Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Post I am Thankful for...

Hi friends. I know I just posted a little New Year's post, but I just found this blog and had to share it with you, particularly the post I'm linking to. I was just chatting with another "speckled egg" about how effective medications can be for kids with disabilities, and how I wish parents wouldn't immediately write it off as being a detriment to their child. Sure, it is a last resort, but after living with a person who has autism and who is medicated, I can see the ENORMOUS difference it can make. Now, it doesn't work for everyone, but it isn't the devil, either. :) Here's a post from a mom who has a son with autism about why she advocates for medication when nothing else is working. I found it inspiring, and I plan on showing it to parents who ask to hear a medication success story.

Click here to go to the post!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Thanks for sticking with me through this first little bit of blogging. I hope that you and your family have a fantastic 2012! " :)

Photobucket& Gus-Gus :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Give away!

Hey everyone! I know I'm totally breaking "blog etiquette" by blogging TWICE in one day, but there's a blogger giving away a Target gift card so a post about that was necessary! Heather over at Swinging Through Second Grade is giving away a $10 Target gift card in honor of reaching her 50th follower. I can only hope I get to 50 one of these days :) I'm thinking it would help if I started posting stuff that I made, and not just stuff that I bought/collected from other bloggers! Either way, I'm always glad to see another 2nd grade blogger out there, as many of my kids function on a 2nd grade level. Anyway, head on over to Heather's blog and enter to win!

Eleven in Eleven

Hadar at Miss Kindergarten and Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher are hosting a fun, end-of-the-year linky party called...

Sounds like fun to me! :) Here goes.

11. Favorite movie you watched
Gosh, the first question is already a challenge! There are about 4 that stand out in my mind for different reasons. The four I liked the most are Scream 4, The Help, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I. They are all so different, but here are my explanations. 
Scream 4: After being introduced to the original Scream trilogy a couple of years ago, I totally fell in LOVE! Back in April, my {now ex} husband and I won tickets to the Scream 4 premiere in Los Angeles. It was fantastic! Not as good as the first 3, but still pretty good :)
The Help: I DEVOURED the book in about 2 days just a few months before the movie came out. It was the best {non-Harry Potter, non-Twilight, non-True Blood} book I have read in a long time. They movie was ALMOST as good as the book.
Harry Potter 7.2: The finale to the aMaZiNg series of books and movies completely delivered...I mean WOW! Definitely my favorite Potter movie so far. On a side note, have I ever mentioned I love Bellatrix LeStrange?
Breaking Dawn: Best Twilight movie so far! It was definitely gruesome at the end {eww!} but otherwise I really did like it. Lots of Jacob, which makes me happy :)
OK, all that being said, I'd say my FAVORITE movie this year was...

10. Favorite TV series:
I have many series that I love, but the one that is  currently on TV that I love the most is Desperate Housewives. I've followed those girls since they came on TV so many years ago and I am so, so sad to see them go at the end of this season :( Honorable mentions go to Modern Family, True Blood, and {now off the air} Big Love.

9. Favorite restaurant:
PF Chang's! O...M...G I freakin' LOVE that place! They have the best Crab Rangoon and Lettuce Wraps anywhere, and their Sesame Chicken is fantastic. Seriously, I'm glad the closest one is 40 miles away ;)
8. Favorite new thing you tried:
I'd have to say BLOGGING! :) Blogging is what makes my teaching world go 'round these days. Well, blogging and Pinning actually. Teacher blogs have totally change my teaching and my attitude about it. It totally keeps me on toes at all times. Thanks, Cara Carroll, for being the first teacher blogger I ever stalked :)

7. Favorite gift you got:
Good grief, is it a bad sign that I can't even remember what I got for my birthday?! I'm sure it was something fantastic and probably cooking-related, but I can't even remember what it was. AWFUL! I'll tell ya my favorite Christmas gift, which was definitely amazing :) I got this fabulous knife set from Santa {he still visits me} this year, and it goes perfectly in my crazy orange kitchen.

6. Favorite thing you pinned:
Aside from blogging, Pinning is definitely the next best thing for my teaching :) It links me up with so many great resources and ideas. I've not only found great teaching ideas, but also great recipes, craft ideas, and photo fun! One of the best things I've made that was discovered via-Pinterest were these Seasoned Fries with Skinny Garlic Aioli from Yum yum!

5. Favorite blog post:
Probably this one about the 10 reasons I know Christmas is near! Actually, the original post from the linky party's author was the best ("if you can hear me, slap your neighbor")...check that one out at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits!

