Saturday, August 31, 2013

making curriculum readers interactive

First of all, there's about a day and a half left to enter my giveaway for a $10 TPT gift certificate! Go to my last post to enter!

I'll be spending this holiday weekend getting last minute things done for the first day of school on Tuesday (the laptop, printer and laminator are even coming with me to my parents' cottage tomorrow). I know things will get done and what doesn't get done won't be essential...but I am kind of feeling the crunch!

One thing I'm doing is working on modifying our curriculum books for our first unit. As much as I love Unique Learning System, the readers that come with the units are generally super dry, simple to the extreme, boring...the highest level works really well for the purpose of simple comprehension/recall/sequencing that my kids need...Otherwise, I've never used the readers much. This year, I'm going to be changing that and making the stories interactive, for a different purpose:

First, I printed two copies of the book. I'm using the middle difficulty level provided in ULS, with just one sentence of text on each page. I changed printer settings to print 2 pages per sheet, so the book will be half-page size. (I just figured out how to do that a couple weeks ago, so there's the settings I use if you don't know how to do that, either.)

For the first copy of the book, I laminated the pages back to back and bound the book. For the second copy, I simply cut out the pictures and laminated them separately.

Then I added velcro to the pictures on the book and the separate pictures. My lower reading group will either simply match the pictures, or listen to the text without seeing the book, and select the picture that fits with the text.

One of the things my higher reading group works on is letter sounds, so for them:
I typed out a key word from each page, laminated and affixed with velcro. The students will listen to the text, identify the beginning letter/sound for the key word, and select the correct word for the page. I put both activities on the same book since my higher and lower groups have their reading groups at different times. Also, my higher group can use the velcroed pictures to work on sequencing after they listen to the story, etc.

This took very little time and I'm pleased with being able to use these boring stories in a more purposeful way. You could easily do this with any simple reader - all you'd need are two copies of the book.

I linked this post up with The Dynamic Duo's speech and special ed Wow Us Wednesday Lesson Plan Linky Party! Link up your great lesson ideas here:
The Dynamic Duo: Adventures in Speech & Special Ed

Monday, August 26, 2013


Today I reached 200 followers on Bloglovin'! I personally don't read blogs on Bloglovin; I use my plain ol' Blogger dashboard for that, but I definitely appreciate all the followers who check out my blog after Google reader went the way of the dodo bird! Thank you all!

To celebrate 200 followers, I'm having a little giveaway. Who couldn't use a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate? One lucky follower will win just that! There's just one way to enter - be a follower of my blog on Bloglovin'! Easy peasy.

To follow my blog (if you don't already), just click the Bloglovin' button at the top right of this blog. Then, enter below:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thank You...and showing off my purchases

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you to all my fabulous followers who made purchases at my store during the sale. It was definitely my most successful sale since I began creating for TPT. As always, 100% of my profits from TPT go directly back to my classroom (usually via TPT again!) so my students thank you, too!

And I scored some fabulous products at the sale myself! As I always love seeing what others bought, here's my stash - and if you're still feeling the shopping itch, check out these great products! (Links to products on the images.) Some stores still have them on sale today.

Community helpers, family, and community buildings clip art from Charlotte's Clips. I love her clip art!

2D and 3D shape posters from Pink Cat Studio - another favorite source for clip art!

Truck-themed file folder activities, visual math activities, and an attributes and inferences adapted book from Sasha Hallagan - Sasha's concrete activities are always so great for my students!

Hollywood Bunting from Christina Bainbridge - I cannot wait to use this in my Hollywood themed classroom! So cute!

Ten in the Bed interactive books from A Special Kind of Class - my lower reading group will love these!

Parent Handbook Flipbook from Ashley Reed - such a great way to organize info for parents - this one won't be tossed in the trash after the first day!!

Photo classifying cards from The Bender Bunch - fabulous way to work on classifying/differentiating between like categories/2-3 word descriptions, etc.

Math Boards 1-10 and 11-20 from Deeanna Golden - I've been wanting to start this in our morning circle and these will make it so easy to set up!

ABC cut and paste pages from Jennifer Elliott - great independent work pages for my kiddos working on beginning letter sounds.

So, that was my haul from the sale! What did everyone else score?

