Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Please take time today to remember those we have loved and lost over the years.  

Image result for memorial day images

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Special Education Featured Teacher {April}

I would like to welcome Caitlin from Learning Ahoy! as my Special Education Featured Teacher for the month of April!  I know you are going to love her post about adapted books and how you can make your own.  She also is sharing something special with us all!  Thanks, Caitlin!!

Hello everyone!  My name is Caitlin and I am the author of the blog Learning Ahoy!!  I have been teaching special education for 10 years and have taught kiddos ages 2 – 12.   I have been married to my husband for almost 8 years and I am mom to 3 little boys (although they are going really fast).   My passion is the students who need the most help.  The ones who do not have a traditional communication system, who have medical needs, who may need help learning to navigate in their wheel chair and everything else that comes naturally to so many. 

In trying to help my students learn (and be engaged in what they are learning) I have found that the more hands on I make something, the better they grasp it.  For this reason, I try to make books as interactive as possible.   I do this in a number of ways. One way is,  I adapt book is by using board books (more durable) and making pictures (I usually use boardmaker) to go along with them.   I look for board books when I am at garage sales and thrift stores that was I can get them for 25¢ each (sometimes even free when I mention what I am using them for).  Once I have a stack of a few books, I sit down and make all of the pictures at once.  I go through the book and find words or pictures that I can use to help build vocabulary and keep my students engaged.  I print the pictures out and laminate using 5mil film (again, durability).  I then cut them out and use Velcro to attach them to each page.  When we read the book, I like to start by putting all of the picture on a vellum board I made and talking about what each picture is.  We then read the book and add the pictures when needed.  The Velcro on the pages are my cues that we need to add something.   This has worked great with my students this year!  They have more involved when we do read alouds and are demonstrating higher rates of comprehension.

 Another way is that I often write my own interactive books or use ones that have been written by other special education teachers.  Some examples of these are Shamrock, Shamrock, What are you hiding? (A freebie in my TpT store!) and Where is the Turkey? .  Just last weekend I wrote a book called Plants Need because I could not find anything simple enough (and still age appropriate) for my students .  I used it this week with my class and it was a hit.  My students blew me away with how they retained the information throughout the week.

Well, if you made it this far, I have a surprise for you!  I have a new interactive book that I am posting just for this guest post. And guess what?!? It is free until Saturday!  It is called “Where is themonkey?”.  I have read it with my students multiple times and the cute monkey is a huge hit.  You can get it by going to this link

I hope this post helped you see how to make your students more engaged in reading and learning.  I would love if you would hop on board the Learning Ahoy ship by following me on Facebook, Pinterest, TpT (lots of free stuff) and subscribing to email posts.  You can read more about the happenings in my classroom by sailing over to Learning Ahoy!!

Also I just wanted to thank Kim for having me as a guest blogger.  I love sharing and collaborating with other special education teachers.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Special Education Featured Teacher {March 2015}

I am excited to start my Special Education Featured Teacher series with one of my favorite special ed teacher/bloggers.  I hope you enjoy this amazing post from Gabrielle Dixon from Teaching Special Thinkers. 

Each month a new Special Education Teacher/Blogger will be featured on my blog on the first Thursday of each month!  Click on the Featured Teacher tab above for more information!  

Hi everyone! Gabrielle here from Teaching Special Thinkers! Today I want to share with you about my “color-coding” classroom organizational system. Although it sounds silly, assigning my students a color at the beginning of the school year is my go-to for organization. It has saved my sanity. With 3 instructional assistants, a lead teacher, and a student teacher, keeping data and student materials organized and easy to access can be quite a challenge in a busy classroom! 

With 8 students, I basically use the colors of the rainbow: red, pink, orange, yellow, light blue, dark blue, and green. I bought packs of colored paper at Office Max 2 years ago and I am STILL using the same packs – quite the bargain! Since I do not put the students' names on anything and just use their colors, I can re-use EVERYTHING each year. Oh yea, and if I have a student move and get a new student, no need to fret, they just move right in the "vacant" color. It's like magic to a busy teacher!!

