Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Teacher Week: Classroom Reveal!

Happy Wednesday!

I've been looking forward to this post forever!!

This is Week 6 for teachers and Week 3 for students, so my room has been patiently waiting to be revealed for awhile. 

With that disclaimer: 

As a special educator, I'm extremely fortunate to have a fabulous room in an o-l-d public city school building. We have many generations of mice that are older than all of us! Please keep that in mind when you see what I'm working with :)

I'm linking up for the fabulous Teacher Week party going on at Blog Hoppin' 

PLUS the amazing duo of #2getherwearebetter 

Here's my main area:

I have ONE bulletin board that triples as a focus wall, displays grit trackers, and houses anchor/visuals (no room for charts!). This is about 1/2 of the office and where I pull Guided Reading groups.

If you turn just a tad to the left, you'll see my library/shelves:

I keep our picture books up high and readers leveled down low. I also store a few bins that are exclusively for Guided Reading.

And speaking of bins:

I mentioned a mouse problem...did you know mice will eat glue, paper, crayons, and BOOKS? I now have clear plastic bins (with lids) to last the rest of my career :)  They are from IKEA and I have three different sizes of the same style bin. I ♥ them!

I also scored two new-to-me tables this school year!

Where learning magic happens :)

My Daily 5 "rotation" is in between the windows:

And here's our matching table toppers:

The black cardstock on the scary cabinets (only a few open and I usually don't dare!) will soon proudly display student masterpieces:

Please note: I did not ask for bright yellow walls. I inherited them. My room is simple black and white with primary accents.

That's it! I can't wait to see everyone's home-away-from-home!

And if you have suggestions, I'd ♥ to hear them!

I'm also kicking off a new month with Farley's Currently:

My three main goals this year are simple, yet super important:

1. Health - I'm working with an amazing coach/nutritionist 
to fine-tune my fitness

2. Model Portfolio - due in March, my last "hoop"

3. I'm in the process of switching to WordPress...Becca from Jumpkin Jax Design is a SAINT to deal with me during B2S season!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teacher Week & Apples!

Happy Tuesday!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for:

I can't wait to read everyone's ideas today!

I've been cooking in "batches" for...years, maybe decades? 
It's something my mom always did and since I absolutely love to eat, I've done it, too :)

Every two months or so, I spend a long afternoon cooking tons and TONS of ground turkey breast (stove) and chicken breast (crockpot). Next, I distribute all of it to one-serving size freezer containers:

We use those containers for our "main" meals.
My simple routine is:

Walk in the door (while reading/sorting mail)
Thaw one container for 1.5 minutes (on high)
Place spinach on salad plate or thaw veggies.
Clean out/repack lunch bag while everything cooks

It take literally less than 5 minutes! Is it the best meal ever?
 Not even close, but it's quick and healthy!

I also work out with a coach who is seriously killing me with these workouts (♥ her!) and I need extra pre/post meals. Every weekend I make two dozen of these protein muffins (another throwback!):

They are simply unflavored protein powder, eggs, raisins, spices, and baking soda. Bake for 10 minutes and then I package them up! Yum!

I also make my breakfast/lunch for Monday-Friday...a simple tuna or chicken salad. It's the same every weekday, but we go out and live it up on the weekends :)

Please stop back tomorrow for my Classroom Tour!

I'm also blogging today at Ellison Education to share these cuties:

I love their interactive flashcards, and so do my students! 

Have a terrific Tuesday! Jen

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Week: Fun Facts

Happy Teacher Week!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for:

Today is 5 fun (random) facts about me!

1. I love city living! 

I dream of moving back to Boston, living in London or NYC. Right now I'm settled in a downtown neighborhood in Baltimore. We can walk to the water, fine dining, shopping, and a huge city park.

2. I collect motivational quotes! 

And I use them...which is most likely annoying to others ;)
I like to give them as gifts...little collections and/or frames. 

It's a very long day, but totally worth it. I leave the house at 4:00 am to go to the gym, then school. I come home by 5:15, catch up on work, and then get ready for the next day. We have an extended teaching day, so most of my work is completed over the weekend. It's a CRAZY schedule, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!


We travel to Florida four times every year. We stay in Redington Beach (between St. Petersburg and Clearwater) every time and feel it's a home away from home. I even have a gym pass there! 
Our next trip is in October...can't wait! 

5. Professional Goals

This year, I'm applying for the Model Teacher Portfolio. I started the process this past year and will submit in March. This is my "last hoorah" in my career! All my classes are completed and now I just have about 1500 pages ahead of me and then I'm really DONE. 
What will I do with all the extra time (just kidding)?

Please link back with Blog Hoppin' to learn more about our favorite teacher-authors! Stop back tomorrow for Tuesday's Make Ahead Meals!

Thanks for reading! Jen

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sense-sational: The Giving Tree

Happy Saturday!

Hope your weekend is off to a SENSE-sational start!

Busy weekend here...lesson planning and thinking about how I'm going to reach all these new learners!  

We just wrapped up our second full week of school and the "official" curriculum starts next week. I predict we're going to have some very tired kiddos (and teachers). 

Today I'm sharing Week Four of my series:

This week is perfect for the promise of fall...
I've already had pumpkin spice coffee (twice!)

Please click here to see learn more about my sensory bin for The Giving Tree, plus download vocabulary and math cards!

If you are planning on reading books with a Back to School theme this week, please check out my previous three posts in the series:

Join me next week for more freebie sensory activities!

I also added this colorful math mat to my 

(don't worry, I added a B/W version, too!)

Thanks for reading!! 

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Five for Friday!

Happy Five for Friday!

Thank you Kacey for the weekly party :)

It was a wonderful and busy week. 

Here's some highlights:

Token Towers! I purchased a set of four visual trackers here after I spied our SLP using them last year. The tokens are perfect for busy hands and provide that satisfying "clink" as my students are working towards a goal. Last year, I used them for simple behaviors (are you in your chair??). This year, I introduced it to one student who balked at the 8+ components of our reading assessment. His chosen reward? He wanted me to read aloud a Halloween book :)

The first week of school, we have a playground lesson! We teach it as a regular lesson...we go over expectations, role-play appropriate actions, and then head outside for "application" and "assessment." Our school had a fantastic playground built by Kaboom (and HUNDREDS of volunteers) :)

I had a Donors Choose project funded this week! Thank you to the amazing SEVENTEEN donors!!! I still have one more project up and it's very important - we need chairs!

Have a fabulous Friday! Jen

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Puzzling Behavior!

Happy Tuesday!

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

I'm sharing a positive behavior tracker over at 

Here's a sneak peek:

Please hop over to read more about how you can make and use this project to support students in your classroom!

If you're looking for the traditional paper chart that can be sent home in a communication folder, please check out my previous posts on Behavior here :)

The link will take you to several posts I written on behavior before and offers lots of freebies, including these downloads:

Hopefully, you won't need ANY of these this school year ;)

And please don't mind any duplicate postings...there was that one time I tried to switch to Word Press all by myself! Never. Again. 
I'm now in the process of working with an expert!

Have a great week! Jen

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beyond the Bin: Chrysanthemum

Happy Saturday!

Today is my 3rd installment of:

Positively Learning Sensory Bins

If you missed the freebies for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and The Kissing Hand, please be sure to click the label "Sense-Sational," plus sign up to follow my blog for the latest updates!

This week is all about my favorite character: Chrysanthemum

Please click here to read more and download the freebie!

Have a fantastic weekend! Jen

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