Now I'm off to run some errands...and then to school. Clean up from summer school/start setting up for the new year time! The next four days will be full of that...and printing and laminating constantly whenever I'm home. Yikes...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale!! and new Henry and Mudge

I'm participating in the Back to School sale on TPT...can't wait! My whole store will be 20% off; make sure you use TPT's code BTS13 at checkout to get 28% off! Click the sale image above to go to my store. My wish list is full up, how about yours?

Also, I just added a new beginning chapter book literature study packet to my store! Henry and Mudge: the First Book is by far my most popular packet; here's another Henry and Mudge for all you fans out there: Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind! As usual, it includes vocabulary/dictionary work, sequencing and comprehension activities for each chapter; answer keys included. Check it out:

Of course, this means I've added this new packet to my Lit Packet Mega-Bundle (catchier name than the current title, eh?) so if you've previously purchased that, make sure you head to your 'my purchases' tab on TPT and download the revised file to get Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind at no additional cost - woot woot!

Happy back to school and happy shopping to everyone! This is my favorite BTS sale, ever. It even beats going to Target!! I'm sure my wishlist/cart and paypal account will be getting a workout over the next two days...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It!

I know, aren't you all shocked?! I can't believe this is my first Monday Made It of the summer. I still have one week left of summer school, so I'm just now starting to get some things ready for the new school year. I have just one week off in between, and am getting some new students and doing an entirely new classroom theme, so that week will be a whirlwind of getting ready! Here's a few little things I accomplished today:
I finally picked up some of those great Target Dollar Spot pocket charts! This one will have our monthly unit vocabulary/sight words in it - they are the same cards that will go on our word wall, so when the month is over and we switch to a new unit, they're easily changed out and posted on our word wall.

I loooooove the Hollywood clip art from Dilly Dabbles - it's going to be featured heavily in my new classroom decor! This is just one little page I made and laminated today - our curriculum unit sign, which will go on the wall just above the vocabulary pocket chart. Each month I'll write what unit we're studying - last year's version of this was just a blank white page with the title "We're learning about..." Boring! I'm excited to bring together our Hollywood theme!

The other day, I snagged a Winnie the Pooh "What Goes Together?" flash card game from the Dollar Tree and made it into a couple new file folder activities for our independent work time. One of my new students has an IEP goal that works on associations/function, so this will work nicely as a practice for him. I just need to bring the folders to school to laminate on our large machine, add velcro, and they'll be ready to go.

And obviously this is a home made-it (though related because it has to do with teacher clothes??), but I made this today, too - a scarf hanger. It's a Pinterest project, of course - the original/instructions came from this website: Irina's Cute Box. The project cost me a whopping $1. A hanger from my closet, shower curtain rings from the Dollar Tree, and some colored duct tape I already had. There's room for 12 scarves. So easy and functional!
Here it is in use in my closet - previously my scarves were folded and stacked on a shelf so this is much nicer.

It was so great to be able to link up with Monday Made It again! See everyone's creations at the linky:

And I'll be back later this week - or most certainly next - with more Hollywood theme stuff, and some other new creations!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gmail/Blogger login questions - help?!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post! Summer school is finally winding down for me (one more week) and I'm hoping to be back consistently blogging/reading/creating SOON!

Before I am, though, some questions - the first for those of you who use gmail as your email service:

-I have just realized that gmail's new filtering/categorizing system (into primary - social - promotions) has been shooting some blogger comments into the 'social' tab - which does not flag me as having a new email when I log in. So frustrating! (So if you've commented on a post recently, bear with me - I really did just see some emails from the past week or so!) Any idea on how to change this? Or really, get rid of the category/filter thing completely, ideally?

-Barring that, I'd actually love to change my email address to a completely different service, since I'm in general not too fond of the "new" gmail. But, I only want to do that if I can connect a new email address with my blog (login, where comments get sent, etc.)...Does anyone know - can I change my email entirely with blogger, still keeping everything else on my blog the same?

Thanks in advance if anyone can help me out! It's so frustrating to miss important emails!

Like I said, hoping to be back soon. I've been working on some new things for my classroom and for TPT! Looking forward to sharing, and to getting back into blog-reading, too.
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