Monday, December 31, 2012


Look what I made!!!

Inspired by a pin on Pinterest from "The Idea Room", I made this using only a curtain rod, ribbon, wood (scrap 2x4's we already had laying around the house), family pics, and mod podge!! LOVE IT! 

And so easy.....the hardest part was going through the photo albums, scanning, and printing out the black & white photos. It adds a nice touch to my living room wall. 

Sorry I couldn't post better....and more photos, but my camera is broken, so all I have is the camera on my phone. 

Well it's NEW YEARS EVE!! 

Now to link up with a few of the "New Years" linky parties going on. My New Years Resolutions for 2013 are:

~~~Take more photos of my classroom & class projects. At school, I always forget to take the time to photograph. Then, I see things on other blogs & think "Oh, I've done that"......or...."I could share that," but guess what?.....I didn't take a photo. 
~~~Do more hands-on learning with my kiddos. I teach 5 grade levels & students with various disabilities, so planning can easily consume me & it can be difficult not to have to reinvent the wheel week after week, and year after year in order to meet everyone's individual learning needs. Time restraints just don't allow me to always plan & do everything I want to do with them. 
~~~Come up with a better filing system or way to organize my grade level resources & holiday items/activities more efficiently. I'm pretty organized, but just haven't found the "perfect" method. 

~~~Post at least once a week on my blog. 
~~~Share more resources with others on my blog. There are so many creative teachers out there. I tend to take, take, take, and feel guilty about not giving back more. I'm just not that creative and am still new to using ppt & clipart to design my own resources.
~~~Design a new blog button. 
~~~Get a new blog design. I currently use a free generic one & it just doesn't say "me" or represent who I am!
~~~Host a linky party.....which I have never done!
~~~Reach 100 followers & be able to host my first giveaway!! 

~~~Take more photos at home....of my home projects and of my kids & our adventures. As my kids have gotten older, I've become terrible with taking photos. It seems the older they get, the smaller my photo collection becomes. 
~~~Set aside more time for my family. I spend toooo much time of my spare time working on school stuff that I know I neglect my family time way too often. It's not that I don't manage my time wisely.....there's just always sooooo much to do. I'm sure many of you can relate!
~~~Be more creative & design more things for my classroom. 
~~~Start a TpT store. I would so love to do this....but this is definitely a LONG term goal, cause I have to master the art of designing & start creating first....right?? I've always been a simple MWord kinda girl. I want to get better at using clipart and ppt to design. 
~~~Give myself more credit! This is both a personal and a blogging resolution! I think I'm too hard on myself sometimes. It took me alot of courage to start this blog in July.....because.....well with all the creative teachers out there, I always feel like my ideas are not that good & that no-one will want to read what I have to say or like my ideas. 

WoW!!! When I started writing this post, I didn't realize there were  so many things I wanted to work on next year. It really helps to put it in writing and will hopefully be an incentive!!

If you haven't sure to link up with at least one if not all of the New Year Linky Parties below!!! Hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Stay Safe!!

Teaching Maddeness

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Saturday, December 29, 2012


Yay!! It's after midnight....I can blog and link up again! Since blogging has apparently become a hobby of mine only during spring, summer, and winter break.....I can't help but go crazy with it during those times. 

So.....I'm linking up this late evening with "What I Have Learned" and her GOALS FOR HOLIDAY BREAK LINKY!!! 

So what are your goals for holiday break. My break is almost half over......and I have already accomplished a couple of my goals......and still have nine days left..............
but who's counting...........RIGHT??

Pinning.....which I think I have already increased my pins by about 150 over the last few days!! Done

Make at least 2-3 things I have pinned progress

Clean out my closet

Clean out and organize my desk.....Done

Redo my morning Smartboard Program.......Done

Take down decorations.......will wait til New Year's Day

Organize my "Disability Awareness Day" I am hosting in Feb..........almost done! Had most of it done anyway! But would like to finalize it to propose to the principal following our return. 

Type an IEP that is due 2 days after I return from break

Clean my's such a mess!

I guess I'm not doing so bad......5 out of 10 done or in progress! I may just be able to accomplish it all! 

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Friday, December 28, 2012

12 Things I LOVED About Christmas I go from not having time to post or nothing to posting 2-3 times a day, what can I say! 

But I just stumbled upon a linky party going on at MEL's FROG SPOT that looks like fun! Post the 12 things you loved most about Christmas! I missed all of the Christmas linky parties going on, so this is a good chance for me to grab some of the fun before the year comes to an end! 

1. Spending time with my beautiful family! 

2. Having Vacation with my husband and spending Christmas Eve and Day with him for the first time in 3 years! He has had to work the last 3 years for Christmas and we have celebrated it on a different day....whatever his days off were! So this....I really enjoyed!

3. Decorating the house and seeing all of the other decorations around town!!

4. Listening to Christmas music EVERY DAY!! Love it! I'm still playing it everyday!!

5. baking for the holidays.....and seeing the kids still, even at 15 and 16, still having fun decorating cookies!!!! They did pass on the gingerbread house though this year!!

6. THE GIFT OF GIVING!!! I'm a giver.....I LOVE Giving heartfelt gifts to everyone and seeing their HAPPY faces! I don't do gift cards!! 

7. I LOVED that everyone got everything they wanted from Santa......even the dog!!! heehee!

8. SHOPPING!!! I love Christmas shopping! I'm not even a lover of shopping.....but love it at Christmas!!

9. My VINYL WALL it! Been wanting favorite gift!!

10. THE FOOD! Since we do a big dinner for Christmas it has become a tradition to do a spread of our most favorite munchies and finger foods....and we cook a ham too to make finger sandwiches with. I must have eaten the entire pan of hot spinach artichoke dip myself. Boy was it good!!! 

11. All the Christmas cards, letters, and photos of far away friends and family!!!! I just love getting xmas cards. I get so excited! it doesn't take much to excite me. :)

And lastly..............

Be sure to head over to Mel's "Frog Spot" & link up your 12 Faves!!

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Hope everyone had a great Christmas and that you are all having a relaxing Winter Break.....I know I am!!! Doing lots of pinning and getting new ideas for the new year..........and last night freshened up my Smartboard program by adding some new pages and new songs. My current morning SB program was becoming a little monotonous for us all after having used it since last school year! 

I know I have been terrible at this blogging thing!!!! I love it so much though....and LOVE reading everyone else's blogs and seeing what everyone has to share.....

I had some great pics to share with everyone and show off all of the holiday things that my class made and that I made, but my memory card is not registering in my computer (could it be the glass of coke that was dumped on my computer last week.....aaahhhh.....maybe?)......and I can't find my camera cord to transfer them that way......Darn it....bums me out! 

Oh well, I'll share a couple of things I found funny on Pinterest, so I'm at least sharing something!

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Monday, December 3, 2012


Hey, I'm back!! Feels good to be on my blog again and checking out all the other blogging I've been missing out on! I miss blogging everyday.....I just don't have the time when school is in session! It has been a crazy year!!! I just don't know how you find the time when you're working! Even at this very minute....I'm neglecting or should I say avoiding my report cards I should be working on that go home Wednesday!! I must admit though....I have still been sneaking around many of your blogs....getting ideas and pulling freebies from here and there when I can! I'm not super crafty as many of you, but I was super excited about finally making my pompom dry erase markers today..........see what I mean.....saw this idea on Pinterest over the summer and am just now getting around to making them. It's nothing fancy, and I'm so out of the loop that many of you probably have already seen these.....and probably made them too!!

Anyway, I know....I know that this is Monday Made It Christmas Edition and that I am supposed to be posting a CHRISTMAS MADE IT. But, the first thing I thought after I made these tonight was, "HEY, IT's MONDAY"  and how I could get on my blog and link up with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It for the first time since August. I was so excited....then, I got to Tara's blog only to find that it was for Christmas needless to say, I'm posting it don't rain on my parade and spoil my excitement, lol. Here you go!! And hey, btw, they are done in Christmas colors if that counts! 

My Monday Made It!!
Pompoms glued into the lids of my students' dry erase markers to use as their eraser!!! My students are going to love these! Just made them tonight in about 5 minutes, if that! So easy & cheap, yet so valuable in the classroom!!

'Tis the season to be crafty....even for those of us that aren't usually so crafty! So keep checking back because I do have a few Christmas projects I'm working on that you may like!

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Friday, September 21, 2012


I'm a little behind.....I know........since school resumed I just haven't had time to blog. I don't know how some of you do it. I really miss it! My evenings are completely consumed with my son's homeschooling or my classroom. Schools been in session for 4 weeks now and I am still organizing and getting things in order. It's crazy!!! My classroom doesn't even look like the beginning of the year photos I posted as I keep changing things around to work more efficiently. With a diverse classroom like mine and three new students, I don't always know what I need on my walls or what is going to work until I am up and running for a couple of weeks. Every year is different!! IEP goals change and students' needs change!! It does keep things interesting though!!! 

For instance, this year I have a 5th grader that has to pass the writing proficiency test this year, so I needed an area to emphasize and focus on writing instruction just for him in order to get him prepared!! Last year, I had no fifth graders taking the proficiency test. This year I have a new little girl that needs to learn I need an emotions posters and/or signs up. She also needs dramatic play, so I added a play kitchen last week, which I have never had in my room.

 I also need a visual schedule up for her, whereas none of my students needed a visual schedule last year. I spend all that time getting my room ready prior to school and then end up tearing most of it down and redoing it!!! I have already redone two bulletin boards and am probably going to be redoing one more this weekend. I have grades 1-5, so I have to try and display things on my walls that meet the needs of each level. I am about there though.....unless I get another new student, then I suppose there will be more critiquing. for what I was talking about being late for is that my blog was featured Tuesday on Fun in 1st Grade's NEW TEACHER BLOG TUESDAY!!! 

I was honored that Dana found me back in July and asked me, but Dana has had such an amazing response that you are on a waiting list for several weeks.......and there are so many new bloggers out there that she has gone from featuring 1 to 3 every week!!!! I kept telling myself, "Traci, don't forget to post Dana's linky button on your page on the 18th....AND I still forgot! But hey I'm remembering now and I guess 3 days late isn't so so bad!!!! So head on over to her blog to check it out and learn a little more about me!!! 

Ok.....I've bored you enough, so now to leave you with something you will find much more exciting.........
This is what I walked out to on the morning of Sept. 5th when leaving for school.............
right on my FRONT patio!!!!!!!

A 3 1/2 foot Western Diamondback Rattlesnake! I am still traumatized!!! So scary.........and that's not it!!
My husband never found him...........that day!
Eight days later, my daughter walked out on him 
on our BACK patio!!! She was closer to getting bit 
than I was!!! She ran back in and he was staring at us right through the sliding glass door and that rattle.........Omg,
I can still hear that rattle in my head!!! 

My husband was at work, so we called a friend over to kill it
............and he did! Thank god! I can't help but wonder if it was the same one though!!!! And to think if it was.........
that thing was living in my yard for EIGHT days! 

He took it home and actually skinned it and ate it!
 Here are the pics he sent me! He is making a plaque 
with the skin. 

And can you believe he actually offered me the rattler!!!! 
You can imagine my answer!! Let's just say..........
I will never walk looking straight ahead again! 

Have a great weekend!!!! Don't forget to check out Fun in 1st Grade..........
She's preparing for a 500 follower giveaway 
and is going to be giving away 50 items!!!! 

Thanks for stopping by!!!!

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Monday, September 3, 2012


I'm linking up today with Farley's popular monthly "Currently" from..........

Can you believe, a 3-day weekend and I still went and worked in my room for three hours last night! And still didn't get everything done I wanted to. But I did get my new writing topics chart up that I purchased from Lori at Teaching with Love and Laughter, along with her transition words display, and her five star sentences pack. If you're looking for writing must check out her TpT store! Her writing resources are awesome and my new fave in my classroom! I forgot my camera yesterday, so I'll take pics tomorrow and post! 

The "Currentlys" are so much fun! I look forward to linking up each month and reading what everyone else is up to! If you haven't linked up.....grab Farley's button above and link up............and don't forget to follow her rule of 3!!! 

Have a great week everyone!!

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Saturday, September 1, 2012


Whew! (Deep breath) Finally a break and a three-day weekend! Made it through my first week back to school with students. I don't know how everyone finds the time to blog during the school year. This is my first post since I started back to school! I started my blog over the summer and had anticipated whether I'd be able to keep up with blogging once school started.....and my anticipation was right! I love blogging, but it is very time consuming.....especially when you aren't computer savvy!! Even after a week back, I'm still organizing my room and curriculum as my classroom dynamics change from year to year with a special education classroom. I'm bringing work home every night, plus homeschooling my son in the evenings as well.

So onto my classroom and my first week back!! My first week went well, but I walked in to find that I had three new students enroll!!! I'm up to 11 students now! Three newbies at once in a diversely challenged special ed room can be a challenge!!! Two of them are autistic and one is Emotionally Disturbed. So I had to start by making three more of everything and rearranging my room to fit three more desks! Just when I thought I was done........more to do!! Much of my first week was spent assessing and getting to know my three newbies, in order to design a curriculum for each of them! In my room, everyone has an individualized learning plan..........all are on different levels......with a different curriculum and lesson plan. Yes, I do 11 lesson plans every weekend!!! Last year it was 8, so that adds another 1 1/2 hours on to my planning each week as each child takes me about 30 minutes. is coming together slowly, but surely and I can finally post some pics of my classroom......even though it is still improving and changing almost daily!!

I'm linking up my classroom photos with these three linky parties from SWIMMING INTO SECOND,  TEACHING BLOG ADDICT & SECOND GRADE NEST!! There are so many Back to School linky parties going on that I couldn't choose just one!!!

Love this.....its one of my favorites! I started this last year, an idea I got from "Mailbox" Magazine. I need to add more stuff, but was just trying to get some things on it before open house. I have gotten lots of compliments on this. It works well with my students, because not only can they see the incentives and be reminded of what they are working has eliminated the problem of students spending too much time at the end of the day rambling and tearing through a treasure box. Treasure tree is only on Fridays if students got a good or super on their behavior chart every day that week. I'll explain that below! They also get treasure tree when they fill up their homework chart, which is 16 HW assignments. 

