Monday, September 10, 2012

O Gosh... So Much Place Value & A Freebie for 3

Are you guys doing as much place value as we are?  On my Aide days, such as this morning, I did place value 3 times in a row for all different grades.  My kiddos are really struggling with this and always do so this is something we work on A LOT and I mean A LOT!  So I made a fun packet of activities to work on this skill.  I made one that goes to the hundred thousands,

one to the thousands place,

and one to the hundreds place.

As you can see they ar all the same activity but color coded to match the skill level and to avoid mix-ups!  I have uploaded them into my TPT store and you can go here to download it!

But you all know how much I love sharing things with my readers so the first 3 people to leave a comment with their email will receive a free copy of the pack containing all 3 activities!

I hope everyone had a good Monday and is enjoying some Monday Night Football!! Go Bengals!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How Do I Do Birthdays?

Hey Ladies,

I just have a real quick post for you today but I want to share with you how I am doing birthdays this year.  Being in the position I am in, I see pretty much half the school, which is a lot of kids' birthdays to celebrate!  Even students that aren't my intervention kids will bring me treats on their birthday so I wanted to have something cheap and easy to give to them when they come! 
This year I ordered these awesome, FREE, birthday business cards. 
The design is one of their free ones and I just made up the text.  Love them, and 250 of them should last me 2 years at least! 

I got a big box of air heads, because who doesn't love them a good 'ole air head, and taped one of the cards to each one. 
Finally, I stuck them all in this cute cupcake bucket and set it on my cabinet so it is easily accessible whenever a kiddo comes by and is easy for me to grab when one of my kiddos has a birthday!

 So, that's it!  It's simple, convenient, and I think the kids will love them!  I know it's not as cute as those balloons, or silly straws but this works for me, and maybe it will for you too!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday's Fantastic Five

So I know I had said I was going to try and figure out the whole linky party thing so that you all could link up for Friday's Fantastic Five but unfortunately it has been a bit hectic this week and I have not yet found the time to do so.  I would still love for anyone who wants to, to feel free to share their fantastic five too!

So here we go for this week!

5. It was only a 4 day week!  It really did make the week go so much faster and I was so thankful to have a shortened week as we are still trying to adjust to the new school year.

4. I think I may have finally gotten a schedule in place today and will be able to see all of my students next week.  Heck, I may even be able to do some teaching and not just observing and assessing!!!

3. I not only got to see some of my in-laws for Tuesday night dinner, but we also got to see my family this week too and it was great! 

2. I am starting a powerpoint lesson template type thing.  For each group I have a powerpoint slide that reminds the students what to do and helps them know what is expected of them each day!

And the most fantastic thing this week...

1. I worked with a student over the summer and we worked every day on subtraction with regrouping.  I assessed her on it this week and she scored a 100%!!  I was so thrilled!  Sometimes I feel that I don't really make much progress with my students and it's rarely mentioned that if a student does improve that I had anything to do with it.  But I know that this success was due to my support and teaching and that makes me feel great!  We all love when a student succeeds and who cares how they did it, but let's be honest, we all love to know, 100%, that we had a hand in doing it!!!  I was thrilled!

So what are your Fantastic Fives this week?  Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Teaching Pencil Grip

Do you have any students that struggle with holding a pencil correctly?  I believe that if the child can hold a pencil in some way, write legibly, and have it not take forever to complete a writing task then who cares how they hold it.  But if students struggle with any or all of those things, then I believe that teaching the proper way to hold a pencil is important!  In my research today I learned that it is believed that handwriting is pretty much set by grade three so it is extremely important to teach this before then!

I have a kiddo that has some sensory issues which has made handwriting very difficult for him.  Last year we solely worked on correct letter formation, the pressure he used when he wrote, and spacing between his letters.  He made great progress and I hope some of it was due to the support I gave him.  Well this year we noticed that he is holding his pencil weird so I needed to come up with a way to help him. 

*Sidenote Instead of trying to come up with something on my own, I went to my never fail, all amazing, kill my creativity source... PINTEREST.  Does anyone else feel that since pinterest, their own creative ideas seemed to have slightly taken a backseat to the awesome ones someone else already did and posted?  Sometimes I have a good creative moment but thanks to Pinterest it doesn't happen nearly as often haha.*

Anyways... I found the best way to teach this on Pinterest today and it actually worked!  So I thought I would share with you this video! These ideas were so smart and I was so glad to find them! Go to the following link to check out her website and video.

