Saturday, August 30, 2014

High / Low

I am linking up with Julie at A First For Everything to share my Highs and Lows from this week. 

This was our first official week back with students. It's been a very weird start to the school year for me because I went from having my own classroom to being a Special Educator.  While I LOVED that this week was less stressful in some aspects, it was a weird adjustment. But a definite high for me was getting to meet my new students.  I got to spend some time getting to know them and helping them with a few strategies.  I REALLY like all of them!  It's such a huge difference from the tear-filled first week of Kindergarten.  I'm super excited about this year!!!!

My low this week would actually be the fact that I am overwhelmed!  I share a classroom with the 6th Grade L.S. teacher and she has been absolutely fabulous (and incredibly patient) with answering my 8 million questions.  I also have a great team which I've been texting my random questions to.  None of them have killed me yet so that's a good sign.  

I've come to the conclusion that I am a HUGE planner.  I like to know what I am doing.  Nothing frustrates me more than not knowing what's going on.  News Flash: When you take a new position, you have NO CLUE what's going on most of the time.  I am learning the ropes and I'm feeling a little more confident each day.  I'm sure I'll have it down in no time but it's learning how to deal with the frustration now, which I'm sure will make me a better teacher to these kids!

Want to share your High/Low's for the week?  Head on over to link up with A First For Everything.  Have a great holiday weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Week 1

I am hooking up with Doodle Bugs to bring you Five for Friday!


If you listen carefully, you can hear the loud {{SIGH}}.  I finished my first week in this new position.  And I didn't cry.  Not once!  I wasn't even close.  While I am overwhelmed at times, I absolutely LOVE it!  To give you some background, I just made the transition from Kindergarten to 5th Grade Special Education. I joke with my co-workers that I finally graduated Kindergarten after all these years!  I got to meet with a few of my kiddies on my caseload and I adore them!  It's so neat working with older students.  They can really interact with you and express how they are feeling.  I have a little testing to do on Tuesday but then I am going to hit the ground running on Wednesday.  I'm SO excited!

I FINALLY got some things printed up so I can finish up my room.  You know how you have those loose ends that need to be tied up.  That's where I'm at right now.  Lots of little things to finish.

This is my desk area.....which I LOVE!  But I have some work left to do here.  I just printed the inserts for the white mini-shelves on top of my rolling cart.

So Tuesday morning I'll be able to finish those off.  Now I just have to make the inserts for the rolling cart next to it and this area will be finished.

A few of my students have Writing goals so I wanted to create a reference binder for them to use while they're writing.  It contains lots of graphic organizers, definitions, lists of nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.

Product Details

My students are reading Frindle by Andrew Clements, in their gen ed class.  I wanted to support them in class so I'm reading it too.  I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Why hasn't she read this book before???"  Well, coming from Kinder, I can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Tommie dePaolo, Kevin Henkes, Dr. Seuss, and many other children's authors.  Middle School faves....not so much!

I am also reading, "The Lemonade War" by Jacqueline Davies so I can try to do a Literature Study with my students.  I'm sure we'll need something more interesting after doing all that Corrective Reading!

Well I think that's all for me today!  In fact, I'm so tired I might just go back to bed!  Hope you have a great Friday.  Head on back to Doodle Bugs to read some other great blogs!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2 for Tuesday!

I am so happy to be linking up with The Teaching Tribune to bring you 2 for Tuesday!

So this is how it works.....I'm going to put 2 of my products on sale for 50% off for today only and you go buy them!  See, wasn't that easy?  Just kidding :)

But that is basically how this works.
5th Grade Common Core Checklist 

So here are my two products:

   First up is my 5th Grade Common Core Checklist.  This is a HUGE time-saver for me!  There is such a push towards CC right now and administrator's are always checking to make sure we are addressing the standards daily.  This checklist (with posters) is a valuable resource to help you track each time you've taught a lesson that addresses these
standards.  This product normally sells for $5.00 but for today it is only $2.50!!!!  What a steal!!!!

Next up is one of my bigger seller's . . . Monthly Editable Newsletters!  All you have to do is fill in your information and print!  Again, I'm all about saving time so these will definitely help you do just that!  There are two design options for each month.  The template headers are: "In the News,"  "You're Learning What?" "Reminders," and "Birthdays."

I hope you enjoy these products and discounts!

Are you having trouble organizing all that Back-to-School paperwork?  Feeling a bit overwhelmed?  You might want to check out "The ULTIMATE Binder."  It has everything you'll need to get organized and have an easier time referencing materials when you need them.  Everything is contained in one easy spot!

2014-15 The ULTIMATE Teacher's Binder! {Editable} 
Just click on any of the pictures to be taken to my TpT Store.  Happy Shopping!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog Hoppin' Day 4

Day 4 is all about the how I get through the DAY {Insert bottle of wine here } so I'm going to share with you my Daily Schedule, a peek into my plans and some ideas for Classroom Management.  Buckle up!

SCHEDULE . . . .
(Side Note: I swear I'm losing my vision and EVERYTHING has to be bigger so I can see it!)

So here is a peek at my Daily Schedule.  Not much there huh?  Well that's because this is my first year as a Special Educator. Although I know my actual schedule, I don't quite have all the details put in yet. Our school is implementing a mandatory 30-minute intervention block this year, which is great for my kiddos.  We will receive information on that during PD this week and next.  We'll get info on what exactly it should look like and how it should be structured.  I also know that during the 2nd L.A. block, only some of my students will participate in Making Meaning while others will be pulled during that time.  I'm kind of happy I have something down on paper but I'm excited to get more info on what my day will look like.  

PLANS . . . .
Up next is a look at my plans. Well, I can show you a template with some rough information on them but that's about it :(  It has been very hard for me this year since I am a TOTAL planner.  I usually have all of my "i's" dotted and "t's" crossed by early August.  I'm SO out of the loop this year and I don't want to bug my Team too much so I'm trying to practice a new thing for me called PATIENCE.  So far, I think it's totally overrated!

As you can see, lots of the unknown.  As I meet with my team, I'll find out more about my scheduling.  The first week, I plan to push-in most of the time with periods of pull-out to get them acclimated to my room as well.  We'll go over classroom procedures and routines, expectations and all of that good stuff.
If you like the lesson plan template, it comes from "The ULTIMATE Binder" in my TpT Store. Just click on the picture or the title to preview / download.  It's one of over 10 different templates provided in the product.


I am starting the year with a clip chart, mostly because that is the method my new team uses.  I have it for free in my TpT Store (just click on the picture to download.)

I did a whole post about my reasoning for this clip chart.  You can read about that HERE

After the kids get settled, I plan on switching it up a bit.  When I taught Kindergarten, I used a "Gold Ticket" system which we all loved!  The kids would earn tickets for good behavior or being a positive role model.  They would accumulate tickets all week, then redeem them on Fun Friday for choice activities.  Since I'm now in 5th grade, I plan on introducing a similar, incentive-based management system where the kids will earn points to redeem for choice activities.  I'll have more details about that in a later post.

Well, Day 4 is in the books!  Make sure you head back to Blog Hoppin' to see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms!  Thanks for stopping by.  Don't forget to follow me for other offers and exclusive FREEBIES!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blog Hoppin' ~ Day 3

I hope you are getting to know other bloggers and enjoy their stories!  And how about those classroom reveals?????

Well Blog Hoppin's 2014 Back-to-School's next stop is one of my FAVORITE'S!!!!  In fact, you could definitely say I'm a little bit OBSESSED with today's topic.......


You haven't figured it out yet???  It's ORGANIZATION.....but I put it in order......alphabetical order!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to organize.  I organize my pens, papers, classroom, files, documents, name it and I do it!  So when I read about today's topic, I did a lil cabbage patch dance.  Good thing I was home alone!

So let's get started!  I will first tell you how I stay organized for school.  I will apologize in advance because I created products to help keep me organized so I'm not officially "plugging" here.....but I kind of am.  

My first organization tool is "The ULTIMATE Binder."  This document has EVERYTHING I need throughout my day, all at my fingertips.  You could choose to split this up into multiple binders but I've chosen to keep it all in one.  I travel a lot throughout the day (meetings, etc.) so I like to have one thing that I need to pick up and go.  

