Thursday, May 30, 2013


I'm linking up with Kim from "Finding Joy in 6th Grade."

joyin6th Homepage

She's having a linky party to share things you are DEFINITELY going to do differently next year! It funny how, no matter how long we teach, we still come up with ways to do things better and make things flow smoother year after year!! Like Kim says, "As teachers, we are always thinking"....and reflecting. 

And then there's Common Core, Pinterest and all of the wonderful ideas in blogland, that keep us evolving year after year. 

With only 3 1/2 more days of school left, here are some things I've been reflecting on for next year......

This did not happen near enough this year and it really is a necessity! It is just such a challenge getting us all together without students. I am going to make this a priority next year, for sure!! I have some things in mind to make this work. 

This new student I'm getting has been at my school all year in the KG self-contained. Next year she is coming to me.....and let me tell you, she is hell on wheels!

I'm moving to a new classroom next year and I am so excited with the possibilities I will now have. My current room is so tiny that a reading nook was impossible. My new room is HUGE. So excited! It is literally almost 3 times the size of my current room! Poor teacher that's in there now......I keep going in her room, taking photos and drawing out floor plans! :)

M. is for Math facts
A. is for At your seat
T. is for Teacher time
H. is for Hands on

 Elizabeth at "Fun in 4B" is the master at M.A.T.H stations! Go {here} to read about it in her blog. Even as a special educator with 4-5 levels in my class, this method is easily implemented in my room. I have been testing it out on a trial basis for 2 weeks......just to be sure it would work before I plan it all out this summer and make my signage.....and it has been a success!!! Can't wait to take it on at full speed next year. 

I am so terrible at this. It just gets so busy in my room, that I forget. I did get much better at it after making it my blog New Years Resolution, but I still need to improve. 

As a teacher in my district, I have free access to thousands and thousands of resources from Vegas PBS. There is a wealth of educational video streaming, music, media center (like a red box for teachers), teaching materials, lessons, and printables aligned with Common Core. There are teaching videos to reinforce skills for your students. They even have the resources to make Braille for your students. Too bad I didn't know this 2 weeks ago when I hosted our schoolwide "Disability Awareness Day." As you can see, it is an amazing resource we have! If you're in CCSD, be sure to check it out! I DEFINITELY plan to utilize this resource to its fullest next year!
I'm sure I have most likely left some things out! But since it's almost midnight, I'm also going to go ahead and link up with TBA for Freebie Friday! 

I've been piddling around with labels for my new theme next year and you can grab these {here} for free. There are two sizes included. 

If you go {here} to yesterday's post, you can also snag up two more Freebies!

Be sure to click on both the buttons to link up with Kim and post or snag some Friday freebies!!!



First, I must share my excitement with everyone!! My school district just notified me today that I have been chosen to receive the "Certificate of Autism Teaching Excellence" award!! They'll be presenting me with the award next week! I am absolutely ELATED and speechless! I literally cannot even believe it! WOW! It's a great day at the Bender Bunch!!!

Still counting down the school days with only 4 1/2 days left and here is what I've been working on! 

With a daughter graduating this year, I have been on a tight budget......(boy is graduation costly for parents)! So I decided to pull out all of the things I've been hoarding and accumulating the last couple years for my end of year gifts and try to spend as little as possible! 

I've had these popcorn containers for at least 2-3 years, so decided I should use them! In them is a bag of microwave popcorn, box of Reeces Pieces, and a Gripz cookie pack! Costed less than $20.

You can get the labels {here} for free!

I bought these Seuss bags almost a year ago at Target dollar spot. Had no idea at the time how I was gonna use them, so what better time than now? Plus, my class theme was Seuss this year and now that I won't be using this theme next year.....what better time to weed all this stuff out??

In the bags, went the popcorn boxes above and all of this.........
More stuff bought at Target dollar spot

New books I have accumulated over the years and had been saving for awards of some sort, and my Jack Prelutsky class set poetry books I bought five years ago and only used a couple of times!

These pocket reference books I got free about 5 years ago! Only my higher functioning students got these in their bags.

These lovely bookmarks I made! I must give FULL credit to Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics from whom I stole this poem and design from! She made these for her students and I just loved them! The star clipart is from Krista at Creative Clips. Love her clipart designs.
Fun summer recipes for making silly putty, bubbles, playdough, and clay.

And wah-lah............there you have it!
My end of year student gift bags loaded with goodies for less than $20 bucks!

My school also celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week all month long! Each team was responsible for choosing a week in May to do something special for the staff! This was my teams' week. Today we hosted a luncheon for the staff and here are the invitations I made and put in everyone's mailboxes. 

Love how they turned out!!

I've also been doing a little organizing and creating for next year! 

Don't know about you, but I am sick of this!

This traditional filing method is not working for me. This is how I've been storing worksheets and printables. Although I do have a drawer for math and a drawer for Language Arts, the resources are unorganized and some folders have 30-40 copies of the SAME worksheet in them! Talk about a waste of space!!!

