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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