Do you teach basic skills?
A lot of our students need direct instruction for basic skills. Even for older students- sometimes these skills are lost along the way, no longer touched on (we need to remember to practice even the basics!), or just plain never taught (think: lots of teacher changes, school changes, and IEPs being passed around). It’s our job to assess our students on these skills, directly teach them, then offer different modes of practice so they can master and generalize these skills that will get them further in life!
So if you are just starting out, you may be thinking… what basic skills do you focus on?
Here is my list:
+ Body Parts
+ Numbers 1-12
+ 1:1 Correspondence
+ Uppercase Letters
+ Lowercase Letters
When I get a new student, I assess these skills ( using flash cards, real objects, the ABLLS assessment, and in the natural environment throughout the day.
When I am writing an IEP, I assess these skills (same ways as above) even if it’s not an eval year. I MAKE SURE these skills are ON THE IEP if they are not generalizing them with a variety of people in a variety of settings.
Why? They need these skills as a base for EVERYTHING else!
How do I target these skills?
Utilize materials all around you.
With younger students or those who benefit from manipulatives… using concrete materials is a great basic start to work on these skills. You can find puzzles, small toys, blocks, erasers, etc. at the target dollar section, Amazon, and dollar store to target all of these skills. I love setting up some clear bins with manipulatives so they are easy to grab for practice. Manipulatives are also a great way to elicit more language which is a win win!
Everyone knows I love file folders. They are SO easy to pull for practice and use the pieces for direct instruction. They can be used in small group and independent work. They can be used in a task box system or for 1:1 work. They are so versatile and work for just about everyone.
The flip books you see in this post are my new favorite way to target basic skills. (Sometimes I’ve had enough with the lamination) They can be used with a dry erase independently, or students can point to answer when working 1:1.
Is this important for older students?
Yes! We want everyone to be able to identify parts of their body at the doctor and the color sweater they want for Christmas. These are basic things in life that give our students more power and more of a voice. For older students, just make sure the materials you choose are age appropriate, (which is why I always use Smarty Symbols!)
Click the photo to grab the resource to target basic skills!
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Basic skills are one of my favorite things to teach- I hope you can use some of this information and strategy to start implementing more basic skills generalization and learning in your classroom- our students need it!