Welcome to my blog:) Since I am so far away from my friends and family, I want to keep you updated on the fun and trials of my new job. Thank you to everyone for your support, encouragement, and the tips/ideas you may offer!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

11 in 11

I'm linking up with Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Hadar at Miss Kindergarten for this fun blog post:)

11. Favorite Movie you watched - Breaking Dawn, Part 1. I LOVED the books, and this was by far the BEST movie in the Twilight series yet!

10. Favorite TV Series - Modern Family. I got Season 1 on DVD for my birthday, watched all of season 1 in 3 days, and I couldn't wait for Season 2, which I got for Christmas, SCORE! In the mean time, I'd been watching Season 3 on TV. LOVE LOVE!

9. Favorite Restaurant - Between living in Northern WI, traveling to see my boyfriend who lived in 2 different major cities in Southern WI through out the year, and my parents living in IL and his in MN...I have a lot to choose from...
Cafe Hollander in Milwaukee. Yummy brunch:)

8. Favorite new thing you tried - Using a n iPad. Our school purchased a set of these, and I LOVE them! This is definitely on my list of future big purchases. I LOVE Apple products. The iPad is so easy to use, the kids love the learning games, and it makes a great reward. Plus my dad thinks Talking Tom is hilarious!

7. Favorite gift you've received - xBox 360 and Kinect! I got it for my birthday from my fantastic boyfriend and my awesome parents and brother. I love Dance Central...which you can dance battle at the same time as your opponent now, with Dance Central II! Anyone have Zumba or Wipe Out? I'm thinking about getting another new game.

6. Favorite thing you've pinned - I pin soooooo much, I could not possibly pick one that is my favorite. One of the funniest pins I've seen, I didn't even repin because I didn't have a board that it fit on...but I took a picture of the pin...Harry Puppy...a puppy dressed like Harry Potter. Then I saw Harry Penguin...I thought it was funny:-D

You can come follow me...

5. Favorite blog post - My first freebie. I was so excited that I had finally learned how to post a document on my blog, not to mention that I had created something that I felt was worthy of sharing with others.

4. Favorite Accomplishment - Completing my first 10k. I have truly developed a love for jogging this year:)

3. Favorite Picture - I have definitely slacked in the picture taking department this year. I haven't seriously scrapbooked in about 4-5 years. That being said, my favorite picture of the year was probably one of B and I from our "photo shoot" when he received his white coat for med school. I'm very proud of all the hours he puts in to studying, and he still works hard to make our long distance relationship work.

2. Favorite memory - Another hard one....Valentine's Dinner at a very fancy Milwaukee Restaurant, getting an iPhone, camping in the Dells on one of the hottest nights ever, going to B's family's cabin....

1. Goal for 2012...
-workout regularly
-create more freebies to share in blog land
-decrease time spent on Facebook
-increase time spent with loved ones

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Christmas FREEBIE

Here is another freebie:)  You can find the snowman, gingerbread, and peppermint marshmallows at Walmart (and possibly other locations).  Use purely as a math learning assignment or as an incentive for good behavior.

Winter Marshmallow Graphing

Merry (early) Christmas!  Let me know if you like this:)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My first FREEBIE

Oh, I have my fingers crossed this document is going to work!
Our school Title teacher and I created this freebie to use with our Kinders for Christmas!  I’m so excited!  All you need to do is print and laminate!  (And leave me a comment to let me know how it works in your classroom:)
We are going to get some peppermint candies or use the peppermint marshmallows for the students to place on the mint pictures.  Then they have to count the candies and write the number with dry erase marker.  Otherwise you could just print and have the students count the pictures and put their answer in the box.
Oh, I’m so excited if this worked!
Peppermint Counting

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Do any of you Spec Ed bloggers provide gym for your students?  I have a couple self contained, part-time, elementary students, and I'm thinking about doing "gym" with them once a week.  Does anyone have suggestions?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Linky Party

Mandy at Cooperative Learning 365 is having a Linky party for all those who have fought, survived, known a loved one with cancer, or simply want to join in celebrating the four letter word 

So here is to all my family and friends<3

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The Resource(ful) Room reached 100 followers!  To celebrate, she is having a giveaway!  Help her celebrate by becoming a follower and entering the giveaway:)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Playing along with Oh Boy 4th Grade's linky party tonight!

to How I Met Your Mother reruns.  The new episode should be on at 7 I believe:)  Thank you Brian for getting me interested in this show and keeping me updated when new episodes are on.

my school iPad!  I love the educational apps for my students to play, the camera to record bad behaviors my students display - so I can have the students watch how they look, and the portability of it:-D LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Please let my classroom run smoothly when I'm out of school on Friday.

