Posted in Teaching Life

Holly Jolly Teacher Stratagies

Any of the Turkey books are loved. The worksheets are in my Teacher Pay Teachers store.

While Christmas is in the air, elves are causing shenanigans and everything gets a hint of peppermint my students slowly start to loose focus. December can be one of the most fun months to plan for, but also the most frustrating. I call this the Madness of Christmas.

These cards are lowercase letter s and initial sounds. They can be found in my tpt store.

I started to unearth all of my holiday titles and activities the last days of November. I love to be ready and being in multiple buildings I have to get things sorted and distributed. Teaching K-11 this year is fantastic, but keeping the holiday train on the tracks is a challenge. This being said  here are three things I do to keep myself merry and bright while I am channeling my inner gingerbread girl.

This was a huge hit last year. Went perfectly with holidays around the world.


I love a plan. I love to be organized. However, the first thing I have to make a daily mantra….”ride the wave of cocoa and candy canes”. I know there will be sessions derailed by teachers, assemblies, and of course my students. I would love to think they have visions of goals, speechreading and language dancing in there heads, but reality and experience tell me it is Santa, elves and Christmas vacation filling their daydreams. This understanding and acceptance, that my fun and functional plans may get put to the back burner or slowly accomplished, is helpful for me to take each day as it comes.

Directed drawings. Perfect for listening and vocabulary development.

Time Management

Next, I plan activities that can be sweet and condensed or stretched out over multiple sessions (with no recall issues) that have a bit of holiday whimsy. Time is always the issue, regardless of the holidays. My session minutes are precious, so I look for activities that fit the holiday vibes and tackle goals. Selecting shorter books and familiar games is very helpful. The kids love it and games that we have played or activities they have done before help manage time. We don’t spend alot of time on directions and rules. We love holiday matching games played the traditional way or using the game pieces for listening and sequencing. They are essentially picture prompts, so they can be used for categories, sentences, building a story or charades. Any holiday matching or memory game will do.

Descriptive language activity.

Quality Connections

Last, I try to connect to my classrooms. I love supporting classroom content. Working with organized and pre-planned teachers helps navigate the month. This could be said all year, but during December this is essential. Knowing that vocabulary and language goals can work together makes everyone jolly.

I love to plan activities that expand off of classroom ELA strategies and connect then to IEP goals. Depending on the skill and grade level of a student I try to select activities that pull in listening, prior knowledge, vocabulary, writing and holiday fun. One of our favorite activies is Mad Libs. I love that I can use these silly pages with all of my students. I just modify as needed.

Throwback fun!!! Purchased a few years ago. Still a great activity.

Surviving the holidays as itinerant can be challenging. Finding the balance between festive fun and collecting data can be done. These strategies work for me. As the month progresses I am going to share some more fun and festive lessons.

Posted in Teaching Life

Tips for Classroom Teachers: Supporting Students with Hearing Loss

Photo by Max Fischer on

I am always thinking about how I can better serve my students and my classroom teachers. I try to remind myself that I may have years of experience with my students, but for a classroom teacher, a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student my be a once in a career experience. It is my job to support everyone on a students team. Starting the school year with clear expectations and strategies helps everyone. These are some tips and suggestions I use to get us all off to a great start.


The student must sit where it is easiest to access auditory information and/or their interpreter if he/she has one.  This is usually towards the front of the class and towards the side with the aided or implanted ear facing the teacher and away from distracting noise sources: fans, computers or open windows.

During small groups and peer partner work the D/HH student should be seated in a way that optimizes interactions and communication with peers.

Visual Learning

Visual aids help support auditory information. Videos and DVDs can be hard to understand and MUST have captioning.  This is something that I am always reminding teachers to do. I also remind my students that they too can ask for the captioning to be turned on. Often my younger students are still learning how to advocate, so they report a non captioned moment to me and I circle back to the teacher for a reminder. At times I have used my session time to re-watch videos and clips. Access is the priority.

Be aware that while writing on the board, the student is likely to miss most of what is said; important information should be clearly displayed.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on


Help with speech reading by: speaking naturally and facing the student.

The student may find it difficult if not impossible to take notes in a lecture style lesson.  If student does not have a personal note taker, a copy of class notes is extremely helpful. 

Repetition, rewording, and re-phrasing are necessary.

Check the student’s comprehension by asking SPECIFIC questions, not yes or no questions.

Photo by Yan Krukov on

Hearing Equipment

Personal FM systems:  These vary based on the student’s hearing needs and parent-provided hearing equipment. It “reduces” the distance between the teacher’s voice and the student in the classroom while maintaining speech intelligibility, helping the student to better receive auditory information.

If student uses an FM system please remember to wear the transmitter and speak naturally.

Remember to mute or remove microphone when you’re NOT working with the student: small group, testing or the restroom.

The hearing aid(s), BAHA or cochlear implant does not give the student normal hearing.  Distance from speaker, background noise, and the nature of the hearing loss all contribute to a student’s ability to understand speech.

I like to go over any FM equipment and when the student is present I like to show how their personal equipment works. My littles always need battery support. This is a case by case situation when I am addressing needs of my students. Some information overlaps, but the student’s individual needs and the IEP drive the in-service train.

Photo by Eren Li on

Student’s Role

I like to approach my teachers with a positive and team mentality. The student is part of the team, so they too have to play an active part in their learning, communication and advocate for their needs.

  • Use self-advocacy skills such as asking repetition and clarification regarding information given by teachers and peers as necessary.
  • Wear  all hearing devices consistently.
  • Sit directly in front and within good proximity of the primary speaker.
  • Advocate and participate in peer groups.
Photo by Yan Krukov on

Resource Guide

I have created a tip sheet for my teachers. I have found this is very helpful and teachers will refer to it if they are overwhelmed from an in-service. I try my best to be clear, calm and informative at an in-service meeting, but having the sheet for a post meeting resource is priceless.

These tips and ideas have always worked for me. I hope that you can incorporate these into your practices. This information sheet is a helpful tool in providing some basic structure and support when I am in-servicing. I always use the student’s IEP and individual hearing information from the audiogram for the majority of my information, but these tips are very neutral and easy for teachers to digest.

Posted in Positive Life

Spring Cleaning: Beauty Edit

By this time of the year I start to get spring fever and the itch to clean or purge areas of my house. One area that I completely neglect is my bathroom vanity and bathroom closet. I take so much time and effort selecting beauty and hygiene products…I should probably take the same approach at managing these items.

My goal is to clean, purge or pass on products I have in my makeup bag or closet. I especially need to check things I buy in multiples. If you are at all like me you love to save a dollar, so super-sized items or sales tend to make me happy, but if products aren’t being used at a healthy rate…then I’m really not saving if things expire and I have to toss.

Lotions and Potions

I first start in my linen closet to check the dates on body products. I live to get a deal and if I think we like something I buy multiples. Checking the expiration date on shampoo bottles, lotions and soaps is very important. Your skin is the barrier between you and the world. I know I try to select clean beauty products and want my body absorbing health ingredients. Using expired lotions and potions is counter productive, so I trash and recycle what needs to go!


Same idea for my makeup. I look through and see what is old. Time to toss. I also clean up my pieces. I use a microfiber cloth and warm water to wipe off product residue, dust or hairspray film. Giving everything a fresh wipe makes things seem a tiny bit new. Also, when I go through everything it allows me to mentally inventory what I have.

When going through my makeup I try to see if there is anything unopened that I can pass along to a friend. Sometimes I buy things bundled in a set and don’t need or like each piece. Typically this is with eye products and lip products. I never wear black eyeliner, so if it comes in a set I put it in a drawer…time to pass it along.


Cleaning all my brushes and sponges is so gratifying. I do this on a regular basis, but now is the time to look at wear and tear. Keeping my tools clean and functional is key to stress free application. I like to clean my brushes with an oil free facial cleanser. I know there are products just for cleaning brushes, but I find my face wash works well with a silicone brush cleaner mat.


I went through a period where I was bent on getting the best dry shampoo for my hair needs, so I have tried many. The brands and formulas that don’t work for me are something I can easily pass on to a friend. I consider this re-homing.

Most of my hair products are used at a consistent rate and are replaced as needed, so not much to purge, but cleaning bottles, containers and cans is something I can do. Hairspray is something that I experiment with too. I see something new and think ooohhhh, but if I don’t use it up it gets relegated to the back of the closet with the dry shampoo. This too could be passed on or tossed.


If you are like me one day you open a drawer, makeup bag or bin and wonder how in the world you acquired so many nail polishes. Nothing lasts forever, so I check them out. Goopy, super separated and just not my color polishes can be tossed or passed on. I like to check out clippers, files and removers. If any of these tools seem well used or dirty, they too get a refresh.

Hand Soap

I have gotten very picky about brands and scents I like for hand washing. I typically store hand soaps in each bathroom and each bathroom has different kinds because everyone likes something different. There was a time that I could just stock up and grab all the fun seasonal scents, but over the last two years with the increase in hand washing and sanitizing I have sought out different, clean beauty brands, so I found a few expired bottles and a few that were new, but no one liked the scent. Which leads me to my last point.

Re-purpose, Pass on or Recycle

Throwing out gross, old, expired and used up items is the easy part. I find that I struggle with what to do with they things that are still good but not my jam. I hate wasting money, so I know that’s why things end up in the land of the lost beauty products. Hoarding things I don’t like but will never use is not helping anyone. I love a good purge but if I can find a product a new home…aka a friend’s vanity or counter that makes me happy.

Another’s place I can relocate a product is a staff bathroom. If you work somewhere that has more than company soap and paper towels. I find leaving a lotion, body spray, hair spray or hand soap is the perfect place to share. This also goes for new products that have been gifted. You might not love something, but maybe a coworker will. This seems much better than the trash can regardless of price point, drug store items or high end products deserve a second chance.

If you don’t love to clean or purge…I totally get that, but I really think that making sure your personal care and beauty products are safe and healthy is something you should make time for. Maybe clean, evaluate and organize everything in baby steps. Just don’t neglect what you put on your hair, skin or nails. This is a part of selfcare!

Posted in Book Life

Audible Books: Winter 2022

While I have been trying to pick up a book and read more I find myself having zero problem uploading a new Audible selection on a weekly basis. January and February have been filled with mystery, crime and a few gasps. I also found myself talking outloud to my car speakers when I was shocked or proud of myself for making good predictions.

Here are some of my winter listens. I might have left a few books off my list that I didn’t enjoy or finish because I didn’t want to waste time on something I didn’t like. All of the books here I would recommend.

Not usually into something about an affair, but I liked this.
This book was very pleasant to listen to.
Waiting for this author to release the next book!!!
This book was a bit different, but it was easy to listen to in between my schools.
This one was good. I could see as a movie…maybe a TV movie.
This wasn’t very long and was a fast listen.

Check these out if you like a mystery and an interesting female lead character. I am currently listening Verity by Colleen Hoover. I have heard a lot, but not a lot about it, and thought why not. Totally keeping the mystery streak going. I’ll keep you posted.

Posted in Gluten Free Life

Baked Oatmeal Cups

I posted a pic of these and people sent requests for the recipe, so here it is.


  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (whatever you like)
  • 1 cup mashed banana or applesauce
  • 1/4 maple syrup (whatever you have)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

I made the first batch like this, but I wanted to change it up and for the second batch I used dried blueberries, instead of chips, and I added 1/4 tsp almond extract for Blueberry Almond Cups.

Mix it all together. No particular order. I mix wet and then add dry, but for this recipe it doesn’t really matter.

Add chips or dried fruit.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes. I let mine rest for 10 or more. I use GF oats and I think they respond a bit differently than traditional oats.

Chocolate Chip

I scooped with a 1/4 cup measuring cup into my muffin pans. My pans release without spray or paper cups, but do what you think is best. I filled each well….and then added whatever was left to each cup, especially the liquid that was at the end. You could possibly get more than a dozen. I just wanted an even 12.

Blueberry Almond

Bake for 30 min in a 350° oven.

Cool and eat. We sometimes add a drizzle of syrup on top.

I keep mine in the pan and cover with foil. They last a couple of days here….so not sure what the shelf life is.

Note: Banana works better, but applesauce was all I had round 2, so I was happy with the results.

I hope these are easy and delicious for you! I am not a professional food blogger, so I apologize for the lack of picture steps. I also make sure all my ingredients are gluten free.

Happy Baking!

Posted in Book Life

Top 10 Audible Books: 2021

Last year listing to Amazon Audibles started as a car thing. Driving from school to school listening to a story instead of the radio. Don’t get me wrong, I love music, but I found I really enjoyed listening to a story. I can get lost in an Audible book just as much a physical book and listening to a story is a beautiful distraction from the real world.