4. Best accomplishment:
Ummm, just making it through my last year of teaching was a darn MIRACLE! Seriously, I didn't think I'd make it at least once a week last year. It was a challenge for sure, but I made it through and this year is going MUCH better. I'm so very thankful that I still have a job and that I'm getting another chance to try and make a difference in the lives of kids :)

3. Favorite picture: 
This one of me and my daddy at Thanksgiving has to be a favorite from this year!
This one of me repping our district's cross-town rival (AKA my alma mater) while my instructional assistants rep our district is another good one! :) {Side note: please ignore the messy table to the right of the photo.}

2. Favorite memory:
I had several good memories from this year, but I have to say the surprise trip to Los Angeles mentioned above was full of them! We had a good time, and I got to check something off of my bucket list....eating at the garlic restaurant, The Stinking Rose. Fantastic!
1. Goal for 2012:
My goal for 2012 is to make myself a more social person. Teaching is amazing, but it can wear you out (as you well know), and sometimes I feel like all I do is teach, plan, eat, and sleep. I'm also going to continue stretching the minds of my little darlings and my own skills by implementing new things I learn via blogging and conferences/cadres!

Hope you are having a great break! Head on over to Kristin or Hadar's blogs and link up your own 11 in '11. Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge

Hey all! Tamara over at TBA is having a virtual cookie swap/linky party today. What a great idea! You know that if we lived close enough, we would FOR SURE be doing a cookie swap with one another :) Anyway, I had to submit my tried and true holiday favorite. Sorry there's no picture, but I'm sure you can imagine this fudge in your head ;)

Peanut Butter Fudge
(a Jif recipe)

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup PET® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 2/3 cups Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  • Line a 9x9 pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large sauce pan, combine butter, sugar, and milk. Cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly, then continue to boil 5 minutes while still stirring. Add the peanut butter and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and beat in the vanilla and marshmallow creme. Pour fudge into prepared pan and allow to cool. Store in a covered container.

    This may not be an "original family recipe", but it sure is good! Head on over to TBA's Recipe Swap and link up your favorites!

     Recipe Swap


    Monday, December 19, 2011

    10 Reasons I Know Christmas is Near

    As I was hanging out and blog stalking a little on the FIRST afternoon I've had with nothing to do in [seriously] 4 weeks, I came across a new blog that I am loving...Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. I guess I should clarify: she's not new, but she is new to me because I just discovered her! Anyway, there is a linky party happenin' over there today called: Top 10 Reasons I Know Christmas is Near. Head on over and tell everyone how you know Christmas is just around the corner. Now, for Ms. Caudill's top 10...

    10. I would take a Dr. Pepper IV if anyone did them ;)
    9. My mom has been complaining about decorations and all the trouble they are.
    8. I'm on a constant sugar high from the cookies, candy, and cakes that are always at school.
    7. My recycling bin and trashcan are overflowing with red, green, brown, and white construction paper scraps.
    6. There isn't a darn gingerbread man left in my whole, entire [small] town!
    5. My darling IAs have been cutting, cutting, cutting for weeks.
    4. Main Street is lit up like a Christmas tree :)
    3. The annual Christmas pageant was last Sunday at church.
    2. I would rather "take a hatchet to the face" than head to Walmart.
    1. I finally have work on my bulletin board in the hallway!!! ;) Seems like the work in the hallway is the *cutest* at Christmastime :)

    Does it look like Christmas threw up in your room, too? I HOPE SO! Enjoy your break, bloggy buddies!

    MIA :(

    I am officially the worst blogger EVER! Since Thanksgiving I have been MIA from the whole blog scene...I haven't even been stalking anyone :( I'm sorry! In the last month, I've been trying as hard as I can to cram in some more alternate assessment standards before the break...scary!!! In the past week, I've been doing many of Cara Carroll's holiday craftivities with my kiddos while trying to keep them focused (although I have to admit I think I am more off task than they are with Christmas break so close). We'll have more holiday fun these next 2 days before getting out to enjoy a *short* winter break. Oh well, I'm sure there will be plenty of snow days to make up for it ;) I'll post pictures of all our fun when I've got some time Wednesday or Thursday.

    Enjoy your Christmas break, bloggers!


