Sunday, May 25, 2014

Special Education Master

It's official! I am a Master of Special Education!

After several years of graduate work, I am finally done with my Masters of Science degree in Special Education. I won't have to go to school again for a while…that is, until I go back for my PhD in a few years!

Education has always been a guiding force in my life - despite all the challenges I've had to endure along the way. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to attend college and come as far as I have come.

I consider myself a life-long learner and as such, I always try to instill a sense of life-long learning in my students. I want them to have the courage to dream of attending college and to see that dream to attainment.

Happy graduation and congratulations to all those college graduates who are graduating this spring!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

APP ALERT: Todo Math

Our class has had the wonderful opportunity of sharing a set of iPads with one of my 2nd grade colleagues (at least until I get my own iPad cart next year!) My kiddos have been SO excited to get to use technology in our classroom. 

I've been slowly trying to introduce them to various apps, in an effort to not overwhelm them with all the wonderful things the iPad can do.

One app that we have been using during math centers is an app called Todo Math. My kids LOVE this app and ask to use it every time we pull out the iPads. And, because it's aligned to Common Core State Standards, I don't feel guilty when I let them use it!
The app focuses on many math skills covered in K-2, including number recognition, counting, writing numerals, addition, and subtraction - perfect for many of my students who are struggling with these concepts. This app benefits struggling learners who require visual supports and additional practice to strengthen their relationship to solving math problems. Todo Math helps students improve fluency of math sums and difference, while also supporting the conceptual understanding of early math concepts.

As a teacher, I like that the app has multi-functions. Students can engage in "timed practice" games or "free choice." By choosing free choice, students are able to engage in multiple math skill games. My "lower" students love the counting and tracing games, while my higher students engage in the cookies game which focuses on addition and subtraction concepts. 

I like that I can have differentiated groups, working on the same app at the same center but focusing on the concepts each individual student needs practice on.

Check it out and see what Todo Math can bring to your math centers!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's a Girl!

My newly designed blog is here! And it's so beautiful…if I do say so myself!

I want to thank Becca at Jumping Jax Designs for designing my blog. She totally nailed it! She was so helpful throughout the entire process and really, I couldn't be happier with the new design. I'm having her update my blog's Facebook page as well…so stay tuned for that!

Cheers to a newly designed blog - I hope it inspires some writing this weekend! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Summer Nears

There are nine days until summer! 

Unfortunately, my summer will be short lived because two days after we end school, I start back up again - I'm teaching summer school. 

I am very excited because this is my first year (in the three years that I have been teaching) that I have gotten a job teaching summer school. At my last district, the same people always got chosen to teach summer school (and was usually based on seniority). I love that my new district allows almost all of their special education teachers to teach summer school!

So stay tuned for my summer adventures from room 10!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Teaching a Young Dog New Tricks

I love learning new things - especially when it comes to my blog. I was recently having a discussion with my "blog mentor" Melissa over at The Autism Adventures of Room 83 who told me she had been meaning to create a watermark for the pictures she posts on her blog. What a great idea - something I need to do for my blog! I thought. 

But how on Earth was I going to accomplish that? I have no idea how to create a watermark, so I figured that the easiest way to "claim" my photos was to create a brush that I could use in Photoshop when I was editing my photos. (I'm not quite sure how watermarks are different than doing this method - that's another blog post!)

So, I first I created my image. I bought some new clip art and used my favorite font!

Next was the tough part - how to make an image the actual brush. I perused several different blog posts about creating a brush in Photoshop but none were user-friendly guides. I finally found one from Adobe - the creators of Photoshop. It was clear, concise and easy to understand and apply.

Once I had my brush created and loaded, I was able to claim my images!

What do you think? Now everyone will know where those awesome pictures and blog posts come from! 

Until next time…
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Friday, May 9, 2014


I've posted a new product on my Teachers Pay Teachers page and because I have been having such an AWESOME week (I passed my comprehensive exams and will be graduating with my masters degree in two weeks), I'm offering my May vocabulary cards for FREE until tomorrow morning!

To pick up some awesome Boardmaker vocabulary cards visit my page here. I just ask that you please leave a rating after you download the freebie.

Check out my vocabulary cards and start using them in your classroom today!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Graduation Gift to Myself

So, I decided that - as a graduation gift to myself - I was going to pay a fabulous designer to revamp this blog. As much as I love my current "minty" theme, I've been wanting to update my blog for a while.

I've been perusing several design shops sites and decided to go with Becca at Jumping Jax Designs. Her design esthetic is exactly what I've been looking for and I cannot wait to see what she cooks up for my wonderful blog. 

Stay tuned! This blog will be getting a face lift in a couple of weeks!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

TPT Loves Teachers SALE


Come stop by my TPT store on Tuesday, May 6th or Wednesday, May 7th and receive 20% off your purchase! Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale! What better way to get a jump start on your school year than by getting some awesome tools for your classroom at a discounted price!

Come check out my products and see what you can find!
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Life Cyclin'

My class has been studying life cycles in our classroom. We started with chicken life cycles and visited a farm (that had a baby chick room). I went out and bought a couple of chicks from a feed store (who knew chicks were so cheap?) The kids really enjoyed learning about the chicks and keeping them in the classroom.

After the chicken life cycle, we studied frog life cycles. I purchased a great little life cycles unit from Falling Into First's TPT store. (It has chicken, frog, butterfly, and meal worm life cycles!) My grade level team liked the unit so much that they're using the unit in their classrooms as well.

My class is currently working on the butterfly life cycle. We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle this past week and completed some writing and Eric Carle inspired crafts. Here's a peak at what we did…

I thought our crafts turned out really cute - each a little unique and different. What do you think? 

Until next time.
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Friday, May 2, 2014

Anchor Charts

So, I am a big fan of anchor charts. I use them for everything and across our curriculum! My kids love them (and always comment on how "Ms. Parker's charts are always so colorful"). They are also a great reference tool when we are working in small groups or if they're working on independent activities - I always refer them back to the chart. They'll review the information and if they still have questions, they can come ask again.

We've been learning several new concepts in math (graphing, measurement, and fractions) so I made some new anchor charts for use in our classroom. The kids have loved learning these new concepts and have enjoyed using the anchor charts during our math time.

These are based off of ideas I found on Pinterest - I've tailored them to reflect the needs of my kiddos. 

What do you think? Good tools for the classroom? Let me know and repin to Pinterest.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jump Start

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been busy preparing for the coming school year - even though this one isn't even over yet! I've been slowly working on building a classroom set of items to post on Teachers Pay Teachers - to include things like incentive charts, schedule cards, classroom clip chart posters, and other tools that special education teachers would find useful in their classrooms.

I've found that these kind of classroom sets are a huge time saver - especially if you need to get your classroom organized in a hurry (like I did at the beginning of this school year - I only had two days to get my classroom up and running before school started!) 

One tool that I find useful to have for my students is a desk name plate that can be referenced as needed. I didn't have time to make any so I ended up buying them at the last minute. My students' name plates didn't have any special reference material this year (they were generic ones I bought at the teacher supply store) and I wanted to create something better for the coming year.

Cute but they have nothing to reference
So - as I always do when I can't find products that fit my specific classroom's needs - I created my own! My desk name plates are colorful and bright (to match my schedule cards) and have reference materials my students could use - a number line, alphabet, right/left hands, shapes, and a hundreds chart. 

If you'd like to check them out, see the product page on my TPT store here. Start the school year off right with these great tools for students!

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