Here are a few different ways I use the color-coded system in my classroom:

Adult Schedules

When I created our master zone schedule, the student colors come in handy. In our “adult” schedule,  I use time intervals and student colors to show adults where they need to be throughout the day and WHO they are working with.

In our classroom, each student has a schedule for the day. At the beginning of the year, all of my students usually start on a picture schedule or words with pictures that are Velcroed onto a large strip in their cubbies. Their cubby, and schedule cards are both in their “color” so that it’s super easy for them to locate their schedule at the beginning of the year, AND it’s a piece of cake for the adults to reorganize all the schedule cards at the end of the day when we are redoing schedules for the next day.


As a special educator, DATA has become my middle name. In order to keep up with all the data collected in our classroom, I created data binders and data clipboards for each student in our classroom. The clipboards are hung in a central location in our classroom so when an adult knows they are working with a certain student, they can quickly grab their clipboard to take data. I keep all the data we collect throughout the year in the data binders, which are kept on the top of the student’s cubbies.

Station Materials

In stations where each student has specific items they are working on, such as our language station, I use the color-coding system as well. In the picture before, the boxes are coded with the student’s colors, along with the binders that we use to collect data on discrete trial training and fluency of mastered skills.

I prepare student reading and math binders at the beginning of the year with all the “copied” workbook materials we use. For example, in a student’s reading binder, I have tabs for writing, Word’s Their Way, phonics, handwriting, etc. Of course, the student’s binders are covered with their color paper and either “reading” or “math” for easy access for the adults and the students.

A Little Bit About Me:

I am currently an autism classroom teacher of students in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade. My passion for providing children with Autism high quality instruction as well as a safe and nurturing learning environment that fosters independence and growth has granted me the opportunity to develop my blog where I strive to empower others who support individuals with Autism and developmental disabilities. Through a desire to engage each and every learner in my own classroom, my passion for creating interactive and appropriately leveled resources has grown and developed over the past three years. My goal, through my profession as a teacher and as a member of the online teacher blogger community, is to advocate awareness and acceptance of individuals with Autism, as well as help others who work with these individuals meet their maximum potential in and out of the classroom. 

I am also a dog momma to a wonderful rescue puppy, Koda, wife to my wonderful husband of almost 3 years, AND I am a Jamberry consultant! Basically, I like to stay busy, busy!! :)

I am so excited to be featured on Kim's blog for March! Thanks so much for letting me "take over" for the day, Kim!! You're the best! <3

To contact me, you can e-mail me here!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dr. Seuss Inspired IEP Poem :)

Just a little fun poem that I posted a long time ago and dressed up by one of my favorite blogging buddies, Angelia from Extra Special Teaching!  In honor of the Dr. Seuss' birthday...this is what happens when the famous Dr. and Special Education merge! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Currently

Linking up tonight with Farley!  Goodbye cold, snowy winter!!  Hello Spring!!!

Listening:  My kids love the Food Network.  They would rather watch cooking shows over cartoons any day.  This mama is OK with that!! We have Guy's Grocery Games, Cupcake Wars and Chopped DVRed weekly!  

Loving:  I love Sundays!  I love our church and getting filled up for the week!  Today's sermon was about being happy in your life (marriage, single life, work, health, etc, etc).  It was a great reminder to be happy and present in this season of life.  

Thinking:  I have something exciting in the works.  Actually...a couple somethings!  I can't wait to share with you all, but not quite yet!

Wanting:  Starbucks!  I think I say this every month, but I love, love skinny vanilla lattes!

Needing:  Laundry!  Boooooo!! Why are those laundry piles non-stop?  

Spring Break Plans:  We are contemplating doing an in-state stay-cation.  Kentucky has some awesome places to visit and I can't wait for my kids to see the beautiful nature of the Bluegrass!

Happy March!!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Teachers are Heroes Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers first sale of the year starts on February 25!  Teachers Are Heroes Sale!!