    Monday, November 21, 2011

    I'm Thankful

    Natalie and Rachelle over at What the Teacher Wants are hosting a linky party all about what we're thankful for! What a great (and appropriate) idea! I've been posting each day on my Facebook page about the things I'm thankful for, and it has made me realize how INSANELY blessed I am to have all that I have. Since this is a school-related blog, I'm making all of my answers school related, too. Feel free to head on over and link up the things you're thankful for :)

    1. What are you thankful for in your classroom?
    My iPad, SMARTBoard (sometimes), and Leveled Literacy Intervention system! The iPad has totally changed my teaching; there are so many awesome things on it that can enhance what I'm doing with my kids in small groups. My SMARTBoard is VERY finicky, so sometimes I'm cursing it more than being thankful for it, but in the end I can't imagine my classroom without it. LLI is the program I use for all of my reading groups, and man-oh-man am I thankful for Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell! It is truly an invaluable resource at my school.
    2. What person are you most thankful for?
    AHHH, what an insanely hard question!!! How can I choose?? Even though I've narrowed it down to school related people, it is still so difficult. There are so many people here who are my mentors and friends, and I can't imagine surviving (especially last year) without them. However, if you put a gun to my head and FORCED me to choose I'd have to say my amazingly fantastic instructional assistant, Ms. Terri Bell. I can't say enough good things about her. She restores my sanity, gives me great ideas for lessons and modifications, is a great listening ear, and is above all else one of my dearest friends. She has saved me more times than I can count and I am reminded daily of how much she means to me and does for me. What a blessing :)
    3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?
    Geeze, that's another hard one. Well, besides TBA (obviously) I'd have to say my 3 favorites are the following:

    What the Teacher Wants (and I'm not just saying that because this is their linky party!). I love the freebies, the ideas, and all the inspiration they provide. Thanks, Rachelle and Natalie for all your fantastic ideas.

    Queen of the First Grade Jungle, Mrs. Katie King! She teaches at the same school I do and is always filling me in on her awesome blog finds. She is a great teacher, coworker, and blogger :)

    Last but CERTAINLY not least, the first blogger I ever stalked. I was literally blown away by the amount of fantastic information she provided. Please, please check out Mrs. Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade for some serious inspiration.
    4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?
    I am super thankful for my candy jar! Some days I just really need a burst of sugar to keep me going. The candy jar is perfect, especially when it is just a little sweet that I'm in need of. It can get a little costly, but I sure do love it ;)
    5. What are you most thankful for?
    When it comes to school, I am definitely most thankful for my kids. They keep me motivated even on the days where I feel myself start to get jaded by all the negatives and craziness that can float around in education. They remind me every day why I absolutely love what I do. I can't imagine doing anything else and I am so very thankful for the kids that make my work all worth it.

    What are you thankful for? Head over to What the Teacher Wants and share :)


    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Turkeys for my Turkeys :)

    TWO MORE DAYS! YAY! :) The kids are *almost* as excited as I am about Thanksgiving break. Growing up, I always thought the kids were the ones who really appreciated days off of school, but man was I wrong...teachers love them so much more!
    This week in writing, we'll be making these turkeys to show what we're thankful for. We will be writing different things we are thankful for on the feathers and then gluing them to the circular body that says "This year, I'm thankful for...". Finally, we're going to glue them onto construction paper and have them laminated to make place mats. I've never made these before, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the final product to show as an example. We are doing these on Monday, so I'll post pictures as soon as we're done. I think they'll be really cute!
    The templates for the turkey bodies and feathers can be found HERE. Unfortunately, I don't have a template for the heads or feet, so feel free to create those yourself. They are really easy to cut out, but IMPOSSIBLE to create in a Power Point presentation. Have any ideas to modify this or make it better? Please feel free to share :) I always love suggestions!
    Happy Short-Week-of-Thanksgiving!


    Friday, November 18, 2011

    The End of Predictions

    Well, all our work on predictions is coming to a close and I'm pleased to say I think they've got it! I only had one little one who didn't seem to understand what it meant to predict, so I felt like that was pretty good :) We've read books and predicted, done Babbling Abby's Mystery Box activity (I made my own, but used her example as an awesome starting place), and did Babbling Abby's Candy Corn Bandit activity (can you tell I like her a little bit?!) which was SO much fun...I mean, they were totally obsessed. We've also used Brain Pop, Jr. A LOT during this reading unit. They have some really good printable activities, too. Here are some pictures of us hard at work :)

    We love Annie and Moby around here! We are moving on to learning about the main idea and supporting details of a text. I'll probably wait until after Thanksgiving break to start, so we'll be doing some serious reviewing Monday and Tuesday of next week. Enjoy your weekend...Thanksgiving is just around the corner!


