Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tidying Up My School Bag

I have been so frustrated with my school bag, I pack it full at the end of the day throw it over my shoulder then in the back seat.  (FYI:Over the past year, I've made it part of my morning routine to make sure my school bag and purse go in the back seat. I've seen to many bad things about kids being left in hot cars, anyway, just my way of staying safe with my little one.) Important papers, IEPs, binders, and notebooks have a tendency of getting crushed and wrinkled. Plus, I often have to pull everything out to find what I need to work with. Urrghh.... it's just a HOT MESS!  

When I consulted the Oracle oh, I mean...Pinterest.... I found a plethora of ideas,  using the 31 Utility Tote & a medium size filing bin, which just happens to be the same bag that I use for school! I got it as a teacher gift a year or so ago.  I went on a hunt to the local thrift and consignment shops to find a medium size file crate, unfortunately, I didn't have any luck. I found a few things at office max  that I wasn't quite thrilled about. Ultimately, I found the perfect file bin at, you guessed it, Target for 10$.  I just added the hanging folders I had on hand, which I haven't labeled yet.

I love that my planner and lesson plan binder fit PERFECTLY. If you look closely enough you can see that there is still plenty of room for my pencil pouch on the side and of course there are plenty of pockets to carry everything! Using the filing crate makes it SUPER DUPER EASY to change bags, when they need to go in the wash.  :)  

You can purchase a 31 Utility Tote and Fold-N-File HERE from my dear friend Nicole, who just happens to be one of  my favorite inclusion teachers!  :) 

Feel free to click on the links below you see how others are organizing their teacher bags!! 

The Nest Effect
Miss Kindergarten
Teaching Statistics

Happy Organizing! 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reading Corner in the Resource Room: Part 2 Organization

Over the last few years, I have attempted to organize my classroom library. If you can imagine a system, I've tried it, or at least that's what I thought.... Book bins organized by nonfiction, fiction, genre etc.  But nothing ever seemed to work how I wanted it. I changed it and rearranged it, once, twice actually, I cant even remember how many times I've organized my library books!!! It's always been a pile of frustration.....I  don't know about you but it seems that I am always organizing my classroom library and  I haven't found a system that works for the needs of my students in my resource room.

Until NOW........... 

After nearly a decade of teaching.......... one evening, while I was pinning, I found THIS amazing idea Pinterest from Lessons with Laughter. For me this is going to be a life changer. Instead of organizing my books alphabetically by title/author, I'm organizing them alphabetically by guided reading levels. I just can't help but shake my head and think "Why didn't I think of this sooner?"  This is perfect for my resource room! Now all of my students will be able to find their Just Right Books with ease.  This system also makes it super easy for my students to put the book back in its "JUST RIGHT SPOT"

The very next day, I  immediately decided begin the organization process for the last time, as I know it was the system I have needed for the last few years. So I was off.... on a trip to Michael's to get Wasabi tape...I mean Washi tape. Can you believe for the longest time, I was calling it Wasabi tape? My friends must have thought I was being a goof which is nothing short of unusual for me. Seriously, it wasn't fun when the associate (who probably thought I was that 'crazy' old lady) at Michael's corrected me..  "Oh you mean Washi Tape?".. I was totally like -"Yeah, I know, but Wasabi is so much more fun to say."....smh. :/ Anyway, I bought Washi tape, Scotch Expression tape and  1/2 inch mini duct tape( I found the mini duct tape at Target).  This crazy lady was on a mission to find 26 different colors/patterns of tape.

Sooooooo  I started organizing and I taped and color coded and here it is finally after countless years...... a system that is perfect ....for the needs in my resource room.   YAAA HOOOOOO!!!  I still have a few things I need to tweak before the fall but this is just perfect for the needs in my class.  :)

Happy Organizing! 


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

FREE-Educator's Night Out?? Yes! Please!

How do you get a group of teachers together?  Offer an Educator's Nights and Provide FREE appetizers and a FREE Beverage.  Educator's Night Out! Of course, You had me at FREE! Our local Mall is sponsoring a program called "Kick Start Your Class!"  They have partnered up with to help fund classroom projects and are trying to encourage local teachers to get involved with

Basically, It was an informative session about I've heard a lot about One of my very BEST friends, Caitlin at Learning Ahoy has had many of her projects funded through DonorsChoose. I haven't used as, I have been able to write four grants through our local education association. Which have been funded and have been very helpful in my classroom. :)  Thank You PEF!

Anyway, we were all given a folder with step by step info to link up to BONUS.. The folder was loaded with freebies!  Notice all the goodies in the picture! I won a 10$ gift card for Dicks Sporting goods and received FREE Bed Bath & Beyond Hand Sanitizer (as one of my students would say 'hanitizer'), FREE nail polish from Flomar, and finally a FREE parfait from Chick-Fil-A. The folder was packed with other discounts from some of the shops as well.

Have you participated with What projects did you get funded?  I'd love to hear more about your experiences.

Thanks for Reading!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reading Corner in the Resource Room: Part 1 Leveling & Labeling

I'm sure every teacher has their classroom library labeled  or leveled in some way. In the early years, I leveled them by Lexile then I switched to DRA and now F&P. I may have some labeled with the grade equivalent, too.  Either way you name it, my classroom books are labeled with every system you can imagine. A few years ago, I really started use mostly DRA and F&P.  It made things more useful since I was using Reading A-Z materials for my guided reading groups.

