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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Resolutions

Just like everyone else, I can't believe that today is the last day of 2011.  Where has the time gone?  I'm joining up with A Teacher's Treasure to post my resolutions for 2012.  As I reflect on 2011, it was full of new adventures.  I started a blog.  I started a TPT store.  And just recently started a FB page.  It also contained saddness as I lost a dear friend to a tradegic accident and we lost two former students.

I don't know what 2012 will hold but I'm hoping for wonderful things.  Here are my resolutions.


1. I would like to put into practice the math work stations I learned about last year and do some more reading on literacy work stations.  I haven't quite figured out the best way to impliment it because I only have 3 children that are totally independent.

2. I need to be more organized.  My desk is always a mess. 

3. Better impliment the assistive technology in my class.  I have 4 children using switches with their computers.


1. Lose the 50 lbs I've been carrying around for the past 5 years. 

2. Continue to blog on a regular basis and I write some articles on switches and assistive technology.

3. Continue to make quality products to add to my store.

4. Spend more time with my husband and kids. 

Here's to a wonderful 2012, filled with love, hope and joy.  Have a safe night everyone.

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway by following my blog and TPT store and leaving a comment here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 in 11 linky party

Hadar over at Miss Kindergarten and Kristin over at A Teeny Tiny Teacher are hosting a linky party.


I can't believe that 2011 is coming to an end.  Where did the time go?  2011 held some wonderful things.  Will 2012 hold even more.  Here are my answers
11. Favorite movie you watched:
I would have to say "Brides Maids".   I saw it with my girlfriends and it was wonderful.
10. Favorite TV series:
I didn't get a lot of time to watch much tv this year but did try and tune in the X-Factor when I could.
9. Favorite restaurant:
Probably Swiss Chalet.  Love their chicken. 
8. Favorite new thing you tried:

Definitely blogging.   If you had asked me at this time last year if I would be blogging. I would have said you were crazy.
7. Favorite gift you got:

My Nana died just before Christmas last year.  My mum just gave me a beautiful necklace that was hers.  It's a cross.

6. Favorite thing you pinned:

My next favorite thing is pinning. There are sooooo many great ideas there.  We did this on our door this year.

5. Favorite blog post:

My favorite blog post was the one I just did on our Christmas Concert.  The children worked so hard and it really turned out well.
4. Best accomplishment:

Having over 300 followers.  I still can't believe that people actually read what I write and want to keep coming back.
3. Favorite picture:

All of my favorite pictures I can't share because of the kids in it.  Here is one of my boys from the summer when we went tubing with some friends.

2. Favorite memory:

When we told the children we would be taking them to Disney in the summer of 2012.
1. Goal for 2012:

To continue to blog on a regular basis.  To continue to add products to my store. And the usual get fit, eat better goals that never seem to last long.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tree Sight Words Matches

I had such a fabulous response to my Christmas Tree Sight Word Match that I made the activity for the other Dolch lists.  The first and third grade lists also contain a blank for you to add your own work.  Click on the pictures to be taken to the activities.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Freebie Friday

Here is a freebie to cheer up your Friday.
Head over to TBA for more great freebies.
Christmas Week

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Items and Big Sale Today

I have added a couple of new products to my store.  Just in time for my big sale today.

Rudolph! Rudolph! is the newest book in my interactive book line.  Read the colour words and put right coloured nose on Rudolph.

My pizza math unit is my biggest yet.  10 complete activities working on numbers 1 to 20.  Over 100 pages.  Check out the activities below.

Today and tomorrow I'm offering 20% off all my products.  Today only TpT is offering an extra 10% off with the promo code CMS28.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

300 Followers and 2 freebies

I can't believe I've hit 300 followers.  To celebrate I'm offering two freebies.

The first is a set of calendar numbers for Christmas.

The second is the instructions and labels for the chocolate chip cookies in a jar we made last week.

If you pick up the freebies, consider following either my blog or my store (or both).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Thankful for.....

 What the Teacher Wants and Oh'Boy 4th Grade are holding linky parties on what you are thankful for. Head on over to join in the fun. Here are my answers.

