I'm Running Around Like a Chicken...

It seems that at the start of every week I am running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. Willy-nilly all over the place. I don't like it. I like have a plan of attack and a course of action. At a new-teacher orientation, the speaker compared first year teaching to being like a duck. Try to remain calm on the outside while your kicking like crazy under the water: just keep kicking you'll make it.

{That will be my last bird reference for the day.}

Anyway, in the midst of trying to figure out where students are at, what the greatest needs are, figuring out how to get them to understand concepts that they will need not only in life but those lovely state tests in the spring there has been a calming presence: the tips, tricks, and advice of those who have been there and done that.

Mondays just aren't good days, they are especially long for me this fall with a grad class that goes from 4:30-7 not including the lengthy drive to get there. I do enjoy my classmates, the professor, and the content....but there is just so much else to do! Yesterday, however, two valuable resources were shared with me, and I'm going to share them with you today. {Hopefully, I haven't been living under a rock, and they are new and useful resources for you as well.}

The first comes from Amy at The Resource(ful) Room. {Amazing blog, check it out.}

Love, love, love this website! You can create CBM probes on here for.... FREE! I've got plans to spend some time this evening making probes to needed specifications and downloading to print. Part of my job is essentially "managing" another (very small) school; only going in once a week to provide services myself. The rest of the time, the full time para acts in my place. I wanted to create a book of probes for her to pull from that align to the goals of the students on my caseload there. I saw Amy's post on Data Collection and wanted to try and replicate her system, thanks to her willingness to share I will be able to do just that! :)

The second resource comes from my mentor teacher.

I had heard of the Florida Center for Reading Research, but I hadn't explored it much yet. Yesterday, my mentor sent me the link to download 117 pages of probing goodness: Cool Tools. These are broken down into specific areas to test/probe/progress monitor. 

So even with Monday being crazy {like every other day at the beginning of the year...or maybe every day of the school year for a new teacher, ha!} It was great to have the waters calm, the chicken dance stop for a bit, and begin to formulate a plan again, and to begin to get back "on track." 

I hope these resources help you as much as they are helping me!

Mrs. Whitehair



Freebie Friday! --UPDATED

This is the last day of a wonderful week of blogging. I've really enjoyed being a part of this link-up and I hope that you all have too. Today is a big day... Friday FREEBIE!!! Be sure to checkout all of the other wonderful bloggers and their freebies!! {I know I will, today has been stressFULL! I should have mentioned, that finding tons of freebies that I can utilize in my classroom is very therapeutic (less planning/creating for me!)}

Here's my freebie and I hope that it is okay to post it.... 

I've seen two really great number of the day journal pages and a wonderful poster idea. You can see them here on teacherspayteachers and on Google Drive and a number of the day poster seen here.

With my pullout math group, I wanted to have something for the students to do as they come in the door to get them in the math mindset. Incorporating ideas from these sources, I created three different half-page number of the day journal pages--something I thought would be more manageable for our short time together. Please feel free to take a look and download. Again, I hope that it is okay to pull from these resources. If these are yours and you prefer I take this resource down, please comment or email me!

Click on the picture to download!
Note: In one of the boxes, the label didn't appear. Fixed now!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! It's been great to learn more about you all this week!

If you have a freebie to share or want to check more out please hop over here!

-Mrs. Whitehair

Therapeutic Thursday

I'm loving this week-long linky party. It's great to take a peek at everyone's rooms and to get a glimpse at each of you! Today's topic is therapeutic Thursday... I've been debating on what to talk about so this will be a hodge-podge of things.

Midday therapy: my secret chocolate stash. {Not super secret, I've let my fellow teachers and paras know where it's at if their having one of those days.} Dove chocolate and Andes mints are personal favorites... but I'm saving those for state testing time... my stash is filled with items that aren't quite as expensive, but still tasty.

Therapeutic goal: In high school I was super active, college not so much, now even less. With a new gym membership I'm hoping to get back into the groove. Once on an exercise routine, I do find it therapeutic. Going for a walk with my pup and husband works great too!

{I want this shirt! If you do too, you can purchase it here}

Probably a better goal than trying out every last one of the desserts I have pinned on Pinterest, but they all just look so darn good!

Therapeutic classroom: This is the classroom of one of the gals I coteach with. I love the calming effect her room has. She always has a welcoming sent throughout the room, coming from her Scentsy pot. Several times throughout the day, she has soft music playing in the background. She has even turned off the lights from time to time, just to let the natural light and lamps light the room. My favorite spot in the room is her reading area. A little fountain is always running---it's such a calming element to the room.
{I apologize for not having pictures to show of her room... I'll update this post again soon. I forgot about taking pictures and today was just one of those days and I refuse to go back to school until tomorrow.}

Here's my hodge-podge of therapeutic ideas {therapeutic shopping and girls nights occur too} just thought I'd share about these. I cannot wait to read all of the posts on today's topic. To see more or share some of your therapeutic ideas, hop over here.  I'm sure I'm going to need to implement some of these therapeutic strategies throughout the year!

-Mrs. Whitehair

Where I Teach: Wednesday

I teach at the BEST school ever {but that's just my humble opinion.} The staff has been great, understanding, and oh so helpful since my hire. I'm looking forward more and more to this school year with each passing day.

The stuff you probably want to hear goes something more like this....

I teach at Garfield Elementary it's the 4/5 building in the beautiful town of Abilene, Kansas. The town is the home of President Eisenhower "big" to me with the small-town feel I love. {Big is a relative term. My hometown maybe has 150 people in it. My graduating class was the largest in the school in 2008 with 15 students... a school district with roughly 1,700 kids is big...to me!} The school district adopted a technology initiative. This is the first year for 1:2 iPads in K-1; and 1:1 iPads 3-12.

I am the 5th grade special education teacher and here is a quick look at my classroom. { I apologize in advance for the picture quality; most pictures yellowed due to the time of day and the sun setting oh well you get the just.}

Thank you Pinterest! I have some kiddos that need some review with telling time and this is the best "anchor chart"
{I didn't realize the link went to the template, so I free-handed, but I would have printed it out if I would have seen that template sooner!!}

First job... my own room whoooooooooot!

 Gifts for parents at Open House/Parent Night

 For free printable leaves please click here!

 LOVE my math-word wall! Every math term (CCSS for 4th and 5th) has a QR linked to online math dictionaries and sometimes even more interactive activities. Great resource from Eberopolis!

Great free printable (aligned to 6-trait writing) from Ladybug Teaching Files

 "Show Me the Money" Interactive bulletin board. Problems will be given to each pocket or purse. Inside the pockets/purse is a ziplock baggie with the correct change manipulatives for student's to self check. {It's a goal to have this as an interactive bulletin board every month}.

 One of my favorite parts of the room: the reading area. I have an addiction love children's books. Modge-podge and I became good friends this last year and I covered wood letters to go with my classroom colors. Again thanks to Pinterest. {Only one of a dozen different links to this project.}

A look at half of my room where I teach/where my desk is at. I am so thankful for all of the windows! To the left unseen, is a sink, and a huge built in storage area. The other half of the room, has a kidney table along with the interactive bulletin board and reading area. I wanted to leave this space as an area for teachers to use as needed for small groups or during MTSS. 

In reality, I'm pale... my walls are tan-ish...and things really aren't as yellow as they seem.
Ignore my tired state. Focus more on the fabric covered filing cabinets--love this idea.... and FLOWERS FROM MY HUSBAND!! {He's the best, hands down. They were a great first day surprise.}

This is where I teach...and I love, love, LOVE IT!

Looking forward to taking a peek at your school and where you teach, so be sure  hop over to Blog Hoppin' to link up!

-Mrs. Whitehair


Technology Tip: Tuesday

I'm linking up again with Blog Hoppin for Teacher week! You definitely need to checkout today's linky party... tons of technology tips!

With my school being in the first year of 1:1 iPads there is an air of excitement and anxiousness. What if a student has a problem I can't answer? How can I incorporate this technology more? Where do I find the power button? {Ok, so I haven't heard the last question yet, but I can just hear my Dad saying something like this, haha}  

My best advice is this: take the time to explore. The best way to learn about a new-to-you technology, is to get it into your hands and work with it. Don't be afraid to try things out! I've found people are afraid of "messing up" or "breaking" the item that they are working with, it's been my experience that it's pretty hard to completely mess up or break technology so take that leap of faith and explore.

To add on to that, find someone in the building, who can give you a helping hand. People are more than willing to help, all you have to do is ask.

Learned about a new website today from the app guru at school... check it out!! For daily free apps (that are school appropriate) and giveaways on apps!

If you have a piece of advice or tip to share, be sure to link up!

-Mrs. Whitehair


Must-Haves: Monday

School is back in full swing! I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week. Take a minute to see all of my "must haves" and then check out all of the other wonderful bloggers {and get an early start on that Christmas wishlist!}

In reverse order:

Must-Have #3

My color printer! My school does not have a color printer {sad day! I'm the type of person who thinks color on a paper makes it more interesting.} I love all of the TPT/Teacher's Notebook items that I've purchased, and printing on colored paper doesn't usually do justice for these items... so it's worth the extra money to print because of...

