Saturday, March 31, 2012

Basketball 10 Frame Freebie!!! GO CATS!!!

In honor of the University of Kentucky Wildcats going to the Final Four and winning today's game against the University of Louisville Cardinals, I have whipped up a FREE basketball ten frame set for you,  my friends!!

Click on the basketball to go my TpT site to download the FREE 10 frames!!!!

C-A-T-S!!!! CATS, CATS, CATS!!!!

Mrs. H

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break & a FREEBIE

Spring Break officially started today at 3:00 PM!!!  I am so ready for some fun and relaxation.  We will be heading to Atlanta for some fun with some friends of ours and their children!  We have a fun filled four days planned there and then back to Kentucky to my parent's house for Easter.  It is going to be jammed packed and lots of travel, but so worth the time.  I am excited about the memories that are about to be made!  Yay for Spring BREAK!!!

I wanted to give you guys a simple, cute, and effective multiplication game.  It teaches students the basics of multiplication, including making equal groups and placing the correct number of items into equal groups.  Students would then record the multiplication sentence to match the problem they created with the manipulatives.

Click the picture below to go to my TpT store to download the game for FREE!!!!!  Enjoy!!!!

Happy Spring Break!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why I Teach...

Today's post will have no freebies, no pictures, no teaching ideas instead it contains the very reason why I became a special education teacher.
Today we took all of the fourth graders on a great field trip to see War Horse at the KY Horse Park. The program was amazing. The best part came though after the program and after lunch when the kids were playing at a nearby park before heading back to school. One of my friends has some very challenging physical disabilities. She has no arms from the elbow down and no legs from the knee down. She does have prosthetics that she got this year. While we were at the park she asked if she could swing on the swings. Of course I said yes and helped her over to them. Once she was on the swing she told me that she had never been in a "real" swing before!!! The smile on her face while she sat so confidently in that swing could brighten up even the dullest day!!! Beautiful!
There are times when I question why I went into a career that has so many challenges and then God shows me why! The smile of a child (a fourth grader) swinging on a real swing for the very first time...that's why I do what I do!
Amidst new standards, lesson plans, IEPs, behavior plans, and meetings the pure joy of a child can really put things back into perspective! Bless that child. She will accomplish so much!!

Mrs. H

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Angry Birds--The Pigs

This week in our social skills group we have been talking about Pigs.  Yep, that's right, pigs.  If you've been following my Angry Birds posts then you may realize that it was only a matter of time before the pigs came into the picture.

If you play Angry Birds (the game) then you know that the premise of the game is that the pigs made the birds angry by stealing the birds' eggs.  Therefore, the pigs, triggered the anger of the birds.  We talked about our triggers.  Some things that triggered some of my students were:

  • When people don't do what you tell them to do
  • When a computer doesn't work
  • When they get hurt
  • When a sibling does something to them
  • When they don't understand an assignment
The kids drew their own pigs and behind each pig's head they wrote about their triggers.  

Now that we have have reviewed all of the parts of Angry Birds we made a bulletin board to hang up all of hard work.

And, one more picture...a close up of the ways to calm down:
Stop and Think, Take a Deep Breath and Count to 10, Seek Adult Help

I hope you have all enjoyed this Anger Management unit!  I know my kids have enjoyed and have learned a lot from it!  Let me know if you try any of these techniques with your kids!  I would love to celebrate your successes, too!

Mrs. H

Monday, March 26, 2012

Angry Birds---Part 3

We are continuing our Angry Birds Anger Management Unit here in my little part of the world.  I have been extremely pleased with the reaction my friends have had to this strategy.  I witness them talking about the Angry Birds and using the techniques and strategies we have learned during our group sessions.  (And when we get a chance to play Angry Birds the game...they call the birds by the names we came up with for them, ie: Angry eyes, cutting words, etc.)  I love it!

Now that I feel the kids are comfortable with each bird and what each bird means and also a strategy to handle each level of anger; we have moved on to creating our own birds.  I directed the students by telling them they are allowed to create an Angry Bird of their own.  The bird can represent anger or a calming technique.  I was (happily) surprised by some of their responses.  Some students that I thought would choose to do anger actually chose to develop a calming technique!  Am I getting through to them???? Goodness, I hope so!!

I found these great creative writing templates at TpT about creating our own Angry Birds.  They are free for download at SmartChicks TpT store or by clicking below to read on Scribd.   I use pages 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8.  There are some very interesting creative writing ideas within in this document, but I used what I needed to fulfill my needs.
Angry Bird Project Make Your Own New Type of Angry Bird Free

Here are the birds my kiddos came up with:

1.  Twister Bird: Angry Bird, His anger level is between the throwing objects bird (the white bird) and the body out of control bird (bomb bird).  When this get bird gets angry he twists his body like a tornado and wipes out everything in sight.

2.  Raining Bird:  Angry Bird.  His anger level is between cutting words (yellow bird) and throwing objects (white bird).  When he gets really angry he begins to cry (rain).

 3.  The Luck of the Irish:  Calming Bird.  His calming technique is to play the flute when feeling anger.  This student expressed that he likes to listen to music when he is upset, because it helps him feel better.  (The name comes from something they are learning in music class and it's March, soooo....Leprechauns, Irish, you get the picture!)  (In the game this bird would lull the pigs to sleep with his Irish music)

4.  Steam Off:  Calming Bird.  His calming technique is to imagine yourself outside in the snow when you are mad.  When we are mad we our temperature rises and we become very hot.  If you imagine yourself in the snow then you would cool off very quickly and the heat from your body would turn to steam.  LOVE!! :)  (In the game this bird would freeze the birds into blocks of ice that the bird could smash)

My students completed the pages in the packet to plan and create the bird.  After all of the planning and writing was complete the student used whatever decorations we could find to create the birds!

Hope you enjoy!  Next up in this little series is the PIGS!! :)  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


It's Sunday night and time to get  ready for the new week!  This week is stacking up to be a busy one. This is the last week of school before Spring Break (thank you, Jesus!!)  But even with Spring Break so close there is still a million and one things to do, starting with writing an IEP.   (If my head wasn't swimming before it really is.)  I had to take a quick break from all of those goals, objectives and minutes for a blogging break! :)

Do you ever realize how much time you spend speaking in "code" as a special education teacher?  I realize that a lot, especially when I am talking to my husband about "spec ed stuff" and I start rambling a bunch of letters and he gives me the "deer in headlights" look!  I developed a little Special Ed. Acronyms sheet.  I hope you can find it useful!  I think it would be beneficial for parents of children with special needs, other teachers, administrators, and husbands (ha)!

Download it here --->  Special Education Acronyms

If you can think of anymore Acronyms that should be added just send me a comment and I will update.  I realize some of these may vary by state, so I tried to to put up the most common! :)  Hope this helps!!

Mrs. H

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Blog

Today I am doing my first official guest post EVER!! :)

Check it out @

Mrs. H

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bloggy Lovin'

I found a couple of great new (new to me) blogs over at


Head on over and link up and check some out for yourself!  Let them know Mrs. H sent you ;)

Here are two of my favorites I found while perusing the links:

Fabulous Fourth Grade
I especially love this teacher's literacy workstations and anchor charts!

Margaret is also a special education teacher! (Love it) and she has some wonderful ideas.  I really want to make some spelling blocks now!  Looks like I need to hit up the Goodwill! :)

And one more...
Link up!  Intermediate Elementary Teachers!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Best Day----EVER!!!!

My neighbor just brought over the motherload of school supplies!!! He works for merchandising through some well-known chain stores and he is allowed to choose from the leftover at the end of the season.  He didn't even know I was a teacher!!  He just saw me outside with my kids and thought they may enjoy the notebooks.  I was super-duper excited to share with him that my kids at school were going to love this!!  It's like Christmas!!!!

The kindness of (almost) strangers really brightened my day!!!!

Mrs. H

Monday, March 12, 2012

Role Playing Freebie :)

Kids Can Be Actors (and Learn too)

 :)  Often in my social skills group we use role playing to teach social situations and social skills.  My kids enjoy playing someone else and "acting" for their classmates.  The Angry Bird Unit has really allowed us to use more social skill/role play scripts to learn new ways to deal with their anger.

Here is an outline of my social scripts:
  • Scene-The scene for the script is set for you.  It allows the students to visualize the setting of story.
  • The script
  • Self talk examples-I like to use these with the "Boomerang Bird"  (Check it out here)  These are great times to stop and think/talk about what the problem is.  
  • Assertive statement-I teach my students that is okay to ask questions when you don't understand why something happened or possibly why they are in trouble.  Sometimes anger comes from misunderstandings and sometimes students/people need to learn the most respectful and courteous way to handle situations that make them angry.
You can find my role play scripts here --->  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WordPlay Cafe

I wanted to share with you one of the most worthwhile and awesome resources I have found on Pinterest!  (What did teachers do before blogging and Pinterest?  Really?)  This man, Michael Kline, has written a book about word play and linguistics that is chock-full of wonderful ideas to use with your kids.  The activities are fun and engaging (and not just for the kids).  And...want to know the best part?  It is free!!!!!! Go to the website below and download (You can click the picture or the link)!  Also, you can go to Amazon and order the book.

Wordplay WordPlay Café

I can't wait to try out some of the wonderful ideas in this book! A-MAZ-ING!!!

Mrs. H :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Snow Day, Freebie, and some Love

You know what I love about teaching in Kentucky?  Unexpected snow MARCH!!  This has been such a mild winter and we have had only one other snow day this year.  This is highly unusual for Kentucky, because we normally would have at least five or six by this time of year.  I was beginning to think we were in the clear as far as snowy weather is concerned.  I guess that is one thing about KY...if you don't like the weather right now, then wait 24 hrs and it will be totally different!  Case in point, this past week...Highs in the 70's, tornadoes (prayers for those affected in Eastern KY), and now, SNOW!!  OH well, I don't hate a snow day!!  We have had a great day here at our house.  The kids and I got up and ready and put our PJs back on!! The kids played outside and made a giant snowball and I worked on lesson planning (ahem...searched on Pinterest)!

Here are my kids building the World's Largest Snowball!!

 they are again, posing with said Snowball!!

And just so you know, today wasn't all play and no work.  I did find a couple of fun ideas on pinterest. :)  I found a great idea for domino math.  I am currently completing the coursework to be AVMR (Add-Vantage Math Recovery) certified to be a Math Intervention Teacher through the Kentucky Center for Mathematics. I spend a lot of time focusing on the "basics" of math and helping children understand number sense and addition and subtraction.  I have a group of fourth and fifth grade students for resource math and I use the AVMR strategies to help them meet their mathematics goals.  We often do the same lessons for a week or more at a time, because it takes them a long time and a lot of repetition to grasp the concepts.  (I am talking, I have fifth grades that cannot structure numbers to 10).  Recently we have been using Dominos to recognize regular number patterns and addition.  On Friday of this week, I have a little something extra special planned!
Delicious Dominoes

delicious dominoes
Here are some sheets I will be using with this fun activity!!  I just made my very first Teachers Pay Teachers Freebie!!!  Check it out here:
So exciting!!

And finally...I just have to say it again!  I love teacher blogging!  I am "meeting" some great teachers through blogging and am excited to see what other teachers across the country are doing and creating!  Work smarter, not harder!! Right?!  Here are a few of my favorite teacher blogs:

Think, Wonder, & Teach

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What Happens When Dr. Seuss and Spec. Ed. Collide :)

A friend of mine sent me a hilarious little poem about Dr. Seuss and IEPs.  It just seems so timely (considering the good doctor's birthday and all) that I just have to share it with you!

I don't know the source of this poem, but if someone out there does, let me know and I'll give 'em some credit. Until then....ENJOY!!

Do you like these IEPs?
(To the rhythm of Green Eggs and Ham)

I do not like these IEPs
I do not like them, Geez Louise
We test, we check
We plan, we meet
But nothing ever seems complete

Would you, could you like the form?

I do not like the form I see
Not page 1, not 2, not 3
Another change
A brand new box
I think we all
Have lost our rocks

Could you all meet here or there?

We could not all meet here or there
We cannot all fit anywhere!
Not in a room
Not in the hall
There seems to be no space at all

Would you, could you meet again?

I cannot meet again next week
No lunch, no prep
Please hear me speak
No not at dusk.  No not at dawn
At 4 p.m. I should be gone

Could you hear while all speak out?
Would you write the words they spout?

I could not hear, I would not write
This does not need to be a fight
Sign here, date there
Mark this, check that
Beware the student's ad-vo-cat(e)

You do not like them
So you say
Try again, try again!
And you may

If you will let me be
I will try again
You'll see


I almost like these IEPs!
I think I'll write six thousand three
And I will practice day and night
Until they say
"You've got it right!"

Mrs. H

Friday, March 2, 2012

Angry Birds Anger Management--Part 2

This past week we finished up our beginnings to Angry Birds Anger Management.  We have talked about all of the "angry" birds and have begun to touch on the Coping Strategies and techniques the other birds can provide.

Let me introduce you to the "not-so-angry" birds!  (PS-I just wanted to share again that I am adapting this idea from another blogger/homeschool teacher.  She came up with all of the great visuals.  I am totally giving her the credit for putting this idea into my mind, but modified it to fit the needs of my students.  Please check out her blog here.)


#1 The Bird's Nest
I explained to my students the importance of how safe the eggs or baby birds feel when they are at home in the bird's nest.  They are protected my their mommy bird and their brother and sister birds.  We talked about what place in the school that they felt most safe and comfortable in.  All of the students agreed that that place was my classroom.  They know they are allowed to come down for cool down times, to talk to me, or talk to our counselor or our SAM (we all share a room).  We deemed my room "The Bird's Nest."  I (am in the process of) making each of my group participants a card with the bird's nest on it.  They will use this card to give to their homeroom teacher to use as a break card to come to my room.  This card though does have its own set of procedures.

Procedures for Bird's Nest Card:
1.  The card must be handed to your homeroom teacher when the student feels like he/she cannot handle the stressful situation.  (We have done many lessons on what stressors affect each student).

2.  The student will come straight to my room (the teacher has a copy of my schedule and will only allow the student to go at certain times or to come find me in the building if it is an emergency).
3.  I will take the bird's nest card from the student and immediately call the homeroom teacher to let them know that I have the student.  If the teacher does not get a call from me within the estimated time it takes to get to my room, then the teacher will call my room or the office.
4. Student will be allowed to go to specified cool down areas in my room.  A timer will be set and the student will take a cool down time on their own.  At the end of the designated time the student will conference with me or my assistant and will complete a "Thinking Sheet."

#2  The Balloon Bird
When a student begins to become stressed or angry they have been instructed to use the balloon breathing technique.  The student inhales deeply, holds the breath, and then slowly lets out the air as if filling up a balloon.  The student repeats this cycle until his/her body begins to get under control and goes back to a calm state.

#3  The Boomerang Bird
This is the STOP and THINK technique.  In the game, Angry Birds, when you release this bird he flies out of the slingshot, then you click the mouse button, and he boomerangs back (knocking down bricks).  I discussed with the students how they can do this same technique.  Getting angry is like flying out of the slingshot, then we stop, and turn around and make a better choice.  We also incorporated Stop and Talk.  The students came up with this.  They thought that when the bird/themselves STOP then they need someone to talk to about the issue.  We rehearsed this technique with a couple of role play scenarios.

#4 The Mighty Eagle
Sometimes the Momma Bird just needs to swoop in and save the day.   We discussed how mommies and grandmas and aunts or daddies and grandpas can't be at school everyday, but that there are people at school that care about each of them and want to help students deal with anger.  We talked about different people in the school that could swoop down and help deal with the problem.  We mainly talked about how I would be the person in most cases that would be there to help them deal with the issues at hand.

Over the weekend I will post the role plays that I have used with my students.

And just a little update:
My kids are responding to this so well.  I am impressed with their ability to talk about, participate and try to use the strategies that I am giving them throughout this unit.  Now, I must say that they are not the best about generalizing strategies across settings, but bless their hearts, I think they are at least soaking this in and with help they are (starting) to try to use what they have learned outside of my classroom walls.
It's a long journey with some kids with behavior disorders.   In fact, just today I texted my husband during a moment of frustration and he said something so simple, but great and reassuring.  "You are changing lives."   I think we all need to be reminded of that somedays!  Thanks, honey!!
Mostly likely you are a teacher if you are reading this, so just remember those simple words..."You are changing lives!!"


Teaching Blog Addict...why do I love thee?


The TOP 5 Reasons Why I ♥ TBA

1.  You are for blog addicts like me
2.  You have wonderful freebies for poor teachers ;)
3.  It's a great place to connect with other wonderful educators
4.  You allow all teachers a way to get their blogs "out there"
5.  Daily emails keep me up-to-date with new and fun ideas!!

Follow TBA on Pinterest!!!  

A big THANKS goes to Debra over at  Fabulously First Blog for giving me Teaching Blog Addicts Top 10 Blog Award!!!

I really appreciate it!! I love new readers and followers!  Teacher blogging has become one of my favorite hobbies.  There are some amazing teachers all over the country with some wonderful ideas to share.  I am blessed beyond measure that there are other teachers out there that are interested in my ideas!!  Thanks again!

And to show my appreciation, I will pay it forward by sharing some of my favorite teacher blogs with you!

Lesson Plans and Lattes