Saturday, July 28, 2012


If you're a Special Educator, then you know that one of the components that must be included in the present levels of an IEP is how the student's disability affects their involvement in the general curriculum. Below is a screen shot of what my districts present levels page looks like and the third column is where we type that info at. My district requires that in this column we put the Common Core Standards of the student's current grade level to show what a typical student in that grade level should be able to do. Okay, so if you're like me......everytime you write an IEP you have to pull out the Common Core Standards and type them into this column. This can be very time consuming when you work with 5-6 different grade levels. So one of my summer projects was to type all of the CCS's for each grade level I have into paragraph form and into one document, so that now when I write an IEP, all I have to do is open this document and copy and paste the appropriate grade level standards into this column. This is going to save me so much time writing IEPs next year! Now, it doesn't include self-help, motor skills, or social/behavioral because these are not part of the CC, but it does include ELA, Math, and Communication for grades 1-5. Later, this evening I'll be working on my own standards for those areas as well and will share that with you when it is complete!

If this is something you can use for your IEP's, the link to download the document is below!!

Click Here to download the document!!

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Target has Dr. Seuss stuff in their dollar bins! 

I got bags for all of my kiddos, pencils, name tags, postcards, lenticular stickers, a dry erase board......all for only a buck each!!! They also have award and birthday certificates, but I didn't need any of those! Each summer I send my students home with a reading bag for our summer reading challenge. In the bag I include a book list, bookmark,  pencils, stickers, a reading snack, and other little goodies, so I will use these bags to do this next summer!   

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WOW! I am honored to receive yet another award thanks to Amy over at Adventures in Teaching AND Mrs. Livers over at Starring in First Grade who both nominated me for the "Versatile Blogger Award!!" 


The rules of the award are:
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link to their blog.
2. Include the award image in your post.
3. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 15 other bloggers & include a link to their blog.
5. Let bloggers know they have been nominated.

Here are 7 random facts about me!

·  I was raised by a single father.
·  I was a casino cocktail waitress for 11 years.
·  I am a horrible singer, but will sing my butt off to karaoke and do wii rock band with my family, ONLY! 
·  My husband and I married after both of our kids were born. 
·  I will not eat off of the same fork or spoon as someone else. Totally grosses me out! And I'm really weird about double dipping!
·  I am a night owl! I like to sit up late and sleep in! When I am not working, I will sit up til 4am and sleep til 11am. 
·  My long term goal is to write and publish a children's book and a professional teaching resource for special educators. 

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Okay.......I'm having so much fun with these Linky Parties that I couldn't resist doing one more before bed.....especially when I saw it was for NEW BLOGGERS! I am so thrilled that I ran across Mary's blog to not only find this "Newbie Bloggers" Linky Party, but to also find another special education teacher blog!!!

All you have to do when you link up is answer the following questions:

1. what state are you in? Nevada
2. what is your current teaching position? Special Education, grades 1 - 5, severe diversely challenged 

3. what is your teaching experience? Going into my fifth year of sped when school resumes
4. when did you start blogging? Almost a month ago
5. share a blogging tip / blogging resource. To attach a link to your blog when posting a comment; after your name type:
 <a href="">The Bender Bunch</a>
Replace my web address with yours, and the part highlighted is what it will read under your comment. So change that to whatever you want it to say on your comment. 

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OKAY.....I can't sleep.....or maybe I could but I just don't feel like going to bed yet! Could it be that I have become obsessed with blogging??? I was about to go to bed but I just keep stumbling upon all of these cool linky parties thanks to Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten! So now I feel I must contribute to at least one more Linky Party hosted by Rachelle @ "Life is Sweet in Kindergarten." 

  1. Post-its - Use these for everything, I'm a sticky note queen.
  2. Dry-erase markers
  3. Pencils
  4. Lots of erasers - I can never keep erasers on pencils, my students bite them off or they break off. I buy the large erasers and cut them into fours for students to use.
  5. Lots and lots of Kleenexes

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As a new blogger...what better way to gain bloggy friends than to link up with a LINKY PARTY, right?! And what's better than that, is for a new blogger to link up with "My Teacher Story" from Frogs and Cupcakes and "Tell Me More, Tell Me More" from Step Into First Grade with Mrs. Lemons. The PERFECT Linky Parties for new bloggers to allow everyone the chance to get to know them better!!  So here's my teacher story:

I started my teaching career in 2008 at the age of 36. I never attended college after high school and did not begin my college journey until age 32 after 17 years of being a food and/or cocktail waitress, being sick of it, but not knowing what my calling was. I knew I was fed up with being a waitress and was determined I would not spend the rest of my life waitressing, but I just didn't know what I wanted to do or where my heart was! AND Here's where it all began.

