Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Want To Save HUNDREDS on INK?!?

I am so amazed at how many teachers are just now discovering, or haven't even discovered the amazing HP Instant Ink program that I thought it was time to write about it! 

If you do a lot of printing, or wish you could, you will want to read on! 

What is so amazing about the Instant Ink program?

1) Save hundreds of dollars on ink.
2) Never EVER run out of ink again. And I mean NEVER!
3) Never go to a store for ink or make an ink purchase again.
4) Whether your printing in b/w or color, it doesn't matter. Color prints cost the same as b/w.
5) Print any time and as much as want.
6) Choose a program that best meets your printing needs. 

Wow!!! What is there not to like about the Instant Ink program? I mean seriously! For a teacher or a homeschool parent, it's a dream come true!

These are the 3 programs you can choose from! Another thing that is great, is you can rollover unused pages!! And it just keeps getting better! If you go over your limit pay only $1 to print another 15-25 pages depending on your plan! 

You can also switch plans any time you'd like. For example, when school is in session, I typically print everything at school so I subscribe to the middle program for $4.99 a month. During the summer, I print a lot at home, so in June I switch to the $9.99 program. You can also cancel at any time!

Your printer communicates with HP and notifies them when it's time to send you more ink cartridges. Don't worry, they send them early so you'll always have your replacement cartridges well before you run out!

Your ink will arrive in this box!

You won't always receive two at the same time. Sometimes your printer may only notify HP that you need color, or just b/w. 
Inside your box you'll find a bag like this! Once you run out of ink and replace your cartridge, place your old cartridge(s) in this pouch and drop in the mailbox! No postage needed!

To get in on this amazing money saving program, you will need to have a compatible HP printer. Not all of their printers work with Instant Ink. However, they have a large list of printer buying options that you can access on their sign up page. 

This is the printer I have. It is the HP 4630. It is the cheapest Instant Ink printer, only costed $100 and prints wonderfully!

A year and a half ago when I jumped on this deal, I thought so too! Hear it straight from HP in this video.

 Stop spending a fortune on ink and getting frustrated when you run out in the middle of your project! Sign up here! And better yet...when you sign up using this referral link, your first month is FREE!! 

This is one investment that you will not regret! In fact, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner!!

I think I've explained everything you need to know, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! :)

Happy Printing,

Friday, June 24, 2016

IEP Tubs

Hello There! I'm here to talk about IEP Tubs today and how I use them in my classroom! I've used them for two years now and I really love the simplicity of them and the effectiveness!!

Each student has their own customized box, which I call "tubs"...and no I don't have 15 students in my self-contained classroom! Thank goodness! I co-teach with our Resource Room Teacher and 9 of these belong to his students. 

Inside each tub I place hands-on activities that are based on each student's IEP goals, or activities for other concepts they may be struggling with. Here are a few examples of what the inside may look like.
This student is working on short vowels, base ten addition/subtraction, and telling time to the half hour. I also include sight words on a ring and a book in EVERY student's tub.

Here is a peek at another tub. This student is working on beginning blends, nonsense word fluency, and also base ten. They also have sight words on a ring and a decodable book.

This student also has a decodable book along with sight words, and is working on word families and final -e was just introduced so I added that to his tub. He is also working on learning to write his last name on the sheets you see behind the tub. These sheets fit nicely into his tub.

It depends on the student! Each student's tub is customized to meet their needs!

Twice Daily! It is worked into my math and reading center rotations each day. Every day we do one hour of math and one hour of reading center rotations and one center is IEP TUBS. I call the center "AT YOUR SEAT," but it is when they work from their IEP tubs. You can read more about how my daily centers run here.

Again, that depends on the student. As often as needed! Most of my students need repetition and lots of practice, practice, practice, so the materials are not changed out that frequently. I would say on the average maybe every 3-4 weeks for most of my students. So not time consuming at all.

I have two aides and one of my aides manages this center. We try to collaborate as much as possible, but you know as a sped teacher how hard that can sometimes be. So I have a communication log in each of my centers for this purpose. 

They write me notes that allow me to adjust the tubs as needed. For example, one of the notes she wrote me above are that a particular student is having a difficult time with consonant digraphs. So I may add that into their tub. Another comment mentions a student needs help with counting money by 5's (nickels) so I may add counting by 5's resources to his tub.

You can grab a copy of this communication log here.

I must also add that I am blessed with the most amazing aides and can totally count on them to carry out this system!

I also change out tubs based on students' assessments, new IEP goals, and my own observations.

That's it!! Super simple! Highly effective!!

