Category Archives: Giveaway

Pencil Grips Review


When The Pencil Grip company originally approached me to write a review on their Pencil Grips, I was going to try them with some students at school.  However, my 4 year old daughter has recently surprised me with her fine motor development, so I decided to try them out with her instead!!  She recently turned 4 and her writing skills have started to take off.   It seems like within a week she went from writing “A” to attempting a sentence.

We tried out all three pencil grips (The Crossover Grip, The Pinch Grip, and Pencil Grip) to help her with grip and formation of the letters.  Based on our use of the grips, I was impressed with the DURABILITY, TEXTURE, and INCREASED LEGIBILITY.

family of pencil grips

At first she was a little awkward with the grip and she needed help with finger placement.  Please ignore the messy hands….we just finished with a painting project!!

grip one

As you can see from the picture above, her finger wanted to cross over.  After she understood the finger positioning, she took off writing.

grip two

I have noticed that there is more control with her grasp, thus an increase in legibility.  We now writing daily and she typically will choose the Crossover Grip.  This is the grip shown above which has wings on the grip which prevent the fingers from crossing over.  I have also used these grips when writing and like the texture of the grip.

On a side note, my younger daughter got a hold of the grips and started to chew on them.  I was rather impressed with there durability…..not one tooth mark!!

If you would like a set of Pencil Grips for FREE, just enter the raffle below!!
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This review is based strictly on my opinion. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company to provide my honest review. No other type of compensation was received. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Show and Tell Tuesday

show and tell tuesday

I’m excited to be linking with Forever in Fifth Grade for another Show and Tell Tuesday.  I’m a little late this month since we have been wrapping up before Spring Break.  I want to show a couple of projects I have been working on for the past month.

show and tell tuesday 1

We hosted the first ever Special Education Parent Resource Night with the theme of “Putting the Pieces Together” at the end of last month, and it was a great success!!  We had 19 families attend and gave away a lot of resources for parents to use with their children at home.  We were very lucky to have received donations from a couple of companies and the PTO, so the event cost very little money.


show and tell tuesday 2

Our house sold and we are busy packing and giving away our things.  I have been using a simple organizational method of a “Keep/Boat” box, “Sell” box, and “Giveaway” box.  Plus, I have had many trash bags full of things that need to be thrown away!!  It feels so rewarding to de-clutter everything!


show and tell tuesday 3

I currently have a giveaway going on that you can enter to win a set of magnetic letters/numbers.  We gave away 11 sets of these at our Special Education Parent Night thanks to a generous donation from Educational Insights.  You can do so many different learning activities with these letters!

Enter below to win this set of Magnetic Letters from Educational Insights (a 24.99 value).

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Hosting a Special Education Parent Resource Night


This year we hosted the first ever Special Education Parent Resource Night at our school.  It ended up being a great success with many resources given to parents to help their children at home.  The theme of the event was “Putting the Pieces Together” with emphasize on how it takes a team of people to help a child achieve their best.


The evening was structured around mini-sessions and parent could pick the three sessions they would like to attend.  The mini-sessions were conducted by myself, our special education teachers, paraprofessionals, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Counselor.  The card below was sent to each parent, along with an invitation, for them to use to RSVP to the event.


Each parent was also sent a reminder in the mail, as well as a reminder phone call.

The purpose of each session was to give parents take home resources they could use with their children immediately.  Depending on the session we provided a number of different learning tools.  For example, in the session titled “Making Math Fun”, we provided foam dice, cards, and dominoes and then handouts of different games parents can play with their child that practice various math skills.  We had a wonderful donation from Educational Insights of magnetic letters that paired with the session “Building Young Readers”.  Parents were given the letters, a baking sheet, and different activities that can be used on the baking sheet to learn letters and make words.


As parents checked in, they were given a schedule of the sessions they would attend with a bag that contained the following:

  • Special Education Parent Binder
  • A book on their child’s current independent reading level with a card of Lexile and Fountas and Pinnell levels
  • Magnet of all their child’s passwords for different computer enrichment programs
  • Dry erase board and marker and a pen


They were also given a schedule of the different mini-sessions they would be attending.


After they received their bag and schedule, they had a chance to pick out two books for their child and one book for themselves.  This way we were able to promote a “family” of readers.  I also provided information on our ongoing “Reading is Sweet” incentive program.

I was pretty excited when I found puzzle piece ribbon at Walmart and knew I needed to find a why to use it.  So, I attached the balloon to an anchor and hung a sign to label each area of the table.


We provided light refreshments from Chik-Fil-A and a couple of veggie trays.  When all parents had a chance to get a bite to eat, I reviewed the contents of the notebooks.  Anyone who has experience with special education, knows how much paperwork is given to parents.  I wanted to provide them an organized notebook to store all the paperwork they collect over the years. Dividers were labeled as follows: Current IEP, Progress Reports, Evaluation Reports, Past IEP’s, and Notes.  They were also given a pre-meeting and meeting notes templates to use.


After we reviewed the notebooks, parents split up to begin their mini-sessions.  Each session had between 2 to 7 parents at one time, which created a nice intimate setting that made parents comfortable to ask questions. We had a total of 19 families attend and provided childcare for the children.

I loved the feeling of teamwork that was accomplished by the end of the night between parents and the school.  My goal has always been to create a special education program that is collaborative in nature and hosting a special education parent resource night is definitely something I would continue to do in the future to continue positive relationships with parents that ultimately benefits the students.

As I mentioned above, Educational Insights graciously donated boxes of magnetic letters to our event.  Enter below to win a FREE set of Magnetic Letters from Educational Insights (a 24.99 value).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Springing into Learning

Spring Blog Hop Header

I’m excited to be teaming up with some other great bloggers for a Springing into Learning Blog Hop!  Thanks to Kim at Elementary Antics for organizing this fabulous Hop!

I would like to share a fun craft I recently made for St. Patrick’s Day which is right around the corner!  With some old pots we had in the yard, I created “Pots of Gold” to take to both my school and the girl’s school.  This is a simple, yet thoughtful way let others know you are “lucky” to have them either teaching with you or teaching your kids!

All you need to make these pots are black paint, gold glitter, decoupage, outdoor pots, shamrock stencil and Rolos!  The pictures below walk you through the different steps.

pot of gold

Now for the fun FREEBIE!!!  We have been working on numbers lately at the house , so I have made my starfish numbers 1-9 free for the next three days.  This set includes numbers 1-9.  It is a great way to introduce and practice numbers as Spring time begins!


I am also currently have a giveaway going on for a set of 12 Kwik Stix for the next 12 hours.  You can read my review here of these fun, vibrate, no mess paints.  Enter the raffle below to win your own set!

Kwik Stix 12 pack

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Make sure you check out all the other blogs for more great Springtime ideas!!

Kwik Stixs: Review and Giveaway!


I was excited when The Pencil Grip Company asked me to review their product, Kwik Stix.  My girls love arts and crafts, so this product was lots of fun to try out!  Kwik Stix are tempera paints that dry in 90 seconds and create very little mess.  They are also easy for little hands to use.  We used the paints to free draw and the girls had a great time.  In my oldest daughter’s (4 years old) words, “These are cool!  I want to use these all the time!”  I was also impressed with them for 3 main reasons.

Vibrant Colors

We had 12 different colors to use and they were so bright and vibrant.  Compared to typical paints and crayons that we usually use, the Kwik Stik’s were much brighter, even with just one stroke. The girls enjoyed using them all and blending them together.



Kwik Stix are very easy to use and create a smooth texture on the paper.   They create the perfect cross between crayon and paint.   Even when lots of pressure is placed on them, they stay smooth.


Little Mess

My daughters are very messy and these were the perfect alternative to using paint which usually gets all over the place and takes a while to dry.  These paints dry so fast….I really could not believe how fast they dried.  The girls went past the page and accidentally drew on the table.  They wiped right off with just a cloth and water.


We will definitely be hanging on to these paints and as my daughter quoted “use them all the time!”  Lucky for you, there is a chance to win a 12 color set of Kwik Stix to add to your art collection.

Kwik Stix 12 pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trick or Treat Blog Hop


I’m excited to be participating with some other great bloggers in Trick or Treat Blog Hop.  Thanks so much Rachel for all your hard work in organizing this hop!

Halloween time tends to bring out some bizarre behaviors and the “honeymoon period” that some kids experience at the beginning of school has worn off, so I want to share with you some different ideas or tricks that will help you during this time of year, as well as some a freebie and giveaway treat!




Behavior contracts are a written agreement between teacher and student.  I also think it is a good idea to include the parent on the contract so everyone involved is on the same page.  Pick a behavior you want to address, such as staying in assigned area and then set a goal.  The contract below is for primary grades and students are able to color the starfish when if they meet the criteria (in this case staying in assigned area.  Once all starfish are color, then they receive their reward.


One downfall of behavior contracts I have seen in the past is the lack of a reward.  It is a MUST to attach reinforcement to a behavior contract.  Think of it the same way as an employment contract… are required to come to work everyday and complete certain duties.  Your reward or reinforcement is the paycheck you receive.

