Thursday, August 30, 2012

What an Honor!

special education degree

I am so honored that others recognize the hard work that I put into this blog.  I am thankful for each person that reads this blog and every follower!


Monday, August 27, 2012


Today is my birthday! :)  So for a birthday present to myself...I am taking the evening off! ;)

Hope you are having a great day!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Behavior Clip Chart for Resource or Intervention Rooms (FREEBIE)

Many teachers in my building use the clip chart system for behavior management.  I really like this system and the kids seem to respond well to it.  I like how some teachers have modified it so the students can "clip up" and "clip down."

When you teach in a resource room, like I do for part of the day, it can sometimes be difficult to have a classroom management system that can carry back into their regular classroom.  So, yesterday, I was chatting with our math interventionist and she put a great little spin on the clip chart so that it will work  in her room and transfer back to the students' homerooms.

She has five levels on her clip chart.  All clips start on ready to learn (of course).  The students have a chance to clip up twice.  At the first clip up they receive a stamp on their 5 frame for the day and at the second clip up they receive a prize.  The first clip down is a warning and the second clip down (this is the spin on the "regular clip system") means they have to move their clip in their homeroom.  I totally loved this idea and told her I was going to steal it!!  She was totally okay with that!

My chart, inspired, by my friend and math interventionist is linked below.  Click on the picture for the PDF.  If you have trouble, just leave a comment and I can email it to you as well.

All Graphics (borders) came from 3AM Teacher.  Please go to her website to find wonderful (free) borders, backgrounds, and clipart!

And here it is, all laid out in my office floor, awaiting trimming, laminating and mounting!  

I cannot wait to get this hanging in my newly painted room!  The painting began last night and feel like it is the day before school starts (yet we've been in session for over a week now)!  Ready to organize my (school) life!  For real!!! :)

I also love her five frames reward system.  If the students follow procedures that day and appropriately participate they get a stamp in one box of a five frame.  The five frames are labeled with student names and kept in library pockets for easy access on a bulletin board.  The five frames allow her to teach with her reward system.  They can learn what goes together to make five, how to count by fives, groups of fives, and on and on!  She is so smart! 
The rewarding part is:  if the five frame is filled at the end of the week the student can pick a small prize.  When the student reaches 5 full 5 frames the student gets a special treat, such as eat with a friend in my room at lunch, listen to special music, pick a game to play, and so on!

If you scroll to the bottom there will be blank frames.  I shrunk mine so they would fit in the library pockets.  Again, I can't wait to show you pics!!  

Enjoy!  And Happy, Happy Friday!!


Freebie Fridays

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday

Some days are great, everything goes your way, all of your kids are having a good day, and your husband has supper cooked when you get home...okay so maybe this is only in my dreams.

I am linking up again with Blog Hoppin' for Therapeutic Thursday!

In reality, most of my days are spent going, going, going from sun up to sun down!  Take yesterday for example:
1. Woke up
2.  Showered
3.  Dressed
4.  Dressed my two children
5.  Put supper in the CrockPot
6. Backed out of the driveway and hit the trashcan!
7.  Called parents all day and did Brigance Kindergarten surveys
8.  Did math and reading baseline assessments between phone calls
9.  A student of mine had her wheelchair get stuck in the recline position and we had to lift her out of her chair
10.  I couldn't fix it
11.  Someone is coming Monday to fix that
12.  My (personal) kids came to my room hungry and ready to leave
13.  Called my husband and he told me that I put the food in the CrockPot this morning, but didn't put the ceramic insert in and just set the chicken on the heating element.  Where was my head?!?!  He caught that early enough and saved supper!!
14.  Fixed the rest of supper when I got home
15.  Cleared dishes
16. Fixed lunches
17. Checked assessments
18. Went to church and worked Kidz City (one of my favorite parts of the week).  It was Water Night, yes, slip and slide!!
19.  Served snowcones
20.  Got gas and drinks at the gas station
21.  Did a load of laundry
22.  ...and blogged! :)

Whew!!!  I am sure there are many of you that have had an even more exhausting day than this, but for me this was a loooong day and I am pooped!! So how do I settle down and relax after a day like this?  What is therapeutic to me?
1.  Long baths in my new tub!
2.  Blogging
3.  Funny pictures, like these:

4.  Reading.  I am trying to finish the Harry Potter series.  I waited so many years to read these books.  Why???  I love HP!!!!  My 4th grade daughter and I are trying to see who can finish them all first. :)
5.  Talking to great friends...especially when those talks include fall break plans ;)
6.  And inspirational pins such as these:
yes            Very encouraging!     His Ways are best

Have a relaxing day!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I Teach Wednesday

Where I Teach Wednesday @ Blog Hoppin'

I am a special education teacher in Central Kentucky, right in the heart of the Bluegrass State!  

Above is a picture of our building.  It is an older building with a ton of history and lots of character.  It has been many different schools over the years.  It has housed high school, middle school, and elementary school and some point in its life.  Many of the natives of the city still call it the Southside School, which it is no longer named.  What we lack in a fancy new building and the latest and greatest in technology we do make up for in heart!!

I wish I could show you pictures of my classroom this year, but we are STILL waiting on paint.  Everything is just haphazardly placed in the middle of the room.  Organized chaos, is what you may be thinking, but no...more like glorified walk-in storage closet.  Not bitter (at all).  ;)  I am happy to say though that we do have new drop ceilings, new heating and air (no more freezing in the summer and sweating in the winter...YES!), and new electrical outlets throughout the room.  We used to have one whole side of our room with no electrical outlets on it at all.  I was so excited to plug in the microwave this year!! 

Here are a few pics of my room last year:

This was my desk area in the back of the room.  I share this room with another special education teacher and her area was in the front of the room.  This year (try to imagine this) we are moving our desks toward the center (sort of under that bulletin board) to use as room dividers.  We will both have kidney tables on either side of the room.  We would also like to put a sensory/calming center and a reading area.

Here is my reading area from last year:

We share our room with our speech therapist, occupational therapist, and our Director of Sped/School Psychologist.  (They aren't there everyday though.)  Our school guidance counselor also has a little room/closet in the back of our classroom.  I am praying we will have this place looking like a cheerful, fun, learning environment by next week (finger crossed)!!!

Hopefully, next week I will be posting a new post about Where I Teach and you will get to my room all ready for a new year!!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday!

Here are my tips for integrating technology into your classroom:

1.  Follow Smart Apps for Kids.  They have a daily free app as well as lists and reviews of other great apps for the iPad and iPhone.  They also sponsor app giveways almost daily and they have great apps to give away.  Last week I downloaded a great AAC app that is regularly $30, but was free for one hour!  Love it!

2.  Don't be afraid to give your kids the computer.  I had a student last year that refused to work (most of the time), but if I let him use the computer to complete his work then he would complete work.  He knew more about the computer and what it could do than I do (and I have an AT degree!) :)

3. Follow Free Technology for Teachers.  This site sometimes has pretty high tech programs to introduce us to,  but they are great.  It is all of the lastest and greatest out there on the world wide web. Free Technology for Teachers

4.  I am dying to try to make some QR code activities!  I found this blog with some great QR code activities for math.  I found a way to do just to make some cool lesson to go with it!  Stay tuned for that.  I am way excited about this one!

5. can find of my favorite "tech-y" things on my "This make me Appy" Pinterest board!  Follow!! :)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 2 of Menu Mondays! & Monday Made It

I'm going in to week two of menu planning!  Last week was a success and I am ready to try some new meals this week!  I have to say that having a plan makes life after school so much easier.  I feel good about coming home and having everything planned out and ready to cook.  This week's menu is:

Pork Roast and Potatoes
Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Apple Cider Pork Chops w/Rice
Pizza Casserole

These are all recipes I have found on Pinterest.  You can follow my "foodie" board here.  You will notice that most of it is desserts!  Don't judge me!  :)  This girl loves some sweets!  If you have any good MAIN COURSE recipes that aren't too difficult please leave me a comment and a recipe! ;) 

Now for some Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics!

Our school follows the CHAMPs procedures for school wide behavior management.  I developed CHAMPs procedures for my students to use when they need to cool down or take a time out. 

(Border by 3AM Teacher)

These items are referred to in the procedures:

C.O.P Notebook (Chill Out Plan)
I found a great idea here about a notebook of ideas that can help a student calm down.  I have not started my social skills group yet this year, but this will be first on our agenda.  The gist of this activity is for the student to make a list of ideas that would help that student "chill out" if they are angry or anxious.  The student will glue this list into the inside of a composition notebook that he/she will use to write or draw in during a cool down or break time.

Some suggestions for the list of "chill outs" are:
  • Imagine yourself on vacation
  • Take a deep breath and let it out like you are blowing up a balloon
  • Use a stress ball
  • Imagine yourself in the snow (the snow will cool you off when you are hot because you are mad)
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Draw
  • Count to ten
  • Break craft sticks (I liked this idea from the School Counselor Chronicles---sometimes we just have to get that aggression out)

    As soon as I get my classroom painted and the furniture organized (I am praying that will happen this week) I hope to get a cool down area set up.  I can't wait to have pictures to show you all of this in action!

    And finally...a little blog hoppin' with Blog Hoppin' & What the Teacher Wants

    1.  I want my classroom painted and organized.  The paint I can wait on, but living in the disorganization is killing me!

    2.  Some more cute sandals (with backs).  Read my Teacher Clothes post for that little fun bit!

    3.  An extra pair of hands to do all of the projects in my mind!!


    Sunday, August 19, 2012

    Where Are You????

    I have a classroom.  I have a desk.  I have very few opportunities to be there! :)  

    The life of a special education teacher usually means that I am most always on the go.  If I am not in a general education teacher's classroom, then I am in a meeting, or doing assessments, or maybe even at lunch.  Sometimes I can be hard to find! 

    Kristin over @ had a great idea and simple idea for other people to know where you are when they need you.  

    She has some cute signs over at her blog and that inspired me to make some of my own.  Here is a sample of what I came up with:

    If you would like some signage of your own, leave me a comment and I will send you the PowerPoint so you can customize it for your needs!

    My plan is to print, mount on sturdy cardstock, laminate, and hang outside of my room.  Pics soon...

    The background used in the sign is from The 3AM Teacher.

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Special Education Blog ♥

    There is nothing that makes my day like finding a fellow special education teacher (or intervention teacher, Title 1 teacher, any type of 'special' teacher really)!  Blogging and Pinterest have been an incredible resource to help me find colleagues across the nation.  I thought I would share with you all the great special educations blogs that I have found.  I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Special Ed. blogs and this handy post here will show you some of my favorites.  If you have a special education teacher blog (and you are not included in this list) please leave me a comment.  I will add you to my Pinterest board and this blog post!  Let's build a community!! :)

    Here is the link to my Pinterest Board.  Follow my board and my blog.  Leave me a comment so I will know who you are!

    And here are some of the great blogs I follow:

    (Click on the picture to be linked to each blog)

    Ms. Green Apple: Self-Contained for EBD

    The Resource(ful) Room

    Special Speckled Eggs

    Life in Special Education - K-5 self-contained classroom

    Extra Special Teaching - My very own sped blog!  K-3 resource teacher

    Ms. Rachels Room - Self-Contained Classroom

    Differentiation Station - Primary Resource Teacher

    A Special Kind of Class - self-contained for students with severe physical and speech disabilities

    Teaching Special Kids - EBD blog

    The Resource Room Teacher

    The Lower Elementary Cottage   K-2 special ed

    Lesson Plans & Lattes - K-5 Resource Room Teacher

    SPED-Ventures: Self-contained classroom

    Positively Learning

    Baking…Crafting…Teaching…Oh My!

     We Are All Special!

    The Autism Helper - Autism classroom

    Toad-ally Exceptional Learners

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    School Has Started

    School started here on Wednesday! It was one of the best first days ever! My (school) kids were great and there were no tears or meltdowns! Wooo Hooo!! However, my own baby boy did shed a few tears, while my big girl had a great day and was back in the routine quickly!

    First Day of School 2012

    My big 4th grader

    My baby started Kindergarten!
    I would love to show you all pictures of my classroom, but it is still in shambles!  There was a hiccup with the painters, so my roommate and I have been told that painting will take place this weekend.  Our room kind of looks like a big closet right now and pictures would be embarrassing. I am cool with it though if it means our room is going to look good.  I can't wait to be able to show you pictures.

    As for what I'm working on right now...well, just trying to keep up the momentum for the rest of the week!  Kindergarten assessments to do and baseline data to gather...awwww...paperwork! ;)

    I do have a cute story to share.  A little girl (4th grade) came up to me today and our conversation went a little like this:

    Girl=SUPER excited

    Girl:  "My brother is in middle school now, you know?"
    Me: "Yes!  I know!  I miss him and I hope he is loving it there!"
    Girl:   "Yeah he is.  Hey! Now that my brother is gone you can work with me!  Will you work with me?"
    Me:  Totally flabbergasted.  "Yeah, sure."
    Girl: "Great!!!! I'll tell my teacher that you are going to come get me."
    Me: "Ummm...." And she walks away...

    (Note:  I am a special education teacher.  I can't just "go get" everyone.  :)  She asked me all last year to work with her and of course I couldn't.  I hardly even saw her last year.  This year though she is under my nose all of the time!  She stopped me about 3 times today to ask when I was coming to work with her.  I finally had to break the news to her that I might be able to help her out in class, but I couldn't bring her to my room.  I told her I had to get very special permission from her dad to work with her outside of her classroom.  She assured me that her dad knew me and that he would sign anything I wanted to let me work with her).  Sweet!

    I feel so loved.  My teacher friend/roommate told me that I must have left quite an impression on that family. :)  Sweet kid...totally doesn't get my job description.  I will so have to find time to "work with her."


    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Word Work Wednesday

    Welcome back to Word Work Wednesday!  I had a couple of link ups last week and I was so excited.  I have tried some link ups in the past, but this was the first one that I had some participation in! Yippee!  Here is this week's word work:


    Isn't it amazing that teachers can walk into just about any store and find something to create a lesson or activity?  So, can you guess where I went with my husband last weekend?  If you guessed Lowes, you got it!  This one is so simple and has does double duty!  This one is great for word work (of course), fine motor skills, and a good fidget for those that can't keep still!  

    Here's what I did:
    1.  Go to <insert fave hardware store>
    2.  Purchase a few bolts and a box of nuts (these are 3/4")
    3.  Write the alphabet on the nuts.  I wrote the alphabet 3 times and the letter R, S, T, L, N, and all of the vowels a few extra times.  I wrote the letters on each side of nut so when you twist the nut on the bolt it doesn't matter what side it ends up on your letters will line up.
    4.  Have the student grab their word list and get to work!
    5.  This activity was kid-tested and teacher approved!   My daughter (fourth grade) and my son (Kindergarten) loved this activity!

    Follow me, grab my button, and link up for some Word Work fun!