She has a video that gives 2 awesome ways to teach your kiddos to hold a pencil correctly thus making it easier for them to write.  I used the first one and it worked beautifully!  I hope this can help you in some way! 

Tomorrow is Thursday everyone, almost the weekend again!  Yay!!  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Currently September

I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her September Currently!  Head on over  there to link up too!

My Favorite Things:

We recently got Directv and I am so in love with all of the movie channels! The Hubs and I are huge movie geeks and we have enjoyed having all of these movie options, especially since we are in the tweener stage between summer tv shows and fall tv shows.  It also gives us a chance to watch movies we've never seen but wanted to!! LoveLoveLove it with a big puffy heart!

Every Tuesday I make dinner for my sister-in-law and her family.  My nephew is in an intensive therapy program 3 days a week that runs until 6 o'clock at night so preparing and finding time for dinner has been tough for them.  It has turned out to be such a fun time and we have loved going over there.  If all I have to do is make a few extra servings of whatever I was planning to make anyways and it saves them time, stress and money then that's what I'm gonna do!  We have turned it into a nice evening and we end it with a trip to the ball field.  My nephew is a big baseball player and a very good catcher.  The Hubs is also a great player and so it has been great for him to work with our nephew on his skills and I get to hang out with my sister-in-law and chat!  This time has easily become my most anticipated time of the week! 

Only 4 days of school this week ladies!  Hang in there, stay strong and teach on!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fantastic Five Friday

Hey guys,

How was your week?  Is it weird that things are crazy busy already?  Well with all the hectic-ness (yep I just made that up) of the school week I thought it would be really important and helpful for me to reflect on the week and fine 5 things that I thought were really great.  These will be brutally honest and not just random "the kids are great."  I want this to be a reflection for me and a reminder of how much I love my job even when things get tough.  I am going to do this each Friday and I want you to feel free to join in.  Maybe one day I'll even make it a linky party.

So here it is... My Fantastic Five Friday list:

1.  I found out that there is a possibility that I can get hired 4 days next year instead of just 3!  I am so excited about this and I am crossing my fingers that can happen!

2. I didn't have many kids or groups this week so I could really focus on getting meetings scheduled and paperwork completed.  With 8 kids going through either re-evaluations or initial testing process, there is a lot of that and so it has been extremely beneficial having this time.

3. My dad is trying to fix one of my kiddos' magnifying glass.  This has been a struggle for the past 2 years and I am really hoping that he can get it figured out for me so that it is extremely useful for my kiddo.

4. One of the teachers told me how grateful she is that I am at our school and thinks that I do a really good job at what I do.  This was so sweet to hear and many times I don't think I do a very good job or that I make much progress with the kids so it was greatly appreciated today!

5. I am so glad to have a 3 day weekend and regroup after our first week back.  Man have I been tired and not used to the schedule so thank goodness for Labor Day where no labor will be done here!

What fantastic 5 things happened to you this week?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

1st Full Week

It's Thursday, tomorrow is Friday, and we're off Monday!  This week has kicked my butt and I haven't even started with all of my students yet.  I have been doing paperwork on my Sped teaching days, but have been running around like the chicken with my head cut off that I am for my Aide position. 

By Thanksgiving, I have four kids up for 3 year Re-Evals and 5 Initial Evaluations for kids that were either parent request or have gone through RTI and it's time to get a better picture.  Just in case you were wondering, that's A LOT!!  So thankfully I have been able to spend a lot of time getting meetings scheduled, paperwork in line, data collected and all that other fun stuff.  Therefore, unfortunately with all that, I don't have anything fun to share with you right now but I have some exciting plans for my kids this year and can't wait to share those with you!

Have a good Friday!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Freebie Friday on Saturday

Hey all.  Sorry I didn't get this post up yesterday but I literally came home, fixed a quick dinner, laid on the couch and watched a movie and went to bed at like 9:30.  I was exhausted and I didn't even start with kiddos this week so I can only imagine what it will be like next week.

But anyways, here is a freebie for you.  I apologize, but this will mostly be beneficial for special ed teachers.  As I have spent this week doing paperwork, I have not had time to make anything fun to use with my kids, but I did make this Student Snapshot to use. 

