Friday, April 26, 2013


Honored is really not the word.......I'm speechless, surprised, flattered, grateful, obliged!!! I got asked yesterday by a college student (previous aide at my school) if she could do her student teaching internship in MY room in the fall! My room!! I was just so shocked when she asked me because I have only been teaching for five years and there are so many other more experienced, veteran special ed teachers that she could have asked! 

Of course I said yes!!! Without hesitation!!!! I'm so excited, and yet so flattered!!! She'll start the year with me in August!  

Another thing I and I'm sure all of us are excited about is the end of the year countdown!!! Just love my little countdown widget on my sidebar and seeing the days dwindle every time I'm on my blog! 

Each year on the last day of school, I give my class an icecream party. It's simple, easy to clean up, and refreshing since our temps here in the desert are over 100 by the last day! For some added fun this year, I made an icecream countdown wall display for my classroom. It's a 10-day countdown, so I won't be displaying it until May 22nd, and can't show you pictures yet. I don't like to do a countdown much earlier than this or I feel like my students begin to "checkout" too early on me, if ya know what I mean!?

Here's a preview!
To display, I'll overlap each scoop like the cover photo shows. Each day I will choose a student to remove a scoop.

It's free at my TpT store if you'd like to display it in your room! 

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Are you doing anything special in your classroom to countdown or celebrate the end of the year????

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I'm linking up with Charity at Classroom Freebies to share some awesome, time-saving, where have you been all my life behavior tracking sheets with you!! Tracking and charting behaviors is simple, but it's when it comes time to graph your data and look at the effectiveness of your intervention that it becomes a time consuming burden. Well after 4 years of teaching special education I finally have a brilliant method that I began using last year and if you chart behaviors in your classroom you can get them for free!

Now in my classroom I track overall behavior compliance on one particular student and on several students I track a specific behavior frequency......for example, hand flapping, out of seat, or interrupting a conversation; just whatever IEP goal or behavior I'm focusing on. 

I used to then spend a great deal of time entering all of that data into an excel sheet to create a graph. It would look like this.

VERY, Very time consuming typing all this in, almost as dreadful as typing an IEP. :)

Now it looks like this.

These numbers represent a percentage. All I have to do now is circle the percentage he was compliant in the school day from my data, connect the dots, and DONE!!

This one below is what I use to track the frequency of a specific behavior. This particular one is being used to track hand flapping. 

All I have to do is mark a line each time the behavior occurs, circle the last line, connect the dots, and my graphing is done! 

Important advice!
For students that are capable, I have them mark their own charts each time. I found this works well in decreasing the behavior rapidly, because the student's get tired of getting out of their seat and walking to the chart all the time and they become more aware of the frequency of their own behavior. So this chart also becomes an intervention tool for reducing the behavior as well!! 

Now if you're wondering where my data comes from and how I get the percentage for the compliance graphing, my aides chart it on the page below. We then subtract the number of minutes of off task behavior from the number of minutes in school. Then, divide the on task minutes by the number of minutes in school.  

Go {here} to get the compliance sheet, {here} for the behavior frequency sheet, and {here} for the behavior documentation sheet.

Hope these will simplify your life as they have mine. 

Another thing you might like is my new ladybug unit I just completed this weekend. It's a complete unit for teaching the ladybug life cycle and includes activities for reading, writing, math, science (of course), and fine motor. My students have had a blast doing this unit, and we had live ladybugs too!!!! Check it out {here}.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Have a great week and I don't know about you....but I'm counting down the days!!!


Saturday, April 20, 2013


My ladybug life cycle unit is finally done!!

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and it's been tried and tested in my own classroom! 

It includes 20 pages of activities and includes activities for reading, writing, math, science, and fine motor skills. If you're interested in purchasing this unit, here's what you'll get:

2 Life Cycle Posters (6 stages)
8 Vocabulary cards
Vocabulary matching sheet
7 page mini book
Ladybug Poem
Following Directions worksheet
Mini observation Journal differentiated for
3 levels
Big/small worksheet
Same/different worksheet
Labeling parts of a ladybug
Life cycle
Fine Motor
Coloring sheet
Cut and paste life cycle

Suggestions for use:
Use this unit to create a ladybug themed pocketbook and have students decorate the front cover with a tissue paper ladybug. 

I also suggest purchasing the live "Ladybug Land" from to compliment the unit and provide real-life ladybug observations for your kiddos. Mine have been having a blast with this unit and our ladybugs. We just released our ladybugs last week! So glad I chose to do ladybugs instead of butterflies this year! 

You can get it from TpT or TN!!

Have a great weekend!!!


Thursday, April 18, 2013


There's alot going on in the Bender Bunch Classroom! Testings done and now for some fun!!!!

Our field trip was today and boy did we have a blast! It was probably my best (and theirs) field trip experience yet! We went to TV 2, our local TV broadcasting channel, and then to Mama's pizza.  The kids got to make their own personal pan pizzas and put whatever they wanted on them. Then, they even got to put them on the oven belt and watch them as they rolled out! 

TV 2 made a video of them being on TV and they even got to pretend to be meteorologists! They are emailing me the video, which I was hoping to show, but I haven't gotten it yet......maybe tomorrow. The pictures speak for themselves when I say how much  fun we had!!! 

