Happiest of New Years to YOU!

Hope you have a Happy New Year!!!!  Get 20% off at my TeacherPayTeachers store on Jan. 1, 2014. Click here to shop my store!   I have some new products, so check them out!


Overcoming Evil with Good One Year After Sandy Hook

Remember and honor lives lost in Sandy Hook one year ago today by doing Random Acts of Kindness for others. "The people of Newtown are asking everyone to honor these children and teachers with Random Acts of Kindness today, December 14th. While you are out and about getting ready to spend the holidays with your loved ones, take a minute to do an act of kindness for someone else."

If you haven't seen it yet, please check out this video: Evil Did Not Win . One of the victim's mother's shares what she has learned over the last year. It is sad, but inspiring!

Lastly, check out the  TeachersPayTeachers Blog today, which has links for free resources on teaching and spreading Random Acts of Kindness through your classroom!

And finally, thanks to Krista-Wallden, one of my favorite illustrators, for the awesome graphic above!


Donor's Choose is Amazing for Teachers and Students

If you are a classroom teacher, please check out DonorsChoose.org to get free materials for your class! So far I have gotten three  projects funded with over $1000 of materials for my class (including 6 laptops!) Here are current stats from their website:

Go to their about page to find out more about how you can get your own projects funded!!!   Finally, here is a link to my page: http://www.donorschoose.org/lisa.goodell    Check out my current  project request and completed projects. And then get started on your own today!!!


Summer Fun!

Hope you've had a great summer. I am gearing up to start Aug. 14. We have enjoyed some much needed relaxation on the beautiful Central Coast of California.  Here are some fun photos I took, including baby sea otters!!!  I hope you are enjoying your summer!!


Angry Birds and Piggies Craft project

We are still on the Angry Bird roll in my class... all thanks to Mrs. B, one of the speech tutors!!!  You can see our growing flock in the photo! Today we were planning to make the little bird bird, but then Mrs. B popped in my room with another surprise! (More on that later). Below are photos of pieces that make up the blue bird, and a group of 3 birds flying.

When Mrs. B came in she showed a Piggy and the kids went crazy with  excitement!!

However, we stuck to the schedule.. with only three days left next week I know to save the Piggy and get some good behavior along the way!  As usual, we talked about the shape, color and size of the pieces as we assembled them! 

Thanks for visiting, please pin onto your boards or share on other social media!!


Another Angry Birds Craft project: Yellow and Black birds this time!

Recently I posted some pics and directions to make the red Angry Bird, see the blog post here.  Well, yesterday we made black and yellow angry birds!  They are so cute!!! Kids got to again practice color, size and shapes again while making them!

Stay tuned, because tomorrow we are going to make the cute little blue Angry Birds!!!

Besides some extra black feathers, the below pic shows pieces needed for the yellow Angry Bird.

Photo below shows pieces needed for the black Angry Bird.

Have a great day!!! Only 4 days left of school for me... IDK how I will get everything done that  needs to be done!


Blooms and Birds

Today's post isn't about teaching, just some fun photos of our garden in bloom. We have also been enjoying the birds out our kitchen window! First photo is before the roses bloomed, the second photos is during the first bloom (same lamp is shown, but from different angle).

Above is a quail, very common. Sometimes we see covey of over a dozen in our front yard or running across the street while driving.

Above is a Robin Red Breast, very common year round.

 Not sure what the above is, but it is common year round.
 Above and below are black headed grosbeaks... not common. But we see them for about 10 days every spring while they are migrating.
Hope you enjoyed this little nature break!!


Angry Birds Craft for Practicing Shape, Color & Size

 My awesome speech therapist did this craft with my class this week!! And her assistant created and cut out all the pieces for us!!! Am I the luckiest or what?!!  I love Mrs. Dominguez and Mrs. Buchinoff!  (Whoa, probably too many exclamation points in this paragraph, but hey, there's only a few weeks left of school and they really are the greatest.)

So this week we made the red angry bird.  See below for pieces used. Next week we will probably make the black one (so stay tuned).

After everyone had the pieces, the speech teacher had student hold up each type of piece (i.e. "Hold up the medium white circles. What part will those be?")  This was also a great way to make sure everyone had all the pieces.

Next, she walked them through gluing on all the pieces, again making them use words to describe each piece.  Now we did have kids sit at three tables and each one had an adult to help out, which really helped, too.  And viola! Below is the final masterpieces!! 

This morning I had the birds posted on the wall, and one of my kiddos reminded us all to not let any angry birds poop on us today!  Ha! I think I need to come with a writing activity to go with this!!


