Currently: July

I'm linking up for the first time with Farley at OhBoyFourthGrade for July Currently. 

Listening:  Yes, I'm an Investigation Discovery addict.  I feel, at this point, I might possibly be able to solve a real case.  If not solve it all by myself, I'd definitely be a strong crime solving team member.  I can't believe anyone thinks they could get away with anything!  It shocks me every time.

Loving:  I went to work last school year when my baby was 8 weeks old, so now that she just turned one, I'm appreciating this time so much.  There was a point around spring break when I looked at her and couldn't believe how much she'd changed.  I got so busy during the school year, that it seemed like she was a newborn and then the next day crawling.  Last 4th of July she was only 3 weeks old, so of course, she slept.  It was so fun to see her experience fireworks for the first time this year!!

Thinking:  Uggggh.  No fun.  My vacuum cleaner broke, and that's bad news when you live with a chronic cracker and raisin dropper.  Fixing the vacuum cleaner does not sound fun.  Didn't there used to be vacuum cleaner repair shops back in the day?  Taking the vacuum on a field trip doesn't sound fun either.

Wanting:  A vacuum cleaner repair fairy is what I need.  If she would also do bathrooms, it would be greatly appreciated.

Needing:  I've been working so much on neglected projects this summer, that my skin kind of looks like it's mid-December.  Not that I'm a sun worshiper by any means.  I just need to make sure I'm getting enough vitamin D.  Is that the sun vitamin?  I don't remember.

All Star:  With all of the house cleaning procrastination talk, you'd think I might be disorganized.  That is not the case.  Organizing is relaxing to me.  I got a new plastic drawer organizer yesterday and it made my day.  It triggered multiple thoughts about what kind of labels I would make.  Nerd!

Okay, now it's your turn.  What are you up to?  Click here to link up.

Fantastic Finds: Crayon Rocks

Today I want to share a product find with you that I think is pretty fantastic.  My mother-in-law, Tracie, recently brought me a pack of Crayon Rocks thinking I might be able to use them with my students.  I tried the product, and I was sold.

Crayon Rocks were created by a special needs teacher, Barbara Lee, after being inspired by occupational therapist Jan Olsen and her Handwriting Without Tears program.  What makes these crayons great is their shape, which doesn’t allow children to easily grip them with a closed fist while coloring.  The shape of the crayons encourages children to use their thumb, first and second fingers in a tripod grip which helps strengthen fine motor development.

Are there any other cool features?  Oh yes!  No more broken crayons!  And unlike most crayons, these are made out of U.S.-grown and processed Kosher soy wax and natural mineral pigments.  So although they’re non-toxic (and the website says you could even eat them, not that you’d want to), you still MUST supervise a little one, as they take the shape and size of a choking hazard.  They’re recommended for children 3+, so of course I let my one-year old daughter draw with them (watching her like a hawk, of course).  She absolutely loved creating her work of art, and I enjoyed watching her practice her little tripod grip when picking them up.

I’m excited to use these in the classroom with my students who need to strengthen their fine motor skills.  Crayon Rock's website notes that children with cerebral palsy, autism, developmental delays and various forms of learning disabilities have used and loved them.  We’re going to be Rockin’ it with these crayons in my room this year!  Pun intended.

If you're a lover of crayons and fine motor skills, which should be pretty much all of us, click here to visit their site.

4th of July Giveaway!

Happy 4th of July everyone!  I love today, because it always feels like the official start of summer.  To share the love, I'm doing a summer time giveaway.  Starting today and ending, yes, at the end of the summer (8*24*15), if you follow my blog, you will be entered into a raffle to win a $20 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  Yes, what's better on the first day of school than getting an email saying that you just won money?!

All you have to do is click to the right to follow my page in some way, and then enter your name and email below.  You can also enter by logging in through Facebook.  If you're not a google subscriber, a blogin' lover or an email subscriber, you can also enter the raffle by liking my Facebook page.  It's that easy!  Good luck!

Summer's Special to Me: Joshua

When I first met Joshua at the beginning of his 7th grade year, I could tell that he was going to make my day interesting.  He was observant and could read people in a surprising way, and he proved to be incredibly “street smart” for someone so young.  He had strong opinions about style, wearing Batman gloves with the fingers cut off and a leather jacket.  He took great pride, as I’m sure he still does, in putting on just enough cologne and keeping his shoes clean.  He made me laugh every day, and he smiled and waved at everyone he saw in the halls.  He wanted to be in the military, just like his mom.  I was excited and sad to see Joshua off to high school, and I was proud of how far he had come in the two years I knew him.

I saw Joshua this past spring at Special Olympics, and I was so happy to see how well he was getting along with his new high school peers.  He taught me a great deal about receiving certain students with gentle firmness.  I learned how to show that I cared at the same time providing unwavering structure.  I had to consistently enforce consequences when earned, whether positive or negative.  I learned how to portray to a student, even when they were upset with me, that I cared for them.  This is why Joshua is Special to Me.

A special thank you to Erica Atkisson who allowed me to share my thoughts about her son.  If you would like to submit a picture and blurb about a student who is special to you, please email it to  Your special student could be featured in the upcoming months.  It is mandatory that you receive written approval from parents before submitting any pictures or blurbs.  Teachers4.2Morrow will not be held liable for any pictures or blurbs featured without parent approval.  It is the sole responsibility of the submitting teacher to gain written approval from parents before submission, and the submitting teacher will take full responsibility for the submission if prior approval is not granted by parents.