End of the Year Learning Can be Fun!

End of the year


I know you think I fell off the ends of the Earth. I’ve just been trying to survive the end of the year craziness like you!

Today I’m blogging  over at our new collaborative blog, Classroom Tested Resources!  Be sure to check out my post and read some of the other amazing posts you will find there.  You can read how I have kept my students engaged and learning up until the very end!

As a teaser I’m including this picture.

Opinion Writing for end of the year fun.

Post Its are a great solution for working on fluency.



You can grab my freebie by clicking the cover below.  Seeing the photos {here} will spark your own creativity!  Happy Memorial Day and thank you Veterans!

End of the year freebie

Click cover.



Why I Became a Teacher

Why I Became a Teacher

I am happy to be participating in a blog hop with a group of stellar teachers, who like you and I, chose the same extraordinary profession, teaching.  Like every profession, experiences and destiny shape the paths we choose.  I hope you enjoy reading about the paths we took on our wondrous journey to become the teachers we are today.

I must confess, I was not born knowing I would one day be a teacher.  I did not hold a rosy dream of growing up and leading a group of struggling students to sound out the vowel sounds again and again and again.  In fact, my first go round with college had me pursuing a degree in architecture.  Sure I always loved school, played school as a child, did well in school, and had several amazing teachers whose teaching and wisdom shaped my life.  In fact, I remain in touch with these dedicated teachers, whom I now call friends.  But I was not planning on being a teacher.

Frustrated with school, I didn’t finish my degree, but worked for about ten years in the architectural field.  It wasn’t until AFTER I had my first child and was expecting my second, that I decided to go back to school.  I chose a field that would offer me insight into helping my own children succeed, give me time to spend with them during the summers, and allow me to work with children.  You see by then I had become intensely interested in children.  I wanted to eventually pursue a law degree so that I could fight to protect children I saw in abusive or neglectful situations.  


Alarming Statistics



Who reports child abuse?


It’s not a pretty subject.  Sorry, not sorry!  

I don’t recall the exact moment that fighting for these children became so important, but it was a life changing dream for me.  As you can see, once I entered the classroom, I realized that I was in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.  

Why I Became a Teacher


As a Special Education Teacher,  I was there to support and encourage students who were often misunderstood, disliked, or simply needed a positive advocate. I could be a consistent adult in their lives who loved hanging their artwork up (because mom just throws it away), could remind them to wear their coats when it was cold, and who could encourage them to reach for their own dreams by believing in themselves and reaching their academic potential.   No, I haven’t changed every child’s life, but I have fought the good fight and have seen lights go on, children that now walk the halls with smiles and confidence, and have been given enough hugs to warm my winter years.  

Teachers ARE heroes.  I am honored to be one of you.  We belong to an esteemed group of caring professionals.

I would love to read your comments about why you became a teacher!

Be sure to visit Kelly at My Fabulous Class to read why she became a teacher! 



Shout Out to Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits!

Teaching Time

Click Graphic to visit the original post on Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits Blog.


Have you ever been so excited to read a blog post and try something out in your classroom?  Well, I read Reagan Tunstall’s Post on Teaching Time and could not wait to try her tips!  You have got to read her post and grab the freebies she designed to supplement her ideas.  You can find her post HERE.

I work with some wonderful, special needs students.  Telling analog time has been such a struggle for them.  After trying her ideas out today, I could literally see some light bulbs coming on!

Telling Time with Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits ideas

First we worked together to create the large student made clock shown above.  Her genius idea was using groups of 5 unifix cubes to provide a visual of the 5 minute intervals between each clock number.  Not only were the cubes a great visual the students could touch the cubes as they counted and/or I could lift and drop the cubes adding in auditory cues.   I used two different colors for the clock hands which was a great visual as you will see later.  We were also able to talk about the major points on the clock (12, 3, 6, and 9) that aid in telling time.

Telling Time with White Boards

This is about the time I was seeing some of those beautiful light bulbs starting to go off!  #teachersfavoritething

Using color coding as a telling time strategy.

Color coding strategy as a visual cue for telling time.

Discriminating between the hour and minute hand can be difficult.  A great visual cue was this graphic which coordinated with the colors of our “hour” and “minute” hand.

Independently telling time

After LOTS of “I do” and “We do” practice, the kids got a chance to move, spread out, and independently read and write the digital time to match the analog clock I set on the table.

Making Individual Student Clocks


Next, we “borrowed” another idea from Reagan Tunstall.  Each student created an individual clock.  We used the small sticky notes cut in half.  I think it really helped the students understand the relationship of the numbers on the clock. 


Telling Time

We started by labeling the 4 major clock points and practiced reading the minutes to the quarter and half hour.


Practicing telling time to the quarter and half hour.

Students set the time on their clocks

Students were able to manipulate their clock to match the times that I called out or wrote on the board.  

I am really grateful to have found this post at the perfect time and firmly believe my students benefited from these strategies.  If you have students that struggle with telling time, be sure to head over and read her post.  She has some wonderful freebies, like the clock hands shown above, which my students are using.

Do you have any favorite strategies for teaching time in your classroom?