Behavior contracts can be completed for all types of activities such as a bus contract, cafeteria contract, homework contract, recess contract, etc.


Adding a bonus clause on the contract is extra helpful when attempting to add a home component.  In the example below there is an added bonus of receiving time of video games if the child completes the desired behavior all week.  The power of having parents and teachers on the same page and reinforcing the same behavior produces the most positive outcomes for students!




If you have trouble transitioning your class from one activity to another, this strategy will be invaluable.   There are so many transitions that happen throughout the day both within the classroom and outside of the classroom.  If a class or a student has difficulty with these times of time, minutes, if not hours of instruction can be lost.

Prior to the transition time (lunch to recess, between subjects, end of the day), assign 2 to 3 behaviors that you will be looking for as you walk around the class or walk down the hall.  As the class begins the transition, begin handing out “transition tickets” which could simply be raffle tickets, to students who are following the behavior expectations.  The tickets can then be collected at the end of the week for an actual raffle.  After consistently implementing this over the course of the week, a class can usually successfully transition in less than a minute.



As I mentioned above, when parents and teachers are working together, there is a stronger chance in change behaviors.  This strategy requires parents to be responsive to the behavior.  When a student continues a behavior (calling out, out of seat, etc.) after a couple of warnings, he/she is required to complete a form letter. The letter identifies the inappropriate behavior and an explanation of how the student plans to correct the behavior in the future.


The completed form is then put into an envelope with the parents name. The student is informed that the letter will be placed in a file unless the student exhibits the inappropriate behavior again within a designated time frame (that day, that class period, etc.). If the behavior occurs again then the letter is sent home or it could be scanned and emailed to the parents. Parents should understand the meaning of this form. The power behind this strategy is that the student knows the letter is sitting and ready to be sent home and the teacher is not making an idle threat such as “I’m going to call your parents”. Some children can regain control of their behavior once the letter is ready to be sent home.


Now for all the FUN STUFF!! My entire store is 20% off for the next four days.  You can get Behavior Contracts which includes 7 contracts, as well as many other behavior products.

Click here for your freebie of Self Addressed Discipline.  Feedback is greatly appreciated!!

And finally enter the raffle below for a chance to win two items from my store.  You have four different ways to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on to  the next blog by clicking below!




100 Follower Giveaway


I started this blog and Teachers Pay Teachers back in May and have hit one of my first milestones (100 FOLLOWERS ON TPT!!) and wanted to celebrate with a giveaway.  I’m also launching my new Facebook page, so take a look!  I have asked some fellow bloggers and TPT creators to celebrate with me and we have FOUR terrific Bundles to giveaway.  These prize bundles have AMAZING products (over $150 worth of prizes)….enter with the raffle below for a chance to win!!  The winner of each bundle will be announced on September 26th.

Bundle One

Bundleone1a Rafflecopter giveaway
Discovering Hidden Potential-$10 store credit,  Teacher R Us-Winners Choice ,Laura Ado-Superhero Sentences, Powerpoint Gaming-Community Helpers, Momma with a Teaching Mission-$10 store credit, Aharwell-Sight Word Lists, Morgan Hunt-Interactive Science Foldy Flaps, Teaching Turning Frowns into Smiles-Add 10: Using Numbers 1-100  

Bundle Two

bundletwo1  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Loving Math-Winners Choice, Firstie Friends-Writing Galore Mega Pack, Tied 2 Teaching-Incentive Coupons, Active Learning Active Living-Student Data Binders, Mrs. Marks Classroom-Blooms Taxonomy Posters Queen of the Jungle-Punctuation Pigs, Mrs. Tompkins-Winners Choice, Behavior Boosters-Discovering Hidden Potential

Bundle Three

bundlethree1 a Rafflecopter giveawayMentoring in the Middle-Winners Choice Positively Passionate about Teaching-Context Clues Math with Dr. Pepper-Winners Choice Kathleen Applebee-The Legend of Sodium Chloride Mrs. Schlachter-Halloween Candy Sort Barb Evan’s-Winners Choice Discovering Hidden Potential-$10 Store Credit A Plus Kids-Winners Choice

Bundle Four

bundlefour1 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Discovering Hidden Potential-Winners Choice
Mrs. Wyatts Wise Owl Creations-Reading Response Notebooks
Leaf and STEM Learning-Rounding Decimals
TiePlay Educational Resources LLC-Monster Math
Anderson Academics-Winners Choice
Sashas Creations-$5 Store Credit
Third Grade Giggles-Winners Choice
Principal Practice-4th Grade Common Core Addition/Subtraction