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Switching It Up With Find And Cover Activities

I recently wrote a post about why I like "Find and Cover" Activities.  They offer students many opportunities to practice basic skills that you have already introduced. You can cover a wide variety of skills with them. (No pun intended!) They require almost no preparation (Just print and go!) and they work very well in both centers and independent workstations.

I love to set them up on a cookie sheet with button magnets because it is a quick and easy set-up, it provides nice visual organization and everything stays contained to the tray.

Here is an example of a "Find and Cover" activity set up this way:

Find and Cover the Circles (Identifying Shapes)
But much like file folder games, there are multiple ways that "Find and Cover" activities can be set up to give students a wider variety of practice opportunities, and target other skills students may need practice with.

Here is an example of a "Find and Cover" activity, set up as "Binder Work." In this set up, you just slide the the "Find and Cover" activity mats into plastic sheet covers and put them in your student's work binder. Students can bubble in or "X" their answers.

Find and Cover "What Makes 3"

You can also set them up in a center as a "Find and Cover," activity but have students cover their answers with different objects.

Here is an example using poker chips:

Find and Cover "The Number 3"

Here is an example using quarters.  Quarters work nicely to cover objects in the circles, but they especially work nicely in this, "identifying quarters" task ;)

Find and Cover "The Quarters"

And a fan favorite in my house--If you'd like to mix in a little fine motor skills focus to build strength in those growing hands, and add an extra element of fun, you can set them up as a "Just Squish It,"activity.  In this set up, you provide your student with play dough, to "squish" over their answers. (Just make sure you've laminated your "Find and Cover" mat!"

Find and Cover "The Color Green"
So what about you?  Are you using "Find and Cover" Activities in your classroom?  If so, what's your favorite set-up?  I'd love to know! ;)

Stretching File Folder Games Into Multiple Learning Activities

Well, I guess it is no secret that I have always loved file folder games.  They are relatively simple to assemble, are super-easy to store, durable and withstand the test of time, and provide students with hands-on interaction to practice basic skills. But another thing I love about file folder games is their versatility.  In other words, file folder games don't always have to be file folder games.  They can be assembled in multiple ways, to provide students a variety of opportunities, that look and feel slightly different. This allows them to practice the same skill, across multiple environments or situations.  This not only gives you, the teacher, more tools and activities in your classroom "tool bag," but it also can help our special little guys and gals with generalization.

In this post, I am going show you how I've assembled a couple of file folder games, multiple ways to provide many different learning opportunities, for my student (in this case, my son!) ;) I've taken a couple of the file folder games from my newest "Sorting Our School File Folder Games Bundle" to do that.

A Few File Folder Games From the Bundle

So for the first example, we will look at the "Happy Crayons Color Sort II."  This simple file folder game, helps students practice basic color sorting.  When assembled in the "traditional" file folder game format, it looks like this:

"Happy Crayons Color Sort"
This format is great for workstations, centers, one-on-one teaching, and offers great portability, if you want to send the activity home for extra practice.

Here is the same file folder game activity assembled as a binder task:

"Happy Crayons Color Sort"Assembled as a Binder Task
I love the binder task format for independent work situations, morning work binders, and homework binders.

Here is the same activity assembled as a cookie sheet activity:

"Happy Crayons Sort" as Cookie Sheet Activities
The cookie sheet activity also works well in independent learning stations, centers, and one-on-one teaching time.  For lower-functioning students, this format essentially allows you to cut the task in half and focus only two colors at a time.

Here is half of the file folder game.
This is the same activity assembled as a clipboard task:

"Happy Crayons Sort" as Clipboard Task
I love to use clipboard tasks in workstations.  You can number and hang them easily in workstations, for an organized task set-up.  Like cookie sheet activities, they also allow you to divide the file folder game in half, for students that benefit from that. They are also very portable and are great to send home for extra practice opportunities. I like to attach a small, canvas pencil case on the back of them, to hold sorting and matching pieces.

Pencil Cases Attached on Back of Clipboard Tasks 
I am going to show you a few more examples.  Here is the file folder game, "Sorting Our School," (People/Places/Things) assembled multiple ways.

First, here it is as file folder game:

"Sorting Our School" (People/Places/Things) File Folder Game
And a binder task:

"Sorting Our School" Assembled as a Binder Task
And a cookie sheet activity:
"Sorting Our School" Assembled as a Cookie Sheet Activity
And a clipboard task:

"Sorting Our School" Assembled as a Clipboard Task
So what about you?  Are you using your file folder games, multiple ways across multiple situations or environments? I would love to learn from you too! Please share your tips with us! ;)

If you want to see the complete set of "Sorting Our School" File Folder Games, you can find them at the website here:

How to Assemble an Adapted Book in a Three Ring Binder

A while back, I received an email from a teacher that wanted to use adapted books in her classroom, but she didn't have access to binding combs or a binding machine. I guess I assumed that most teachers had access to binding machines at their schools.  But apparently many do not.  So if you fall into that category and are looking for an alternate method to assemble your books, here is the "tried and true," "3 ring binder" method. For this assembly method, I am going to use my new, "Where's The Student' Standing?" Adapted Book, that focuses on locations in the school. So let's get started!

To assemble your adapted book, you will need a 1 inch, three ring binder, plastic sheet covers, and velcro dots.

3 Ring Binder, Plastic Sheet Covers, Velcro Dots and File Folder

In this assembly method, you will not need to laminate the pages of your book, because they will be protected by the plastic sheet covers. You will only need laminate any matching or interactive pieces that the book may have.

So, the first step is to slip the title page, into the outer plastic cover of the binder and put your plastic sheet covers inside the binder.

Title Page Inside Plastic on Outer Cover of 3 Ring Binder

Next you'll put the story inside of the plastic sheet covers.  I always put two pages per sheet cover. This way the story will flow from front to back. I find using the plastic sheet covers so much faster than laminating and cutting the pages out.  But the plastic sheet covers aren't cheap! ;(

Story on Both Sides of Plastic Sheets, Velcro Dots On Top of Plastic Sheets
Then you will want to add your Velcro dots.  I LOVE Velcro dots. Can I just say that these are the best invention in perhaps, EVER?   I hand-cut Velcro for several years, often leaving my hands achy and my scissors all gunky.  I can't tell you how many pairs of scissors I ruined--and I know so many of you know exactly what I am talking about.  But, never again, my Friends!  Velcro dots are pre-cut, and just about the perfect size for most activities.  And I have to admit--my inner "Type A Teacher" is so satisfied by their perfectly round, perfectly symmetrical appearance on my books. ;)

So next you will place a 1 soft-sided Velcro dot on top of the plastic sheet cover, inside each blank square where, the students will be matching their pieces. (Please see above picture)

After that, you will create a choice board for your matching pieces.  I love using a file folder for this, because it provides nice visual organization for students and it makes storing the pieces so neat and easy.  In this particular book, there are matching pieces, in addition to pieces for an object/association exercise that comes after the book.

I attach my my matching pieces to the book on the outside of the file folder using Velcro dots.  Make sure to attach rough-sided Velcro to the back of each piece so that they will match up to the soft sided Velcro you have already put in your book.

Matching pieces to book

On the inside of the file folder, I attach the matching pieces that go to the object/association activity. This keeps the pieces separate as you are working with students, and provides that visual organization that many students need.

Matching Pieces to Object/Association Activity

As you read through the book with students, they only use the pieces on the front cover of the file folder.

Story and Matching Pieces

When you finish the book, and begin to work through the object/association matching activity, you open up the file folder to reveal the pieces the matching pieces that go with that activity. This set up works for any adapted book that has an additional activity at the end of it.

Matching Pieces That Go With Object/Association Activity

When you are completely finished with the book and matching activity, you just slip the file folder (with matching pieces attached) inside the sleeve of the 3 ring binder cover.  This makes storage so simple and your book is ready to go for the next time you use it.

File Folder And Pieces Stored in Inner Sleeve

So, my question for you is-- Which assembly method do you use?  Binding combs or binders and why?  Or are you using something totally different and unique? I'd love to know! ;)

A Quick Footnote:  I threw this question out to File Folder Heaven Facebook Page after I had published this post. From the feedback, I received, I learned than many teachers still prefer the traditional binding comb method. Some are using the binder method.  Several use a standard hole punch with three small metal rings. One teacher uses a hole punch with tied ribbon and one teacher reported using a hole punch with zip ties.  (Now those are a couple of methods that I'm going to have to try!)

My husband always swears that a zip tie will fix anything.... ;)