1. What are you thankful for in your classroom?

I have to say my new IPad!  It just arrived on Friday and I am beyond excited.  I go to a workshop tomorrow for tips and tricks.  Can anyone recommend any great apps for kindergarten and/or special ed?  I would love to hear them.
2. What person are you most thankful for?

I would have to say my children and husband.  We lost a child last week that was with us last year at school and it makes you realize just how precious your own family is.

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?

I would have to say Deanna Jump's blog (she's the reason I started blogging), Growing Kinders and Kindergarten Crayons.

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?

I would have to say reading.  I have read some awesome books lately:  The Hunger Games Series (can't wait for the movie) and the Junie B Jones Books (with my son).

5. What are you most thankful for?

I am thankful for everyone who reads this blog.  When I first started, I wasn't sure I would have anything worth writing and I wasn't sure anyone would read it.  So I'm very thankful that you stopped by today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

CPR and First Aid

Today we had a PD day and it was time for our CPR and First Aid training.  Working with such fragile children requires us to be update with our skills.  We are also trained on the use of a Defibrillator.  We have one in our building and there ones in most public buildings now.

If you don't have CPR please consider taking it.  You never know when you might need it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Pizza Interactive Book

My new pizza interactive book is ready.  It is a set of three Pizza easy readers. They all contain the same story but two of them are interactive. The first one is a regular book with easy repetitive text. The second one involves putting the correct sentence to the picture. The sentences can be cut up into individual words to make the activity harder. The third book is a fill in the blank activity. Children need to read the sentence and fill in the blank with the correct word by checking the picture. The books come packaged together and ready for you to print out, laminate and bind together. This book also comes with vocabulary flash cards. You can find it here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Advice for New Teachers

Today is Teacher Talk Tuesday and we are sharing advice for new teachers.   I thought I would gear my advice to what to do if you have a special needs child in your class.  I'm not talking about the child with the invisible disability such as a learning disability, I'm talking about the child with severe disabilities.   In today's classrooms, many children with severe disabilities are being integrated into regular classrooms.  What do you do if you have a child like this in your class?  What do you do with a wheelchair, stander, communication device?

1. Treat the child just like any other child in your class.  That means the same expectations as everyone else (unless there is something like a behaviour plan in place).  If everyone is expected to line up, sit quietly, read, do math, etc, then your child with special needs should have the same expectation.  Nothing makes a child stand out more than doing something completely different than their peers. Integration does not mean just sitting in the same physical space as your peers. This does not mean that you have the same expectations academically but for example if everyone is completing math work then the child with special needs should be completing their math at the same time, even if it's below grade level.

2. Arrange your class so that the child can get around easily and has access to all areas of the class.

3. Talk to the class about the child's disability (with or without the child, depending on the child).  If the child is able and willing, have them explain things to their peers (only if the child is mature enough to do this).  See if your local community has a disability awareness program and invite them to come in and talk to the class.

4. If your child has a paraprofessional, make sure to strike up a good working relationship with them.  They can be your best friend.  Work together and set up schedules to work in equipment.  Make sure the person is "assisting" and not "doing".

5. Give the child "time" if they need it.  Time to respond, time to complete work, time to get from one place to another.

6. Try and pair the child up with a friend. 

7. Make sure that the child does EVERYTHING that everyone else does.  In my class, no one is left out.  Check out my post on McHappy Day.  When the class ate McDonald's, everyone did, even my students that needed pureed food.  You can find creative ways to do anything.  If one child can't do the activity then think of something else to do.

8. Make sure you have good communication with the parents.  Set realistic goals for the year.  It's better to set small goals that are obtainable then larger ones that are not going to be met in one year.

9. Know your child's equipment and make sure it's used.  Standers, walkers, wheelchairs and communication devices have all been put into place for a reason.  A child can't be in one position all day.  Make sure they can get out and stretch.

10.  Remember:  A child with a disability is still a child.  Make sure you have fun.

If anyone ever has questions or needs help problem solving an issue, I'm more than happy to help.  Just leave a comment and your email and I'll try to help.

Head over to Blog Hoppin' for more great advice.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Literacy Work Stations

I was so impressed with Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller that I decided to go out and buy Literacy Work Stations.  I can't wait to get into the book.  I'm not sure yet how I'm going to run things.  With only 7 children my stations won't be very big but I'm looking forward to trying something different this year.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amazing Story

DynaVox Speech and Communication Devices is a company that produces communication devices for individuals with little to no speech.

Yesterday they featured a story about a young girl who uses the same EyeMax computer as one of my students.  She even paints using the computer.  Here is video clip about her.

You can check out her beautiful pictures at her website  Just My Eyes

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Top 10 Reasons you know it's Back to School Time

Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits is having a linky party.  The Top 10 Reasons you know it's Back to School Time.  Even though I don't return for a few weeks, I know it will come up quickly.

Here is my list.

10. I'm  starting to have classroom dreams.  I arrive at school and my room is too small (I mean a closet) or I have 50 students or no one shows up etc.  Nightmares more than dreams really.

9. The car is full of things that need to go back to school.  I just haven't got there yet.

8. I have a stack of receipts for things I've bought over the summer.

7. I've been doing more "school work" than my kids.

6. I've been planning on what to set my alarm at to slowly ease into getting up early.

5. We attended "mouth guard clinic" and registered for hockey.  A sure sign of fall.

4. I'm starting to panic that I'm not going to have time to do all the things we had "all summer to do".

3. I'm spending all my free hours planning for the first month of school.

2. My To-Do list is getting longer.

1. I've been arranging and re-arranging my room in my head trying to figure out what the best layout would be and stalking everyone's blog who is putting up pictures of their room already.

Head on over to Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits to link up for your top 10.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pet Interactive Easy Readers

I have just added a new interactive easy reader to my TpT storePet Interactve Easy Readers

A set of four pet theme easy readers. They all contain the same story but three of them are interactive. The first one is a regular book with easy repetitive text. The second one involves putting the correct sentence to the picture. The sentences can be cut up into individual words to make the activity harder. The third book is a fill in the blank activity. Children need to read the sentence and fill in the blank with the correct word by checking the picture. The fourth one requires the child to read the sentence and put the correct animal in the picture. The books come packaged together and ready for you to print out, laminate and bind together. This book also comes with vocabulary flash cards.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Book Whisperer Chapter 7

In light of this very rough week, I've done one thing that provides relief from the "real" world.  At least for a bit.  I've read.  Mindless dribble at times but that is what I've needed this week.  A good easy read, that didn't require a lot of thinking and that had a happy ending.  I also finished The Book Whisperer.  An easy read because it's so inspiring.

The one thing that stuck out to me in this chapter was this line "I have been told many times, both to my face and through comments on my blog, that I am not preparing my students for the "real world" by letting them read whatever they want" p166.  This rang so true to me.  We (my EA's and I) have throughout the years not been supported (at times) in our radical views on reading instruction.  Does a child need to know the whole alphabet in order to learn how to read?  If a child is not "getting" certain letters do you drill, drill, drill until they do?  I have had older children come to me being unable to read even level one books (and hating it) and having not mastered the alphabet yet (I'm talking grade 3 or 4).  Each year on their IEP is "knows 15 letters working on the rest",  then the following year "knows 17 letters working on the rest" etc. you get the picture. They would be in high school before they knew the whole alphabet.  Do we start teaching them how to read then?  In the 8 weeks of reading instruction in my class these children often jump to level 4 or above and are actually asking to choose books and to read to me.  Unfortunately I only have these students for a short time  after surgery but they return to their home schools. I know the endless drills are not working.  Does that mean that I don't work on the alphabet or phonics? No, but I work on them in the context of activities and books and real time practice.   We read, read, and read more of the sight words we have practiced in real books.
Each of my students have the opportunity to choose a book they want to read and then read it to me everyday (they then take it home and read it to parents).  This takes up a huge amount of my time and I've often wondered if I should stop and just have the children take the book home or maybe even pick the book for them and send it home to save on time.  I now realize that I can't do that.  That the time they spend reading in my class has an impact on their reading levels and their motivation.   I know that the children argue about who comes to read to me first.  I hope this means I'm doing something right.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TPT Item of the month

School Box Treasures has a perment Linky Party in which TpT sellers post one featured item. It may be a sale item, newly added item, or a seasonal item.  If you are a TpT seller head over to add your link.  If you are not a seller, head over to find some great items.