I like to have my kids' IEP info and also their basic info with me at all times.  But with 8 current students and 5 more going through initials this year already, that is a lot of paperwork to carry around.  So I created this little guy to help keep me organized.  I also make another copy of each one and give them to teachers so that they have them at their hands as well.  (I'm pretty sure they go in a file and don't ever get looked at again, but at least I know I did everything I could to help them!) Below is a copy of what it looks like with a few notes on how I use it!  You can download it below.

Click here to download your copy!  I hope that you can find this useful in some way!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday - Teacher Week

Hey gals,

Yesterday was the first day back!  I don't start working with kids until next week and have been spending this week doing never ends... 
 I am actually more tired today than I was yesterday and I am so ready for bed.  I didn't share anything for teacher week yesterday because I had already shared my classroom pictures.  But I'm back today for some Therapeutic Thursday!
What do I do when I've had an extremely stressful day?  Well like Leslie Ann, I truly wish I was one of those people who had to go to the gym after a long day.  It would be awesome!!  The amount of stressful days I tend to have, I would be so in shape!
Instead... I bake...sometimes I don't even eat what I bake but being able to through a bunch of things together and create something that tastes amazing always de-stresses me...until I have to do the dishes.  I love cupcakes the most but a good cookie is always nice.
I also love a good pair of sweats and a hoodie, a movie on the TV and a cuddle on the couch with my pup and The Hubs!
What do you do?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday - Teacher Week!!

It's day 2 of Teacher Week and I am loving this! (Click the picture above to link up too!)   It will be a great way for me to keep on bloggin' as school starts tomorrow and I will be too brain dead to come up with my own idea to blog about haha!!  How many of you have started yet?  Are you pooped?  How do you get your "teacher energy" back into swing each year? 

Anyways... Onto the technology!

I don't have computers in my room for the kiddos so I don't have too many sites to share with you for that but I think I have some things that you will love!

1. Into the Book - I just found this website like last week but from what I have seen on it, I am already in love.  It has lesson ideas for the comprehension strategies that we use.  It has video clips for the teacher to see how the lesson goes and clips for the kiddos to watch during the lesson.  They have tons of downloads and freebies and also activities for the kids to do!!  Some of the things I believe are for purchase, but a lot of it is free!

2. Easy CBM - I use this website to help me with collecting student data.  I am not a big fan of the math portion but the reading measures are great!!  I use the comprehension checks for all of my kids at the end of each trimester.  You can also track them online and kids can take some of the assessments online too!
 3. Reading A-Z - I use the Reading Tutors program through this site and it is great.  Tons of printable mini books for all reading skills.  You do have to pay for it, but for me, someone who doesn't have  a program to work from and also needs to track skill level frequently, this has been perfect.  Between this site, and the big reading comprehension strategies, I have a complete reading intervention program that I created myself.
4. ThatQuiz - This website is great for quick checks on ALL math skills!  It's all online, all free, and all awesome!  It tracks everything from the amount of time it takes to solve each problem, to the answer they gave.  Love it!

Welp, that's all I have for you today.  Come back tomorrow for Where I Teach Wednesday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Teacher Week - Must Have Monday

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin for Teacher Week 2012

So for today we have Must-have Monday!

1. Lots of comfortable clothes!  I went back to school shopping last week and got some new stuff from JC Penny and Kohls, my 2 favorite clothes stores.  I still need to get some shoes, flats are the best, and I should be all set!

2. Teacher Binder.  I haven't had a chance to make mine yet since I don't know who my kiddos are yet but once I do I promise to share!

3. TPT.  Since finding out about this amazing resource, I don't know what I would do without it!

4. A really good printer!  To print all the awesome TPT purchases.

5. A good teacher bag.  This year I bought one from Vistaprint, I'm just hoping it lasts.

And most importantly... time to relax with friends and family!  The Hubs is the best thing for me during the school year because he really knows how to calm me down after a long stressful day.  Stay tuned the rest of the week for the remaining Teacher Week posts!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

3-2-1 Linky Party

I am linking up with Emily and Antoinette over at 4321 Teach for their 3-2-1 Linky Party!
3...2...1 Linky Party!
3 Favorite Summer Memories
2 Favorite Things about Back to School
1 Career you would like to try if you weren't a teacher
3 Favorite Summer Memories

1- Traveling - I am very fortunate to be able to take summer vacations every year and I don't know what I would do without them. 

This year we took a week and a half trip to Florida with my family

 a 2 day trip to Louisville with The Hubs' whole family,

and a 4 day trip to Niagara Falls and Saratoga with my In-Laws.