My go to resource was, and still is, the Scholastic Book Wizard. Hopefully, you've heard of it, but if not, it is certainly a great tool for leveling books.  Recently, I downloaded the app on my iPad. It was FREE, you can download it HERE. The best part is that you can scan the book's UPC/ISBN  and it gives you the most of the levels (guided reading level, DRA, Grade leve, and lexile)  so you can use which ever suites your classroom needs.   I was able to create save library lists. This feature was great to have handy during planning especially if you wanted to use a book a lesson.  Here are a few screen shots so you can have a quick look. I absolutely love this app!

I was decided that I wanted to use a library check out scanner system to keep track of all my books and materials. I did some research and discovered The Book Retriever app.  I was able to scan books and it had some books on file but I mostly had to input all the titles and authors as well as book levels. It was a bit time consuming but I will be able to create student accounts so students check out materials. It did allow me to create labels for books and materials. I would be a great way to keep track of teacher materials too. I'm always lending books and materials to others and often forget who I lent what to. You can see some of the features below.

When labeling my books I just used a permanent marker and wrote on the back of the book. For a while I've used some color coding that didn't last too long. But you will see how I organize my library in my next post.  Reading Corner in the Resource Room: Part 2 Organization

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekly Link Up: Favorite Picture

When I decided to link up to I Heart Grade 3, I was not expecting it to be so hard to decide on my favorite picture. It really is true what they say a picture is worth 1000 words. They bring back that rush of emotions and you get all warm and fuzzy!  I have narrowed it down to two of my most memorable memories.

The first photo is from my wedding. My husband's brother, the best, lost our wedding rings!!!  YIKES!! I don't know how I didn't cry!!!  My husband and I decided to do the "first look" before the wedding ceremony so we knock out most of the wedding photos.  Sooooo, one of my sisters suggested that we all do those "crazy everybody jump" photos. My wonderful photographer Lisa, from Unmentionable Photography, actually caught the RINGS flying out of his pocket! Look closely at the shirt pocket to the guy on the right!  AMAZING! We did find the rings in the grass. Thankfully my husband has eyes like a Hawk!

The second photo is my daughter's first smile! My daughter was born in May of 2014, one FULL week late at a whopping 9lbs 7oz and 21.5 inches long.  She was only 5 days old!   This picture truly sums up her personality, she is such a blessing to us!

Be sure to check out all the others who linked up with Miss Monica. 

Happy Reminiscing! 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crisis Prevention-What it is and why it is important?

I had to run into school today to grab my crisis intervention manual to study for my annual re-certification. One of my friends joked “oh, you mean your restraint class.”  To which I replied, “It’s my restraint PREVENTION class!” It’s sad that crisis prevention often gets a bad rap. I feel many people believe it is solely taught for the purpose of restraint. Crisis prevention helps to provide support and monitoring well before you may have to intervene with a restraint.
Ultimately, crisis prevention is training that teaches staff to identify behaviors that may escalate into an unsafe situation for the students and/or the staff involved.  Staff members are then trained to help prevent or deescalate the situation before it gets out of control.

Every aspect of crisis prevention training is extremely important, as it helps to keep students and staff safe from harm.  Crisis Prevention Training emphases the importance of the following:
  • ·        Building healthy relationships
  • ·        Building healthy communication
  • ·        Building conflict resolution skills
  • ·        Medical risks
  • ·        How to properly and safely physically restrain if and ONLY IF a student is putting themselves or others in danger.

Let’s face it; even though they may not know it, students use behaviors as a way to communicate with us. It is our job as professionals to be able to identify and prevent behaviors so that these students can be successful and most importantly SAFE.  

You can find more information on Crisis Prevention provided in the links

Handle with Care

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer Crafting

Wow, is all I can say. My summer is going great. I’ve already visited family in North East PA, and my husband’s brother and his family came to visit us from Dublin, Ireland. I am looking forward to a quick trip to Ocean City MD, in July, which should end our summer travels. 

I know some of my teaching friends would hate to hear but, I’ve already started a back to school countdown (Don’t worry Rachel, I won’t post it just yet!) I'm just trying to get some big projects out of the way so August won't be crazy with things to do . I have a week-long PD in August for Orton-Gillingham Training. I am super stoked, I was selected for a pilot program, and it will be FREE!  With that said, I am excited to share some of my classroom Pinterest Ideas.  WOOT WOOT! 

At the end of last year, one of my fellow special education teachers purchased new shelves for her classroom and she gave me a wooden shelf that she no longer had a use for.  I stumbled across this idea on Pinterest ‘13 Things We Can Do With Leftover Fabric’. I just happened to have the perfect can of paint and fabric to match my color scheme for the fall. SO, this is my refinished classroom shelf that will be used behind my guided reading table. 

It turned out even better than I expected. I LOVE IT! Can't wait to get in setup in my class. :) 

I have also seen numerous pins on Pinterest where someone has painted or covered big letters to spell the word READ.  I was able to score these letters on sale for about $1.50 each at Michael's and thought what the heck? Why not?  SO I DID!   At first, I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted them mounted on a canvas. 
My little helper was fascinated by these giant letters. In the end, I just traced the the letters on the back of the fabric and attached it with Mod podge. Then decided to use pink ribbon to hang them.   I didn't use a specific site for a tutorial. But there are plenty if you search DIY wooden letters.
  Here are my finished letters:

What projects are on your list of things to do this summer?

Happy Crafting!