Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Two Back-to-School Essentials

Wow!  I'm sorry I've been MIA for the last few weeks!  Prepping to go back to school has really taken a lot out of me!  Over the summer, my school underwent A LOT of construction and that left EVEN MORE dust and dirt all over my classroom.  I spent the first few days with assistants just cleaning everything in sight!  It's hard to complain, since my classroom now has nice new painted walls and ceiling and we even got air conditioning in our classroom!  

Like most teachers, I use a ton of tape in my classroom for labels, keeping things on the wall, etc.  And, when all of that tape is removed after a year or years of being in the same place, they leave that horrible gross sticky, dirty glue residue.  This stuff is so hard to get off!  Until, I was introduced by one of my assistants to Goo Gone and these fabulous mini razors from the dollar store! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sales, Linky's, and Freebies! Oh My!

As I am sure you have heard, TPT is hosting a big back to school sale this Sunday (tomorrow!!) and Monday.  I am super excited!  I already have my cart loaded up and ready to go with all my wish-listed items!  My store will also be on sale!  All of my items will be 20% off.  On top of that, if you enter the promo code: BTS13 at checkout, TPT will give you an additional 10% off!!  Here is the link to my TPT store to check out my products!

Feel free to check out some of my best sellers by clicking on any of the thumbnails below :-)


And checkout my newest additions as well be clicking on any of the thumbnails below :-)

 Also, I created a link-up party for top 5 back to school pins!  Definitely check it out (click here or on picture below for direct link) and share your top 5 back to school Pinterest finds as well!

And last, but not least, here is a Freebie I promised earlier in the week!  I meant to post it yesterday, but 8 hours in the car driving back from vacation took a lot out of me!  This product my Beginning of Year forms for a Special Education Classroom.  It includes several forms I send home the first week of school.  Check it out here!  And please leave me some Feedback on TPT if you download!  I read every last comment!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School Pin Party

Over the course of the summer, I have been posting about my favorite Pinterest finds!   And now I have some big news...I am hosting my first linky party!  I am a little nervous because I have never hosted one before, but I figured it would be worth a shot.  Please link up and share with others!  Also, I will be picking a couple lucky winners who link up to receive some goodies from my TPT store!

How it works:  For this link up, just post about your Top 5 Back to School Pins...if you are feeling ambitious, definitely post more than 5!  These can be pins you have already tackled over the summer, ones you want to complete this year, or great products you have found on Pinterest that you NEED to have in your classroom this year!  (If possible, try and link back to the original poster to give appropriate credit).  

Since I have a few days left of summer to relax, I have been doing a little brainstorming (and a lot of pinning) in my down time.  The real work will start once I can get back in my classroom in LESS THAN a week.  

Here are my Top 5 Back to School Pins.  It was actually really hard to only pick 5! These are Pins that I am definitely going to tackle this year.  Some I plan on making myself, others I plan on buying (once that big TPT sale kicks in!). 

1. This post from Make Take Teach has a lot of great ideas for Sight Words.  I already downloaded the Freebie for the assessments.  I will definitely be incorporating some of her sight word activities into my classroom this year...either at an aid-run station or to send home as homework.  

2. Have I mentioned how much my students love do-a-dot markers?  Through Pinterest, I found Tot School which has an entire set of capital letters for my kids to go dot crazy on!  This will be great for working on letter of the week!  I just downloaded every last one...and these are FREE!

3. Another great beginning letter activity I found was this cute sticker letter matching activity from Discover Explore Learn.  Such a simple and easy idea...just write the letters on some stickers and have your kids match the letters to a sheet of paper.  

4. Another Do-A-Dot activity for math.  This packet from Teach with Laughter looks awesome!

5.  As far as classroom organization, I love this idea from The Organized Classroom of using these big clips to label student shelves or cubbies.  The little labels I make always get bent up so quick.  These would be much more sturdy!

6.  This is a FREEBIE from PreKinders.  It is a bunch of pattern block mats.  I love that she offers them in color and black/white (for more of a challenge).  You can easily slide different ones into a top-loading sheet or laminate them for multiple uses.  I remember buying some of these mats my first year of teaching because I already had the pattern blocks in my room.  How great to get them for FREE.

Ok, I had to post more than 5...sorry!  

If you have tried any of these and have any insight, please leave me a comment and let me know.  Also, please link up.  Just create your blog post with your favorite back to school pins and click the button below to add your blog's link.!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School Forms

Yesterday's post discussed my welcome letter and supply list (to see it, click here) and today, I will be discussing all the other forms I send home the first day of school.  I send home one massive packet that covers most of the activities I will need parent permission for right away.  I don't want to have to wait until week 3 to take pictures of my kids, take them on a community walk, or teach them to brush their teeth!  I want to start right away so we can establish these activities as a part of our routine.

Below, I will give you an explanation of the different forms.  I have included a snapshot picture of each form, but not the entire was too hard to see.  These are my versions the permission forms, but in the packet I send home, I also include school versions of the forms as well when needed.  I will elaborate more as I discuss each form.

Child Survey: 
First up is a basic child survey.  I ask some basic questions about family members (siblings names/ages), student info (favorite foods, activities, strengths etc.), parent goals for their child, as well as information on how the family would like to be contacted. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back To School Supplies

This week I am finally on summer break!  I will be enjoying some quality family time, cabin time, and friend time....and maybe even a little back to school shopping?!  So, my blogging may be a little less frequent so as to have a little me-time before it is back to work next Monday!!  

