Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fact Family Cookies Freebie

Unfortunately this was totally me this week. My kiddos were cuh-ray-zee. Were your students as off the wall as mine? What I need is an Adderall air freshener way make my kids engage and focus for the next two weeks, so I am pulling out all of the stops.

 This week we will be doing Grinch themed activities and next week will be our Polar Express unit. Most of my activities will be hands on centers, and I am trying to pick leveled books that will catch their interest for literacy. We are even working toward having a gingerbread man party. I draw a gingerbread man body on the board. I made a list of everything that the gingerbread man needs. Every time we do an exceptional job of following procedures I will add another piece of the gingerbread man. When he gets filled out all the way we will have a gingerbread man making party.
Last year I found these at Kmart. They were $10, but I got them on sale for $7. Two boxes was enough for my class (remember I am resource), and it had everything we needed. This year I have not been able to find them. I am going to look at two others nearby Kmarts. Wish me luck. You may be asking yourself why I'm going to all of this trouble. Why not just bake some gingerbread men? Well kids, I am challenged in the kitchen. When I say challenged I mean that kids say things like, "Oh no! Mom cooked dinner tonight!" or "Dad's out of town. Are we having Subway or Mexican?" I could share some of my kitchen foibles with you guys, but I would like to keep my self esteem intact today. Moving on.

Last week I made this Christmas cookie fact family activity for my kiddos. I haven't used it, but I think it will go off like the Walmart alarm the week before Christmas. Click below to get yours.

So what do you do to keep your kids on track in the weeks before Christmas? Help a girl out.  I would really like to know!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board (and a Gingerbread freebie)

Oooooh, math. Why do you hate me so?

 Things in my first grade math group were moving along just fine (or so I thought.) We completed our addition and subtraction  units in our math curriculum. The students in my small group of learning and cognitively disabled students passed both unit tests and could add, subtract, and solve simple word problems utilizing Touchpoints. We were not at mastery,  but we were making getting there. We were ready to move into related facts and fact families, and THAT'S when everything fell apart.

While working with my students last week I asked them, "What does it mean to add?". "Minus," one girl shouted. "Equals," another boy proudly stated. The third little girl stared blankly at me and offered no reply. Houston, we have a problem.

What I was doing clearly was not working. The textbook curriculum had failed them. I knew that I was going to have to rogue on this one. So I dedicated the next three weeks of math instruction to remedy their confusion.

Last Friday I made addition and subtraction anchor charts with them. I may take pictures and upload them next week for you guys if time allows. Tomorrow we start part-part-whole instruction. I made up an addition song up to help support their learning.

 (to the tune of When We All Get Together)
When you add
put groups together, together, together
when you add put groups together
This is how you add

I also have one for subtraction that I made up last year.

(to the tune of the Muffin Man)
When I see the minus sign
the minus sign, the minus sign,
When I see the minus sign,
I know I take away

I spent a good part of yesterday gathering resources to support this, but I wanted a few more activities. This morning I made a gingerbread domino par- part-whole activity. (This upcoming week is also gingerbread week in my room.) I have uploaded it to Google docs. Just click on the image below to grab your copy.

Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Love My Red Shoes

My students have been VERY into Pete the Cat lately. I have to say, I love him as well. In fact, I just ordered a Pete from Amazon for my classroom. There are SO MANY great resources available to go with the Pete, but I couldn't find exactly the center that I was looking for. Said center was a 1-20 ten frame Pete the Cat clip activity. So while vegging on the couch nursing a Black Friday hangover (whose with me?) and watching  endless episodes of The Cosby Show,  I whipped this bad boy up.

Enjoy what remains of this holiday weekend.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall Leaves Word Sort

As I headed out with Hubs for an 11 mile training run this morning (in preparation for the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon on November 3) something really strange happened: I mean, at all. There was no gas in the tank. I wanted to lay down in a big colorful pile of leaves and take a nap. Sooooo, my 11 mile run turned into a 5 mile walk. I started to beat myself up about it, but then decided to enjoy the beautiful scenery and some alone time to hubby instead.

