Thursday, February 28, 2013

Typing Station

I actually haven't used this station yet this year, but finding all the pieces when I was cleaning my classroom this week made me excited to start it back up!

I have one computer that is pretty  much out of internet, no working disc drive, so what better to use it for than TYPING!!  There is no way for students to get distracted by and I can't use any of my education games on CDs, so typing it is!

I created these typing activities based on our spelling lists.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Money Activities on TPT

When I posted a couple weeks ago about this money activity, some of you asked if I could make this activity available on my TPT store.  Well, you are in luck...I finally got it posted!  Check it out  here.  The problem with making this activity to sell is that when I made the original for my classroom, I was able to use any google images that I wanted.  In order to make it for sale on TPT, I had to find clip art I could sell.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scholastic Workbooks

Last year, on a trip to Costco, I found a great Scholastic Workbook that covers a lot of basic skills.  I have now bought the Kindergarten and First Grade versions of these workbooks.  They are only $6.99 at Costco and have close to 400 pages of worksheets! When I searched for them online, they seem to be more expensive at most places and of course, I couldn't even find them on Scholastic's website.  So looks like Costco is the way to go.  The Kindergarten book covers numbers and counting, handwriting, alphabet, and phonics.  The 1st grade version covers math, reading, writing, grammar, and maps.  Here are some photos of the Kindergarten version.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top 10 Moments of the Week

10.  Winning $65 in Las Vegas last weekend!  While it may not be enough for me to start my own least I came out ahead!  

9.  One of my students has been getting over his cold, so we have been working on teaching him to cover his mouth when he coughs.  While our high school volunteer students were in the classroom, my student reached over, grabbed the high school girl's hand, put it over his own mouth, and coughed.  Not quite what we were going for...but at least he covered his mouth?

8.  My students all being on their best behavior while my coworker was out sick with the flu (and I was helping run both classrooms).  

Friday, February 22, 2013


Some of you have asked me some questions about Donorschoose, so I thought today I would dedicate my post to explaining it in detail.  First of all, TGIF...I thought this week would never end!  Second of all, I LOVE Donorschoose.   It is only thanks to them (and their generous donors) that I have so many amazing resources in my classroom!  My school is in an urban, and pretty poor area. I think close to 96% of the students at my school receive Free or Reduced lunch.  Our school does not have very much money to buy additional resources, and as you well know, our special education students have an extremely hard time accessing the general education materials.  All of my students require individualized, engaging, and hands-on/visual activities to be successful learning (and I'm sure yours do to!).  Unfortunately, it takes us hours to create all these materials or it costs us teachers thousands of dollars.  So why not get caring strangers or friends/family involved in helping out your classroom?  That is exactly what Donorschoose does!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Great Guided Reading Resource

I am super excited to share this excellent resource with you in today's post!  I bought this Literature Study Packet from Teachers Pay Teachers for only $3!! (check it out here).  Also, check out Sped-Ventures blog here!  Of course, I didn't have this book in my classroom library, but I did have an Amazon gift card which I used to buy the books for this Literature Study Packet.
I have begun to use this in one of my guided reading groups, and it is going great!  The work is right at their level and they LOVE the story!  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

IEP Busy Season

Usually, my IEP meetings for students are spaced pretty evenly throughout the year.  This year, however, I have 7 meetings in the next month!  I don't know about you, but it takes me a couple solid hours to write a good IEP, so this has been taking up a lot of my free time!  All of us special ed teachers get pretty extensive training on IEPs in undergrad, but I have found some helpful tricks that help me make the process more manageable and involve the parents as best I can!

I start out by sending home this form for parents to fill out.  I write in the name of the student and date of the IEP meeting.  Then parents can write in any concerns they have in academic or functional skill areas.  I try and incorporate the answers parents provide on this form into my IEP goals as much as possible.  I usually send these home about 2-4 weeks before the IEP meeting (although sometimes, it is more like a week before!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day Sale

Happy President's Day!!  Let me just start with saying I am soooooo jealous of everyone who has off today!  I was in Las Vegas this weekend for a friend's bachelorette party and it is going to be so hard to be at work today! I will have to get a big cup of coffee to help me make it through!  But in honor of President's Day, I figured I would have a sale on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  All day today will be 20% off everything in my store.  Check it out here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Can Do Games from Lakeshore

I love these games from Lakeshore so much, that I have 3 different versions (and may need to get more!).  They are only $16.99 each and you can check them out at here!  Things I love about them:
1) They are educational
2) Set-Up is quick and easy
3) They work on turn taking
4) They are small, compact, and you can store everything inside them!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine and Winter Craft Idea

Well, Valentine's Day may be over, but winter sure isn't!  And why not continue the Valentine's crafts?!  We all need a little extra love to get us through the winter!  Thanks to my coworker's idea, we decided to make some crafts by mixing glue with shaving cream.  This allows the shapes you make with shaving cream to stiffen and hold.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, I guess this is a day late, but so was our party this year!!  One of my coworkers had a full day meeting yesterday, so we decided to hold off on the Valentine's Day party until today so we could do it together using our typical party set-up with stations (check out this post for more party set-up details).

Here is an example of the kids' schedule from today's party:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hershey's Kiss Hunt

I found this idea for a Hershey's Kiss Hunt somewhere on the internet and it seemed super cute at the time....although, it is a lot harder to pull this off ina classroom that is 100 degrees! Basically, Hershey's Kisses (with numbers on them) are hidden around the classroom.  Students are responsible for looking around the classroom to find the Hershey's Kisses with the correct numbers on them.  I hid all the chocolate on table tops and other pretty visible places since I didn't want any forgotten (or any chocolate puddles left behind!) 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Heart Packaging Task

Again, my shopping spree at the dollar store continues to yield new tasks in my classroom.  I was super excited to find these heart-shaped containers at the dollar store to make a packaging task for February.  What I didn't anticipate was how hard they would be to close!  Although my kids struggle with this, it really forces them to focus their eyes on the task and use small fine motor adjustments to get the lids to fit on.    I store the whole task inside of a pencil case I had laying around.  This packaging tasks is great to work on fine motor, following directions, sorting, and matching skills.  It is also a way (once students can complete it on their own) to get students working independently for a longer period of time (since activities like this are more time consuming than a simple file-folder).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine Comprehension Sheets

When planning out our reading groups for this month, we decided we wanted to read some Valentine's Day themed stories.  Instead of getting off my lazy butt to go to the library, I searched the internet for some!  I really wanted some shorter stories with comprehension questions (since my kids struggle A LOT of with comprehension!).  I found some great ones on ABC Teach (click here to go directly to the reading comprehension worksheets).  The best part is, they have a variety of levels and a few are FREE!  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Money Matching and Counting

I totally forgot about this money activity until this past week!  I made it a long time ago for a student who had a money matching IEP goal (and was very motivated by food!).  I was trying to pair the concept of using money to buy food.  I found all the pictures (of money and foods) on google images.  Then I laminated the cards and put them on a binder ring.  I used real money for matching (which I put velcro on).  By the way, I have definitely found some money with velcro in my purse before and almost used it to pay at the store (whoops!)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine Pattern Worms

For Valentine's day, I wanted to a craft...but was trying to think of a way to make it educational at the same time. We have been working on identifying patterns with a few of my math groups, so I figured that would be the best way to go.  For my beginner group, this ended up being a great language activity to work on requesting colors using PECs.  The set up for this activity was pretty easy as well.... I cut out a bunch of purple, pink, and red hearts, to make the body.  Then I left the top (bigger heart) for the head to be cut out by the students.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Since we are half way through the year (whoo-hoo!), one of my preps is switching.  I used to have the last prep on Thursday afternoons and now I have one after lunch (during my reading groups...ugh!).  At first I was bummed, because I didn't want to re-do my afternoon schedule.  But then, I started thinking of all the fun activities (like art, seasonal stuff, group games, etc.) we could do on Thursdays that we don't usually have time for.  At the beginning of the year, my students didn't have the behavioral skills to do anything in a larger group....but I'm proud to say that they have come a long way!  Now, I can do a large group with about 7-8 of them at once!  I use my two assistants to pull the other 3-4 to work with in a smaller group on the same activity.  Now, I am kind of pumped to get to work planning all these new activities!