Special Education Valentine Blog Hop 2015

Today  I’m excited to share with you examples of how I include all my students with special needs in group science lessons. I hope you walk away with at least one new idea you can use in your classroom, whether you are a regular education teacher differentiating based on student needs or a special education teacher. 

3 Ways to Engage all students in science

I love teaching science.  It is a core subject where I am able to include all of my students despite their vast and varying needs and differences.  Best of all, my students love science too!

Hands on Activities

Using hands on activities in science is a best practice.  It provides students of all needs the opportunity to view and interact first hand with science concepts being taught.

Use different methods of response

Providing a variety of methods for student responses and ways to demonstrate their learning is easy in science.  In my gift to you I have included three different methods of response sheets for a science experiment, as well as a word bank.  These response sheets assist with visual and communication impairments. They allow students who struggle with literacy to more fully participate.

Student led discussions.

Provide your students opportunities to talk and discuss their learning experiences and discoveries.  This is beneficial on so many levels.  It builds knowledge, social, and communication skills.  It is also considered a best practice and will assist you during classroom observations!

In honor of this hop I created a forever freebie science product which you can grab by clicking {HERE} or on the cover below!  

Forever Freebie  

I’d love to hear ways you differentiate in your classroom!  Please leave a comment below!


Thanks to Krista Wallden for the arrow clip art and Khrys Bosland for the font!

4 Tips for Making a Snowman Ornament


4 tip


Snowman Ornament

Smiling snow-people make my heart sing at Christmas!  So I decided to try my hand making snowmen ornaments with my students this year.  The one above is my practice ornament, but I found some tricks along the way to make these easier and more kid friendly.

Materials needed Supplies:

Clear glass, or plastic ornaments, wiggle eyes, filler (mini Styrofoam balls, or snow that you use for miniature Christmas Villages), small orange pom poms, quick set, clear drying adhesive, black fabric paint, ribbon/yarn for scarf, small doll hats, foam snowflakes (I got mine at Dollar Tree), scissors, funnel and ornament hooks. Red fabric paint optional.


Tip #1:  Make a paper funnel or use a kitchen funnel to load the ornaments with filler (Do this outside if possible!).


Use a funnel


Tip #2:  I was told to use rubber cement as pictured, however I found that Fast Grab Tacky Glue, which you can get at Michael’s or Amazon is SO much better.  I will use that for crafts from here on out!  Trust me, this stuff is Amazing!  I just put a dab, and the kids were able to attach all parts, manipulate as necessary, and it dried clear.  


Putting on the nose.

Tip #3:  Lose the black pom poms for the mouth. (I should have spaced mine out more.) Use the plastic squeeze bottled fabric paint…so much easier!  The kids can do this independently.  If they mess up it wipes right off and they can try again!

Putting on the mouth.


 Tip 4:  Use wide yarn for the scarf, instead of ribbon.  It looks more realistic, but fewer color choices are available. Use a dab of red fabric paint on the student’s finger tip to add a rosy glow to the cheeks. Poke a hole in the hat with scissors, and install hook before gluing the hat on its head.


All ornaments


on tree

I hope you enjoyed this post!  What Christmas crafts are you making with your students?



Tricks and Treats Blog Hop

Trick or Treat Blog Hop

I hope everyone has gathered lots of tricks and treats for your teacher bag as you have participated in this fun hop!  The goal is for each teacher to share unique tricks and treats.  Well, my ideas aren’t as unique as I would wish for, but they sure do save time and money for me, so I am glad to share them with you!


Job charts

I created a class jobs product with names on rings that are so easy to rotate each week.  The time-saver for me was that I could simply print out the name sheet numerous times, put the names on rings and have them for multiple uses, such as computer passwords!







passwords on computer




You can grab these classroom job posters and editable labels for free this weekend by clicking here!

I wanted to share with you our vocabulary word wall.  Since the students participate in creating it, they really seem to have deepened their knowledge of the vocabulary words.  

Vocabulary Wall


Close up of words


We have been diligently working on place value and homophones the past few weeks.  My special needs students need lots of review and hands on differentiated learning. Movement and manipulatives play a huge role in our classroom. You can see how engaged they are with these activities!  (The place value product will be on sale this weekend!)

Falling into Place Value


Fall Place Value

Click to see this best seller in my TpT Store.

card under doc camera


This set has 48 Halloween themed task cards.  The cards review both homophones, so you can use one set for instruction/review and one set for independent practice or assessment.  We are reviewing homophones here using the document camera.  Another money saving tip is to simply view the pdf on your whiteboard and saving the printing costs!

Group Showdown with blog name

If you are familiar with KAGAN Structures, we are playing a game of Showdown as part of our review. This is a really fun way to engage everyone in the classroom.

partner scoot with blog name


Later we played a game of Scoot with the other set of cards.  Because the kids need extra practice with these words, I also entered the words into the free version of Spelling City, so they could practice spelling the words with the sentence given.  I am still debating whether I want to purchase a classroom version, but for now the free version is working fine.  You can find the site here: Spelling City.


Grab my Horrifying Homophones free for the blog hop (Oct. 3 – 5).  After that they will be full priced.  Feedback and Blog comments are greatly appreciated!

Horrifying Homophones

You can find these cards in my TpT store by simply clicking the image!

Burke's Special Kids




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Pin It on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: