Week in Pictures

I finally posted something longer than a sentence! Huzzah!

As you may know or remember, I am in a new position this year. I have a TLP teacher for grades one and two. TLP stands for Therapeutic Learning Program, in which I work in a sub-separate classroom for students with behavioral difficulties that inhibit their ability to make progress in a general education classroom. Some of my students are able to join the Gen. Ed setting for certain subjects, mostly my 2nd graders. At these "push in" times, my paraprofessional goes with my students into the Gen. Ed. classroom while I work with the rest of the students in the classroom. This usually works out well, as I usually end up with my lower kids. However, what I find the most complicated, is that one of my second graders is very low, and is not making adequate progress in the 2nd grade curriculum. Additionally, while my other 2 second graders are in pushed into the inclusion class, my other 2nd grader is with me and my 1st graders doing the first grade curriculum. I need to find a way to make sure I am meeting the needs of this student, while ensuring he is able to make some progress and meet the standards required for 2nd grade. It's an art, not a science for sure, and I need to figure out the best way to do this. Advice is much needed and appreciated!

Here is my last week (or two) in pictures:

Math Block:

Our school uses the Envision Math curriculum. I am new to this curriculum, and was very confused about the best way to use it. I hadn't received training on the program until our third week of school, so until then, I decided to teach how to use ten frames to my firsties.

 I used masking tape to create a large tens frame on our rug. I had exactly 10 bean bags (how perfect!) in my closet, so we used those to demonstrate using a tens frame and the beginning concept of counting on.
Here is our small group filling in our tens frame. We all took turns creating oral math problems for each other and displaying the answers on our tens frame. Some of us could do this independently, showing me who understand the concepts, while one friend needed a lot of support -  hand over hand to be exact. This lead us to our next task...
I found these fun little Fall-themed 10 Frames. I just spent nearly an hour looking for this worksheet in my saved teacher products, but could not find where I got it! If you recognize it, please let me know so I can give credit!!
This friend here was my hand-over-hand learner, so I decided to quickly put together this activity. Basically, this friend needs lots of practice with one-to-one correspondence and counting past 10, so I printed this worksheet to have him sort by color first (able to do independently while I supported the other kiddos), then supported him with counting each group. He also needs significant support writing his numbers (he can only write 1 independently), so while my other friends worked independently on other activities, I could work with this fella.
 Finally, I had an Envisions training, so I could start our curriculum. Here is what the program looks like.
 Here is a modified version I quickly decided to do to keep my kiddos engaged. They LOVE whiteboards :)

Literacy Block:
Our district also uses the Journey's curriculum for our reading and writing blocks. Again, this is new to me. If any of you have used this program, you know how.much.stuff there is in this program. I think that this curriculum has a lot to offer our kiddos, but until I can become fluent in it, I feel like my kids are really losing out. I am so overwhelmed by this program, and don't feel like I have received the best training. Oh, and I don't even have the teacher manuals yet! So there's that... The perils of being a public school sped teacher...

 As a result, I have been picking and choosing the activities I can find in what little resources I have. Here, my students are sorting by short a and short i words.
 Then I created a cut and paste worksheet for students to work on independently while I supported some students who needed it.
 And some more...
My kids are already annoyed with my camera!

Then, I FINALLY had my iPad training, so I could FINALLY get my iPad for my classroom! I have been bookmarking every single site that I can find on how to utilize one iPad in a classroom. If you have any more ideas, please let me know! I don't want to only use it as a reinforcer...

I didn't forget...here's the freebie! I created a Whole Body Listening poster for my room after reading and doing activities related to the incredible mini-curriculum I have from Social Thinking.

That's all for now - I'm off for an Autumn run! Stay tuned some time this week for our Parent Night in review.

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Phew! What a Week!

Good evening everyone!

Wow! This has been a whirlwind of a week (or few weeks), as I get settled in my new position. I planned on throwing a giveaway to celebrate 400 followers...but I'm embarrassed to say, I'm not quite there yet... I'm hoping to post my giveaway sometime this week. I also wanted to throw a giveaway for reaching 100 "Likes" on Facebook. But alas, I'm still 4 away on that as well. Maybe I'll reach both milestones this week and can throw an even BIGGER giveaway! Tell your friends!