I have all of my lesson plans, my monthly calendar and my year-at-a-glance, templates for notes to send home, IEP data, caseload templates, attendance forms, grade book, TpT/Pinterest templates, communication logs, important phone numbers, meeting schedules, student information sheets, volunteer forms......literally everything is in there.  The document is 245 pages of EDITABLE templates and forms.  Let me say that again.....EDIT-A-BLE forms and templates.  That means, you can input your own information, print and put it in your binder.  Never lose a document again!  I know I'm biased on this one but I've shared it with people I work with and got great feedback so I know it's not just me. 

The next organization tip I use in the classroom is a huge TIME-SAVER for me!  I am the type of person that if there is something I can bring home to work on, in the comfort of my own home, then I do it!  I would much rather mark tests & assignments at home in my pj's than sitting behind my desk at school.  I simply pick up the stack of tests / assignments, throw them in my bag and head home!  I created these templates to use so when I'm done grading the tests, I can record the results.  I decided to clean up the document I use and make it a FREEBIE for you!  Oh, and did I mention I made it EDITABLE for you?  There is enough room for 30 students.  The picture below is an example of how I use this tool:

The document has two of these per page. I use the first column to mark the grade for the assessment / assignment and I use the 2nd column to record a few different things.  I may put a star there to remind me to reteach something, or to conference with that particular student.  You could also keep a running average for that particular student in that column.  Whatever works for you!  You can download it in my store by clicking the picture or HERE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog Hoppin' ~ Day 2

WOW ~ I got to read about some amazing bloggers yesterday!  Who knew!

Well I'm at it again today.  It's Day 2 of Blog Hoppin's Back-to-School 2014 Hop.  Today is all about the WHERE!

Those of you who have been following know I just left Kindergarten for Fifth Grade Special Ed.  BIG JUMP!!!!  Although Kindergarten was great, I am so excited to work with the bigger kids.  I put a lot of thought into making a room that they will enjoy, want to be in, and feel comfortable in.

I also share a room with two other people.  Picture a square room cut in half.  Now cut the bottom of the half off.  That's my room!  We are maxed out at my school so any space is prime real estate! Although I still have a long to-do list, I feel comfortable sharing pictures at this point.  I mean, I'm certainly no Reagan Tunstall, but I aspire to be :)

I work in a suburban school district just outside of Philadelphia, PA.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my school.  My co-workers are some of the best people I've ever worked with.  And my Principal......FAB-U-LOUS!  I'm {insert the most drastic word known to man} that she is leaving at the end of September.  I cannot even tell you how much I will miss her :(  She is by far the best principal I've ever worked for!

This is obviously my area of the room. I tend to work very long after the kiddies have gone so I wanted an area that I can work comfortably in.  Next to my desk, I have an area designated for students.  They will turn in their homework & any assignments into the bins, I keep my Homework Punch Cards in the small yellow container (Click HERE to download.)  I keep tape, a stapler, hand sanitzer, etc. on the table for the students.  In the colored file holder on the wall, I keep all of my copies and materials I'll need for each day of the week.

This is the area behind my desk.  I keep my Teacher's Toolkit and anything I need to access here.  There is an additional shelving unit to the left but you can really see it.  I keep all of my curriculum materials there.  Can you tell I'm not quite done? I still need to change out the drawer covers on that last rolling cart.  I have labels for both carts laminated and ready to go.  I just LOVE my little lamp there.  Nothing like some additional lighting!  And you really can't tell from this picture but I covered the backs of my shelving with contact paper.....ZEBRA contact paper!  You can read about that HERE.

Here's a closer view of that area.  I love the accessories I've been able to find.  And, btw, I am CHEAP!  I look for the bargains and get ridiculously excited when I find them.  The "D" initial was only $3.00 at Michaels.  The Chevron bins....yep, $3.00 at Walmart.  And YES, the picture frame was $3.00 as well!  When you factor in the toolkit, this ENTIRE AREA was less than $12.00!  I had the toolkit from last year.  Read all about how I gave it a make-over HERE.  I love this lil area!  To the left is a fan (a MUST for me, and my radio for when the kiddies leave.)

Well, this picture kinda says it all, huh?  My tables are still loaded up with decorating supplies but honestly, I only have a few more hours of work then it all gets shoved in a closet neatly put away.  This will be my small group workspace.  I have a shelf behind my table, as well as two more rolling carts, to house everything I need for small group work.  This year, everything will have a "designated area."  Those two words are going to be my mantra this year!  Any bets on how long that lasts???

