Monday, May 23, 2016

Chaos to Control..the Early Years

My life has been crazy for the past week, month, year, life. I am determined to get more organized for the next school year. I am starting by looking for the perfect binder and have decided that in order to get it done right, I am going to have to make one myself. I have made several teacher binders at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but I need to tweak those even more. I am an itinerant teacher that works with Deaf/Hard of Hearing children from the ages of 3 through high school, so some of my paperwork is specialized.

This post is super short because my mother in law fell and is not doing well in ICU. We are exhausted and my brain is not working well. But I wanted to encourage others with a Monday Freebie. It is the weekly calendar portion of my binders, and it covers two pages. It has a section for morning, afternoon, personal and notes. I added a little color, but not so much that it will eat up all the ink. Please click on the picture below to enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Where Were You Born?

People tell me I have really funny stories. I have decided that if I tell one, I want to blog it so I will remember it and perhaps make a great book for my girls. These will be random but entertaining. Today I told someone the story about trying to get through Customs after a cruise.

This was right before passports became a requirement and you only needed a birth certificate. On the last night one of my twin girls (who were 10 years old at the time) spilled coke on the birth certificates and they became glued together. I mean it was like trying to peel a cheap sticker off of your windshield. Megan's was in plain sight but you could not see any of Katie's. I was a little worried, but thought surely there won't be any problem. They're identical twins after all. Well...

When we arrived at Customs, I plopped down the birth certificates in front of the official and said, "I'm sure this has happened before." I explained the situation with the coke and demonstrated how trying to peel back the paper only made it worse. He was not amused. "No, this has never happened before." (A running theme in my life, you will discover.) He grumpily called an even grumpier man and they separated us. As the grumpier man was questioning me, I could here what was going on in the office where they had placed Katie. I heard the big grumpy officer with a gun almost yell at her "Where were you born?" Then Katie's sweet little high pitch voice said, "I don't know -- in a hospital?" At that time both of the officers laughed and let us through without any more drama. We have cruised a couple of times since then, but I still get nervous about going through customs.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Movie Time! Where's the Popcorn?

This is a fun creative writing activity that my students beg to do again and again. Here’s how it works. Print the character sheets on white paper, and the setting sheets on yellow paper. Cut them out and put them in a popcorn container. (I fill most of the container with crumpled paper before I put the character and setting pieces on top.) Cut the slips of paper out, then crumple them  to form individual pieces of popcorn.

Now comes the fun part. Let the children take turns picking one yellow and one white piece of popcorn. When they open them, they will have a surprise character and setting to write about.
Who wouldn’t love writing about a pirate in a fancy restaurant or a clown fish by the railroad. When you do it again, just reuse the pieces. It is unlikely they will get the same combination again. There are 16 settings and 16 characters. Just click on the picture to get your free download today!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Homeschoolers, Anyone?

I am so excited because on Saturday I am going to be a vendor for the first time at a homeschool convention in Cabot, Arkansas. I have never done anything like this before and there will be a lot of established companies (ever heard of Abeka?) there.  Here I come with my little table of goodies. I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

I was so blessed to be able to homeschool my twin girls during two periods of their life. They were both special needs failing first grade and non-readers, so my husband and I decided I should take a year off of teaching other children and work with my own. We went against the popular public school course of study, and focused on only reading, writing, and 'rithmatic. I think we averaged reading 2 1/2 hours a day. By Christmas they were above grade level so we added science and social studies. That is the advantage of homeschooling - you can really individualize your instruction and make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.

Fast forward to the second time, middle school. They were struggling some academically, but I was more concerned about the influences of peers during middle school. This is where I have seen so many children flail and not make it back to the "good" side and I did not want to risk it with my children. They weren't too excited about our decision at first but finally accepted it as we moved from 6th to 8th grade. We put them back in public school for high school in Colorado Springs, and they had the most amazing Special Education staff. My girls are now in their second year of college and doing great! I know homeschooling is a very personal choice, but I know it was the best thing at times for our family.

Both daughters have thanked me for homeschooling them, especially during middle school. They both said they plan to do the same. When that time comes, I hope they are close enough that I can at least be their substitute teacher!

In honor of those hard working homeschool moms, I have made a binder that will be a tremendous resource. It includes the basic school stuff (lesson plan templates, long range goal templates, technology lists, etc.), but it also includes things we moms need to make our lives easier (chore charts, Bible study templates, to do lists, menu planners, etc.)  It is for sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but I have a sample that you can download for free here.  Just click on a picture below to get your free download!

This sample has nine pages. The final product has over 70! Check out the final product here!

I have several varieties of chore charts, boy/girl and color/black and white.

These To Do lists are my go to! I have several themes to choose from, and they have To Do lists, Bible Study guides, and a matching Notes page!