One of these days, we'll get to take a trip just the 2 of us!!
2 - My schedule, my time - I loved getting to set my own schedule.  I tutored throughout the summer but it was still under my schedule and time frame.  I had Mondays and Fridays completely off and so I really got to do whatever I wanted or needed to do and it was great.  Now it's back to running on 9 other teacher's schedules and running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

3 - Pinterest Projects - I didn't get nearly enough of these done but I loved working on some of them and getting them ready for the school year, cooking/baking them, and making them for the home!

2 things about the upcoming year:

1 - Teaching - I love it!!  I love seeing progress in my students, catching up with other teachers, learning new ways to do things and getting to work with kiddos!

2 - My new bigger classroom!  See my previous post for some cute pictures!

1 job I'd have if it weren't teaching:

I love to bake and so I would love to have a bakery and think that would be really cool! 

Head on over by clicking the top picture and link up too!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Deluxe Super Suite Classroom!

Hey guys!

So I am done, well sorta kinda, but as done as it will get by open house which is Monday night.  Thanks to everyone for your kind words of encouragement this week.  I know that it will get better and work itself out, but man is it stressful.

I wanted to share some pictures of my Deluxe Super Suite as my principal called it the other day (I moved to a new room which is a tad bigger but man is it awesome to have more space).

 Here is my desk area!  I am very organized but for some reason my desk never is... My printer is not yet hooked up thus be the cords, and the pile of papers in the front is the stack of to dos...  I have my teacher toolbox which is working out great and files to try and eliminate the piles.  the board will have the schedule and other important school information on it.  The blue hanging file folder holder keeps things I use frequently, like behavior slips, intervention scheduling sheets, and I'll add to it as I realize what I need most often.  Then you have my activboard and below it I hung Target Dollar Center baskets which will hold all of the various flash card type things I need! Loved that idea!!

 Here we have cubbies, file drawers, baskets, and more!  I have ZERO storage in this room.  No closets, shelves, nothing.  It is literally 4 walls with a door and an activboard, so I had to get crafty.  I need to buy another one of those wire shelve things from Walmart so I can set more milk crates on top.  The crates hold all of my activities, file folder games, and downloadables from TPT.  I keep them in clear plastic sleeves that they fit in a hanging file and I can easily see what each is.  The binders on top are assessments, data info, and sped info.  The bulletin board has all of my rules, consequences, rewards and voice level reminders.

 Math bulletin board which has to support and cover grades 1 - 8

 Reading board.

 Writing board!

 Student resource center --> The bulletin board is to help with exit slips.  Each book bin holds the grade level student folders and I will put books and games in there that kids can do if they need filler activities or if I am working with another student.  There are white boards, markers and erasers on the table too.  Underneath the table... mroe makeshift storage...  Then there are student help sheets like multiplication charts, spelling hints, editing checklists, etc. in the blue hanging file basket.  This was great last year.  If a student needed one of these, I sent them over to get it rather than dig through my stuff and take time away from instruction.  Oh and if you see that wall on the left hand side of the picture there is space just big enough for a desk to fit.  I made that Alaska for the chill out center and stuck a pair of sound cancelling head phones so students can come and work on work silently out of their classrooms if need be!

 The view from my door... yep this is actually about twice bigger than my room last year!  I love it!

Hope you enjoyed my little tour there!  I've loved seeing everyone's rooms and I'm glad I oculd share mine!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

And so it begins... And thank goodness for Vistaprint

Have you guys started with inservice meetings yet?  At our school, we have 2 days of meetings, 1 is school focused and 1 is religious focused.  Today was the school focused day and man did it kick my butt!  We worked on scheduling, learned a little about the new math program, talked logistics, etc.  This is my 3rd year at this school and I love it.  When I got hired as their Sped Teacher, I was hired to work 3 days a week.  I was there even on off days to try and stay on top of things and so my second year I took on their Instructional Assistant position as well so that I can be their full time and make some more money too!  Well as we try and add in RTI and skill groupings my schedule has gotten a little out of control and I am a bit extremely stressed out about it.  So much that I actually cried at one point today (in the comfort of my own room and alone, but still) due to teachers getting frustrated with me and wanting me to do things that just aren't physically possible.  Not a good way to start the year but I will get through it!  Oh and I found out that we have already had 3 parents request formal testing for their kids...

After all of that today, I was so unbelievably excited to come home to this...
Yay Vistaprint!!

I am so excited about all of my goodies and I can't wait to use it all in my room!  However, I bought some notepads to use as exit slips and since I now only get to see my kids for 30 minutes, I don't think that I will have time to use them which is a bummer.  But I will make this work, I will make this work, I will make this work! (If I just keep saying it repeatedly, it will be true right?)

Sorry for the downer post but I needed to do some venting and I know you lovelies would understand.  I promise to be more uplifting and provide some goodies again soon!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

12 Hour Car Ride = Classroom Website!

How was everyone's weekend?  I hope it has been great... we only have so many left before school starts and weekends really mean something again (and for those of you already back at school, I hope you used yours to your full advantage!).  I spent the weekend in New York with The Hubs and his parents.  It has been a very LONG but great trip.  I will post some pictures later, but for tonight I want to share with you my new website!

Do you guys follow Jen over at Teaching, Life, & Everything in Between?  I kinda love her!  She has some great stuff to share and she recently shared about her Google site that she set up for her classroom.  It came at just the right time because I had been thinking about whether or not I wanted to do this for my kiddos and their parents.  Well after her post, I figured what the heck lets try it out. 

Well 1- 12 hour car ride later, with some spotty internet service at times, I have finally gotten it up and running but nowhere near complete!  Being a resource teacher I have to have lots of pages for lots of reasons to provide lots of support to make it all worth while but I think I set it up pretty nicely.  I am terrified that I will tell parents about this site and then do a horrible job at keeping up with it!!  I am crossing my fingers that they will keep me accountable... I am also slightly terrified that I will do this and parents will never utilize it (I mean they do have one for their child's typical classroom but my stuff is different...right?) I just really hope I don't do all this work for nothing!

Well anyways... I just thought I'd share it with ya'll and see if you have anything that you think I just HAVE TO HAVE in my "Resources" sections at the bottom.  Let me know your thoughts!

** I have no idea how to post a picture of the webpage like Jen did on her blog so I took one with my phone to give you a quick peek at it...I apologize for the quality and my poor technology skills.... Don't tell The Hubs...haha!!**  Click the picture to check out my site and share your thoughts!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Hello my lovelies!

Man are things crazy busy here!  I am in my last week of tutoring (Hallelujah!!).  I have 1 more kiddo today, 2 tomorrow, and then I am done!  I have been in and out of my classroom the last 2 weeks in between sessions trying to get set up and get bulletin boards going.  I will be sharing those with you all next week as well as some pictures of my completed classroom (I hope!)  Tomorrow we are going with the In-Laws to Niagra Falls and Saratoga for a long weekend get away.  Its going to be quite the drive so I will be very thankful for The Hubs' love of technology so that I can get some things done in the car.

Don't forget about The Back to School Cyber Search this Saturday only!!
I know I will be searching away for some awesome freebies from some awesome bloggers!

Also, the TPT Back to School Sale is Aug. 12th and 13th.  I put everything in my store up for sale at 20% off.  Plus TPT does an even bigger percentage which I think will get you all of my items at 28% off!!  Pretty awesome if you ask me! 

2 weeks and counting 'til the kiddos show up!! 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Vistaprint Order Number 2

Hey girls.  I am linking up with Christina over at Bunting Books and Bainbridge for her Vistaprint Fever linky party!  For those of you that have been following, you know about my crazy decision to change my classroom theme from ocean to colors.  Luckily the only things I couldn't use in my new class are 2 posters but they came out blurry so I was ok with it anyways!  Even better, Groupon had a $70.00 for $17.00 so I got a ton of stuff for super cheap! 
I am so excited about what I recently ordered I am literally counting down the days until it arrives! 

I made a cute subway art design to go with my classroom colors and I loved it so much I got it on a canvas bag and a mug!  (The mug doesn't show the picture well, so I'm just sharing the bag)  Cute huh?

I got a cute sticky note pad!  I love cupcakes and my name on things!
I got a super cute T-shirts.  Anyone that knows me knows that I live in t-shirts and leggings or yoga pants outside of school so this will be perfect!
I got a huge box of air heads on sale at Target to give to students in my class who have a birthday and anyone who brings me a treat for their birthday.  I ordered free business cards that I am going to tape to each one!
I'm sure that you have seen these in blog world and on Pinterest but they are typically a button to show others how well a student did on a test.  I made some stickers that I will give to students when they meet a goal and get to share with everyone how great they did.  Also, I am hoping that it will make them feel more proud of themselves for meeting their goals.  These are small stickers.
I am going to have my kiddos do exit slips this year so instead of having to go make copies all the time and waste my copy quota, I made some on a notepad and I ordered 3 sets.  I am going to have my kiddos grade their learning on a scale of 1-I got it! 2-It's difficult but I can get it soon! 3-I have no idea what's going on!  (I won't word it that way obviously hahaha).  (Sorry it's sideways!)

Free pen with this design, well just because why not!
A rubber stamp.  Whenever kids bring work or tests to me to get support with completion, I like to write down "w/ Mrs. Kazy" so their teachers and parents know that they received support on that problem or assignment.  I thought a stamp would be even quicker!
I saw on someone else's link-up an idea to send home reminders for upcoming conferences.  (I apologize, I searched and I cannot find who I found this from again so let me know if it's you!)  I made a set of rack cards to let parents know of upcoming RTI and ISP meetings.
And last but not least... A note card that I can send home to let parents know of accomplishments, good behavior, awesome progress etc.  I plan to send one home a week to parents!  Help hold me to it!
That's all for today... I'm so bummed I didn't get anything done for Monday Made It but I have been working in my room and working on activity/assessment packs and NOTHING is finished... 2 more weeks and counting...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Teaching Differences & Some FREEBIES

Hey ladies!  It has been a fun weekend here.  Did some relaxing, some cleaning, some shopping, some dinner with family and worked on a big project for school which I promise to share later!  I got some new school clothes but I am having an extremely hard time finding pants that fit me... so depressing... Anyways... 

Tonight what I want to share is something that is near and dear to my heart!  I work very hard to instill in my students that everyone is different.  We have different cultures, backgrounds, hair color, eye color, skin color, some of us are boys, some of us are girls, the differences are endless.  So why would it make sense that we all learn the same way?!?! I thought I would share some things that I have used/plan to use in the first few days to help my students understand this!  ** A few Freebies included**

Ok so the first thing I do is have my students fill out an all about me page.  I usually have them fill it out, share their answers and then hang it on the wall.  No more!!  This year I am going to use this to begin my "we're all different lesson!"  I am using Miss Nelson's Getting to Know you pack for my little kids and a wonderful Facebook page that I downloaded from TPT for my older kids (both are free!).  Once they get their pages completed, I will pair them up and have them compare their answers.  For every answer that is similar, I am going to have them either circle or highlight it.  We will then discuss how many circles they made, which should be not many.  This will show them that even though they go to the same school and are in the same grade, they have lots of differences.  I will then talk about differences in learning and how not all students will learn at the same pace and that not everyone will be good at the same thing.

Students that have worked for me the last 2 years know that the word EASY is banned in my room!!  I hate it!  I always say (and they can quote me) that what is easy for them, is not always easy for someone else!  This poster is posted in my classroom (I will glue some brown paper behind it to make it stand out) as a little reminder.  I make sure I show this to them and we discuss other things that we can say instead.  **Side note: this would be a good thing to make an anchor chart for and then you could update the poster with the other things they come up with**

Ok so after the All About Me Comparison and the Introduction/Reminder of the dreaded word EASY, I do some activities that I learned from the RTI Guy, Mr. Pat Quinn!  If you haven't seen him or taken his online training courses, you really should!  2 of my favorite activities he shares are The Run and Emergency Room/Triage. 

The Run:  This is great for teaching that all students learn at a different pace. 
Take the kiddos outside and tell them they have a mission.  (To set up you may need to draw a chalk line on the ground for the finish line).  Tell the students that they need to all run as fast as they possibly can to the finish line but that they all have to get there at the exact same time.  They may say "That's not possible, or how do we do that?" or they might say ok and just go for it, either way you have a lesson. 
If they question it, then go ahead and explain that it's not possible.  You can't all do your absolute best and finish at the same time and it's the same way in the classroom.  You can't all learn the same thing and understand it at the exact same second. 
If they just say ok and do it, they should realize that they may have to slow down to let other students catch up.  You can then ask them "Did you really all run as fast as you could?" and the fast ones that had to slow down will realize that they didn't and then you can teach the same lesson.

Emergency Room AKA Triage: I use this activity to teach students that not all of them will need the same support to be successful. 
I made a set of cards that you can use and uploaded it to my store for free.  Click the picture to download.

