What Worked Well Wednesdays!

Today I am working with my friends over at Kinder Tribe to bring you a blog post about what worked well in my room last year!

One thing I love using in my classroom is interactive books!  My students tended to get board with reading on their own and when they would finished with activities early they needed something to keep them more engaged, this also kept the majority of students out of trouble!  Interactive books were a lifesaver for me and the kids loved them! 

Interactive books are not only a great way to keep students engaged but also a great way to practice reading (nursery rhyme books), learning how to dress for the weather, categories and so much more!  Here are just a few of my favorites! 


These books went great with our nursery rhyme units!

I loved adding this to our farm units! 

Here's a fun one to teach students how to dress for different weather situations.

A great differentiated learning book (2 books in one!) to teach categories! 

These are just a few that I have used. I also have shape interactive books, money interactive books and so much more! I plan on creating more interactive books this year to go along with more areas of the curriculum. There are so many fun ways you can use interactive books in the classroom and the kids love them!

Click on any of the pictures to take your to the TPT store where these are located! 


Blog Planner 2015

I am so excited about my new product that I just created and uploaded to Teachers Pay Teachers! I am new to blogging and need a place to keep track of EVERYTHING blog related: post ideas, giveaways, to do list, etc.! I searched online and couldn't find one that had everything I wanted so, I created my own!
I have customized it to be coil bound at an office store or you can also hole punch it and throw it in a binder. I wanted to feel fancy so I had mine bound! 

Included in this planner you will find pages for:
Giveaways and Reviews
Calendars (ranging from July 2015-June 2016)
Ads/Shout outs on Blogs
Blog Planning Pages 
Linky Party Calendar
Blog Series Planning
To Do Lists

The document is created so you can print everything (except the Linky Party Calendar) back to back. It is also customizable as you can have as many or as little pages as you want. I ended up printing more of the blog planning and blog serious planning pages when I was putting my final product together! Never know when inspiration will strike and hopefully, it will strike often! ;) 

You can put yours together anyway you would like and feel will meet your needs the best. After lots of re-arranging I put mine together as follows!


The calendar is my favorite part as I added the icons for Facebook, Instagram, Blogger, Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest so you can track your followers and progress! I suggest doing it at the beginning or end of each month, but stick with whatever you choose for your first month! 

A great place to keep track of what you are giving away or when people do reviews on your products! 


Keep track of your #TeacherTribe's. If you haven't found yours yet you should! It's a great place to network with other teachers and is a great support system!

I have SO many teacher passwords and need to keep them in one place! I know, I know, you shouldn't write your passwords down but how do you expect me to remember them ALL!

This is how I organized mine! If you are new to blogging or are looking for a great product check it out! Click on any of the pictures and it will take you to my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Here is the exact same product but a different color scheme!


Assess Me! Link Up!


I have linked up with Tattooed Teacher for a 4 week get to know you link up! I love link ups because its' a great way to get to know people! So here it goes!

So much fun! If you want to join in and network with some other teachers click the picture above!

My Little Girl Turned 2!

I love a good reason to throw a party and my daughter's second birthday was the perfect reason! She turned 2 earlier this month and we have been so busy that we decided to have a small family gathering a few weeks later. (This doesn't mean I can't decorate and have a fun theme!)

I love to plan my parties around a theme! Last year it was Mickey Mouse and this year it was balls! Here is a peek at all of our fun! 

I searched Google and Pinterest to get ideas before creating my invitation

When Alli got up from her nap she wanted a cupcake RIGHT away! It was her party, so why not! 

Table Decorations: Love the Dollar Tree and the cute balls I found! 

Cheese ball puffs, blueberries and melon all in shapes of balls!

She's never had cheese balls and she kept coming back for more!
We are so blessed by all the love surrounding our daughter!


Work Boxes

Work Boxes, Work Systems AKA TEACCH System, was something I knew nothing about until I came across a blog post from Creating and Teaching, and how she uses work boxes in her classroom.  Work boxes, Work Systems and TEACCH are some of the most common names. Erin from Creating and Teaching had purchased the book Building Independence: How to Create and Use Structured Work Systems and found it very useful, as did I.

This book changed the way I did everything in my ECSE Classroom! 

The benefits are enormous for students as well as staff! Some of these include:
  • Promote independence 
  • Maintain skills that students have mastered
  • Great way to work on IEP goals and objectives 
  • Supports positive self esteem 
  • Build fluency 
  • Calms students by reducing social demands
  • Maintain engagement with tasks when not directly receiving instruction
  • Teaches life long skills that can be used across all environments
  • Allows teachers to work with others while students are actively engaged in there work jobs 
    • Taken from Building Independence: How to Create and Use Structured Work System 
Sounds great right, but what exactly is this? It starts with setting up jobs that are at students levels, jobs depend on students ability level. Jobs range from put in tasks, matching (color, letter, items), beginning sounds,  fine motor, writing, etc. The jobs themselves are endless and I will continue posting about jobs that I have used in my classroom to give you some ideas! You will need to find a location that is assessable to all students.
I turned one of my toy storage and mailboxes into where my work stations will be located, I started with 33 work stations and ended up with around 45. You will need enough stations so students are not doing the same work jobs on the same day.  Let's say you have 7 students and they are completing 3 jobs, you will need at least 21 work jobs.