Truth Me George!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New life

This was the post I was going to make the other day.  I had taken these pictures the day my friend died and I had planned to post them the day I found out about her death.  So instead I'm dedicating these pictures to her.  I know they would have brought her great joy.  Her love of all animals was evident in her houseful of pets and her frequent trips to the humane society.  She loved to garden and her favourite colour was green.

Over the past week I had been watching a pair of sparrows who decided to make a nest in the little cedar tree in front of my deck.  Everyday I would peek in on them and I watched as the eggs hatched into tiny birds.  I would sit on my deck and listen to the tiny birds cheep as their parents brought them food.  On Thursday I heard a cheeping that just wouldn't stop from a different tree.  On looking closer I realized that one of the baby birds had left the nest and was perched on a limb of this tree unsure of what to do next.  After several visits from mom he left the tree and flew over to the grass.  With a last chirp and a little pose for my camera, he flew away to start his own life.

As I think about my friend, I will always be reminded about the little sparrow that left the nest and took flight that day to begin his new life just as she left her body and took flight to be with the Lord and begin her new life. 

Namaste, my dear friend you will be missed very much.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I survived linky party

Karla over at Life in Special Education is having an "I survived" linky party. 

I thought I would share two stories from when I used to supply teach many moons ago (about 20).  Hopefully they will bring a smile to someones face, or a least get you to take sympathy on the supply teachers in your building.

1.  It was a Friday afternoon in a portable, I think about grade 5.  It was 2 minutes until the bell rang and the children were getting ready to go home.   I had the supply teacher handbook and portable key (which I took out of my pocket) and put them in a pile on the desk as I needed to return them to the office when the children were gone.  I went to the door of the portable to say goodbye to the children as they filed out of the door.  When the last child had gone I returned to the desk to grab all my things to discover that the key was gone.  That was fun to explain to the office on a Friday afternoon.  Honest, the kids took it.

2.  I once had an assignment in a French school (I don't speak French) which was apparently fine because they were going on a class trip to the skating rink.   Not fun trying to keep track of children you don't know in a public place.   I had no idea which kids were mine or not and didn't understand a thing they said.

but I survived..........I'm so glad I don't supply any more.

Do you have a good story?  Head over to Life in Special Education to link up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

S'mores in action

Junior over at Adaptions 4 Kidz tried out my s'more interactive easy reader.  Head over to his amazing blog to check out the book and to check out all the other fun camping activities that he is going to do. 

Three New Interactive Books

I have added three more interactive books to my Teacher Pay Teacher store just in time for the big Christmas in July sale tomorrow.

Each book is a set of three easy readers. Each set contain the same story but two of them are interactive. The first one is a regular book with easy repetitive text.  The second one involves putting the correct sentence to the picture.  The sentences can be cut up into individual words to make the activity harder. The third book is a fill in the blank activity. Children need to read the sentence and fill in the blank with the correct word by checking the picture. The books come packaged together and ready for you to print out, laminate and bind together.  These books also come with vocabulary flash cards.

 Under the Sea
 The Weather

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Book Whisperer Chapter 4

I am so honoured to be one of the bloggers hosting Chapter 4.   Are you still reading along?

Chapter 4 is all about Reading Freedom.  How do you choose a book to read?  Do you look at the front cover? Do you read the summary?  Do you look for the same author?  Maybe someone recommended a book?

What about all those reasons that we don't admit:  Do you choose a book because it's short?  the print is big? it's "fluffy", "silly" or contains for adults only materials?

Children should have the option to use whatever method they want to choose a book.  The important thing is that they are reading.  Right?

