Friday, January 23, 2015

It's a Game Day {Giveaway}!

I'm super pumped about this. For the first time ever, I'm giving you the chance to WIN IT before you can buy it! I've teamed up with a bunch of special education bloggers and we're giving you a sports filled giveaway! Thanks to Gabrielle from Teaching Special Thinkers for organizing this! P.S. doesn't she just have the best blog design?! I love it!

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday,  it's time to get your hands on some Game Day Cookie Tray Activities! This pack is sure to be a hit with the football fans in your classroom. Hopefully they enjoy it so much they don't even realize that they are learning at the same time!

Here is a preview shot of some of the included activities in this pack:

This item will not be available in my TpT store until Monday January 26th, after the giveaway ends! So be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win these activities and so MANY more! Just use the Rafflecopter below! Here's quick glance of all the bloggers who have donated a product for this giveaway!

**UPDATE** You can now purchase this item in my TpT store by clicking {here} or on the photo above!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Two Cents on Weather Related School Delays and Closings

I often wonder who enjoys a delay or school closing more; students or teachers? It's always nice to get an extra hour or two in the morning-- even a full day occasionally. In the end, we know we'll have to make that day up but who couldn't use it in the middle of a busy week every now and then?

That aside, however, a weather related delay or closing really only means one thing. Safety. And I used to think that is what it meant to everyone. Now these delays and closings seem to prioritize safety less and less and are based more upon whether or not someone is going to be inconvenienced by them.

I'm not in the position of someone who determines whether or not school should be delayed or closed. I never have been, nor do I ever have any intentions to be. I am sure it is a very daunting decision to make. What if I call off school for forecasted snow and a single flake doesn't drop? What if I call for a two hour delay, and the snow starts around 8am, instead of the usual 6am commute time? However, I'd rather ask families and teachers for forgiveness following a bad call that prioritized safety of students, staff, and bus drivers, than to have to apologize to families because their child's bus ran off the road.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this blog post was clearly fueled by a bad call on my district's behalf recently. Not a bad call that prioritized safety, but a bad call that prioritized inconveniencing others.

I understand that there are many, many, people whose jobs don't delay for weather, and they are still expected to arrive to work on time. I understand that many families have no choice but to leave for work in the morning before their child even boards their school bus. But as part of having a child, comes the responsibility to be prepared for school being canceled. And having a back up plan if school is canceled at the last minute.

I debated with myself about the outlet I wanted to use to express my frustrations on this topic. That day I was ready to contact my district office with complaints about the deplorable road conditions on my morning commute. I thought I'd take to Facebook with an ever long status update explaining my frustrations with their decision, and how delays and closings are no longer prioritized by safety. Nothing good ever comes from those types of status updates and that's when I decided I'd take to my blog. In the end it's still a social media escape, but my blog gives me the opportunity to further explain myself and do so to an understanding audience. Nothing erks me more than the comments about how school shouldn't be closed for the cold, or this amount of snow is nothing, etc.

Delays are in place for a reason. Safety. And while they're probably mis-called more often than not, they're still important. So the next person who tells you it's crazy to delay or call off school because of the wind chill; be sure to remind them of the child who may not own a heavy coat. Or the child who has to walk to school. Or even their own child, whose school bus might break down due to the cold temps, leaving their child sitting in a cold bus on the side of the road.

Or the next time someone tells you school shouldn't have been delayed or closed for just a little bit of snow, remind them why your area typically closes for a little bit of snow. If your area isn't used to snow, chances are people are not used to driving in it either. 

What about fog delays? If someone tells you those are silly too, be sure to ask them how well they can see whats on the side of the road during heavy fog. Can they see children standing and waiting at their bus stop? What if it's so early it's still dark out? And yes, kids ARE waiting for the school bus that early. 

I expect my school district to make a bad call the next time there is inclement weather forecasted. This call will be to please all of the parents who called to complain the first time, when the delay or closing should have been present. And this time- no snow will fall.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Scholastic Book Orders

Do you send home book orders to your class? I've never fallen into the habit of it, despite the huge benefits I know it could have for my classroom. Perhaps because I've had low participation in the past, but it always falls to the bottom of my list. No matter how many times I carry the flyers back and forth between school and home, just hoping I will get them done one night.

