Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clipboard Bin-DIY

So, I was inspired by so many blogs this summer and all the teachers that do their own projects for their classrooms I decided to do a few myself.  I like to think that I am becoming more crafty but I will let you be the judge of that.  Earlier this summer, I also made stools on crates, you can see that post here

My next project was to make a bin for my clipboards in my room.  I inherited a yellow tub during the spring/summer and had yet to find a use for it until I was organizing my classroom and I could not find a good spot to put my clipboards so I decided to convert the yellow tub into the clipboard tub.

First, I grabbed my yellow tub.
Second, I marked off the areas I wanted to spray paint with the chalk board paint with blue painters tape.

I painted both sides in case both sides of the tub would be showing in my classroom.

This is the chalk board spray paint that I used, bought at Home Depot.

This is what the tub looked like after I sprayed it, once it was dry I carefully peeled off the paint and it was perfect.

Here is the finished project in my classroom with all of our clipboards.  This tub sits near the Work on Writing area for Daily 5 so the students have different ways they can write or can go and write on one of the comfy chairs in the classroom.

So, that is my DIY project for this week.  I will be showing you another project I did for my classroom library that I love!

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day Back for Teachers

Well, today was the first day teachers had to report back to school and it did not go as planned.  Our school district had hired Corwin Kronenberg to be our speaker at our opening day of in-service but he had to cancel due to an illness.  So, instead we gained more time in our classrooms!  YEA, that does not usually happen!  Plus, we will gain additional time to work in our classrooms tomorrow since our building meetings were moved to today.

Although we gained extra time today, my anxiety level is still increasing.  I had one of the students on my caseload move away and now I have gained a student that moved into our district so I have quite a few things I need to fix (add the student's name) before Tuesday, but that is not too bad if that is my only change so far.

We have 2 1/2 more days in our classrooms this week so hopefully I will have my final classroom pictures up by the end of the week.  So for now, I am off to write IEP snapshots for the classrooms teachers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Back

So I have been gone for a while, it has been pretty busy around here the last week.  We start with in-service on Monday so I have been spending quite a bit of time trying to get things ready at school so I can use our in-service days to just finish up a couple of details.

Last week I spent two days at an Institute for Healthy Kids, where I learned some good things about incorporating yoga into the classroom and how to make some healthy recipes.  I am excited to try some of these great ideas in my classroom and it also reinforced the idea that students need to MOVE throughout the school day.  I think we heard that elementary students are only able to focus for 5-7 minutes at a time and then they are unable to take in any more information or learn.  When I hear that time limit, it really makes we re-evaluate the way I teach and that I need to add more movement breaks into our schedule.  Has anyone out there used student yoga in the classroom?  It seems like a great idea and a way to teach students how to give themselves a break or rejuvenate their bodies...

Last week I also had my first class of RECESS which is a action research class that our school district participates in with UW-Madison.  It stands for Rural Educators Collaborating to Ensure Student Success.  I also participated in RECESS last year and loved it, I learned so much more about my students and my own teaching and I am thankful to be able to participate again this year.  So, we pick something that we want to work on in our classrooms and with our students and then we research it throughout the school year.  At the end of the school year we go down to UW-Madison and present our findings.  It is such a great opportunity and it is nice to present to other people what I am doing in my classrooms to help my students succeed.

Well, that is about it for right now.  I have also been really busy with a couple more DIY projects that I will post later this week and I will also be posting pictures of my finished classroom soon, I have been working hard on it and would not be even close to being done without my awesome husband and all of his hard work on Sunday (thanks)!  Only a couple more details to finish...yea!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Parent Communication Log

Here is the Parent Communication Log I plan on using this school year.  Since I contact parents a lot throughout the school year I have a different log for each student that will all be kept in the same binder with their Student Contact Sheet.  Please feel free to download this Log, just follow my blog!  Thanks

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Daily 5 Posters

So I have decided to do a form of Daily 5 during my intervention time with my 4th grade students.  My main goal with implementing Daily 5 with these students is to make them more independent before they go to the middle school next year.  Throughout most of their elementary career these students have always had people watching them and overlooking their work, this will not happen as much in the middle school.  So, I plan on making these students more independent before they leave the elementary school so they are able to be successful in the middle school.  Here are the posters I made to mark the 5 task areas of Daily 5.  Please feel free to download and use, all I ask is that you follow my blog and leave a comment.  Thanks

Daily 5 Posters

Please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to also download this document...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Web Site Linky Party

 Life In Special EducationHi everyone!  Life in Special Education is having a linky party for our favorite websites.  I am always online and thought I would share my favorites.