My special education blogging friends and I are linking up so you can easily find special education products.  Please link up your store at the bottom of this post if you are a special education teacher/TPT seller!

Check out some of my most recent additions:

And my best sellers:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New!! Special Education Featured Teacher

I have been blessed to become a part of a special education blogging community.  I never thought when I started this blog back in 2011 that so many doors would be opened before me.  This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I tend to be very shy.  I know some of you are reading this and thinking, "Yeah, right!"  It's true, but writing this blog has allowed me to open up about a field of education that I feel very strongly about and has given me the courage to my chase dreams for new jobs, presenting professional development and taking on more leadership roles in my own school.

This blog has given me so many amazing opportunities!  I have reviewed apps and products, participated in blog hops, consulted with teachers across the country, and become a member of outstanding educational communities such as Learning A-Z and Social Thinking.   It has also opened doors of communication and idea sharing with parents and colleagues in my own school district. Even with all of these awesome chances to share my love and expertise in the special education community, nothing compares to the work I do day in and day out with my students.  Which is the whole reason I began this blog in the first place.  I love sharing what I have learned over the years and pushing myself to become a better special education teacher through the contacts and encouragement I have received from parents, teachers, colleagues, family and friends.

When I began blogging, there were already TONS of teacher blogs, but very few special education teacher blogs.  I remember finding my first couple of special ed blogs and being so excited that I would have someone to follow that would be sharing ideas that I could implement in my own resource classroom or share with my co-teachers.  I really and truly hope that my blog has inspired some of you.  I hope I have shared ideas from my own experiences and classroom that you can adopt and use.  I know the special ed bloggers that I follow have done that very thing for me! I have gained friendships with bloggers from across the country that I look up to and respect. It truly is like knowing a celebrity when a blogger that you have followed and sought advice from over the years becomes someone that you can readily call on, talk to (about non-school related things), and calls you by first name!  It is silly, yes, but so exciting!!

I would love to grow this special education blogging community even more by featuring a special education blogger each month in my new adventure called Special Education Featured Teacher.  I will feature a special education teacher, interventionist, school based therapist, or educational consultant once a month starting in March!  This blogger will be able to share a guest post on my blog, be featured throughout the whole month, and we will all get to learn a little more about our favorite special ed. bloggers!

If you would like to become an upcoming Featured Teacher, please click on the page above titled Featured Teachers and show your interest by completing the form.

I cannot wait to help this community grow!!  I hope you are inspired as much as I am by the amazing special education bloggers that I promise you will meet throughout the year!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Teaching Resource Math: Capture the Creature!

Straight from the Resource Room, I'm excited to share with you a game that my kids LOVE and beg to play!  Yes, they really do beg to play!  :)  

Capture the Creature is a fun math game that helps strengthen addition and subtraction skills within 100.  Capture the Creature is a fun game for practicing adding and subtracting within 100.  Students take turns drawing a card from the deck and adding the number on the card to the "Dinner Bowl" of the creature.  Specialty cards are included to "Capture the Creature."  The student with the creature at the end of the game wins!  Students learn how to add and subtract using a bead string or bead rack.  Students will learn more advanced strategies for adding and subtracting (such as composing and decomposing numbers to add/subtract in the most efficient ways, adding and subtracting 5's and 10's, and using related addition and subtraction facts).

Here is what you will need to play this game!
Capture the Creature Cards
100 Bead Rack or 100 Bead String (instructions to make one of your own below)
A Creature (plastic lizard or use the Creature Cards)

1.  All cards are placed in one stack in the center of the table.
2. The youngest player goes first and begins by drawing the top card from the deck and reads the +/- amount on the card.
3. The player pushes the correct number of beads to one end of the 100 bead string and announces the total.  The player places this card in the discard pile.
4. The next player draws a card and will put the card on the discard pile.  The player will add or subtract the amount noted on the card using the 100 bead string and will announce the total. (The bead string is known as the Dinner Bowl--a name made up by my kiddos, because the beads remind them of food pellets for the creature/monster).
5. In order to Capture the Creature, do one of the following:
a. Pick a specialty card that allows you to Capture the Creature
b. Play a card that makes the Dinner Bowl equal a multiple of 10.
6. Play ends when:
  • Dinner Bowl equals or exceeds 100 
  • the last card is drawn or 
  • the teacher calls the end of time
Student with the creature at the end of play is the winner!!

Instructions for making a 100 bead string:
  • 1 long string (can be shoelace materials, yarn, twine) approximately  feet
  • 100 pony beads  (50 red and 50 blue)  
  • 2 jump ring or binder rings
  • Tie a jump ring or binder ring to one end of the long string.  This will hold your beads on the string.
  • String beads onto your string in groups of 10.  10 red, 10 blue, 10 red, 10 blue, and so on until you reach 100.  You will notice that my beads are 5 solid blue, 5 transparent blue, 5 solid red, 5 transparent red, etc.  This helps my students with counting by 5's and 10's.
  • When I begin this game, I start out by introducing the students to the bead string.  Students have time explore the bead string.  I make sure that they notice that there are 100 beads and that beads are in a pattern on 10's and 5's, blue and red.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Special Education February Blog Hop & Valentine Edition of Oh Appy Day!!

Hello friends and followers!  I'm so excited to bring you Day 3 of our Special Education Teacher Valentine Blog Hop.  Remember to come back everyday to find the special education blogger that will be bringing you a wonderful freebie, tip or trick all throughout the month of February!  Finding the special educator's blog of the day is easy, please just stop back by my blog and click on the corresponding day's envelope to directly link to that teacher's blog!  My friends, Traci from The Bender Bunch and Christine from Autism Clasroom News have already brought you some amazing Valentine freebies.

In honor of February being all about feelings and emotions I will be offering (for TODAY, February 3, 2015 ONLY), I my Check In/Check Out Behavior Intervention!
Click the link above or on the picture to be linked to my TPT store to download this freebie TODAY!!  Don't forget to leave some love (feedback) if you download this goodie!

Also, for faithful readers, I am continuing to do Tech on Tuesday: Oh Appy Day, but I am I have decided to only do this once a month.  I will be posting some awesome apps on the first Tuesday of every month!  Well, friends, guess what day it is!  Tuesday!!

These great apps are Valentine themed and perfect for your students.  All of the apps are great editions to your iPads and tablets and I like to add apps instead of buying treats or candy for my kids. I see so many kids in several different classrooms throughout the day that it could get expensive to buy lots of Valentine goodies, instead the kids can use the iPad or tablet to enjoy a little Valentine love from Mrs. H! ;)

iGet...Valentine's Day Social Skills Stories
iGet... Valentine's Day is an application providing a photo social skill story for individuals that need support in understanding the process of Valentine's Day. Twenty-seven icons with real picture images are used to illustrate the sequence of events.

The Kissing Hand  {One of my favorite stories!!}
Chester Raccoon and his mother share a secret, the Kissing Hand.  A sweet story about love between mommy and baby raccoon.  This book can be accessed as a read along, read by myself or autoplay book.

Valentine's Sliding Puzzle
A fun game for kids of all ages.  Players work through 9 levels of moving sliding puzzles to complete a Valentine's Day picture.  This is just a fun app to surprise your kids with for a V-day present!

First Words Valentine
First Words Valentine teaches kids about letters, how letters relate to words, and even how to spell words. This app is perfect for beginning readers and younger students.  The app provides 8 Valentine themed words to spell and read. 

Happy February!! Don't forget to stop back by everyday to click the envelope of the day and join some of my best blogging buddies for some great February freebies!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Special Education Valentine Blog Hop

Happy Valentine's Month!!  Twenty seven of my best special education blogging buddies and I are teaming up for the month of February to bring you something very special!

We will be offering freebies, ideas and tips to show our love to you this month!  My day is February 3.  Remember to stop by everyday and click on the envelopes on the calendar to receive your something special!

Special Ed Bloggers {puffy heart} our readers!!