Love this picture!!!

And this one!!!

 Our local city transportation chauffeured us around everywhere (for FREE).
We felt like VIP's!!! 

Mama's Pizzeria

My two fabulous aides!!!


The two adults in this picture own Mama's Pizzeria & they ROCK!   All of my kids brought $5 to pay for their pizza and soda and these two wonderful people would not accept a dollar of it!!!! They surprised us and gave us everything on the house.....even icecream for dessert!

I just love our little community! There is so much support for the kids and so many wonderful people! I am so grateful for everything that they all did for my class today! Gosh, I'm tearing up just typing this.....seriously! And it's just so wonderful to see the kids having soooooo much fun!!

I do regret not getting pics of them in the back kitchen making their own pizzas, but it was just too busy at that moment.....and greasy hands if you know what I mean!

When we returned to school we completed this.

It's a 4 page booklet from a Scholastic e-book that I love! It's one of the new e-books I got at the dollar sale and love it. I highly recommend this book. No page goes to waste. Every page is useful and will allow your kiddos to make some awesome books every month of the year!!!!

 Another exciting thing happening in the Bender Bunch Classroom is this. 

Two of my non-verbal Downs students received communication ipads with the Proloquo 2Go apps on Monday, from our Assistive Technology Department. We have so much support in our district, it is just simply a blessing!

If you haven't heard of Proloquo 2Go, it's amazing technology!!!!
 It is just like using BoardMaker and PECS......but on an ipad.....yet it speaks and the pictures are all right at your fingertips.
No more making, printing, laminating, and velcroing! Yay!

It's a $200 app, but well worth it, and I along with the families feel very fortunate to have our district provide this valuable communication tool for these two!!!


Another exciting thing happening is that Scholastic is having a Pocket Chart Sale!!!!

And now I'm leaving you with a freebie from my "Ladybug Life Cycle Unit." It'll be my top creation yet, that covers reading, writing, math, science, and fine motor skills. It's almost done and will be up in my shops this weekend. 

Hopefully you were able to snag this freebie from the unit last week. If not, you can get it for only a buck.....or you can wait  
and purchase the entire unit this weekend!!!

Here's another sneak preview from the unit, 
Life Cycle Posters, 
that you can 
get for free {here}

There's two because I couldn't decide which one I liked the best.........and it's so darn hard to get those arrows just perfect! 

Freebie Fridays

That's it folks! Going to put field trip pics on a dvd for all my kiddos to take home tomorrow!

Happy Friday! 

32 days of school left!!!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013



1,699 ebooks and classroom decor.............all for only $1. And use code "DASTE30" to save 30% more on top of that!!! I just bought 24 e-books for ONLY $16.00!!!! Unbelievable!! 
How cool is that??

Now for "Freebie Friday." Last week was awesome celebrating TBA's birthday! There must have been around 1,500 freebies, if not more! If you missed it, I believe you can still access the party!

Today I'm sharing with you my "Calculator Task Cards."  One of the life skills I have been teaching to my special needs students this week is how to use a calculator and these cards have been great! 


Answer key included & bonus labels. If you can use these, you can download them {here}

Classroom freebies

My "Writing Fair Share" Linky Party is also still brewing, so head {here} now & link up your writing post and see what other teachers are doing! 

There's also a couple of FREEbies there, plus every link up will be entered in a drawing to win...............

a $10 TpT gift certificate to spend in any store!!! So get to linking!


Saturday, April 6, 2013


I'm hosting a "Writing Fair Share" Linky Party and hope you'll join in and share some of your ideas, resources, or writing materials with us!

Here are a couple of things I can't live without.

Lori Rosenberg's "Topics To Write About."

This is a small preview of only 9 of the 72 topic cards that come with this set. Yes, 72 cards included! Never worry about kids finding a writing topic again!

This is how I display the topic cards, in a pocket chart. I have used this set all year. I love it AND the kids love it! It really gets them excited about writing.
You can get it at Lori's TpT store for only 4 bucks!

Another can't live without...........writing frames!

Here's a sample of one writing frame I use in my class.....
Writing frames are especially great for struggling writers. I use them for narratives, expository, how-to's, persuasive, and compare/contrast writing. These can be used as a rough draft and students can then copy the entire paragraph onto notebook paper for a perfect paragraph! I'm working on putting together my own writing frames set that you'll be able to soon purchase in my stores!

If you're like me....and find that writing can be a difficult activity to grade fairly and accurately, you might find these grading rubrics I made very helpful. 

Get it {here}.

Get it {here}

These have eliminated my stress over grading writing & provide a structured method that is fair as well as provides clear & accurate feedback to the student. 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

This blog is AWESOME! 
If you haven't visited Karen's blog @ "KB Konnected," you're missing out! 

She has a livebinder with over 100 online writing sites for kids! 
You can access her livebinder {here}

And last, here are some other writing resources that I L-O-V-E & recommend! 
You can download this document {here}

Hope you found some writing tips & resources you can use in your classrooms! I'd love to see what you do for writing in your rooms. So go and link up your FAIR SHARE below!