Thursday, July 24, 2014

Explain the Song Book to Me

When I posted about our {daily schedule} I mentioned what we do during each part of our day. One of those includes the "Song Book" during large group time. I had a lot of people show interest in what the song book is, so I said I would do a separate blog post on this.

If you are teaching pre-school-- at any age or skill level, you NEED a song book. Even if you're a kinder class, having a song book would make for a great break between activities.

My first year teaching special education pre-school we were using High Scope Curriculum. Our district ordered all kinds of supplies from them. High Scope is really awesome if you've never heard of it and they offer a tremendous amount of resources. We no longer use their assessment system (it was crazy tedious), we use Teaching Strategies GOLD instead, but we still use everything else high scope. I could continue to elaborate on High Scope and what it is, but that would be a huge tangent to this post. I'm just here to share about the Song Book today. :) But let me know if you want more information on it and I'll talk about it more in separate post!

We use the song book during our large group time. Each day there is a child's name velcro'd to the front of the book. That is the child who gets to pick that song that day. This works so well! Every now and then you might have the child who gets upset because it's not their turn (I think that's unavoidable at this age) but after a while they adjust really well to understanding that their turn is coming and you see that behavior decrease.

The Song Book can be ordered from High Scope for $24.99. It includes a page to use for the cover and 25 full page images for common songs to help the children decide on the song they wish to sing. I also have added additional songs to our book, where I create my own images. I put each page inside a page protector in our book.


Because High Scope sells this book, and because it would be against my moral compass, I cannot create a similiar product to sell you. BUT if you weren't interested in purchasing, you could easily start something like this on your own. I do really like the simplicity of the images High Scope uses for their songs. They are simple, yet convey each song well.

Now because I am working with students with autism and severe disabilities I have made some adaptations to our song book. Now this is something that I CAN share with you if you are interested in making the same adaptations to your book.

I added a sentence strip to the font of our book, and small PECs to each page with the matching song. This way, I can create a language opportunity for our students who are non-verbal or low verbal and using PECs. We then add the PECs page to this visual support for singing. Students who can use their words to tell me in a sentence what song they have picked will still hand me the PEC that matches the song so we can add it to this visual, they just will not use the sentence strip.

When you purchase my Song Book Supplement Pack you will get a sentence strip, PECs pictures for common songs, and the singing visual.

Click on the picture to find this in my TpT store

Now, if you're thinking, I love this idea, but I really don't know if my students can do this or understand how to pick a song. You're thinking wrong! They can! I have to share this wonderful story with you that happened just this past school year with one of my students.

He is non-verbal, we were starting him on PECs. He was currently using "one communication page" with pictures on either side. Mostly songs actually. He was also working on sitting for carpet time. He had progressed from sitting on a peanut ball with adult support, to sitting in a chair. He had observed other students chose a song from the song book, but he had never had a turn. We working on getting him attend to the group, I hadn't tried teaching the song book to him too.

Then one day during free centers, he takes a chair, slides it to his spot on the carpet, grabs the song book, and sits down in his chair. Picks a song and takes the PEC to an adult. IT WAS AMAZING! It's moments like that, that remind me how much I absolutely love what I do and love working with students with autism.

You can use this resource in any classroom! Make whatever adaptions you need to allow your students to access it!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a copy of the blorganizer by Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd! You can click {here} to enter the rafflecopter!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Time to get Blorganized!

I HOPE you are wondering what in the world it means to get blogrganized. I know I was and I did it and I love it! Blorganizing happens because of an AH-MAZING product created by Ashley at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd! I honestly can't describe how awesome this product is. It is essentially a binder that you create where you keep yourself organized on all things blogging & Teachers Pay Teachers.

Ashely posted a picture on instagram of her teacher desk and right there on top, smack dab in the middle was this binder that read "Blogging/TPT Binder" on the front. UM HELLO. What is that and how can I have it? She commented back that it was her product and in her TpT store. I think 30 seconds went by between reading her comment and having that product in my possession.

I got it all printed out-- printer friendly pages too in black and white with adorable borders and Melonheadz clipart of course. I laminated the cover page and binder spine. Purchased my binder-- purple to match. And then gathered any other materials I might need while I sift through the pages and decide how this is going to work for ME.

I decided on using page dividers to put my binder into sections and clear page protectors to hold all of the pages.

I am so head over heels for this that I put together a video review showing you how I put my binder together. My apologies for the fact that everything to you is backwards in this! I recorded it using the camera on the Mac. But I think you'll still get a good understanding of what is included in this item and how you can use it to stay organized.

Thanks to Ashley, I am going to give you a chance to win your very own copy of the Blogging and TpT Binder for free! All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below. A winner will be chosen on Sunday July 27th after the rafflecopter ends.

You can also head over to Ashely's blog to see how she set up her Blogging and TpT binder.

If you can't wait to enter, you can {click here} to purchase this from Ashley's store. It's time to get blorganized people! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Home Laminating Trick

Raise your hand if you have a home laminating machine. If you didn't raise your hand I'm going to strongly suggest that you go buy one! I had a "nicer" one from Staples that I used for some time. Until I managed to wrap laminate around the roll of it. I needed a new one before I had the chance to attempt fixing it or getting it replaced so I bought the Scotch laminator that Wal-Mart offers.

It works wonders. I would totally recommend it. It's really not a bad price either! And you can order your packs on amazon or purchase at Wal-Mart, whatever your preference is.

Okay, okay, now that we've discussed that, let's move on to the point of this post. Laminating at home is awesome. We can't live at school (although sometimes we think it would just be easier that way) so it's nice to have the option to laminate some items from the comfort of your desk chair...or couch..or floor..wherever you work best!

You have to use laminate pouches when using these machines. So you place your items inside of the pouch, and lay down the top layer. Then you have to pick your pouch up and slide into the machine--typically on an angle. Easy peasy right? YES! Until you have to laminate little tiny pieces. And ironically I prefer to do little tiny pieces at home because my home laminate is thicker than school laminate, therefore making my small items just a tad bit more durable.

They slide pretty easily when you're trying to move your pouch to the machine and forget it when you try to slide it in on angle. They will be all over the place. So I came up with a magic weapon.

Maybe you're thinking, "Erin, that's not really a secret. It's a gluestick." or "Duh, Erin, that's what I've been doing with mine forever!" Well there was a serious ah-ha moment when it dawned on me.

I put a dab of glue on the back of each picture then lay it down on my laminate pouch. It keeps the picture right in place, no sliding around while it enters in the machine.

Fill up your page with all of your pictures and then lay down the top of your pouch and it's ready to enter the machine. The other awesome part--you don't even notice the glue from the back after it runs through the machine.

And just so you know I'm not pulling your leg about the glue not showing through on the back.

Now if you hadn't thought to already do this on your own you're probably thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?!" So of course, that's why I'm sharing this idea. It is such a BRIGHT IDEA! If you're interested in more tips and tricks make sure to follow me on facebook and instagram.

You can also browse the link up below to find more bright ideas from over 80 awesome bloggers that spark your interest! I always learn so much from the Bright Ideas Hop!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Amazing Products for Back to School

Okay, okay, please take your fingers out of your ears and stop saying "lalalalala" just because I said "back to school". Unfortunately there's no avoiding it. It's on the horizon for most of us. I go back to work August 19th for teachers. WAH! 

BUT as much as we hate to admit that it's getting closer, we all love our summers for prepping new ideas for the classroom and/or brainstorming organization and decor ideas. I know one project I'm trying to tackle is my dramatic play area. I started a series of posts on it. You can read {part 1} here. I hope to have {part 2} coming soon.

Along with making classroom decisions, we're also shopping TpT looking for the perfect products to kick off our school year. Whether it's a product to be prepped for organizing, or activities to have planned for day 1. For me I've already purchased 2 AWESOME products to help get me organized for the year! 

The first is by Teaching Special Thinkers and the second, Schroeders Shenanigans in 2nd. I really think these 2 are going to be critical players in my organization for the 2014-2015 school year. Now, I just have to take the time to print the pages and decide how I want to set them up!

The next step is finding some really amazing products to start the year off right with! And so me and my girls at Freebielicious have teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you! Loaded with great products for back to school including book studies, craftivities, classroom prep, and content materials for back to school!  With 23 instant downloads... you have to check it out!

I've included my Let's Learn Colors unit in this bundle. We're always tackling colors in the beginning of the year to see who knows all of their colors, who can match them, etc. Hopefully in a kinder room you have a decent amount of students who come in knowing all their colors. Which makes the included Bingo game a perfect activity for the start of the year!

I also love doing the Name that Color book with my students! It's a great way to assess what colors they know to see if they can complete the book correctly on their own or not!

Want to see what else you get in this bundle? Check out the photo below!

For a limited time it is $34.99 from Educents which is 68% off!  Twenty-three products for your kinder and first grade classrooms and over 1200 pages of materials from some of your favorite teachers!  It's a bundle you are sure to LOVE!

To take a peek at all of the items included up close, check out the links below from each of the authors! Guaranteed to help kick your school year off to a great start!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Daily Schedule Cards

I really enjoyed sharing our daily schedule with you and it seemed like you all enjoyed hearing about it! I love using the pocket chart--it literally is perfect for our classroom! So I thought, I need to share these schedule cards with you too so that you can use this idea if you loved it as much as I do!

I've made the file editable just for you! This way you can call each part of the day whatever you like and add in your own times. I put 2 pictures on some of the cards just like I have, and I also broke them up into 2 in case that is your preference.

I also tried to think of additional subjects that you may need in your daily schedule that I don't use--and added those too! Such as therapies and specials.

If you need more than 1 bathroom to add to your schedule you will have to print 2 of that page. Each item is included only 1 time in the pack.

If you missed the post about our daily routine you can read up about it {here}.

If these cards would be the perfect addition to your classroom you can head to my TpT store to get your copy!