  Give each student a card (it’s ok if they have duplicates). Have students come up one by one and hand their illness/injury to you. For every student, respond with the same thing such as “Oh, I’m sorry, have a band-aid.” “Oh have a seat we’ll be with you in an hour.” “Have a cough drop.” It doesn’t really matter what you say, just make it the same for everyone. Students will quickly get the picture that it doesn’t make much sense for everyone to get the same thing. Someone with strep throat doesn’t need a band-aid. Have a discussion about how the same thing happens in the classroom and everyone will get what they need to be successful!  
I hope that you learned something that can work for your classroom and with your kiddos!  I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching this to your students.  Have a great week!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Special Ed Scheduling HELP!!!!

I know I just recently posted... but it's after midnight here so it's technically not a 2 post in 1 day situation... right...

Anyways, I need help!!  Is there anyone out there that is teaching in a pull out setting???  I am!  For those of you that don't know, I am the intervention specialist for grades K-8 (yes you read that right) at a tiny Catholic school (1 class per grade) and I am only there in that position 3 days a week.  The other 2 days I was hired on as their instructional assistant (boo) to assist the teachers in small groups for grades 1-5.  The easiest way to schedule was to mix up the times for both positions so that I do a little of both every day.  If you walked in my room at any given time, you would honestly have no idea which hat I was wearing.  The only difference between the 2 is that during my instructional hours I don't do any of my own planning, the classroom teachers tell me what they want me to work on, I pull the kids and we do it.

Ok so on to my question... For any of you that are in a pull out type setting, how do you structure your time to make it the most efficient?  I have 30-40 minutes 2 or 3 times a week to get my IEP kids and tier 3 RTI kids to meet their goals... Are you kidding me?!?!  Now that I really think about it and put it that way, no wonder I have felt the last 2 years that I am making no progress with any of them...

This year I want to try something different... I got my schedule to work out so that I can take each grade 3 days a week.  When I mentioned my concern to my principal, he suggested that I teach subjects in 2 day increments.  So for example I would teach reading for 2 days and then math for 2 days and then reading again and so on and so on.  Do you think that would work?  Do you have  a better suggestion? 

This is really stressing me out in case you were wondering... Any help anyone could give would be greatly appreciated!!


It's time to link up with Farley for the August Currently! 

1. With all of the amazing products on TPT that I have found plus ones I have made, I'm pretty sure my printer hates me! 
2. Every year I find a new way to improve my teacher binder and I just can't function during the year without it.  I'll share soon how I use mine and include some freebies with it as well!
3. Who doesn't love some good school supplies?!?!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

So you're about to find out how crazy I really am...

Hey girls.  WOW!  So for those of you that didn't know, I had planned to do an ocean theme in my classroom this year.  I went to the teacher store and got stuff.  I ordered things from VistaPrint.  I made things to match the theme.  I was feeling like I was really making progress... Then last night, I randomly had this thought... "What am I doing?  I teach grades K-8 which means I teach middle schoolers, I can't have all this cute little primary age decorated stuff in there."  I literally had a minor panic attack.  I'm sure that it would have been fine but I just got it completely in my head that it was not going to work and is not the best idea for my big kids.  I want them to feel proud coming into my room not like they are coming into a "little kid" room because they can't do the "big kid" stuff (I already have enough of those problems with them!)

***SIDENOTE:  I'll be honest... middle schoolers are not my expertise.  I am certified through 12th grade in special ed but I really never wanted to teach higher than 4th so the past 2 years have been an adventure and I am trying to make improvements for the upcoming year.  Thus the last minute room theme!***

So after admitting to myself that I was absolutely crazy, I stayed up way too late searching ideas and decided that a color scheme will work best for the huge range of kids I work with.  I really love yellow and grey, black and yellow, teal and lime green, the possibilities are endless.  However with any of those choices, I would have to buy all new things and start completely fresh and with only 2 and a half weeks 'til kiddos report, I just don't have time to do all that.  Last year I did a mish-mosh of things with no theme but I did buy some things from the dots on brown set at United Art and Education.  So I decided to just use that color scheme in all areas of my room and get it looking really cute! I am just praying that it all works and that I can make it look good. Thank goodness for another VistaPrint coupon... I'm gonna need to do some more shopping. (Thank goodness there are only 2 posters that I really can't use from my first purchase).

So here is some stuff for my new theme:  Dots on Chocolate!
What do you think?  Besides the fact that I'm insane!