with clip art or by taking actual photo’s of activities and locations. Each has velcro on the back so it can be removed and manipulated as needed.

Alphabet of Thankfulness – B is for Bubbles


first – then board

Today and every day, I am thankful for bubbles. Reinforcers are very important in a classroom of students with Autism Spectrum disorders, or really any classroom. For some students bubbles are a powerful reinforcement solution. Every student in my class responds to bubbles in a positive way, but for some, they are worth doing work that nothing else will motivate them to do. I introduce the bubbles at the same time as I introduce the task to be completed by setting both in front of the student and showing the student a first-then board.

My first-then boards are nothing more than velcro on a laminated page. They should be very simple as to not distract the student from the reason for the choice board; getting them to learn. These work great at home as well. In fact, having students use the same supports at home as they use in the classroom are a powerful aid in their learning process. They learn to follow instructions the same way wherever they are. They begin to realize that Mom, Dad, Teachers, everyone wants them to follow the same task for reward system and it becomes not only easier for the student to follow, but easier for parents and teachers to manage. Most people, including our students, are creatures of habit. The more the habit crosses from school to home, the more quickly they will master it.

So, today I am thankful for bubbles, bouncy balls, fidget boxes, and other powerful reinforcers in my classroom!

First-Then Board FREEBIE!

Alphabet of Thankfulness – C is for Custodian


A Special Thank You to our Custodians

Custodian Appreciation Day was October 2nd, but we didn’t know about it until the middle of the month. So, the Special Education Department joined together to create a way to recognize the custodial staff at NRES. Without them we could not effectively do our jobs; they are the core of our campus. They keep our building running, keep our floors shining, and make sure every detail is taken care of in the appearance  and maintenance of our campus. They don’t get enough recognition and typically work behind the scenes before and after school when others are not around to witness their hard work. When we walk into our building each day we just expect things to be in their place and don’t consider how that occurred. I am thankful for our custodial staff and helped my department to show our appreciation in the bulletin board depicted in the attached pictures. I hope you also take the time to thank them for everything they do or at a minimum, learn their names and treat them with the respect that they deserve.


We love our Custodians at NRES!

Alphabet of Thankfulness – A is for Alphabet

alphabet-video-01I am going to write 26 days of thankfulness based on the letters of the alphabet. So, obviously letter A goes first. Follow me the rest of the month as this unfolds! Here we go.

As a teacher, I am thankful for the alphabet. It is one of the first things my students learn and takes some of them from non-verbal to asking questions and getting answers in the span of one school year. I have one student who started the school year with very little verbal capacity, even though he had been in school since he was 3 years old. From August until December this student spoke in his own language, refused to sit in a chair or write, bit me and other students who kept him from getting his way, and seemed to be headed down a very long road of problematic school years. We did everything we could to get him to learn his alphabet in hopes that this would open him up to a world of language he had not known before. Using a video system for our morning circle time, we introduced him to letters, sounds, colors, numbers, and songs. Finally, after almost 18 weeks of school this student began to sing along. He could watch the video without sound and name the letters from the sight of them. He could sing every word! Eventually, he was saying Mommy and Daddy to the excitement of his parents. As his language began to develop, his biting and hitting were reduced. After one full school year he is now sitting in a chair and doing work for 30-45 minutes at a time. He is writing his alphabet and his name from memory. He is saying things in class like. “What happened to Optimus, Mrs. Hardisty?” and “Help! She can’t climb up there”. It just thrills my heart o hear his little voice, which did not exist a year ago. I give the credit to a bit of maturity and a lot of time spent working on memorizing an alphabet song on Vimeo or YouTube!