Saturday, August 27, 2011

1st "Crafting" Post!!

I am so excited to share a project I made today!  Tuesday is my grandma's birthday and she has recently taken up a crocheting class with some friends of hers so I thought as a gift I would get her some yarn, a book of ideas and directions, and make a cute bag for her to carry her things in.  It turned out really cute if I do say so myself!

She LOVED it!!  I filled it with her goodies and she was so excited to have some new fun stuff to try. 

I also got some other ribbon at Hobby Lobby (50% off this weekend) and a plain white apron to decorate which I can't wait to make.  Pictures will definitely be posted when I do!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Guilty!!

So this week has been CRAZY!!  Tuesday was my first day back and I spent the week getting a schedule together, helping some of my kiddos get comfortable and adjusted in their new classes, helping teachers get to know my kiddos and some ways to help them in their class, sending out info to teachers and parents, paperwork, setting up goal pages, and a ton more that I can't even remember!!!

I am so glad to be back and can't wait to see some kiddos next week!! Unfortunately due to the crazyness I was not able to find the time to do Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week and I soooooo badly wanted to.  I thought I would add a freebie today but then realized all the things I created this week are all based on student's service and intervention plans and can't be shared.   After I do initial assessments next week I Will be able to get some activities made and I promise to share some freebies!!! For now, I am LOVING checking out all of yours!!! Great job to all of you bloggers and your amazing ideas.  Makes me want to work extra hard on finding some of my own ideas and creations this year!
Taylor

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Linky Party at Clutter Free Classroom

Clutter-Free Classroom is having a linky party and you should definitely check it out!! 

Here are some of the reasons that I think back to school time is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" 

 - I can finally put into action (and to rest) the millions of thoughts and ideas that I have had going through my head on what to change and improve this year!
 - I can bake again and have my co-workers and sometimes students be official taste testers so that my husband and I do not eat all of the goodies ourselves.
 - The knowledge that fall is right around the corner which means bonfires, hay rides, corn mazes and pumpkin pie!!
 - New notebooks, pens, markers, paper, planners, binders, file folders, and a new classroom theme!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE school supply shopping!
 - Seeing all of my kiddos from last year again and hopefully getting some new ones!

So excited for the new year... Meet and Greet Night tomorrow and kids report Tuesday!! Excited but still not feeling completely prepared.  Luckily I don't have students until next Monday!

Link up over at Clutter-Free Classroom and follow my blog for lots of exciting things this year!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Progress Monitoring

As a special educator, I spend a lot of time collecting data, doing mini assessments, and progress monitoring.  I have realized the true benefits of these measures and enjoy seeing my students' scores increase.  I also love knowing exactly where they are, being able to see if their scores do not increase, and finding ways to help them. 

I progress monitor each of my kids once a week on the measures that they need tested on.  This usually takes about 5 minutes total.  The students turn in their papers and I go back and grade them at the end of the day.  I fill in their data sheet (copy found below) and this year I also plan to chart their data plot on a line graph for a visual representation to use at conferences and ISP meetings.

After last year, I have gotten to understand the process of using progress monitoring and I tweaked my forms to make them easier for me to use.  Takes lots of time to create, but will save lots of time during instructional hours!!  Here is a copy of my ORF Data Sheet.  I took norms that I found on the internet and compared them with others to make sure they were accurate.  My school does not have a program that they purchased so I have to find or make my own measures.  I think this turned out pretty good and I am looking forward to testing it out in the next week or two.  Feel free to download but all I ask is that you follow my blog and leave me a comment!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekly Progress Report Download and some pics

So I have finally finished my summer job and can now devote my time to getting prepared for the school year.  I went to a training session on computerized data entries this morning and then headed to my classroom for some organization time.  Here are some updated photos!
This is my desk chair that I recovered so that it matched and because the ugly 1970's orange just wasn't cutting it for me anymore.  There is the board I posted awhile ago also!

View from my desk.

Besides working on organization, I have been trying to get my beginning of the year forms and info together.  Ie. Parent letters/input sheets, teacher input sheets, wekly progress reports to send home, student folders, CBM packets created as well as the data collecting forms to go along with them.  Tonight I finished my parent letter and the the weekly progress reports.

Here is a copy of my Weekly Progress Report that will get sent home to my parents each week.  I want to really improve my parent involvement/contact this year and I thought this would be a great way to get it started.  Feel free to download for your kiddos' parents but please follow my blog and or leave a comment if you do so!
Thanks so much!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Obsessed!!

So I have become completely obsessed with this whole teaching blog concept.  I find myself spending so many hours checking on other people's blog posts, looking for other great blogs out there, and thinking about what I can blog about next.... I started thinking it would be something fun to do other than sitting and writing lesson plans while I watch football with my husband or watch my husband play x-box football but it has become so much more than that!!! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to get some more followers because I can't wait to share what I have planned for the year with people!  If anyone has any suggestions/pointers on how you have gotten so many I would love to hear it!

