February 21, 2015

Through Your Child's Eyes (Simulations)

This morning as I was scrolling through Facebook, I noticed an article from Understood.org, written by a mom of a child who has Dyslexia. (Now before you stop reading my post because your child does not have Dyslexia, or because you think this is all that it's about, it's not. There's more.) Normally I would keep scrolling, but the title of the article drew me in. It is called "Now I Understand What My Child With Dyslexia Is Going Through".  As I read the title, I thought to myself, "how could anyone possibly know what a child with Dyslexia is going through, unless they've gone through it themselves?"
According to the author of this article (Lyn Pollard) one way to understand what these children are going through is to see for your self through simulation. As a special education teacher of children with multiple learning disabilities, I had to find out what this simulation was all about.
But before I tell you more about this simulation and my thoughts, I want to explain what the site, Understood.org, is all about. (Keep in mind that I am in no way affiliated with Understood.org, I simply thought this would be a good resource to share.) Understood.org is a site dedicated to helping parents access information needed to help them understand their children with learning and attention issues. It provides resources, tools, and support. Understood.org is supported by 15 non-profit organizations (including the National Center for Learning Disabilities) , and countless numbers of experts and advocates.
The experts at Understood.org have put together a simulator in order for others to experience what a learning and attention issue might look like. Each simulation starts with a video of a child and/or expert speaking about the specific issue (You can skip these videos if you'd just like to try the simulation). Afterwards there is a simulation that takes you through what that child might be experiencing. Keep in mind that each child's experience is going to be unique for them. The simulations are short, and if you are interested, it should only take you a few minutes.
I, myself, still don't fully understand what my students are going through even after experiencing the simulations. It did, however, give me a different perspective. It is not the child's fault that they struggle on a daily basis (yes, I already knew this, but it was a reminder I needed). As teachers and parents, it is our job to help these children find ways to cope, adjust, and succeed with the tools they are given.  Each time I get impatient and frustrated, I am going to come back and revisit this site as a reminder of what these children are dealing with.
If you take anything away from this, hopefully you will have a little more understanding, compassion, and patience for these children.
Please continue reading for step-by-step directions on how to access the simulations.
(You do NOT need to set up a profile in order to access the simulator.)
1. Click on the link Understood.org.
2. Go to 'Your Parent Toolkit'.
3. Click on 'Through Your Child's Eyes'.
4. Find the box that says 'Experience It' and click GO.
5. From there click your child's grade level (I clicked grade 1 since I teach K-2)
6. Click on 1 or ALL (Reading, Writing, Math, Attention, Organization) issues. ( I chose to click on ALL since I deal with all on a daily basis.) It will prompt you to begin, or continue.
(Feel free to click on the direct link below)
I hope to have helped open your eyes just a bit, as this did for me. It is one thing to know that a child is struggling, but it's another thing to experience it for yourself.

February 18, 2015

The Battle of the Pencil Sharpeners! (My Review)

Who doesn't love a good pencil sharpener?!
Before this year, I had been using the cheap pencil sharpeners that only last 1/2 a year at most. I was soo tired of them breaking mid-way through the year that I decided to invest in some better ones.
I had seen, all over social media, buzz about this pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies. When I first heard about it, I thought.. "Manual? Why would I want a manual pencil sharpener? Electric are soo much nicer."
Boy was I wrong!!
I sharpened that first pencil and my eyes lit up. It did a fabulous job! It was probably the sharpest pencil I've seen in a long time. I couldn't believe it so I sharpened another pencil, and another. I could even sharpen those cheap pencils, you know those ones that the stuff peels off the outside if not done correctly.
I was sold!
I was so excited about these pencil sharpeners that I convinced a few of the other teachers I work with to invest in one. Like me, they were all skeptical, but after seeing it in action, they were amazed!
Check out this video from Classroom Friendly Supplies to see how it works!
As of right now I am using it with the basic clasp it comes with. Every so often it will come loose (especially if my students use it). I am in the process of ordering the permanent mount.
So on top of the manual pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies, I also wanted to see if I could find an electric one I enjoyed just as much. I also needed a pencil sharpener that would work for those big pencils. Although they didn't have it at the time, Classroom Friendly Supplies now has a pencil sharpener made for those bigger pencils!
I decided to try out this one I found at Staples. Its the X-ACTO School Pro1670 Pencil Sharpener. For an electric sharpener this one is pretty great!
SO far so good.
So you may ask, "which one do you like better?"
To be honest, I can't choose. I like them both for different reasons and I use them both on a daily basis. I like the convenience of the electric sharpener, however, the manual one works wonders. You be the judge. :)
Until next time...

February 13, 2015

It's Been Awhile... (FREEBIE INCLUDED)

So.. I have been gone for quite awhile, yet again. I figured I owe everyone an explanation.

First of all, I am still working on that Masters in Reading. Fortunately, I have a year left and if all goes well I will be graduating in the Spring of 2016! Cross your fingers all goes well!

So why can't I work on my business while getting my Masters, you ask?? Well, I made a deal with myself. Since I am a HUGE procrastinator, yes... me, I made a deal that if I could complete my work in a timely fashion, I would allow myself to work on my business. Unfortunately, even though I am motivated to create and socialize with you all on social media, I am even more unmotivated to do my school work. :( It's a terrible fault I have. I'm not perfect. I blame my mom for that trait. hehe ;)

You might be wondering if there's something else going on.. well there is.

I have been having some health issues. Starting with a TON of headaches. Some bad, some reallllllllly bad. And who wants to be on a computer when they have a headache? Not me! I won't go into personal details because I am a fairly private person, but I am getting things checked out and taken care of. So no worries. But now you understand why I have been a little unmotivated as of late. :)

While I have been gone, I received a HUGE complement from a well known Teacher-Blogger!! Mrs. Lemons, herself, from Step Into Second Grade! She used my Telling Time watches this January with her students (Might I add that they are a FREE in my TpT store! ). Go check out her blog to see how!!


She seriously made my year and I can't thank her enough! :)

And no... that's not the FREEBIE I had in mind.. there's more..

With things improving, I plan to dabble in the business as much as I can until school is out for the summer when I can create and socialize FULL-TIME! (I can't wait!!)

My goals are to write more blog posts with better content, fix a few products already on TPT, add some new ones I have created, and post more on Pinterest and Instgram. I am still on Facebook, however, I find that Instagram is my go to! So if you want the latest, check that out. :)

As for your FREEBIE...  As a thank you to all of you for your patience and support, I have created something just for you.

The phrase "I can't" is NOT allowed in my room. At this point in the year, I start to hear that saying creep back into my classroom after I have trained them so well. Blame it on the winter break.. the snow days.. or whatever you'd like. But my students needed a little encouragement, so I thought I'd put a positive spin on it. Rather than explaining to the students, yet again, why we don't say that silly phrase in my room, I point to the poster.


I printed this poster on cardstock, trimmed the white edges (depending on your frame you may want to leave them on so it doesn't slide), and instead of laminating it or just putting it on the bulletin board, I decided to frame it. I found this frame at the dollar store!

I hope you like it! :)

Thank you again for your patience and support. It means the world to me.

Until next time....