    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Hi, I'm Claire and I have a problem...

    I have a confession to make: I'm a blog idea thief! It is the main thing I use for teaching strategies these days. I just can't help it; if I see a fantastic idea on someone's blog, I just have to go and recreate it to make it my own. That being said, I always give credit and link back (usually multiple times) to the blogger who first used and posted the idea. In that spirit, I'd like to share 2 of my most recent stolen successes! Hope they are ideas that are useful to you :)
    First of all, I was wandering around on Pinterest looking for a new way to teach spelling words. The strategies I was using were still working, but they were getting a little old. I came upon this Read, Write, Create sheet that was pinned from a seller at TpT, and I knew I had to make my own! Her's looks like this:
    So cute, and the pack comes with tons more activities! I didn't use this one, but instead made my own with the kids' spelling words. Because I teach so many different grade levels, I have 3 different spelling lists to keep up with each week (crazy!) so having an activity that they all can do really helps to lighten my load. I make one template, then just change up the words...easy! Hop on over to TpT to check out the original post and pack, Popcorn Word Literacy Activities by Melissa Freshwater. Thanks for the idea, Melissa :)
    Next, I was working on multiplying activities (again) the other day and about flipped when I saw an AMAZING activity over on Second Grade Shenanigans. Multiplying using repeated addition with marshmallows and Fruit Loops...what a great idea! If the kids were right, they got to eat their answer :) So fun! I forgot to take pictures, so here is the picture from Hope's blog:

    Is she just too creative or what?! You can click HERE to go straight to her blog and read the original post about multiplication. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't know where I'd be without you awesome teacher bloggers :) Thanks for all your help as I continue to gather ideas for teaching the new alternate assessment standards.


    Saturday, November 5, 2011


    For our alternate assessments, my fourth graders have to learn to multiply...yikes! That was a little overwhelming, considering adding and even counting are serious challenges. But I don't have a choice, so I had to embrace the new standards. After a suggestion from my fabulous (unofficial) teaching mentor, I've taken a great multiplication strategy and run with it. The kids are actually catching on to it! I must admit, I was shocked by this. Just goes to show that they WILL rise to meet my expectations, and that I can never stop challenging them regardless of what I think they can't do! :) Basically, this was a good lesson for the teacher and the students.

    I started out by introducing them to multiplication with drawings. I told them that the first number in a problem was the number of circles you draw. The second number was the number of Xs you put in each circle. Once you're done, you count the Xs and that is your answer. Here's my example (taken with an iPhone camera, so please excuse the quality) on the SMARTBoard.

    5 circles times 2 stars in each circle equals 10 stars all together!

    They seemed to catch on to this to a degree, so I decided to get them actively engaged in the activity. I brought hula hoops to school and had the kids all take off their shoes. I had them use the hula hoops in place of the circles and their shoes in place of the Xs. They usually LOVE weird stuff like this, and this game was no exception! So fun! One of my little darlings had it down to an art by the end of the lesson!

    Here's the hula hoop match to the problem on the SMARTBoard.

    I created a little exit slip to go along with this activity. If you are having trouble teaching multiplication, this is really fun! I am going to try to find bean bags to use, too. Since several of my babies wear Dafos, taking shoes off and putting them on is a challenge for my IAs and me! Bean bags might be faster and easier than shoes. Plus, I had one little guy who was totally grossed out by the was too funny :) If you want the exit slip, you can grab it right HERE. Hope this will be useful to you! Please, please share other fun multiplication activities if you have them.

    Have a great weekend!


    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Idiom Foldable! LOVE!

    I was wandering around, pinning away on Pinterest the other day (don't you just LOVE that site?!) when I wandered across this little beauty  by Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade. It was a fabulous activity about idioms. The kids really had fun with this, although they did need some extra prompting and guidance. Check out our photos, then PLEASE hop on over to Denise's blog and check it out. I recently discovered it and I just love it! :)

    Here's one of my darling first graders working away on his idioms! We drew and wrote the idiom on the outside flap, and drew a picture of what it really meant on the inside flap. Really fun!

    I say that the kids are "on the ball" all of the time, so that was a great starting point. They helped me make a list and then copied from the board to help with spelling.

    I know this is upside down, but I can't get it to rotate...grrrr! The right side of this picture is what "It's raining cats and dogs" really means, and the left side is what "You are on the ball" really means. This little quiet darling is one of my best artists :)

    Have a good week!