So here is what has been going on with me...

I have been working a day camp full time since the day after school ended until this Friday... ahhhhh!  I have not had much time to get to my classroom or much time to work on things here at my home.  I have gotten some things started but not enough to feel very productive.

I have so many things on my mind that I want to do and create but there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day.  Teaching kiddos with special needs can be difficult when it comes to planning.  I havent gotten to create too many fun units with them but I am hoping to try and do that some more this year.  Last year I constantly felt like I was playing catch-up due to being hired late in the year and so I never got to create any really fun ideas.  After reading all your blogs, I am so inspired to try and make that my focus this year!

I do a lot of data collecting and progress monitoring and I am currently working on making this easily accessible to myself, my kids, and their teachers and parents.  Some examples of this are to come... As soon as I figure out how to let Google Docs use my downloaded-fun-fonts!
Thanks for listening to a few of the millions of things going on in my head currently...  :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

10 Reasons I Know it's Back to School Time

I am linking up with Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for a Linky Party!! I just LOVE these!

The Top Ten Reasons I know it's Back to School Time...

10. There is very little chocolate left in the hosue due to the stress eating.

9.  Everytime I go see my parents (who still have kids in school) I hear my dad singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

8. The first word out of my mouth when I get home from a shopping trip is "I didn't spend that much..."

7. I am spending way too much time avoiding school work and instead I browse the blogosphere for ideas to create...another day...
6. The Target Dollar Section is completely wiped out everytime I go.

5. I am trying to schedule a dentist appt., doctors appt., and eye appt. all for next week.... Should not have procrastinated on that one.

4. My baking has taken a back seat.... And school work has moved write on up into the drivers seat with me as a passenger.

3. I have multiple emails in my school email account everyday.

2. I have stacks of papers, binders, marker boxes, and a hole puncher spread all across our home office floor.

1. And the number one reason I know it's coming, is the constant thought of what I should do differently and better than I did with my kids next year!  Can't wait to get my room together and get the ball rolling.  Happy "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" Everyone!!!!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

And so it begins...

My amazing, supportive husband gave up his Saturday morning to go help me in my classroom today!!  He built a cabinet for me and helped me to get some things organized a bit.  We worked all morning and this is as far as we got...


Wow do I have a lot of work to do still.  I am off from my summer job on Monday so I can go to a meeting for a few hours so hopefully I will get to make a little more headway.  It's going to be really cute when its all together but man does it have a long way to go!

Also, this coming week, I am planning to get my files organized and my teacher binder made!  This is my life-line throughout the year where I keep my student's info, intervention info, data collecting, scheduling etc.  Stay tuned for that posting.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Currently

Oh' Boy 4th Grade Is hosting a linky party!! As you know I am still learning the blogging ropes, but thought it would be fun to try this out for the first time!  I couldn't figure out how to do the cute background with it just yet (comments on how to do that are much appreciated) so you'll have to settle with simple until I get it figured out!  But here it goes...

Currently....

Listening... to my husband do a silly video questionaire for a work retreat he has coming up.

Loving... Learning about all of these new blogs and ideas that all you amazing teachers have out there!

Thinking... I really need to figure out how to do all of these cute graphics and backgrounds because I just love them!

Wanting... Some time away from my summer job to get my room and supplies organized for the school year.

Needing... Some chocolate! Desperately!!!

Stalking... Ms. Rachel's Room
                 An Uphill Journey
                Buttercream Bakehouse

That was really fun!! Maybe I will create my own idea some day once I have some followers! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crafting for the Classroom

I have been working full time this summer and it has made it VERY difficult to get to my classroom.  I have been working on an activity crate (picture to come later) all summer.  It is essentially a milk crate with files of all the major subject areas in math and reading so that I can have different games and activities to pull out whenever I need them.  I have just recently started coming up with a color scheme and ideas for decorating.  Last year I got hired so late and it took so long to get going, my room never really got as cute as I would have liked so this year I am excited to get it all dolled up!! My first project was to make a magnet board to hang above my desk.


Last year, I would have notes and reminders and school information cluttered all over my desk and they always got lost or ruined so I thought this would be a good idea to help keep them more organized (which I am a bit obsessive over). 

I chose to do a brown, green, pink, and blue color scheme in my room this year.  I think it is cute but not overwhelming like bright colors can be, which is good for kiddos that struggle with attention.  
To make the board, I bought a magnetic white board at Big Lots (super cheap!!) used some of my scrapbook paper to decorate, painted the edges green and covered it with contact paper.  I think it turned out really cute.  I am hoping to do some more crafty things to decorate the room in the next 3 weeks before school starts so stay tuned! 

I also went to United Art and Education today (Love Love Love teacher stores) and got some really cute things to add to my color scheme.


I was so excited and I can't wait to go to my room after work tomorrow and start getting it all set up!