My new "Word of the Day" display I made this summer!! 

My HELPING HAND Back to School Night Display!

My Awesome WELCOME Banner that I got from someones blog this summer, but cannot remember for the life of me who from to give credit. I hate that! People....please include your name on your work so you can receive proper credit! Since, I have started a blog notebook to help me keep track of who I am taking things from so I can give them credit for their wonderful art and creativity!!

This is my behavior chart!!!
 One of my best creations!!! Started this last year......made them myself, and it is so effective!! Students start on the second one (I am doing what I should be) each morning and can move up and down throughout the day. The top one says, "I am doing a super job," the third...."I need to stop and think," and the fourth...."I am not making good choices." It is the same idea as all of the stoplight or red, green, and yellow charts you see many teachers using, but since my students are special needs and don't completely understand what colors or words mean, I had to come up with something they could comprehend. With this, my students clearly understand what these facial expressions mean and it has been so effective, I'll never use anything else!

These are the daily behavior report cards that go with the behavior chart above. Each child has one and they go home each day. Each report notes what face the student was on in morning, afternoon, and at end of day and the faces are the same faces as the class chart, so students understand what their report means. Students on good or super at the end of the day, get a small treat and students that got super or good at the end of the day every day get treasure tree on Fridays. You can click here to get a copy of the behavior report card!

My Math Wall! Got the idea of using these banners from Pinterest and I got these wonderful free banners from Ashley at The School Supply Addict. I have already changed this board around though as I didn't like the way I had my number cards hung! Word and math walls are a big challenge in my room as I work with so many levels of students that I have to try and put things up for several grade levels. 

My writing center! Still alot to add to this area, but I'll get there! I only have a couple of students that participate in the writing process as most of my students are still learning to write their names and alphabet correctly. I just purchased the "Five Star Sentences" packet from Lori at Teaching with Love and Laughter's TPT store and I am going to try to add this next week along with some of her other great writing creations. If you need writing resources, check her out! She has some awesome resources for writing centers!!!!

My student work display and learning center board. When I made this student work display I only had 8 students, now that I have 11, I may need a larger display! My Learning Center title was also in the center, but now that I had to add two more students on I need to recenter my title. Also need to get clips for the two new names. I didn't have my centers on yet when I took this pic. The clips hold cards that list what each student is to do for their daily centers. I put these on each Monday for the week and students choose one LA and one Math center each day. Again, my room still continues to be a work in progress!!

My desk and sink area! I did not have fish in my fish tank when I took this but now I do have fish in the tank by the sink. I'll have to get another photo of it. My kids love having fish in the room! Also, decided to hang my degrees up for the first time this year! No sense in keeping them in a closet....right??? 

My new Star Student display I made over the summer!!

My new duct tape shapes and numbers for lining up! Love this.....another one of my favorites! Got this off of Pinterest, but the person used only circles. It was my sons idea to use shapes and I love it! I can not only use it for lining up and keeping students a good distance apart, but I can use it for shape and number recognition!!

My back door area where I keep toys and supplies. Only staff uses this entrance as it opens up into the office. Still need to organize my shelves and get labels on things.....just have not had time. 

Student entrance. When they come in each morning, this is where they place their agendas, homework, and daily behavior report cards. 

My Math Wall looks entirely different now. I have added to it and moved my numbers to go across the bottom. Didn't like the way it looked here! Also have a new calendar now from DJ Inkers to replace the yucky one you see on the far left wall.

And there you have it!!! I did forget to take a pic of my job chart wall, which is very cute and done with ladybugs. As I said, it's still a work in progress for me and I'll try to post more pics as I get things more the way I like it. Each year in my sped room, there is alot of trial and error and finding what works and what doesn't. What may have worked last year may not always work the next year. I love the change up though and the challenge. My room is always changing and I like that. Keeps things interesting and NEVER BORING!! You'll never see the "Same Ole" in my room, for sure!!!

Now for a couple of things I made last week! 

Name Posters!
I got this idea from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics and my kids love them on their desks!!!

I also made this "Number of the Day" sheet that I will laminate and use with a couple of my students for daily review. I am very proud of the way this turned out. I am so excited to have purchased my very first clipart, frames, and borders last week so I can begin designing my own cute activities like I have been stealing from all of you all summer! Prior to blogging, my creations were blah and plain, and made with simple font and text boxes. Thanks to everyone's help, inspiration, and generosity in blogland, I am learning to design on my own and can hopefully begin contributing some things that you will enjoy as much as I have enjoyed yours!! You can click here to get your copy!!

One last thing, Farley at "Oh boy fourth grade" is having a BIC supply giveaway!!! Visit her blog to check it out and enter!!!

Well, off to do lesson plans for next week!!!! 

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