Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Two of my Assistive Tech Specialists came recently and gave me some good ideas to incorporate into how I present my lessons. One app that I want to get more use out of is Show Me!

It is something that you just need to play with to learn and will provide my families with easy access to activities that the kids are doing at school.
Here is a link to reading Edmark words in a way that they kids can access:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Liebster Blog Nomination

I was surprised to find an email that I had been nominated for the Liebster Award!
I was nominated by Michelle at The Heart of Reading, who used the same blog designer, Honey Bunch, that I did!

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. It was created to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs. Thanks for the opportunity Michelle! I will answer the questions below! And then below that are the questions for the people I nominated to answer.

The rules:

  • You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions the nominator set for you.
  • Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
  • Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
  • No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!  
·       Questions asked by Michelle:
·       1. What has been your best teaching experience? I have so many small successes that are really huge successes to list: I get to see kids say their first words, become more independent with self help skills and have even seen kids learn to walk. It’s pretty amazing.
·       2. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I went to Ireland last summer, Scotland is a close 2nd wish. My dad and I had a mutual love for the movie Brigadoon, and it is sentimental for me.
·       3. What is your favorite day of the week? Thursdays…it is the “I can make it to the weekend” point.
·       4. What is your favorite grade to teach? Difficult for me to answer as my kids are K-1 but have varying needs. I like the little kids for Special education.
·       5. What is the word you frequently misspell? receive
·       6. What is the funniest movie you have ever seen? The Jerk
·       7. Do you have any pets? What types? Dog, goldendoodle
·       8. What is your favorite childhood memory? Christmas Eve trips downtown to Philly and trying to fit a huge family in for a picture with Santa.
·       9. If you were on an island and could only have 1 food and drink what would they be? Snapple iced tea and salmon
·       10. Did you every play a team or individual sport? What? Ha-cheerleading…In 3rd grade I played pee wee basketball and the coach said.. “You’re tall, why aren’t you any good?” Needless to say, I didn’t keep up with that!
·       11. Do you watch any reality shows? Which is your favorite? I know it is disturbing but I can’t turn off Hoarders.

11 Random Things about myself:

1. I am the youngest of eight kids.
2. I am a techie geek.
3. I have 9000 songs on my iTunes.
4. I didn’t get my driving license until I was 20.
5. I have been using the same (self purchased) digital projector since 2006! It has been reading “replace bulb” for 2 years, I really don’t know how it is running!
6. I am someone who learns by doing, and making mistakes, so playing around a lot still with blogging, TPT and other networking.
7. I have a Goldendoodle.
8. I just finished up a Reading Specialist Cert and started and Assistive Technology/Universal Design Cert.
9. I love going to an early Saturday movie by myself and sneaking in a coffee.
10. I have a weird memory with song lyrics, great for all the kids’ songs I find myself singing all day to my students.
11. I have donated my hair three times to Locks of Love.

11 Questions for the Blogs I nominated:

1. How long have you been teaching?

2. Tell about your favorite Professional Development Experience?

3. What is your favorite teaching quote?

4. What is your favorite recent teaching idea/strategy (Whole Brain Teaching, etc.)?

5. What is your favorite movie?

6. What is your favorite field trip to take with students?

7. What is your favorite thing about teaching?

8. Is your car EVER completely empty of stuff for your classroom-coming or going?

9. What type of lesson planner do you use-book, online?

10. Do you have technology in your classroom? If so, what do you have?

11. Who are your TPT favorites?

Blogs I am nominating:

Than You again to Michelle for finding me and nominating me! If I nominated you I LOVED your Sites and thought they would add something to my own toolbox of skills. Leave me a post after you complete the steps above!

Warm Wishes and Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easy, flexible reward chart

I have one little kiddo who requests hugs throughout the day, with a few staff in the room, it helps to give how she asks some structure. I got these mini clipboards for 1$ this summer, not sure what I would use them for. It worked great for a hug chart for her. She starts each day with 5 and she can turn them in to us. She is pretty independent with it, being flexible with me when I tell her that I am teaching the group, but she can ask one of the paraprofessionals. Keeps her going throughout the day:)

These are a few of my favorite things....