I just want to let you know that I am still alive... But, now I must leave. Date Night with the Husband! Please don't give up on me just yet! I will be back to show you the week in pictures, as well as that freebie I promised you last week! Thank you for your patience as I figure out how to balance my work, marriage, friends, and blog!

I shall leave you with this image of Fred...
Kitty yawn or the start of the Cat Zombie Apocalypse? 

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Quickie Post: Great Products from a Great Teacher

Hi Ya'll,

Rock & Teach has some great new products to check out! Her blog is geared toward 4th grade teachers, but these products can be used with a wide range of grades and abilities! Check em out here.

Stay tuned for some pictures from the week and a freebie!

Chat soon,
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Currently, Winner, and My Mini!


I'm so excited to present to you...MY CUSTOM MINI!!! The Tongass Teacher has a product you can purchase so she can create your very own custom mini! I was so excited - I just HAD to have one. I created my own, but honestly, I wanted to beautiful colors of the one's people actually know how to create! I use my mini for my classroom exchanges :)

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see Mini Rae!

I also FINALLY linked up with Farley's Currently for the month. It's just been so hectic in my life that this was put on the back burner, but I really wanted to participate again this month.

I need to make sure I am sticking to my New Years Resolution (yes, I'm still on that) by eating produce at every meal! Back to school means back to health! I also want to ensure that I am being positive and looking at every day as a new opportunity for growth and happiness. Weeks like last week I could have really used this outlook :)

Also, we have a WINNER of my Back to School Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Dalynn! Look out for an email from me :)

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Teaching Reading Series: Part IV and V

Morning Y'all!

Here is the final installment of my Teaching Reading Series! This week's presentation is about literacy assessments and teaching English Language Learners. I am no expert in ELLs, but I wanted to provide you with some proven strategies that work with these kiddos. If you have more information to add, please comment below :)

If you have missed any of the previous presentations in the series, click the images below. You will find some freebies there as well :)


To access this and all other PowerPoints for later use, please click here.

I sincerely hope this presentation, along with all previous presentations, are helpful for you as educators, professionals, and even parents. If you enjoyed this post, please consider "pinning" it so others can find this as well!

If you have any additional questions, please email me (email icon on my sidebar).

Also, I'm preparing for a 400 Follower Giveaway! Please consider donating to my giveaway by filling out the form found in my previous blog post! Thanks so much :)


Week in Review, Classroom Reveal + Giveaway Form!

I made it! Survived my first week at my new job, with my new kids, in my new position, at my new school! It's honestly, a miracle. I didn't think I'd survive the DAY let alone the week. But, life is full of miracles I s'pose

We didn't actually start school until Wednesday, when the kids arrived. Maybe it's not such a miracle...it was only 3 days. But still...considering how my week started...

I was not able to get into my building this last weekend. I had SO.MUCH.TO.DO and had to put everything on hold. Of course, the things I needed to do HAD to be done in the building (ya know, like decorating...) so I was forced to wait until Tuesday. Which sucked. Tuesday was FULL of meetings...a'int no body got time for that the day before school!!! How have they not realized this yet?!

Needless to say, Tuesday I was running around like a mad-woman, and ended up staying at work until 8 pm getting everything together. At least, attempting to get everything I needed for the first day, and pushing other, less pertinent things aside for later. I left Tuesday night, feeling good better okay about the first day of school. I arrived the next morning 2 hours early to ease my anxiety about getting more stuff done. Surprisingly, this didn't help my anxiety at all.

