Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Top "Teacher" Apps

Let's talk "Teacher" apps! I'm not talking about apps you can use with your students, but apps exclusively for teachers! Here are my top teacher apps! 



Google Drive and Dropbox both offer FREE online storage and will quickly become your best friend. Access your files from any computer anywhere, share files with friends and colleagues, and never worry about losing another flashdrive again! 

FREE unlimited online photo storage! Take all of the classroom photos you want without taking up space on your phone. You can set it up to automatically upload the photos you take while erasing them from your phone, if you choose that option! Create folders and easily share classroom photos with families with one simple link.

I love this app for randomly selecting student helpers or a student to answer a question. It's very fun and engaging for students too, as they watch the curtains open to see which name will be revealed. It was free when I started using it a couple of years ago, but it appears to be $3.99 now. But I would have totally paid that! So worth it and so easy to use.

If your school and curriculum is based off of the Common Core Standards, you'll love this app. Easily retrieve and keep the standards for all grade levels right at your fingertips!


I am new to Google Classroom this year and I am loving it so far! Take your classroom website, announcements, newsletters, assignments, emails, Remind 101, etc. and combine them all into one....and that's Google Classroom!

I am not currently using this app at this time and went back to paper/pencil, but that's just me. If you like to keep data electronically, this is hands down the best behavior tracking app I have found and used to date. It is $29.99, but well worth it if you want to go electronic!

I just started playing around and using this app the last couple of weeks, and my students and I really like it for tracking the noise level in the classroom. Display on your Smartboard for students to see. You can customize your noise levels and times. While this app is free, you can unlock even more great features and characters for just $4 more.

Say What? Time Timers are available on an app??! I LOVE my Time Timers! I use them for my center rotations and for my students that need a time warning, but they are so expensive! I just discovered this app and am so excited! It is $2.99 but the actual Time Timers range from $30 - $40. 

When looking at the Time Timer apps, I ran across this one which is FREE and works the same way as the Time Timer; showing how much time is left. 

I'm loving Quizlet! It's all about flashcards. You can create your own flashcards study sets, or choose from tons of flashcards already available on the app created by others. I've been using it for sight word practice this week. Students can practice reading their words, writing their words, and even take an assessement on their words. I plan to use this app alot this year! And it's FREE!

I've been playing around with Trello quite a bit the last couple of months. This app has a lot of great reviews. It's a great organizational tool for staying organized and on task. You can create checklists, reminders, upload images, assign tasks to others, and more.

I haven't had chance to delve into Classroom Tree yet, but it sounds amazing! Turn all of your classroom permission forms, responses, and correspondences into digital documents that parents can e-sign and save on paper. No more keeping track of paper documents! I'm super excited to try this app out!

 I haven't tried it yet, but I've heard lots of great things about Additio and can't wait to explore it! It looks like you can keep grades, attendance, class notes, and more all in one place and share and collaborate with other teachers. Looks great and has lots of good reviews!

What am I missing? What are your favorite teacher apps!?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Classroom Reveal & Decor Giveaway!

School is back in full swing for this teacher and lots of new changes! New classroom, new school, new grade levels and new decor!

My entire classroom was moved to a new school this year! We were moved from the elementary school to the high school. Our elementary school is now Pre-k through 3rd and our high school is now 4th - 12th. So instead of teaching 3rd - 5th now, I'm teaching 4th - 6th, so I got to keep all of my same students from last year! :) 

I LOVE my new classroom! I'm in an indoor campus now, I have windows for once, two bathrooms, a storage room....and my room is huge! Come on in!
I typically go with only a color theme in my classroom, but this year thanks to Creative Teaching Press, I threw in a little emoji fun this year!

Students place their daily logs, homework, and agendas here upon entering the classroom. My room is usually a work in progress the first few weeks, as I continue to move things around and change things up. I'm planning to change these tags to emoji tags.

My storage room is on the right as you enter! 

My lighting is not very good in my classroom. I love it because it is calming for my students, but not so good for taking photos. So excuse the dim photos.
 Here is my reading center.
 My math center.
 Teacher small group table.
 Computer center. I'm still waiting for my other two student computers and I also have my iPad station set up here now too. (not pictured)
Morning Meeting whole group board.
My reading center. This center has already evolved, as I now have a chevron rug here, a bigger tent, and the books in the crates are now on a bookshelf.
 Since I have two bathrooms, I decided to make one a student restroom and one a staff restroom. I think I'm going to change the signs to emoji signs. On the bookshelf is our IEP tubs and we'll be putting our Wilson Reading binders on the bottom shelf.
I love the counter and cabinet space that I didn't have in my previous classroom.
 Our behavior goals bulletin board that my students state every day. (excuse the glare)
 Our birthday display.
 My new Emoji calendar set.
 By my backdoor is my desk, treasure tree, binders, and incentive charts.
 Emoji incentive charts.
Writing center with rules and topic cards.
A peek at my desk.

