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Friday, May 31, 2013

New Product :: Chevron Digital Backgrounds

Chevron Backgrounds

If you've been looking for a way to spice up some of your TeachersPayTeachers or homemade classroom activities, check out my new Chevron Background bundle!  It includes 66 different backgrounds in PNG format, so they can be scaled to fit any sized project. And because you're all awesome, loyal blog readers, you can get 3 of them for free!

Enjoy :)

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Tips & Tricks :: ADHD


During this summer, I'm going to be starting a blog series focusing on several different disorders that affect children at school: ADHD, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and ODD. Each entry will describe the disorder, give practical strategies for improving success at school, and also a few social-emotional goals and accommodations that might be appropriate for students with special education services! I hope that you'll join me!

First up is ADHD. Short for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD is a psychiatric or neurobehavioral disorder. Students with ADHD often have significant difficulties in either attention (inattentive type), hyperactivity and impulsiveness (hyperactivity/impulsivity type), or both (combined type). While the actual rates of diagnosis of ADHD differ by geographic location, socioeconomic status, and doctor, school professionals tend to agree that it is one of the most common disorders they encounter in working with children.


Inattentive Type -Inattention

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another

  • Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task

  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable

  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities

  • Not seem to listen when spoken to

  • Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly

  • Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others

  • Struggle to follow instructions.

ADHDHyperactive-Impulsive Type -

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats

  • Talk nonstop

  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight

  • Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time

  • Be constantly in motion

  • Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities

  • Be very impatient

  • Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences

  • Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games



  • Encourage the student to get involved in extra curricular or sports activities in order to boost their confidence and self-esteem

  • Keep routines and schedules structured and predictable so the student will always know what to expect

  • Try a visual schedule. This can be made out of paper and pictures, or you can try one of the several apps for iPads or Droid devices.

  • Provide visual reminders of behavioral expectations such as pictures of rules posted on their desk, behavioral charts, etc., or have students act out rules. Simply yelling a student the rules over and over probably won't work!

  • Morning RoutineColor-code materials for different subjects throughout the day to help with organization

  • Develop a private nonverbal signal you can use to correct minor student behavior

  • Provide verbal and visual warnings about 5 minutes and 1 minute before transitioning to a new activity

  • Change the way students are called on to avoid calling on students one at a time and having everyone else get bored. Instead, have students respond by "telling their partner," writing down, or drawing their response.

  • Provide notebook organizers or other graphic organizers

  • Try music, either through headphones for 1 student or for the entire class. Sometimes students actually NEED noise in order to focus.

Sample Goals

  • Given small group practice, Mallory will improve her classroom performance from requiring frequent redirection to independently remaining in her seat and following directions.

  • Given behavior training, Michael will improve his behavior in the hallway from from running and  bumping into others to keeping his hands to himself, maintaining appropriate personal space, and following verbal directions with minimal adult prompting.

  • Given small group practice, Carrie will improve her attention skills from working with frequent redirection for 5 minutes to remaining in her desk, following directions, and asking for help when needed for 10 minutes with no adult prompts.

  • Given small group intervention, Austin will improve his cognitive organization skills from being unable to discuss any information from a story to creating and filling in graphic organizers for putting events in order, comparing and contrasting, and organizing details from a story with no more than 1 adult prompt.

Sample Accommodations:

  • Break work into smaller piecesTangles-300x300

  • Allow extended time for assignments  as well as frequent breaks which give the student a chance to get up and move (all kids benefit from this!)

  • Provide different types of fidgets to keep their hands busy and help improve focus (exercise bands tied to desks work well too!)

  • Teach students who to use and create graphic organizers to learn and apply new information

  • Allow students who struggle with organizing their writing to dictate assignments, or record their verbal answers and then write them down

If you're looking for hands-on activities for your students, check out my Organization Activities for Students with ADHD and my Graphic Organizer Pack! You can also check out my Pinterest Board especially for all things ADD/ADHD for even more ideas!

Thanks to Wikipedia for contributing to this article!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fun Freebie :: Impulse Control Log

Sad Teenage Girl

My first few weeks as a social worker, one of the issues I was most nervous about working with was self-injury. Even though a few of the college courses touched briefly mentioned some interventions for clients that self-harm, I felt completely ill-equipped!

So, I attended a few workshops and also did some of my own research to find strategies to help clients overcome the depression, negative self-image, and distorted thoughts that accompany self-injury. One of the strategies I found that was used almost universally at treatment programs across the country were Impulse Control Logs. The purpose of these tools is to help clients notice and understand the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. After they understand some of the thoughts or feelings that trigger their destructive behavior, you can work together to help change those thoughts into healthier, more realistic ones!

Here's a cute Impulse Control Log (in PDF Format) I made and you can have it for free! Several of the clients I've worked with have mentioned it's been really helpful for them, so hopefully it'll work well for your clients too!

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 8.58.29 AMScreen Shot 2013-05-19 at 8.58.40 AM


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pinterest Find :: Erin Condren Lesson Planner

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 8.37.35 PMSo, I'm going to be honest. I didn't find this on Pinterest...but I don't have any other term right now to categorize things that are awesome besides "Pinterest Find." Any ideas, anyone?

