Five for Friday Linky Party (August 22, 2014)

It's Friday again?!?  It seems like these last few weeks of summer are just flying by!  This week has been just as busy as the last!  

I am excited to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for Five for Friday!  Here is what I have been up to this week:

TpT's Back to School BOOST sale was this Wednesday!  I just love a good sale!  Check out what I purchased this time.

I have had my eye on this Close Reading set since it has built in differentiation.  I read through it last night and I KNOW my students are going to love it and benefit from it.  

I loved Volume 1 so much, that I went back to purchase Volume 2!  It is just as great as the first set and I heard that there will be more. I cannot wait!

And because everything is better with a little bit of glitter, I just had to jump on this fabulous deal that I found!  

I participate in a lot of giveaways.  I love finding new teacher bloggers to follow and I find that giveaways are a great way to find them.  Ramona Recommends recently held a giveaway for a gorgeous set of handmade bracelets from Trashy Crafter and I entered.  Guess what?  I WON!  I never win anything!  The best part is that I fell in love with these bracelets the moment I saw them.  

The set that I won is in the mail and I cannot wait to receive it.  I am so excited to see what my set is made out of!

We head back to school soon.  Like in a week and a half.  Guess when I can get into my classroom?  In a week and a half!  Yes, that's right.  I cannot get into my classroom until the first day for teachers to return.  We will have one day in our classrooms before students come.  Eeeek! I haven't been in my room in 18 months and I have so much to do!

I will be starting a new reading program (System 44), a new math program (My Math), and a new writing program (Lucy Calkins).  Needless to say, I am going to have a lot of catching up to do!

Stay tuned for photos...coming in 2 weeks!  

I was recently contacted by another special education teacher (Traci from The Bender Bunch) about joining a giveaway she was holding on her blog.  I am so glad that I am participating!  It is a "blow-your-mind-WOW!" kind  of giveaway.  Not only that, but there are so many great freebies as well!  You NEED to check it out and enter!  

And lastly, today is my little brother's birthday.  I say little but he actually towers over me now.  He is the best brother that I could ever ask for!  He has served his country in the United States Air Force and continues to do so by working with the Veterans Administration.  He serves his community as a volunteer firefighter.  He continues to serve his family by being a wonderful husband and great daddy to his three beautiful daughters.  He is also a pretty cool uncle to my two littles! 

Happy 29th birthday, Michael!  I am so proud of the man you have become!


I hope you all have a great weekend and an even better week ahead!  

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Special Education MEGA Giveaway

Oh my goodness!  I am so excited about this giveaway!  We special education teachers often feel left out when it comes to getting the necessary materials and support to make our classroom successful.  Of course, we have special educator super powers so we always manage to make it work!

Well, now is your chance to WIN some great special education products from some fabulous teacher-authors!  

A copy of my Co-Teaching in the Classroom: A Parent Guide is available to win in each bundle!

Head on over to Traci's The Bender Bunch to learn more about this giveaway and enter to win!  

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Portable Behavior Management System

A lot of my students have issues with organization (most kids do!) and a few of my kids need a visual behavior monitoring system.  The system that has worked for my students since Kindergarten has been the Red, Yellow, Green Light System.  We have used it as a class-wide system in the past, but by last year we didn't NEED it for most of the kiddos.

However, a few kids still need that visual and I have been racking my brain about how I will give them what they need.   Finally, I came up with an idea to make the behavior management system that they are used to using portable!  

So Many Testing Accommodations!

How many of you struggle with remembering which kid has which testing accommodations?  This year, I have 12 students with IEPs and 1 student with a 504 plan.  They all have testing accommodations, but they are all DIFFERENT!  

Did I mention that I have 4 paraprofessionals to help me administer the tests?  I am so thankful for that! I don't know what I would do given the variety and high needs for testing sessions.  With so many kids and so many adults, I needed to find a way to streamline our processes for our testing days.  

For years, I would scramble to group the kids and place them with an adult according to accommodation.  On top of that, I would have to search for space to put the groups.  Why did I keep reinventing the wheel for each test?

Testing folders to the rescue!  

First you will need to get a folder for each adult that is available to provide testing accommodations.  On the front of the folder, you have the adult that will be proctoring, the location, and the students in the group.  On the inside of the folder, you put the Testing Accommodations Organizer with the accommodations for the students in the group.  
Front of Folder

Inside Folder

When it is test day, just put the correct number of tests inside the other pocket.  Be sure to include an extra test if your proctor is reading the test aloud to the group.  Easy Peasy!

I also keep a few other things stocked in the test so my TAs won't need to scramble to find anything.  Here is what a fully stocked testing folder contains:

You can find the form in my TpT store.  I even included an editable version in the file so you can type in your information instead of writing it if you want.  

I return to school in a couple of weeks and am finding myself organizing!  I have gone through the closets, cabinets, drawers, bins, pantries.  I can't help it.  I joked with my husband that the last time I organized like this was when I was about to have a baby.  Then I thought of this:

Happy organizing!  

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Back to School Blog Hop

I am so excited to join a group of other 5th grade teachers for Back to School Blog Hop!  We will each have some B2S advice just for you!

One of the things that I find to be helpful is getting to know each student from the parent's perspective.  Each little person in your room is somebody's greatest love.  Parents have a wealth of information about their children that can be helpful when you're developing relationships.  

During the first days of school, I give parents a homework assignment.  I ask them to tell me all about their child in a million words or less.
Click on the picture to download the FREEBIE file.  

Why a million?  That give parents the opportunity to write as much as the need or want!  You'll really enjoy reading the letters that make their way in.

You can read more B2S tips by hopping over to the next blog by Fifth In The Middle.  

Best wishes for a great school year and I hope to see you here at Learning Lab again soon!  

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Five for Friday {Linky Party August 8}

This is my very FIRST Five for Friday linky party with Doodle Bugs Teaching.  I am so excited!  

This week was a busy one.  We started the week off in New York City visiting my husband's family.  We went to our first Mets game.  I finally finished up a project that I had been working on for a few weeks.  TpT's Back to School sale snuck up on me but I was able to buy everything that I wanted.  We drove home on Monday and we have had some type of appointment every single day since we've been home!  I am hoping for a calmer weekend, but with two little kiddos calm really isn't much of an option! 

Oh, August.  I LOVE so much about August.  The weather is amazing.  The garden is finally producing regular veggies to harvest.  The Great New York State Fair comes at the end of the month.  The excitement for Back to School starts to build.  But, August is one of the busiest months for me.  My calendar is jam-packed!  

I have something scheduled for at least one person in my family almost every weekday in August!  I have all summer to schedule appointments but they always end up getting crammed into August!  

Our family went to our first Mets game on Monday.  My husband used to go to Mets games all the time with his dad and has so many great memories.  Each time we go back to visit his family, he always wants to go to a game but it never works out.  

He was so excited to squeeze in a game on our way home.  That's right!  On our way home.  We packed all of our stuff, drove to the game, stayed until the kids couldn't handle it anymore, and then drove home.  Like 5 hours home.  With two cranky kids.  Luckily, they slept for the first part of the trip!  I think Thomas was passed out before we even left the parking lot!

I finally finished a project I have been working on for a few weeks.  I worked a lot on my way down to NYC and a lot when we first got there because my goal was to get it done by the end of July.  Welp, I was a few days late but it is FINISHED!  


Now that it is posted, I have thought of a few more things I could include.  I will probably end up updating the file with new additions eventually.  Isn't that how it always is?  

I also included the FBA in my Special Education Bundle - The Whole Kit & Caboodle where you can find just about anything you would need as a special education teacher.  

This week, I joined up with a group of 5th grade teachers to put together a B2S blog hop and giveaway.  It kicks off tonight to make sure you come back later!

Here is a preview of what you can win:

And finally, this week I bought the supplies I need for an idea that I have for this school year.  Can you guess what I am making?  I'll be blogging about it soon!

Have a great week!  

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