Each student will need their own individual schedule, which can be up and down or left to right. In my classroom our visual schedule starts top-down so that is how I made my students individual schedules.  Schedules can be taped to the desks (or the specified location) or schedules can be movable. I made mine on stripes of card stock as the students in my classroom are always changing and space is limited.

I started all of my students out with one job and once they were able to accomplish that on their own independently (going and getting the specified box, completing the task and putting it away), then we would increase the number of tasks. The majority of my students were able to complete 3-4 jobs at a time by the end of the year. Which is something that before this work job system my students struggled with as they thrived on adult attention!

A modification that can be made is if students are unable to travel or have difficulty with attending is you can place their boxes at the location with a finished box located next to them, and they would follow their schedule and then place their jobs in the finished location once they are done.

I have also seen teachers use a drawer storage systems and just replacing the activities on a daily or subject base timeline if they have only a few students using the work system.

The main points I took away from the book (which are vital to making this system work!)  include:

1) Students need to be able to complete the task on their own (which is building independence) 

 2) Work Jobs teach students how to follow a schedule

3) When students finish their work jobs and put them away it is important to not disassemble their work in front of the student! I know this is hard, as we are all trying to save time anywhere we can, but when you do that you are stating to the child that what they did was not important 

4) Prompting needs to be faded quickly, so students don't rely on teachers or staff

5) Students need to be able to match either: shape, animals, color, letters or numbers unless you choose to use a drawer system (which limits what you can put inside)

It was extremely important to me that students were not doing the same jobs throughout the week so I documented daily what students were doing.

I have included all the visuals you need to set up 82 work systems in your own classroom. You can click on the below picture and it will take you there!


Check back to the blog for more posts in regards to work boxes or work jobs! Next week I will be giving you many different ideas for put in tasks! You already have tons of these materials in your classroom currently!! Also if you want to do this right buy the book it is amazing and gives some great ideas! 

K Tribe

I joined this awesome group of teachers on Facebook who support and encourage each other! As part of this group a few of them started a collaborative blog and will also be doing some link up parties! This is our first link up!  We are introducing ourselves to everyone!

Love this form! It is so fun and creative! 

I have been teaching Early Childhood Special Education for 9 years and this year I will be doing some teacher consulting for students and teachers, with a large amount of time spent in kindergarten with our students who are transitioning from the ECSE Classroom.  I love kindergarten and the amazing teachers that teach them!

I have always worked closely with the kindergarten teachers in our district by implementing a big buddy program where the kindergarten students were the preschool special education students big buddies, which is something they never get to be, so they were very excited and proud of this role! The kindergarteners were great language and social models for our students!

I am a mom of a two year old daughter and a wife to an amazing and supportive husband who is letting me journey into part time for a short period of time to enjoy and support our daughters growth!

I cannot live without my Scotch laminator! 

It is a lifesaver, and the quality is so much better than our schools! So anything I need to hold up for long periods of time I laminate with my personal laminator!

One of my favorite books for teaching students about others with disabilities is Special People, Special Ways written by Arlene Maguire and illustrated by Sheila Bailey! Always a good one to have on hand for any grade!

Thanks for visiting my blog! Hope you took a look around! Feel free to follow on any of the many social media sites at the top right of this blog!

Click here to go back to the original page!

Week 4 of TPT Challenge!

What a journey this Teachers Pay Teachers Challenge has been! 

Week four is all about the connections you have made along with the way! I am so lucky to have met some amazing bloggers and people! When I say met, I actually haven't met in person but maybe next year at the #TPTconference2016 !

First up I met Kristen from Chalk and Apples. She did an amazing semi-custom design for me at the beginning of this challenge, and I blogged about my experience here. She has been an amazing help with setting up my blog and she also has some awesome tutorials on her website too!  She is a wealth of knowledge and I hope to meet her in person someday!

Second, I met Diana from Engage and Play in Pre-K. We exchanged our masterpieces and she does great work!  She is just starting her TPT journey but I know that she will be very successful as she puts a lot of time and thought into each product she creates!! Great for Pre-k and the start of kindergarten! I love being able to send her my products for another look! I don't know about you but at some point I have just looked at my products WAY too long and Diana is great at picking out what needs to be changed!

Sasha over at Sasha's Creations and Things just got a new blog design so I joined her in adding one of my TPT products to her blog reveal! I hope that this is just the start of some amazing blog hops between all of us who are participating in the blog reveal!

What a journey this has been! I am so excited to see where TPT can take me and my friendships and connections! I have joined a few #teachertribes already, have you?!


Blog Party

Congrats to my new blogger friend Sasha!  To kick off her new blog design she is hosting a blog hop and some great giveaways!  To show my support I am giving away one of my favorite products!