This is my CLIPCHART  (<---- You can download it for FREE) and the ever-popular "READ" sign all over Pinterest.  I still love them though!

I love how the Library area is shaping up.  My Instructional Assistant stored all of her files (black bags) and I don't want to disturb them. She'll be in this week to get those moved.  I'm having to start my classroom library all over again so there isn't too much there yet.  A couple of books each month and it will fill right up!

You can read about how I made those T-Shirt pillows HERE.

Hang in there.....we're almost done!!!

This shelf houses most of my manipulatives.  Most of my kiddos learn better using manipulatives so I have LOTS of them!  This shelf is a gross, ugly district shelf.  I can't do too much to it, so I just took out the shelves and lined the back with black paper.  It helps the bins to really pop with color.

This is my area where students who have been absent can pick up any missed work.  This is a HUGE time saver!  When I'm handing out anything, I simply put the remainder in the designated pocket (Mon-Fri) then at the end of the week, I move them back to the file for next year.  I will also have a handout detailing any missed assignments.  Above that is my "You Forgot to Write Your Name AGAIN?"  "No Name"sign.  This is posted as you leave my area of the room so students can easily identify their work on their way out.

And last but not least.........

These are some posters / rules hanging above my white board.  I don't really have classroom "rules" listed anywhere.  These posters summarize everything I want the kids to follow:

     ~ Take PRIDE in your work!
     ~ We are a TEAM!
     ~ NEVER give up trying!
     ~ Always do your BEST!
     ~ READING is key!
     ~ TRYING is hard work!
     ~ Words are Powerful!

These posters will help to jumpstart conversations about what our room should look like and sound like.

Well, you deserve a medal for hanging in there with me.......but I don't have one to give you.  I can say a big THANK YOU for checking out my blog.  I hope you were able to get some ideas for your own classroom.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  Don't forget to "Follow" me while you're here!

Head on back over to Blog Hoppin' to check out some other great ideas!

Special Educator's GIVEAWAY!!!!

Well, it's finally here!  Today is the start of the Special Educator GIVEAWAY!!!!  There are some amazing products to win as well as 5 additional giveaways!!!! I donated a product in the PRIMARY group so make sure to enter to win my Monthly Editable Newsletters! Also, make sure to scroll all the way through to receive a special FREEBIE from me! Hop to the next blog by clicking the link at the bottom.
Did we mention how much we love special educators??! 
Well just to show you how much, 24 of us have joined together to help you start your new year out with a BOOM! 
We are beyond excited and even more excited for you! Ok, maybe even just a wee bit jealous! :)
These 24 awesome special educators, including me, have put together 5 fabulous giveaways and a freebie hop with over 20 freebies just for you!! 
Shall we get this party going!!? 
Are you ready?
The first 3 giveaways are split into 3 categories; early childhood, primary, and intermediate! So be sure to enter the one for your grade level! You can click on any of the pictures to view the product in their store or to wishlist it in case you don't win!!{wink}
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Early Childhood Pack!
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Primary Pack!
Seriously!!!!?? Are you feeling the Love?!
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Intermediate Pack! As you know, it can be a challenge finding resources on TpT for this level, but we did manage to put a few things together that we think you'll love!
a Rafflecopter giveaway But wait! There's MORE! David at "Attainment Company" was generous enough to give two lucky teachers a copy of this e-Book for their iPad. (This e-Book is compatible ONLY for iPad, so if you do not have an iPad do not enter!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway How many of you have seen this book, or are even using it in your classroom to assess and determine presents levels?? Brigance CIBS
Last year a new and improved updated version was released...... Brigance CIBS II
and we're super excited that Robin at "Curriculum Associates" has generously donated it for us to give to one of you!! Folks, this is a $339.00 value!! Now this one definitely makes us just a wee bit jealous!  (Our apologies, but this one is for U.S. residents only) a Rafflecopter giveaway And now it's time for a............... FREEBIE HOP!
I couldn't let you leave without a lil something!  Click on the picture below to download a great organizational tool for both Special Educator's and General Educator's.  It is an IEP Snapshot & Caseload Management template.  This will help keep you organized this school year!