Community Trips on a Budget


“But my school won’t give me any money for field trips!” I hear this so many times- and I’ve talked about how I got my school to help me with a LITTLE (very LITTLE): read more here, but today I am going to show you two SIMPLE, easy to make (in under 10 minutes) resources that will give you a quick, easy, and sometimes free field trip!

Be sure to read to the bottom to grab the freebie template!

So what do you need? A clipboard, a printer and a computer!


Scavenger hunts are a fantastic way to go on a field trip, get all the practice, BUY NOTHING, and SPEND NO MONEY! They are also great for walking field trip, or if you only have a vehicle for a short amount of time (we drive the school van, but only have it for 1-2 hours a week.)


First, I open microsoft word or powerpoint ( I’m a powerpoint girl, but whatever you are comfortable in- this by no means needs to be fancy)

Then, go to the store’s website and search for what you want your students to search for, and drag and drop those pictures onto the page.

Finally, I add a quick title and PRINT.

This is so quick and easy- i sometimes do it the morning of the trip! Now that we have explored our community alot, I can reuse, or change up a few things/ order and reprint.

I have my students bring a pencil or bingo daubber to mark when they find something.

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But what if your students will finish that SO QUICKLY, and need something a bit harder?

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For those students, I differentiate! I give them the same page as everyone else (so they can work together) and a second page. I sometimes have them list brands, search for prices, look for coupons, or write down aisle names/ numbers. This gets them looking around the store and opening their eyes to functional skills that we use while shopping without even thinking about it.

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The second budget friendly field trip is fast food restaurants. We go to a variety of fast food (both sit down, and order at the front) throughout the year. These are the toughest but best trips- our students love food and have a huge motivator at the end!

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To make these trips go a little more smoothly. I create visual menus.

HERE’S HOW: (hint, you should be familiar with this now)

AGAIN, I open microsoft powerpoint, go to the restaurants website, drag the images from their menu into the file, and add titles to each one. Quick, easy, and done.


IF I’m really feeling like I’ve got it all together and want to plan ahead- I like to send home a copy to each parent the night before, and have them circle what they know their child will eat. This helps us help them make their choice the next day!

I’m not sure if you have any of these restaurants or stores near you or not, but if you want to use the layout (it’s soooo simple!) you can download a couple of them here!

Store Scavenger Hunts

Restaurant Choice Boards

Do you take your students on field trips? Tag your trips, visuals and resources with #simpleFieldTrips on instagram so I can see & share!




The Tiny Talker Communication Device

I am so excited to share with you a simple communication device. The family who created the device have a beautiful story and I know there are other children out there that could benefit from this device too!

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The Tiny Talker is a simple augmentative communication device. The best thing of all is that the device does NOT cost hundreds of dollars. It is affordable for teachers and parents. After doing a search for myself, it is literally the most cost effective solution on the market right now. The best part? It is SO cost effective, that you could have one at school, one in the car, one in the bathroom… you get what I mean.

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Image from


Bathroom requesting- velcro the lightweight device to the doorway, student desk, or table so that it is easily accessible for students. Each time the student needs the bathroom, prompt them to press the button, then fade that prompt.

Snack requesting- meal time is PRIME time for teaching communication strategies. Use this device at the snack table to prompt your students to ask for “more” say “I’m thirsty” and say “I’m hungry”. ( Because the device is so lightweight and easily accessible you could bring to the lunch room too… and I’m even convinced that it would survive getting thrown to the floor.)

Teaching yes and no– I love to do this with a preferred and non preferred item. Onions and donuts, pencils and ipads…. you get the point. Use the “yes” “no” and “all done” buttons to help with this skill!

VELCRO- You know how I love velcro, and I thought that this device would be heavy- but it is SO lightweight… I know it is a simple one but that is UNHEARD of for a speech device. Even younger students can carry this to inclusion, velcro to a binder or desk, and easily pull it off as needed.

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If you have a student who has a lot more language already, than this device probably isn’t for them. But I will say that this is PERFECT for students who are just beginning to acquire more language, who are nonverbal, or who are difficult to understand. This is the perfect place to start- at a price that is so affordable!

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Surprise! I’m giving one away TOMORROW (2/24/17) on my Facebook page. Follow my page and enter on the picture you see above for a chance to win! Good luck!


You can grab The Tiny Talker for your child or classroom on amazon for only $17.00!

I  earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my amazon links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions on this blog are my own and I only promote brands and products that I truly love and believe in. 


Functional Name tags for Special Education

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Teachers are known to use name tags on student desks. The ones that you can buy at a local teacher usually have a whole lotta stimuli- I’m talking number lines, alphabet, colors, shapes, left and right, multiplication tables, and the list goes on…..

First off- have you ever had a child who LOVES numbers or letters… these name tags can become a severe distraction… they are overwhelming and not functional for what our kids need to get through the day with success.

I’ve thought long and hard about this. I wanted my students to still have a space to call their own, without all the “fluff”. I wanted their name tags to be FUNCTIONAL. And that’s how these came to be!


The set of functional name tags has 7 unique designs. Each one could fit a different type of student. The whole concept is the mix the MOST USEFUL visual for that student, and a place to call their own. This should reduce the clutter on the student’s desk, reduce missing or misplaced visuals, and incorporate a clean less stimulating design.


The first one incorporates a quick schedule. You can use it for however you like. Some visual schedule pieces are included, but if you use boardmaker… use your visuals and just velcro them right on. It gives the student 3 steps and a visual of their reinforcer. Right there on their desk.


Common reminders. All of our students need to remember to listen, have a quiet voice, and have a calm body. Another great way to use these, is do not write your students name, and have them label it themselves for writing practice each morning!IMG_1198.00_01_19_16.Still005.jpg

This one incorporates the same visual reminders, but a first then instead of just a reward.


