Saturday, June 30, 2012

You otter see this!

My daughter is obsessed with otters.  She knows so much about them and looks for them everywhere we go.  At the library she found a wonderful nonfiction book.  At the zoo, she found an adorable shirt which inspired my otter rules.  I hope you all enjoy them.  They are free so download away!  You can find them here!  A special thanks to Teacher's Clipart for creating the cute otters for me!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Making Books!

Hi Bloggy Friends!  I have something wonderful to share with you all today.  I received a comb binding machine and wanted to share with you how much fun my girls and I have had with it.  I can't wait to use it with my class.  I have 1001 ideas already!  First, it is super easy to use.  Pull it out of the box and you are ready to go.  It's lightweight so it was easy to pull out of the box and set up.  It has nice suction cupped feet so there's no slipping and sliding!

It has a super sharp blade so it easily cut through 10 sheets of paper at once.  After you punch your paper, slide on a plastic binding comb, and pull down the handle.  There's a small button on the far right side of the handle that locks the binding machine open so you can use both hands to line up your paper and easily slide it into the plastic comb.  (They have plastic combs in many colors.  Don't you love this blue?  It was my daughter's favorite!)
Here's her first official book!  She was so excited!  She writes hundreds of books and has used everything from staples to string and anything else that she can find to bind it.  With the comb binding machine, she said she finally got to make a real book.  (It's going to be hard to get it away from her and take it school!)

A few things that I love about this binding machine:
1.  It's lightweight, yet very durable.
2.  It's so easy to use, my 6 year old daughter can use it.
3.  It has a large paper tray that collects all of the paper pieces from the punches.  It removes and replaces easily. (No smacking, yelling, or ugly words required!)
4.  You can easily slide the little dial on the bottom of the binder to change the standard paper size.  No more guessing if it's going to be centered.

paper tray
dial that adjusts for different paper sizes

My daughter making another book all by herself! (Yes, she had constant supervision!)
You want one too, don't you?  Here is the main site.  Here is a direct link to this comb binding machine.  

So, how am I going to use this in my classroom?  Here's a few ideas:
1. Students write and publish their own books on anything and everything.
2. Personal word walls.
3. Handwriting practice books.
4. Daily morning work for the week/month.
5. Weekly/monthly homework.
6. Parent communication notebook that I send home daily for parents to sign.
7. Writing/reading journals.
8.  Math journals.
I could keep going, but I bet you have 1001 ideas too!  So. how are you going to use yours in your classroom?


Monday, June 18, 2012

Really Good Stuff Blog Contest

Hi Blogging Buddies!  My blog is one of the finalist for The Really Good Stuff Blog Contest.  Voting begins 12:00am Monday, June 18 and ends on Friday, June 22.  If you have a minute, I would love it if you gave my blog a vote! Click HERE to vote!  Click on the Special Education tab and vote for Life in Special Education! You may only vote once per category or all of your votes will be disqualified.
Thanks Blogging Buddies!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Updated Behavior Management System

My class needs a bit of a make-over so I thought I would start out with my behavior system.  I've used a system similar for many years and thought it was time to update it.  I have always used a three level system.  In this system everyone starts on high level/green light and work their way down for misbehaving.  I've seen systems where everyone starts on level ground and has room to work up or down depending on their behaviors.  This will give me the chance the reward those who consistently follow the rules and behave as they should.  Here's a picture of what I plan to use.

(Do you like the owl theme?  I thought the students who ended up on the bottom half of the chart didn't earn a cute name and opted for standard levels.)

I assign each student a number so that I can reuse many supplies from year to year.  I have a stash of clothes pins with numbers on them.  Everyday, each student will have their clip on "Ready to Fly" and as they make choices throughout the day, their clips will move up or down accordingly.  For students who end the day on "Owl-standing"or "Egg-celent," they will earn extra class money to shop in the class store on Friday.  Students who finish the day on "Ready to Fly" will earn less class money.  Students who are below "Ready to Fly" will not earn any money.  I chose class jobs everyday, and those students who are on the top half of the behavior chart will be able to have a job the following day. These same students will also have privilege of playing outside, sitting with their friends at lunch, and playing on the ipod/computer.  For students on the bottom half of the chart, they will not have these extra privileges. If the student moved down the chart because he did something to another student, (hitting, name calling) he will have to pay a fine for his offense.  The fine goes to the student that was wronged (as well as an apology.)  Having to "pay" another student for hurting them teaches the students a good lesson.  It helps them learn that when you make a mistake, you have to correct it.

I hope this "tweaked" system will work better for my students and allow me to reward those who really deserve it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stress Relief

We all know that teaching is very stressful especially now that our teacher evaluations are directly tied to our students' scores.  There's more and more pressure to get the kids to preform and show how hard you have worked.  So, here's my question.  What do you do for stress relief?  At school, I eat chocolate which is a terrible choice for so many reasons!  At home, I quilt.  Here's some pictures of my favorite quilts.

I made this quilt for a dear friend of mine who retired from teaching this year.

I made this quilt for a friend who is trying to raise money for world hunger.

I made this quilt for my daughter's amazing kindergarten teacher.

How do you keep yourself from going crazy with stress?
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