Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work Your Wear (& a Freebie!)

Happy Wednesday!

I've had this post ready to go ALL week. I'm so excited to share!

Haha, I ♥ the linky button!

I'm participating in Get Your Pretty On's third style challenge!
You can read more about the previous challenges here. This time, I'm fully committed to posting my outfits, plus it's extra fun linking up with other bloggers to share how we are interpreting each outfit.

Here's my Days 1-3:

Which one do you like the best?

Days 1 and 2 are WAY out of my comfort zone
(& that's a good thing!)!

Day 1 - I never EVER wear oversized tops. This is an extra small and I was swimming in it! Next time I'll pair it with skinny jeans for more contrast.

Day 2 - I own more than 10 sheath dresses - my fave ♥!  However, I've never even dreamed of wearing a crisp white shirt underneath and I had serious doubts. I went with it though & ended up really liking it. I own four button down shirts that I've NEVER worn.
Now I have some new ideas :)

Day 3 is pretty much a go-to outfit, not stretching my style. The flats are supposed to be bright, but I'm still breaking in my new fall shoes and just needed a more comfortable choice today. I'm not a tan-pants-girl, but I like the variety of colors between the three days.

It's been a lot of fun to check out other outfits!
Please click the links above to see everyone's variation :)

I also want to share a freebie that's helping me keep it altogether during this busy time of year:

When I think about my work week, "overwhelmed" seems to be an understatement. I teach special education at an urban public city school that has extended hours. I sit down at my desk by 6:30 am and leave at 5:00 pm...usually to catch up on more work! Since the school day goes by in a flash, I set aside time before and after school to get paperwork completed and then spend the weekend doing more "creative" prep work (printing, laminating, assembling). It's a great thing that I absolutely LOVE what I do, but I also need to maximize every minute to get it all done!

Working at school is an area I really need to "tighten up." My lunch and planning times often disappear due to tantrums, jammed copiers, and impromptu meetings. But if I have a plan, I'm hoping I can still crank out the majority of my paperwork. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail...right? :)

Here's what I've come up with for my to-do's I need to accomplish every week:

I've designated time for copying and printing. This will hopefully eliminate the need for finding the time DAILY to deal with those temperamental machines. My plan is to keep a running list of what I need to print (weekly activity pages, lesson plans, meeting notes) and copy (Reading A-Z books, activity pages, homework packets).

Throughout the week, I have several meetings I attend. Darn - I forgot to add "Team Meeting" to that awesome open space on Friday afternoons :(

I'm a Teacher Development Leader, so I spend 1-2 hours in meetings and conducting observations. I'm also taking a course through December with modules due every Friday. This role also includes checking and providing feedback on 35 lesson plans every week! I also create differentiated homework packets for our first grade friends who need a little boost and fill out pages of SpEd paperwork/documentation every week.

At my school, we upload our lesson plans two weeks in advance. My weekly plans are differentiated lessons from the general education curriculum. They are 16 pages per week and take me
f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I really need to brainstorm (quickly) the accommodations my students need to access all the information. I set aside two hours to accomplish this. Currently, the quickest I've accomplished this in 5 hours during the weekend, but I have high hopes I'm going to get this done during the week!


I didn't fill in evenings because that's the time set aside to"put out fires" from the school day. For the past few years, I usually work 10-12 hours on the weekend doing everything I didn't accomplish during the week! I'm hoping this schedule will help me carve out some R & R! Weekends are when I like to do more creative work, like customizing student materials and perusing teaching blogs for more ideas. I'd love to find more time to spend on that!

How do you get it all done? Please comment and leave some helpful hints! I will be forever grateful :) Please click here to download the schedule freebie above.

I also wanted to quickly share a fabulous linky host by Primary Inspiration 

(thank you Linda!).
I just added FOUR freebies from my store: Week-by-Week Sight Word Work for the Entire Year, HOTS Question Stems, Hey Batter Batter Making 20, and What a Smart Cookie! Positive Notes :)

(Please ignore the strange links above...Blogger and I are having way too many issues lately!)

 I'm headed back now to check out all the awesome ideas.
Have a wonderful week!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Just Give Me the Marshmallow!

Happy Monday!

Today is the first day of school for many students, families, and teachers. We are actually heading into our 3rd week with students, but today begins our full (extended) days. This is the time of year when I leave my house in the dark, arrive home in the dark, and the next thing I's Thanksgiving :)

It's also the time of year when all best intentions seem to take a backseat. Anyone else? All my good stress-free habits I built up during break just seemed to disappear last week! My beautiful Jamberry manicures? Yikes. My cleaned-out email inbox? Not so clean anymore. My greatly-reduced coffee habit? Hahahaha.

Today is not only the first day of l-o-n-g days for us, it's also my sister's birthday (happy birthday Leslie!) and an anniversary of a super-important commitment I made to myself (yay me!). 
August 25th marks a day when I pat myself on the back, read a few positive quotes, and set some new personal goals. 

(check out Babbling Abby's motivational freebies here!)

What are your goals for the new school year? I plan on continuing with Whole 30 (focusing on nutrition and sleeping!) and I'm looking to up the ante with new fitness goals (open to any suggestions!). I also want to continue participating in the Alison's challenges (fun post coming on Wednesday!) to stay accountable to NOT wearing ponytails and UGGs all year. Eating healthy, sleeping, and cute outfits pretty much sums it up!

We had our students participate in the classic marshmallow test last week when we discussed the "self-control" character trait. 
It was hilarious to watch - my students were in it to win it!

