Monday, July 29, 2013

Mission: New Year, New Room (Update)

My room is coming together slowly, but surely. My husband has helped tremendously by spending our date night helping me put together shelves and moving my amazingly heavy desk. 

I hope you enjoy a little preview of my room in progress. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mission: New Year, New Room

It's been since Friday since I have posted...whoa!  Sorry about that, but it has been super crazy around here!  We were allowed in our new school on Monday, so my mind and body have been preoccupied with all things school.  I took one load of my belongings to the school and have one or maybe two loads left to go.  My husband works during the day, so I am working in the evenings or whatever time I can squeeze in between the time he comes home and Bible School!  That's not really leaving much time!  Open House is 8 days!! EEEKKK!!

Since I'm not able to be at the school as much I would like this week, I am am doing a lot of work at home.  Thankfully my mom is heading my way this coming week to help watch kids and help me to put my room in order!

This is my first new classroom picture!  So much to little time.  Right now that huge whiteboard is standing in my way.  It is supposed to be moved very soon so I can begin moving things around.

Here are some pics of my decor and my precious daughter and hubby helping cut out laminating!  Now that's LOVE! :)

Wish me luck!  I can't wait to bring you more pictures of the finished product!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday! Wooo!--Weekly Fave Pins

I've been a little MIA this week in the bloggy world.  SCM is my excuse.  SCM stands for Safe Crisis Management, so if you gotta problem with're goin' down!! :)  Just kidding of course! I have been trained this week though in restraint and de-escalation strategies.  Two things have come out of this training; one I'm certified in SCM, two my leg muscles are killin'!  Whew! I haven't work them out enough this summer obviously!

So, even though I have spent several hours four days this week in training, I have had time for Pinterest!  I always got time for that! ;)

1.  I think this Parts of a Friend poster is just adorable!

2.  This is a great visual to help me remember what the functions of behavior could be in an acting out student.  It also helps me explain function of behavior to other people that don't exactly speak special ed. lingo
4 functions of behavior

3.  On Monday, I get to get into my new classroom!  I am so excited! I am about to burn up my classroom decor Pinterest board!  This is one of my favorites for the door decoration.
Spring Classroom door!

4.  This Sensory Tree would be such a cool idea for the classroom!
Stretch fabric over an embroidery hoop for sensory tree. Cute! These could be kept in a basket in the science center for little ones to explore, hung on the wall, or laid out on the ground. Neat things might happen with them in the block corner, too!

5.  I am so excited about my new school and what all this experience has yet to bring.  I am thankful that God has used me in different places and different schools for His purpose and now I will be going somewhere brand new and will be able to use what I've learned over the years to grow more there.  I feel so blessed that God has continued to put me on the right path!
On trials.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top 10 Special Ed Teacher Tips

I recently guest blogged over at Meredith's blog at Diary of a First Year Teacher. I shared with her readers 10 tips for special education teachers. If you are a new teacher, I hope you learn something to take with you for that first year. I'm not going to lie, it is tough. If you a seasoned teacher, maybe these are a reminder for you. Either way, enjoy!  Let me know if you learn something or if you have advice to add, leave me a comment!


1. Read those IEPs and psychological reports
Do you want to know who you kids are? Read their reports and IEP! These two very important documents give you (almost) all of the information you will need about your students. I say 'almost' because you can get so much great information from the paperwork, but some of the best information you will get on the students will come from the student's previous teachers and their parents! (More on this in a minute) As far as getting all of the pertinent information you will need the child's due process folder is the place to go. Oh, and don't just read...take notes! That's what 'good readers' do, right?! :) I suggest writing down the student's category of disability, due dates, minutes and location of services, related services, goals, and any information that is of extra special importance (behavior, programming, special transportation, etc).

2. Meet the Parents
Take the time to send a note, postcard, make a phone call, use a carrier pigeon ;) Just make contact with the parents. I have to admit that I used to be kind of nervous about calling parents, until I became one. I know that I want to know my children's teachers, so I figure other parents must feel the same way. Your students are going to know their child's classroom teacher, but are they going to know you? Make sure they do. Introduce yourself! You are taking care of their precious child's most unique needs. They deserve to know that someone qualified is watching out for and creating materials that will make their child be successful.

 3. Prepare Materials
After you have gathered information from paperwork and people, now is the time to prepare the materials you will need to make successful programming for your students. Some of your students may have sensory needs, need a visual schedule, or a behavior plan. Have something prepared for the first day, so the students know your expectations and are started off on the right foot. Remain flexible though, what you prepared may need some tweaking after you meet the child in person.

 This leads me to #4...

 4. Be Flexible
This should probably be numero uno! Special education teachers should take a class in flexibilty. Schedules, students, due dates, are constantly changing. You have to hang in there and roll with the punches. Find a way to get organized so when the times get tough, you are able to bend with change! I can not tell you how many times I changed my schedule last year to accomodate different needs, gaining students, losing students, etc. I have learned the best laid plans can come to an end quickly when someone starts having a meltdown at 8am or forgets to take their medication and you find out about it at lunchtime! Just keep a level head and go with the flow!

 5. Work WITH Your Co-Teachers 
One thing that is difficult for some teachers is to go into a classroom of another teacher. Some people welcome you with open arms and others feel like you are cramping their space. My advice is to feel the person out, find out their teaching strategy, study their classroom management and then figure out where your personality and strengths will fit in. I do not want to go in and take over another teacher's classroom, I want to feel like I belong there and feel wanted and needed. Saying that, you do have to be upfront with your co-teachers and ask what they are comfortable with. See if your coteacher wants you to have huge, medium, or small part in the classroom. Just remember to keep the kids in mind first of all.

 6. It's All About the Kids
Seriously! It is! Don't get caught up in the 'adult' junk! If what you are doing is not for the kids then is it worth doing. Do everything with the students in mind, not yourself!

 7. Is This Eternally Significant? 
Some "seasoned" teacher friends of mind always would say, "Is this (event, test, project) eternally signficant?" If it is isn't, then is in worth getting worked up over? Probably not. Keep things in perspective. Remember not to take things to personally, especially with "our" students. There will be days of meltdowns and tantrums, but so many times the meltdown isn't about you or even school at all. Keep a level head, take a deep breath, stay calm and deal with situation. This to shall pass.

 8. Get Organized 
Purchase a big desk calendar, and at the beginning of the year, write down all of your annual review due dates, re-evaluation due dates, and any other important dates. Make sure you look at this calendar daily and know what is coming up. Don't get behind, because there is no catching up!

 9. Get Organized #2
Find a monitoring system that works for you. Everyone is different and monitoring of IEP goals can be accomplished 5000 different ways. I like to use an excel document to plot my probe percentages that I gather from curriculum based measures, rubrics, and other assessments. Find your way! 

10. Document, document, document & Save 
In special ed, "they" say, "If it isn't written down, it didn't happen." Document everything! Parent phone calls, meeting notes, co-teacher conversations, work samples...everything! Save that documentation and also save work samples. You will need these at some point in your career. I like to keep my documentation in a binder that is tabbed for each student. I keep work samples in a file folder box with a lid. Each student has a labeled hanging file folder that stores weekly work samples for each IEP goal.

 *And a BONUS*

Become One with the Paperwork
Since I first mentioned becoming a special education teacher, people have groaned and told me that it is so much paperwork. They weren't kidding! There is a lot of paperwork. You have to find a way to stay on top of it (maybe that's why I have 2 tips for being organized)! I like to make one afternoon about logging in my monitoring probes and filing paperwork. If you don't do it, then you will be spending so much time at the end of the year filing and worrying. Don't do that to yourself. Get a system! :)

I hope you have a wonderful new school year!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Impromptu Vavcation

We are spending the weekend in the Smokies!  The hubby went mini golfing while I doggie sit and catch up on some relaxation. :)

The Smoky Mountains are one of my favorite places in the United States!

So while I'm here living up the good can read a blog post of mine over at Diary of a First Year Teacher. I am guest blogging there today about ten tips for new special Ed teachers!  

Go check it out!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's Officially Official!

Last night the staff of my new school had a painting party! It was so fun and we all made signs for our classrooms!  You know the move is real when you start making things with your new school name on them...

Painting the background

Adding details. Our mascot is the lion!

Finished product! I love it!!

And one more of the finished product in my home. It is in one of the infamous piles awaiting a new home in my new classroom. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Character Alphabet Line

I saw the cutest alphabet line on Pinterest, but when I went to the source I only found letters D-Z of the alphabet! What happened to ABC?  Those are pretty important. You can't begin the alphabet without ABC!  You can spell CAB without ABC!  I knew I wanted these bad boys in a bad way!  Guess it's time to go on a scavenger hunt!

I linked up with The Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday...because I tried to find this and I did! :)  Is that pushing it?!

