Sunday, September 28, 2014

FALL IS HERE! (and I've never been happier)

Before I start I just want to apologize for my month long hiatus from my blog. This first month of teaching a new classroom has been crazy, but crazy in the best way possible! As you know I have a self-contained K-1 Autism classroom. Every day gets better than the day before! I love my kiddos so much and am so happy in my new place. Things are finally starting to come together! I'm hoping now that were into a routine I'll have some more time to focus on my blog :) 

Now onto the good stuff! Normally when fall comes I go into a slight depression. My gorgeous summer weather is out the window, the nights get longer, the weather gets colder (and of course we are back to work ;). Usually it takes me a while to warm up (no pun intended) to the idea of fall, but this year I'm embracing it both in and out of the classroom!!! 

Last week our theme was the four seasons since it was the first day of fall! We did some really fun activities that I wanted to share with you!

We started off the week with a two day group lesson! Our group activities usually last 20-30 minutes with short tasks to keep students focused and engaged. So we took Monday and Tuesday to do an awesome read aloud and create season wheels! 
We read the story "Old Bear" and made Season Wheels. On the second day we had the students change the arrow from summer to fall because it was the first day of fall! 

Since it was a short week and our Wednesday was really our fake friday we did a super fun sensory activity: Autumn themed sensory bottles! The kids loved these!! (almost as much as me) and we had a blast making them!

Empty Poland Springs Water Bottles
Red/Yellow/Orange Tissue Paper (cut up)
Unpopped Popcorn Seeds
Leaves (from outside)
(any other autumn themed materials)
Food Coloring (yellow/orange)
Duct Tape 

The lesson will begin by reviewing the information from the day before using the season wheels that the students created! We will turn our season arrows to the month of fall and discuss that September 23 (yesterday) was the first day of fall. We will look at the pictures of fall on our season wheel and review that in the fall the leaves fall off the trees, the colors of the leaves change and the colors of fall: red, orange, gold, yellow, ect, and the temperature gets a little cooler in the fall.
We will then be making fall themed sensory bottles using fall materials. First the students will place leaves into their water bottles to signify the leaves falling off the trees. Then they will put in seeds to talk about the different crops (pumpkin, corn, ect.) that grow in the fall. Then they will put in fall colored tissue paper and gold glitter to signify the colors of fall. Lastly they will blow air into their water bottles to signify wind! 

The teacher(s) will then fill up the bottles, put in autumn colored food coloring and duct tape them shut! TADA!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Night Before School" Jitters

As teachers, we've all had the "night before the first day of school" jitters. A new class with new personalities can be very nerve wracking. But as scary as it is for us, for our kids it can be 10x worse, especially those with special needs that have increased anxiety levels. Here is a cute way to relieve those first day jitters. Thanks Jan Nelson for the inspiration!


I wish I could say I came up with the template, but unfortunately I did not. You can download it from Kinderland Collaborative by clicking here! 

Once you have printed out your templates grab some treat bags ($6.99 at Michael's) and fill them with any kind of glitter or confetti you like. I chose to fill mine with confetti so that my kiddo's parents don't hate me before school even starts! *($2.99 at Michael's). 

Next hole punch a hole in the corner and fasten the bag (fastener can be found in Michael's treat bag set) to the hole punch! Lastly get your student's addresses and send them in the mail before the first day of school so they can put the glitter under their pillow! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


If you haven't heard or seen the hashtag #JusticeforAaron yet, it represents justice for the brutal assault of 16 year old Aaron, a child with Autism. If you haven't seen the video you can watch it here (but just know its disgusting I had to stop half way through). Many of my friends and family, knowing my passion for working with students with Autism, asked me my thoughts on the situation. My heart goes out to that poor boy. He has probably been the target of these ignorant high schoolers for a long time without ever knowing it. And, although I wish it didn't happen, it raises awareness to an important question........How often is this happening to these students? 