1. My SMARTboard. It just goes without saying.

2. My Lakeshore Large Magnetic Letters. My board is pretty busy! I blocked out things with the kids' pictures. I have the Fundations strip up, my lovely Lakeshore letters, our Leap Pads for the behavior system (Self and Match-Salter and Croce), snack choices, my weekly plan grid posted and a ton of little things!

3. My Lakeshore crayon caddies. I use thicker crayons, this year, our purchase orders had Crayola traingular grip ones. My OT likes these and so do the kids!
4. My Lakeshore Leveled Library cart. I use it for genres and have sticker labels that match the bins. I put the bins out gradually this year, the kids need some verbal reminders to match. Adding them slowly helped. 

5. My pocket chart full of laminated lunch choices. I don't have a lot of buyers this year, but having the actual pics of foods at hand is so helpful!

They make my life soooo much easier, so in turn, makes my kids' lives easier, too!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Number Line

I use poly spots that I got from Lakeshore with vinyl street address numbers for our number line. They always look much prettier at the beginning of the year! These are already pretty beat up and it is not even December yet! Oh well!

I have the number list on the door (faces are blocked out). We rotate the pictures up each week. It really helps them learn how to line up. We will use the number spots for Circle, too. It gives kids practice with ordering numbers when they put them back as well.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Teaching Giveaway!

Check out her website and enter for a 25$ Donors Choose gift certificate! 
From Mrs. Stanford's Class!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Teachers Pay Teachers a Try!

With this sentence strip pocket chart freebie! I can honestly say I am excited to see how my work evolves through learning the ropes of creating TPT ready activities. I have a feeling there will be a LOT of trial and error! Sometimes it is the best way for me to learn something:)
Get the freebie here: I see the bells!

Ugly Sweater Party!

Primary Graffiti posted a fun Tacky Sweater Unit on her TPT page! I can't wait to print this one out!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ready to Work Fingerplay Chant

I can't recall which blog I found this on, but I probably start this chant 8 times a day! It is such a good "Get yourself ready to work" prompt for my kiddos.
I usually start by asking (loudly) "How many fingers do we have???"

I have ten little fingers,
And they all belong to me.
(hold hands out in front)
I can make them do things,
Would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight.
(make a fist)
I can open them wide
(spread fingers out)
I can put them together.
(clasp hands together)
or I can make them hide.
(put hands behind back)
I can jump them up high.
(raise hands over head)
I can jump them down low.
(lower hands to knees)
I can fold them together
and hold them in my lap just so.
(fold hands in lap)

Funny Turkey Videos

Thanks to Heather at Heather's Heart for sharing these great Thanksgiving videos! I didn't see them in time for today, but I will be sure to bring these up for next year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sight Word Smash

We are using the Journeys (Harcourt) curriculum along with our replacement Reading Programs (Fundations and Edmark). I use the sight words for the week and have the kids "smash" them with a foam hammer I got from the Target dollar section. I wish I bought more, I wasn't sure what I was going to use it for when I got it, I knew it would end up doing something fun, but it would be good to have more than one.

This picture is from Google, not my students.:

We have also used the word (fly) swatters to swat the word.
I found one more that may be fun to try in the warmer months. Looks messy!
Found this one on "I Can Teach My Child" blog    http://www.icanteachmychild.com

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Top Ten Tech Resources

my Top Ten Tech Resources
1. http://pinterest.com
Pinterest: Created as an online “pinboard” to archive thumbnail pictures of ideas, crafts, recipes, etc. But within the last two years, has evolved into more of an educators forum, but I have gotten so many different ideas for my classroom from there. My favorite Pinterest page is our IU Assistive Tech Specialists page:  http://pinterest.com/lasenders/

VizZle: Visual Learning (created for use with Autism, but reaches a lot of learners). Online software for creating talking books, quizzes, choice making boards, etc.

Show Me! Interactive app: Drawing whiteboard (can also write over a screen shot of a picture/chart/worksheet). You can record what students do on an iPad and send it to the web for parents. It records their voices as well. Love this one!

