Thursday, July 27, 2017
Hello Fellow Educators!
I have joined SEVERAL
TpT authors in a Back to School Black Friday SALE. Lots of FABULOUS Tpt Products will be marked 50% OFF! Just search #BTSBlackFriday
in the search box on
Tpt. Refine your search by selecting your specific grade. HAPPY SHOPPING!

Here are Mine:

Monday, July 3, 2017
Independence Day
Dollar Deals
It’s already July y’all!
It’s hard to think about going back to school right now, isn’t it?  It seems like we just got out!
But, If you like saving money, you’ll want to
check this out!
2 Days Only July 3rd -4th .
Search #TpTFireworks on TpT to see mine and LOTS More!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

It’s been a long school year and it’s time for a Gift Cards for Teachers MEGA Giveaway! We are ready to reward 5 LUCKY teachers by giving away 5 $100 gift cards! You could win a
$100 Gift Card to Target, Amazon, Erin Condren, or Teachers Pay Teachers! Details for entering our Gift Card Giveaway:
1. Love, like, or wow this post!
2. Click the link below.
3. The more actions you complete in the Rafflecopter, the better your
chances are of winning!
4. TAG and SHARE our Gift Cards for Teachers MEGA Giveaway
opportunity with as many of your teaching friends as you can!
5. The giveaway ends Tuesday, May 23rd at 11:59 PM EST and our
FIVE lucky winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 24th.
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Monday, May 8, 2017
TEACHERS!!!!  Feel appreciated with our *****Teachers Pay Teachers GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY*****  We have teamed up with other great teacher authors to give away 2 AMAZING prizes to 2 LUCKY teachers!  Each teacher will win $60.00 in TpT Gift Cards!!!

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Monday, December 19, 2016
I taught 3rd grade in Texas for 15 years.  I had the opportunity to administer several Texas Assessments....including the STAAR.  Each year, teaching geometry to prepare for the assessment seemed a bit of a mystery.... especially the 3 dimensional shapes. As I taught the attributes of the 3 - D shapes, I had unanswered questions.  Let’s just say that I didn’t feel that I was knowledgeable in this area, and the information given to me to teach the skill was not much help.  I did the best I could and even did some outside research, which helped a little bit, but didn't clear up my main questions.  I have changed grade levels since then and hadn’t given it much thought until now.  As a 1st grade teacher, I have recently began having the same questions that I had as a 3rd grade teacher.  We are going to be introducing Geometry soon, so I am feeling the need to make sure I am teaching my first graders correctly. So... more research to see if I can find the answers this time.
Here are the questions that had been perplexing me:
Do cones, spheres and cylinders have faces, edges and vertices?  If not, why do all of the worksheets ask questions about it?
Do you treat cones, spheres and cylinders just as 3 dimensional figures with polygons as faces?

I had always thought that 3-d shapes with curved edges should not have the same types of questions as the shapes without curved edges.  I thought that asking for the faces, edges, and vertices on shapes with curved edges was confusing.  But, it seemed like every product I could find asked those very questions.  Including my own! 
Finally, I found my answers.... on a Released STAAR Assessment. As a 3rd grade teacher, I had noticed that the questions on the assessments never asked about faces, edges and vertices on shapes with curved edges. 
So, I decided to look at what questions were being asked about 3-D shapes.  I thought that finding questions about 3-D shapes might clear things up.  I was so RIGHT! Here is a snip of the questions that answered my questions. 
(3rd Grade STAAR 2016) As well as a snip about the vertex of a cone.  Click the link for more information.

