Tools for Building One-to-One Correspondence

Friday, July 8, 2016 / Leave a Comment

At the beginning of the year, we work on teaching or reviewing the basic foundational math skill of one to one correspondence. A lot of my students start in Kindergarten knowing how to rote count, but without the skill of actually counting items and stopping at the last item. For some of my kiddos, it takes a lot of practice to master this skill, so I like to provide them with lots of fun activities all year. 

There are so many different ways to practice this skill. I like to set up little activities throughout the year incorporating different manipulates and even books. Below is the the short list of my favorite manipulatives and pictures of some activities for practicing this skill.


Oh, Target take ALL my money. I have an endless amount of erasers for every single holiday that exists. I just love that I can use them for so many different tasks (counting, patterns, put-in tasks, matching). 


Clearly I'm obsessed with clothespins for a lot of my tasks, but they are so appealing to students and they also get some fine motor practice in too!

Whether you use real or play money, kids love it. We use pennies with our counting books to practice matching coins 1:1 and counting to 10.

Bingo Chips

Bingo chips are super cheap and so many uses for these. I love that you can add in some color matching and sorting.


Dabbers are great for students that struggle with fine motor activities such as grasping a pencil or a small crayon.

Magnets (ten frame)

I got these giant magnet ten frames from Amazon last year and loved adding them to our magnet center for practice with counting out magnet numbers.


When I found these felt numbers at the Target Dollar spot, I completely emptied the basket. If you have a die cut machine at your school, you could buy felt at a craft store and make your own easily! I'm also a fan of felt pom poms for counting.

Muffin Tins & Ice Cube Trays


Egg Cartons


There are a ton of books you can use in your classroom to read to students prior to completing counting activities. Use the books as a guide for your activities and what manipulatives you might want to use. Although you can buy books for your classroom library, most are available at the public library!

One to One Correspondence Book List:

-10 Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss
-10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle
-10 Black Dots by Donald Crews
-Bear Counts by Karma Wilson
-Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin, Jr. 
-How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A. Carter 
-Counting by Henry Pluckrose
-Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
-How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? by Jane Yolen
-How Many Snails?: A Counting Book by Jr. Giganti Paul 
-One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book by Phyllis Root 
-Teddy Bear Counting by Barbara Barber McGrath
-Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins 
-The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins 

All of the activities shown above are from my One to One Correspondence Pack.

Other Fun Manipulatives For Counting:
Pom Poms

Linking Cubes
Teddy Bears

Disclosure: Teaching Special Thinkers is a participating member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

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DIY Alphabet Stones

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 / Leave a Comment

Having lots of different examples of the alphabet is key to early literacy skills and generalization of letters. For my sensory driven kiddos, I know these alphabet stones will be just the ticket to getting them hooked during literacy groups at the beginning of the year. 

You can use alphabet stones in a variety of ways and activities to teach letters and sounds, and they are perfect for hiding in your classroom sand table for students to discover. 

Mix them up and have your students put them in order alphabetically, or give them a string of numbers with one missing. This fall, I plan on incorporating them during our ABC sorts using the picture cards from this pack. You could even use them to have students practice spelling out sight words, color words, number words, etc. There are so many different ways to use these. 

To make these stones, you just need some paint pens and rocks. I used the sharpie paint pens which usually don't wear from typical classroom use, but it's always a good idea to use a sealer (mod podge) to protect your masterpieces. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to go rock hunting with a 6 month old, but that would have definitely been the cheaper (FREE) route! The alternative to finding rocks outside is to buy them. I got these ones from Michaels in a bag for 2.99. I'll take it! I also got the paint pens from Michaels, but they had a variety of options. 

I bought a few bags of rocks and can't wait to make more - I'm thinking capital letters will be nice for some matching. My goal is to make stones to go with all of my interactive books (shown below) just to appeal to another sense for my students. 

I would love to hear how else you would use these in your classroom!

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End of the Year Teacher Gift - Freebie Tag

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 / Leave a Comment

After showing off the gift I got my amazing Teacher Assistants this year on Instagram, I had a few e-mails about the tags I made, so I thought I would share! Although most of us are out for the summer, it's always good to get ahead of the game for next year.

I got the blankets from Target, and they had a bunch of different designs and colors. I just printed the tag on cardstock, cut out, and taped them onto the price tag. Click below to grab the freebie. All you need to do is create a text box and write your own name. Enjoy!

