Next Year...

Just a little over a week into summer vacation and I've been spending some of my free time pinning away and trying to think of all neat and creative things I want to do next year (inspired by all of you!). Of course I've been reading up on all of the summer to-do lists and plans for next year and had to join in too!

Three things I would like to do next year include....

A couple of my very best blogging buddies introduced me to the idea of mentor sentences this past year, Jivey & the girls from Collaboration Cuties. Jivey even made a 10 week set utilizing some great children's literature. This is happening!!

I'm super lucky to teach in a 1-1 iPad building. My classroom will even have an Apple TV system this year. This last year, I tried out some different apps with students, but I only skimmed the surface. I want to transition and go beyond just practice to applying skills utilizing this technology. 

Whether or not it's an official transition for my grade level or not, it's a new grade level and content area for me, so I will digging in even deeper into the core than before.

These are just a few of the things I will be doing differently next year. I'm looking forward to all that is in store. What all will you be doing? Be sure to link up with Finding JOY in 6th Grade if you haven't already!


Tried It Tuesday: Planet Simile

I'm linking up with the wonderful Holly for her "Tried It Tuesday"


At the end of the year we were looking for fun activities to review concepts with students. In step a wonderful free activity from the Peanut Gallery: Out of this World Similes!

The activity pack is actually 22 pages full of activities to reinforce similes. We just used one activity from the packet--describing aliens using similes. We gave the students a little more free reign where they could create unique aliens with various descriptions. Their creations turned out great. This was a fun activity to review and brightened up the hallway.


Mentor Text: Wants vs. Needs

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I've been enjoying the day with family and friends and I'm so very thankful to live in this country, with the freedoms I have, thanks to all of the military members past and present. To all active military and veterans, thank you!

I've been slacking a bit with blogging here of late. School was out for students last Wednesday (crazy that in just a couple of days a week of summer will have already come and gone!) I've spent a lot of time catching up with the last of my college friends that were finishing up school before they move around the state and across the country. I've also been pinning away a ton of summer project todo's and lesson ideas for ELA this next year. Be on the look out this week for all sorts of todo's, reflections, and fun stuff along the way.

I'm linking up a little late with the Collaboration Cuties for the great linkup. (I cannot wait to look back over all of the previous link up... major book order coming soon!) This week's topic is Social Studies. Since I haven't taught social studies since practicums during my undergraduate work, some weeks I have to scratch my head and think before a book comes to me. This week I finally remembered one from those good ol' practicums days: Those Shoes.

All Jeremy wants is a pair of "those shoes", you know the ones... the ones that everyone at school seems to be wearing. Unfortunately Jeremy's grandma says they don't have room for "wants" just "needs". When his old shoes fall apart at school we wants "those shoes" even more. After various attempts Jereme soon see the things that he does have, warm boots, a grandma who loves him, and the chance to help others out--- things that are worth more than "those shoes".

It was a cute book (the illustrations really showcase the text well) with a great message. Whether the students in your class are those with or without those shoes or whatever the "hot" item might be, I feel that they can sympathize with Jeremy and be glad with the choices that he eventually makes. 

A great conversation starter for the wants and needs of life. 


Prayers for Oklahoma

I am thankful that family members in the path of the tornado were able to seek shelter and were safe. At the same time, I'm heartbroken for all of the lives destroyed by this act of nature. Many, many prayers are being sent up for all of those in Oklahoma and all affected by today's storms.


Last Monday of the School Year... Say What?!?

It's a wee bit surreal to think that my first year of teaching is almost over. In a blink of an eye, time has flown and it's the last Monday of the school year!! Crazy, crazy, crazy!

Speaking of crazy, I work with a crazy fun staff. Our principal is going onward to work in the district office in the fall. There are many changes that are going to be occurring, but I am excited for what's to come. As a tribute to Mr. Cooper, the staff made a short video to calm any fears he had of how his staff has been doing while he has been out of the office more often these last few weeks.

We shared this video with Mr. Cooper and the students after the school talent show. It's pretty epic.


Science Mentor Text: Why Do Feet Smell?

Storms are a brewing and it's been a rainy afternoon.. the kind of afternoon that is PERFECT for reading! It's also the perfect afternoon to link up with some great bloggers from Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text linky: Science Edition!
The book I'm going to share with you is one that students have been picking up quite often from the nonfiction bucket: 20 Questions: Why Do Feet Smell?

This book has 20 questions and answers with a photograph on every page. Questions are on the right and you turn the page to see the answer on the left.  There are bonus facts that relate to the question as well. It's a fun book that ties in other of facets of the human body: reflexes, senses, body systems and of course, the answer to why feet smell.


Tried It... Wednesday?

Hello bloggy friends. This last of the year craziness is about to do me in. Not only have I been a bad blogger of recent, but I've also been a bad blog reader. I'm hoping to catch up this weekend it's just been crazy. All evening I've also been waiting to hear if an offer we put in on a house will be accepted or not; but as it nears 9pm I'm going to assume that it probably won't happen tonight. Here's hoping for a good word in the morning.

Until then, I'm double dipping on linkys and joining in with Holly's Tried It Tuesday and Jivey's Workshop Wednesday for a quick share.

As an undergrad I learned about the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives. I don't have a ton of manipulatives in my room as a first year teacher (although there are plenty of teachers who are more than willing to share) sometimes I need an item not readily available.

This website is great. You can chose items by grade level or math strand. Lots of options and lots of items to choose from.

Happy exploring!


Everything I Learned...

...As a First Year Special Education Teacher, I Learned Through Acronyms.

With foundations in FAPE and IDEA, I am able to work with students with special needs in classrooms that I do. Everything I learned as a first year teacher in special education, I learned through acronyms.

In my first 10 days I had my first IEP, working with the SLP and OT to ensure the student was in their LRE and can learn utilizing accommodations and modifications. We discussed if a BIP would be needed or if ESY, PT or AT would help. This was all decided after looking at the PLOP and baseline data.

As the year went on, I worked with students with ADHD, AU, DD, SLI and SLD. I learned  how to administer the WJ-R, BASC, KM, WISC and various RS. Presenting this data to SIT team meetings, IEP meetings, and adjusting goals based upon findings.

Almost everything I learned in my first year can be summed up in acronyms. Almost everything, but not all. I learned that I work with a wonderful, supportive staff who cares about students and believe all can succeed. A level of care that cannot be summed up in just a few short letters.

I gave this little speech of sorts at my last mentoring meeting a couple of weeks back. I joked that after my first 10 days I couldn't have said the alphabet correctly after being tongue tied with all of the acronyms. It's hard to think that this school year is almost over. This next week of blogging will probably be pretty reflective. I'm excited for all the things to come, but I'm also excited to have "survived" this first year as well. I hope you all are enjoying your end of the year festivities as well.

In case you were wondering and wanted a key to decipher parts of that spiel.. here is a key:
FAPE- Free and Appropriate Public Education
IDEA- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IEP-Individual Education Plan
SLP-Speech Language Pathologist
OT-Occupational Therapist
BIP-Behavior Intervention Plan
ESY-Extended School Year
PT- Physical Therapy
AT- Assistive Technology
PLOP- Present Levels of Performance
AHDH-Attention Deficit Hyperactity Disorder
DD-Developmentally Delayed
SLI-Speech Language Impariement
SLD-Specific Learning Disability
WJ-R- Woodcock Johnson-Revised
BASC- Behavior Assessment System for Children
KM- Key Math
WISC-Weshler Intelligence Scale for Children
RS-Rating Scales
SIT- Student Improvement Team 


Mentor Text: Sir Cumference & All the King's Tens

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there, and to all who help and nurture children (I think that every teacher has mothering/fathering instincts and roles throughout their careers) so cheers to all of you! I was able to spend the weekend back home catching up with family and friends so it was nice to get away.

Tonight, I'm linking up with some great blogging buddies from Collaboration Cuties, for their mentor text link up!

