Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What a Day & A Sentence Writing Strategy Freebie!

So we all have those days where things just don't quite go as planned and today was one of those days for me.  I have 36 kiddos this year and they continue to flood in!  Currently I am in the middle of annual reviews on 2 service plans (private school IEPs), 2 intervention plans (RTI stuff ), an ETR (3 year reviews), opening an ETR for a student to change identification, and starting the MFE (special ed testing) process for a new kiddo.  Wow... There is a lot going on and I am so lucky I am an organized person because I am pretty sure I wouldn't make it if I wasn't!

Now on to the good stuff!!!

I work with a lot of kiddos with a lot of abilities and disabilities and one thing I find is that teaching students to write can be quite tricky!  I was really struggling getting students to write sentences appropriately so I did some research and found this strategy... 5 Star Sentences.  I took the idea, tweaked it for my liking, made a printable and a data sheet and here we go! 

You can Download the activity HERE!!
Please comment/follow if you use and let me know how it worked for you!
The goal is that students are writing a sentence and include appropriate capitalization, letter formation, spacing, punctuation and correct spelling (on grade level words).
I use these a few different ways depending on goal/grade/skill focus. For my 1st graders, I dictate a sentence and they write it on the lines. For my older kiddos (2-4th grade) I have them write there own sentence.
The "grading" is all the same. If the student uses capital letters appropriately, I color in that star. If they form letters correctly, I color in that star, and so on for all 5 areas. If a student gets 5 stars, they earn some type of reward and if a student gets more stars than the last time I assessed, they also get a reward. Some students will take all year before they ever get 5 stars and I still want to help them feel proud for improving! I have found this activity to be very helpful and students really seem to enjoy it as well!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tag I'm It

How Fun!!!  There is quite the game of tag going on in the blogging world right now and Tammy over at KlingerCafe tagged me! I am just so excited and I have been looking forward to this all day!  After the stressful day I had today, this is the perfect stress reliever!  So I will post the rules and tag some others who will hopefully want to play along too!

 1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

Fun Facts About Me!

1. I am the oldest of 3 girls and the only that is married and outa the house.
2. I love to bake and cupcakes are my favorite!
3. I would love to open a bakery some day.
4. I am married to the most patient and loving husband, he handles me well!
5. I have the cutest little dog ever who has us at the vet at least once a month(poor ittle guy).
6. I love to go to movies and watch TV!
7. I am obsessed with the show Friends and I am pretty awesome at Friends Trivia!
8. I love to find new recipes and I try to cooke at least 3 a month!
9. The beach is my all-time favorite place to be.
10. I am the youngest teacher at my school and was actually mistaken for an 8th grader on my first day by a student.
11. I would love to switch it up one day and teach in a general education setting.
12. I once threw a grilled cheese sandwich at my husband for scaring me.

Questions from Klinger Cafe
How long have you been teaching? This is my 2nd year

What was your first teaching job? Still at my first job... Intervention Specialist at a private school

What made you decide to become a teacher? My grandma worked for the county's MRDD (now DD) department and so I was involved with special olympics a lot and it kinda just stuck!
Do you have a teaching “idol?” No Idol, but I did just go to a Conference on behavior with Amie Dean and she was kinda amazing!

What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? I usually work, so I love my vacation to the beach each year!

Do you get a spring break if so when? yep, thank goodness, April 6th

Do you have extra duties besides teaching that are nonpaid? Open Houses to advertise the school, fundraising events, Festival (I think this is what you mean)

Who is the “go to” person at your school? Depends on what we're going to... my biggest go to is our principal

What is your greatest dream in the world of teaching? To see progress in kiddos and know for a fact that I could help a student be more successful

What snack gets you through “those days?” Dark covered chocolate sea salt almonds... Oh man!!

What would you be doing if you didn’t teach? There are other options?

Would we be friends if we taught together, why or why not? I would think so!  We use a lot of the same fonts and we both seem to enjoy baking/cooking!
Alright, now for the questions for those that I tagged!
1. What is your favorite thing about your job?
2. How long have you been teaching?
3. What is your favorite grade to teach?
4. What is your favorite children's book?
5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
6. What is your favorite movie?
7. What is your favorite stress relieving activity?
8. What are your school's colors?
9. What college did you graduate from?
10. What is your favorite "quick night" dinner meal?
11. What about teaching do you find the most stressful/difficult?
12. What is something you plan on doing this coming summer?

The 12 People I Tag.... You're It!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Turtle Time

So after a nice relaxing weekend, I thought I'd make a new activity to use with the kiddos this week!

Being a special ed teacher, I like to have lots of independent games/activities on hand.  With the little amount of time I have with each of my students, it allows for students to independently work on skills while I assess or work on other skills with other students.  I am still working on building my collection and finding the best way to make them accessible for students.  Right now I have them filed by skill in milk crates but it isn't so easy for students to understand and get to.

Here is a game for telling time.  This is a matching game for telling time to the 5 minute increment that you are welcome to use.  It's something quick and easy for a student to do and something you can look at quickly to judge ability and progress for the student.  Enjoy!
You can access the activity here!! If you find this is something you could use, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm a baking fool...

So 2 years ago, I was searching for a teaching job in this crappy economy and was having no luck.  So instead of getting depressed and frustrated, I started baking.  All of a sudden, it had been 2 weeks and I had made 4 batches of cupcakes.  I mixed and matched flavors, tried new combinations, and had become completely addicted.  Since then I have made many different flavors, took some cake decorating classes and I absolutely love it!  Recently I've been looking into the information and legal rules that go with having an in home bakery and found out it just may be possible.  It's pretty exciting and I have been going through and trying to collect all my recipes, come up with pricing and collecting various pictures I have taken throughout the last 2 years.  I thought I would share some of the pictures I have taken!

5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Cake

 Sister's High School Graduation Cake

 Merry Christmas

 Happy 21st, Margarita Cookies

 5 Little Ladybugs

Autumn Spice

Chocolate, Cookies 'n' Cream, White, Andes Mint

Just a few yummy baked goods!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wow... It's been awhile

So when I started this blog it was the summer and I had so much more time.  Now with school, things have been insanely busy.  But the biggest reason I took such a long break is due to the fact that I realized I am not as creative as I thought and being an Intervention Specialist (pull-out) I feel I just don't have much time to create fun and exciting lessons that would be worth sharing.  But the more and more I teach and stalk others' blogs, I have realized that I do use a lot of activities and I would like to try and make some more of my own to share with you as well as have something to relieve some stress!  In an effort to become a better teacher and improve on my lessons and instruction, here we go again with a second try!