The answer is "F".  Just as I suspected  The 3-D Shapes with curved edges do not have vertices.  Look at answer choice "H".  They also do not have edges.
Clearly these shapes have edges, but the edges they are referring to are straight edges.  The same goes with vertices.  (See snip above.) So... we need to be teaching our students that when we look for faces, edges and vertices, we are looking for flat faces and straight edges.  And also, we need to  share the information above about the vertices (vertex) of any shape.
So, with this finding, I will stop asking the wrong questions about 3-D Shapes with curved edges.  And I will pass this information along to my coworkers.
I hope this has helped you in your quest to be the Best Teacher possible. 
I know I will be teaching differently now!
I am working on a product for primary geometry at this time.
I will be posting it within a couple of weeks.  :)
Here's a sneak!!
This page is part of an anchor chart for teachers to build.  Notice, I have added some clarifying adjectives about the attributes of the shapes. (Flat Faces and Straight Edges) I feel that this will make it easier to understand and answer the questions. 
Thanks for stopping by! 
credits:  Whimsy Clips, KG Fonts


Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Has anyone else been worried when you found out you'd been given a
Special Ed. Class?
I was... but I'm not any more.  Here's my story.
graphic credit:
Last year at Meet the Teacher, a little boy and his parents entered my room.   I immediately noticed something about the little boy.  He was making noises, touching and smelling everything.  I began to wonder if he was a special needs child because he reminded me of my best friend's child.  I had seen these behaviors in him many times.  The little boy's mother proceeded to ask me if he would be receiving his therapy this year in his new school.  "Yes," I replied.  "If he was receiving therapy at another school, he will also receive it here at our school."  Curious to find out if there was anything besides the speech she had mentioned, I asked, "Does he have any other disabilities?"  She replied, "No, just the autism." (Insert big eyed emoji face here!!!)
I guess she thought I knew, but I didn't.  I don't know what the look on my face was, but inside... I was horrified.  The thoughts of doubt and insecurities ran rampant.  Would I be able to do this child justice?  I had never had a special needs child in my class.  I'd been teaching for over 20 years, but someone else more qualified had always taken care of the special needs children.  Surely there was some mistake.  And, there was.... But, the Special Ed. class was already full.  So, to make sure that this child with autism was cared for properly, he was left with me and another child with autism was added to my class. After all, I had been teaching for over 20 years! 
 I was now a special education teacher..... and I WAS SCARED!  I felt completely unprepared. 
What if I messed up?  What if I FAILED them? 
On Friday afternoon, just after I had received the news that I would be one of the two special ed. clusters in first grade at my school, I headed out for the weekend.  In the short ten minute drive to my house, I thought or should I say worried about my new undertaking.  And like a miracle, a warm, peaceful calm washed over me as I drove home.   A voice inside my head said, "He needs you...His parent's need you."  I remember thinking about what a hard time my best friend had with her son with autism.  Having a special needs child is hard.  I vowed to make sure my new little friend would have a great year and his parents would not be stressed out.  I began to take a totally different attitude about the whole experience.
During the 2015-2016 school year, I feel in love with a little boy and his family. Somehow I knew exactly what my new friends needed. I didn't think too much about their IEP's.  I just thought about how to make sure they had a great year.  Here are a few things that I learned from the experience.
1.  Don't try to make a special need child into a regular ed. student.  Try to find their strengths and use those to drive your decisions.
2. Don't "set" your special needs child off.  If you see them getting upset, back off and take another approach.  When a child shuts down/acts out, everyone loses.  Your regular ed. students and your special needs children.  You don't have to win every time.  It's not about winning.
3.  Understand your goals as a special needs teacher: Make sure the special needs children make the most of their day.  IEP's are not the End All... Happy kids that want to stay at school and come back the next day are.  :) 
4.  Make connections with your special needs students just as you do your regular ed. students.  The more you know about them, the better you will communicate with them.
5.  Ask for help from your peers when needed. 
6.  Don't constantly have bad things to say about your special needs students. 
Here's a story about that:  At science night, we had a large crowd.  My little friend and his mother came down the hallway.  Immediately, even though it was super crowded in the hallway, the other teachers on my team began calling his name.  His mother was almost in tears.  "Oh my God," she said.  "They love him."  With a big smile I said, "Of course they do.  He is precious to all of us." 
That conversation made me think about how important my words to my colleagues were.  What if I had said that he was hard to manage or that he made a lot of noise in the classroom and he drove me crazy?  I made that positive experience happen for his mother by loving her child and treating him with kindness and compassion...even though I didn't realize that  was what I was doing at the time.   That is one of the biggest things that I learned having a special needs child.  Just love them.  Understand their needs and try to help them have a good year.  If that means that they are not doing exactly what the other kids are doing every second of the day, then fine.  Since some students have a hard time communicating with me, I can't assume that everything is okay, so I give them time to work through what's bugging them.
I'm not saying to let the sped children do as they please everyday... all day.  I'm just saying that sometimes it's okay if they aren't. And sometimes, that's all they need.  A little break.  If they continue trying to get out of doing what they are asked, you might have to try something different. 
My little friend would do almost anything for one little candy corn or a skittle. He also loved stickers and the iPad.  In the second semester, things were a little tougher than the first semester.  We began using a behavior chart.  It helped so much.
I am not going to say it was easy, because it wasn't, but.... 
 I made a difference in his life and that is what counts.
So... If you are going to have a special needs class and you are feeling uneasy about it, try not to worry.  Take a deep breath and let a calm feeling wash over you.  Know that you will make a difference in your new students' lives by loving them and having compassion on them.
Let your kindness win out in the end.
I'll be right there with you this year as well.
What sparked this blog post was this...Today I got an email from that parent that I have been talking about.  She wanted to know if she could bring B to school to see me.  She said he had talked about me all summer and really missed me.  I have thought about him all summer too and the thought of not having him in my class is heartbreaking.   We are all a little scared about what second grade may hold.  (My friend will be at a different campus next year due to rezoning.)
You see, my little friend B had a very rough time in kindergarten.  He threw fits and hit teachers and was out of control.  I didn't see any of these behaviors.  I believe it is because I just taught with my heart.  I never pushed too hard, but usually got what I wanted.  That is my message here if there is just one message.
You can get what you want without pushing too hard... be patient and watch for the next opportunity to make it happen.  It will....
Thank you for reading to the bottom...I know this was a long post.  I hope you enjoyed it and it helped if you needed help in this area. 
Have a great year!