Many people with autism have trouble recognizing social cues, which can sometimes make them awkward around others. They also often engage in repetitive behaviors and tend to be hypersensitive to environmental stimuli. They can also sometimes become easily anxious or frustrated. These unique tendencies make them easy targets for school bullying. Research shows that bullies target:
  • Anyone who looks or acts different.
  • Small in size 
  • Those that don't participate in popular extra curricular activities
  • Individuals that are often anxious or shy. 
Students with Autism tend to display many if not all of these characteristics and as a result are easy targets for bullies. So how often is this happening to students like Aaron?  Research says that 46% of autistic children in middle and high school told their parents they were victimized at school within the previous year, compared with just over 10% of children in the general population. 

So how do we stop this?............................


  • Always be aware of whats going on with your students in and out of the classroom
  • Create a safe and supportive environment for students that encourages supportive and friendly behavior. (aka make being a good friend the "cool" thing to do)
  • Reward students with preferred items/activities/events for being a good/kind friend.
  • STOP bullying on the spot! If you are a witness, don't wait to report it. Provide immediate consequences to the student with clear explanation of what they did that was considered bullying and why it was wrong. DO NOT ignore any (even early signs of bullying) 
  • Teach students problem solving skills using a calm voice, rationale, and good communication (this can be an extremely challenging area for students with Autism so practice practice practice!) 
  • Educate ourselves on Autism and teach our children to tolerate and appreciate uniqueness in individuals! 
Aaron, thank you for being brave sharing your heartbreaking story with us and raising awareness.  I hope you know that so many people love you and are praying for you and hope you NEVER go through anything like this again. <3 

I encourage you all to like his Facebook Page 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Writing Strategies for Students with Autism

Writing can be very challenging for students with Autism. "Poor communication between key areas of the brain has a dramatic impact on a student’s ability to write. In order to write effectively, a person must activate the areas of the brain that govern motor control and planning, language skills, sensory feedback, problem solving, imitation skills, memory, organization, and proprioception" (Autism Digest, 2014) These students struggle with deficits that affect their ability to generate ideas, organize thoughts, and structure sentences correctly. I used to find teaching writing to be one of the most challenging parts of my day. However, through much trial and error over the course of the last few years, I have found some strategies that have really worked to help these students improve their writing skills. 
  • Before students can learn to write effectively there are some prerequisite skills I recommend they have mastered. They should be able to effectively answer "Who", "What", "When", "Where", "Why" and "How" questions. 
  • Students should have experience with and mastered using pronouns
  • Students should also be able to successfully build and structure a sentence.
Once your students have mastered these prerequisite skills, you can start tackling some writing! I want my kids to have experiences with all different types of writing (expository, narrative, imaginative, ect.) so here are some of the tools I use! 

Narrative/Journal Writing
Journal writing can be a great tool used for a variety of different reasons. First and foremost it gives students (especially those struggling with language/social skills) an outlet.Daily writing in a more relaxed format provides a way for a child to communicate and explore different thoughts and feelings in a non-threatening way. Students with Autism have language deficits that may impede their ability to generate original ideas. However, with the write support and prompt-fading system, these students can become successful narrative writers! Sentence Strips are a great tool to use for journal writing. Take a look at mine
I created these sentence strips as a prompt for my students to use while journal writing. You can start as simple as having a student pick ONE prompt from the pink "at school" jar, fill in the blank, then write the complete sentence. As the students get more and more comfortable you can add more sentences to the paragraph. To add "rigor" to the activity have the students choose several random statements about what they did at school, and then conclude with a statement about what they will be doing after school. Currently I have my students picking three random "at school" statements and 1 "after school" statement to create a short journal paragraph!

You can download my sentence strips for free by clicking this link

Expository Writing
Expository writing is a type of writing that is used to explain, describe, give information, or inform. I wanted the expository writing to be functional as well as engaging so heres what I did! I always ask parents in the beginning of the year to send in pictures when students participate in activities they like or go to events they enjoy! I laminated the pictures first and then created a PDF template (you can download below) that has the students answer who/what/where/when/ and why questions about the pictures. We use the same template and repetition to maintain consistency and establish a pattern of writing. This template worked WONDERS for my kids. Eventually the questions are faded out and the students are writing 4-5 sentence paragraphs about relevant information (who, what, where, when, ext. questions). 