Sifteo Cubes: I wrote to the company and they sent me a set for free. They are four 2-inch cubes that show letters or images and (when connected to wireless), they become interactive with one another. I have to work on creating some personalized lessons for my kids, but they are cool to use.

Apple’s Universal Access option under System Preferences. Every teacher using a MAC should play around with the solutions that can be provided through this. I typically enlarge my cursor on any computer that the students will use and often set more of a slower drag on the mouse as they tend to move their finger too fast and lose their cursor.

BCIU #22 Assistive Technology Specialist, Bill Ziegler uses his webpage to give teachers access to a variety of Special Needs Software. I have used his Just My Type (Ziegler & Gill) for the past six years. It is my go to when kids are not having success with the typing programs that they have used during their specials inclusion for computers. I also use it to practice typing their name, their sight words and can save those lists in the program.

Kent ITC-Educational Games from UK. Although most games have a British accent for the narration, the interactive nature of the games is great for kids. My favorite to use with students is the Airport X-Ray: http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/kentict/content/games/airport_xray.html

Reading A-Z is an online-leveled reading library (paid subscription). Once given a diagnostic test to ascertain a reading level for a student, there are 25-30 readers ready to print for every level (DRA along with correlations). RAZ has projectable versions of the book that can be used with a SMARTboard as well as some in MP3 format for iPod touches. I have printed the wordless books for writing lessons with a lot of success with students.

Boardmaker (Mayer-Johnson) a computer-writing program that uses a symbol library for literacy support. Activities can be made written with symbols for cooking, following directions and communicating with home. Within the past two years, they have opened up Boardmaker Share (http://www.boardmakershare.com), which houses thousands of pre made communication boards that are ready to edit.

Discovery Education-United Streaming is a digital library of a variety of resources including digital videos with an easy to navigate search engine. From content-based videos to favorite children’s stories in QuickTime format, there is something there for almost every subject need. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Not all kids are "Pen and Paper" kids

Finding the right medium....

During the online discussion for our CAST readings, I really connected to the following text:
"Further, and of particular note for our purposes, the evaluation of ability is often confounded by the means and the medium used to conduct the evaluation. For example, a person who appears learning disabled in a print-bound, text-based environment may look extraordinarily skilled in a graphics- or video-based environment."
David Rose (2002)
And I immediately thought of this image:
That being said, hoping I get the classroom Wii set up for rewards this week:)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grad School.....Again:)

So, after finishing up my Reading Specialist Certification, I decided to enroll in West Chester's Certification for Assistive Technology and Universal Design. I'm excited. I loved my Reading Spec. coursework, but Technology, especially Technology for Special Education is where my passion is.

For one assignment, we are required to post on a blog. WordPress was the suggested platform, but since I already use Blogger, I can publish the assignment here.

At the top of my resume, I have listed four words that would be my tagline for who I am as a teacher. They are: Reflective. Motivational. Flexible. Technological. Our first posting is to be a reflective post on Learning Styles inventories.

Here are my results from the Learning Styles Inventory (Multiple Intelligences-Gardner):

My scores, along with a few classmates' scores, were highest in both Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. You might think that these two should be opposite, but it made sense to me. Although it wasn't easy growing up with seven siblings, I had to navigate my childhood with a lot of people and personalities. Throughout high school and college. I kept diaries and journals and student teaching required the art of reflective journaling in your daily teaching. Boy, I wish I could make the time for that now!

This year, I want to strike a better balance with being reflective and keeping from being hard on myself.  Reflecting on my craft, but seeking support and encouragement when I need it. 

We also responded on a three brains activity. a Visual image was presented with specific focus questions. One thing that I connected with was that my responses about the people in the image, were emotional based. I like to thing I am strong with instilling Social Emotional Learning skills in my kiddos. It would make sense for me to notice a person expressing an emotion since I value teaching those skills. 

At my school building Opening Day (we have two since we have an IU specific one), they displayed this image:
I still love the Education Program quote from my undergraduate (Kutztown University) that we are "Teachers as lifelong learners." Here's hoping to a great year!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Show Me iPad App

Our AT specialist showed me how to really use this app today, very excited to use it this year! Take a picture of something in the classroom (educational display-word wall) and you can circle the words and say them, recording it as a video and publishing it so parents can access it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Laminator Giveaway!

