Thank's for stopping by!

Thank's for stopping by!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Christmas In July!!!

Santa has checked his list TWICE and decided that a SURPRISE giveaway is needed!!
Do you believe it is less then 6 Months to Christmas!? 
16 bloggers decided to get together and give away some goodies!
Enter the Raffelcopter below, to enter!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2 Stars and a Wish

I am joining Mandy from Mandy's Tips For Teachers for a blog hop on 2 things that work really well for me, at the start of the year, and 1 thing that I wish to work on!

The beginning of the year is chaotic for EVERYONE involved! Teachers are getting ready for their new learners. Students are nervous and anxious about a new year, new teacher, new room, and new class. I am going into my 3rd year of teaching and am not even close to figuring it all out! These are just a couple pf things that have really helped me!

Working in Special Education brings it's own set of challenges! I have students that I need to get to know and form a working relationship with, and I only see them for 30 minutes a day... Perhaps more, depending on their need. There is paperwork to complete. I.E.P's to update. Groups to be taught! 

These are just a couple of things that I try and do/start right when the year kicks off! They are very beneficial to start the year of on a good foot! 

My first star idea is letting the students look around my room, check things out and ask questions. Working at a STEM school gave me this idea. The students do "Wonder Walks". They walk around the classroom for a set amount of time, with their notebooks. They are asked to write down anything they notice, like or wonder about. When the time is up, the class meets back up and discusses what they found.

This allows the students to guide the rules and expectations discussion. The expectations are always brought up... "Mrs. Nystrom, what does "Enter Appropriately" mean?"... Now, I am not just telling them what I expect, I am answering their question... and telling them how I expect them to enter my classroom! HA! It's so subtle they hardly even notice!

This procedure allows students to get a feel for the room, in a non-threatening way. It also allows them to see that their peers are wondering the same things!

I have included an exclusive freebie for you! This simple chart will help student's organize their thoughts during a Wonder Walk! 

Grab the file HERE!

My second star idea comes from working with students who have behavior needs. Special Education services rely on the need that students have. In order to continue providing services, a continuing need has to be proven. Enter documentation. I learned early on that a documentation system is very important! A majority of my caseload is typically students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (E/BD). Students use my room as a place to calm down and regain control of their actions and choices. During these times, behaviors can occur, crucial information can be reported, and interesting things can happen. 

As a SPED teacher, it is important to start the year off with a documentation system that will allow you to quickly note and track behaviors. I had several situations last year, that required lots of documentation and lots of "look backs". I had to make sure I had everything documented and recorded! 

Without a good system, you are unable to reference specific events, when needed (behavior plans, setting changes, mandated reporting, services times). 

My system is very simple and easy to use. This is the form that I use:

This form has everything needed to keep track of important behavior events, as well as other important information. 

At the start of the year (or new trimester/semester) I start a page for each of my students. I record their name at the top and place a paperclip at the top. Then, I use a large binder clip to keep all of the logs together. 

As the trimester goes on I record behavior events and important changes/ information. I record the date, time (if applicable), the event or information, and the end time (if applicable). 

When I fill a page up, I staple a new sheet to the TOP, and paperclip the two pages together. 

The paperclip helps keep the logs separated by student! This makes it easier to find the student you are looking for. I typically keep the students  I document the most on, at the top.

At the end of the trimester, I record the trimester number at the top, and file the entire log with that student's file! This way I can always reference it, when needed! 

Tip: Keep extra blank pages at the bottom of the pile! :D 

As a general education teacher, you may be wondering how a good documentation system can benefit you. Have you ever had a student in your class that has behavior needs, but is not currently receiving services?? 

When approached by a teacher about the possibility of a referral, this is the first thing I ask about. "Have you been documenting??" In our district, Child Study will not meet with the teacher until there is at least 30 days of data. This is a very easy way to provide data! 

If this is something that you need... Here is a copy of the documentation sheet that I use! 

Grab it HERE!

My wish this year is to push independent, word work time! My school uses Words Their Way. Each grade level does it in one way or another. During the last school year I had a couple of students who were working in my learning center on a full time basis. All of their academics were being completed in my room...while I assisted other students and ran groups. I NEEDED something to help this process! The classroom teachers provided activities for the main skills taught in reading and math as well as science and social studies. Word work was an area that was tough. Who wants to practice words?! Especially when there isn't someone sitting right there! I started looking into other 'fun' ways for my kiddos to practice their words.  This is how my  Word Work Task Cards packet was created!

We started using them towards the end of the year and they made a HUGE difference! These task cards allow the students to A. Choose how they are going to practice their words and B. Do them independently! 

I found a great bucket at the Dollar Tree to hold all of my materials. Inside the bucket, I include all of the materials needed, recording sheets, and the task cards. Check it out!

I have the directions hanging directly above the bucket. All of the materials are IN the bucket! The small blue containers hold the Task Cards. I have all of my recording sheets in the expandable folder. 

After teaching the student how to use the task cards and the materials, students will be able to choose their activity, complete it and prove that it was done (using recording sheets, which are included). 

Here is a glimpse into the pack! 

There are 48 task cards and 20 recording sheets. Several cards
use a generic recording sheet. 

 A list for the teacher, with all task card titles and materials needed!

A close up of each Task Card! It includes everything they need; 
the directions and the materials needed

Check out some student examples!

                                  Pipe Cleaners                                            Hidden Picture

The best part about these examples, is that all I had to tell her was "It's time for Word Work!". She went right over, chose the task card SHE wanted to do, got her materials, and got started! There was no battle. No power struggle! Her scores drastically improved on her assessments, and she was proud of what she was doing (she wanted the pictures sent to her mom!). 

These are a must have in any classroom that has spelling or Word Work words! I only had them for a couple of months this past school year. I can't wait to use them this WHOLE school year! 

Grab your copy HERE!

If you enjoyed these ideas, please consider joining me on Facebook  for more great ideas!

For more star ideas from more than 40 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two for Tuesday!

With just starting a blog... I missed a few Tuesday's! I figured I would try and catch up!! Last week, I discounted my two most expensive products! This week, I am discounting the THREE products that have the most views on TpT (excluding last weeks!). Yesssss... THREE!!! 

First up... My Government Branches Craftivity! If you teach the branches of Government, this a great tool!! It takes the 3 areas and key information from each... and has the kiddos create a tree... Get it??... "BRANCHES" of Government!? :D Ya.... I think I'm ready to go back! : P

The large leaves list the branch of Government. The small leaves are for the facts! Each leave gets color coded, to match the correct branch of government! There are 2 versions... There is a colored one and there is a black and white one! If using the black and white one, you can make copies on colored paper, or you can have students color and decorate them! :)

Grab your copy HERE! It's only $1!!

The second product discounted is my /TH/ Digraph Pack! It comes with 2 anchor charts listing pictures of words that start with TH. It also comes with 3 different activities to practice /TH/ digraph! The activities include "Roll & Graph", "Puzzles" and a "Writing Page". 

Grab this pack HERE!! It's only $1.10!! 

And finally... My September Writing!! This pack includes 22 writing prompts that relate to going back to school and special days that happen in September! There is also extra lined paper for those that like to write more! :D 

Grab them HERE!! They are only $1.25!!

These three product will be discounted for the next couple of days!!

Enjoy! :D

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pre-Primer Sight Word Activities

So I woke up Sunday morning and saw the TpT Newsletter was back!! YAY!! I love opening it up, grabbing some freebies, and checking out the sponsored products... only 4 of them make it in! 

I didn't get around to opening up mine, until the afternoon. It mocked me in my inbox every time a new email dropped in! 

I opened it up... scrolled down... and saw this...

AHHHHH!!!!! I made the Newsletter!!!!! This pack was picked to be one of the 4 sponsored paid products!! HUGE.DEAL!!! I am still giddy thinking about it! :D

So.... with this huge accomplishment, I decided it's time to give you a look into this HUGE pack! 

This pack is a massive 288 pages long! 

It includes all words from the Dolch Pre-Primer sight word list. I have grouped the words in 20 different ways, with six words in each group! Each grouping comes with 4 different practice activities! Activities include: Roll & Graph, Spinner, Sentence Writing, and a set of Dominoes! Each word also comes with an interactive notebook flap. As review, this pack also comes with Bingo cards! HUGE right?!

Here are some pictures of each activity! 



This pack also includes Bingo Cards, and a Dominoes game!

Use these activities to supplement the teaching of the Pre-Primer words, as center activities! You could also use them as a review of the words! 

So here is the deal... In honor of making the Newsletter, I am running a special for the rest of the week!

To grab this offer all you need to do is purchase the activity pack! 

Then, email me at! Include your TpT username (so I can verify your purchase!) and the item from my store that you would like! EASY PEASY!! 

Pre-Primer Sight Word Activity Pack

As always, thank you so much for all of your support! I definitely couldn't do all of this without you! 

<3 Danielle

P.S. If you still aren't sure this product is for you... check out a free sample of it! Grab it HERE!

Writing Stones

If you saw my Facebook post earlier, you probably already knew this! I saw this idea on Pinterest weeks ago, bought the materials and got started on the clip art images... and then life happened! The materials got pushed to the side. The "Stones" (the document with my pictures! Clever hugh?!) got exited and new products took its place! Yay for 1st Grade Math Posters and Pre-Primer Sight Word Activities! :D

After a crazy busy week in Vermont... and then Relay for Life on Friday night, I needed a project that wouldn't tax my mind! I literally felt like a truck had run over me!

The first place where the Deceleration was read and debated

Relay for Life 2014! This was my 4th year walking! 

Soooo.... I had the hubby print of my pictures (his work has a color printer... shhh! Don't tell!). I got my materials back out... and put together my favorite resource so far!! :D I am SO SO excited to use these in my classroom this year!

Working in Special Education gives me the pleasure of running small groups in various subjects and grade levels! This past year I had a Writing group that really pushed me! We were working on basic skills and thinking outside the box! I found great creative writing prompts, and we worked on them several times each month! They struggled to think creatively and I think part of that was due to how abstract some of the prompts were. I needed something that they could grasp and something that they see (or could see) every day!

Enter Writing Stones (or Story Stones!)

First, I had the tedious job of cutting out every single cute little picture I chose. Needless to say, they weren't very cute by the time I was done! :P

Cute pictures

Not so cute pictures!

Next, I got my rocks (purchased from the Dollar Tree! Ya... that store pretty much rocks!) and spread them out... all over the table. 

Rocks from the Dollar Tree

The hubby was less then thrilled, and the munchkin turned stealing them into a game! He's too darn cute to be mad at... Seriously...

He is too cute for his own good! :D

Then, I matched up my pictures with a rock close in size!

After all of the pictures where matched with the perfect rock (which conveniently lead to another Dollar Tree run and some sweet checker boards that I have plans for as well as some new pool toys!), the fun part came!

MODGE PODGE!!! (I'm still not sure how you spell this... I've seen it 3 different ways!)

I do not live in a town with a craft store (WHOMP) or a store that carries the name brand stuff (WHOMP WHOMP) and I wasn't about to buy it online! Soooo... I made my own... and it worked PERFECTLY!!

                           Glue an water... Easy Peasy!!                 MODGE PODGE!!

I followed the directions at WikiHow and got exactly what I needed! :D Seriously glue and water! So easy!

Finally, I put the rocks together! The first one I did, I just slapped the picture on there... dabbed some modge podge and said SWEET! ... and then the picture curled up... Not to sweet... I discovered that the MP had to be placed on the bottom and the top! Once I got my system down, it went pretty fast!

Here is the step-by-step... using visuals... Because everyone learns better with a visual! :D

 Lay your picture next to the rock

 Cover the rock with Modge Podge

 Place the picture on the rock

Cover the rock/picture with modge podge!
Smooth out the bumps and wipe of the extra! 
and... Voila! DONE! :D

After the first coat dried, I was a little nervous that the paper would peel off after the first few uses. I decided they needed something more! I tried a clear coat of nail polish... but some of the colors bled a tiny bit. I settled on another coat of modge podge, and I think that will do the trick! 

I still have a few left to do, but overall I couldn't be happier with how these turned out! While I am not ready for school to start back up... little things like this make me excited! :D

I am sure there are tons of ways to use these! My Facebook followers gave me a few more creative ideas! My plan is to use them once a week! I will have my kiddos grab 3-4 rocks and write a story (or a few sentences, depending on how it goes) about the pictures they get! They will need to include them all! :D

I will keep you posted on how these work once school starts! I have a few ideas in my head on how to adapt and make this into a resource for you as well! :D