In 2000 my first child began Kindergarten. I signed her up for Girl Scouts only to find that there could not be a GS troop because there was no GS leader. probably guessed right! Seeing how excited my daughter was to join and let down that there was no leader, I volunteered to be the leader and led this troop for five years! What FUN it was! Oh....what great memories! I became so devoted to my GS troop. My troop became such a HUGE part of my life! After working with the GS's for a couple of years, I began to finally realize this is my calling! This is what I love to do! I want to work with children! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!

 I became a support staff substitute at the school. I would work graveyard all night as a casino cocktail waitress and then go home, change clothes, and report to the school whenever an aide needed a sub. After doing this for one year, an aide position opened and thanks to my wonderful mentor and good friend today, Mr. Perry, I got the job. I did not know Mr. Perry at the time, but he stuck his neck out for me. The principal did not want to hire me because I had no experience and Mr. Perry told her he preferred someone with no experience because he could then train them the way he wanted. I GOT THE JOB as his aide! It was one of the happiest days of my life!! I quit my casino cocktail waitressing job and although it was a large cut in pay at the time, it was well worth the happiness!  

Shortly after, I enrolled in the local community college and began my college journey to become a teacher. I knew from that moment on, that I had finally found something that I was good at and knew without a doubt that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! I continued to work as an aide during my college journey which allowed me to have resources right at my fingertips at all times! This was such an advantage. I was also fortunate enough to assist a teacher, Mr. Perry, that gave me so much teaching freedom and control in his classroom. I still cannot thank him enough and still look upon him as a mentor to this day! Sometimes I think, the trial and error from these valuable hands-on experiences that Mr. Perry gave to me and the knowledge that he shared with me have prepared me more for teaching than college did.

 I completed my BA in 2008 and had to leave the school to teach in another district due to lack of positions, but I feel lucky to have gotten a job immediately after graduation and am now going into my fifth year of teaching special education! WOW....that sounds crazy! I can't believe it's already been almost five years! Hard to believe! Stay tuned to my blog for a continuation of my teaching story on September 18th when I will be featured on Dana's funin1stgrade "New Teacher Blog Tuesday!" 

Now for "Tell Me More, Tell Me More!" I stumbled upon Mrs. Lemons Linky Party while reading "Jennifer's Teacher Story" from Herding Kats in Kindergarten. So to tell you more about are a few things that ONLY my family knows about me!

  1. I am allergic to cats.
  2. I was raised by a single father.
  3. I was a casino cocktail waitress for 11 years.
  4. I am a horrible singer, but will sing my butt off to karaoke and do wii rock band with my family, ONLY! 
  5. My husband and I married after both of our kids were born. 
  6. I am almost legally blind and wear contact lenses.
  7. I am a closet smoker. I smoke cigarettes, but no one I work with knows that.
  8. I will not eat off of the same fork or spoon as someone else. Totally grosses me out! And I'm really weird about double dipping!
  9. I am a night owl! I like to sit up late and sleep in! When I am not working, I will sit up til 4am and sleep til 11am. 
  10. I am obsessed with things hanging straight. I will rehang an item time after time if that's what it takes to get it straight! I have now learned from a teacher colleague of mine to hang everything with pushpins first....then staple it once I have it PERFECTLY straight!
  11. My long term goal is to write and publish a children's book and a professional teaching resource for special educators. 

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've been on vacation....and soooo sad to say it had to end! We had so much fun with our family and old friends! We spent 6 days on a lovely 50 foot, 2-bedroom houseboat on Lake Mohave. I must say it was nice not having any phone service or Internet for six days! VERY RELAXING! It was such a great time, but went so FAST! Now to focus on my classroom because my summer is going even FASTER! Yikes....where did the time go?