I would also recommend using DIY sentence structure cards (index cards/post its pictured below) with this activity for students who struggle with sentence building.

Descriptive Writing

The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that a picture is formed in the reader's mind. Descriptive writing can be hard for individuals with disabilities, especially Autism, because of language barriers that affect a students ability to organize complex thoughts. I have found the best way to teach students about descriptive words and how to use them is through mystery boxes! They are an engaging and meaningful tool and so easy to make. I wrapped a shoebox in construction paper and decorated it with stuff lying around the classroom/my house. I punched a whole in the top and masked it with white paper so students couldn't see inside. I then created a worksheet that goes along with the activity that you can download on my scribe account. Check it out below! 

The Autism Helper also has some really great ideas and strategies for writing centers! I'd LOVE to hear what you guys do to improve writing in your classroom! Please comment below! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Creating a Classroom Library

I can't believe its August already! As the summer is beginning to come to an end, teachers are starting to set up their classrooms. Setting up the classroom library can prove to be especially challenging for new teachers. How do you create a classroom library that is both organized and works for your specific readers? I did so using a combination of labeling books by topic and level. I have a classroom of 6 students that have a variety of different needs. So using just one organizational method wasn't going to work for my kids. Heres how I did it: 

First separate your leveled readers out from your other books. I entered into a new classroom so I had some leveled readers that I brought with me and some were left from the old classroom. Once you have all your leveled readers ready, develop a labeling system that is quick and easy. Mine was colored smiley face sticker system: 

Red: Beginning Readers
Yellow: Beginner- Low Middle
Green: Middle – High
Blue: High (independent reading) 

Once you are done labeling your leveled readers, place them into a bin starting with reds in the front then yellows, greens, ect. Label the front of your bin with the label above so teachers and assistants have easy access to levels. Once you know your students abilities, create and laminate a cheat sheet of each child's current level so assistants (and students if you wish) know which books meet each child's individualized needs. 

Now after the leveled readers have been placed into a colored bin. Sort the rest of your books by topic. 

I sorted them based on the books I had in my classroom so you will have to do the same. If you want some ideas for topics to sort into here is a list of mine: 

  • Leveled Readers
  • Letters/Numbers/Colors/Shapes
  • Storytime Books
  • Lesson Plans (books used to teach lessons) 
  • Scholastic Readers
  • Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. 
  • Disney Books
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Trains/Trucks
  • Pair it Books (Instructor reads 1 page/child reads 1 page)
  • Seasonal/Holiday Books
  • Animals
  • Feelings/Life Skills 
  • Chapter Books
  • Workbooks/Coloring Books 

You can download my labels HERE! Enjoy :D

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Before you throw those old magazines away....

...think of how you can use them in your classroom! Because the workload is so intense for teachers during the school year, summer is a great time to work on independent activities for students like file folders, centers, and crafts. But those months off mean tight budgets so spending money on these types of activities is not really an option. I've been working on some classroom activities that are made from old magazines. Magazines are a great tool to use to show students real life images and promote generalization (a skill thats so important to students with special needs) So before you throw them away check for the following:

  • Clothing Pieces: Flip through the pages to see if you can find full pieces of clothing. Pages like this you can find in some magazines. Also check out any clothing catalogues you get sent in the mail. Those are great for clothing pieces!
  • Food Pictures: Flip through the pages to see if you can find ANY sort of foods. You'll be able to find all sorts of different food pictures to use for a variety of different activities. I love creating different food file folders. 
  • Cool Wording: Cut out any cool words or letters you may see in a magazine. You can cut out individual letters from words to mix and match to spell your own words. 
Once you have collected all you need. You can use the pictures to makes some cool classroom activities. You can have students make "all about me" picture collages, center activities like a non-identical clothing file folder or healthy vs. unhealthy food sort, or a classroom wreath from the scraps! Check them out below! 

