Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It

I did not do a very good job blogging this week. I have a number of posts I started, but never seemed to get around to finishing or posting. ESY, tutoring, and working in my room between those two things has kept me pretty busy this last week. However, I couldn't miss one of my favorite linkys, 4th Grade Frolics's Monday Made It.

First up is my classroom welcome sign. I had been toying around with what I wanted to do for a welcome sign for my classroom for the last week. Last year the sign was tossed together and wasn't really what I had been thinking, but it was the lowest priority at the time. I loved all the bunting I have been seeing and I started to make one on my computer, but I wasn't loving what I had come up with, so I put it on hold. Then I had gone to the craft store to get some more border (which they did not have- shopping fail!). I ended up walking around the store in search of something else (I am not really sure what, I am sure it was important, and I am pretty sure I did not leave with it) and ended up in the scrapbook section. I found a few other items I wanted for personal use, but knew I needed to walk away. Before leaving the area I came across exactly what I was looking for, this fabulous scrapbook paper that has been made into different types of bunting. Not only did it save me from having to cut out and design the bunting, but the paper was perfect and I loved all of the colors in it. I grabbed it and headed home to create some letters to put on it. I quickly made some chalkboard letters on the computer, cut them out, and glued them on the bunting and my project was complete. I had some bakers twine laying around from our wedding and used it to string it together. I am thinking about laminating it so it lasts a little longer, but I am worried it will make it too stiff.

My next project was something I toss together while I was up working in my room today. I was looking for the scotch tape when I came across some cork squares that I had bought and had up for a short period of time last year. I was thinking about putting them up on the side of my desk (the wall has some serious war wounds that need to be fixed or covered up), but I didn't like the way it looked. I had some left over fabric and I was thinking I could cover each square, when I decided to see if I could get it to work covering all four squares at once. I didn't really think about how tall it was, but I am thinking about putting my kiddos art work on display up top. I didn't really love it with just the fabric, so I added some border to it and it looked much better.

I am off to go check out all of the wonderful projects that have been posted today and get ready for making ice cream with my kiddos at ESY tomorrow. Head on over to 4th Grade Frolics to get some inspiration and link up.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It

I have been working on a few projects here and there over the last week. Starting ESY/Summer School really cut down on my work time. I am finally able to get back into my room today and while I was packing up all the things that have been living in our dining room, I came across a few random projects that needed to be finished up so they could go with the first load to school. Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics came at a perfect time. Here are a couple of projects I have been working on the last few days.

I decided that my classroom needed a "teacher toolbox" to organize all of the things in our room. We have a million of random buckets and holders around the room holding different materials. With all of the people that use the supplies in the room, my paras and I can never find anything. I figured it would put everything in one place and hopefully reduce the amount of clutter on the shelves in my room. My classroom is split into a couple of different rooms, so I ended up making two of them to have in two of the spaces. I had a hard time deciding on the drawer numbers and ended up deciding on an 18 drawer chest that I got at Lowe's. The hardest step for me was making the labels, it took me some time to decide what 18 things I wanted to store in it. I figured if the 18 I picked didn't work for me I could always change it. I was a little bummed when I printed out my labels that the dark blue and the teal did not turn out how they looked on my computer. They look almost exactly the same, but I think it still looks pretty cute.

My other project came to me a couple of weeks ago when I was in Target. Everything in the "Dollar Spot" was on clearance for 50-70% off and I came across little clear plastic frames for .30 cents. I wasn't really sure what I would use them for and I kept looking at the bins. It came to me as I was shopping that I could use the frames as mini wipe boards in my groups. I like to play different games with my students that require them to write down their answer to the question on wipe boards and we share our answers at once. I figured these would be perfect for that. Students would be able to move the frames around and position them so they could hide their answers from others. I also like the idea of them being small, because there isn't extra room for them to draw and it doesn't take up a lot of the room when we are all at the table. It is also nice because I am able to fit them all in a small basket with erasers (make-up pads from the dollar store- they work perfect)and markers.