I decided to compile my top 10 listens for this year. I am not a book critic, so I am not going to analyze or critique these stories…I’ll leave that for the experts. These are just the books that I really enjoyed listening to in the car, in the kitchen, working out and even getting ready in the morning. Listening to a good book as gone outside of the car and has worked its way into many areas of my life. I find that listening to a book turns off my overthinking brain and allows me to get tasks done in peace….or suspense!

These books are in no particular order. I struggled to pick 10. How could I then rank them?! My reading taste can be all over the place and mood dependent, I don’t stick to one genre, so this is just a mini buffet from my library.


This book was fabulous. I read the Huntress next. I also listened to the mini follow up Smoke Signal. waiting for her next book!!!


This took me chapters to get into. Kinda creepy and dark. Good ending.


Lisa Jewell is great. She keeps my attention. I also love a British narrator.


All the 90’s vibes.


No mystery or suspense here, just a story.


I really liked this one. I read another book by the same author, it was ok.


This was good. Not too dark and easy to follow.


This was included in my subscription and I was pleasantly surprised.


This was a tad like Outlander…but PG.


So I listened to the series…..couldn’t list just 1 book.

There are more books I listening to this year and may have highlighted in other posts. Reading and books have been a huge part of my life and it is refreshing to discover that one can find a new way to enjoy titles and authors you love, when you think you have no time to read…..just read with your ears.

Posted in Gluten Free Life

Gluten Free Apple Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake

Do you ever just crave something baked and hot? Well I do on a pretty regular basis. I bake once or twice a week, so I like to be able to create from what we have on hand. This baking creation was inspired from leftover apple slices that were a tiny bit brown.

I often like to start a recipe from something I used to make with gluten ingredients or a recipe from Pinterest, that I can tweak to fit my GF life. I found a recipe on Pinterest and figured I would adjust it for taste and content (gf oats).

I mixed everything in one bowl which made clean up really easy. Then everything was poured into an 8×8 baking dish.

I popped it in a 350° oven for 45 -50 minutes.

I used my handy dandy cake tester to see if it was thoroughly baked and let it cool for 20 min before I cut a piece.

This was actually good, but I had to add a drizzle of maple syrup to finish it off. I think playing with the spices could work too. Adjust to your liking.

Yummy Fall vibes!

Gf Apple Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake

  • 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup chopped apple of choice
  • 3 cups GF oatmeal
  • 1 cup milk (I use lactose free skim)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

I mixed the sugar, spices, eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup and pumpkin.

Next, I added in the baking powder.

Last, I mixed in the oats and apples.

Spray baking dish.. Pour into an 8×8 dish.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes.

Cool and eat. I added a drizzle of maple syrup to individual slices.

Posted in Teaching Life

Back to School 2021: Itinerant Tips and Suggestions

There will be more trial and error this year….never stop growing.

I had incredibly high hopes that school would be opening with an obvious contrast to last year.  Sadly some of the same things that make being a Teacher of the Deaf are still going to be in place. I survived it last year and I know I can do it again.

I have individual record keeping for each student. Keeping pages seperate and clean.

My prep this year is a bit different because I put some things in place last year that will make this years start up smoother and less foreign. These strategies and tools were a bit overwhelming last year, but as with most things repetition and familiarity can make things easier. Being ready and really being ready is my current challenge.


Using some vinyl is colorful, easy and a fun way to make a cart your own!

Last year to limit cross contamination, between students, I put cute metal carts in multiple buildings. These carts were stocked with whatever we would need for sessions.  They were incredibly helpful, organized and mobile. I love that having something on wheels. If I was relocated for the day, I would just wheel my materials away! This was efficient and also great for my back.  I love to joke that I sometimes feel like I’m carrying the world.  In actuality, I am at times…my little world, but none the less little worlds get heavy, so portability was key last year and will be again.

Materials and tools were easy to find, use and move!


Masks don’t seem to be going away, so wearing the right one is essential for surviving a school day. I started 2020 with all the cute fabric and clear panel masks I could find or afford. I played around with all the varieties and discovered my students preferred the disposable masks for their auditory needs.  Let be clear…no pun intended, that the clear panel masks were great in theory, but were awful in application.

So, with that being my findings from last year I have already stocked up on disposable masks. I hate throwing them away, but they are the best fit for my situation, so disposable it is. I really wore black a lot, so I decided to try out cute patterned disposable masks. My hope is pretty patterns will lift my mood.

These were an online purchase.

Tools and Resources

For years I have carried my tool bag that has all the things we need for sessions, but with the worry and possibility of cross contamination I made sure every student had individual and dedicated tools and materials.  I will be doing this again this year. It is more for me to set up, but it was mentally worth it. My students also felt safe and secure, so that was a total win.

Each student now has their own.

In the spring I took my carts and materials home. Everything has been reviewed, evaluated and wiped for this new year. I do this every June, but never before have I spent such mental thought about who gets what resources. Will I be able to rotate (with sanitization) and should I consider buying duplicates? I decided that I wasn’t going to purchase duplicates, but find ways to make what I have work. I’m sure there will be further posts on how I am making everything work in 2021-2022.

Going forward and trying to not dwell on all of the difficulties and negativity from last year. I am hoping 21-22 will be positive, productive and peaceful. Here’s to another year.

Posted in Gluten Free Life

Eating Gluten Free: Disney 2021

We are annual Disney trip people. We love our time together.  This was our 9th park trip, my 3rd trip gluten free and I think maybe the best.

Many people love to eat and drink at Disney. I totally get that, especially when we were living in the age of the dining plan. Eating yummy meals and the fun Disney specialty treats is part of the magic. Who doesn’t love a Mickey pretzel?! I personally loved them before I had to go gluten free. My people still enjoy, I grabbed a bag of cotton candy. Not complaining!

My first trip when I was a newbie to the gf life was a tiny but stressful and I was still missing all the good gluten favorites. The last trip was easier and I felt more comfortable with the modifications and speaking with a chef if I had concerns. This trip I was smart and made sure I added the allergy notification to our reservations. This was great because they knew before I sat down that I would need a different menu.

Flourless Chocolate Cake. Shared this with my hubs. No one was sad here!!

The staff was fantastic. I found that more were better versed with the allergy friendly choices. I also love how they label and serve for people with allergies. Quick service restuarants put my meal on a completely seperate tray. At our resort they even use a different color tray. Makes it very easy to see the order and if I were to get a meal like someone in the family we can obviously see which is mine.

GF Pizza Quick Service. This also came with a side salad. Disney uses Ken’s dressing…which if gf. Win. Had blue cheese dressing.

I find travel with Celiac is getting better. I have to obviously be aware and not just assume staff is knowledgeable, but overall I find that if I am mentally prepped that I might only be able to eat a salad, then I can enjoy myself.

Cesar Salad….only difference was the croutons.

Eating in Italy was a tiny bit sad. My people ordered this amazing pizza at Via Di Napoli. I ordered the gf pasta and chef salad. Both were good. The sadness comes in because I miss being easy and part of the group. Ordering pizza used to be a fun group experience.

I mean come on!!!!!

Many of the restaurants had great gf options or meals that were naturally safe to order. I always say if I stick to eating cave woman style…I should be safe. Fruits, veg and meat are typically safe.

Beef and Vegetables

I didn’t photograph every meal. I think in the future I might and do a day by day post, but for now these are some of my highlight meals!

Bread basket if gluten filled, they brought me sliced white bread in Italy.
Gluten free fish fry at Raglan Road. It was super crispy! The garlic parmasan fries were yummy!

Another magical trip spent with my favorite people. I didn’t take photos, but I had another family favorite…Dole Whip, which is automatically gf! This was a great summer vacation and being able to eat safely and calmly is something I am very grateful for. Looking forward to our 10th trip.

Posted in Positive Life

An Itinerant Teachers Summer Balancing Act Part 2

Well, I have been trying to be in the moment and enjoy the summer. I am just about half way until school resumes and I do feel like I have recharged a bit. It has not taken as much effort as I thought to recharge.

Hot Tub

We decided to buy a hot tub or spa, whatever you prefer to call it, back in the spring. We knew it would be a while until it was installed, due to all of the delays and shortages of cars, boats and other mechanical things. After waiting a month longer than estimated it arrived and has been a place to unwind and chill out.

The entire family has been enjoying it. I personally call it our hot pool! I hope we continue to enjoy it into the cooler months ahead, but for right now it is a great way to spend time device free.

Snacks of course!


I have been back on the yoga classes train and I am loving it. It is so fulfilling to go to a live, in person class. Yoga in the park has been great too. Honestly, I just love hearing my instructors voice again! I need to also be around people…who love it it. The vibe adds to the experience.


