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I Can Measure Anchor Charts (freebie)

Well, I seem to be on a roll lately with anchor charts.  I've been making charts left and right for something or another.  The visuals really do seem to help students as a reference point.  In case you missed out, earlier this month I posted my 2D and 3D Shapes Anchor Charts and my Good Learners freebie chart.

My class has been learning about measurement lately.  They're really good at telling me whether something is bigger or smaller but using measurement words (longer/shorter, heavier/lighter) has been a tougher challenge.  I created these charts to help my kiddos out.

If you're like me, you sometimes need to save on the color ink.  And while I love Surfin' Through Second Grade's Hand Drawn Rainbow papers, I had to print these off at school.  So I also included a set of papers with a white background.  They look like this.

Click {here} to get yours!

Visual Charts for Behavior (Freebie)!

Teaching special ed has taught me the power of visuals.  My students do SOOOOOO much better if they have a visual reference.  And that goes for anything!  

I've been using this awesome visual from Deanna Jump's and Deedee Willis' Writing Through the Year packet to encourage my students to sit properly when we meet at the carpet for morning meeting.  

The binder clip allows me to easily take the chart on and off the wall without having to poke a billion holes in it or take out the thumb tack.  That brilliant idea came from the other resource teacher in my room.

The first thing I do when we all come to the carpet is remind the students what a good listener looks like.  I always refer to the chart.  During the morning meeting, I can quickly refer to the chart if someone is not sitting the proper way.  Most of the time, a quick reference to the chart will get my students back on track.

I noticed that while my students were improving their ability to sit properly on the rug they were having HUGE problems sitting at the small group table.  Oh man, I was telling them 100 times to sit in the chair the right way, quit playing, stop this, stop that, on and on and on.  I was tired of reminding them and tired of listening to myself speak.

So my Good Learners visual chart was born!

I just started using it on Friday, so I can't say exactly how effective it will be.  But I believe it will help!

If you want your own Good Learners chart, please click on the pic to download yourds.

Graphics from Scrappin Doodles.  Fonts from Kimberly Geswein and Jen Jones.

How do you keep your kids on task and sitting properly?

Balancing Act - Making Life Work

What I've learned is that being a teacher is demanding and time consuming.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.....but it can be hard to be juggle it all.

I've also learned that being a mother is demanding and time consuming.  And being a wife is demanding and time consuming.

With all those demands and time consuming things, it's hard to make it all work.  Since moving to Hawaii, I've had to readjust some things to make life easier for me.  It also means that I've had to become a little more organized and efficient.  That has been a good thing.  Otherwise, I might go crazy!  And nobody needs a crazy teacher or momma.

Right now, life seems to be one big balancing act.

Don't you just love the chevron background in that picture?  My sweet friend Corinna from Surfin' Through Second made it, and I love the hand drawn work!  She has a great selection of frames, papers, and fonts in her TpT store {click here}.

Let me show you my biggest dilemma.  My kitchen in our rental house.'s small.  Incredibly small.

First the cabinets.  Do you see how narrow this is?  Who in the world designed these things?  And what should I put in there that will fit? 

Let's just not mention the not so great quality of these pics I took on my phone.

Then there's the size.  It's a TINY kitchen.  You can open the oven door.

Or the fridge door (partially) but not both.  Seriously, every time I open the fridge I need to take deep breaths or I might cry.

And if anyone else comes in the kitchen while I'm in there, I get a serious feeling of claustrophobia.  Needless to say, I've been trying my hardest to make SUPER simple meals and keep myself out of the kitchen.  Not really a good objective when a bunch of hungry kids want to eat.  But I'll post more about dinners later.

Basically, I need to be super organized.  Here my kids go to the school on base, and I commute to work about half an hour away.  That means the kids go to before and after school at their school, and we leave the house around 6:25 everyday.  Lucky for me, they get up early anyway!

I knew there's no way I could get them up even earlier to eat at home before going to before school care.  I also don't let my kids eat or drink anything with red dye (lord help the boys' teachers if I did).  That means it's up to me to feed them breakfast and lunch.

Here's our solution that has been working out really well so far.