Do you think IEP Tubs could work in your classroom?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Do You Bullet Journal/Plan???

Finding the perfect planner can be tough! The market is filled with all sorts of designs, sizes and styles of can I not find that perfect one??! But to be honest I have tried seven and have yet to purchase the perfect teacher planner that works for me. Let's face it, we all have different lifestyles, different priorities, and different tastes and needs.   

I have found that for me, my planner needs to be majorly customized. I need to have LOTS and LOTS of note-taking space. I need categories for professional development, for our new professional growth system...I want categories for my classroom ideas and for my classroom wishlist, as well as a place to keep track of my business and my daily schedule. I need a to-do list, a place to jot down those AHA sparks of inspiration, a place to take meeting notes, and a place to organize and schedule my blog posts. Sure I could have a business planner and a school planner; maybe even a planner for the home, but that wasn't realistic. Yes, I could use a journal or composition book for all of my note-taking, but not only did hauling a planner and a journal, and maybe even a composition book around with me everywhere I went become a nuisance, it looked like this! 

Talk about an unorganized mess...and unlabeled sticky notes literally sticking out everywhere!
Don't get me wrong, I am obsessed with sticky notes, just not hanging out of the sides of my notebooks.

I also like to keep it simple. I don't need all of the cute stickers and fluff. And who needs lesson plan templates. Do people still actually hand write those?!

Out of trying 7 different planners now, the only one I have found that even came close to what I needed is Erin Cobb's Teacher-Seller Planner! 
 It has a nice calendar!
 A small note-taking section each month!
 A place to schedule and keep track of blog posts!
 And other planning components for managing my store and social media....
But I still found myself carrying around that journal and composition book with those hideous stickys sticking out everywhere! It just didn't have enough note-taking space for me! 

I'm sorry, but I don't want to be carrying around 2-3 planners with me. I need everything in one. I mean isn't that what a planner should be? Everything organized in one spot??! 

So after brainstorming and trying to vision what my perfect planner could look like, I got to thinking. I'm a list kind of girl! I like lists and I like dashes and bullets. And even more I like crossing things off my list. I'm also a note-taker. I need lots of paper for notes. And my new, most perfect ever, teacher planner was born!! 

    Meet my new teacher planner...and it's perfect! It has lived up to all of my expectations of the.most.perfect planner this year!

It's nothing more than a 1-inch binder,

organized custom tabs, 
a bunch of notebook paper behind each tab, :)

 And of course a calendar!!!
Calendar is from "One Stop Teacher Shop's" planner/binder on TPT.

Another thing I love is this! I'll never be without a sticky note, pen, highlighter, or pencil at another meeting again!:)

I used this planner system for the last 5 months of this past school year and let me just say, I love it and my teacher planner nightmare search is over! AND, it didn't cost me a thing!!

And get this!! It just so happens that this is actually a common type of planning, so much that its been coined with a name! WHAT??!! It is called bullet journaling/planning and many people are doing it this way!! Wow, to think that I could have coined this myself!!! haha! Who would've thought!

So I guess I am an official "Bullet Journaler!"

If you're having the same struggles as me, and I know I'm not the only one, check out this fabulous Bullet Journaling post from "The Lazy Genius." She lays out the basics! 

And the thing about this method is that you can get as fancy as you want with this! You can do whatever you want and create the perfect customizable planner to meet YOUR needs!! As you can see mine is simple, but if you're super artsy and like to doodle, the possibilities of jazzing up your journal/planner are endless! See for yourself in this video!

Anxious to learn more!? Ready to jump in and take it one step farther than I did?? Just google "Bullet Journaling!!!" You'll find dozens and dozens of videos, tutorials, and blog posts all over the web on this amazingly new way to create and organize your life!!!

Are you a Bullet Journaler/Planner???

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Create Fillable Forms with Adobe Pro

My original plan for this evening was to write a blog post about my untraditional, yet perfect teacher planner, but after pulling my hair out for several hours today {again} to figure out how to download and create a "fillable" {that's the keyword} PDF form, I decided this was a topic I needed to share right away! 

First off, I have had Adobe Acrobat Pro on my wishlist since the TpT conference last July in Vegas; where I learned about it. Let me just say it has been a nightmare! There's lots of nice features within Adobe Pro, but the main reasons I wanted to upgrade to Adobe Acrobat Pro was to secure and password protect my creations and others clipart easily, and the second reason was to be able to create editable files. 

I had heard at the conference, "Oh you need to upgrade to Adobe Pro." So that's what I did! I "upgraded." WRONG! I couldn't get it to work! Why wouldn't it work!? After spending several hours trying different options, {My stubborn self always thinks I can figure it out myself...and usually I can}I finally resorted to contacting Adobe and found that I couldn't "upgrade" because I didn't have a purchased copy of Adobe in the first place. I only had the FREE version! Well duh, isn't that what most all of us probably have!?  

Luckily Adobe was kind enough to refund my $200 since they realized, I could not use it. 

(unless you have a purchased version of Adobe that you paid for)
You cannot upgrade something that you do not own! 

At this point, I looked into purchasing the "entire" software program since it was more than just an "upgrade", and was in for a big surprise! 

Did I really want to spend THIS much money on it!?! So of course I put it to rest and its presence on my to-do list has been haunting me for months ever since! 

Then, yesterday....I got a new blog post notification from "Teaching in the Tongass," which led me to another link, which led me to the "Student and Teacher Edition of Adobe Acrobat Pro" link for only $119. :) What? You mean all along I could have gotten Adobe Pro for $119 bucks??! Why didn't anyone tell me this? Some details would have been nice. Why didn't I think to look for "teacher deals?" So I was able to purchase Adobe Pro through "Teaching in the Tongass'" affiliated link here for only $119, which is more than half off the regular price! Adobe will have to verify that you are a current teacher, and may even require a check stub copy to be uploaded. They verified my teaching credentials in just an hour, and it was in the middle of the night. 

So now, I finally had my Adobe Pro, I had been verified as a teacher, and now to download. Another headache ahead! The verified acceptance email I received provided instructions to return to Amazon and download form there. 
 So I went to Amazon and clicked the download button you see above from "My Orders Page." WRONG again! It would not work! I tried several things! I even tried removing the free version of Adobe I already had installed on my computer. Nothing! It would not work! Just as I was at my wits end and after about 1 1/2 hours, I was about to contact Adobe I noticed the "download dashboard" to the right of the download button on my Amazon page. Wow! Really!!? I clicked it, located the Adobe file on my computer, and wahlah!!! It installed!!!!

It was a celebration in my house, let me just say!!! Come on, this has been going on for almost a YEAR!! Once that was over, I knew my first mission was to learn how to create an editable file. I was determined and now on another mission!!! 

This was another time-consuming process at that! But, I stumbled upon some great sites along my journey. Did you know there are actually sites out there that allow you to edit ANY PDF whether you have Adobe Acrobat or not???!! But you will need Adobe "reader" to be able to view the document as with viewing any PDF. There are so many times I've wanted to type in the fields of a document but it wasn't "fillable." With PDF Filler, you can do just that! You can also do it with Wondershare, which I also liked alot too! I tested out both of these sites and liked them both. The difference is with PDF Filler though is that you don't have to download any software to your computer. With Wondershare you do! Both allow you to edit any PDF you get!! Amazing huh! No more handwritten forms! 

I was still looking for ways to create an editable PDF and was getting nothing but what I mentioned above....sources for allowing ME to edit a document; not sources for me to create a document that others could edit. I wanted the blue rectangles for crying out loud. You know what I'm talking about!!!! Then I realized from a couple other tutorials I had watched, I needed to use the term "fillable!" It's not editable, it's fillable!!!! :)

I googled how to create a "fillable PDF form" and then my nightmare came to an end!!!! Woohoo! And you're not going to believe how simple it was!!! 

Just open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Click on "prepare form" in the right column. If you don't see it, click on "tools" in the upper left corner and add open it under the "prepare form" icon. That's it! Your form will now be pre-filled! The tool will recognize fields that can be edited in your document and will automatically add the blue fields for editing. There are still some things I need to tweek. Like I noticed the "autofill" tool doesn't seem to recognize parentheses or lines "underneath" text. So it is still a work in progress, but exciting none the less!!!  

The black text you see disappears after you save it and is not visible to others. But you can see what I mean about the parentheses and lines underneath text that did not auto-fill!  

1)You will need to purchase Adobe Acrobat PRO here. It's currently $119, but typically $450. Do not "upgrade" unless you have a purchased copy of Adobe. 
2) You will need to verify that you are a teacher, using a school email and following the directions in that email. 
3) You will need to download the software using the link in your Amazon download dashboard, and NOT the yellow download button. 

4) Once Adobe Acrobat Pro is downloaded successfully, you should be set to go to create your "fillable" forms in PDF following the directions above. 

I hope this post will save you some time and alleviate some of the struggles and headaches that I experienced along the way!!!! Let me know if you run into any problems and we will try to figure them out together!!