blank'/> Promoting Success: September 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fire Safety Week Fingerplays and Songs for Kids

Fire Safety Week Activities: Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. Have some fun teaching about fire safety with these FREE finger plays and songs that will help your students learn important fire safety practices they should know and follow all year round!

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Note: This blog post contains resources from our TpT store and our Amazon Associate store.


Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck Song


Ten Brave Firefighters

Ten brave firefighters sleeping in a row.
(Fingers curled to make sleeping men)
Ding, dong, goes the bell
(Pull down on the bell cord)
And down the pole they go.
(With fists together make hands slide down the pole)
Off on the engine, oh, oh, oh!
(Pretend you are steering the fire engine very fast)
Using the big hose, so, so, so.
(Make a nozzle with fist to use hose)
When all the fire's out, home so slow.
Back to bed, all in a row.
(Curl all fingers again for sleeping men) 


Five Brave Firefighters Fingerplay or Action Rhyme


I am a Fireman Big and Strong! Action Song


I am a Firefighter Fingerplay

I am a Firefighter ("I'm a Little Teapot")
I am a firefighter, dressed in red.
With my fire hat on my head.
I can drive the firetruck, fight fire, too!
And help to make things safe for you!


You may also like these finger plays from our TpT store:

These literacy activities also work well for special education, ESL and speech and language therapy students. You will receive four fire safety reading passages. Each finger play, rhyme or song is followed with five multiple choice questions. An answer key is also provided.


Please visit out other blog post for lots more fire safety activities.

Click HERE.


More resources from our TpT store:
Best Seller

This foldable craftivity is perfect for October Fire Prevention Month, a community helpers unit or as a fire safety review. There are several variations of the ONE template for easy differentiation. There are eight sections for students to write or draw fire safety tips.


You will receive six vocabulary task cards for literacy center games. Scavenger hunt directions, along with 20 other games ideas, are also included. They work well for elementary, special education, ESL and speech therapy. You will receive a student response form and answer key. 

Vocabulary words include:

fire engine
air mask 
sprinkler system


Here are three printable pages for your students to practice creative writing, note-taking, narrative writing and other fire safety activities. They work well for all elementary students including special education and ESL students.


Students will practice addition and subtraction facts up to ten with a fire safety math theme. Activities include coloring, matching, and cut and paste. This packet works well as morning work, homework, as a math review or extra practice for special education. It is in black and white for more economical printing. Answer keys are provided.


You will receive 30 task cards with a fire safety theme. They work well for 1st and 2nd grade, ESL, special education and speech and language therapy students. Ideas for games are included, such as SCOOT or a scavenger hunt. Language skills include verbs, adverbs, pronouns, contractions, quotes, spelling, alphabetizing and more. You will also receive a student response form and answer key. 


This foldable craftivity is works well with an October Fire Prevention Month unit, a community helpers unit, special education, ESL or speech and language therapy. Students will color and cut out three lift the flap pages with 10 word definitions on each page. An separate word bank is also available for easy differentiation. Students read the definition on the flap and write (or paste) the correct word underneath the flap. Optional word cards are provided on a separate page for differentiation as well. When the activity is completed, the students can lift the flaps as a study guide. Finally, a fire safety quiz is provided for all 30 words along with an answer key.




 printable fire safety prevention week activities games worksheets

Please click HERE for more fire safety resources in our store on Teachers Pay Teachers.


Check out some more teaching resources from our Amazon Associate store:

 fire safety book for kids

While out for a walk with her mom, a little girl has the surprise of her life --- she meets a real, live, fire-breathing dragon! Now this dragon is nothing to be afraid of --- in fact, he's so friendly that she invites him home for tea. But their afternoon snack is suddenly interrupted when the dragon sneezes and sets the table ablaze. Luckily, the girl knows just what to do, and she teaches her new friend to be fire smart, too. 

With its funny, rhyming verse and spunky illustrations, Dragons for Tea shows kids that learning about fire safety doesn't have to be scary. The story ends with ?The Dragon's Fire Safety Rhyme? --- a fun and easy way to remember what to do in case of fire.
Grades K-2


 fire safety week Crafts

Approx. 1" - 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" - 2"
12 Sheets contain 25 Stickers each


 fire safety week crafts

Add the dalmatian's spots with your own fingerprints. These fun Dalmatians help reinforce the message of fire safety. Teach kids about safety with a fun puppy dog craft idea. Includes black ink pad in 1 3/8" plastic case and self-adhesive wiggle eyes. Safe and non-toxic. Cardstock. (2 dozen per unit) 8".


 fire safety week tent for centers

This tent is so much fun in your learning center.


 fire safety bulletin board banner

Colorful banner designed to decorate walls and bulletin boards
Banner is 12 inches wide and 45 inches long
Folds flat for easy storage
Banner reminds students about fire safety
Vertical orientation is perfect for next to doors or between windows


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Shelly Anton is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to ** This means there are Amazon affiliate links in these blog posts. This does not mean you pay a dime more when you purchase a product through the link. It just means I am trying to save you valuable teacher time by making it easier for you to find great resources for your students, and I earn a few cents for my research and time. Thank you for all you do for kids!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top 10 Place Value Strategies

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Note: This blog post contains resources from our TpT store and our Amazon Associate store.


It is important to help students UNDERSTAND that a two-digit number is actually a group of tens and ones. Rote counting doesn't really teach a deep, conceptual understanding. Teaching students to decompose the numbers and represent them with grouped materials deepens place value concepts. This deep understanding is critical as students move to larger numbers that are not easily represented with manipulatives. 

According to National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), "developing an understanding of place value and the base-ten number system was considered a fundamental goal of the early primary grades."

1. Begin with group-able manipulatives. 

Some examples are straws, Popsicle sticks, snap cubes, etc. Regrouping is the term that is interchangeable with "carrying" and "borrowing." Regrouping across ones and tens is the first step in understanding operations across the base ten system, and often the key to future success with long division and multiple digit multiplication. 

 place value counting pocket chart math manipulatives

2. Count groups as single objects. 

 Students' first counting experiences involve an understanding on one-to-one correspondence. When dealing with numbers beyond ten, it will be efficient for students to count it by groups as though they were individual objects.

 unilink interlocking cubes

3. Connect to the real world. 

The best example of place value in real life is with money: dimes and pennies for two-digit numbers. Use one, tens, and hundred-dollar bills for three-digit place value. You can also use situations like pencils in boxes of ten. You have five boxes and seven extra pencils, therefore you have 57 pencils. You can think about a large group of children with ten kids on a team. Or you can think about tables at a banquet hall with ten chairs at each table. 

 play money for math centers classroom stations

4. Take small steps and scaffold instruction. 

Begin with two digits, then three, etc. Scaffolding is an instructional technique whereby the teacher models the desired learning strategy or task, then gradually shifts responsibility to the students.

For 30 additional task cards:


For 30 additional cards:

5. Include rounding. 

You can usually tell when students have a good grasp of place value by their ability to round numbers. When students understand place value, they are quick to be able to round numbers to a specific place.

You may also like: 

6. Use chants and music to enhance memory. 

Students can create their own chants and video them. Otherwise, YouTube has many chants and songs.  Here is one to get you started:

7. Let the student move and be a part of place value. 

Create a place value chart on the floor. Give students number cards and have them physically move to specific places on the number chart. Brain research shows that movement in the classroom increases student achievement! (Plus, it is FUN!) These play pieces could be arranged into multi-digit numbers:

 play mat numbers place value classroom

8. Use games to reinforce and practice skills. 

Games are a great way to get every student involved. Games create positive competition, collaborative work and increased comprehension. See games in action here from the Teaching Channel.

 dinosaur math tracks place value game

Place Value Dice

9. Use a hundreds chart.

A hundreds chart, both a large classroom chart and smaller individual charts can be used in a number of ways to help children understand the base ten number system. The chart can be cut into "tens strips" (i.e. 11-20, 31 to 40, etc.) and then students can order them and paste them in the correct order. The chart can be used to teach skip counting by 5's and 10's, also an important part of understanding place value as well.  Click HERE for free printable hundreds charts from Homeschool Math.

 hundreds pocket chart

 classroom set of hundreds charts

10. Help from home. 

 A positive home-school connection is vital to student learning. Ask family members to participate by giving them specific tasks. For example, suggest that they work wit the children to make a chart that shows he place values of numbers from 11 to 19, including visual examples and the words clearly printed. Charts can be used in class or kept at home for math support.

 place value stickers


You may also like our other place value blog posts for teachers:


You may also like these printable math resources from our TpT store:

For 50 more task cards:


For 30 additional task cards:


For 30 additional cards:


This worksheet is a sample from the following packet:



For more place value crossword puzzles, click HERE.




Place Value – Ones and Tens Math Task Cards

Place Value – Write Numbers in Standard Form Math Task Cards

Place Value – Write the Larger Number Math Task Cards

Place Value – 6 Digit Place Value Crossword Puzzle

Place Value – 4 Digit Place Value Crossword Puzzle

Place Value – 3 Digit Place Value Crossword Puzzle

Place Value – Find the Missing Value

Place Value – Hundreds, Tens and Ones Math Task Cards

Converting Between Place Value Math Task Cards

Place Value – Write in Standard Form Math Task Cards – Two Task Cards Per Page

Place Value Math Task Cards – Write the Value of the Underlined Digit

Place Value Activity Packet

Comparing Two-Digit Numbers Math Task Cards

Comparing Three-Digit Numbers Math Task Cards

Comparing Multi-Digit Numbers Math Task Cards

Comparing Fractions Math Task Cards

Comparing Decimals to the Thousandths Math Task Cards

Free Converting Between Place Values Math Task Cards

Free Place Value – Hundreds, Tens and Ones Math Task Cards

Free Greater Than/Less Than Anchor Chart Poster

Free Top 20 Uses for Task Cards


Click HERE to view our Teachers Pay Teachers Promoting Success store.

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter for SECRET SALES and FREE printables.

Click HERE to follow us on Instagram.

Click HERE to follow us on Pinterest.

Shelly Anton is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to ** This means there are Amazon affiliate links in these blog posts. This does not mean you pay a dime more when you purchase a product through the link. It just means I am trying to save you valuable teacher time by making it easier for you to find great resources for your students, and I earn a few cents for my research and time. Thank you for all you do for kids!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Top 10 Autism Teaching Strategies and Ideas

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to our V.I.P. exclusive newsletter for SECRET SALES and FREE printables.

Note: This blog post contains resources from our TpT store and our Amazon Associate store.


Autism is increasing at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the prevalence had increased to 1 in every 88 as of March 2012. While the cause of autism is still unknown, there are specific strategies that have been identified as most effective. Here are the top five most effective strategies.

1) Visual Schedules

Research clearly shows the successful results of implementing visual schedules with children. These schedules allow daily routines to be predictable, with clear expectations. Fear of the unknown causes anxiety. Children with autism or other special needs have a difficult time communicating their feelings of anxiety. Frequently this anxiety is demonstrated in negative or inappropriate behavior. Care givers must keep in mind that all behavior is communication.
Establishing and following a visual schedule reduces unexpected events or situations and assists children in predicting and preparing for transitions. Schedules themselves must be predictable. They are best as visuals, even when the child is able to read. A written schedule may be implemented later with caution and careful progress monitoring. In addition, they should be kept in the same location at all times. There are several resources and software programs that assist with schedule creation and universal graphics.

Children must be taught how to read and interpret the visual schedule. A "check schedule" transition cue is used to communicate to the individual each time he or she is to transition to a new activity. Visual schedules are effective at school and at home.

2) Environmental Considerations

Visual and auditory stimulation in the classroom and home must be taken into consideration. The classroom should be organized and predictable. The scissors should always be found in the same location. Homework is turned in in the exact same way each day. This is important in the home as well. The child's personal belongings have designated "homes." For example, a backpack is always found on the same hook. A favorite toy or book is on the same place on a book shelf.

 fluorescent light filters set of 4 classroom autism

Auditory stimulation must be examined as well. Do the chairs make a screechy noise as students move around? Is there a slow hum to the lighting? Is the fluorescent lighting too bright? Will a lamp set a different, calming mood? These considerations will vary from child to child; however, all visual and auditory stimuli must be examined. Be sure to think outside the box. Would a blue room be more calming than a yellow room?

 noise reduction reducing headphones autism classroom

3) Visual Structure

The environment needs to be organized visually to help children identify and comprehend what is expected of them. Color coded folders for each content area may be coordinated with the visual schedule. Clearly defined areas, such as work stations, tape on the floor, and labeled centers provide structure. This may be done in the home as well. Some examples include:
· a designated spot at the dinner table
· a visual schedule for bedtime routine
· organized dresser drawers by color and items
· specific containers for each toy
· a daily schedule for weekdays and weekends
4) Alternatives to Verbal Communication

Some children may have significant impairments in expressive communication. Current technology may be very appropriate to increase appropriate behavior and independence. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) has been very effective. This is a system developed in 1985 that allows children to initiate conversation. It is not expensive and doesn't require complex equipment.

 autism communication photos PECS kit classroom

Other options include voice output communication devices. This is a very exciting area with all the latest technology and apps being created. Some devices are quite large and more durable for children who may not understand how to handle something with care. Other devices are so small they may be hooked to a belt loop for easy use out in the community.
 speech and communication aids autism device buttons


Augmentative communication is a great strategy. However, it is important to understand the universal means of communication and ensure the device or method may be implemented with any child or adult, not just school personnel or caregivers. A back up system of communication should be available in case of a device malfunction or misunderstanding on the recipient of the message, i.e. a grocery store worker, a new student, a substitute teacher.

5) Direct Instruction of Social Skills

Many children with special needs will benefit from direct instruction in social skills. Most do not learn interaction skills by simply being placed in social environments. Social skills must be taught in the same direct instructional way as any other academic content area.

 social skills stories pictures autism teaching strategies

Research has shown social stories and social scripts to be highly effective. Social stories target behaviors that need to be modified or reinforced in real life situations. Replacement behaviors must also be taught. Simply showing or telling the child what not to do is not effective. Social scripts are short scripts children learn and practice. For example, everyone uses a very similar social script when greeting a colleague in the morning. Some children must be taught these common scripts.

 photo conversation cards autism teaching strategies social stories

6) Literacy Instruction

Because many students with autism rely on some form of augmentative communication, even if it is only a backup, literacy instruction is very important. If a student is literate, s/he will be able to communicate at a much higher level than if the child is forced to depend on communications devices that are programmed with limited vocabulary. Literacy instruction should begin at a very early age and continue throughout all school years.

 literacy instruction teaching strategies for autism aspergers

7) Sensory Opportunities

Most students with autism have some sensory needs. Many find deep pressure very relaxing. Others need frequent opportunities for movement. All students should have a sensory profile completed by an occupational therapist or other professional trained in sensory integration. Based on the profile, a sensory "diet" can be created and implemented throughout the day.

 sensory integration autism ASD weighted vest

 sensory toys autism ASD aspergers

 sensory integration chew necklace

8) Consistency

All students do best when the daily program remains consistent with clear expectations. All staff working with students with autism need to be well-trained and must implement the daily program as consistently as possible.

9) Take advantage of student strengths and interests

Many students with autism have particular strengths and interests and these should be taken advantage of in the classroom. For example, if a student demonstrates an interest in trains, the student should have opportunities to read about trains, write about trains, do math problems about trains, etc.

 teaching special education autism strategies

10) Functional Curriculum

Students with autism have a great deal of potential to live and work independently as adults. The curriculum should place a strong emphasis on following a functional curriculum. Skills that emphasize daily living skills, community skills, recreation and leisure and employment need to be incorporated into the curriculum. Students in inclusive settings can follow the regular curriculum, but emphasis should be placed on those skills that are the most functional. Functional academics should always include literacy (reading and writing), basic math, time and money skills. Self-care skills, domestics, recreation and community experiences should also be emphasized. Older students should have formal employment opportunities beginning in middle school.

 functional curriculum for elementary middle school high school autism special education

 life skills activities for special children

 life skills activities for special education autism high school

All children experience more success when daily expectations are consistent and clearly communicated.  Administrators, exploratory teachers, para-educators, and other staff must be properly trained and instructed in procedures to maintain structure and consistency.  In addition, parents, grandparents, daycare providers, etc., must follow the some routines with consistent behavioral expectations to reduce the child's anxiety.