Anyway, I love to be organized. I frequently get harassed by coworkers and friends for color-coding, organizing, alphabetizing, etc., so I actually felt like I had died and gone to heaven when I came across the Erin Condren store. I actually found it last summer while I was looking for a new planner for the school year and ended up getting one of their Life Planners (which I HIGHLY recommend by the way - I'll talk more about them in July when their new versions come out).

If you're around here often, you'll know I'm a school social worker, not a teacher. Nonetheless, I know that several of you ARE teachers, so I figured I'd let you know about this awesome lesson planner! It's super colorful and includes just about every single possible thing you'd ever need in a lesson planner. Among the awesomeness included: inspirational quotes, pages for substitutes and sub plans, important dates, attendance logs, grade book, weekly lesson planning grid, etc. etc. etc! You can even choose from over 20 different covers and add photos to personalize it! And did I mentioned it's colorful?

I will say that it is a tad pricey compared to cheap books your school may give or that you pick up at Staples, but from owning one of their planners this year, I can honestly say I never regretted my decision to get one even once. I mean, how many minutes a day do you spend staring at your lesson planning book? Probably at least 30! Is it worth less than 20 cents per day to have a planning book that you enjoy looking at and actually makes you want to plan? I thought so!

Also, no, I don't get paid for recommending their products. I genuinely think they're just that awesome!! Here's a little more information from their website:

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 8.35.04 PMScreen Shot 2013-05-12 at 8.37.02 PMScreen Shot 2013-05-12 at 8.35.53 PMScreen Shot 2013-05-12 at 8.36.44 PM

AND! Enter the code: WELOVETEACHERS this month at check-out to receive 25% off all their teacher products. Happy Teacher Appreciation!!

Note: All photos in this article are from the Erin Condren website. I didn't take or create any of them!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New(ish) Product :: Door Sign Pack

Door Posters

If you're looking for a product to help you get a start on next year, check out my Door Sign Pack. If you head over to my store today or tomorrow, it (and everything else) is 28% off when you enter the code "TAD13" at checkout (May 7 and 8)!

If you a special education teacher, school psychologist, SLP, counselor, or school social worker like me, you spend a good part of your day in classrooms, other buildings, in meetings with parents, or other places outside your office. So, I made this cute sign pack to help other people know where you are. You can hang them up individually or bind yours into a flip book for the door like I did!

It includes 20 different posters, as well as customizable “The ______ is...” signs for teachers, psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, and speech-language pathologists

Job Title Posters Include:
“The Social Worker Is...”Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.01.11 PM
"The School Counselor Is..."
“The Guidance Counselor Is...”
“The Psychologist Is...”
“The Speech-Language Pathologist Is...”
“The Teacher Is...”Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 7.16.49 PM
*Each job title sign is presented in 7 colors and can be personalized with 1 of nearly 30 various people of different ethnicities, genders, and styles.Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.03.41 PM

Location Posters Include:
- sick
- out of the buildingScreen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.03.08 PM
- at lunchScreen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.02.54 PM
- at recess
- meeting with students
- meeting with parents

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.02.26 PM
- gone for a bit
- gone until (digital time)
- gone until (analog time)
- visiting a classScreen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.01.57 PM
- in ____ grade
- at a meetingScreen Shot 2013-01-09 at 6.01.27 PM
- at an IEP meeting
- at an RtI meeting
- at a special ed. meeting
- the elementary school
- at the middle school
- at the high school
- at _________ school
- blank sign to create your own

What I ended up doing was laminating each page and assembling the location signs into a coil bound book. Then, I punched a hole in the bottom center of each page so it could hang like a calendar. When I leave the room, I just flip to the page I need! So get out your laminator and enjoy!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sale :: Teacher Appreciation 2-Day Sale!

Appreciation Sale

It's that time again...TpT Sale time!! For 28% off the regular prices of everything in my store, head over any time on May 7th or 8th and enter the code TAD13 at checkout. What a great way to get everything ready before you head on summer break!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Student Funnies :: Age is a State of Mind


Student I've never met: "Are you a kid? Or are you an adult?"

Sometimes even I don't know the answer to that one!! I couldn't help but laugh today when a kindergarten student at our school asked me this question. I'm not sure what it was exactly...maybe the way I was dressed? My hair? At any rate, it made me smile.

One of the things my grandma always said growing up was, "Age is a state of mind and if you don't mind, it don't matter!"

And while I'm still "a baby" in the words of many of my coworkers, I can't help but realize as each day goes by how much further I am away from elementary, middle, and even high school. And while I like to think I still do a pretty good job relating to the students I work with, I find myself having to work harder and harder to remember what it was like to be a kid.

But if there IS one thing I remember about being a kid, it was all the crazy and fun adults I knew: a camp counselor who played practical jokes on the boys, my level 3 swim teacher who made up ridiculous songs to help us remember each stroke, my 4th grade teacher who invented dances with us at recess. These people remind me how important it is to sometimes "stop being an adult," and meet kids where they are.

By putting our adult-ness aside every once and awhile and not being afraid to look goofy, we have a chance to impact kids in a way other adults in their lives maybe haven't before. We have a chance to stand out, create fun memories, and make a difference!

So laugh a little louder, spend some time at recess, skip down the hallway to your next IEP meeting, or do some arts & crafts. Go be a kid with your kids today!