I love making activities like this! You can get so creative with it plus its all FREE! I'd love to see what you can come up with! Share/comment below! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Classroom Organization: Labels, Labels, and more Labels.

So I was really starting to relax and enjoy my summer when I got a call from my principal that the furniture in my room was ready to be moved in. I met with two lovely and very handy men who helped me move all my furniture. Once everything was in place, instead of feeling accomplished I felt overwhelmed. I am an organizational freak and my classroom was/still is far from organized in its current state. My first step was to come up with some labels and decide where everything was going to go. When I ventured onto pinterest to look up some classroom organizational tips I found so many great classroom labels! Unfortunately once I clicked on them I was taken to their Teachers Pay Teachers page for $7.00 or more. Listen I'm all about labels but I'm really more about FREE labels. So I designed my own: check them out below (Shoutout to my amazing boyfriend Zach Tweddell for the template!)

You can download my entire set which includes labels with and without pictures, rewards, and daily schedules for FREE by clicking here

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sight Word Fun!

Teachers are very familiar with the term "sight words" but if not heres a little breakdown:

A sight word is a high frequency (commonly used in the english language) word that a child learns to automatically recognize without having to phonetically sound out. It is important for students to learn sight words to develop fluency. "Accurate and automatic recognition of these high frequency words enables a child to read more smoothly and at a faster pace." (Scholastic, 2014) This not only helps the child read fluently, but also allows the focus to be on what the child is reading rather than sounding out the words leading to an increase in comprehension skills. There are 220 Dolch Sight Words in the english language. They are the most commonly used words. I purchased Dolch Sight Word cards level A, B, and C from amazon. But if you would like to make your own you can print them out for free by clicking here.

Personally, sight words are one of my FAVORITE things to teach. I am working on creating fun sight word activities this summer because I know I'll have no time during the school year with everything else going on. Here is a list of my favorite activities for sight word practice. Some of these you may have heard of already, but there are some good/new ones in here as well!

  • Playdough: There are SO many amazing uses for playdough in the classroom. Sight words is one of these ways! The two ways I use playdough for sight words is by having the students mold the playdough into the letters of the word and then practice reading them. The other way is by laying the playdough flat and writing the words in the playdough using either your finger or a toothpick. My kids LOVE working with playdough. Especially my students with sensory needs so its a great tool! Definitely one of my favorites (Pictured below)
  • Sight Word Songs by Have Fun Teaching: It can sometimes be difficult to appeal to those auditory learners when trying to come up with sight word activities. Have Fun Teaching solved that problem! They have a TON of songs for different sight words including: is, go, are, after, and about. They come out with new songs all the time as well! If you have access to youtube at your school this is definitely a resource you DON'T want to miss: click for their youtube channel
  • Rainbow Words: This is probably one you have heard of. I know we've used it in every classroom that I have worked in. Have the students write the sight word(s) in pencil on lined paper. Then have the students chose their favorite color crayon/marker and trace over the word in their favorite color saying the letters out loud and then reading the word. Have the students repeat this step using two more different colored crayons/markers. Extra practice reading and writing sight words. They end up looking pretty cool in the end! 
  • Sight Word Leap Frog: This is one of my kids favorite games! I created a pdf of all 220 sight words on lily pads. Laminated them, and cut them out for multiple levels and uses. Lay out the target sight words on the floor. Call out a specific word and have the students leap/hop/jump like frogs. They love to be silly and jump around like crazy frogs.  You can get my set for FREE by clicking here.  
  • Snowball fight: This is another one of my favorite sight word activities! Have each student write one of the sight words on a piece of plain white paper. You can write them if you want to target certain words. Give each student one sheet and have them crumple it up. Have half the class stand on one side of the room. Have the other half stand on the other side and have the students have an indoor snowball fight. on the count of 3 everyone throws it and then picks up a new word. They must read the new world correctly or their out! 
  • Rotten Apples: I use this activity specifically to focus on challenging sight words. Each student is given an apple with a sight word written on it facing down. They pass the cards around the circle to the tune “1, 2, 3, 4, rotten apples on the floor.” The students then flip the card over one at a time and read the high frequency word that is written on their flashcard. If the student reads the word correctly, they put it back into the pile. If the student does not read the word correctly, then he or she must keep the flashcard and it becomes a “rotten apple.” The teacher will then correct the student and go over the word, its spelling, and its meaning. The student may get rid of the rotten apple if they pick up the match (same word) and read both cards correctly. The student with the least rotten apples in the end wins! For a free apple template click the link. Print on red and green paper and laminate :). 
  • Sight word Twister: I have yet to try this in my classroom but I saw it on Pinterest and can't WAIT to try it. Put a sight word on each of the colored circles and have the children use the different parts of their body to touch the correct sight word.
for more info click here

  • Shaving/Whipped Cream: Give each student a paper plate and spray a small amount of shaving or whipped cream. Have students practice writing their sight words in the cream with their finger. Warning, comes with a mess! 
  • Sight Word Fishing: I purchased Pressman's "Lets Go Fishing" from target ($10) as a board game to have in my classroom where students can practice play/social interactions with peers. Turns out this game can be used as a reading tool by adding one simple component! Write sight words on the bottom of the fish. Have the students use their poles to attract fish. When caught the student picks up the fish and must correctly read the sight word. If they do, they can keep it. If they read it incorrectly they must put it back and fish again. The student with the most fish in the end wins! If you don't have/want to purchase this game, you can make your own fish by cut laminate and magnets. Put a string and a paperclip to use as a fishing pole! :) 
  • Sight word name game: Give each student a name tag with a sight word written on it. Once the student receives a name tag he/she is instructed to introduce him/herself to another student using this script. "Hi my name is _______(sight word name). I start with a ______ and I'm spelled like this___________(spells sight word)" Once both students have introduced themselves, they switch name tags and find another student and repeat procedure with a new sight word. Introduce different voices, and silly characteristics to make this game fun! You can download my template here.
  • Dolch Sight Word Bingo (SMARTBoard/Computer Game): This game is a great technological enhancement to sight word Bingo. This website has words from pre-primer all the way up to 3rd grade! Visit the link here: ABCya Sight Word Bingo .

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Teacher's Prayer

Congratulations teachers! You successfully completed this year of teaching. Whether this was your first year teaching, like myself, or it was your twenty fifth, every single one of us has something to be proud of! As the year is coming to an end and I packed up and now trying to organize all my teacher nonsense, I found this little slice of inspiration and wanted to share it with you. I received it upon my college graduation two years ago and honestly, I forgot about it till now. But since discovering it is has had a profound impact on my view of teacher. It reminded me of why I became a teacher and why this job is so important :).

I have laminated my copy and will place it on my light switch in my classroom so its the first thing I see when I enter into the room to turn on my lights and its the last thing I see when I leave to turn them off. Hopefully it will keep me calm an grounded during those challenging moments that all teachers face during the school year and keep me encouraged and positive as well. (PS, this "prayer" can be used as nothing more than a daily reminder so its not just for those of us who are religious!) Thank you again and I hope it brings inspiration to you all!

If you would like a copy to download you can download it for free by clicking here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Daily Parent Communication

With the end of the school year coming up, its time for teacher regrouping to begin! But for others, summer school is upon us. As I was discussing with one of my special education teacher friends about what her plans were for her summer programing, parent communication came up. Parent communication, especially when working with students with special needs, is a very important component. Parents want to be involved and part of their students educational process (for good reason). A child's parent can be the students biggest advocate, as well as a valuable source for a child's life outside of the school setting. ANYWAY back to the subject matter. My teacher friend and I started brainstorming the best way to ensure parent communication on a daily basis. So I have designed a resource for you to use as daily tool to communicate back and forth. Now this is not to replace preferred methods of communication such as phone calls or email. Its just a nice tool to have/use to give a quick synopsis of the students day and hear any quick questions/comments/concerns from the parents. Thanks Tina Graziano for the inspiration!