I recently decided to organize these files into binders to include ONLY the master of each resource! This is still a work in progress that just began, but so far I have filled binders for these categories:

Reading Comp.
Sight words practice

I have not started the math binders yet, and still need to make binder covers, but I'm already loving this new method!

Luckily I have a little helper to assist me with this project!!!

And today was a baby shower and I made this for the mother to be!

Looks like milkshakes and icecream, right?

 It's 6 onesis', 8 baby washcloths, and a baby spoon.....oh....and a little brown yarn! Love it.....and the mother to be did too!!!

In between, I started working on next year's class decor and completed my new job chart for next year!

I'm using a neon bright pastel colored theme next year! I'll use velcro to affix names to these and easily rotate jobs each week. I only have 8 class jobs, but this set includes 17 jobs! You can get it {here}! I'm also happy to change the background paper and make this in colors to fit your theme and type your students' names on the labels. 
Just send me a request!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Here's another {freebie} for you!

Hope you found some things you can use! If you're on summer break, enjoy. If you're not yet on break like me.....hang in's coming!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


If you haven't heard, Teacher's Notebook has organized a H-U-G-E relief effort fund for those in Moore, Oklahoma! As of this moment they have raised over $16,000 since Tuesday and this number is changing every minute. It was only a little over $14,000 a couple hours ago!! Join in on this fabulous cause by clicking on the picture above! For a donation of $20, $25, $50, or $100, you can access $1,900 worth of teacher created materials for your classrooms. If you have a Teacher's Notebook account, you can still donate an item from your store for this cause! 

Amazing to see so many generous teachers out there coming together and donating to this cause!! 

There's also a fun "summer bucket list" linky party going on being hosted by A Cupcake for the Teacher, Miss Kindergarten, and A Modern Teacher

I still have 7 1/2 days left with my kiddos, and am getting anxious! Since I teach 1-5 I will have all of my same kids next year, other than the two I'm losing to middle school, so it's not a sad day of saying goodbyes like many of you, but rather just a long vacation for all of us. 

But here's my summer bucket list. 

Catch up on sleep! I've been sitting up later and later every night, and it's catching up with me!

I've put on a few pounds this year, so I plan to get back on my wii fit at least 2-3 days a week! 

Do a little family camping in our little quaint camper we just bought last month! We still haven't gotten to use it yet, and are dying to go on an outing!

The Bulk of my summer...........Classroom projects, of course!!!

 I'm planning on implementing several new things in my classroom next year that I will be putting together this summer! 

I'm going to be doing M.A.T.H. stations next year.

M. Math Facts
A. At your seat
T. Teacher Time
H. Hands on

You can read more about M.A.T.H. stations at these two great blogs. Fun in 4B and  4th Grade Frolics!

Daily 5 and #5

I'm planning to implement an adapted version of Daily 5. I say adapted because although I will use the 5 components of Daily 5 and many of the procedures,  I will have to adapt it a great deal to accommodate my diverse group of special needs students. 

I plan to make IEP tubs! 

These are from Really Good Stuff. Not sure if these are exactly what I'll use, but I do have my eye on these! And they're CHEAP!! $3.20 each.

Each student will have their own, containing specific activities and data sheets for their IEP goals. 

I have finally decided to go with a bright pastel colored theme next year (like the tubs above), so I'll be shopping for background papers and frames that I have been adding to my TpT wishlist.

And then, I'll be making and creating my heart away! Planning to use these papers and frames to coordinate everything from my rules to behavior chart to my center and desk labels, to job charts and more!

And last.........Pinterest Projects here I come! Here are a couple  pinterest projects I'd like to do. 

Not this same design, but I want a painted chair!
The pvc pocket chart to the left from Sunny Days in Second Grade.
I would like to make this book bunting from 4th Grade Frolics
for my reading area if I can get enough book covers. I don't have that many hardbacks.
 Head over to any one of the 3 blogs hosting this party and link up your Summer Bucket List!


Friday, May 17, 2013


May is National Pet Month and my class studied pets all week! 

Today we had Pet Week Show and Tell!!!

 We had dogs.........

 and rats.............

 horny tail lizards.......

 and even snakes!!!!

We even had Clifford and Blue pay a visit!

Those that didn't have pets brought their favorite stuffed pet to share!! 

Fun stuff!! 
This was the first time I did this, but it's definitely going to be a yearly event for sure!

Monday, we'll get to finally begin our 10-day countdown to summer. Yay!!

Get the countdown for free {here}

 I'm still working on my end of the year student gifts for this year, but this is what I gave my students last year!

I put all of these items in a clear party bag and tied this label to the outside! Here is the playdough recipe that went inside! 
The kids loved them!
You can grab both {here} for free! 

And my End of Year T-shirt came today!!!

It's pretty wrinkled cause it just came out of the package. 
Go {here} to get yours! It comes pretty fast! I ordered mine and got it in 5 days!!

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday