A Bright Idea: No More Messy Student Desks!

We're about 6 weeks into school and the newness of the year is starting to wear off.  Our desks are getting messy with papers to grade, parent letters to answer, and post-it reminders to complete.  

Sunday Scoop!

Another Sunday.  Another Sunday Scoop with Teaching Trio!

My in-laws have the kids for the weekend.  Yahooo!  This NEVER happens! We are so excited to spend the entire weekend together before my husband goes back to working weekends.  

So, are we living it up?  Not really.  We are getting our yard ready for winter and catching up on day to day chores that have been neglected.  Sounds boring, but we are really just enjoying each other's company.  We even got a little trip to The Melting Pot in tonight.  It was a delicious and fun experience!

We're closing our pool tomorrow which means that summer is officially over.  Boooo!  I am not looking forward to our long winter ahead.  

But I am looking forward to Halloween!  I love October and all that comes with it!  Especially Halloween.  

This week, my kiddos worked on a following directions activity.  They earned it by working hard all week long!  They accomplished everything I needed them to and so we were able to add in a fun activity!  They LOVED it!

They're still working on their pumpkins so I don't have a picture of a finished product. 

I'm looking forward to another day off tomorrow!  My kids will be coming home so I am really looking forward to spending time with them.

I hope you've had a great weekend!  Have an amazing week!

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A Simple Way to Keep Behavior Charts Organized

I have a love-hate relationship with behavior charts.  I LOVE them because I have seen them make a huge difference in the behavior of some kids.  I hate them because I hate clutter.

I like to keep behavior charts because they can show me patterns.  Maybe a student always has trouble on Tuesdays.  Maybe most of their behaviors come out on days they do not have Occupational Therapy.  It is so much easier to recognize patterns when I can see the data.  

But, I like to send behavior charts home.  Parents need to know what is happening in school and often, the parents I work with have worked out a home consequence for good/bad days at school.  It is so wonderful when I get to work with dedicated and supportive parents!

So, my choices are:

1.  Make copies each day before sending home so I can keep a copy for my records.  This choice is terrible because I need to waste precious minutes during the most hectic time of the day to go to the copy room.  Not to mention, I would be killing so many trees!

2.  Send the original home and have the parents sign then return.  Well, this is terrible because sometimes the behavior chart doesn't come back and I lose that day's data.  Also, it prevents the parents from being able to try to keep track of patterns.  And what about the parents that want to celebrate a GREAT day by hanging that puppy on the fridge?

3.  Chart the results of the day's chart.  I used to have a table set up where I would enter the number of points a students would earn for the day and a small note.  It was never enough to really get a picture of what happened during the day and I was always having to tuck pieces of paper with notes in the back or make a copy of chart on really bad days.  

No matter what method I tried, I always ended up with a huge pile of unorganized behavior charts from multiple kiddos because who has time to organize them into a binder right away?  

Not great choices.  But that is what I've done for YEARS!  

Another thing I have done for YEARS is have a home-school journal with some kids.  Each day, I would write a short (or long if it was one of those days).  Each day, the book would come back. That notebook held a wealth of information!  Hmmm...  That got me thinking!  

Wait for it...

Ta-da!  I just took a bunch of blank behavior charts and bound them into a book!  Then, the book can go back and forth between school and home.  There is a wealth of data in one place and I don't have to worry about organizing loose papers each day.

It is simple (I like simple) and it solves my problem (I LOVE that!).  

Say it with me, "No more behavior chart clutter!"

To see some of the behavior tools I have used in my classroom, check out my TpT store.

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Sunday Scoop!

Why is it that weeks go so slow but the weekends go so fast?  We had a busy weekend and my cousin got married last night which was a lot of fun!  I'm excited that I'm linking up with Teaching Trio's Sunday Scoop again!  I have discovered some great blogs each week and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one stuck with a ton of laundry each Sunday!

I went to a wedding yesterday which was so much fun but now I feel like I have so much to catch up on before going back to work tomorrow.  Bummer!  I wish we could have 3-day weekends every weekend.

Speaking of 3-day weekends, not only is next weekend a 3-day weekend but it is also our 5-year anniversary on Friday.  I am trying to think of something we can do to celebrate and I need some help with ideas.  Do you have any?  

Lastly, I am SUPER DUPER excited to be a part of Kennedy's Korner's milestone giveaway.  I met one half of the Kennedy's Korner sister team, Karen Kennedy, in Las Vegas for the TpT conference.  She is a wonderfully sweet teacher from Buffalo which is where I went to college and met my husband.  

Kennedy's Korner just hit one of TpT's milestones which is a HUGE accomplishment worth a big celebration!  And so, we CELEBRATE!  Check out these great prizes below and be sure to enter!  

My product is featured in the grades 4-5 pack which also includes a thirty-one lunch bag and a TpT gift card!  Woot! Woot!

Have a wonderful week!

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Stop Annoying Bathroom Requests!

Being in an inclusion classroom, it seems like my doors are always opening.  Kids are constantly being pulled for related services.  This year, I was FINALLY able to have all of the related services for my kiddos scheduled around ELA and math.  That seems easy, but when some of my students need 10 sessions of various services, it is hard to avoid those key subjects.  But we did it this year!  

Anyway, one thing I noticed is that kids were constantly getting up to use the bathroom during teaching.  My co-teacher and I were constantly shooting down requests to use the bathroom while we were teaching.

There is nothing more annoying than teaching a really great lesson and see a student eagerly raise their hand only to find out they just want to go to the bathroom.  Well, I guess I can think of a few more annoying things.  

So, we thought of an easy-peasy visual aid for our students that may not be able to read the social cues of the classroom.  No using the bathroom passes during instruction time is a hard rule to follow when you can't really tell the difference between teaching time and working time.  

We came up with this:

Before even raising their hand to ask, now my kiddos have a visual to help them determine if this is a good time to use the bathroom.  It has worked WONDERS in our classroom!  We have cut down on so many needless interruptions and teacher frustration.  

When our passes are OFF, they are OFF.  I mean, we will accommodate for emergencies but passes are not off for long periods of time anyway.  When the passes are on, we just allow the kiddos to use the bathroom pass without even asking.  

If this is something you would like to use in your classroom, you can find my version in my TpT store.

And if you like this, you may also like my Voice Level Control System.

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Independent, Self-Checking Centers

As a special education teacher, even my smallest of groups contain students with varying levels and needs.  Sometimes, I need to really work 1:1 with a student which leaves the other kiddos on their own.  

Oh boy!  Most of my students have a hard time working without some sort of adult support or reassurance.  I needed to think of an activity that would keep their attention and give them the feedback they craved.  I created a self-checking activity so my other kiddos could work independently and get instant feedback.

When I first created the Pin & Spin series, it was mostly geared for preschool and kindergarten.  Even though my classroom was my initial inspiration, I began to create with my preschool daughter in mind.  I was home on leave at the time and creating resources for my daughter was fun and useful!

Since being back in the classroom, I have been focusing on creating resources that I can use with my 5th grade inclusion students.  

It's funny how some students have such an aversion to worksheets but if you give them a hands on activity practicing the same skills, they will love it!  My 5th grade students LOVE working with these Pin & Spin sets.  They get a kick out of using clothespins!

Set up is super easy!  I just print double sided on card stock and laminate for durability.  

I like quick and easy.  The easier, the better!  I think one of my favorite parts is that all of my sets are super easy to store.  I just pop a set into a file folder for storage.  Once you initially set up the cards, you will never need to prepare anything again!  

If you would like to try Pin & Spin in your classroom, you can test drive it with these freebies:


There are currently around 50 Pin & Spin Activities available in my TpT store for grades Pre-K-6th.  I'm always working on new Pin & Spin ideas.  If you have an idea for a Pin & Spin topic that you would love to use in your classroom, please email me!

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