Ironic timing that this giveaway is out, as my personal laminator (from 2005!) "ate" a sheet that I didn't put in correctly yesterday. I unlugged it and used tweezers to get it out but it had some battle wounds!

This is a great blog as well:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Personal Laminators

An essential classroom tool for me:

My personal laminator (Duck brand)

I purchase the 50 pack Scotch thermal laminating sheets and whatever I laminate through this machine is so much more durable than the big laminator, especially when I use construction paper or cardstock. It is perfect for centers materials!

I also decided to use it to laminate my Fundations large sound cards. They get so much daily use and I want to prevent wear and tear.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Target's Teacher Section Deals!

Over the past few years, Target's $1 section has become a treasure box for teachers. Here is a pic of what I was able to grab today:

My favorite thing is the "HI" carpet ($2.50). I will use this during Circle/Morning Meeting as the spot for the greeter to stand on when the greet their friends. It is a perfect visual cue for my kiddos!

Reusable Dry Erase packets.

Green magnetic containers (round).

Dr. Seuss hologram cups (use for centers containers in March).

Green pencil/utensil baskets. I may put a group one on each table with scissors, glue, etc. in case any kid is missing something as we start an activity.

Gotta love a good deal!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Huge Blog Giveaway!

Faithful in First is running a huge giveaway with lots of chances to earn points!
Follow her blog here:

Snack Choice

We have snack each morning with 2 choices. I have big "menu" pictures and then small "menu" laminated pictures in each black basket underneath the corresponding picture. There is a clipboard with each of the kids' pictures ( I had to gray them out) and a blank velcro spot so they can put their choice there. It really helps with the hectic nature of arrival/unpacking/bathroom.

Individual Schedules

Most of the students in my class use an individual picture schedule to help them see what is expected of them throughout the day. I make the word bigger than the Boardmaker picture and try and use pictures of the therapists.
These kits are from Pyramid Educational Products. I have had a set of 5 since 2003 and they are still in good shape, minus some velcro marks. They are so durable and the kids respond well to how visually graphic they make their schedule. If you have a Boardmaker CD (Mayer Johnson), they have a ton of schedules pre-made on Boardmaker share. Best thing is they are free!

Self and Match (Salter and Croce)

I got to go to the Self and Match: Introduction training at the end of June. It was great! I have used Self and Match, know the psychology and theory behind it, but this thorough day training was pretty eye-opening to what I can be doing differently and better for my kiddos.
I would recommend this workshop to anyone looking to improve an individual or class-wide motivation system.
Here is a link to their blog:
Self and Match (Salter and Croce) website

Another Staples Find!

Although they aren't in the dollar section right now, Staples has Lock-Ups brand containers from time to time. These work perfectly for edible rewards (with parent permission) for appropriate behavior. We can put one little piece of candy in there and the kids can hold it during the activity, so it remains visible for them and they have something to busy their hands with. They need some support in the beginning so they don't shake it during instruction, but my kiddos got it pretty quickly. If they want to hold it, it stays quiet, simple as that.
They even twist and lock together!

Staples Find!

I find amazing teacher things at Staples. This morning I got memo-size clipboards for $1 each, and with my 15% teacher summer discount, they ended up being 85 cents! I was able to get a bunch of the same color, so no arguements and the kids can choose what color marker to use.
I plan to use these with scrap paper (cut in half) for letter and sight word practice. They will fit perfectly on my little kiddos laps!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How Multicultural is Your Library?

After a week of an intensive grad school class "Children't Literature", I am finally starting to decompress from the hour commute and really process all that I learned this week. This class and the professor were amazing! I was a suburban teacher in a class of nine urban Philly teachers, and it was really refreshing. I hear of the hardships of Philly teachers often, yet not one of these ladies had a complaint! I was really able to reflect on how much diversity I have in my classroom library.....which is nowhere near where it should be. I can pride myself on having ability awareness and anti-bullying books but I need to add some more texts to really represent diversity. This is a good list of Multicultural books for classrooms.