Guess what friends, it was my (and your) lucky day! I found the alphabet line I was looking for in PDF form.  You can get it from the ProTeacher Boards.  Only catch is that you will have to sign up for an account, but it is FREE! :)  There are also a lot of great ideas here, so spend some time looking around while you are there.

Now here is the link.  Don't click on the first link, because some pictures don't show up.  Scroll down just a little bit and the author has the alphabet broken into 3 different files so that all of the picture come through.
Book Character Alphabet Line

Now, I already have an alphabet line for above the board that goes with my flower/garden classroom theme, but I thought this would be super cute for the library area. The kids, hopefully will be inspired to read the books that are on the alphabet line. I also thought it would be a cute and motivating idea to let them add their names with a dry erase marker or a little sticky note to the corresponding book/letter if they read the book.  I can't wait to get this cute, cute, cute alphabet line hung in my classroom!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Communication-Related Services

This is my final post for my communication series.  Colleagues includes: Related Service Personnel

I have thought and thought this summer about how to better communicate with related services personnel. In case you don't know, these are all of the amazing professionals that come in to our schools to work with students. They are our speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapist, teachers for the visually impaired, behavior consultants, just to name a few. I cannot imagine doing my job without them.

The problem lies in that these professionals are not in the building all day, everyday. This can make them hard to find and communicate with. This is no one person's fault, it's just that school is a busy place and sometimes you don't get to make all of the connections you need to make in one day. I've been lucky to work with OTs and PTs and speech therapists that I could call or email and touch base with them that way outside of the school day. As I begin to plan for my new classroom and new surroundings, I began to think about how I could interact more often and more efficiently with my related service coworkers.

My idea is a bulletin board/meeting area. You will have to envision this in a classroom instead of my rudimentary drawing, but I hope you can get the idea, nonetheless:

Clipboards for each related service person
Calendar for upcoming meetings
Notes for communicating when either person is not there
On clipboard-sheet for working on specific OT, PT goals, check off for when certain accommodations were implemented.

My vision is for each related service person to stop in the room and check it what is on the board. They can get notes, documentation, and stay up to date on each student on their caseload, even if they don't have time to talk to a special Ed teacher face to face that day.

I have created a Related Services Communication Pack available on TPT
It includes:
Student Goal Sheet
Notes for communication between related service professionals and teachers
Cover Pages for each Professionals' Clipboards (OT, PT, SLP, and blank for you to write your own)


I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's Taking Over...

I am linking up today with Christina today from Buntings, Books, and Bainbridge to show you my summer piles!  This is supposed to make me feel better about my piles! Right?!

I don't know whether to be excited about the things have found this summer for school or to have someone stage an intervention!  Just like Christina, my piles are bad!  They have taken over the dining room and the garage!  I've tried to make myself feel a little better by telling myself that I have all of my stuff stored in the garage because I am changing schools and I can't get into my new school yet, but the truth is my pile has grown over the summer and is encroaching into the house. 

No longer is my dining room table used for family dinners and guests, but for my latest project that needs cutting and laminating. It also is housing my classroom library.  

My garage (well half of it) no longer holds cars and lawn equipment, but a classroom worth of supplies, manipulatives and books! 

Oh my!  When I look at this in picture form it looks WAY worse than I thought. Man! I have got to get in school soon, because I'm looking for a new corner to pile stuff in! :)

I feel the need to go the Dollar Tree or Big Lots! ;)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Five for Friday Break & My Fave Pins

I normally link up with Five for Friday every week, but she has taken a little break so Cara from The First Grade Parade has taken over the Friday link up to share your favorite pins from the week.

Well, I will share my pins, but I couldn't resist sharing with you some of my highlights from this week.

My sister came to town this week and spent a few days. We did a little shopping and bought matching sweatshirts. Yeah, I know it is July and it is hot outside, but they were on clearance and couldn't be passed up! BBN!! Go Cats!

Then we went to get some Chinese. Chloe made a little dessert art. So talented! :)

And finally, I made this picture frame for one of my best friends.  She is having a baby in February and is doing the baby room is sock monkeys. The paper is from Hobby Lobby (picked that up while shopping with my sister). I got to give her the frame on Thursday when she came over for a little BFF time!  We hung put at the antique mall and I helped her convince herself of all of the cool thins she needed for the new baby's room!  She really racked up!

Now for my favorite pins of the week...
Click on each picture to head to the pin and to the original source

I love these Subway Art signs and rules for the classroom. I've already purchased and downloaded these cuties. I'm anxious to get them in my classroom!