Every night, I set out this.  The tropical flower bags (and the ziploc bag for the kid who forget his at school) are their breakfast bags and the other ones are their lunch boxes.

In the breakfast bag, I put stuff like this and I throw in a yogurt in the morning.  The ziploc bag has a cinnamon roll in it.  I'll add things like blueberry muffins (make a batch on Sunday), Nutrigrain bars, and sometimes a poptart.  The kids are happy.  I feel like they've gotten a decent enough meal to last them during the morning.  And it's not too much work.

For their lunchboxes, I use these awesome containers that I got at Target.  Each compartment is sealed. You can put things like applesauce in there, and it doesn't leak.

The container is marked Not PB, because the kids school is peanut butter free. This week I started making them sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches.  So far, they love it and haven't complained.  We also put in leftover quesadillas and pizza.  They don't care that it's cold so that is another easy lunch.

I also add these ice packs that came from Target.  They seem to keep everything cold enough.

So that's how I keep my kids from starving during the week, except they still act like they're starving when they get home every day.  How do you other moms make it all work?

Five for Friday

I love participating in Doodle Bug Teaching's Five for Friday.  It really makes me think about the week and what has happened.  And I enjoy seeing snapshots of everyone else's week.

Here's a bit of my week:

1.  On Monday, our household goods were delivered!  Yay!!!  We had a lot of this!  :D

2.  When it was unpacked, it looked more like this.  :/  Luckily, my husband is good at organizing and managed to get the majority of it put away while I was working.

3.  As we opened the boxes (still not all done), we found several like this.  :(

4.  On Wednesday, I saw not ONE but THREE rainbows on my way home from work.  :)

5.  I have to give a shout out to something I've been using my Kindergarteners.  They're still working on writing their letters and letter sounds.  I LOVE this Alphaheroes! pack by Growing Kinders.  The graphics are super adorable and all of the pages are incredibly useful. <3

I hope everyone had a great week!

2D & 3D Shape Anchor Charts - Flash Freebie!

Today is an exciting day in our house!  We had a bad weekend with the car break-in.  :(  And that's going to be quite a nightmare to get all of my id's replaced, get new cards, fight the fraud charges, etc., etc.  But today this came!

All of our household goods have finally made their way across the ocean and are here!  Oh man, you don't realize how much you enjoy your own stuff until you've gone without it for a month and a half!  

So in honor of getting our stuff and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I'm having a flash freebie.  I've just posted my brand new 2D and 3D Shape Anchor Charts since we'll be starting a shape unit soon.  Hurry up and download them, because they'll be FREE for the next 3 hours.   

Now that I'm teaching Kindergarten resource, most of my stuff will be geared to lower students.  One of my students thought that we were going to be off on Monday for a snow day!  Very cute since we live in Hawaii.  I figured the kids might be a little confused about what a snow day really means.  So I whipped up this Snow Day! Beginning Reader Mini-Unit that has an emergent reader about a snow day and some activities that my students need to work on.  You can check it out by clicking on the pic below.

Now I better get back to unpacking and arranging furniture before my husband finds me on the internet!  ;)

Magical Product Swap with Beth

They always say better late than never right?  I hope that's the case, because I'm behind the power curve on this product swamp with the super sweet Beth from Taming My Flock of Firsties.

First, have you stopped by Beth's super cute blog?  If not, you definitely should.

While you're there, make sure you check out this really great collection of photos Beth posts and gives away for FREE.  These photos would be great to display and have your students use as a writing prompt.  You can see the pics {here}.

So before I get started talking about Beth's awesome products, I must share some bad news.  You see I had all these great pics to use for the product review.  But I was running a bit behind in getting my post up on Saturday, because my family decided to go to the beach and enjoy this great Hawaiian weather.  When we came back to the car, my 14-year-old said, "Hey, have you seen what's wrong with the window?  It's GONE!"  

So yeah, some people, who made very bad choices (as I tried not to say bad guys to my younger kids), broke into our car and stole my purse.  With all of my stuff and ids and credit cards and pics of Beth's unit.  Needless to say, Saturday was not a very good day for us.

I do apologize, because this post is just not going to be as great as it should be.  So sorry, Beth!

Moving onto better things.  Beth was super sweet and let me review TWO of her products.  If you're going to do a farm unit, Beth has 2 great units that would go together nicely with a farm unit.  

At my new job, I'm working with Kindergarten resource students.  Even though Beth's products are Common Core aligned for 1st grade (who doesn't love things Common Core aligned?), I was able to use them for my K students.

Her ELA unit, has a great counting syllable activity that I used with my kiddos.  And boy do they need help with that skill!  We also used her long and short vowel cards to practice determining if they heard the long or short vowel in words.  Again, this was a skill that they need a lot of practice!  I wish I had this unit back when I was teaching 2nd graders in FL.  Beth has a really cute readers theater script that would have been perfect for my 2nd graders.

In her math unit, she starts off with some great farm word problems.  These would have also been great back when I was teaching in FL.  My struggling second graders always needed extra practice comprehending and solving word problems.  The best part of the unit was her ten frame and number cards.  My kiddos need so much help quickly identifying numbers and sets of numbers.  Beth's cards were perfect for extra practice!

I feel like I'm not really doing Beth justice, so please take a moment to click on the pics above and check them out in her TpT store.  If nothing else, you don't want to skip out on checking out her store.  She has a TON and I mean a TON of FREEBIES!  Click {here} to check out the awesome freebies.

Five for Friday

I don't know about you guys, but I'm happy it's Friday.  It makes me even happier that it's a 3 day weekend!!!!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday link up.

Here's a snapshot of my week:

Since my printer isn't here yet (but it does come on Monday!!!), I had to hit Office Max to print stuff.  Their quality is great, but at $0.66 a page it does add up!  And look at that stack I needed printed off. 

 Here's one small corner of my new classroom.  Ummmm yeah.......can you say CLUTTER!  Goodness, my anxiety skyrockets when I walk into the room.  The teacher I'm sharing the room with is on board with cleaning up (THANK GOODNESS).  We've already throw TONS of stuff out.  Seriously, something was copyrighted in 1956.  

 Check out this blast from the past, I found in my room!  Talk about going back to my youth.  I never expected to find a He-Man book.  If only, I had been able to find a She-Ra book.......maybe there's one in there.

I plan on redoing things and making the classroom look nice, clutter-free, and organized.  Here was my first (and only) start.  There's A LOT of work to be done!  I figured posting the class rules was the first thing thing that needed to be done.  Please ignore that the rules are crooked.  I've started the Whole Brain Teaching rules, and the kids are catching on so fast.  Amazing how much more they learn with movements.  If you're interested in downloading my rules for free, click {here}.

And for some reason, I can't make this large space disappear.  :/

A parent brought in caterpillars for the Kindergarten classes.  I brought mine home for the weekend.  I was worried that this little fella (he was hanging from the top) wouldn't make the drive home.  When I stopped, I looked and he was changing into a chrysalis RIGHT before my eyes.  So cool!  I've never seen that happen before.  I hope more change this weekend, and we have butterflies soon.

I hope everyone has a good weekend.  I'm working on some shape and measurement anchor charts.  I hope to have them done and a blog post up this weekend.

Teaching ABC Order

Today, I'm linking up with Ashley from The Resource Room Teacher for her Special Needs Sunday Linky Party.

Back before I moved, I wanted to teach my kids ABC order as part of our morning message.  This was just a really tough skill for my kiddos, but they were more successful with a visual and a highlighter.

So nothing groundbreaking but a simple visual and a system for marking off words and letters made the skill more concrete for my kiddos.  First, we read each word and then highlighted the first letter of the word on the alphabet line.  We were then able to see which word would come first and put them in order.  Do you have any tips for teaching ABC order?

Me on the Map - US State Reports

I have been meaning to post about my Me on the Map - US State Reports pack for 2 months!  Before we moved to HI, my son came home with a Me on the Map assignment.  He was supposed to make a project about the state where he was born.  The only requirement was that he needed to be creative.  

Yikes!  I'm not good at crafty stuff.  Well, I might not be able to scrapbook and make other cutesy stuff, but I can create stuff on the computer!

Here's my son with his report:

I thought this might be useful for other people, too.  So here it is.  There are 2 versions.  You can either have your students do it for the state they were born in or they can do it for a state you assign.  Every state has its own individual page.  There are also 2 versions for the pages.  One page has just lines so the students have to write their own information.  The other page has the sentence partially filled in (like in my son's report).

Click on the link below to check it out in my TpT store.

Five for Friday!

For the first time, I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs for her 

Five for Friday is 5 random things from this week.

1.  I started my new job!  I'm doing resource for K students.  I'm sharing a classroom with the other 1st grade SPED resource teacher.  So we're doing some things separate and some things together with our students.  We're kinda figuring it out as we go.  The only real downfall is that the room is pretty cluttered and disorganized.  I'm trying to feel things out, but the disorganization is making me feel very anxious!

2.  I love being able to walk to the beach after work!  It's so relaxing and makes any stress disappear.  We take our dog with us, and she chases the ball up and down the beach.  Who can't feel happy watching this?

3.  I have fallen in love with Kristen Hannah books.  I just finished Magic Hour this week.  I'm heading back to the library (the base library has a great selection here) tomorrow to stock up on more books!  These are the books I've read by her so far.

4.  The aide I work with gave me a local grapefruit (I think it has a Hawaiian name but not sure).  It's HUGE!  I can't wait to cut it open tomorrow and see what it tastes like!  Please do not look at the hideous furniture in the background!  We are living with temporary furniture since our household goods are STILL not here!

5.  We may not have our household goods yet, but our car arrived this week!!!  Yay!!!!  I was so excited!  We had to rent a car for almost a month straight.  You can imagine how quick that added up!  :/  Life is much better now that we have our car that the whole family can fit in.  

Currently January.....and an update

It's my favorite time of the month!  I love Oh' Boy 4th Grade's monthly Currently!  The move had me without internet for a few days, so I was so disappointed that I couldn't do January's right away.

So here's the update on the big Hawaiian move.  We've been here 3 weeks now.  The place is BEAUTIFUL!  Right now is the rainy season so it has been raining a good bit.  But this is not a bad way to spend winter, at all!

So here's the bulleted update of how we're doing:

1.  We moved out of temporary lodging today into a rental house today.  The wait for base housing is 5-9 months.  We were so fortunate to find a house that will let us rent month-to-month AND let us have our dog.  

2.  Our dog is still in doggie jail (aka the kennel) but hopefully we'll be setting her free in the next day or so.  We sure do miss her.

3.  Our car is sailing over the ocean as we speak.  We shipped it over 3 weeks ago but it's not here.  :(  We did buy a 2nd car for a good price once we got here.  However, one car isn't enough to get us all around, so we're still shelling out the dough for a rental car.  Double :(

4.  Our stuff is sailing over the ocean right now, too.  Including our express shipment which doesn't really seem so EXPRESS right now.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I want all my stuff.  My comfy bed, my comfy couch, my comfy pillows...oh come on ship!  Sail faster!

5.  I GOT A JOB!!!  Yeah!!!!!!  I'll be doing Resource for K-1.  I don't know very many details about the job, but I'll know more tomorrow.  I officially start next Monday, but tomorrow I'll go in to observe and meet some people.  So more details to follow.  I will say that if you're special ed and thinking about moving to Hawaii........there are job openings!!!  WOW!  I got a TON of calls for interviews after I already accepted this position.  If you're looking for a job, make sure you check out my post about Teacher Interview Questions.

This weekend we went up to the North Shore, because there were 20 foot waves.  So freaking cool!  Here's a few pics.  Disclaimer - these are random surfers.  I have no idea who they are!

I love this pic of my kids.  It looks like they're running from the big waves.

As for my one little word....I chose time.  Time is something I need to work on.  I need to make better use of my time at home and at work.  I want to spend more quality time with my family.  I need to make time to take care of myself.  2012 was a super stressful year for me.  I want the time in 2013 to be better spent and more enjoyable.