1. Tumble Books-an awesome website with animated picture books and chapter books.  These are great up on my SMART board when we have a couple extra minutes or when I have a substitute teacher.  Students love these stories and ask to go on the website.  Also a great option for "Listening to Reading" during Daily 5.

2. Raz-Kids-another great website with animated books.  You can enter your whole class on this website and set each child's individual reading level.  Each book has to be read, listened to, and pass a couple comprehension questions.  You can also do running records on the website.

3. Reading A-to-Z--a reading website in which you can print off leveled books with complete lesson plans and comprehension questions.  Great for when you need something for students to do independently or when you have a substitute.

4. Read-Write-Think--tons and tons of lesson plans, interactives, and printables.

5. Enchanted Learning--great website to find a couple activities, especially around holidays.

6. Illuminations--National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website with interactive activities and lesson plans.

7. Differentiation Daily--Paula Kluth's website offering a website/lesson/idea on how to differentiate instruction in your classroom every day during the school year.

8. AAA Math--great website if you need something for fact practice with instant feedback if the student is correct/incorrect

9. Starfall-website to help children learn how to read.  Everything from learning the sounds of letters to reading.  Includes activities, interactives, videos, games, and printables.  Kids love this website.

10. PBS Kids-kids love this website, a good "free" time website.

I hope you enjoy these websites as much as I do, please follow my blog if you enjoyed my post :)
Thanks to Life in Special Education for this great Linky Party.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Wow, I feel like I am going in a hundred different directions right now.  I just finished my 2nd day at a summer academy for teachers in a city near where I teach.  This academy is great.  Teachers are able to pick 4 different classes out of a long list of options.  The academy is for 1 week and so far it has been awesome.  I am learning some great things.  I have a class on starting Daily 5, using my SMART board, classroom management, and implementing Guided Reading Plus as part of RtI.  As great as the academy has been thus far, I now feel as though I want to do and start a thousand different things.  Not only that but I am also part of our school PBIS committee and we are implement a big part of the PBIS structure this fall and it is/going to be a BIG task.  Those of you who know about PBIS might know what I am taking about.  I also have many other things that I am working on for my PDP (Professional Development Plan) and my action research class.  Oh, and I can not forget that I also moved classrooms this summer, which I love my new classroom and am thankful that I got moved but it is still stressful having to set up another classroom.

So really I am just venting and I need to focus my attention on just the few things I can accomplish in the 3 weeks before school starts and start marking things off my to-do list. 

Side Note: Does anyone else feel as though every time you cross something off that to-do list you add 3 extra things on the bottom?

Well, thanks for listening...and now back to reading the Daily 5 book and figuring out how I can incorporate some of this structure in my classroom.  Has anyone else modified Daily 5 in any way and been successful?  Any help would be appreciated :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lots of Freebies!!!

I am sure that many of you know that there is a Cyber Search Showcase taking place today, Monday August 8th only.  Laura Chandler at Teaching Resources organized a great event with 15 different people offering a free download for 1 day only.  There are great freebies that you can download on Monday only.  I thought I would repost this so as many people can take advantage as possible.  There are some great materials at all of the websites for upper elementary grades.  Enjoy and Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


So I know I have seen these DIY stools on a bunch of different blogs so I am in no way taking credit for these but, I also do not know who to give credit to for them so I am sorry. 

Anyways, when I saw these stools, I fell in love with them.  They are a great way to have extra storage and seating for the classroom and something a little different for the kids to sit on.  I used the same fabric that I covered my bulletin boards with so everything matches.

