Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ummm...Hey there!

Goodness!! What happened to this week?!  It seems like the whole week passed by and I was just woke up and here it is Saturday morning.  I had intentions of blogging several nights this week, but the week turned into craziness instead.  I had an ARC for a new student, my formal observation and other personal life stuff going on that has resulted in stress and sleepless nights. I am happy to see the weekend and ready for Thanksgiving break!!

More to come later, but for now, I need to catch up on all of the house stuff I neglected this week!  Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall Themed Skip Counting Puzzles

My students  are having some difficulty with skip counting patterns to learn to multiply.  This skill has been incredibly helpful in the past when teaching my kids about multiplication.  I created some skip counting (Fall/Thanksgiving themed, of course) to help solidify those skip counting patterns. 

The cards are cut apart and the student put the cards in the correct order and practice the skip counting pattern.  Once students are given ample opportunity to practice seeing all of the numbers, I screen or turnover some of the numbers and the students have to recite the pattern while filling in the missing numbers.  Eventually, my hope is they will be skip counting to their little heart content without looking at the cards or a number line.
Check them out at my TPT store!

Fall/Thanksgiving Themed Skip Counting Puzzles

Fall/Thanksgiving Themed Skip Counting PuzzlesThere are patterns for the multiples from 2 through 10.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Mathy Monday-Crossing the Decade *freebie*

Today's math game is about crossing the decuple in math.  If you don't know this means going from one decade of numbers to the next, for example 28, 29, 30.  My math group has great difficulty crossing the decade when counting back.  This is important, because the students will need this skill when learning to do subtraction and counting back to answer subtraction problems.  Also, some of my math kids have difficulty recognizing and naming the numerals 13 and 30 or 15 and 50.  This activity shows them where 15 and 50 (for example) are in a series of counting numbers.  

Materials you will need:
Board game, dice or arrow cards (if you use dice-write the numbers 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90, if you use arrow cards use 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90) , markers or pawns to move on the game board

Find a copy of the game board HERE

Student 1 rolls the dice or draws out an arrow card. Student will move pawn to the space on the game board that is the number before the decade number they rolled or pulled out.
For example:  Student rolls 60, student will move pawn to the 59 on the game board.
Student 2 takes a turn, following the same directions.
The first person to the finish wins.  This game goes quickly, but I have my student play several times with a different partner each time.

Modifications: Have a numeral roll available so the student can look back to find the number and see what is before.  Have the student start at a higher number and count back, to get the rhythm and pattern in mind before moving his or her pawn.

I'm also linking up for Made It Monday!! :)  Hope you enjoy this game!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Veteran's Day & Reading A-Z

As you, loyal readers, know I love and am proud to be using Reading A-Z.  I love everything from their books to their activities for each guided reading lesson!   Today I wanted to share with you some of the activities that I have created for this week's lessons on Veteran's Day.
This week we will be reading the book Veteran's Day found on Reading A-Z.  (If you don't subscribe, I highly recommend the site, these activities will work with any book on Veteran's Day).

 Veteran's Day and the activities that surround this great day of memorial are special to me.  My dad is a veteran of the Vietnam War and helping and providing services to veterans of all wars is very important to my dad and to all of my family.  My dad started the VFW program in his hometown and was commander of the post for several years before recently turning that job over to a new commander.  I am proud of him for doing such a great job and supporting the veterans in his community.
Here is my dad at the VFW post.   I know it is not the best pic, but he not the picture taking kind of guy and I'm lucky to get this one.  PS---no one tell my dad that there is a pic posted of him on my blog ;)  He'll get me for this! :)

So, anyway, back to school and my lessons (PS-my dad always called my homework, lessons.  That drove me nuts when I was little.  It was so old school sounding when he would say, "Do you have your lessons done?")  

I have created a "dressed up" pack of activities to go along with Veteran's Day.  Included in the lessons are:

Vocabulary word wall words

Grammar work-A verb tense word sort

Word Work-Syllables

Comprehension strategy-Visualizing

Writing-A Thank You note to veterans

Head over to my TpT store to download your copy of this activity bundle for next week's Veteran's Day activities! :)

PS:  I will try to create a pack for each Reading A-Z story that I use.  I love the activities that they provide, but I do like them a little cuter ;)  I will be sharing these with you weekly.  I plan to have them posted on Saturdays.  Thanks for reading and supporting me so much!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five for Friday! :)

It's Friday!!!  This short week has been a long one! ;)  I'm linking up today with Doodle Bugs Teaching to show the top 5 highlights of my week.

1.  We had Tuesday off for Election Day. It was great to have a random mid-week day off.  My kids and I hung out at our favorite bookstore for the morning.  We {heart} Joseph-Beth!

Bonding over books!  Love!

2.  Land of Stories by Chris Colfer.  My oldest child started reading these books and now I am hooked!  FYI: If you haven't read the Land of Stories series...they are awesome.   Chloe is holding the second of the series in this pic. They are the "true" tales of everyone's favorite fairy tales.  The two main characters fall into the Land of Stories and find out some truths about their family.  Check them out!  

3.  The graphic below comes from my favorite iPhone app, Cuptakes.  It has tons of girly graphics for backgrounds or lock screen savers.  I love them!  

4.  These "tweeties" came from Target and inspired me to go for a snuggly, cozy, comfy Christmas theme this year.  Adorable, right?!  

5.  And finally, because I cannot hardly wait until Christmas, I created a simple little Christmas planner for myself and for you.  It is available at my TpT store :)

Have a great weekend!! :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

{FREEBIE} The Little List that Changed my Life ;)

Special education teachers!  Raise your hand if you are knee deep in paperwork and can feel the piles falling in!  I see your hands!  I'm right there with ya!
Meetings, IEPS, progress monitoring...oh my!  It's a vicious cycle that never ends, but I have a little freebie for you today that may just make your life a teensy bit easier.

One thing that I always struggled with was keeping up with the meetings.  It's hard to keep straight all of the attendees, the date (after you have to change it 3 time to accommodate schedules), whether or not parent can come, and on and on.  It seems like this task should be so easy... you invite everyone that works with the student, send the notice, wait to hear from the parent, probably reschedule :), and put it on your calendar to remember.  My problem would come mostly from the fact that I would send a notice and put another notice in the due process file and then I couldn't remember who all was invited and if I had heard back from everyone and then when I needed to see what the meeting is about or who/if I invited a certain person I would have to go dig out that notice from a gigantic file.  Not effective, people.  So, this year I came up with this handy little checklist that has immensely helped to keep me organized.

In the picture on the left you see the checklist includes: Student name, date, time, purpose of the meeting, and blanks for the of the first and second notice.  Then you see check boxes for each person that could (potentially) be invited to the meeting and a blank for the name.  
In the picture on the right you see how I use the checklist.  When I have a meeting notice to send, I fill in the information in the top section and write the names in the blanks for the people that need to be invited.  I put the checklist on a small clipboard that I keep on my desk.  Notice the post-its?
Blue=notice sent, waiting to hear from everyone
Green=Good to go!  All attendees have responded and the meeting is ready to go
As each person responds to whether or not they can attend the meeting, I check off in the check box that the person can attend.  
You can see at this time, I had three meetings getting ready to take place.  I kept the checklists in chronological order from the meeting scheduled soonest to latest.  This also helps me to prioritize what I need to work on, such as writing a new IEP or updating progress monitoring.

I am including a link to my TpT store so you can go download this for free!  MEETING INVITE CHECKLIST
 Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  Helpful?  Suggestions?  I'd love to hear how you use this!

I hope this helps bring a little more sanity to your day! :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Great News :)

Recently, I have had the opportunity to see my dream of helping other teachers come to fruition not once, but twice in the same week.

The first opportunity came from my new friend, Maggie, from Mississippi.  Maggie read my series of blog posts about how I teach reading and was inspired and had some questions about how I teach reading.  She is a first year special education teacher looking for some advice and I was and am so happy to share with her (and anyone else for that matter).  I must say that I was a little skeptical at first when I received her email asking if we could chat sometime about reading.  I have to admit that I looked her up and made sure she wasn't a stalker or something!  (Betcha didn't know that, Maggie!)  :)  Anyway, she wasn't a stalker and we talked on the phone and I had the opportunity to share with her about how I teach.  Honestly, I loved helping her out, but really the email and phone call was probably more of a blessing to me maybe than it was to her.  Sharing with and helping other special education teachers has become my new mission.  I love teaching and I love kids, but to share my knowledge with others and to work with new teachers is becoming my new dream.

The next opportunity came in the form of another email and follow up phone call.  This opportunity came on exactly the same day as Maggie's email and it about knocked my socks off!  If you've been reading my blog, you know that I am in love with Reading A-Z and the resources the site provides.  Well, the next email came from the product marketing manager from Learning A-Z, Jan.  Her email stated that she had read my blog and she was interested in talking to me about how I use Reading A-Z in my resource classroom.  The next thing I know I am being offered a subscription to RAZ kids to compliment my Reading A-Z use in my classroom.  I could not have been more over the moon about this!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Learning A-Z crew!!

So, readers, for you this means a lot more posts about my reading groups and how I teach reading using Reading A-Z and RAZ kids!  I cannot wait to share with you how these resources are helping my students!  I am so excited to see my blog helping other teachers and also helping my students.  This has been a blessing to me in so many ways!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Bead Stems (Math-y Monday)

Well, it's been a few weeks since I've posted any Math-y Monday posts!  The days really get away from me sometimes and I lose track of time and this blog, unfortunately.  Today I want to share with you my math activity for the week and get back on track with the Mathy Monday!

This week we are working on adding within 20 and the activity we are using this week is called, Bead Stems.  In this activity, students are learning to move from using manipulatives or physical object to making a mental representation of the number of objects when items are screened.  This is an important skill in connecting a written amount to the understanding of a quantity.

What you need:  beaded chenille stems (5 to 15 beads), large cup, cover, card set
  *Notice the different color beads.  I put five blue and then five red to help the students see how many are there without counting from one.  There are ten stems, beads number from 5 to 15.

What you do:
1. Place beaded stems in a large cup. Shuffle cards and place in a stack face-down.
2. On your turn
a. Draw 1 beaded stem and determine the number of beads.
b. Place stem under a cover.
c. Draw a card. Look at it briefly and then turn card over (or place it under a cover).
d. Determine how many in all.

In this picture you see the setup of the tools you will need for the activity.

In this picture you see the tools in use.  Notice that the bead stem is covered, screening the beads.  The student must remember how many are on the stem to be able to count on the bead that would need to be added.  We are working mental math here! :)

Leave either the bead stem or the card uncovered, allowing the student the ability to count the beads if needed.  You can also determine which bead cards you use and limiting what the students add to 3 or 4 beads at a time.


Sunday, November 3, 2013


I'm linking up with Farley for November's Currently!  

Listening:  It's early on a Sunday morning and the only ones up right now are the kids.  They love having the TV to themselves until it is time for everyone else to wake up.

Loving:  A extra hour of sleep!  I {heart} daylight savings time!  My kids didn't get the memo, hence the reason they are up so early watching cartoons, but I do like not waking up in the dark during the school week.

Thinking:  I've got to get moving soon.  We have about an hour and a half to get ready for church, but here I sit.  I'll get there! 

Wanting:  I really want to visit the new COSTCO in town after church today!  Guess what the bonus to going to COSTCO is?  Target is right up the road!  LOVE!!

Needing:  Okay, so this probably qualifies as a want, but I NEED a leopard print scarf.  I'm on the lookout!!

Yummy Pin:  Nestle TollHouse Cookie Pie!  Cookie + Pie = YUM!!!  Two treats in one?  Can't get any better than this! | NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Pie