I've already rearranged my student tables a bit and again, I now have chevron rugs on the tile.

Now who's ready for a giveaway?!
 How would you like to win the ENTIRE EMOJI DECOR COLLECTION from Creative Teaching Press!!? That's right...the ENTIRE Collection.
All of this could be yours! Creative Teaching Press if giving one of my readers the entire Emoji Collection! Nearly 40 decor components are included. Just to name a few, the winner will receive nametags, nameplates, bookmarks, borders, die cuts, certificates, birthday crowns, stickers, calendar set, clip charts, lesson plan book, gradebook, incentive charts, welcome banner, magnetic borders, and much, much more....all Emoji themed! You can see everything in the collection here.

I can't wait to see who the lucky one will be that will win all of this awesomeness! Enter below and good luck! Winner will be announced on Sunday, 8/3.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Welcome to SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies!! Every Sunday I host this freebie link up here on my blog for Special Education Teachers! Visit every week to download free resources for your classroom! If this is your first time visiting, you can access all of the freebies from previous link ups by clicking on "SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies" under "My Files" on my right sidebar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you're a TPT seller, blogger, or resource creator, I invite you to link up and share your own freebie(s) using the link up tool below! 

Link Up Rules

1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie does not have to be related specifically to SPED, but should be practical for SPED.
5. If you are linking up from your blog, using this image in your post and linking back to my blog is not required, but is greatly appreciated! 

6. Share this image on your social media so others can enjoy all of these freebies!

*I recommend using an image of your freebie & not your button when linking up. 

 Feel free to share the image above all over your social media to let other teachers know about these freebies! 

The link up tool will close on Saturday each week, but "forever" freebies will remain accessible! Come back every Sunday to link up or download new freebies!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Planning and Writing an IEP Part 1

Writing that very first IEP out of college can be a very overwhelming task! My college program prepared me very little for this task, and it doesn't help that there are so many different IEP programs and formats used by schools. Regardless, no matter what school or district you teach in, all IEPs are required by IDEA to have all of the same components. 

I have broken this post down into two parts. In this post, part 1, I will walk you through the steps of best practices for prepping and planning for your IEP meeting. Next week I will post Part 2, which will walk you through the steps of writing a good IEP. 

The first thing you need to do is get a copy of your students' IEPs, familiarize yourself with them, and use my example below to make yourself an IEP calendar. Include when their annual IEP review date is due AND if their 3 year evaluation is due. If their 3-year evaluation is due, you'll want to try to coordinate this with your school psychologist so you can schedule it for the same day. Place this by your desk or somewhere you can readily access it.
You can download a blank template here.

Scheduling IEP meetings can be a daunting task. You have to have a GE teacher present, and an LEA/principal, and depending upon your circumstances and students, you may have to include the nurse, an O.T., a P.T., an A.P.E. Teacher and an S.L.P. Get with your team and find out when is the best time everyone is available. For instance, my SLP is only on my campus on Tues. and Wed. For this reason, I know if I need her to attend, I must schedule the meeting on one of those two days. We have found that scheduling meetings before school in the mornings has worked best for us. Some participants may even need to participate via phone.

Stay on top of your IEP calendar. Four weeks prior to an IEP due date, contact the parents/guardians to schedule the IEP. Contact them by phone and agree on a good day and time that will work for everyone that will be in attendance. If you cannot reach them by phone, send a note home. If they can't meet with you for lack of transportation, suggest a phone meeting. If an eval is also due, coordinate with your school psychologist. Be sure to status your contact with the parent in the status record.

Once you've agreed on a time, type up two Prior Written Notices and two Meeting Notices using the dates you will send them. One will be sent the day of or day after you spoke with them. The other one should be sent a couple of weeks later or a day or two before the meeting. It's just easier to create them both at once while you're in your IEP program. Make a copy of the notices to file in the student's confidential folder and status in status record. Make additional meeting notices to place in the mailboxes of the other attendees, or you may choose to email them instead.

After scheduling your meeting with the parents/guardians, begin assessing your student to get their present levels that will be inputted into the IEP. Assess them in the subject areas that they receive services in. If possible, ask your student what their interests and hobbies are. You will need this info when writing the IEP.

Now it's time to write the IEP. Stay tuned next week for part 2 of this post, where I will walk you through the steps to writing a good IEP.