I really like the list that Donalyn Miller references in her book about the Rights of the Reader.   You can access the poster by clicking on the title.  I think my favourite is "the right to skip pages".   I'm not always into pages and pages of descriptions of scenery.  Who cares, just get to the story.  Those are the pages I tend to skip (ok, I admitted it.  Probably why I never did well in English but was more than likely the person that read the most books).

Here are the books that I got out of the library last week and the reasons I choose them.

The top 4 books are all by Margaret Peterson Haddix, an author that I love.   I hadn't read any of these titles yet so I scooped them up.  They are meant for a younger age group than the previous novels that I have read of her and are realistic fiction.  I loved them all and read 3 of them in one evening.  A lot of times I love books that are 1. easy to read 2. don't take a lot of brain power (this IS summer) 3. are fairly short (with 2 young children and a fully schedule, I don't have hours to devote to a book)

The bottom book, "Neptune's Children" by Boonie Dobkin was one that I just grabbed off the shelf and really liked the description.  Here's the description in the front of the book "A dream vacation at the Isles of Wonder theme park becomes a nightmare when biological terrorism causes the death of every adult on the Islands.  Younger teens and children survive, only to face the resulting horror and the chaos of a world without authority.  The figure of King Neptune, symbol of the Islands, unites them as they begin to build a society within the park, safe from outside dangers.  Led by a group called the Core, made up mostly of former park workers' children, the survivors slowly organize their world.  But when mysterious events bring danger, some of the Islanders begin to wonder if their home is as safe as they think and if their leaders can really be trusted.  As suspicions grow and rivalries intensify, the stage is set for a war that will determine the future of everyone on the Islands."  This book is taking me a little to read.  Mainly because darn housework keeps getting in the way.  But it is a really good book.  Makes you think about would truely happen if the children had to run the world.

How do you choose books to read?
Have you read any good books lately?
What would you recommend?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who wants S'More?

I just finished a few S'More activities for summer. 
The first is a set of Dolch Sight Word Games just like my Little Sheep Games and Little Deer Games

 Children must say the word on the marshmallow to be able to look under it to see if the chocolate is hidden underneath.  You can find the games here.

S'more Sight Word game pre-primer list
S'more Sight Word game primer list
S'more Sight Word game grade one list
S'more Sight Word game grade two list
S'more Sight Word game grade three list

Each game is only $1 so that so you mix and match which lists suit your needs.

The next activity is another interactive book like the other ones I have on summer, Easter and Little Pigs.
This book involves the steps in making a s'more.  The first book has easy text.  The second book involves putting the pictures on the right page and the third book involves putting the correct word in the sentence.
It can be found here on my TpT site.

Here is freebie for you.  A marshmallow sorting mat.  Use the giant, regular and mini marshmallows.

Marshmallow Sort

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Perfect House for a Teacher

What would be the perfect house for a teacher?  An old school house of course.

A couple of people asked about my house so I thought I would post a before and after picture.

Called Archer's School House (SS#1),  it was built in the 1800's.

This one room school house closed as a school in 1950 and was bought by a local family for $500.  They renovated the inside and in 1990 sold it.  It had one more owner before we bought it in 2006.  This is what it looks like today.  We added a covered porch last year and the deck this year.   I would love to find the bell and restore it on top of the house.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pet math station activities

My Pet Math Unit is ready.  This is first unit that I am going to do with my kids in September.  I'm still working on the literacy unit.
It includes eight activities.

A sorting activity.  Children can sort by colour and size.  Math talk cards are included.

 Adding and Subtracting story mats.   Use real manipulates or the pictures provided to act out adding and subrtacting stories.  Includes a response sheet.

Printing practice for numbers 1 to 10.

 5 and 10 frames.  Children use the 5 and 10 frames to help them count the number of fish in the tank.  They then put the right answer in the box. 
 Ordering numbers from 1 to 10

 Patterning.  Includes sample strips for children who need a model or are working on extending a pattern.  Includes math talk cards.
 Counting.  Children put the correct number of fish into the tank.
 Comparing.  Children give the second cat more, less or the same number of toys as the first cat.  Includes math talk cards.

My Pet math unit is available from my TpT store.