The stools are really simple to make.  I used storage bins, wood from Home Depot (that they cut for me, highly recommend), old egg carton, fabric, and a staple gun.

The wood that I got cut at Home Depot so it was measured perfectly.  I brought the crate with me to make sure they fit.
Cutting the old egg carton for the padding of the stool.

Covering the wood and padding with fabric.

My puppy wanted to help!

The finished product.
Again, the finished product with all of the fabrics matching my bulletin boards.

Like I said above, I am not taking credit for coming up with this great idea but thought I would share my DIY project.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blog Buttons?

So I have realized that everyone has these really cute "Blog Buttons" and I really like them.  I am new to this blogging thing (I am only on week 2) and I am a bit confused.  I was wondering if someone could help me out.  First, where do you get a "blog button"?  Or do I have to make my own?  Second, how do I put other people's buttons on my blog?  Third, should I be using people's buttons instead of linking their names in my blog posts? 

Please help!  Anyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My it stands now

So I was back at school again yesterday, it is hard to believe that school starts in about 1 month.  Where did the summer go?  I tried to work in my classroom again, trying to unload boxes, organize materials, decorate, but it is all very difficult because they have not cleaned my classroom yet.  That means that they will be taking everything out of my classroom in order to clean everything from floor to ceiling.  Therefore, I do not want to really start organizing and arranging my materials the way I would like because it will all be shuffled around and I will have to do it a second time.

But, I decided to do as much as I could.  I also took some pictures of how my room is now.  Hopefully in 2-3 weeks I will be able to post new pictures of our jungle themed classroom.

The front corner of my classroom, with 2 huge chalkboards.  I think one of them will be a word wall instead.  I am not a fan of chalk!

The left front corner of my room, with the white board and SMART board.  This is where I will have my kidney table for small group lessons.

One of the back corner of the classroom, this will probably be where our classroom library is.

More of my mess and things to arrange.

My desk...

More stuff in the hallway that needs to be unpacked yet.
Wow, makes me anxious just looking at these pictures again, lots more work to do!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Special Education Blogs

As I become more and more addicted to teaching blogs, I realized it is very hard to find special education blogs.  I am just wondering if anyone knows of any good special education blogs that they would like to recommend?  I have found a couple...A Special Kind of Class & Extra Special Teaching (click on their buttons to check out their blogs).

Extra Special Teaching
So, if you know of any other great special education blogs, please let me know!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Currently" Linky Party

Oh' Boy 4th Grade is having a Linky Party about what you are "currently" doing.  I love this ideas and I like how she turned it into a writing prompt for school, you should really head on over there and check it out. 

Anyways, here is what I am currently doing...

I hear this is a good way for more people to find out about your blog, so here I am.  This is also the first time I have attempted to design something with some of the things I have downloaded. 
Let me know what you think!

Student Strengths Profile

I just wanted to share one more form I plan to send home to the parents/guardians of my students this summer.  This form is adopted from Kluth, P. & Dimon-Borowski, M (2003) Strengths & Strategies Profile.  I have asked parents/guardians to come up with at least 20 strengths, gifts, interests, or talents for their child. 

So much of special education is about what a child cannot do, not what a child can do.  So I decided that this school year we are going to start out on a positive note and start with what each student can do.  This will be a great opportunity to get to know my students better and hopefully learn about some of the things they can do outside of school or things they enjoy that I might not ever find out.

Please feel free to use this form, all I ask is that you follow my blog by entering your email on the right side of my blog and leave me a comment. 

Thanks, enjoy and hopefully you learn something new about your students!  Student Strengths 
Or visit my TeachersPayTeachers site... Student Strengths

Monday, August 1, 2011

Guided Reading Comprehension Cards

I wanted to repost something I found on Mrs. Saylor's Log.  She posted Blooms Cards for Guided Reading that she found on Hello First Grade.  I thought these cards were great and I wanted to repost them so that more people would have the ability to use them.  These are pictures from her blog, just click on them and enjoy!