Sir Cumference is a great math picture book series, that makes my play-on-words and pun loving self extremely happy. In this particular book Sir Cumference & Lady Di of Ameter, are wanting to through a surprise party for King Arthur. They invite all of the kingdom, but figuring out how many meals and seats are needed poses a big problem. Throughout the book, many strategies are tried. Can this pair figure out a way to get the party going without the King finding out? Can all of the people really be counted? 

Much like "Spaghetti and Meatballs for All" by Marilyn Burns, I have had students problem solve along with the characters in the book. What would you do? Seeing how the character suggested ____ do you think this will work? Among other questions of the sort. Students are encouraged to write out or draw ideas as well.

The book is a cute story and a chance for problem solving while reviewing/working on place value! Be sure to link up if there is a math book that you enjoy using in your classroom!


Peace, Hope, Kindness & Peptalk

The last time I joined this linky, I shared about an incredible family and their little one. I wanted to give you a very quick update on Landon: he is now home! There are a lot of trials and tribulations to still overcome, but this is a huge step for this little family. If you want to read up more on this little guy (and be inspired with every post) just click on the picture below.

For some of you, this post will seem familiar...and if you feel that way, then your probably right (but part of this post is new). I posted this for Joann's Spark Student Motivation Saturdays, but I wanted to post it with another linky she is apart of too: Peace, Hope, and Kindness. The text is the same, so if you've read about the Grinch once, don't feel like you have to again, but I do want to share a video with you all.

I watched this video at our last inservce day, then again last night at my last graduate class of the semester (hallelujah!). In class last night, it was described as an end of the year inoculation. A peptalk. Something that is needed this time of the year with all the craziness that comes. A great reminder for teacher appreciation week. It's about 8 minutes long, but it's definitely worth a listen!

Wise words from a teacher of 40 years. 

At the small, rural school I cover, they have found a way to encourage helping others by using the Grinch. At first this project started over Christmas. Then he had to hang around for Valentines day. Now he's still up, guarding the hallway where everyone comes in and out as a reminder to students to help the Grinch keep his heart growing big and strong by helping others around them.

As you can see there are several hearts with notes mentioning who did the good deed and what was done. A fun way to have the Grinch help out!


Tried It Tuesday: Easy Meal Idea

I'm back with the wonderful Holly for her Tried it Tuesday, and gasp, I'm not sharing an app today {crazy, I know}. In fact I'm not sharing anything teacher related {double crazy!} Tonight I'm sharing a couple of recipes that I tried awhile back, and I keep trying, because they are just that good!


My husband and I have been married for almost a year, after being engaged forever and a day, as well as dating for some time. During the engagement that seemed to drag on for all eternity I had a Betty Crocker/June Cleaver moment. I wanted to be able to have a booklet of tried and true recipes for when Tony & I were finally married and entertaining family and friends. Enter these two recipes.

Both are super simple and relatively quick to fix (potatoes take a little bit), and taste delicious!

French's Onion Chicken
2 cups (4 oz.) FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 (5 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten

Place French Fried Onions and flour into plastic bag. Lightly crush with hands or with rolling pin. Transfer to pie plate or waxed paper.
Dip chicken into egg; then coat with onion crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Place chicken on baking sheet.
Bake at 400°F for 20 min. or until no longer pink in center.

The flour really does help the flakes stick. We've tried the cheddar flavored onions on accident, really couldn't tell a difference so they aren't any cheesier from what we could tell. 

Roasted Red Potatoes
What You Need
1/2 cup  KRAFT Lite Ranch Dressing ---add to taste, we sometimes add more
1/2 cup  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Cheddar Cheese ---add to taste, we add a lot more
1/4 cup  OSCAR MAYER Real Bacon Bits {optional}
2 lb.  small red potatoes (about 9), quartered
1 Tbsp.  chopped fresh parsley {optional}

Make It
HEAT oven to 350°F.
MIX first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Add potatoes; toss to coat.
SPOON into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover.
BAKE 55 min. or until potatoes are tender, uncovering after 40 min. Sprinkle with parsley.

For all of my favorite recipes (the ones that come up often in the rotation, or I need to have on hand for guest that drop in I wanted to share my recipe holder. A former roommate of mine introduced me to the idea and I love it. I bought the index card book at Walmart for a dollar or so.

Each color stands for a different section of the "recipe book". For mine green is for meats and main dishes, yellow is for salads and casseroles, orange for breads, pastas, and rice, and pink for desserts, snacks, and anything else.

It's nothing too fancy, but it holds those few golden recipes. I have a 3 ring binder for internet printings, news clippings, and other assorted recipes. This handy-dandy holder is great to take to the grocery store, without feeling like I am carrying a ton, or in fear of forgetting to put a recipe back into a binder.
Hmmm... so should another link up occur this summer, maybe a recipe exchange of sorts? I'm always looking for new eats, treats, and drinks to throw into the menu.... just an idea... :)


Winner, Winner!!

Sorry for the delay in posting. It's been a rather productive afternoon. After finishing up the last professional development day of the year (whoot) I came home and finished my last two graduate papers for the year (double whoot!) I wanted to save blogging until after my papers were done {otherwise I could be distracted for hours!}

With all of that out of the way. It's time to announce my 3 winners!! Congratulations goes out to.....


*Courtney, your email wasn't typed correctly, please email me or leave a comment so I can send your prize!*

Congratulations ladies! I hope you enjoy! Emails will be heading your way soon!

If you didn't win, I'm sure you already know.. Teachers Notebook is currently having their Teacher Appreciation Sale.  Teachers Pay Teachers is also having a sale starting tomorrow!  Both of my stores will be sharing in the appreciation sale goodness!

While your out and about be sure to check out some other great teacher-authors!


Mentor Text: Word After Word


Yay for Sunday-Fun Day & the mentor text linky is one of the highlights of my week.. my wishlist is growing exponentially due to all of the wonderful books shared. A big thank you goes out to Amanda & Stacia for this wonderful linky!

This week's topic is back to language arts books. I'm going to share one that I hadn't read until about a year ago. Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan was a reading assignment for an upper elementary language arts class I was in and I loved it. 

The book follows a group of children who have a writer visit their classroom for a period of time. Throughout Ms. Mirabel's stay, the children learn to understand the power of written word. Throughout the book, there are so many noteworthy passages and quotes to ponder and cherish. A part of the reading assignment I had in college was to collect quotes throughout the book and that wasn't hard at all. Here is just one quote from this book:
"I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to. But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I'll ever tell you. Maybe it is the most important thing you'll ever hear. Ever."
This past spring I shared this book with a young lady who had been struggling with reading. I got a kick out of her trips across the hall to my room several times a day to share pieces of the book that spoke to her. The book is a quick read, large print and small pages. I attribute the drive of this student to continue to pursue "bigger books" and her "want" to read attitude as stemming from reading this wonderful book!

Just reminder, only a few hours until my 200 follower giveaway closes and one of the prizes is a TPT gift card. Which is great timing considering all of the big sales coming up! If you'd like a chance to enter just click below!

In case you haven't heard... TPT will be having a sale May 7th & 8th... and Teacher's Notebook started their big sale yesterday. In my TN store items will be 35% off, so you should check that out through May 11th... just sayin' :)

Happy reading and happy shopping! I know I've been anxiously awaiting a big sale to help clear out my wishlists!


Student Motivation Saturday: The Grinch?

I still keep looking at the calendar and think to myself, is it really May? Already? Cold weather and snow really don't help with the off feeling, that it can't truly be this time of the year. Yet, when looking at the plan book there are lessons for my last 11 and a half days. Crazy.

Just a quick post this evening to join up with my blogging buddy, Joanne for her Student Motivation Saturday!

At the small, rural school I cover, they have found a way to encourage helping others by using the Grinch. At first this project started over Christmas. Then he had to hang around for Valentines day. Now he's still up, guarding the hallway where everyone comes in and out as a reminder to students to help the Grinch keep his heart growing big and strong by helping others around them.

As you can see there are several hearts with notes mentioning who did the good deed and what was done. A fun way to have the Grinch help out!