Our Houseboat

Left to Right: John & Stacy (our old friends we had not seen in several years), their four girls, my daughter, my husband, me, my son, Mike (old friend), and my sister-n-law. 

Me....really driving the houseboat!
My doggie.....Hershey!

Our cousins, Lee & Holly that we had not seen in over a year!!
They joined us on the second half of the trip!

One of the three catfish that my son caught! 

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Website Collection

I stumbled upon this awesome teaching resource that I love and wanted to share with all of you from KB Konnected Kids. It is a collection of websites for students that finish early! Students just log onto!home/mainPage and then choose a topic they like and then from there....a website! 
You no longer have to worry about your students going to sites that you do not approve! 
All of your class websites are stored in one area. It doesn't have a lot of sites yet, but KB Konnected Kids will add sites at your request! Just go to their homepage and send them a note! 



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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Giveaways, Contests, & Grants from Scholastic

I can finally share something with all of you, as I just figured out how to share a webpage on my post. :) (For my future reference), I right-clicked on the webpage, chose view page source, and then copied and pasted the html code it provided onto my post. If anyone knows of a better way, let me know.

There are some great giveaways, contests, and grants here. Definitely check out #7. There are all sorts of free labels to download and print here. I hope you can find something here that interests you!!

Enter for a chance to win $500. School Supplies Giftcard.

Scholastic ShareThis

July | 2012  

JUST-FOR-TEACHERS brought to you by Instructor

Dear Traci,

Happy summer! Whether you’re teaching summer school, enjoying your vacation, or already preparing for the next school year, check out the list below for some great finds from across the web. Here you’ll find FREE printables, contests & grants, and teaching ideas for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Enjoy your summer!

Instructor  editors

1. Lysol Healthy Classroom Sweepstakes

Teachers in grades K–12 can enter to win a $500 gift card to purchase classroom school supplies, plus one case of LYSOL disinfecting wipes. If you submit a copy of your "Back to School Supplies List," you may receive an additional 10 entries!

Deadline: September 14, 2012

Learn more here.

2. Penniless Teacher

Here are giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes just for you! With new posts every week, you’ll have tons of opportunities to win free products for your classroom. Start saving pennies today.

Learn more here.

3. MapMaker from National Geographic

Access printable maps of all sizes! For further learning, you can also use these interactive maps to learn about topics like forced migrations, earthquakes, and language diversity.

Learn more here.

4. "From Failure to Promise" Grant

K–12 educators who help move their students "From Failure to Promise" in technology, literacy, science, or math are eligible for this grant! You’ll have the opportunity to receive a $1000 grant for your school.

Deadline: July 31, 2012

Learn more here.

5. 2013 Outstanding Young Educator Award

The next generation of educators and administrators has the opportunity to win $10,000, be profiled in Educational Leadership Magazine, be honored during a general session at the ASCD Annual Conference, and obtain an ASCD Institutional Membership for your district or school.

Deadline: August 1, 2012

Learn more here.

6. Captain Planet Foundation Grants

Do you encourage students to engage in hands–on projects to improve the environment? If yes, apply for a Captain Planet Foundation grant!

Deadline: September 30, 2012

Learn more here.

7. FREE Download: Bookmarks, Bookplates and More!

Download over 50 free printables! Use these colorful bookmarks, bookplates, and snack labels to create reading–themed gift bags to send home with students.

Learn more here.

8. London Olympics 2012: "Inspire a Generation"

The official London 2012 Olympics education page provides tons of information about the games, including links to traditional games from different countries, pages for students to learn about different initiatives, and activity ideas for your classroom.

Learn more here.

9. Learn About Geography!

With the 2012 Olympic Games starting in a few weeks, brush up on your geography! Games like Quiz Your Noodle and Brainteasers will help students learn geography facts in time to see their favorite countries (and athletes) compete this summer.

Learn more here.

10. X–ACTO Designer Series Prize Package

X–ACTO is giving away $250 in prizes to one crafty teacher plus one of your crafty friends! This site also has project ideas, tips & tricks, and more just for you and your students.

Deadline: July 31, 2012

Learn more here.

Advertisement Advertisement Save 25% on Scholastic Professional Resources. Scholastic Presents Register your students for a chance to win a classroom library!

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