Friday, July 29, 2016
Enter to Win this Awesome Resource at the bottom of this post!
Over the past few years, I have come up with some pretty nice keepsakes for my students to take with them from their first grade experience with me.  Each of these keepsakes is very special to my students as well as their parents.

The first keepsake is The Birthday Book.
This product was updated 7/2016
The Birthday Book is probably the most anticipated of the keepsakes.
Each child gets a book that has a page from the other students in the class and myself.
On the day of the child's birthday, I place the pages on the students' desks in the morning.  They work on the Birthday Book page instead of their morning book page.
I collect all of the pages and make them into a book.  Last year, one of my students ask why they didn't make a book for me.  So.... They made a book for me and I cherish it, too!

This year I stapled the books together with a stapler designed to staple over 40 pages.  In the coming year, I am going to bind them with a comb binder.
The next keepsake is probably the most appreciated by the parents.
It is The Class Photo Cover. (Editable Resource)
The Class Photo Cover starts with weighing and measuring your students at the beginning of the year.  You will also take their picture.
Again at the end of the year, you will weigh, measure and take their picture.  It is a lovely before and after memory.
You will also include a picture of yourself with each student and a class picture. I usually try to take one on a field trip or other class function.
I gave these out this year at our Celebration of Learning and had some grateful, teary eyed parents.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of a completed one so you'll have to try to imagine what it would look like.  :)
The final keepsake is The Snaggle Tooth

The Snaggle Tooth Chart is classroom d├ęcor that is functional.  This is an editable resource that helps you and your students keep track of the teeth they lose throughout the year.

Make or Print the chart. (Directions included in the file.)  Make a tooth for each student. (Write or type the names on the teeth)  As students lose teeth, add their tooth to the chart with the date they lost the tooth and perhaps a start sticker for some color.  At the end of the year, remove the teeth from the chart, laminate them and send them home with the students.  There may be students that don't lose any teeth. I make them a tooth anyway and write "I didn't lose any teeth this year."  with the date.


That's it!  Three Easy Keepsakes that make your students extremely happy and impress their parents! 

Have Fun with these!


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