We are headed to Disney World for fall break and I know I want some way to document our trip. I love to scrapbook, but it takes so much time. I have found several ideas for Smash books. I think that is the way to go for documenting our trip.

I think this is a great idea for sensory input and would be simple to make and store for the classroom. I'm on the lookout for some cheap marbles!

How cute is this cotton ball holder!? Just adorable! Gotta have one! :)

If you want to see more of the my Pins follow me on Pinterest.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ten Pin Linky-Reading

This is my first Time linking up with Just Reed for the Ten Pin Linky, but I couldn't resist doing reading. I love reading! Teaching reading, reading for pleasure , reading blogs, magazines, even directions and the backs of shampoo bottles :) I just love to read! :)

So without further ado here are my 10 Favorite Reading Pins:

1.  We teach the kids to "flip the sound" in our guided reading groups and D5 time, but having a visual to remind students of the sound is a brain blower! I mean, why didn't I think of this?

2.  I think this guided reading level sheet is so handy. It gives a good picture of what each level means and what a student in that level would be working on. I've printed this baby to keep in my reading binder!


3.  This is just too stinking adorable!  I am going to have to make pancakes and eat the Aunt Jemima syrup before school starts back. That should be no problem ;) I can see my kids working to spell the animal words to put in the bottle. I wonder what other book/reusable container project I can think of to do like this one. Adding this to my to do list. 


4.  I'm going for a flower/garden theme in my classroom this year. I thought these would be perfect for a word work center or spelling practice. 

5.  Practicing fluency is a funny voice makes it so much more fun!  I have done this for several years, but now I have this nifty pictures to use!

6. I have/had several students with the b/d confusion issue. This little manipulative was a fresh idea for working on this issue. 

7.  I've probably posted this a million times, but I just love the idea. This is a big project that I've put off all summer. I have got to get on it! Soon!

8.  Word work ideas get me every time. Students search through the "spaghetti" for their words, pick on out, and then use the "spaghetti" to trace the printed word. Fun! 

9. R controlled vowel work? Yes, please!  

10.  I have a ton of these Target Dollar Spot pocket charts. I've always used them out on the table, but now I need to make these PVC frames for them. 

That was hard to narrow down, but I hope you enjoy these too and head over to my Pinterest Boards to find evn more great ideas!


TPT 4th of July Sale

Click the pic. to head to my store! :)
I will be hosting a Fourth of July Sale at my TPT store!  Head on over there for some great deals! Everything is 20%  off.  If you purchase something, please follow me :)

I am linking up with Mrs. Reed from Flying into First so that you can check out some other great bloggers with their TPT stores on sale as well.  Now is a great time to clear out your wishlist and get some great stuff for back to school!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Communication-Teacher Collaboration

The next topic in my series in Communication is with the teachers you work alongside everyday.

Let me begin by reintroducing myself:

I am Mrs. H, I am a special education teacher, and COLLABORATION is my middle name.  :)

This year will be my tenth year teaching and I have been in special education all ten years.  Every year keeps getting better and I feel more and more confident in my ability to deliver special education services to children in their areas of weakness, all while building on their strengths.  One of they keys to make this possible is great collaboration.  I have been fortunate to work with some outstanding teachers throughout my tenure and it has made collaboration and co-teaching a joy and most importantly beneficial to students.

There are 5 Classroom Models of Co-teaching:
Below you will find pictures of each co-teaching model and my simple definition for each model:

The delivery methods and the lessons are obviously incredibly important, but the planning and outside of the classroom collaboration is as equally important.

I created Co-teaching team weekly planning forms to help you and your co-teachers plan and stay organized together.  Click on the picture to download from my TPT store.

In this pack you will find forms for making co-teaching effective and efficient.  The forms include:
Weekly Co-Teaching Planning Sheets
Classroom Teacher IEP Input Sheet
Daily Lesson Plan Planning Sheet
Note Cards (You can use these to send notes to parents, other teachers, administration, etc.)

My suggestion is to copy several copies of each sheet for each teacher that you co-teach with and place in a binder.  You will always have the binder to take with you to your planning meetings.
In my effort to go paperless and reduce the amount of binders I have to keep up with:

I have a little tutorial to share with you....

But you have to wait until tomorrow! :)

To be prepared...if you have an iPad download:
Evernote, Dropbox & GoodReader apps
        Evernote logo

You can find me linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics fro Monday Made It!