2 of me, one to take over for me when I'm feeling stressed.  AND wanting to do more fun stuff with my kids...I feel like every time I plan something fun, bad behaviors get in the way and prevent me from initiating the fun activity with my students.

to remember that I have a life outside of being a teacher.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

1st Linky Party

Just like so many other bloggers, I'm really in to Pinterest right now!  So I thought I would participate in my first linky party, click here to visit Michelle @ Math in the Middle, and link up too!

And check out my pin board on Pinterest!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Classroom Jobs

This post is all about my classroom jobs....

I currently don't have specific people labeled do do specific jobs.  Instead, it more or less depends on who is behaving-rewards and who is in my room when I need a job done.

My school jobs include....

Secretary's Assistants - help count handouts that go to each classroom, sharpen pencils
Event Coordinator - changes the calendar monthly, changes the calendar poster daily
Mail carriers - helps sorts and deliver our school mail
Veterinarian - feeds the class fish and cleans the tank
Landscaper - waters and prunes school plants

Additionally, I would like to try to have someone who answers the phone when my paraprofessional and I are busy.  However, I'm not sure I'm ready to hand over that much control/responsability to one of my students, but I do think it would help my students work on their social skills.

These jobs have required a lot of modeling and practice to ensure that my students are completing the tasks correctly, but it is worth it to me because students are working on OT and speech goals on top of academic and social skills.

The secretary's assistants have been working on counting, motor skills to separate and the pages, straighten them in to nice piles, put paper clips on the stacks of paper, and writing skills because students have to write the teachers' names on a post-it that goes on top of each classes stack of papers.  Things went much better today because I spent much more time modeling what the students were supposed to do and breaking the task in to steps.  I also use this as a time to talk about team work because this gets done much faster with more people working on it.  Since we have only been doing this for 2 days, I am still 2nd counting the handouts, but I hope to be able to stop doing that soon.  It currently takes about 3 students 20 minutes to do this task.  We will see how much faster they get at this task in the up coming weeks!

The Event Coordinator changes my magnetic calendar monthly.  This helps my students learn the months of the year and days of the week.  It also helps them work on counting and when holidays are.  On a daily basis, the event coordinator also has to update the calendar poster.  The calendar poster has blanks for "today is," "yesterday was," "tomorrow is," "the month is," "we have been in school for __ days," etc.

This is my first year initiating a school wide mail program.  All students are welcome to write to other students or staff as part of an assignment or during free time.  Teachers are not required to utilize the mail system, but I gave suggestions for incorporating it in standards based assessments or activities the teachers have students complete any way.  Ideas included invitations for plays, thank you notes, pen pals, persuasive letters, informative letters, postcards, etc.  I have a big blue mail box outside of my classroom for the students to put the mail in.  The mail carriers are responsible for sorting the mail in to files, each teacher has a file with their name on it.  Then my students deliver the mail!  They practice walking quietly in the hallway, using greetings, saying please and thank you, quietly entering a classroom, answering questions, etc.  Plus, the other students in school LOVE getting mail, so they are very excited when my students show up:-D  This is working well so far, and I love it!

I haven't actually had any my students perform the most important Veterinarian task - cleaning the fish bowl!  So we will have to see how this goes.  I am hoping if I break it down in to little steps my students will be great at it!  However, feeding the fish has turned in to a very nice reward/incentive for my students!

I haven't had anyone perform Landscaper duties yet either.  I only have one plant, so I am contemplating asking other teachers if they have plants that they would like my students to come water too.  Not sure about this one yet.

I like my real world job titles too because they allow for conversations about real world jobs.

If you have any other job ideas you would like to share, please do!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pictures of my Classroom

This is my reading area.  Students can put the blue mat down to sit or lay on to read, the can sit on the bouncy balls, or the carpet.  The shelves contain numerous books.  Some of them have been leveled; however, the ones visible straight ahead have not been labeled.  When students are "reading to self" or "reading to a partner" as part of the Daily 5, they can sit in this area.

The books in the orange boxes and on the white shelf on the right are leveled.  This is to help students quickly find books at their level.  During Daily 5 there are iPick (I pick books for purpose, interest, comprehension, and cause I know the words).  With the books leveled, I feel more comfortable with students picking books they will comprehend better, and by giving them the opportunity to choose from books at their level, I hope that it will increase their interest in the books they are reading.

This is my work station.  On the top left are my bulletin boarders and posters boxes, in the top middle shelf I have DVDs/VHSs, in the cubbies I have books I frequently use and pics to remind me of my family.  The large clock is a visual timer for when my students are taking breaks or need to wait a certain length of time before going to the next activity.  Since time is a difficult thing to grasp, I set the visual timer if students need to work for 10 minutes before music time, they can see the red area decrease as the time till music decreases.

This will be my main student work area.  The whiteboard does double duty as an interactive whiteboard using a Wii remote.  I haven't gotten to use it much yet or see what it can do because it is new to my classroom.  I'm super excited to use it though.  I have a sink, so all my students will be washing their hands first thing when they come to my classroom.

The bulletin board is for student work samples.  The filing cart is for my students to organize the school mail.  The red pocket hanger is for students to put work to take home.  I will put themed/seasonal/special author books in the book display.

Not pictured - Secondary work table.

Not pictured - Listening station.

I LOVE MY CLASSROOM!  I can't wait to start teaching students in it tomorrow!!!

Beginning 2011-2012

I had a rough start to my school year, this year!  I can only imagine, if my first day of school my first year of teaching had been like my first day of school my second year of teaching....I would not have made it to year 2.

Half of the tantrums on day one resulted because I would not let a little one cut in line.  Yes, it was the first day of school, but I did not want my students getting in to bad habits, which would be harder to break later in the school year.  What I learned from this: do NOT give in, even if a 20 minute tantrum results.  It is important to stick to your guns once you have decided something.  It may be hard at first, but it gets better.  Day two was much better.  My little one whined about a couple of directions, but did not have a tantrum!  After the 3 day weekend, we will see if he remembers what we learned the first day of school.

My boyfriend made day 1 so much better by sending me these!

This weekend I created my weekly schedule for interventions with individual students.  Tomorrow, will be my first day following my schedule.  I will be taking students for math, reading, spelling, writing, and social skills interventions based on their needs.

Tomorrow I will mostly be doing assessments to see how much information my students remember from last year.  Assessments include letters, sounds, sight words, spelling words, money, time, addition, subtraction, and a reading benchmark.

Things I need to do -
* print picture schedules on BoardMaker
* make sensory bins
* do student assessments
* find out if any of my students need para support in specials classes
* confirm intervention schedule with regular ed teachers
* finish organizing files
* organize my daily 5
* adopt new student's IEP

Saturday, August 27, 2011


This has been one busy week with back to school teacher inservice! Everyone is busy trying to get their classrooms ready.

Our district laminator is now located at the school I work at. This will be very convenient to laminate whenever necessary; however, that means we are now responsible for changing the laminate rolls when they run out! After our laminator went on a 3 week vacation to the cleaner, it returned this week. Within one hour of it's return I had to change the laminator rolls. I was very proud of myself because with the help of one other teacher I completed this timely task. Now all of my posters, signs, and bulletin board stuff is laminated.

Bulletin Boards
This week I created 2 bulletin boards, both are based off our school theme: sports. The baseball bulletin board is part of my behavior management program. When students behave they earn moves around the baseball diamond. They can collect runs and trade the runs for rewards.on the other hand, when they misbehave they will receive strikes, three strikes equal an out. Based on their behavior contract they will lose privileges.

The second board is to show case students' hard work.  It is titled "All Star Work".

Mail System
This year I am starting a new program. It is an all school mail system. I presented this idea at our staff meeting, and people seemed very receptive. This week, I also received my catalog orders for the year. I purchased a big blue mailbox which is located outsidE my room for students to drop their mail in. I also got a file cart for my students to organize the ail in before delivery. I am so excited about this mail system! Get the sample mail system guidelines document.

Monday, August 22, 2011

About Me

Since I'm about to begin a new school year, I'm just putting a little info about me.  I'm putting some things I'm excited for, to help refresh me when I feel overwhelmed during the school year, and I'm putting a weakness so I can continue to work on it this school year, and I'm putting a little about me for my readers:)

Tell us a little something about you...
I moved to the middle of no where exactly a year ago!  I never anticipated how much this place would grow on me.  I found a coworker who has become an awesome roommate and friend.  I have also met a lot of other great people while working here, and they have made me feel right at home...some of them have even made me feel like family.  

My boyfriend lives 2.5 hours away, and he just started med school.  So when we see each other on the weekends and he has to study, I plan on blogging:-D

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching grades k-4 emotional behavioral disorders special education for 1 year. 

You might not know...
I am training for a 10k.  Last year, I started jogging with one of my friends from college, and she got me really in to jogging.  When I first started, I couldn't even jog 1 mile without stopping.  I have increased my stamina and can currently jog 4 miles without stopping, only 2.2 miles to go!

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
There are soooo many things I'm looking forward to!!  I am most looking forward to improving on things from last year.  This will be my 2nd year with the majority of my students.  So I am looking to improve on my reading and math teaching strategies.  This year I'm also starting school jobs.  I am implementing a school wide mail system, which my students will be in charge of, and my students will have other responsibilities throughout the school (gardener - waters plants, event coordinator - changes calendar, secretary's assistance - helps with photo copies and such, vet - takes care of class pet, etc.)  
I'm also excited about my classroom theme - baseball, which fits in to our school theme - sports.  I have a huge baseball diamond bulletin board, and each student has a picture of themselves to move around the bases.  When they behave and get there work done they earn opportunities to move their character around the bases and score runs.  Students can use their runs to earn rewards.  On the other hand, when they misbehave they receive strikes, and 3 strikes means they are out.  These strikes and outs directly coordinate with negative reinforcers.

What do you need to improve?
I need to work on planning ahead.  Last year, I typically planned everything the night before.  I would like to have my weekly plans done on Friday every week.  

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
Checklists - I use BoardMaker to make daily checklists so my students know what work needs to be completed and they can check it off.
Reading A-Z - I get phonics lessons, printable books, and assessment worksheets from this website ALL the time.
Heavy duty stapler - to staple the books together, so handy:0

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last few weeks of my first year

The last 2 months of school have flown by.  I'm going to try to write about as many things as I can remember.

For Mother's Day my students decorated flower pots with puffy paint, and then I planted flowers in each pot for the students to give their mom's.  Despite practicing how to use puffy paint on a piece of paper ahead of time, the students had a difficult time using the puffy paint SPARINGLY.  There were HUGE globs of paint on most of the flower pots.  I was also surprised that only 2 of my 10 students decorated their flower pot with a pattern, design, picture, or words.  I wish I had had more time, so the students could plant their own flowers.  Additionally, it would have been nice to talk with the students more about taking care of plants.

For Father's Day the students are decorating can coozies (to keep pop cans cool).  Again, the students are using puffy paint.  However, this time I gave students the option to use permanent markers instead.  The students who chose to use the puffy paints have definitely improved.  That was very exciting to see!  I was walking around the room while all the students started decorating their can coozies, by the time I reached one of my students he had already (legibly) written "beer" on his coozie.  That made my day:)

Another student was working with the paraprofessional.  The student was reading a book about farms for the first time.  So to prepare for the book, they were discussing the topic of farms.  The para asked the student, "Have you ever been to a farm?"  The student responded, "Yes."  Para, "Who's farm?"  Student, "McDonalds."

I attended my first Timber Rattlers Game with the 3rd graders!  It was very cool to see all the 3rd graders on the field reciting "Casey At Bat."  It was also cool to see Chumley and MJ working!  It was crazy how it rained 3 different times during the game.  All the kids had a lot of fun any way.

I recently attended a workshop on Crisis Prevention Training, deescalating severe behaviors.  Mostly we were reminded/taught to be empathetic, give students lots of choices when they are being difficult, give them space, keep them talking/thinking, etc.  We were also taught how to correctly defend ourselves and restrain students....very interesting.

I have good news for next year:  I have my same job next year AND I will be getting a bigger classroom:-D

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Valentine's Day and Special Events

In the last month we have had several special events at school.  At the end of every month our school does an all school reward for the students who have less than 3 behavioral referals.  The other special ed teacher, the Title 1 teacher, and I were in charge of the January reward, so we "hosted" an all school sledding event at City park.  It went really well.  The weather was perfect - sunny and 32 degrees.  The kids were able to bring their sleds to school.  The 3 teachers "in charge" sat at the top monitoring when students went down, to ensure safety.  This was a lot of fun:)

Then there were the Super Bowl parties.  Since the Packers made it to the Super Bowl, it was obviously the obligation of these crazy northerners to have a party in every classroom.  So at our school we had a tailgate lunch and individual teachers were responsible for whether or not they wanted to have celebration events.  Some teachers had parties with food, others hosted trivia contests, read books about the Super Bowl, and many dressed up in green and gold.  Needless to say, everyone was trying to convert me to a Packer's fan.

We also had 2 nights of parent/teacher conferences in one week.  That was a chatoic week.  I met with half of my student's parents.

Next, there were the Valentine's Day parties.  The kids enjoyed lots of sugary treats and candy.  Very few valentines came without candy or treats.  Some teachers had rootbeer floats, others had ice cream sundays, or lunch parties.  Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.  All the teachers were very nice and wanted to make sure I felt included, despite the fact that I had no children in my room for most of the day.

Here is the craft I had my students make for Valentine's Day.  Once they were all completed they put them on the tree on my classroom door.  Then they took them home on Valentine's Day and gave them to a loved one.

Overall, I'm very happy with my students' progress.  Some days it seems slow and frustrating, but they are getting there.  I'm working with the Speech teacher to help my students learn the W questions and to help students pronounce words correctly.

Here's to hoping we have a snow day tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Semester 1 is Coming to an End

We returned to school on January 3rd, and it was more than a little disappointing to go back to a 50 degree school (especially since Brian was in Jamaica).  Sadly, my roommate and co-worker in the classroom adjacent to mine lost her fish that day.  We had to tell our students that the poor fish froze to death.  Luckily, that hasn't put a damper on the rest of 2011!

My student mentioned in a previous blog (who was having significant behavioral problems:  wetting pants, hitting, etc. to try to get sent home) is on a new behavior management program.  It has been working well.  Every morning and afternoon he behaves he is reward with 15 minutes of free time, among other things.  So far this is working well!  Keep your fingers crossed for me:)

On  Friday I have my second observation by my supervisor.  She will be coming to observe one of my social skills groups.  During group we will be doing yoga - a great calming technique and an introduction to physical activity.  I am hoping this goes well.

Friday is also the end of the quarter, so IEP goals and grades are due in a week and a half.  Things will definitely be busy!  I am also attending an inservice next week to learn to use Boardmaker.  We are also purchasing a new curriculum for the Special Ed department.  It will be interesting to see the new materials.

I can't believe I am almost half way through my first year!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 to 2011

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the year 2011.  We are nearing the end of the 2nd quarter, and I feel like I still have soooo much to do!

I am hopeful that my students did not forget everything over Christmas break ::fingers crossed::.

December Achievements
* I am proud to share that two of my students have mastered counting change without using touch     points!
* One of my students has mastered approximately 10 letter sounds in the last month!  (He previously knew none.)  He is learning the letter sounds quickly!  Now, we have to work on sounding words out.
* One of my most successful group social skills classes took place in the month of December - listening bingo and play-doh afterward.
* I am working with a friend to implement a plan to teach one of my students all the letters and sounds.  The student is frequently mixing up letters like d, p, b, q, j, and k.
* I rearranged my classroom, and I think I like it.  Students in the time out area have a decreased view of the rest of the classroom.  I also became very organized - boarder and poster boxes.  Completed lots of laminating.
* I am giving my students more opportunities for independence.  I have begun to teach them where everything in my classroom is, and I will ask them to get things or move things.  This gives me hope that on sub days the students will be able to help the sub, if the sub can't find something.

Goals for January
* Teach time to my two math students.
* Teach all letter sounds to my first grader.
* Teach 80 Dolche Sight Words to another student.
* Use SAFMEDS to teach multiplication to my 4th grader.
* Do more puzzles with my students.  (I was surprised my students did not understand the concept of putting all the straight edged pieces together.)
* Increase reading comprehension in another student.

I still love my job:)  I just want my students to learn as much as I can teach them!!!  Wish me luck on this endeavor!  We have a lot to do by the end of 2nd quarter....which is 3 weeks away!