Speaking of back to's post is about supply lists and tomorrow's post will be about beginning of the year forms!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Fluency Resource

Since I am busy today wrapping up summer school and preparing for a short summer vacation,  I am doing a little Throwback Thursday post with an awesome resource you can use to incorporate fluency into your classroom!  
About this post:  I posted this last summer while prepping for back to school.  Many of you have purchased my Fluency Timings for Kids with Autism from TPT.  The site I talk about in the below post is great if you want to make your own or add onto the ones in the packet I have created. :-).  Hope you find it a helpful resource!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Product Preview: Landforms Science Unit

If you read yesterday's post, you saw my new favorite iPad app that allows my students to complete worksheets right on the iPad.  I am hoping to use this with my students A LOT next year.  In yesterday's post, I showed you how the app worked with some of the science worksheets from my Landforms unit.  Today, I just wanted to give you a preview of the worksheets/activities included in that product.  This unit is a little different from the rest of my science units as I was able to add games, a science experiment, flashcards, and an additional assessment version!  Just even more fun to keep your kids excited and engaged about science for an entire month!  This unit is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store along with other science units on body parts, and plants.

Here are the vocabulary words covered in this unit on landforms.
*Waterfall     *River    *Volcano    *Forest    *Lake    *Mountain    *Hill    *Desert    *Map

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Technology Tuesday!

I have never done a technology post before...mostly because I've always only been OK at technology...I always seem to take the long way to get anything done (if you know how to do what I am sharing in a more efficient way, please please please let me know!) I have been so excited to post about this topic for over a week...I just couldn't get around to putting it all together until now!

We have 2 iPads in my classroom and I love them for a variety of reasons.  Mainly I love that my kids can have fun while working on educational apps and that the iPad seems to be a high quality reinforcer for most of my kids.  But after what I discovered a few weeks ago (and I am about to share with you), I am SO MUCH MORE EXCITED about my iPads! I found out about this on Pinterest and then revamped it to meet my needs!  Do you ever buy or make really pretty colored worksheets, only to realize that the only way your kids will see them will be in black and white?  WE teachers don't have money for color copies!!  So, with this app I am sharing with you today, you can download your worksheets onto your iPad (hello color!) and have the kids complete them on there!  Fun, motivating, and interactive all in one.

Before beginning, I uploaded a PDF document I wanted to try out onto google drive.  This app also supports dropbox as well as a few others.  Today, I am using my newest science unit on Landforms (available on TPT) to show you how this great app works.

Here we go.  Go to the app store and download the Good Notes app (I did the Free version).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made it!

I'm so excited to be a part of this link up today with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made it!  The main reason I am excited is because I have finally been making some new things for my classroom!  We still have 2 weeks off, but I feel like they are going to fly by before I know it.  Plus, I snuck into my school this past week and the whole school is a construction zone...this makes me feel a bit anxious about what it will look like when we get back!  The payoff will be our new air conditioners and a new white board (at least that is what I could see so far).  Supposedly new furniture and paint is coming our way too?!

Anyway, onto my Made-Its!!

Made it #1: Visual Necklaces

Friday, August 2, 2013

Favorite Pin Friday

TGIF...and I am off to a bachelorette party this weekend.  Hoping to soak up some sun and have fun with the ladies!  But, of course, I had to blog about all my favorite pins of the week!  Here are some school and non-school related pins!  Head on over to The First Grade Parade to join in and share your favorite pins!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently August

It's my birthday month...and back to school month!  Things are getting crazy around here!  We are still in summer school, but I have finally started to think about and take action on some new things for the upcoming school year. I am busy making things today (check back on Monday to see what I've been up to....there may or may not be a Freebie available then as well...).  

So, while I am busying crafting away, here is this month's Currently.  You can link up at Farley's blog.  This month's Currently is super cute the fonts!

Listening: Every day when I get home from work, I just need about 30 minutes of total silence to relax.

Loving:  We have had a really cool summer here in Illinois, but today is back into the (low) 80s and the sun is out....I may need to stop by the pool today!

Thinking:  This week, I have been really into decorating my class...lots of Pinterest searching and designing new things to hang on the walls.  

Wanting:  I need a nap.  I don't know why I am so tired since there is no heat and my summer school jaunt is such a breeze...must just be because its summer!

Needing:  I have a serious bag problem...I carry so much to school every day that I have broken several bags a year!  Granted, I have bought most of them from Target...but still.  I have been on a search all summer for the perfect bag...even if I have to spend a bit more.  Please let me know if you have any suggestions! 

Back 2 School must haves: 
1) Binders...if you have read my blog at all, you will know I use binders at many stations!  I am changing up my independent work station this year and I need about 20 new binders color coded and that fit perfectly into my drawer organizer.  I found them at Target for $1 each....score!  I can't find them online to link...sorry! 
2) Printer ink..I have been printing up a just ordered some more ink!
3)  I am hoping to up my math and grammar instruction this year...if you know of any good TPT resources that are visual (for kids with autism) as well as around a K-2 grade level, let me know!!