I get order forms for a wide age variety, which I'm glad I do. The interest levels of my students vary greatly, as do their developmental levels. I like the honeybee flyer for selecting board books. We always start each school year with only board books. While many of my students love books, they aren't always that gentle with them. Board books are GREAT! If you are working with special education pre-schoolers I would encourage you to check out the honeybee and firefly book flyers for sure. If you aren't receiving them, you can always view them online. Here are some of my favorite deals from this months Honeybee Flyer.

The Tractors book I circled would be a huge hit in my classroom. It's a board book and has textured pages.

I had to take to Amazon over the winter break in search of more winter board books for our bookshelf. I love the Snowy Day and this is a great $6 deal for a board book!

And this is my favorite deal! First Words Word Book for only $5. It was originally $15.95.

In an effort to fall into the habit of sending home more book orders I have typed up all the forms I need to tell my families about book orders, and the reminders to send home for each order deadline as well.

I had always used the Scholastic generated forms before hand and as a nit-picky border and font lover, I was never a fan of their, in comparison, dull forms. (HAHA!-- what has TpT done to us teachers?!)

Now each time I get a packet of flyers in my mailbox, I'll have my forms handy and ready to go to send home a new order form.

If you're interested in the information letter and forms that I created you can snag them from my TpT store as a freebie! I hope it's something you can use in your classroom. I left blanks for you to fill in your classroom activation code and your order form due dates. {click here to download}

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Winter Cookie Tray Activities

Am I the only one that feels like every time I blog it's only about cookie trays?! It's not intentional, I've just been so busy lately that these are the ONE thing I'm consistently getting done. AND I know you are all a fan of them too!

I really thought I would have these done over Christmas break, but I ended up spending more time away from home, than I did actually at home. I literally finished just enough activities the night before we went back to school, to have for the week. There's only one week in January right? (HA. I wish.)

Somehow between taking down Christmas decorations and wedding planning I managed to squeeze in more work on these activities to get them posted for you... with the *possibility* of adding more to the pack by the end of the month. These activities are perfect for creating a cookie tray center/time in your daily routine OR using the literacy activities for literacy centers and the math activities for math centers.

This pack is my largest one yet (by a few pages--haha) and here is all that is included: 

Snowflake math (2 pages)
Color mitten matching (color to color)
Snowman buttons (2 page options)
Snowflake matching
Build a Snowman Puzzle
Winter Item Matching (picture to picture)
Winter Item Matching (picture to word)
Color sorting (blue and purple)
Color sorting (pink and green)
Number Puzzle with numbers 1-10 (4 picture options)
Sight Word Matching (2 page options)
Sort by item & color
Alphabet matching (A-M capital to capital)
Alphabet matching (N-Z capital to capital)
Alphabet matching (a-m lowercase to lowercase)
Alphabet matching (n-z lowercase to lowercase)
Alphabet matching (A-M capital to lowercase)
Alphabet matching (N-Z capital to lowercase)
Fiind the letter ‘S’
Find the letter ‘I’
Count the snowflakes (2 pages)
Missing letter capital
Missing letter lowercase
Make a snowman (add face pieces, hat, etc.
Label the snowman
Snowman matching
Missing number 1-10
Missing number 1-20
Snowball matching
Mitten matching
Hot chocolate matching
Count the marshmallows (2 pages)

I have a few preview images for you of the sheets. This pack will not disappoint!

It is available for purchase in my TpT store now! Click {here} to go to my store!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pajama Day for Special Needs Learners

I'm sure this may vary with your student group from year to year, just as it has with mine, but the idea of pajama day isn't always easy for some of our special needs learners. Particularly those with autism. Trying to understand the concept behind wearing pajamas to school when they've always been told they have to get dressed in the morning and wear clothes to school can be quite challenging for some.

This year, along with our letter about pajama day, I have decided to send home some additional resources to families for pajama day.

I've included some tips and tricks for preparing your child for pajama day, as well as a one page social story for families to review with their child before pajama day.

If you are interested in this pack you'll get the items mentioned above, plus a letter to families and a reminder to send home the day before pajama day. All of this for {free}!

In my classroom, on pajama day, we also show a movie, have hot chocolate and cookies. We keep our daily routine as close to the same as possible. We turn on the movie during free center play so the students have the option to watch or play with toys. At such a young age, for a lot of students, sitting still through a whole movie isn't always realistic.

Do you have any tips for a smooth pajama day in the classroom??