Must-Have #2

My scotch-thermal laminator. {Seriously my best purchase for anything school related. Ever.} Although the school does have a laminator, this is a fast, easy, and fairly inexpensive way to keep all of my precious papers using colored ink usable for more than just a single class period. {Side note, I've seen this pinned on pinterest several times. Walmart was where I bought mine. Cheapest I've seen yet.}

Last, but definitely NOT least... Must-Have #1

My mentor and paras. These ladies are the absolute best! Period!  As a first year teacher it would be easy to sink. Special education is notorious for the high turn over rate. My mentor has been teaching for 12 years and is an amazingly patient woman. She is great at what she does and handles my millions of questions. My paras are truly great as well. Between the three ladies they have nearly 40 years of educational experience: most of which has been at Garfield. They keep me a float in so many ways. I'm so grateful to such supportive coworkers--the whole staff is great--but this group of women are definitely "must-haves" for me!

{Not sure if everyone would like their picture posted, so I will hold off for now}

So what {or who} are your must-haves? Link up and share :)

-Mrs. Whitehair


First Few Days...and a freebie!

The first couple of days have been great, and I anticipate the same for tomorrow: our first full day. This week I'm sort of a floater, as the students are staying with their home room for rotations. It's given me a chance to get to know my students and observe them a bit before jumping in next week with co-teaching and my pullout group.

This week I started off by meeting with each of the fifth grade teachers to give them a little background information. I printed the document on bright paper and wrote in the necessary information. I saw something pretty similar to this in one of my classes this last summer, I just added a couple of different categories to it.

Click the picture to be taken to the pdf. If you would prefer the copy from Pages or in Microsoft Word format (to type rather than write in) just email me or leave a comment.

I hope everyone is having a great start to the school year, or enjoying the last bit of summer!

-Mrs. Whitehair

School Starts... TOMORROW!!


Can't believe tomorrow starts the day I've been working towards---my first day of school as the teacher! Crazy!!

Today was the very brief open house. I, unfortunately, didn't get to see many of the kiddos I will be working with... but that's okay--- even more excited for tomorrow.

I haven't posted much, but tomorrow there will definitely be pictures that are taken and a big post, be sure to check back. Be on the lookout for my classroom reveal, a project I made for the parents that did arrive today, and a snapshot IEP template  I used with my teachers today that you will be able to download.

After the rollercoaster of the day I'm exhausted {hopefully I'm able to sleep with all of the excitement of tomorrow!}

Hope that the start of the school year is wonderful for you all and your best year yet!

-Mrs. Whitehair

Newbie Blog Hop

I've discovered so many newbie bloggers like myself through looking blogs linked up to this linky party, that I decided to join the fun!


1. What state are you in? Kansas... thus, teaching in Oz :)
2. Current teaching position: I will be a 5th grade special education teacher.
3. Your teaching experience: This will be my first year!
4. When you started blogging: My husband and I have a blog and we try to post a picture daily of our newlywed lives to try and let family stay more connected with us. So far so good, but it's been less than 2 months for that.. and I wanted to attempt a teaching blog too :) I just started this blog the first of this month. 
5. Blogging tip or resource: 
Tip: Click to make links open in a new tab. 
Resource: Check out "I Teach, What's Your Super Power"'s page 'Blog Baby Blog' so many amazing tutorials (without having to spend hours looking through Google help!)


One Week!

One week from this moment, my first day of teaching will be over. Crazy to think about! Every day, my to-do list seems to grow exponentially, as I learn more about my new district and my position within the special education coop. Overwhelmed seems to be the word of the week, but I am very blessed to be working with knowledgeable, caring, and very patient colleagues {who have heard more than their fair share of questions from me.} I am very grateful for their help and input. I'm glad that they can recall their own first days and willingly offer a listening ear and support!

This week, I hope to finish up a binder that I want my pullout students to utilize and I will post a master copy or at least the rough sketch up once the idea is fine tuned. 

Hope you have a wonderful night, with no back to school nightmares!

-Mrs. Whitehair


The school year is just around the corner, and I'm working on making my first classroom all
ready. I'm sooooooo excited, and let's be honest, nervous too.  I will be the 5th grade special education teacher in a Kansas school (thus, "Teaching in Oz"). {No matter how long I live, I will never shake the Wizard of Oz references, so why not embrace them?}  

Follow along, share your ideas, become inspired, as we travel down the yellow brick road!

-Mrs. Whitehair