When I first started this project my plan was to just cut out paper for the background to make sure the marker would be easy to see and read. Once I started thinking about it, I was a little worried that my students would pull the paper out. I had bought some colored masking tape at Office Max and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. I thought this would be the perfect project to use it for. I taped up the two sides of the frame so the paper could not be pulled out and it looked a little unfinished, so I taped all for sides. I am really happy with how they turned out and am excited to try them out with my kiddos.

Head over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out this weeks projects. There are so many great ideas being posted and I keep finding more and more things to make :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday!

This week went by so quickly, I feel like I barely got anything done! I started ESY/summer school on Monday and we have Fridays off. I am going to try to use today to get a number of projects done since my time is limited for the next two weeks. I thought I would link up again to Cara's Favorite Pins Friday over at The First Grade Parade. I recently found some really great classroom pins that I thought would be perfect to share.

My first pin has been popping up all over my Pinterest feed, but I thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to share it just in case you had not come across it. Brooke over at Tales from a Fourth Grade MathNut shared this awesome idea for posting directions in her classroom. I am thinking about using this for independent work directions or for when students come into the Resource Room as a welcome letter/warmup.

I saw this next pin listed on a board for brain breaks for students. I am pretty sure my students would love it. These little guys just crack me up. (The link to the original post on Youtube is here)

Thanks to Pinterest and Instragram I was introduced to this next pin from Christina over at Sugar and Spice. I had no idea there were magnetic curtain rods. Such a great idea for displaying anchor charts. I like that it doesn't take up much space and I can take it down and put it up as needed. I actually hunted a couple of them down today at Walmart.

I have been looking for different ideas for exit tickets for my students and ways to check for understanding. I like the idea of this one. A few weeks ago I posted one called Show What You Know, but I like this idea from Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy because the students would be sharing what stuck with them. I think it could good give me some good insight on what they took away from the lesson.

These last two pins I thought were really great, but after some searching I was not able to find the original posting (If you know of the original link or they are your posts please let me know so I can give the correct credit!)

This first pin is linked back to In the caption of the pin it talked about using these little finger laser lights to play zones of regulation tag as they are the same colors as the zones (white would have to be yellow). I love this idea and think my kids would really love it. I would love to find the original post or hear from some one who has tried this to see what kind of rules they used or how it was played. I came across these little lights at Michaels and REI and they were a little pricey, so I ended up ordering some the other day from Amazon.

Next is this cute idea for storing water bottles in the classroom (and again there was not link to the original poster except for this link)

I am off to finish up some projects! I can't wait to check out all the posts today, hopefully it won't distract me too much :) Head over to The First Grade Parade and link up!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Common Core Organization Monday Made It Style

This post has been in the works for a week or two now and I figured I would combine it with 4th Grade Frolic's Monday Made It while I was at it and post it today. This summer my goal has been to really get myself organized and reflect on what the Common Core means for me as a Special Education Teacher and my students. I knew that I needed to get myself organized and luckily during the school year I had come a across a wonderful pin on Pinterest for Common Core File Labels from Ashley over at That's So Second Grade! She is my organizational hero, especially when it comes to Common Core. If you haven't gotten a chance to check out her blog or her TPT store, you should do it ASAP! She has some amazing products (I love her bin labels that are linked to Common Core). She has a wonderful post you can check out here about her organizational system and freebie labels. I loved them and downloaded them immediately and knew that I wanted to use her labels and system as inspiration for my organizational system. I teach K-4 and was going to need labels for K, 1st, 3rd, and 4th, so I got working. Let me tell you it was a real labor of love. I knew when I started that it would take me a good chunk of time, but I didn't realize how long. Once I had them completed I contacted Ashley to get her blessing for sharing my labels inspired by her with all of you (Why should anyone else have to recreate the wheel if it is already done right?). My labels are not as cute as hers and when I printed them they took up a little more of the label than hers, but I think they do the job and turned out pretty well :)

Ashley's Labels

My Labels

I am currently now working on my organizational system. My hope was to color code folders to relate to standards/categories. I like the idea of being able to organize by the progression of the standards/skills/knowledge instead of organizing just in grade levels. It works for math, but I am really struggling with the ELA standards for K-4. There are almost 400 standards/sub-standards, which means 400 file folders in at least 6 different colors. I am pretty sure I can make it happen it just won't be cheap. Really I am probably just making it harder than it needs to be, but I have a vision.

Once I have them organized into a system I plan on keeping a variety of items in them. The first thing I will be storing in my folders are my wonderful Common Core Standards Posters (I Can..) from Jason's Online Classroom. After working on the labels I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make all of the things I was wanting for my classroom this summer and get everything else I needed to complete done. I picked Jason's posters because I loved the visuals on each one of them. I wanted my students to be able to have a visual to connect with.

Vocabulary is an area I see my students struggling with and there is such a large focus on it. Again I went searching and fell in love with Ginger Snap's Common Core Vocabulary cards for both ELA and Math (I also bought the science, I love them!). All I can say is thank goodness for sales! I am also wanting to add essential question posters, Ashleigh has some that I love, but I have been pacing myself and am hoping for a sale to make my purchases for these. From there I will be keeping lesson plans, assignments, worksheets, and graphic organizers I have that meet the standards in each file. I have found so many that I love on TPT and Pinterest.

If you are interested in my Common Core Labels you can click here to download them. There are separate files for the labels and the tabs. My link has Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd and 4th. You can find Ashley's 2nd grade labels on her blog or TPT store. My only word of advice is to check the alignment when printing. Printers have different settings for labels and it can make a difference in how they print out. The labels are 3 1/3 in x 4in shipping labels (I used Office Depot brand- they are the same as Avery 5164) and the file tabs are 1/3 Cut File Folder Labels.

Now head on over to 4th Grade Frolic to link up and check out all the amazing things people have made this week. I am super inspired and need to make a trip to the craft store :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday!

I couldn't help myself, I am linky up to Cara's Favorite Pins Friday over at The First Grade Parade. Here are my favorite pins for this week.

Teaching Pins:

I am sure you all have seen all the fabulous posts and ideas from Reagan at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. This week she posted her newest product the Rise and Shine Binder. I love this, I cant wait to adapt this for my students.

Ashley over at That's So Second Grade! is my organizational hero! She has so many great organizational items in her TPT store and I love that they are linked to Common Core Standards. These are her Math Tub Labels.

I love this idea for sight word game option from Common Core Connection.

I love this book. Toward the end of the school year I had a couple of kiddos in my social skills groups that we used it with and had great success. They really like the story and I like the process it lays out. (Free Spirit Publishing)

Home Pins:

This door! It is amazing, I love the style and the bright pop of color.(By the Sea Blog)

I am in love with the repurposed library card catalog. The color is amazing and I love the style of it. I am on the search for one (Hello Future House Blog)

If I had the money I would have Emily Henderson decorate my home and find me amazing furniture. I love this beautiful couch from her own home.

Photography Pins That Melt My Heart:

These photos are too cute! I love her interactions with the bear. (Could not find original source it was marked with imgfav as the source- If you know the original source please let me know)

So mean and funny at the same time (maggielynne)

These zoo/aquarium pictures are too sweet. ('t find original source-listed blank tumbler- if you know source please let me know)

Last one...Happy Friday! :) (

Head on over to The First Grade Parade and link up! You can also see all my other pins over on my Pinterest. Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday was not my friend until....

Today did not go as planned. Luckily I am quick to adapt and nothing but flexible, big requirements for a Special Ed Teacher. With all that being said I will not be posting about the Common Core like I previously had planned. I will have it up this weekend  along with a freebie though. I decided to take the night off and spend some time with the husband and then I got the sweetest email from Kristy over at The Phonic Phenomenon and she has nominated me for a Liebster award.

(Head over to Kristy's blog and check it out. She has wonderful ideas and I have really enjoyed reading her posts after I found her blog in a linky party.)

The Liebster Award is an award for new blogs. Liebster is a German word that means: BELOVED, CUTE, LOVELY, DEAREST, & WELCOME!

I thought I would hop on and accept since it was so kind of Kristy to nominate me.

Here are the rules of accepting the nomination-
To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

In the last couple of weeks I have gotten the chance to come across some wonderful new blogs. Not all of the blogs I am nominating are brand new brand new, but I think they deserve some recognition. I am excited to nominate the following blogs:

First up is Chicken Soup for the Autism Teacher's Soul. Sarah has a very cute blog and has been blogging for a while, but she is new to me :) I love finding new Special Ed blogs to follow.

Next up is I Think I Can... I Think I Can... Valerie is the sweetest and was one of the first people to link up to my blog once I finally started blogging on it. She is just starting her blog and just got a job teaching as a Resource Room Specialist.

Oh Happy Day is another great blog that I have come across. She has great ideas and I love her goal setting board. Again Oh Happy Day has been blogging for a while but it is a new blog to me and one that I think is worth highlighting.

Lovely Little Learners is the next blog I am nominating. Her blog is too cute for words. She has great ideas and I am loving seeing all her vacation pictures she has been posting.

My Life as a Literacy Coach is my final nomination. Kathi is one part of Hello Two Peas in a Pod (I love their work). She just recently started her own blog and I am excited to learn from her.

Now to Kristy's questions-

1. What is your guilty pleasure?
I would have to say I am totally guilty of watching some horrible TV. It is my mindless activity and normally is back ground noise while I work on stuff for school. I am actually watching The Challenge Rivals II (Real Worlds/Road Rules/MTV) as I am typing this with my husband. I can't help but watch the train wreck that is these people and this show. It does make me feel old because I don't know who half the people on it are any more.

2. What is your favorite technology toy and why?
I would probably have to say an iPad, because it has so many uses. There are very few things you can't do with one.

3. What is your MUST have for the upcoming school year?
I would have to say right now that it is Scentos. I feel like I have turned into a smelly marker hoarder. My husband would tell you I have a problem. My kiddos love them and are willing to do anything if they get a chance to use them. It is a really easy motivator.

4. What is your favorite APP and why?
I would have to say that one of my favorite apps for school is Puppet Pals. My students love making up stories on it. They can illustrate themselves or use the pictures they give you. Students record themselves telling the story and act it out as they go. They have a free version that I highly suggest checking out.

5. What is your favorite subject to teach?
I am not sure that I have a favorite subject to teach. I have recently really enjoyed teaching reading. My kiddos have made such progress and I love seeing that light bulb go off.

6. Are you a glass half full and a glass half empty person? Explain.
I would have to say most of the time I am half full. I do have my days where I can be negative or be down, but I can always see the bright side or find something good in the situation or in any person. I think in my job it is so important to always be able to see the positive and have that half full attitude.

7. What is your favorite TPT product created by someone else?
This is a hard one. I am not sure I can pick just one, there are just too many that I love.

8. Why do you blog?
When I started my blog I wanted to be part of the community and there weren't many Special Education Blogs that I could find. I am happy to see that community has grown. I am hoping to be a resource and also learn from others. I think it also challenges me to be a better teacher and gives me a chance to reflect.

9. What is your best organizational tip?
Keep it simple. Make sure you put an organizational system together that works for you. It is hard to stay organized if the system you put in place is a lot of work and you can't keep it up.

10. Do you have a favorite TV program? If so what is it?
Favorite TV show, that one is also a hard one. I would say I have three shows that I watch pretty religiously, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Scandal.

11. What inspires you?
There are so many things that inspire me. I have been very lucky having a wonderful group of people that surround me and support me, they all inspire me.The teaching community that I have found in the blogging world inspire me every day. It makes my heart happy that there are so many wonderful teachers out there making a difference. I would have to say that the kids and the families I have worked with over my career are really what inspire me the most everyday. They push me to be a better person and teacher everyday.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1. I love photography. I like to photograph really random things and trash often seems to a subject of my photography.

2. Before my husband I was very against owning apple products. I don't know what I was thinking. It started with an iPad, which led to an iPhone, then a Macbook Pro and a iMac. It is all we have in our house now.

3. I hate tuna! I have never tried it, but am convinced that I wouldn't like it just because I can't stand the smell of it. I know it makes no sense.

4. I love Anthropologie. It hands down is my favorite store. I even registered for our wedding there.

5. My children's book collection is a little out of control. At last count I had over 450 of them and it keeps growing.

6. I love blankets. I am very particular about them, they must be soft and cozy. I don't sleep well if I don't have the one I currently have.

7. Dahlias and Peonies are my favorite flowers.

8. Sharpies and Post-its are two of my favorite things in life

9. I am kind of a night owl and it makes it really hard to wake up early.

10. I would have to say that teal is my favorite color.

11. I love vintage furniture shopping and old houses.

I am the worst at thinking of things about me and questions to ask others. Here goes nothing, my 11 Questions:

1. What was the first teacher blog that you read/followed?

2. What is your favorite lesson to teach your students?

3. What are your top 5 school supplies?

4. Favorite 3 classroom apps (if any)?

5. If you have a TPT store what is your favorite product of yours? If not what is your favorite product you have found?

6. What has been your biggest challenge as a teacher?

7. Funniest thing you have had happen while teaching?

8. If you could have anything for your classroom what would it be?

9. Favorite "Professional Development"/teacher book?

10. Favorite picture book?

11. What is one thing on your bucket list you want to complete before summer is over?

Head over and check out all these wonderful blogs and I can't wait to read everyone's responses.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ten Pin Linky Party: Science and Social Studies Ideas

I couldn't help myself today. I have been working on a couple of blog posts, but I keep getting distracted by all of these wonderful linky parties. When I saw that today was Science and Social Studies ideas for Ashley's Ten Pin Linky Party at Just Reed! I knew I couldn't skip this one. I am planning on doing some more co-teaching in the classroom for Science/Social Studies and one of the things on my list for the summer is to find ideas of ways I can modify and adapt classroom lessons for my kiddos. This linky party is perfect for me to start looking around and brain storming ideas.

Here are ten of my favorite Science and Social Studies Pins/Ideas:

1. This first one is not just one idea, but it is too good not to share. In searching I came across The Science Penguin. Ari's blog and Pinterest have sooooooo many wonderful ideas all in one place. I suggest you check them both out!

2. I am loving this anchor chart from Amanda at One Extra Degree.

3. I love finding apps or websites that I can use to enhance my students learning. Brain Pop was super helpful last year in enhancing our understanding of topics. I was excited to find a list of apps from Playful Learning for science and will be checking all of these out.

4. Melissa over at Common Core and So Much More has an amazing packet of 140 Interactive Notebook foldables.

5. I love this idea from 2 Busy Brunettes for growing beans. I love the idea of using cd cases, I have had them sitting around in the past with no use for them.

6. I wish I would have thought of this. It is such a great idea! Katie over at Little Warriors has a great post on using Cheetos for pollination.

7. Another great resource I came across for both Science and Social Studies ideas is E is for Explore. On there side bar they have resource broken down by topic and the posts have the links back to the original source.

8. I love the visual piece of this pin. I just wish I could find the original post for it (if you know the source please let me know!).

9. I love all the products Ginger at Ginger Snaps creates. She recently just finished her Science Word Wall Packet and I am super excited to use this next year. The thing I love the most is that they are for grades K-5.

10. I wish I would have known about these apps posted on KidWorldCitizens for some of my kiddos last year. I am looking forward to checking them out and giving them a try.

I am excited to check out all of the other pins posted! Head Over to Just Reed! and link up. I am off to finish some stuff up and will be back tomorrow with a Common Core post and freebies!