Baking is obviously something I do frequently and share frequently. If you follow me on Instagram you will see I love to post my latest gluten free creations. I have been exploring new recipes, people post to Pinterest, and tweaking them to be gluten free and in some cases less fat too.

When you bake as much as I do and actually eat the treats too….cutting out some of the fat is not a bad thing! I find that I am substituting butters and oils for applesauce and Greek yogurt. None of this is completely new for baking, but when making things gf it can be tricky for consistency, texture and how moist something is. Some recipes taste great and others I head back to the mixing bowl!

Summer isn’t over. Hoping to enjoy and continue to recharge before the start of school. I will share more in the upcoming weeks. You can always follow me here and on Instagram to see what I’m up to.

Posted in Teaching Life

An Itinerant Teachers Summer Balancing Act: Part 1

I think most people who work year round think that when teachers close the door to their classrooms for Summer break we are done working, are ready to relax and have multiple weeks to do anything and everything we want.  This may be true for some teachers, but I think for many of us the first weeks off can be a blur and filled with so many thoughts and emotions. I know this last statement to be true for me.

I love this message….what does this mean to you?

I have been off for a couple of weeks and I have definitely not felt like I was on vacation.  I still wake up at my alarm clock time. I am still getting up early. I still have all of my momsibilities.  By no means am I complaining, but I woke up this morning with my to do list on my mind and did one of the worst things I do when I get up….I check all the apps.

Checking all the apps is such a habit. I really need to make it a priority to not open my eyes and think I need to check multiple email accounts, Instagram and Facebook.  When I figure out how to do this I’ll let you know.  I know I’m not the only person who does this.

During my morning scroll I was looking at all of the awesome things people are doing this summer.  I love Instagram because it is visual and quick, but this morning it seemed like I was seeing endless summer fun and I found this to be overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled people are enjoying life, but I have no idea how they are there yet.  It takes me a few weeks to unwind from school and after the year we have all had, I am finding it more difficult to feel like I can relax and enjoy summer. Like I said I woke with a to do list on my mind.

Ending the year and practically jumping into the 4th seemed fast and not like a holiday. I was also driving my mini me to camp the first week off. Thankfully we chose a close, afternoon camp to attend, but I was still in turbo mom mode.  I also started looking around, my mostly tidy house, and started to think of all of the neglected nooks and crannies that need a reboot. So, a few days off and the brain can not shut off, the to do lists can not stop and that internal pressure of I’m not doing enough can not shut off.

What I’ve Done So Far

  • Cleaned 20-21 teaching things out of my vehicle.
  • Organized cupboards.
  • Repotted some house plants.
  • Cleaned my closet.
  • Chauffeured child.
  • Started packing and planning for family vacation.

I know this is not a crazy amount of things completed, but I feel guilty that I am not doing more, not squeezing every minute of productivity out of my day. I also realize this is a wackado way of thinking. My mental to do list needs to take a vacation.

This might even get tweaked some more.

What I Think “Needs To Be Done”

  • Make more TpT resources.
  • Organize my basement teacher area.
  • Purge cupboards, closets and drawers.
  • Redo child’s playroom.
  • Paint front doors.
  • Deep clean.
Resource that is in the works!!

Notice zero relaxation or fun on my list. The list is reasonable and totally doable, but there needs to be a mental balance. Achieving this balance of projects and guilt free summer chill time is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but I know that rest is incredibly important, especially after this year of teaching.

What I Need for Balance

  • Yoga(in person)
  • Chats with friends
  • Books….not teacher PD
  • Family time
  • Less screen time
  • Netflix and chill
  • See or do something new
  • A little nature
  • Ice cream
  • Pedicures
Eat the good things….

I think that if I can balance external responsibilities with internal responsibilities this could be a restful and productive summer vacation. Having these weeks off are a gift. I never take the time off for granted, that is definitely where some of the guilt and pressure comes from, but if I don’t reset my mind and body I won’t be the best teacher I can be for my students this September.

I am going to try my best to walk the talk!

  • Complete tasks without feeling like I “have to”
  • Have 1 lazy day per week
  • Self care
  • Spend time with friends
  • Remember to breathe
  • Spend quality time with my people
  • Ignore the calendar

This is obviously the start of summer and I have weeks to go. I am going to add more posts about my summer balancing act, so check back for updates!

Creating balance is living with purpose.

-The Listening Ladybug

Posted in Teaching Life

That’s A Wrap 20-21

This was definitely the most difficult year teaching in my 20+ years of experience. There were so many changes, that I am proud of myself, co-workers and students for keeping up and kicking butt. I am very sure that no one ever expected this type of year or would welcome it back!

Last day of school message.

Being itinerant I am always somewhat flexible, but this year I was stretched to my limits. My schedule changed nine times. This number of adjustments is not typical and every time it changed I tried my best to accommodate my students and fellow teachers, with as much positivity as I could muster. Some days were more difficult than others, but we managed and got through it.

I am very thankful to have had very understanding and supportive parents. Working with a hybrid model had a few challenges to meet IEP mandates, but everyone pulled together to get my kiddos what they needed. I tried my best with Google Meets, in-person sessions and take home work. I do not think I would ever choose to have another online session again, but even with an immense dislike for distance sessions, I learned a lot about my students and myself. I found that technology isn’t all it is cracked up to be and how valuable the face to face time really is. Nothing can replace the real-time, in the moment energy that happens when you meet a student for 30 minutes.

I am currently enjoying my first day of summer break and also looking forward to what 21-22 will bring. I know in many posts I write about how I love to keep changing, refreshing, revisiting what works and what doesn’t, never getting stuck in a groove….but I think after this year of constant change I might take next year off. I will always reflect and do what is needed for my students, but if I can make it through a pandemic with masks, crazy schedules and endless amounts of hand sanitizer….I think I am due a year of not critiquing my teaching.

Gift from a student.

Here’s to a summer to remember, filled with relaxation, rest, and rejuvenation.

Posted in Teaching Life

Literacy Skills: Spring Sequencing Activity

My students love Splat the Cat stories. I find them easy to read aloud and think the illustrations are cute. Each story typically has enough content and pages to keep my young listeners engaged.

How I Use When Reading Aloud

  • Read
  • Stop and ask questions
  • Predicting
  • Vocabulary
  • Text to self connections
  • Text to text connections

Depending on the student I probably use 2-3 of these ideas when reading the story. I find that reading a fun and simple story can pepper in and layer in many goals or needs a student might have. Story books are one of my favorite tools when working on goals.

I decided with this story I wanted to develop a resource that could be used with various levels of learners. I created different options to sequence the growing process Splat goes through. Creating worksheets that go with the story, but can also be used with other stories is also a goal of mine. I have a student that does not enjoy Splat as much as others, so I know I can use this resource with a few other Spring/planting books I have in my collection.

This resource can be printed and copied in color or black line. I typically love color, but if you have a student who loves to color or needs fine motor practice, then printing the black line version would be awesome. Anytime I can support another therapist or teachers goals is a total win!

The language used in the various options supports different learners. Some of my students are using transition words, while others need just a simple number to support sequencing the pictures.

The prep for this is very easy. Decide what page option suits your students best and print.

How To Use

  • Small group
  • Centers
  • Morning work
  • Whole group
  • One to one

These can be printed on card stock or laminated for durability. Students can sequence and retell after the story. Another option is to have them listen and sequence at the same time. I would do this with a second read through. When my students used the cards the love to self check, so after the sequenced I find the first page, where Splat starts the growing process, and the listen and correct the card order.

Last, I love to connect their expressive writing skills. My students love to share their favorite aspects of most everything, so I take advantage of this joy of sharing and have them write. The illustrations are typically the easiest part of this sheet. Again finding ways to connect to the whole child. Working on fine motor and creativity. Writing and remembering the text is a fantastic auditory memory skill. If they need prompts or gentle reminders I definitely help them out. The “tell me why” piece is typically the hardest component. Wh questions are always a goal and those why questions typically challenge my students. This is a fun, simple and basic way to attack that skill with a personal connection.

Skills Addressed

  • Creativity
  • Fine motor
  • Expressive language
  • Wh questions
  • Auditory recall
  • Personal expression
  • Phonics/spelling
  • Writing

Spring has definitely sprung in my planbook. I am looking forward to reading all of my favorite Spring storybooks. I am sure I will share texts and activities in the upcoming weeks, but for now I hope you found this inspirational and useful. You can find the resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Happy Spring planning!