Wednesday was the longest day of my life, and it was a half day. Being a TLP teacher (Therapeutic Learning Program teacher), I have a sub-separate classroom and "push in" my students in our inclusion model whenever possible. Well...I don't really know what that is supposed to look like, nor was I sure how to schedule my day with a classroom of both first and second graders. I have always been secure in my ability to differentiate instruction for my students, regardless of their abilities or grade level. However, for some reason, this year feels different. It doesn't feel as "clear cut" as years past in my former school. I also didn't even know what the school schedule was (time blocks, lunch time, DISMISSAL). Admittedly, I could have easily remedied this by asking my principal, but in the moment, I was not thinking clearly. My para also failed to tell me, basically ANYTHING, though she had been there for 5+ years. So, instead of stopping my instruction for snack time, which I didn't know we had built in, my para just let me keep on yapping, while my kiddos grumbling tummies echoed in our classroom. Finally, after my 3rd behavioral incident, my para recommended we "let them eat". Um, what? Should I have known that my firsties should eat mid-morning? Maybe. Did I? No. Would it have been helpful to have any information about the school before the first day? You betcha! Similarly, because I didn't even know the "time line" of the day, I had NO concrete plans for the day. I like to keep things as consistent as possible, even though our academic curricula isn't starting until next week. I like to have math activities during the math block time that would match the math block time for the rest of the school year. Except I couldn't do that, because I didn't know how to form my schedule, while incorporating inclusion throughout the day. These are all skills that I will gain with time, however, feeling unprepared and confused on the first day of school isn't a great feeling to have.

Wednesday ended and I cried. I was so overwhelmed. I was so confused. I realized I don't even know what my position is. I don't know anyone yet, so I felt funny asking my colleagues about my job description, because, I feel that I should probably know that before accepting a position. Needless to say, the tears were flooding out of my eyes around 2:30. I was alone in my classroom (thank goodness), and I honestly considered crawling underneath my desk and sobbing. I called my husband, who texted me during the day to ask about my day. I cried to him. I knew he was floored by my reaction; expecting me to be singing praises of my class, the public school system, and my teaching abilities. However, despite his confusion, he was able to provide me with some sound and helpful advice. He was honest and constructive, which is what I needed. I didn't need babying. I need some real advice. I needed to be told: Suck it up - it's the first day. It's overwhelming, and yes, it doesn't feel good to be confused and lost on your first day, but you'll get used to it. You aren't the only one who has had a first day before, and you won't be the last. Learn from this and you will be able to give other new teachers this advice some day too. You don't know when lunch is? Ask! Don't expect that everyone is thinking "Oh no! I have to tell Mrs. Wallace about every little detail about the day, even though I have an entire school of teachers and children to worry about as well". Don't beat yourself up for a crummy first day. Did the kids think it was bad? Did you principal? Oh..just you? Okay then, shut up.

This was more or less the conversation we had. And somehow I felt better. I wiped away my self-deprecating tears, took out my plan book, and started preparing for the next day. Since that afternoon, I developed a tentative schedule, keeping in mind that things may and probably will change. I've decided on certain routines I want to teach for the school year, and planned how I am going to do so. I have started asking questions and taking advice. I've also realized that I am in a new school. My last school had completely different expectations and protocols for things. How did I learn those? I was told and I asked questions. My old school was much smaller and more communicative. (it was a therapy school for Heaven's sake!) This school is a public school - one of 9 in the district. I'm one of 75+ in my school alone. I need to be proactive - a self-starter. I'm in a new environment and I need to adapt.

I left the day on Friday feeling better. Not only did I survive my first week, and no one hates me yet, but it also means that my formal schedule will start next week! We all know how I feel about consistency and routine! Things will make more sense to me once the school year is in full-swing. I just need to give it time...

I suppose that the week was "successful" enough to share a few pictures...

This is how I left my room the night before. Pinterest and blogging really did a number on me! My room wasn't anywhere close to as decorated and amazing as other teachers. But, it was functional, clean, and ready for students to enter. I have the rest of the year to put time into decorating it right?

 Here is my behavior board. This is my modified version of my Behavior Management Starter Pack. My classroom version only has 4 levels. The difference is that the students are not able to move up in the levels. Many may feel that this does not encourage positive behaviors. I remedy this by having other positive supports in the classroom (see one of my ideas below). I created this version, as I feel that my littles struggle enough in the classroom to maintain appropriate behavior, and I felt that 7+ levels are too overwhelming for my composition of kids. I do not have the modified version for sale, as I'm not sure people are interested. If enough people are, I would love to offer it. Let me know!

On this board I also have Caitlin Miller's I Don't Know Options visual to help when my kids raise their hands without actually listening to my question! I've already used this 5 times this week!

This is a picture of one section of my library. I wanted to show all of you how I organize my library (by genre and/or author mostly). I got these great Library Book Bin Labels from Teaching in Paradise! I love them - has everything, and then some.

I also started this system in my class for planning and prepping for the school day. The magazine holders contain my lesson plans, worksheets, and books needed for the day (each day has its own magazine holder). I also have bins that correspond with each school day and magazine holder for manipulatives, or items that don't fit in the magazine holder. I haven't really utilized this to its full potential yet, but that will be happening next week! The labels on the bins and magazine holder are from Clutter-Free Classroom!

My new classroom has large closet spaces for supplies, materials, etc. They are tall and one side has a place to store hangers. I wasn't sure how I was going to utilize the space, but found the best way possible! I have a collection of poems written on chart paper and hanging on hangers. I read about this idea to store anchor charts here, and fell in love. If you notice on my hangers, I placed different color tape. These different colors are different categories: Red = Back to School Poems, Orange = Fall Poems,  Blue = Winter Poems, Green = Spring Poems, and Purple = Science Poems. I will be adding different categories as needed, but these were the only categories I had poems for at the time. I love how these look hanging in the closet- out of the way and all neat in a row. Plus, it's so easy to grab when I need them for our circle time!

 I also prepared my kiddos' Home-to-School Folders (homework folders). I have a few extra ones with the same information that I will save for any future students.
 One side says "Keep at Home" and the other side says "Bring Back to School"
 Some of the things I included for the first day under my "Bring Back to School" side are the Student Information form (in yellow), Parent Survey (in the middle), and my Classroom Contract.

On the "Keep at Home" side I included school notices, newsletter, a product flyer I'm expected to send home so our school gets money, lunch calendar and school expectations, and my collection of Parent notices I like to send home. This collection includes helpful articles, brochures, ideas, tips, and a sweet poem I have found. I like to provide these types of lists and ideas so parents know that I am on their side and are hear to provide help :)

This was my first morning message! Naturally, because I wasn't provided nearly any supplies at the beginning of the year, my only thick dry erase marker that was left in my classroom from the year before, was nearly dried out. Oh well.
I'm new to morning message time. I've done morning messages before, but they have never really been used for anything, especially as an instructional tool. I am excited to get this started this year!

On Thursday we did a quick lesson on reality and fantasy using the book This School Year Will Be THE BEST! I like to use this book in the beginning of the year to start thinking about what we want to experience this year. I also have them complete their first writing activity with this book: They write two different "wishes" for the school year - one that is silly (Like having a chocolate fountain at lunch), and one that is realistic (I wish to make new friends this year). Naturally, I don't have pictures to show you...oops. But I do have this activity. I copied pages from the book and cut apart the picture from the words. After reading the story, the students had to determine if the words and pictures were realistic wishes or if they were fantasy. Sometimes, the words and pictures were in two different categories so they really had to think about it independent from one another. This was a fun activity for them to be able to get up, move around, and incorporate what they know about the story, as well use some of their own ideas and schema to determine what would make sense.

On Friday, our principal came in to read us a story! I was so proud of how well they all sat on the rug, listened to the story, and didn't interrupt (too much).

And, my favorite idea for the school year so far is our friend Lulabelle! I draw this girl on a piece of chart paper, colored her in, and laminated the whole sheet with no words on it. We use her for all of our brainstorming and visualization activities. For example, we've used her for brainstorming what my students look for in a teacher. (I got this from a FABULOUS product from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade, which can be found here) We've also used her as a 2nd grade student, in which he brainstormed some goals she could strive for for the school  year (seen above). I've incorporated this activity in my Goal Setting unit, in which we are setting manageable goals for each quarter of the school year. I am also using the Bubbly Blonde's Savvy Second Grade Fun and Fabulous First Grade Fun products for writing/drawing our goals for the school year to include in our goal setting books! I'm so excited for the end of the year where we can see the progress (hopefully) made throughout the year!

In other news, I am SO close to 400 followers! I'm so excited and would like to throw a fabulous giveaway! If you would be interested in helping out, please complete the form below :) Thank you so much!

Also - don't forget to entire my Back to School Giveaway! Ends tomorrow!!!!

Until next time,
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