    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Holly Bloggy Christmas!

    Oh my goodness, I was just on Classroom Freebies checking out what was new on this Freebie Friday, when I came across a link to Ms. Preppy's Holly Bloggy Christmas  post! It sounds like a FANTASTIC idea and so much fun. Head on over to Ms. Preppy's blog and check out Holly Bloggy Christmas to see if it would be something you'd have fun doing! TGIF :)


    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Meet the Teacher

    It would be really easy for me to use the "About Me" section for this, but unfortunately it posts the exact same thing on my teaching blog as it does on my personal blog. I don't want to say the same thing in! So I decided I'd make myself a blog button that linked back to an About Me post and use that instead. So here it is, the "Meet the Teacher" section of my little blog :)
    Name: Claire Caudill
    Hometown: Danville, KY
    Alma Mater: Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
    Degree: B.S., Learning and Behavior Disorders (K-12), Middle Grades English/Communications (5-9 grades)
    Currently Pursuing: MA-TL, Moderate to Severe Disabilities (K-12), Teacher Leadership
    Aspiration: Rank 1, Director of Special Education endorsement, Autism Spectrum Disorders cognate
    Favorite subject: Reading!
    Least favorite subject: Science :(
    About Me: I am a third year educator of exceptional students, and this year I will be my district's elementary classroom for students with moderate to severe disabilities. Previously, I have taught in a {similar} classroom for students with mild mental disabilities, multiple disabilities and developmental disabilities. I love teaching and I wouldn't want to do anything else! Teacher blogging has really helped me become a better teacher and I can't believe I went an entire year without knowing about its amazingness :) I live in an apartment in my {small} town's downtown with my poodle, Gus. I have a {middle} brother with Autism and {baby} brother with Ankylosing Spondylitis, both of which I am very passionate about. My baby brother will be playing Division 1 baseball for Davidson College in North Carolina this fall, and I look forward to many trips down south to watch him throw the heat!
    I like blogging, crafting, reading, pinning :), baking, cooking, watching lots of baseball, and finding new things to watch over Netflix. I am severely addicted to Dr. Pepper (especially $1 Dr. Peppers from McDonald's), Facebook, and the candy I keep in my kids' candy jar. Autism is my "favorite" disability. I can't wait to say I really have a degree in Autism, although to be honest I feel like I already do ;) I'm looking forward to networking and learning more about teaching through the wonderful world of blogging!



    Hey there, friends!
    Just wanted to tell you about an amazing giveaway going on with 5 fantastic bloggers! Mandy's Tips for TeachersLittle Miss KindergartenThe Creative AppleAshleigh's Education Journey, AND Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes have teamed up to have an awesome TpT/Teacher's Notebook giveaway. They are each picking a winner from their own blog, and each winner receives a material of their choice from EACH bloggers TpT or TN store! That's FIVE prizes per winner, and FIVE winners total...woo hoo! Hop on over to any of the blogs listed above and check out what you need to do to win.
    Hope you're having a great Tuesday!


    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    The Sensory Bin

    OK, so I was stalking Pinterest the other day and I came along the PERFECT thing for my classroom! Amanda Nickerson of One Extra Degree calls it The Stress Box. I'm planning on calling mine The Sensory Bin (because I'm trying not to be a total copycat), and thought I'd show you some pictures of what I have so far. Everything in my Sensory Bin came from good ole Target, and almost all of it was from the dollar that part :)

    The Sensory Bin so far. Excuse the bad lighting, I'm still on fall break with my family and was in a Hampton Inn hotel room when I took this picture. Lighting = not ideal.


    The Sensory Bin includes a funny little pullable, squeezable face filled with air and some Mardi Gras beads. I've got one little darling who loves to jingle keys (says he enjoys the noise they make) and I think he'd really like the Mardi Gras beads for some self-calming.

    Next, we've got one of those stretchy headbands that I can never get to stay on my head and two gooey, stretchy lizards. The headband will be good for pulling and stretching, and it has a nice bumpy texture to it. And who doesn't love to stretch those little lizards? Come on, admit it!


    Finally, it has stretchable, moldable, disgusting clear putty and one of those fun water tubes! I think it is a winning combination ;)

    I'm planning on using the stress bin in my resource class for a student with autism, but I'm also considering making them for some EBD kiddos I've been working with who aren't in the resource room. We shall see! Thanks again, Amanda, for the inspiration. Your Stress Box was a big inspiration to me :)

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