Countdown Sticks til the Last Day of School

I thought it would be fun to do a fun activity each day until the end of school comes to countdown the days. We had already started counting down the days since Day 20 on the whiteboard.  Just take some popsicle sticks and write some activities on them.  I decided to not number them, but you could always order them so that certain activities line up with the best day to do them.  Yesterday was our first day pulling a stick and we pulled "popcorn." 

Other ideas:  lunch in class, make a bookmark, do a Steve and Greg dance, get $5 Goodell Dollars, get $10 Goodell dollars, read outside, Activity/PE outside (I don't do PE normally because my students are mainstreamed during PE), 1 piece of candy (I NEVER give candy so this is a biggie in my class), write with a pen, popcorn, special art: drawing, special art: painting, bubbles, airplanes (I got dollar store styrofoam planes), kites (I got dollar store  kites that were 2 for a $1), water painting on sidewalk math, go outside and read, extra library time, background music during class.

Finally, another way to display the activities would be to write them on paper, roll up and put in purple balloons...like a "bunch" of "grapes." Last year we did this and popped one each day. However, don't pop balloons if you have students who are sensitive to loud noises!

Have a great end of school year!

As the school year comes to a close (at least in the US) it is time to appreciate all that teachers do! What better way to celebrate than having a sale?!!!  Every item in my store will be 20% off on Tuesday - Friday, May 7, 8, 9 & 10, 2013.  

In addition, if you purchase on May 7-8, be sure to use the TeachersPayTeachers promo code TAD13 to get up to 28% off all items in my store.   http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Lisa-Goodell
As a current full-time teacher myself, I want to acknowledge and thank you for the many things you do to make your classroom the best learning environment for your students. Thank you for the countless hours planning, preparing, caring and worrying about your students. Personally, I have needed a bit of encouragement lately, so as someone told me, I want to pass on to you... you have an amazing purpose and presence in the lives of your students. May you have the strength, wisdom, energy and joy as you finish your school year.  Don't ever forget that what you do is important and that you are able to affect more people in a positive way than you can imagine!   Sincerely, Lisa Goodell
Don't forget: For extra savings, remember to use the promo code: TAD13  at checkout.


FREEBIE for Filling in Those Test Bubbles!!

Hi there!!  Is everyone ready for standardized testing?  Our school will be testing for the next two weeks. However, I got a week-long head start since I have to give the normal test with accommodations plus two modified versions to my kiddos with special needs. I have a FREEBIE posted over in my TeachersPayTeachers store... It is a packet that gives kids practice bubbling in circles for the tests. Get it here. If it works well and you want your students to have even more practice, then consider purchasing my Pet Themed Test Prep packet, which is similar to the freebie. While you are at my store, please check out my other products! 

Best wishes to everyone who does statewide testing! Hope it goes smoothly for you all!


Easy Butterfly Art for Parent Conferences

I love how the butterflies add color and seem ready to flutter right off the wall! 
This project comes straight from my own kindergarten experience and is pretty simple to do. All you need is 3-4 pre-cut butterfly templates, colored large construction paper, tempura paints and brushes, and pipe cleaners. I chose to do this over two days because of time constraints during PM groups (3 or 4  fifteen minute rotations, depending on how much time we have).  For Day 1, students traced butterfly pattern on construction paper color of their choice. Then they cut it out.  Day 2 and 3: Students in my group were on computers so I could pull them over one at a time (We have carpet and past experience has taught me that one at a time is better when dealing with paint!)  After folding butterfly in half and opening back up again, the student painted a few dots, swirls or blobs on one side of the butterfly. Then we closed it, smoothed it out, and opened again. (Great way to teach symmetry!) After they dried we stapled an antenna on each butterfly. If we had more time I would have liked to add some glitter!  To add a 3D look, pin the center and both sides so part of the wings stick out from the wall. It was interesting how some only wanted to paint dots, even though I was wanting them to be more creative with swoops, stripes, etc.  Oh well, even telling my story didn't inspire them.... 

When I was in kinder we did this project.  The whole class was painting and folding their butterflies at once. Well, the boy next to me bumped into my arm and I ended up getting my blue dot smeared into my red dot! I was so upset that my butterfly was ruined! I marched over, probably crying, to my teacher... but she folded and smoothed it down (oh boy, now I thought she was making it worse!!) and when she opened it here was a beautiful blob of red, blue and even purple.Whoa, it was like magic! I couldn't wait to tell the others at my table... after that we were all inspired to make multi-colored blobs on our butterflies!!

I am now ready for parent conferences this next week!!  Hope you have a great day!


Make what kind of Noises???

