Self Care Sundays: Skincare

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Product 1: Arbonne Gentle Daily Cleanser $30

Color Coded Centers

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
I have almost completed my first year as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher. I taught the older grades in the years prior to this one. In regards to teaching your little ones (or bigger ones) how to use visual schedules and transition cards, one of the biggest tips I can give you is to color code your classroom!

It's SO simple!

1. Determine what areas you want to have in your classroom. For example, I have various areas in my classroom: the library, the whole group area, the direct instruction area, the math table, the reading table, the art table, the sensory table, the social skills area, and the play zone.

2. Assign each area in your classroom a color. For example, the library could be the yellow zone, the whole group area could be the white zone, the direct instruction area could be the blue zone, etc.

3. Set-up a visual color system for your students. This will include color coded schedule icons and color coded signs. The color coded schedule icons will go on your student's schedules. The color coded signs will be posted at each center with velcro attached so that your students can match their schedule icon to the appropriate center. This allows your students to practice matching colors throughout their instructional day. I have also included shapes with my system so that my students can be practicing colors and shapes throughout their day. Check out my transition color coded system here.  For all of my other schedule icon needs (i.e. recess, snack, bathroom, sensory room, etc.), I use Christine Reeve's Autism Pre-K- Elementary Classroom Visual Bundle

4. Go all out! Color coding the areas of your room, especially your center areas, provides your students with the extra visual supports that they may need to distinguish one area from another.  Use color coordinated bulletin board paper. Use color coordinated hanging lanterns. I bought some from Amazon that I love. You can purchase them here. Use color coordinated binders. This helps you and your staff remember which data binder belongs to which table.

Google Classroom in Special Education Classrooms

Sunday, February 25, 2018
As a special education teacher, I use Google Classroom daily in my classroom to organize my technological resources. I also use it as a lesson planning tool to help me remember the key concepts and ideas that I want to cover each day in my classroom. I have used Google Classroom for the past three years and cannot imagine a day without it. It also makes having a sub a breeze!

  • You must have a gmail account to set-up a Google Classroom. After setting up your gmail account, go to so that you can begin setting up your Google Classroom.
  • Click on the + in the top right hand corner to create a new classroom. 

  • Select "Create class."

  • If you are not using your school gmail account, the above notice will pop up. Follow the instructions and links to set-up a G Suite for Education if you will be allowing your students to access your Google Classroom. Once your G Suite for Education is set-up, you can begin adding links and documents to your google classroom. 

  • Name your class. 

  • Decorate your class. You can choose a theme or upload your own image. 

  • Begin uploading your technological resources for your classroom. Click on "Create assignment" and then title it based on classroom activity (i.e. Circle Time #1, Quiet Time, Circle Time #2, etc.)

  • You can add attachments from your computer, items from your google drive, youtube videos, or other links. 

    • Once all my links are posted, I click "Add class comment" and add notes to myself for each day so that I remember what I want to include in that activity each day. This prevents me from having to carry around my lesson plan book all day. 

    Here is an example of a Google Classroom that is set-up for an Early Childhood Special Education Classroom.

    10 Must Have Items for Differentiation

    Friday, July 28, 2017

    DIFFERENTIATION: It is a word we hear all the time in the education world. Special education teachers live, breathe, and preach the importance of differentiation in their classroom. Additionally, general education teachers are constantly being challenged to differentiate the curriculum they are using to meet the needs of ALL of their students. Teachers are left wondering, how do we actually differentiate worksheets and classroom curriculum? What materials are helpful in the differentiation process? I will be sharing some of the differentiation techniques that I use in my moderate to severe classroom over the next couple of weeks. Today, I am sharing some of my favorite items that you can purchase from, yes you guessed it, Amazon! These items will make the differentiation process go smoother and will make it more fun for you and your students! 

    1. Crayola Markers:

    I use these markers for differentiation and color coding in my classroom DAILY. The tropical set is my favorite because they are so much fun! On a completely separate note, my students will work for the privilege of using these markers at my center. 

    2. Paint Dotters:

    These are awesome for non-writers. They assist with hand-eye-coordination, attention skills, and even fine motor skills. Many of my students that do not tolerate holding a pencil or crayon, will tolerate holding and using these. 

    3. Number and Letter Stamps:
    (*can be purchased separately, but it is cheeper to buy together) 

    Again, I use these for my non-writers. Instead of using a pencil to answer their math problems, they use these stamps. These are also awesome for math worksheets, spelling worksheets and tests, and for practicing names. 

    4. Stamp pads:

    You cannot use stamps without a stamp pad. These are my favorite. They are washable and do not dry out! There are lots of different colors that you can purchase. 

    5. Finger crayons:

    These are good for students with poor fine motor skills. Instead of grasping the crayon they place them on their fingers to color. 

    6. Highlighters:

    These are a MUST have in my classroom! I like this type of highlighter because it has a chisel tip. I place these at all of the centers in my classroom. These are used for students that can trace letters and numbers, but cannot write independently yet. These are also used for additional visual prompting for cutting. 

    7. Adaptive scissors:

    These are my favorite adaptive scissors. The spring can be slid into the scissors, making them open easily during use, or the spring can be slid out of the scissors, making them a normal pair of scissors. I make sure I have a set of these at every table in my classroom. 

    8. Laminator

    Some students benefit from laminated and velcroed pages and activities. This is my favorite laminator. I have two-one for home and one for school. 

    9. Lamination sheets

    These are my favorite lamination sheets. 

    10. Custom Name Stamp

    These are amazing for non-writers. My students love being able to stamp their name on their paper. I would suggest asking for $10 from each parent at the beginning of the school year to buy these stamps. Explain that the stamp will go with them to the next class/will be sent home at the end of his/her time with you. I recommend this stamp because it is self-inking, making it super convenient to use. 

    8 Steps to Creating an Interactive PDF

    Saturday, April 29, 2017
    As many of you know, I have recently become a huge fan of creating and using interactive PDFs for my students to use in my classroom. I love that I can create a personalized activity for my students that requires no additional prep. Additionally, my students really enjoy these activities because they can be used on the computer and iPad. I have had so many people ask me how I create these interactive PDFs. Today, I am finally sharing my simple tutorial for creating interactive PDFs. Creating interactive PDFs is very simple, but it is very time consuming! If you have additional questions, you can email me at

    1. Create your activity using powerpoint

    2. Save the powerpoint as a PDF

    3. Open the file in Adobe Acrobat  

    4. Go to "Tools" and Select "Edit PDF"

    5. Select "Links" and then Select "Add/Edit Document Links" from the drop down options

    6.  Draw a box with your cursor around the item/area of the page that you want to be linked. A pop up window will open. Make sure that "Go to page view" is selected under "Link Action."  Select "Next."

    7. A pop up window will open giving instructions. Go to the page that you would like the item/area of the page that you selected to be linked to. Once you are on the page that you want it to be linked to, select "Set link."

    8. Continue steps 6-7 for the remaining links that you would like to add

    TIP:  Place your cursor towards the bottom of the page. Select multi page view so that you can see 3+ pages on the side. This makes it easier to navigate from one page to the next. 

    Check out my interactive PDFs here

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