Thursday, January 22, 2015

Understanding Processing Issues

Dysgraphia- Difficulty writing or putting thoughts onto paper. Holding a pencil and organizing letters or the physical act of writing is strenuous. Spelling may be a struggle as well.  Putting ideas into language that is organized, stored and then retrieved from memory, may also add to struggles with written expression. The initial symptoms are trouble with fine motor skills such as shoe tying, holding a pencil, and zipping a coat. They often suffer from poor handwriting. The term comes from the Greek words dys (“impaired”) and graphia (“making letter forms by hand”). Dysgraphia is a brain-based issue. It’s not the result of a child being lazy.
Dyscalculia- Difficulty learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in Mathematics. It is generally seen as a specific developmental disorder. (source: Wikipedia). According to Brain Balance Centers , “often people with this condition can understand very complex mathematical concepts but have difficulty processing formulas or basic addition and subtraction. A person with the disorder may struggle with visual-spatial relationships or processing what he or she hears.”
Dysphagia- Swallowing difficulty and swallowing disorders. Dysphagia may also be associated with pain. In some cases, swallowing may be impossible. It is usually indicative of an issue with the esophagus. The reason I include dysphagia is because it often affects speech and language development.
Dyslexia- It is also known as Alexia or developmental reading disorder. It is not just seeing letters backwards. It is about struggling in the area of reading because of difficulty identifying speech sounds and how they relate to letters/words.
Dyspraxia- Dyspraxia is also known as Praxia, Motor Learning Difficulties, Perceptuo-Motor Dysfunction, and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Children with dyspraxia often skip the crawling stage and enter the walking stage. Dyspraxia causes issues with movement, fine (small) and gross (large) motor skills, coordination, memory, processing and cognitive skills. It can also affect the nervous and immune systems.  

1 in 5 children have a learning disability.  Help Guide states, “A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or dumb. In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information.”
 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What is RtI??

What is RtI?

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a general education initiative written into the IDEA 2004 special education law. The purpose of RtI is to give educators a framework to determine early intervention services.

RtI was created because research and multiple long-term studies found that students can learn when given differentiated instruction, explicit instruction, and by using a scientifically research-based curriculum..

RtI involves gathering data through assessment and progress-monitoring. Educators then determine the appropriate interventions the child needs and also the instructional plans the whole class needs.

There is no specific RtI model prescribed by the IDEA law, and there are variations of three or four-tier models. The bottom line is that responsive instruction benefits all learners. In other words, meet your students’ needs.

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

New Page, New Day

Be sure to check out my *NEW* page on fine motor skills fun. It has TONS of recipes for kids to exercise their hand muscles. And it is fun! I will add more ideas and concoctions to it from time to time. ENJOY!

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Learning Laughs

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Monday, January 19, 2015

Valentines and Love on My Mind

^That is why I got into teaching and education, but it could also apply to being a parent.

So my mind has been on hearts, love and frilly things. I decorate my house for every holiday (maybe it is the early childhood educator in me) so I cannot wait for my Harrison to help me make glittery hearts and hang doilies from the ceiling this week. Yes, I know Vday is a month away. That’s cool, but I like to look at pretty things.

I also like to make creative messes. Glue, glitter, name it!

So since my mind has been thinking of Valentine’s Day I created a free clip art for you to download HERE.
I also worked on a 30 page Valentine’s Day unit that I put on sale now for 2.50. It includes: 2 pages are for your Valentine's party!

Literacy Pages include:

2 songs/poems
listening center sheet
acrostic poetry

Math pages include:

one-digit addition
one-digit subtraction
double-digit addition
simple picture addition
3 mats for counting/sorting math counters
counting page
roll-a-Valentine activity

So check it out HERE if you want. J

I don’t want you to think my blog is just about TPT stuff at all because that is not my intention. Actually, when I started it nine years ago, it was mainly about me staying-at-home with my 1 year old and about scrapbooking & crafts. 

Then when I returned to teaching and eventually as a Reading Specialist it became about literacy. Now it is kind of a mix of whatever my thoughts are along with education and literacy.

Tomorrow Harrison & I are continuing to learn more about MLK and civil rights. My Bell’s Palsy is slowly getting better. Slowly but surely. I think sometimes it is just a reminder in my life to be patient.

I have so many webinars and workshops I signed up for coming up. I am excited to hear Dr. Tihen speak in a few weeks. And I plan on being at the Decoding Dyslexia OK event coming up. I’ll be therewith Bell’s onbadumdum (crazy joke!).

Have a nice, short week!
 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Sunday, January 18, 2015


I am trying my hardest to embrace taking a break in my career and being a stay-at-home mom homeschooling my 4th grader. Trying is the key word. There are times I want to be back in the fold with other educators and students so badly I feel like I am going to burst at the seams!

There are times when I try to remind myself to enjoy this moment, to enjoy this time with my son (and pets). Then there are other times where I am thinking of the song, "Did I Shave My Legs for This?" Only more like "Did I Stay Home for This?"

I dont know why I have such difficulty enjoying the moment. Maybe because I have a Type A personality. I can be OCD and perfectionist when it comes to myself. Not others, only myself. I am also a workaholic and very passionate about my career. I really only feel of use when I am out there in the world helping othersspecifically helping others with literacy.
I dont know why but I never really had that housekeeper and cooking gene. I do it, but not very well (especially the cooking part). And definitely not enthusiastically.

Now dont get me wrong, I love homeschooling. I love my son. But once our school day is complete, I am a little lost. Oh, laundry calls my name and my little doggies jump all over me, but I feel like I miss that feeling of being involved, the feeling of being out on the forefront of educational endeavors and rubbing elbows with teachers, and smiling at students.

I should just say, "Hi. My name is Tina and I am no Donna Reed or Martha Stewart or even a GOOP."

I am going to challenge myself from now on to live in the NOW, to enjoy the NOW, and to find happiness in the NOW. 
 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr-Martin's Big Words

Today my son and I watched this YouTube video along with the book we had, Martin's Big Words. It is a great book!!

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Webby Wednesday

So I went to my favorite nerdy place in the world, the local library and got this gem to read

It is supposed to include creative approaches to early literacy. That is what gets thrown by the wayside many times in educationcreativity. There is real value in creativity and brain development. I would go so far as to say creativity is necessary for survival! Creativity allows you to learn because you learn to improvise and adapt through creative means. It is how we become better at doing things. So hurrah for creative teaching!!!

Today is Webby Wednesday and I need to share some awesome, amazing, serendipitous finds with you

I have a special place in my heart for bumblebees. My first year of teaching and every year after (lol) the theme was “busy bees.”

So this little valentine bee owns me right now! I found this art project on Pinterest but could not find the original source.

One of the grades I taught was Pre-Kindergarten and every morning as a part of our calendar routine we reviewed shapes. This would be handy to use this shape wheel to do that. You could even take it with you during a class bathroom break time and use it for review in the hallway. You can download it here at Liz's Early Learning Spot.

Animation gif from

I found this wonderful website that shows how letters are properly formed. My son is a 4th grader but still struggles (like many!) with readable handwriting. We are using this to show him correct formations. This would be wonderful to pull up on a SmartBoard,computer, or tablet. The website is Donna Young's Manuscript Handwriting Animations. Check it out!

So I have been working on my mad drawing skills. This week I worked on some monsters. I have no idea why but I always associate cute monsters with Valentine's. This one I called "Lovey Dovey Monster" and you can buy this guy and other colorful versions HERE at my TPT store.

I also have some FREE sparkle hearts for you todownload HERE at TPT. I am already getting ready for Valentine’s Day!

Before I dive into my book I have to share this funny...get it?!?!

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A little love.

My little boy saw this commercial on tv and it is too cute-n-sweet to not share! 

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Reading. It's a Good Thing!

Online read-alouds are great for listening centers or to share a story with the whole class on the Smartboard. At home, I love to play read-alouds in the car for my son to listen to while we run errands. It is my sneaky way to get him reading and following along, and it also keeps him from asking Are we there yet? 

Sneaky mom educational methods aside, I find that research states childrens brains are being re-wired because of the technology we have. Read “Kids, Tech and Those Shrinking Attention Spans” here. So it seems if I put on a YouTube clip of a read-aloud my son seems more interested because he was raised in a visually stimulating world and that is what he identifies with. It is also good to change things up by having kids to hear other voices and/or to see authors, celebrities, or people they admire read. So borrowing a Martha Stewart line--digital literacy, it’s a good thing!
 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The way to your {heart}

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So I am a little proud of myself for teaching myself to make graphics, html, etc. Today was a little milestone because I posted my first paid clip art for sell on!
Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?  I am just having fun making clip art that looks like kid art (yes, that is intentional). 

 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg

Friday, January 9, 2015

Where the magic happens...

 photo comfortzone_zpsf596bcbf.jpg
Let's talk about stepping out of your comfort zone. I feel that in life in general if you do not take risks then you are left with feelings of "what if?" and regret. 

It is easy to stay in your safe cave and hide sometimes because you are less likely to get hurt. But it isn't living.

Ever since this past summer, I have had to deal with some of life's wrenches that were thrown my way. I have tried my hardest to persevere and to continue to cheer everyone on and up. But even when I am sad, I realize that "hey, at least I took a risk!" and that makes me feel better. I know my worth. I know I am a hard worker that constantly looks for ways to improve, and someday that will be rewarded. 

So sometimes in teaching we have to take risks. Sometimes it is easier to just hand them a worksheet, but what are they really learning from that? No student has ever said, "Wow, I remember this really great worksheet." No. They remember the experience of learning. The adventures! When I was teaching, I was very hands-on and about active participation. Yes, I was tired at the end of they day but I was FULFILLED with the sense of knowing my students had learned. I gave them my best and that made me feel my best. 

I know the school year is half-over, but please don't let yourself fall into a teaching slump. Stay out of the teacher's lounge if negativity rules in there. If someone says something mean, just smile and stare at them. Don't let anything interfere with your ability to teach and your wonderful ability to help children! Shine! :)

 photo brokencrayonsstillcolor_zpsdbc3ae1f.jpg

 photo a4005d6e-7e4f-4790-a9e7-e152a2d69b28_zpsa754f705.jpg
 photo tinasig8-7-14_zpsd9a78e1a.jpg