Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HOT DEAL - Free Clothes and Help Out Schools!

So I like wearing nice clothes...but I dislike spending a lot of money for said clothes. So, I'm a garage sale, thrift store, clearance rack kind of girl :) It's amazing what really nice things you can find for so cheap!

Anyway, I was so excited when I heard of this new(ish) site Schoola. They sell second hand clothes AND 40% of the profits go to benefit schools! I'll be honest. The real reason I was so excited was because they are offering a FREE $15 credit when you sign up, plus they are also offering half off everything on their site right now with the promo code 'HALFOFF'.

So it was as simple as putting $30 or less of items into my cart and checking out for free! Here's what I found. 
And here was my total after entering the promo code HALFOFF and using my free $15 credit.
No joke people. What do you have to lose? It's free!!! And as a teacher, I'm sure we can all appreciate the fact that we are helping out other schools as well (and you can even choose your own school, but I didn't notice that until afterwards - find the link that says "Help Your School" at the bottom of the website).
Be sure to sign up with a referral link in order to get your $15 credit (that's my referral link) and then you can share the link with your friends to pass on the fun and receive additional credits! Win, win, WIN!!! (They have both women's and kids clothing, so you could get something for your kids instead too!) Let me know what you find!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Organizing and Setting up Individual Student Schedules

Ask any special education teacher, the trickiest part about having a classroom with so many different ability levels and needs is making the schedule. And then not only making up the schedule, but setting it up each day for students as well!

I am in a unique situation, my room is not exactly self contained but functions like one for our morning block. Read more about the classroom structure in my program at my about me page.

This past year I started out with 7 students and 6 aides, 5 of which were 1:1 aides and 1 classroom aide for 2 students. It can definitely be a blessing to have so many staff members in my room, especially when my students are so severe that they need that 1:1 attention. It can be challenging too, see some hints for working with paraprofessionals here, something I'm always working on improving!

Since I have so many aides, I can do a lot of individual stations with my students, which often best meets their unique needs. If you don't have this kind of staff, don't despair! You can still do a similar schedule with small groups and some individual work stations (such as work boxes).

When planning my schedule I use excel to plan everything out and make each station a different color so I can better see when each student goes there and make sure there isn't too much overlap. The picture above isn't the best quality, but shows some of our different schedules, we have different schedules based on the day of week due to related services and other unique situations.

I post the schedule for the day next to the binders so that we can check and update students schedules as needed. (You can see in this picture a couple students have been crossed off, this picture is from the end of the year when those students left my class). All my students start their morning by grabbing their (color coded) binder, signing in, and completing their classroom job (about 10 minutes). Then we all group together for a 20 minute class time where students share their information from their jobs with the class, we do classroom greetings, and go over our daily question. After our class time is done, all students know to check their schedule and follow their individual routine.


I have two types of schedules, depending on my students and their needs. This first type of schedule is my favorite and great for slightly higher students who can handle a full schedule at a time and are able to cross off activities with a dry erase marker as they complete them. I printed off different schedules based on the days of the week (you can see that Monday, Tuesday, and Friday are the same for this student) and we just keep all the schedules in the sheet protector and switch it out daily. Super simple, quick, and easy. (The sheet protectors are in bad shape because they were used all year and I took this picture on one of the last days of school.)

See here how easily the pages are stored and switched out. 

Some of my students need a schedule that they can manipulate easier, for example, removing schedule items that are finished, matching schedule items to certain areas of the rooms, or using their schedule pieces on a first/then board instead of seeing the entire morning at once. These students have a folder that they keep inside of their binder that looks like this with schedule pieces that have been laminated and velcroed.

Read more about how I have set up and organized schedules previously in this post here.

This post is part of a summer blog hop series! Hop over to Sped Station to read about how more special educators set up their scheduling.
And come back each week on Sunday to check out the rest of the topics for this summer!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Money Uno games

Uno: Every special educators favorite game. Am I right? Well, it's definitely one of my favorite classroom games. Uno works on color and number matching, which is simple enough for many students, but higher level students enjoy it just the same! Since my students already enjoy (or at the very least, are familiar with) Uno I decided to make an uno-like game that works on money recognition skills!

This game includes fronts of bills, backs of bills, and money values. It also includes the "special" cards such as draw two, wild, reverse, along with a special wild card where the caller has to choose a money amount rather than a color.
Even though I make my students really work while playing this game (for example, telling me what amount they are laying down), they really enjoy it and haven't caught onto the fact that they are working while they play! :)

This product is available to download in my TpT store in both bills and coin versions. Just print, laminate, and cut and you'll be ready to go!
 

Do you like our card holders? They are great for students or young kids who have a hard time holding onto all their cards! Find similar ones here

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Classroom Aide Appreciation Gifts

For those of us who work in special needs classrooms, you know we couldn't do all that we do without the help of our classroom aides!
Sometimes just a little something to show your appreciation goes a long way. I gave these gifts at the end of year, but something like this would be great to start off the year too!

This gift was simple, I found some cute water bottles and added some tea bags/packets inside. I attached a tag with their name to the outside that said "you're tea-riffic" and a short little note of my appreciation on the back. You'll notice one gift just had a box of tea and no bottle...I wasn't sure my male aide would have appreciated a cute water bottle so he just got more tea than everyone else :)

I'll be on the look-out this summer to find a good deal as a welcome back gift too!! 

You might also be interested in this post: How to Work Successfully with Paraprofessionals

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June Currently

It's June and I'm linking up with the currently of the month from Oh Boy 4th Grade!
(Yes, I am posting this in the morning, but I wrote this the night before, so pretend like it's still June 1st while you are reading this...wink wink)

Listening: We (my husband and I) are baby sitting my nieces right now, but they are sleeping and this is what's on TV...so yeah

Loving: Today was my first day of summer break and I love sleeping in!! I felt productive today, did laundry, made a rhubarb crisp, and started and finished a new journal pack!

Thinking: I have so many ideas for products to create this summer! I just need to get my thoughts organized :) But I'm really excited to make some new things to use in my classroom next year and to help others out as well!

Wanting: Seriously, I spend way too long looking for the perfect clip art. I wish it would just come to me! The struggle is real, people!!!

Needing: To decide how we want to decorate the nursery! I know I want gray walls and something with elephants, and my father-in-law loves to paint so he could paint elephants right on the walls, but I'm just not sure how I want that to look! Fun stuff to figure out :)

Summer loving: My husband and I are going on vacation to Sanibel Island next week, over our anniversary and his birthday as our "babymoon." So I'm excited about that! I'm also looking forward to going to lots of garage sales this summer and hopefully finding lots of baby stuff, including big stuff like the crib, dresser, and glider for the nursery! And of course, what teacher doesn't love that summer is a perfect time to relax and do whatever we want to do on our own schedule. Love it!
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