Happy/Sad Interactive Book

This is my interactive emotion book focusing on the emotions: happy and sad! This product is intended to support students who may have difficulty understanding rules and how their actions make others feel.

Interactive books are a great way to gain students attention and keep them engaged in anything you are teaching!   I use this book at the beginning of school once we have gone over all of our classroom rules and routines. We will read through the story and I ask students how they think this would make there friends and/or teacher feel.  Students will then come up and move the correct emotion (happy or sad) to the corresponding pictures. Not only does this work on rules and routines but it also focuses on emotions.  This is also a great review after long breaks or when new students enter the classroom.

For students who are having difficulty following the classroom rules and routines, I will form a small group, or individually, and re-read this book with them.  I have also sent this book home with students who are struggling at home and/or at school. Interactive books make reviewing rules and routines fun and engaging!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and if you do not win this giveaway and would like to purchase a copy for yourself click on the above picture and it will take you to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Check back at Sasha's blog for more great giveaways

Sasha's Creations & Things

Dollar Deals

If you are anything like me, you want quality, but don't want to spend all your money!  One of my favorite places to shop for my classroom and work job materials is the Dollar Tree! I know they are all a little different but I haven't met a Dollar Tree I don't like!  I got to go without my daughter the other night (trouble, trouble, that means more shopping time) and I found some great deals that I want to pass along!

First of all, these are my ALL time favorite containers! They are amazing quality and hold up to little hands opening them up ALL day long! I used mine all year and have not had one break yet! This is pretty impressive especially since some of my preschoolers are pretty rough!
These containers come in a pack of 2 so it equals out to .50 cents a piece! Even better!!  Not sure if you knew of not but you can order online from the Dollar Tree, so if your Dollar Tree doesn't have the amount you want go online! Not only is the price amazing but the uses are endless!

Just a few things you might use them for include:
* Snacks
* PECS/Board Maker Cards
* Crayons (both fat and regular fit!)
* Game pieces
* Dice

An idea I got from of a friend of mine, Leslie (Kindergarten teacher), was to use these as crayon boxes. I used my trusty label maker and each student got a box and there own set of crayons, I used the 8 pack my school gives us for free, but the 24 pack also fits!  This helped me teach name recognition as well as create ownership in their property.  My students knew that they needed to take care of their crayons as they weren't getting new ones if they broke them, on purpose. I had the occasional accidental break and I would replace those crayons, but I have students who break crayons on purpose and those students just made the choice to use small crayons for the remainder of the year. This also helps students realize that there actions have consequences.  When you have a communal crayon box students don't care if they break the crayons, they can always get new ones. 

I then went over to the Teacher Section and found these fun games! These two fun math games work on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division! Might be fun for indoor recess or center time!

For younger students I found this color and shape game.I might need to go pick this up because I can think of some amazing work jobs for this! 

Do you need something to spruce up your classroom? Here are some magazine holders! I love the bright colors and know this would look great to hold books, magazines, or materials!
These are just a few of the things I found at the Dollar Tree as I was getting my daughter balloons for her second birthday! I'll bring you more Dollar Deals as I find them! 

What's your favorite thing to buy at the Dollar Tree?!

Top Ten....TV Shows

Blog hops are my new favorite thing! This blog hop is brought to you by The Third Grade Nest and I love it because during the summer I am able to catch up on all the TV that I don't have time to watch during the school year, because I am SO tired!  I love to catch up on all these shows while my daughter naps and while I am creating new TPT products or blogging! 

It goes without saying that I am a reality TV show junkie and I love me a good Lifetime Movie!  Okay so the Lifetime Movie's don't always need to be good, I get sucked in within minutes no matter how horrible the story line and acting are!! What are some of your favorites?! If you want to blog go over to The Third Grade Nest or just comment below!

TPT Challenge Week 3: Create Your Own Masterpiece

This weeks challenge was to create a master piece!

For my masterpiece I decided to finish and create more to my nursery rhyme interactive books.  With the help from my collage and some of her great suggestions I even expended what I had started. I have found that my preschool special education students LOVE interactive books!  I will be blogging about what these are and why my kids love them this week! Nursery Rhymes are a big part of pre-reading and early childhood and one of my favorite clip artists Krista Walden created 10 Nursery Rhyme sets!  This set me in motion and started my masterpiece!


One of the interactive books you will receive in this pack!

My students love these books and sometimes choose these over playing!
You will also receive an emergent reader that the students can color and take home!
Question cards! You get color and black and white!

I have found a great educator, creator and new friend at Engage and Play in Pre-K!  I am loving all the connections we have made through this TPT challenge! We both swapped our product and got/gave amazing advice! It's amazing how you can look at a piece of paper 100 times and it looks great and then a new set of eyes sees things that should be changed, sometimes things you didn't even realize or notice!  If you click on the button below it will take you to her blog!  She created great cutting and tracing activities for students to use all throughout the school year!