This is a printout of a parent communication log used for daily communication. I print out one and make copies for everyday use! To download click HERE !!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

the iPad is iMazing!

The iPad serves so many great functions. As teachers we all know that the iPad can help enhance curriculum and help teach skills. It keeps students engaged and excited about learning. It can also be used to enhance communication skills, adapt to situations, promote social skills, and used as a reward. I'm so excited to share some of my favorite iPad/iTouch apps. I have compiled a list of apps that are either free/relatively cheap that I have found to be extremely beneficial for the primary/elementary age group. I have classified them by subject/skill.

  • Hooked on Phonics ($49.99/Free) Hooked on Phonics is a FABULOUS program that has multiple levels of reading. It is normally $49.99 but during teacher appreciation week they give it away for free! So keep a look out during the next teacher appreciation week if you don't want to spend on a bundle on this GREAT app. 
  • Starfall ABC's ($2.99) This app is great because it focuses mainly on letter sounds. Once students have mastered single letter sounds, it moves on to letter combinations/digraphs! Not only is this app great for emerging readers, my kids also LOVE it as a reward!
  • ABC Wow! (Free/$1.99) This app hones in on letters and letter sounds. The free version comes with an alphabet song, and letters d-e. The extended version contains all the letters. I purchased the version and it is awesome! You can use the free version just for the alphabet song though. 

  • Starfall Learn to Read ($2.99) This is an extension of Starfall letter/sound recognition. It sets the stage for emerging readers. I love this app!
  • Word World (Fun with Friends) ($1.99) This app disseminates from from the PBS show Word World which incorporates words into pictures. It includes common/everyday words that kids will see. Students practice sight word reading, phonics, and spelling skills. This app lets students play games to earn their favorite episodes of Word World. 
  • Learn with Word Friends (Free) The free app contains three sections to access that address common words. This app teaches kids how letter formation and sight recognition through the use of pictures. 
  • Monkey Math($1.99): This app focuses on emerging math skills including number recognition, associations, sets, writing numbers, patterns, sequencing, counting, and even basic addition. As the students start to master these skills you can personalize and increase level of difficulty and topics covered. The best part about this app is that the questions/presentation vary so the kids never get bored of it!
  • TouchMath Pro ($2.99) This is an introductory app to Touchmath. I have found the touch-point system to be extremely effective with my students with disabilities. This app introduces the touch-point system, where the touch points go, and includes lots of activities to practice incoporating the touch points. Touchmath is coming out with TouchAddition and TouchSubtraction, so stay tuned for those!
  • Animal Math (Free) This free version of the app covers counting and sequencing numbers up to 10. It also covers introductory patterns, and single digit addition to 5. There is an extension of this app to purchase, but I prefer to just use the free activities. 
  • Drive About (Number Neighborhood) ($1.99): This app is similar to Monkey math. It also focuses on emerging math skills including shapes, matching, counting, sequencing, number identification, and patterns. Awesome app! 
  • iLearn with Boing Ocean Adventures: ($1.99) This app focuses on three main skills Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, and Sentence formation. I mainly use this app for sentence formation. It uses silly/nonsense words to help students build a sentence using a noun, verb, ect. Its a great tool for kids to help understand how to construct a contextually and grammatically appropriate statement. 
  • Abitalk Sentence Builder (FREE) This is another sentence building activity. This app helps students create sentences about pictures using word bank words. This app ALSO comes with a special needs edition to help break down the construction of a sentence even further. I have found over the course of my teaching, students with disabilities tend to struggle in the area of sentence building. 
  • Kid Weather ($1.99) Its never too early to start teaching kinds (especially students with disabilities) those functional life skills. One of those major skills is identifying and choosing appropriate clothing based on the weather. Kid Weather is an AWESOME app that I wish I had when I was younger to help me determine what to wear based on a certain temperature. My kids struggle with identifying/relating to temperature numbers so we start with just cold, cool, warm, and hot and work our way up. I would highly recommend this app. 
Overall Awesome Apps! These apps cover multiple subjects and are just awesome overall. 
  • Preschool and Kindergarden Learning games ($2.99) This app is a student favorite. It covers multiple concepts in language arts, math, writing, spelling and is a hit with the kids. For the price, it is definitely worth it. It is available in first and second grade versions as well! I incorporate this into centers and whole lesson activities! 
  • PBS Kids (FREE) I use this app for centers, to teach specific concepts, but also as rewards. My kids love the different shows and activities that PBS Kids app offers. The best FREE app out there. 
  • Sprout (FREE) Similar to PBS Kids.. again another awesome app that serves a variety of different purposes. 
  • LEAP Frog Learning App (FREE) an app that allows you to personalize the age/education of the students. LEAP from creates awesome products and their apps are great as well! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Special Education Teacher Interview Questions

