A teacher friend of mine told me this week that her husband is being transferred and they are moving to Texas over Christmas break. That got me to thinking about what I would do if I suddenly had to start over again. Although my husband and I have absolutely no plans of going anywhere, especially since his parents moved to a house right behind ours, it's still not an unreasonable thing to think about considering how many natural disasters have happened in Kansas in recent years that resulted in the destruction of schools. I'm pretty spoiled with my very resource heavy program. So what if I did have to start from scratch? What tools and resources do I use all the time in my classroom could I not function without?
Probably the singular most important piece of equipment would be an accessible computer complete with Intellitools keyboard or Intelliswitch and a touch screen. We use our computers (yes, that's plural) all the time every day. They are essential for communication and instruction as well as for accessing resources and communication tools such as email.
Along with a computer would be Boardmaker. Boardmaker is probably the most used piece of software I have. And, of course, I'd need a good quality color printer to go along with it.
My digital camera would have to be on the list. We use it to take photos of objects and places, etc. for communication books as well as to document activities, accomplishments, etc.
A Powerlink to adapt a variety of devices in addition to at least one switch. Powerlink = Independence and Participation in my classroom.
An ipod. We have three that are used in my room and the kids love them. They are set up with their favorite music plus audio books. The kids love being able to listen to what they want without interference from others, creating their own play lists, and just generally doing the same thing as their peers. Plus they are infinitely portable and contain a HUGE amount of music and stories.
At least two Little Step by Steps. My kids use them for everything from simple cause effect social communication to telling jokes to giving instructions to two switch step scanning. They are constantly in use in my classroom.
Velcro. There are more uses for this awesome material than I can count.
Intellitools Classroom Suite. I make lots of adapted learning activities and digital books using this program. It would be high on my list of essentials.
An Actitunnel, especially for my particular students. We have multiple students using ours throughout the day and it is one of the top favorite pieces of equipment for the kids (the ipods are the other top favorite).
At least one "blinky light," whether it's Christmas lights or a mood light of some sort.
My list of favorites on my computer (can't access social bookmarking at school; basically if it's considered a "social" tool, it's forbidden).
I know there are other things I would miss tremendously if I didn't have them (Easy Stand stander, Somatron Vibrosonic music chair, active learning equipment, swing set, our collection of cause effect toys, the Smart board, jelly beamers, ...) and there are probably one or two things I've missed. After 14 years of teaching, 12 of them in the same place, I've collected a lot of stuff. But the above are probably the true essentials to effective instruction in my classroom (assuming that all the needed peripherals for basic positioning and caregiving would be in place). What would be on your list? What tools and resources would be indispensible to you?