This morning's pitiful display change in plans gave me a chance to update my blog and share a fall leaves short e word sort center that I made last week. It includes a recording sheet.  Happy fall!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Writing Process

Because I teach primary special education I have always shied away from formally teaching the writing process fearing that it would be too difficult for my students to understand. This year I decided to give it a shot and created these posters (written in kid language) to assist my kiddos. I have been pleasantly surprised that several of them have quickly grasped the concept, so I decided to share them with you. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Race Report and a Freebie

My blogging break is officially over! Much of my recent time has been devoted to preparing for my first mini-marathon that I ran in February. Talk about tough! I have never been a runner (even in my super-active high school days) so I was extremely proud of this accomplishment. I started with the Couch to 5k, and I ran my first 5k in September. My sweet hubby wanted me to continue running and bribed me with a February trip to Disney World to run the Princess Half Marathon. Apparently, I can be easily bought!  The race was February 26th. It started at Epcot and went through the Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot. The most I ran before the mini was 10 miles, so let's just say it was a challenge for me. But I am so glad I did it.
Here I am picking up my race packet at Disney's Wide World of Sports.

Here I am at mile 6. They had characters set up along the race route. I stopped for one picture along the race route with Princess Tiana because she is my favorite princess. 
Now that my race is over I still plan on running, but I will have more time to devote to other pleasures (like blogging!) This week a made a sweet little freebie for you guys. It is a cookies and milk theme noun, verb and adjective sort complete with two recording sheets for differentiation. I think you are gonna like it! Please note, when you go to Google Docs is does something funny to the clip art. Click Download Original to resolve the issue.

Okay, guys. I hope you have a great weekend. Gotta run!


Monday, February 6, 2012

R Controlled Freebie

My kiddos have been having the hardest time with r controlled vowels. I decided to take the week off from our regular curriculum to review with them. To help I created some r controlled vowel posters that I have hanging in our small group area.  I played a game with them today, and they were using the posters as a resource. I thought they might be able to help your little ones as well. Click below to grab your copy.

Happy Monday!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

We Love Clifford

I love Clifford the Big Red Dog. It's one of the first books I remember my mother reading to me as a child. This summer I purchased three Clifford hard back books (that had 2 stories in each one) from Kohls as well as a Clifford plush dog for $5 each. I LOVE going to Kohls for their books and stuffed animals. My classroom is full of storybook characters that I have snagged over the years (but I digress). We used the Clifford stories as a springboard for a writing activity. My students filled out this web. I had them write in complete sentences, so it served as a rough draft.
When they competed their web, they made a final copy and added a Clifford head and paws. You can get yours here.  I thought they were adoooorable.

What do you guys think? Do you love Clifford too? What was your favorite childhood book?


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bloggy Tag: I'm It

So it's 7:30, and I am totally getting ready to crash. I have been way busier than I would like, but before I crash I though I should answer the questions for Bloggy Tag.  I'm sorry I don't have time to tag back or hyperlink anything. You guys are the best!

Thanks, Ms. Whitetley at Toad-ally Exceptional Learners

1 - What's your favorite season? I love spring. The days get longer and everything starts to bloom. Simply beautiful.
2 - What's your favorite book?  
3 - What's your favorite TV show?   I like Bones, House and What Not to Wear
4 - How do you celebrate March is reading month?  LOTS of Dr. Seuss activities
5 - Where do you live? Indiana
6 - What's your favorite thing to teach?  reading
7 - How do you track student progress?  I have a chart that I record progress toward IEP  goals. Every six weeks I input the information into our IEP program.
8 - How do you use technology in the classroom? I have 2 iPads that students use during center time. I have a Smart board that I used for math.  
9 - Do you use Accelerated Reader? How do you reward kids for points if you do?  nope
10 - Do you play sports? What?  I am a new runner. I am currently training for my first mini marathon which I will run this month.
11 - How much time do you spend doing your hair each morning?   around 5 minutes. Gotta love naturally curly hair!
12 – What’s your favorite memory from high school?  cheerleading

Thanks to Sandra Maddox at Literacy Minute!

1.  What is your favorite snack? ice cream
2.  Where do you shop for clothes? The Limited. Their clothes just fit me so well.
3.  What is your favorite TV show? What Not to Wear
4.  Do you have a pet? nope
5.  Who is your favorite children's author? I can't pick just one!
6. What is your favorite lesson to teach? anything reading based
7.  What travel spot do you like the most?Disney World
8.  What is your guilty pleasure? Britney Spears music
9.  What do you like to do with your best friend? shopping
10.  What is your favorite magazine? decorating magazines
11.  Who inspires you to be a better person? my husband
12.  What would you buy with an extra $100.00? I would blow it at Sephora on makeup and beauty products.

 Thanks, Sarah at Fun in Title Math.

1. How long have you been teaching? 5 years
2. What is your favorite color? red
3. What is your teaching style? very structured
4. Name one best blog you frequent often.Extra Special Teaching
5. What is your favorite movie? The Wizard of Oz
6. Where do you shop to find teacher deals and supplies? Really Good Stuff, TPT, Teacher's Notebook
7. Is your classroom themed or do you change it for the seasons? no themes. Maybe next year.
8. How do you like your students grouped? (rows, clusters, etc)no desks in my classroom. only tables(which is how I want it)
9. What is one classroom rule you think is most important? treat everyone with respect
10. What do you do to relax and de-stress? Running relieves stress (although I do not enjoy it while I am doing it. Foot rubs from my hubby help me to relax.
11. What is your favorite dessert? chocolate anything
12. How long have you been blogging? 10 months

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The CUPS Checklist

For a few years now, I have been using the CUPS acronym to help my students proofread their sentences. As a resource teacher, my students struggle with the very basic writing mechanics. This handy little tool reinforces the basic things that all sentences should have.

Capital- Does you sentence begin with a capital letter?
Understanding- Read your sentences. Does it make sense? Did you write what you think you wrote? Many times kiddos will leave out words on accident. This step is very helpful in catching those little mistakes.
Period (or punctuation)- Does your sentence have an end mark?
Spaces (or spelling)-  This is something that a few of my little guys really struggle with. For older or more advanced students, you can change this to spelling. Are word wall words spelled correctly?

This tool should be taught as a mini lesson and reinforce during writers workshop. An anchor chart in the classroom is very helpful.  I will try to post a picture of mine soon.

Each week, I have my students write a few sentences  with their spelling words. I created these pages (one horizontal, one vertical) for independent writing practice. Each sentence includes a CUPS checklist. Students should go back through each sentence and put a check mark by the letter after they have checked or made the appropriate corrections. If students turn in writing that lacking these essential elements, I simply tell them to "check for cups." They know what to do.

Tell me what you guys think? Do you use something similar to this in your classrooms?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Going the Distance

If you guys haven't noticed, I haven't been that into school lately. Don't get me wrong. I am still going in each and every day and giving my kids my all, but my spare time has been dedicated to training for a mini marathon that I am running in Disney World next month.

I've never been a runner. I started in July with a Couch to 5k program  (which I highly recommend)and was running 3.1 miles by September. Although difficult in the beginning, I noticed some definite physical and mental benefits from running. But I knew I needed something BIG to motivate me to get up at 5am to continue my training. So my WONDERFUL husband informed me that if I trained for the Disney Princess Mini Marathon he would take me to Orlando to run it. 13.1 miles? Could I really do that? I was willing to give it a shot. After all,  I had 5 months to train for it. So now the lazy Saturdays that were once dedicated to perusing blogs while sitting in my living room by the blazing fire are now taken up by my weekly long run (today it was 8 miles) followed by a recovery nap.

But I won't give up on you guys if you don't give up on me. Today I have a singular/plural sort freebie for ya. My kiddos were having difficulty with this concept, so I added pictures. 

Tell me what you think! Have a great rest of your Saturday, guys.