This is another version where I left a spot for a student photo. You could even use a photo of their favorite character, something that makes them happy, or a place to write them little notes or reminders for their day.


This is for a student working on emotional regulation. The student can move the arrow to the velcro above the emotion they are feeling. Then the teacher can go over and know how to help them. Being able to communicate with the visual helps to reduce the need to tantrum, and use functional communication.


This one uses the same idea, but incorporates some levels of emotions that are tough to handle. Most students working on emotions have a toolbox of what to do when they are feeling certain ways. Again, the student can move the arrow to communicate where they are at. IMG_1198.00_01_09_18.Still019.jpg

There is also a visual that goes along with this. The student is able to decide how they are feeling and use the visual to find a strategy to help them cope at this time. Having emotional regulation visuals right there on their desk can help reduce time off task and problem behaviors, and give students a quick reminder of how they can fix how they are feeling appropriately. IMG_1198.00_02_24_05.Still008.jpg

This is another great one for communicating emotional regulation needs. The student can select what they need to do to keep working effectively. An adult can see what they need and prompt them through it, or they can functionally ask for what they need using these visuals. It can also serve as just visual reminders for strategies to cope.


I’ve definitely entered a new world this year working with some students with more social emotional needs. These name tags will definitely help them learn to cope, while reducing the unnecessary stimuli on their desk.


You can grab this set of student name tags here: 

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Favorite SIMPLE Apps for Special Education

I am so excited to share some of my favorite apps with you today! There are tons of app lists out there, but these are apps I have been using WITH SUCCESS, all year this year. Tested, tried, and true!

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ALL OF THESE APPS ARE SIMPLE TO USE. There is no fluff, no crazy backgrounds, no out of control images that are just too much for our kiddos. They may not all be free, but they are extremely valuable and have made life in the classroom a lot easier this year!

  1. Time Timer, $2.99: I LOVE TIMERS, seriously it’s a thing. I have all types of sand timers and water timers in my classroom, and while they are great for some kids, for others they can be distracting, anxiety inducing, or stim worthy. This timer is great for kids motivated by technology, is not overly stimulating, and shows progression of time. You can also have multiple timers going at once. I call that a win!

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2.iReward, $2.99: This app is so visual! I love that you can take pictures of REAL items the student is working for, and it is so clear what the student has to do to earn.

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3. Stories About Me, $3.99: This app is so great for creating social narratives/ social stories for kids. I’ve used it before for a student who was moving to a new house. You can import your own pictures and even do a voiceover!

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4. See Touch Learn, FREE: This is an AMAZING free app! You could replace all of your flashcards for discrete trial teaching with this app… and even create your own lessons with a library of over 4,000 real images!

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5. Sight Words by Teach Speech Apps, FREE: This app is great! The words are colorful, big, and will read it aloud to you if you click on it. It keeps track of the number of incorrect and correct words for you to view after, if your student is able to be independent!

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6. 1 on 1: Communicate Easy, FREE: This app has built in schedules for your students to follow! I love the check marks throughout! The black background is great for sensory sensitive kiddos! There is a limited amount of images in the free version, but enough for me to use for basic task analysis in the classroom.

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7. Choice Board Creator, $1.99: This app lets you add your own images. You can use it for identifying people, things in the classroom, or just about anything. I love being able to build quick discrete trial sessions and store them. You can also use it as a reward choice board and save pictures of toys/ reinforcers that are available in your very own classroom.

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8. Choice Works Calendar, $4.99: This app is great to use for morning meeting. If you have an iPad hookup to go to your smart board, you could have students mark days off from school, holidays, reward days and fun stuff. I have used it for a child who was looking forward to a trip, but had trouble understanding how far away it was.

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9. Endless Alphabet, FREE: This is a student FAVORITE in my room. We mostly use it for a reward because it is so fun. How great is it when you find academic based rewards for kiddos?! The words are a little high for my kids, but the letter matching is amazing! Some words are in the free version, but if you really love it and want a FULL LIBRARY of fun words, it is $8.99.

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10. iModeling, $14.99: Okay, I know this one is a steep price. But if you have kids who benefit from starring in their own video model, this is a must have. ESPECIALLY if you aren’t so text savvy. It’s quick and easy to build a video with titles and words that kids can benefit from for years to come.

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I hope you enjoyed this list. Remember to keep it simple when it comes to apps. There are SO MANY to choose from, but a lot are just too overwhelming!

Note** not all of these apps are free, but they are worth the money if you are able to get administration to purchase them for your classroom.




Simple Math 2

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I am so excited that Simple Math 2 is here. I wanted to bring you EVEN more higher level topics, at YOUR kids levels. With so many levels these differentiated materials can be used for all students as introductions, curriculum,  independent work, and generalization materials.


TIME is finally here! The time books practice a variety of skills, all separated out to teach directly. You could always mix and match the books to create a book with mixed pages for higher level students too!


Addition with Touchmath is a great way to introduce addition to students who have mastered one to one correspondence. The subtraction books look the same as the addition, which is a great way to move from skill to skill with familiarity!


I LOVE MEASUREMENT. These books are too cute and functional! In order to fit lots of measurements into the books, the books are to scale.

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Every book has a matching file folder tasks! LOTS of file folders included for tons of practice!

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& I can’t get over the cutest little ruler to use with the file folders 🙂


To grab all this and more head to the simple math tab in my TPT store! Stay tuned, Simple Math 2 workbooks are coming soon!

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If you loved Simple Math 2, you need to check out my best selling Simple Math 1 curriculum, the skills are more basic and the perfect place to start!

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