SO! Finding a job these days can be extremely challenging. It requires going on multiple interviews and we all know those can be a PAIN to prep for. Here is a list of interview questions I've been asked over the years! The majority of these questions are for special education positions, but some of them may work for gen ed positions as well.  I can't guarantee that they are what your principal will be looking for, but they have certainly worked for me. I hope they work just as well for you!

You can download my sample answers to questions HERE!

1) Tell us about yourself/ What can you tell us about your background that will bring your resume to life?

2) Why is collaboration important?
3) If I walked into your classroom right now, what would I see?

4)What is your classroom management style?

5) What would you do if a student is being noncompliant/disruptive 

6) What would a traditional lesson plan look like in your classroom?

7) Tell Us About the Common Core/How do you teach to the Common Core State Standards?

8) Describe the Main Points of the IEP 

9) How do you teach reading/writing?

10) How do you teach math?

11) What language arts programs are you familiar with/have experience with?

12) What math programs are you familiar with/have experience with?

13) What are some strategies you use to help a general education teacher modify curriculum and differentiate instruction?

14) What would you tell a general education teacher when he/she says a 

student is struggling and needs to be referred for special education.

15) What types of assessments do you use?

16) How do/would you deal with a challenging parent? Provide a specific example (if possible) of when you had to deal with a challenging parent?

17) What do you know about readers/writers workshop?

18) Describe how you prepare students for state/standard (in my case NJASK) test?

19) How do you use technology in the classroom:

20) How do you differentiate instruction?

21) What would a day in your classroom look like?/Describe the breakdown of your day?
This is an example of the day in the life of the special education teacher. If you want a specific block schedule to reference, you can download mine Right Here

21) What would your literacy block look like?
Please see the above question to be able to describe what any academic block may look like. 



Friday, June 13, 2014

Pete the Cat "I love those shoes"

Pete the Cat "I love my White Shoes":)

This is a demo lesson I did for a pre-k multiply disabled classroom that I interviewed for. The kids LOVED IT! Pete the cat is a huge hit with great concepts and fun songs. I even find myself singing his "I love my white shoes" song.  I wanted to share the lesson with you! Some of this stuff I found on pinterest, others I made myself.

The lesson started by just reading Pete the Cat I love my White Shoes, stopping periodically to ask simple/basic story recall questions and sing the "I love my shoes" song. The song adds so much to the lesson and can be found on The downloadable version has the entire story so I used VoiceMemo application (pictured below) on my iPad to record and label each section for easy access and still involve myself in the reading of the story. This really captured the attention of those visual and auditory learners.

A strategy that I have found to be extremely successful with most areas of reading but especially for reading comprehension and story recall is repetition. So the next part of the lesson involved re-reading the story, but this time the students completed a file folder activity as they followed along. This brought in those kinesthetic learners. File folders are pictured below. 

Click the link below for a free printout of the file folder pieces! I laminated the folders and the pictures and attached them with Velcro. Enjoy!

Finally, the students completed a worksheet as we went through the book (short synopsis version) one final time. This is the worksheet they completed, I used this for independent practice and assessment (since demo lesson was only 20 minutes long). 

For a free download of the worksheet Click Here!