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What Goes Together? Association Flipbooks

Thursday, June 16, 2016 / 1 comment

Flipbook tasks are my favorite go to task throughout the day. They are perfect for teaching new skills, practicing learned skills, and then throw in a students work system once they have mastered the concept.

Use these books in circle time, reading groups, or one on one with students to help them learn common items that go together. Understanding things that go together is an essential foundation skill for categorizing, discrimination, and early literacy development.

These flipbooks provide students with ample examples of different associations, so students will get LOTS of practice!

What I like most about using flipbooks is that they are one per page; therefore, students are also working on matching 1:1. The less clutter, the better for most of my kiddos.

How do you teach associations in your classroom? I'd love more ideas!

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Organizing Tasks by Skill Area

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 / 1 comment

This year, I decided I wanted to take my love of plastic bins to a whole new level. I love keeping my materials organized in bins, especially when I have to leave everything to collect dust over the summer. 

In my classroom, I have students at all different levels working on different skills throughout the day. It can be VERY hard to keep all the different materials organized, while still keeping them accessible for myself and other staff members that work in my classroom. 

Next year, I plan to have a work area for each student that holds their schedule, behavior systems, work systems, tasks, mastered tasks, etc. I wanted to create an easy way for me to make and store already assembled tasks so that I can quickly switch them out as needed, instead of spending a few days every month created new tasks. Time that could be spent working on paperwork (boo).

Of course, when I got everything organized I had to create labels! If you have an elementary special education classroom, chances are that you work on a lot of the same skills as we do in our classroom. I'm hoping the labels will help you stay organized as well! If you already use my monthly bin labels in your classroom, these look great with them! 
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World Autism Day Blogger Giveaway!

Saturday, April 2, 2016 / 1 comment
All my life I’ve heard the quote, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Although cheesy, this quote speaks such truth. Since day one of meeting my first students, I’ve been undeniably obsessed with my job. Obsessed in a positive, can’t learn enough, can’t do enough, way.  I still have so much to learn about these individuals and from these individuals, as does the world. My students have blessed me in so many ways, and I feel honored that I have the opportunity to know and work with them on a daily basis.  For Autism Awareness Month, 8 of us bloggers are hosting a giveaway of some of our favorite products. The best part is that the winner won't have to prep a thing. All prizes will be mailed straight to your house prepped and ready to be used! See below for the prizes and to enter the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image Map
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Easter Already?

Sunday, March 20, 2016 / Leave a Comment

WHEW did Easter sneak up on me! Here's a little treat for you! 50% off ALL Easter Products today! Use them this week or stock up for next year!

Be sure to grab the Easter Flipbooks FREEBIE by clicking below..

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Oh, The Places They'll Go! Using Favorite Places to Engage Your Students in Reading

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 / 1 comment

This school year, I really wanted to do everything possible to create a literacy rich environment for my students. I've been using tons of online resources, TPT resources, and have even gone old school with some books that discuss how to help my students understand reading. A new book I just recently purchased, How Do I Teach This Kid to Read?: Teaching Literacy Skills to Young Children with Autism, from Phonics to Fluency written by Kimberly Henry, is quickly becoming one of my FAVORITE resources!

One section of this book discusses using Environmental Print to create books for non-readers. For example, students will be able to identify the golden arches as "McDonalds" before they will be able to actually read the word "McDonald's." This gave me the idea to create books for my students with pictures of things or places they are familiar with.

These are SUPER cute and so easy to make with the help of google images. To prep, just write a letter home to parents asking for about 10 of their child's favorite places to go - i.e. Target, Starbucks, park, pool, etc. If it is a personal place you might not be able to get online, just ask them to snap a picture to send you (e-mails and texting make this so quick and easy).

If you want to use the template I made, just click to download below. There are even some images already completed for you! Who doesn't LOVE Target and Starbucks? I'm sure these pages will already work for some of your kiddos. If you want to use the same fonts I used, go to Dafont and download Doctor Soos for the title and KG fonts - Neatly printed for the rest of the text in the book.

I decided to go with the theme of Dr. Seuss's Oh, The Places You'll Go! for the book covers and you could even read the book to your students before creating their own books. To make the books more personal for the students, you could have them create the books on their own using pictures and stamps to spell out the words of each place (unless your kiddos can write). I know right now Target has already made blank books in their dollar spot.

I am loving how these turned out! I prepped two copies for each student. One to keep at home and one to go home for parents to "read" with them. I love incorporating more literacy activities into our day!

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