Friday, September 26, 2014



Hi Guys!! It's been a hectic week and a week full of apples!!! 

Divider 1

This is how my week ended last Friday night!!
This is the result of shutting a laptop screen onto a pen lying on the keyboard!! )))SHATTERED(((!
I never even shut the lid of my laptop since it is pretty much confined to it's place on my desk. And neither one of my children that used it that day will confess!! But it is what it is! Of course, immediately having withdrawals, I was at Office Max the next day to make my new purchase!

HP Pavilion

This was my very first laptop ever about 6 years ago and I loved it. It was a very good computer to me, so I decided to go with this model again!

It's also the largest laptop I've ever had. This picture doesn't do it justice but it is a 17.5 inch. I have a love hate relationship with it right now though, because figuring out how to use Windows 8 has caused alot of frustration this week!! Thank god for GOOGLE! I hope I get used to it and soon LOVE it!
Divider 2

More exciting than that, is this! I ended up leaving the store with the "HP Instant Ink Printer" I've been wanting. 

Have you heard about the Instant Ink program? Never run out of ink again!! Never purchase ink from a store again....they deliver it right to your home. You pick a monthly plan to fit your printing needs and your printer automatically orders your ink when you start to run low. I have the "frequent printing plan" which is the most expensive plan, but for only $10 a month I can print 300 pages; color or b/w, it doesn't matter! And if you don't use all 300, they roll over to the next month! How awesome is that??! There are also plans for as low as $3 a month. You can check it out this amazing ink replacement service {here}.  
Divider 3


We started our Christmas gift photo booth calendars for our parents! These calendars are going to be soooo darn adorable with different photo props for each month, thanks to Deanna Jump and Mel! You can get these photo props and calendars {here}.

 We made homemade apple pie!

We did all sorts of apple activities including making these 3-D interactive apple folders from Regan Tunstall. You can get this product {here}.

The picture above this one is from First Grade Schoolhouse's unit and you can find it {here}.
I highly recommend both of these products!

We made homemade apple juice!
 Divider 4
Then to compliment apple week, one of my Hispanic students brought me a Mexican candy apple. I thought it was so sweet and the candy apple.....delicious and unique from any other candy apple I've ever had! 
Divider 5
And to top the week off today....a surprise birthday pizza party for one of my darling Autistic students.

She doesn't get to have normal birthday parties like most children, because she doesn't know how to communicate and interact with other children. She doesn't have sleepovers and playdates like most children. Her "friends" are the ones that she spends her school day with. So it was a great way to end the week by providing her with a real birthday party experience......a party with games, the happy birthday song, fun, laughter, and a party with FRIENDS!!! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homework OR No Homework?

School is back in full swing and the homework excuses have already begun!!! With a multi-grade level classroom of students in grades 1st - 5th, my students all have different homework assignments differentiated for each of their levels. So you can imagine my assistants and I spend quite a bit of time putting homework together each week. And the fact that only 2-3 out of my 10 students return it each day has got me thinking! 

I've always had mixed feelings on homework. I've spent many nights myself fighting with my ADHD child to get him through his homework resulting in many evenings of chaos and nothing more than a burdensome task for the whole household. Most of the time it was what I called "busy work," rather than beneficial practice for him. What I found helped him the most and provided the most positive learning experiences were the learning experiences I created for him each evening like reviewing flashcards, playing multiplication war with a deck of cards, challenging him in a spelling bee, or having him tell me the time on the analog clock several times throughout the evening. On the other hand, my daughter was quite the opposite and always whipped her homework right out every evening hardly ever needing any assistance or reminders. 

Homework can also be a burden when students are involved in after school sports or other activities. I think it is important for children to be involved in these activities and have seen children lose these privileges because they couldn't keep up on their homework.

Another issue in my community is that I live in a casino gaming community where the casinos employ a large majority of the parents. Many of the parents work the night shift and are not home in the evenings to assist their child with homework.   

While many feel that homework should be independent and not require parent assistance, many feel that it should be a time of bonding where parents can be involved with their child's education, see what their child is learning at school and talk about their child's school day! Many also feel that it teaches children responsibility.

Let's face it. Homework is a very controversial topic and has many different views in our society. Just as instruction should be differentiated, I feel homework should be differentiated as well and should not look the same for every learner. Most importantly, it should never become burdensome!!  

My friend Susan from "An Exceptional Education" was having the same homework struggles and decided that she was going to offer a No Homework Option this year for parents! I loved the idea and after getting such a poor homework return already in the first 3 weeks of school, I decided to try it! This is the letter I sent home on Thursday! Surprisingly, they are all coming back with YES checked, and yes even the ones that never turn in homework are checking yes!!

While my district recommends 10 minutes of homework each evening equal to the number of their grade level (e.g. 2nd grade-20 minutes, 3rd grade-30 minutes) they do not allow homework to count as a grade.

What is your point of view on homework? Does your district require it? 

Monday, September 8, 2014


Today was the start to our third week back with students and I'm finally getting settled in and catching my breath! No matter how hard I try to go into each new year prepared and organized, it just never seems to go my way! 

Finally, I have a little time to share some things I've made for my classroom and to reveal my class photos!!! I was super excited when I sat down at the computer and also realized that it too, is Tara's monthly Monday Made It Linky Party!!!

These are Skittles candles. I made these for my SPED team to
start the year off "SCENT-Sational!!!"

Now when I pull sticks to choose students, I don't need another cup to put the chosen ones in! Simply flip the stick. If the green side is up, that student has had a turn!

Trash scrap buckets on each table! No more bits of paper everywhere or students wasting time going to the trash can!

And the most genius idea EVER!! Glue sponges!!

I saw these all over blogland last year, but stuck with my glue sticks! After spending a fortune on glue sticks last year, finding caps everywhere along with dried up sticks, glue in hair, on tables, and all over hands, and mushed up glue on papers.......glue sticks became my biggest pet peeve last year!!!!!!! While these have become my best friend! If you haven't done this yet in your classroom, you are missing out! No glue mess in over 2 weeks now!
And although still a work in's my classroom!!!! 
My room is never done! I'm constantly changing it throughout the year....many times over! I've already made 2-3 changes that aren't even revealed in these photos. I guess I may be a very indecisive person. It's just that I try new things and they don't work, or I don't like the way it looks, or I find a better way!!! And let's face it....I am one that likes change!!! I don't think I've ever started a year out with a PERFECTLY complete room!! 

The pictures are pretty self-explanatory, so I'm not going to elaborate too much. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment! :)

And here's a little line up chart freebie for you!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday