Monthly Archives: March 2012

To Ryan, with Love

April is “Autism Month”. April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day! To help shine a light on autism, LIGHT IT UP BLUE!

Light it up Blue is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. (The number of children identified as having an autism spectrum disorder in the United States is soaring, with roughly 1 in 88 being found to have this condition, according to a study released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support. You can too! Whether it’s your front porch, your classroom, your school hallway, even your Facebook profile pic… the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism. So run to home depot and get your blue light bulbs! Click one, two or three for a “light it blue” FB profile pic.

I don’t think of my nephew Ryan as “disabled”, rather “differently-abled.”

A child with autism can teach us so much about ourselves and the world around us. The way Ryan sees the world is perhaps how it should be seen. Ryan takes people for face value, he believes what you say, he means what he says, and he says what he means. Ryan gets so much joy out of simple things – a song, a hockey game, watching airplanes fly or counting freight train cars. And one of his favorite things is to share that joy with those he loves. With Ryan, you know where you stand at all times, there are no ulterior motives or game playing, you do not have to second guess his actions. Although it can be difficult at times when you are not his favorite person (believe me, he will let you know), but ultimately he will forgive anything after hearing a rational explanation for your (less than desirable) action or behavior. Looking into Ryan’s eyes, you can get a glimpse of his world… his eyes are gentle, innocent and inquisitive as if constantly trying to absorb and understand the world around him. His mom (my sister) has a favorite poem that poignantly puts into words how she feels about Ryan. Welcome to Holland.

You may remember an earlier blog post that highlighted my exceptional nephew. To say Ryan has come a long way is an understatement! This June he is getting his certificate of completion from Camarillo High School and was named as one of the senior Athletes Of The Year.

Although Ryan had many accomplishments during his 4 years of high school, his track career was the notably most positive accomplishment. He was around typical kids, ran with them 6 miles a day, 6 days a week and was wildly accepted by the group. In fact, he has been asked to come back and help the team next year! Ryan will without a doubt push other athletes to work as hard as he does. Ryan gives nothing less than 100 percent in every single run, race and workout, in turn he expects from others, nothing less than 100 percent!

Help elementary students gain a deeper understanding and acceptance of students with autism like Ryan. Download this easy to implement “autism workshop” and reflections project.

Remember to LIGHT IT UP BLUE April 2!


Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A funny thing happened yesterday. I was talking to a sweet first grade teacher friend and she said in a comical, yet somewhat flustered voice … “whew – spring break is coming in just the nick of time”! I was curious exactly what she meant, then she smiled and said: “You know that darling mischievous boy in your SPRING FEVER blog, the one that looks like he just may have a bit of spring fever … well many of my student’s faces are beginning to look that same way”!  Haha, of course that prompted me to take another look at that darling mischievous boy.

Jennifer@Herding Kats in Kindergarten left a comment on that particular post that included a couple of adorable ideas. I loved the caterpillar “count down” idea. The kindergarten class makes a long caterpillar out of different color circles, and takes one circle off each day so they can see the caterpillar shrinking as the year winds down.

Below is a project for K-2 that is perfect for SPRING, and will tie in nicely with Jennifer’s “caterpillar count down” idea.

Free Download: Sequencing: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Sequencing refers to the ability to understand and talk about a story as an ordered series of events. This lesson is designed to introduce this skill to primary students using the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. In this lesson, students discuss events at the beginning, middle, and end of the story, and then sequence the events.

QUESTION FOR YOU: What are you looking most forward to with Spring Break?
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized



Saint Patrick’s Day may be on Saturday, but today is your lucky day!

As March marches on… your students’ attention spans march out!  Here’s some help: 

Keep your students on task while having some fun to boot!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Give yourself and your students a fun break on Friday March 16th with this “keep ’em quiet” Leprechaun art project.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This easy “heart butterfly” art project will make any classroom look like spring is in full bloom! Attach to bulletin boards, chairs, doorways and watch spring fly in!

Yeah! First day of SPRING is just around the corner: March 20!

Question for you: Do you have a project, lesson, or something special you do in the classroom for the first day of spring? We’d love for you to share!

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized



In honor of State Testing which many of you are in the throes of now, or will be there soon, we’re sponsoring another AWESOME BRAGTAGS™ GIVEAWAY!

Enter at sweet Elizabeth’s TEACHER’S MARKET.

However if you win, you do not have to choose State Testing tags if another type of motivational BragTags™ will better suit your needs.

Our beloved design team, Rene, Jeff and Juan create tags everyday that are so darn cute… we understand it’s hard to choose! : )

Need inspiration? Check out more BragTags™ below … yes we do love our design team!


Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


Kudos to schools for spotlighting Exceptional Children’s Week

Kudos to Creek View Elementary for celebrating Exceptional Children’s Week!

About Exceptional Children’s Week

The Council for Exceptional Children initiated Exceptional Children’s Month as a means to educate the public about children with exceptionalities and garner support for special education. Since its inception, this week has served to spotlight the capabilities of children and youth with exceptionalities and the programs that support them in their communities.

Special education is making great strides, and, as a result, doors continue to open for students with exceptionalities to achieve academic and life-long personal success. When we invest in the education of students with exceptionalities, we provide the opportunities to become independent, self-sufficient citizens who give back to their communities.

Question: Do you, or does your school have a special way of teaching about compassion, understanding and support of children with exceptionalities? We’d love for you to share!


Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Congratulations to TWO BragTag™ winners!

WOW! What can we say…. you are all, SUPER dedicated, SUPER amazing and SUPER cool teachers!

What creative comments, ideas and lesson plans you all have.

Thank you for sharing!

TWO teachers had the LUCK of the IRISH on their side for this giveaway.


Rachel Marie Muniz – blog comment
Kim Prosek Koehler – facebook comment

Stay tuned for more BragTag™ giveaway’s!

We’d truly love to give each and every one of you BragTags™ to help reward and motivate our future… your students!

Check out our newest Teacher Pack – it’s out of this world, right? : )

1 Comment

Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized



March is “officially” here! Although the “official” first day of Spring is March 20th, we think it’s “officially” time for a MARCH GIVEAWAY CONTEST.

Enter and receive 40 motivational BragTags™ of your choice along with 40 neck chains. 2 simple steps:

1. Follow our Blog (on right menu) and Facebook (
2. Comment on this blog post OR comment on our Facebook wall with the answer to this question:
Do you have a special March celebration, event or lesson plan in which these BragTags™ would be a perfect fit?

We’ll announce the winner on March 5. 

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

So think MARCH, and BE CREATIVE! We look forward to your comments.

Check out a couple of creative tags customers requested for Read Across America.


Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized