Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to School Goals {Linky}!

Jess from I {heart Recess} is having a Back to School Edition: Monthly Goals linky and I am excited to be participating for the first time!  There are lots of goals I could strive for, especially when it comes to teaching.  I narrowed it down to the following:
PERSONAL:  I have done pretty well getting my booty back in shape this summer.  I have been running, taking golf lessons, and Pilates classes.  I have a bad habit of not working out once the school year begins, but I already have a plan in place.  :) My Pilates classes are going to be at a time that will be very do~able for me.  I will be able to go to class straight from school, which means I can't be lazy on the couch instead of working out.
ORGANIZATION:  My paraprofessional will be very pleased with this goal!  I have a bad habit of laying things down and not remembering where I put them.  Valerie is my savior!  She keeps me organized and on track.  I am going to try and take her lead. I am going to really, really try to put things where they belong ! {Can I get an 'Amen', Valerie?}  :)
PLANNING: Towards the end of the year my class began to do more things with another teacher's class.  We had so much fun!  We have already talked about trying to do more activities together on a regular basis.  I love to plan and get overly excited about my activities.  I just hope she doesn't mind me being over the top!
PROFESSIONAL:  I would like to be able to continue taking classes through Baker University this year.  I need to find a balance between work and school.  My goal is to take another 16 hours this year, so I will only have 8 left the following year.  That should move me all the way over on the pay scale.  Yippee!
STUDENTS:  I always try to keep in mind that my students are someone else's babies.  I want to treat them like I would want a teacher (or another adult, for that matter) to treat my own child.
MOTTO:  I have always loved this quote from Hodding Carter Jr.  It encompasses our role as educators.  :)
What are your goals for the upcoming school year?  Link up with Jess from I {heart} Recess to post your own.
There are a few days left to enter my 100 Follower Giveaway!  Click on the picture to take you to the post.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day.  :)

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I am linking up with Covered in Glitter and Glue for the last 'What I'm Loving Wednesday' in July.  {Holy Cow! I can't believe tomorrow is August. Where did summer go?} Anyway, I am loving lots of things this Wednesday.  Here are a few of my favorites:
I just received my letter for the 'Alphabet Exchange' hosted by First Grade Found Me.  I have letter N.  There are so many ideas already swirling around in my head of what to use with my sweeties to decorate our letter.  I can't wait to get started!  I am planning on displaying all the letters in my room  once we receive them in the mail.
Speaking of my room, here are a few of the decorations I recently picked up.  I have started putting my room together recently and am loving how I finally got the configurations right {after five years}.  My room seems to have a nice flow now.  Add a few kids into the mix and we will see if it is true!  I will post some photos when I get it all together. 
I am loving it is my last week of summer school classes.  After this week, I will have +16 hours past my Master's degree.  Most of the classes have been technology courses, which is something I desperately needed!
I am loving this little beauty!  It was a sweet gift and I can't wait to get it on my car.  Thank you, Paul!  :)  Go Tigers!

What about this idea?  I read about it from Covered With Glitter and Glue and decided to check it out. Boy howdy, I sure am glad I did.  Lessons with Coffee created this idea of a monthly exchange program for teachers. It's kind of like Birchbox or Barkbox or one of the other subscription boxes except it's for teachers. You should check it out, it sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun!  

And, last but not least, I am loving my followers!  I originally said July 30th would be the last day to sign up for the giveaway, but I decided to extend it until August 4th!  If you haven't already done so, be sure to sign up for a chance to win some great prizes.  :)  Just click on the picture above to take you to the post.
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Intervention Linky!

I am linking up with Daina from Sticky Notes & Glitter as she hosts An Apple a Day Weekly Idea Share~Intervention.  Since my classroom is made up of Special Education/Title 1 at-risk students, my day is all about interventions and finding what works to help my sweeties learn best.  Depending on the needs, some are very simple while some are more elaborate.  I can't live without my visual schedules!  It works wonders with my little learners who may be on the Autism spectrum, but everyone benefits from the classroom visual schedule. Since my littles can't tell time, it helps them know what their day looks like and what come next.
This is an example of an individual visual schedule.  The icons are attached with velcro. After the activity is completed, the student removes the picture, drops it into the container at the bottom, and sees what he/she is supposed to do next.  It's MAGIC!  You could just run a long strip of velcro vertically on any surface and have a container (such as an empty baby wipes box) sitting on the floor underneath to place the pictures once they are removed.  I also have another version of this schedule in a different place in my room that always stays up so everyone can see what we are doing and what comes next.  During circle time I also use a visual schedule so everyone can see what we are doing that day and what comes next.
{Sorry this is so blurry.  It is an old picture and I don't have my classroom ready yet to be able to snap a new one}
It basically works the same.  I remove the icon after we finish the activity OR if my class doesn't need it I simply point to what we are doing next.  Cracks me up because if I forget a picture my sweeties are quick to point it out!  That let's me know it is useful to them. 
Another intervention that another teacher in my building shared with me is an arrival schedule that I use with one particular student.  It works wonders. It allows him to be independent with his arrival routine while I am greeting others at the door. (It did take a little time to teach him, but once he understood what to do he is able to complete it by himself)
I used a cut down file folder and velcro to make it.  It is attached to the cubbie with velcro also so it can be removed when not needed.
Of course, I have lots of fidgets available, such as squeeze balls, cube chairs, wiggle seats, weighted blankets, etc.  

If a little one gets restless during learning times, I will try one of these to help with the wiggles.  I also make sure to use lots of music and movement to help everyone attend better.
One of my favorite books that I refer to all the time is this one.
There are SO many great ideas to use in your class (not just preschool either), but what I love most is just how this book helps me understand all the different sensory needs of little ones.  The authors do a great job of explaining sensory seekers and avoiders and different interventions to use with all.
On a different note, my 100 follower contest will wrap up soon.  Be sure to enter for a chance to win some fabulous prizes from many amazing teachers.  Click on the picture below to take you to the post.
I am also participating in another giveaway.  Be sure to check it out, as well!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Made It Monday & a Freebie!

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for 'Made It Monday'.  Are you lucky enough to have 'Differentiated Cubes' in your classroom?  
Until recently, I did not.  I improvised and used square kleenex boxes instead.  
I used velcro to attach pictures.  That way, I could make it interchangeable.  You can use this for any skill you are working on, which is the best part! I have an example of how to use it for a rhyming box.

It has pictures you can use to attach to a kleenex cube box or use with 'Differentiated Cubes' and lotto cards.  
There are also two student recording sheets.  Here is one of the sheets for free.
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day. :)

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, July 26, 2013

Data Collection Freebie!

I am linking up with Leigh from the Applicious Teacher for her weekly linky.  This week it is about data collection.  I teach a blended Early Childhood Special Education/Title 1 class.  For my students with IEP's, I have specific goals I need to keep track of for IEP progress reports {and legal reasons}.   For my Title 1 students I don't have specific IEP goals, but rather take more general data, such as color, shape, counting/numbers, and alphabet recognition.  I keep track of data in a variety of ways.  During circle time I have students take turns completing either color, shape. math, and/or alphabet activities.  I will take note of who was able to successfully complete these activities by jotting down info on post it notes to transfer later.  I also include some activities that require students to color, draw, or bingo dot on paper.  I collect these and put them in portfolio folders to share at conferences or for progress reports/grade card documentation.  I also pull individual or small groups of students during center time to take data or work with individually. Since each student on an IEP has different goals, I make those data sheets at the beginning of the school year or after a initial or review IEP is held during the school year, specific to each IEP goal.  Here are some samples of some of my data collection forms.  I use the first three for all my students.  The last one can be used to keep track of IEP goals.
I have the data sheets available at my Teacher's pay Teachers store.  If you are interested you can view them HERE for free!
Be sure to enter my 100 Follower Giveaway for a chance to win some amazing teacher made products.  Read about it HERE.
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  : )

Freebie Fridays

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Blogger and a Freebie!

Today I am a guest blogger for Nicki from Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten.  Welcome, if you are coming over from her blog!   Your freebie is at the end of my post.  :)  Here is my guest post on Nicki's blog:

Hi! It’s Lola from Preschool Wonders.  I am so excited to be a guest blogger for Nicki today.  I teach Early Childhood Special Education/Title 1.  My morning class is comprised of 3 and 4 year olds.  My afternoon class is made up of 4 and 5 year olds who will be going to kindergarten the following year.  I try to get my little learners as ready as I can for kindergarten.  I refer to CCSS for kindergarten often so I can at least try to expose my learners to what they will be expected to know the next year. As you can imagine (and probably not any different than a regular ed. class) my sweeties are all over the map with skill level.  I have one favorite activity that I do on the first day of school.  It’s pretty simple, and depending on what you want to add it can be useful for the remainder of the school year.  I have my students decorate placemats that are pulled out during snack time.  If you don’t have a snack time, you could pull it out just as a learning/personal reference sheet.  I do this first thing, since my kids don't get to school at the same time on the first day (busses run late, etc) I have my little ones them while we are waiting for everyone to arrive. I give them a piece of construction paper with their name and birthday on it and lots of fun stuff to glue on (like tissue paper squares, construction paper pieces. shape stickers, number stickers, etc). I laminate them and use them at snack time throughout the year. While they are eating snack I can do a quick assessment of one or two kids a day on shape, color, letters in name, etc. I encourage them to trace their names with their fingers while they are waiting for their snack or they are waiting for their friends to finish.  This year I am going to add little dots and arrows to help them know where to start the letter and what direction to go while tracing. They love the art activity on the first day of school and it keeps them busy while I am helping late arrivers get settled in. I then can use them the rest of the year. :).
Here is a picture of one I just put together as an example.
I like to have my sweeties tear the tissue/construction paper to add a fine motor element, as well {not an easy feat for most!} I made some items that you can give your learners to decorate their learning/placemats.
Click HERE or on the pictures if you would like a copy.
Be sure to enter my 100 follower giveaway for a chance to win some really great product!
Thanks and have a great day!  

Monday, July 22, 2013

10 Things I've Learned From Teaching!

I am joining Miss Kindergarten in her 10 Things I've Learned From Teaching {Linky Party.
It was hard narrowing it down to just 10, but here goes!

1.  The ability to hold it as long as possible!

2.  The art of hoarding! You never know when those empty toilet paper rolls or box of styrofoam peanuts will come in handy!
3.  This kind of goes with #2, but to teach you must learn how to navigate garage sale to fill your room with items your budget doesn't cover!
4.  The ability to control the classroom with "a look" and "the voice"!  Just remember to leave your teacher voice at school!  Ha! 
5.  How to fly by the seat of your pants!
6.  Having a sense of humor in order to survive the toughest of days. :)
7.  How to eat lunch in 20 minutes or less!
8. Answering to "teacher" or "mom", but rarely your own name!
9.  Your heart will be filled with more love than you could ever imagine.
10.  You may not get rich from your career choice in terms of money, but your career choice will fill your life with a different kind of richness.  It's the best job in the world!

 Don't forget to enter my 100 followers giveaway for some really great prizes to get your year off to a fantastic start!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day.  :)