This week, we started out with a couple of dice activities.  First we did this one, where the students paired up.  Each student chooses a different color marker.  Then, they roll the dice and color in the correct number of squares.  At the end, each student counts up their number of squares to see who has more (and is the winner).  You can get this freebie and the one below by clicking here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sorting Office Supplies I am sharing another new work task!  Sorry, but I am just really excited about these.  I bought all this stuff from the dollar tree and have been using my spare time (haha...not much of that these days!) to put them all together!  I found these little divided containers in the craft area of the Dollar Tree and the office supplies in the school/office area.  I made two different versions of these for my students to use at their independent work stations.  One is sorting office supplies by color and the other is sorting by numbers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pipe Cleaners and Beads

Well, my trip to the dollar store last week has culminated in lots of new work tasks for my kiddos!  I found these heart shaped beads and small tupperware at the dollar tree.  I have a CRAZY stash of pipe cleaners I have collected over the years as well.  So, I looked in my huge bin of pipe-cleaners and happened to find pipe-cleaners of each color to match my beads.  I sorted them into a couple different containers, and voila!  I have some great tasks for my students to use to work on fine motor and sorting skills at the same time!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Writing Sentences Product

Well off we go...another week begins...I was hoping the weekend would never end!!  Today, I wanted to share an overview of one of my newest products....Sentence Writing Worksheets.  It includes a total of 11 worksheets.  In my classroom, I use these at literacy stations, independent work stations, and as homework.

The product has 6 worksheets where students take the mixed up words and create a sentence about the picture.  These are great for encouraging independence, since all of the words are already there (so no spelling help is needed)!  These are also nice because they have large hand-writing lines to work on writing "nice and neat" (as we say in my classroom).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Currently and SUPER SALE

I want to start today's post by announcing a Super Sale that will last today only.  My ENTIRE TPT store will be 28% off.  Enter the code SUPER at checkout!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Table Scatter for Sorting

I don't think I even knew what "table scatter" was until this year!  And now, of course, it is my new obsession!  I have found most of my "scatter" at target (in the dollar section) or at the dollar tree!  I love using it for a longer sorting tasks (although I also use them as math manipulatives).  So many of my students are so quick at completing all their work....a great skill!  But, sometimes these same students struggle when they are given longer tasks.  Since, in the real world, sometimes you need to work on one task for more than a few minutes at a time, I think these are good to help kids work on expanding their "work endurance."  I try and change up the materials and keep them somewhat seasonal as well (since my kids love holidays so much!).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl FREEBIE Activities

Two posts in one day?!  This is a record for me....but  I wanted to get this Super Bowl activity up by this morning in case of you wanted to use it in your class today!  And I totally forgot to post it yesterday~

We used this survey during our morning group social time.  We talked about predictions and guessing the winner of the game.  We posted our results on the board and will talk about the winners of the game on Monday and determine who had a correct prediction.

Puzzles as Work Tasks

When I started my first teaching job in January (yes...the middle of the year!), I entered a classroom with no materials and four out of control kiddos!  My coworkers were nice enough to lend me some of their materials to get started, but I still didn't have enough to keep those busy hands occupied all day!  One of my aunts/uncles gave me a gift card to Lakeshore Learning as a graduation gift and I scoured the website for hours trying to find which product would get me the most activities for my money!  I ended up buying a set of 26 alphabet puzzles!  Of course, this was 6 years ago now, so the puzzles no longer exist on their site, but these bad-boys have lasted me all 6-years of teaching (and probably led to my obsession with Lakeshore!).  I kind of forgot about them because they were all cozied up in one of my cabinets, but they were a great thing to stumble across this week as I was looking for new work tasks for my class!