Friday, February 25, 2011

SEN Teacher...it's for EVERYBODY!

One of the greatest finds on the Web for educational materials is SEN Teacher.  If you have never visited this incredible site, then today is your lucky day! SEN Teacher was developed for special educators, but it has a goldmine of goodies that are extremely helpful at home and in general ed classrooms as well. I used this site a lot when homeschooling and with general ed students as well as my kids on IEPs. Did I mention that it is free?
Home screen for SEN Teacher
The site is very well organized; so much so that it is rather pointless for me to take you on a “guided tour.”

The printables sections alone are amazing resources that makes this site worth your time. The activities meet the learning needs of students at every difficulty level, so even high school math teachers will find some hidden gems in the math section. Even worksheets that look at first glance to be elementary can be customized to reinforce some pretty challenging skills.
I love, love, love the math worksheets, which are fully customizable. Even coin values are customizable for various countries, from USA to Euros to Australian coins. There are 26 different customizable printables for math alone! The clock and money worksheets are some of the clearest to read that you will find on the Internet.
One of my very favorite math activities with second graders uses the Number Square worksheet. Print up the page using only a partial fill (50% or 75% of spaces left empty) and have students fill in the blank spaces. You can also set it to skip count by 2’s, 5’s, or other increments (great for older students practicing multiplication facts). Once the kids are good at this, cut the sheets apart into jigsaw shapes along the lines. Children fill in the blanks of their own piece and then work together in small groups to fit the pieces to a complete a full table.
Number Square set to 50% fill.
The literacy printables include lots of fine motor and handwriting practice, as well as early phonics and site word skills. Again, you can customize most of these sheets to fit the needs of your particular students
The “other” printables has some things you must see if you need picture cards (for any reason, but especially for symbol communicators). Check out the AAC Photo Cards, which is a truly fast and customizable card printing tool. It is one of my all-time favorites for photo image symbol cards because of its ease of use and limitless library. Just type in the words you want on the sheet and SEN Teacher searches through a half-dozen copyright free sources for high quality images to match. If you don’t like a particular image (say, the background is too cluttered), you can repeat the search until the program opens an image you like. You can narrow the searches tightly too; don’t settle for “dog” or “goat” when what you want is “Golden Retriever” or “Saanen.” The AAC Photo Card search can handle your very specific request! Oh yes, it also comes with pre-authored sets if you just need a quick group of “farm” or “school” words.
AAC Photo Cards allow you to create photo symbol cards
to meet very specific criteria in a matter of seconds
If I could change one thing about the AAC Photo Cards, it would be the ability to assign a mix of border colors on a single page. But you can get around this a bit by putting all nouns on one page (print with orange borders), verbs on another (print with green), etc.
On this “print other” tab, you will also find a number of emotions activities using realistic photos. I have a bit of a stretch seeing how a few of the expressions show the assigned emotion, but overall, it’s a great resource for children who need practice at reading expressions.
You will find fabulous online resources through the “web links” tab, including information on various disabling conditions, additional educational resource links, and a collection excellent special needs sites.
The “downloads” tab shares dozens of free games and other resources that can be downloaded to reinforce any number of learning areas, including math, computers, science, communication, art, and other areas. It’s a great place to find games for extra practice…have fun looking them over!
SEN Teacher is one of those amazing resources that you will wonder how you ever lived without. Even if you are a parent looking for some great activities to reinforce the academic and social skills your child is learning at school, this is a valuable link to add to your Favorites bar!
Have a lovely weekend,
Rose-Marie

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