Monday, May 6, 2019

May 2019 Task of the Month


This task example uses TouchMath strategy to assist students with counting. Students choose a numeral 1 or numeral 2 card from a bin on their left (start bin not shown). They place their bingo marker on each touch point on the numerals and make a dot as they count 1 or 2 aloud. They then sort the card into the corresponding bin. They know to continue with the activity until they complete all the cards in the start bin.

This is a good activity for students who are ready to advance beyond rote counting. They learn to count to 2 and associate the amount with its numeral. The auditory, visual, and kinesthetic/tactile sensations they experience during this task enhance their attention and retention. Next step activity would be for the students to associate numerals 1 or 2 to sets and then to create sets of 1 or 2 items according to the numeral shown. We ensure students have a firm grasp of quantities of 1 and 2 before adding another numeral/amount.

Our books are full of great task ideas not only for math skills but for all curriculum areas. The books include hands on ideas from the very simplest in Tasks Galore for Early Education, to more advanced activities in Tasks Galore: Literature-Based Thematic Units and finally some awesome real-world applications in TasksGalore for the Real World. Be sure to check them all out at www.tasksgalore.com where you will find extra savings when buying the whole set!



Sunday, April 7, 2019

April 2019 Task of the Month



Emotional Connections



Once our students with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs recognize the association between a facial expression and an emotion, we next ask them to learn what might cause such emotions. In this task that addresses the goal, students read the question and look at the two pictured choices. They determine which situation would create the emotion. Is the boy happy because his toe hurts or because he sees a birthday cake? Is the boy scared because he sees teddy bears hugging or because a ghost says, “Boo!”? Once the students decide which situation created the emotion, they Velcro their chosen picture under the question.

Typically, making these connections does not automatically happen for our students. You can help by pointing out in real life situations the emotion the student feels and what happened to evoke that feeling. For example, “John shared his toy with you; you must feel happy.” Also, when reading stories, help them see such connections. Doing so leads to better comprehension of the text.

Our books are full of wonderful ideas to enhance social emotional connections!  Please visit us at www.tasksgalore.com. Thanks to those of you who showed support on April 2nd for World Autism Awareness Day. We strive to support our loved ones with autism and those agencies and caregivers working with them. And as always partial proceeds from our books are donated to organizations that provide services for people with autism spectrum disorders.

Friday, March 1, 2019

March 2019 Task of the Month


Beginning Steps to Develop Tool Usage in Writing Skills

Many of our students initially have little interest in pre-writing activities. Structuring tasks to clarify for them what to do and when they will be finished encourages their participation in these learning tasks.

Think about how you can organize a task to enable a student to complete it independently. In this example, we have separated crayons into these openings so students, who do not yet know to pick up only one crayon at a time when scribbling, can easily do so. The rimmed border helps them scribble within the designated space. After students scribble with a crayon, they place it in the square opening. Its disappearance is a sign that marking with that crayon is finished. Clarifying the finish point helps some students attend a task that is not of their choosing.



The pre-writing task below addresses many different skills. Several fine motor movements are used – palmar grasp to pull the marker from the opening; finger grasp to remove top; wrist rotation to place marker into slot, etc. Additionally, after matching the number on the marker to the number on the coloring page, children need to focus on where they place the dot to stay within the lines as much as possible.
 
For these and other ideas for beginning steps to learning please visit www.tasksgalore.com. Our products have hundreds of teaching activities along with invaluable information about the why’s and how’s to create these learning activities. Happy Tasking!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

February 2019 Task of the Month


Making A Leisure Choice


Our students typically have strong interests and prefer engaging in those interests when they have time to play. We have successfully used this type of choice board to encourage students to try something new. When the students have free time, they are shown the choices. For this student, the list includes written choices.

Students learn to pick one choice during their first break time and place that written word in the “My Choice” box. When break time is finished, the students move the written word into the “Finished” box. When it is time for the next break, they recognize that the first option chosen in no longer available in the “Today’s Choice” box and is finished for the day. The students then realize (after instruction in some cases) they must pick some other activity.

This structured routine, while giving several choices, leads to students’ expanding their interests. Choosing the same item for play may often be the result of comfort in sameness rather than truly enjoying the activity. We find that when students are guided to try a new leisure activity, they often like it and can add it to their interests. We also see fewer negative behaviors when students are able to see in advance what their choices are and when they will receive them. This takes away the often-enjoyable bartering!

For students who understand they are to make a choice but do not yet read, pictures or even objects can indicate the choices.

We teach our beginning students who find objects more meaningful than pictures or words to use an object choice-board. In this example, each of these objects represent a toy; two represent this child’s preferred toys. Our student chooses one item and gives it to the teacher who gives him the associated toy. Each item is removed once the student chooses and then plays with the toy. When the preferred choices are no longer available, the child must choose something different and, thus, learns to play with non-preferred toys.






Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January 2019 Task of the Month


We design tasks to eliminate any possible frustration the students may experience when trying to complete them. Because the items in these examples are large and chunky, they are easier to pick up. Because all pieces are contained and stabilized in the shoeboxes, there is no confusion about how to set up the parts. Because the individual items are organized in bins or on a post, they are less likely to fall from the desk.

Such organized tasks also lead to independence. The materials define what the students are to do.

Clarifying beginnings and endings of tasks eliminates the desire of some students to undo the work they just finished. Having materials disappear into slots emphasizes the finish aspect.

Often when designing tasks for our beginning students, we add a sensory component to make the task more interesting to them.

In this activity, the items students are to push through the opening have different textures.


In this task, the plastic shapes make a clanking sound when hitting the bottom of the tin can. Students enjoy memorizing a sing-song phrase to say along with the action. “Clink! Clank!”


After our beginning-level students can complete tasks requiring them to place objects into openings, we often design this type of sorting task for them. Here, the students must figure out which object fits into which opening. Because the cylindrical spool will not fit into the horizontal slit for the buttons and the buttons will not fit into a round opening, the students must think about what they are doing. They must sustain their attention to a problem as they use trial-and-error methods to make the objects fit. Focusing attention in order to problem-solve is an important skill that can be generalized to other tasks as the students make progress. Learning to complete such a simple put-in task has valuable implications for our students.


Our Tasks Galore series of books will aid you in designing activities for all developmental levels. We address all areas of curriculum whether academic or self-help.

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As always, a portion of our proceeds go to organizations helping people with autism and their families.

We wish you a very Happy New Year!