Right before Spring break I had been introducing WBT classroom rules in my class. Using WBT (see end of my post for more info) techniques, you add gestures to everything you teach in order to help kids remember, and it makes it more fun, too.  Later in the week my students were wanting to show off how they had memorized the classroom rules and gestures. Well, many of my kiddos have trouble saying all their letter sounds due to speech impairments so at times it is hard to understand them.  The funniest one that made us adults have to hide our smiles was when the child said, "Rule #4: Make fart choices."  (Which if you aren't listening carefully sounds a lot like "make fart noises.")  Fortunately, none of the other kids were listening, so no one got made fun of!!    So can you figure out what the rule is supposed to be??  

Please go to the Whole Brain Teaching website at  www.wholebrainteaching.com.  All the workshops are free so some teachers from my district have been going whenever one is given within 6 hours of where we are. I'd been hearing about how much fun and helpful they are so I decided I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and see if any concepts could be adapted to my special day class.  Chris Biffle, the founder, is amazing - he gives a fast-paced all day free seminar that is relevant, fun and gives you tools you can literally use the next day.  All their materials are all free on their website and there a lot of videos on You Tube as well.  Go check it out!!


Washington and Lincoln writing and craft

This was a fun project that allowed students to compare George Washington and Abraham  Lincoln. Then we brainstormed sentences to write, an added a picture - if you hold it one way it is Washington with his white wig, but if you turn it upside down, then it can be Lincoln in his stove pipe hat!!

Remember I teach a multi-aged special day class (SDC in California) with kids who have mild/moderate learning disabilities or autism.  General ed teachers could do this activity in a whole class setting, but we did it in small groups. After discussing what a president is and learning about Honest Abe and "I cannot tell a lie" George, we composed a sentence about each man. Later in the day we reviewed sentences. The simple sentences that won the vote were:

  • George Washington was our first president.
  • President Lincoln was called Honest Abe.

The next day in groups we wrote out our sentences in our best writing. Then we cut out two copies of the same pattern... what began as Abe's hat became George's jacket when rotated 180 degrees.

Likewise, Abe's beard became George's curls (which can't be seen since we glued cotton balls on top for George's wig). The kids thought his wig was awfully silly, which sparked a discussion of hairstyles of all the presidents over the years!

We choose to make them small so they could both be glued on a piece of construction paper that fit nicely on our wall, but you could decide to make them as separate projects.

Have a great week!


Vocabulary Word Parade

You know how sometimes you think you have a good idea, only to have your students end up not as interested as you?  Well, I wasn't sure about having a Vocabulary Parade to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America, but this event turned out great!!  The kids learned so much and it was FUN!  This wasn't a school-wide event, I just did it in my SDC class.  I sent a simple letter home telling families to help their child come up with a word they that they would want to dress up like on Friday. It could not be a Halloween costume. I had some pictures from the internet with things like popcorn and apple. Some kids came up with their own costume and we helped those who didn't bring one Friday morning.. so 100% of the class, including adults, had a costume and/or sign with an object or picture of their very own word, along with the definition. We practiced having a "fashion show" where students had to say their word loud and clear (which was enough for my students with speech disorders). After videotaping, we watched ourselves (this helped some realize they had to be louder.)  Then we took our show "on the road" to about 3 other classes (including speech room and office). The kids got so much positive attention, practiced using their words, and they loved every second of it!  Moreover - and this is the part I didn't anticipate at all - since we were done by 10:00 recess, they got all their energy and hyperness out of their systems...  and were calm the whole rest of the day!  

Note to self: don't make them wait until afternoon for fun things all the time!
Words chosen: monkey, race car, popcorn, dolphin, playing card, math, policeman, popcorn again- I let more than one kid have the same word, lion, heart, watermelon, apple, and rabbit.


Office in a Box

Have you ever put together packets after making copies and the office stapler runs out of staples?   As a special ed teacher, I am forever copying IEPs and reports and putting together paperwork to go to various team members and parents.  At my old school my classroom was out in the boondocks and I hated to have to go back and forth if I forgot something or if the office copy room supplies were out (which was often).  So I got smart one day and came up with my "Office in a Box" kit that I keep in my teacher mailbox in the office.  It has everything I need! 

 I purchased a shallow clipboard box, which you can see is a little larger than an 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It is about 1 inch tall, so it doesn't fill my mailbox. It holds lots of goodies: pens, pencils. small stapler, staples and staple remover, eraser, paper clips, scissors, and sticky notes (blank ones, but also some preprinted ones like "sign and return" which I just print out and stack on the left side).  It has make my life so much easier!!!

Have you come up with similar things or kits to make your life easier at work? Please share in the comments section!


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