We watched a little youtube clip featuring children participating in the challenge. While our students were watching, their teacher placed one marshmallow at their tables. We told the students if they could demonstrate self-control and not touch, lick, or eat their marshmallow for 5 minutes, they would receive another one. We made it a BIG deal with cheering as the longest 5 minutes ever ticked by. Almost every student made it...except the cutie pictured above. He lasted 4.5 minutes! And then proceeded to have an ear-splitting tantrum that involved me taking him out of the classroom for a water-chill break. 

I had total sympathy for him. I ♥ marshmallows :)

Here's a terrific reminder article as we gear up for another year and try to hold onto the commitments we've made to ourselves.

Have a fantastic week!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adapting :)

Happy Sunday!

Taking a quick break from printing and laminating to show off what I've been up to! Tomorrow kicks off our THIRD week of school and our first week of the "everyday schedule" of 7:40-4:15 pm. The past two weeks have been "summer school," it's still mandatory for our student attendance, but students left at 12:15. Those two weeks were spent establishing routines and procedures, character education lessons, and assessments.
We even had a successful fire drill!

I'm so thankful for the two weeks of summer school because I learned A LOT about the students I'll be working with. They are an awesome group! Very joyful, yet there are also many challenges.

One area I've been working on is creating appropriate adaptions for my students to access the general education (Common Core) curriculum. For these adaptions, I'm focusing on mainly attention (lessons "chunked"), sensory (as in, they need it!), and language/comprehension.

I've got to get right back to work, but I'll leave you with these pictures:

I've completed 15 social stories with interactive cards. I'll share more details once they are student-tested and approved :)

A very important adaption for Close Reading ("Listening"), is recording the comprehension book and creating an interactive PowerPoint. Not only is it helpful for the caseload I'm working with, other teachers could use it for students who are absent. Simply take photos or scan the pages from the book and load into a PowerPoint. When you select "Slide Show," there's an option to record yourself reading. Easy!!

I purchased these plates from Target Dollar Spot:

My students loved them and they kept all our math manipulatives in one place!

We also learned all about Monster Fingers while practice fluency:

I love the beginning of the year when I can show my new students all the fun things we'll be exploring and using to help us learn! 
It's like Christmas every day :)

I'll be back soon to share more!
Be sure to stop in Wednesday for a fun post
(IF you like retail therapy as much as I do!)!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Teacher Week: When

Happy Thursday!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week

Today I'm sharing my schedule for 1st Grade Special Education.

Are. You . Ready?!?

Is your head spinning? ;)

Here's a key for the color-coding:

GREEN -  I will be pulling small groups to focus on IEP goals/objectives (this year concentrating on language skills the most!) and providing small group testing accommodations

RED - I will be in this classroom most of the day providing support with the general education curriculum

BLUE - I will be pushing in (inclusion) up to one hour per day. The general educator and I will keep this flexible with the intent on providing 30 min intervention for literacy and 30 min math. 

YELLOW - I receive one planning period per day (woohoo!) I usually have Classroom Consult meetings during this time. I'm also a Teacher Development Leader (TDL), so I use this time to observe and support other teachers.

It looks fairly organized, but may all go out the window at any given time!

Have a fabulous Thursday!!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week: Organization

Happy Wednesday!

Today is Day 3 of Blog Hoppin' Teacher Week!

This will mostly be a "throwback" post because I've written about organization many times (27!) before. I absolutely ♥ sharing and learning organizational tips. I think because my position (special education) feels so "out of my control" at times, organization is the one thing I can get a handle on. I also don't feel comfortable turning my back for too long with my firsties ;)

I use the huge Rubbermaid shelving units from Home Depot in my intervention/office space:

I use the clear bins that come in three sizes from Ikea. I spent A LOT of time researching bins a few years ago and these were the most economical set I found. The lids are interchangeable for the medium and large bins. The quality is also the best I found for the low price.

For my own planning, I mostly rely on my Outlook appointments from my iphone (our school uses them, so all I do is accept the appointments). For the written/brainstorming list, I'm trying to remember to use my new Erin Condren planner. So far, so good!

For data tracking, I have my students doing the heavy lifting :)

Oh my decision I ever made!

As far as organizing daily student support materials and traveling between my intervention space and two general education classrooms...I'm really looking for some new ideas! My caseload this year is 100% awesome AND totally turning my teaching organization on it's head. I'm really going to learn a lot from this group...more to come!

There's a terrific "BOOST" sale going on at TPT!

Have a fantastic day!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week: Where the Magic Happens!

Happy Tuesday!

This is Week Two with our students and it's been wonderful so far. My caseload is so awesome this year and I feel like I'm gaining clarity and/or learning some new about my students with every passing hour. 

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week:

I'm psyched to share where I teach with you. As a special educator, I've taught in closets, cafeterias, and hallways. This year we adjusted our structure and set-up and I feel like I won the GRAND prize! 

I teach in an intervention space (my office, a.k.a.: an empty classroom)  for 1.5 hours per day and the rest of the day I'm teaching inclusion in two general education classrooms:

This is also where I pull my Power Hour (Guided Reading) groups. We have one kidney table and dry erase easel (woohoo!!) on the other side of the room. SO thankful to have this space!

I have a mini-library this year! Previously, these books lived in my basement and I would pack what I needed on a weekly basis. I'm so excited about having these accessible this year!

I  have a small table with 6 chairs (again, woohoo!) in both classrooms I push into. I store a few key items there:

I also have a 3-drawer cart with lined paper, more supplies, and behavior brain breaks. Here's a peek at the magic that occurs there:

I will be back tomorrow for Organization Tips (my fave!)

Have a terrific Tuesday!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday: Who Am I?

Happy Monday!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week!

Today is...

 I had to switch it to 6 things about me because I'm just not that interesting :)

Have a great day!

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