The Sped-sentials

Monday, April 18, 2016

I love to fill my classroom with things that make my job easier, or make me happy. My Class was a smorgasbord of wonderful things. Now that I am in administration, my office is no different.
I adore all things colorful and things that make me smile. I've had several new teachers ask me what I think are the essentials for any new special education teachers starting out. So, I decided to make a list of all the things I consider to be my Special Education Essentials, which I lovingly refer to as my SPED-Sentials. =)

What is my first essential item? 

1. Westcott 8 Inch Straight Holidazed Scissors - Green Handle, Stripes - Apparently that tape stuff on them you see is supposed to be anti-bacterial or something, but honestly I found that it helps the velcro sticky stuff not to stay on my scissors. Which. is. awesome.

2. C-Line Reusable Dry Erase Pockets, 9 x 12 Inches, Assorted Primary Colors, 5 Pockets per Pack (40630) - Take any old boring worksheet and make it fun! I've also had students who try to rip up their work. I put the worksheet in one of these bad boys, and bam, so much harder to rip!

3. Learning Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers Set of 4 - Does your classroom use switches? These are very similar to those, only so much cheaper. I've used them with my non-verbal students and pre-programmed the answers in them. Any easy way to make sure that ALL my students are engaged.

4. Learning Resources Time Tracker Mini- Tracks the time, color changing, and it's mini so it can be a personal signal for one student, a small group, or the whole class. You set the time and watch it count down. It's great for making sure students stay on task or a visual reminder for transitions.

5. Mr. Sketch Stix Scented Markers, Fine Tip, Set of 10, Assorted Colors -  Colorful, and they smell good... Where can you go wrong. I like to use these instead of highlighters sometimes, because let's face it, as an adult, I don't get to use markers on an everyday basis. =)

6. Crayola Dry Erase Washable Tool Kit - When I was in the classroom, my students would always tease me that I hate chalk boards, and boy were they right. I loathed them. This little set allowed me to use Markers and Crayons on my Dry Erase Board. #Love.

7. Scotch Thermal Laminator, 2 Roller System, Fast Warm-up, Quick Laminating Speed (TL901C-T) - Yes. Your classroom isn't complete until you own a personal laminator. How many times have you thought, I'm just going to run down to the work room and laminate this, only to run down and find out it's not on (and takes 30 mins to warm up), or it's broken (again), or it ran out of lamination (and only 1 person in the school has been trained to change it).... There's a list, and I am telling you, a girl can only handle so many of those before she brakes down and just buys her own.

8. Best Laminating® - 5 Mil Clear Letter Size Thermal Laminating Pouches - 9 X 11.5 - Qty 100 - Because you have to have the sheets for the laminator to be of any use to you.... but also because the 5 mil. stuff is WAY more sturdier than the 3mil, or less that your school uses.

9. Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener

I cannot say enough about this sharpener. I. Love. It.
You know that student that you have that NEEDS their pencil sharpened before they can do their work, but after 10 minutes at the pencil sharpener perfecting that pencil point, you realize it was all a ruse? Well this pencil sharpener, will stop that lolly-gagging student in their tracks. Sharpen. One. and Done. Every time I sharpened a pencil it was a perfect sharpen. I'm kind of OCD about my pencil points, and this made my OCD at piece. =)  It's SO easy and fun too. It is much quieter than your typical pencil sharpener. It's also quite the conversation piece too. Everyone also asks me what it is... once I tell them it is a sharpener, they want to use it. After they use it, they want one! haha. I'm not going to tell you that the first day I got this, I spent 15 minutes sharpening EVERY pencil in my office. nope. I'll keep that tidbit to myself.....

10. My TpT products are a real time saver for me. I've spent hours tailoring them for my students, and then even more hours making them teacher friendly so you all can use them. So, I'm giving you $10 bucks to spend.



 •This giveaway is open to FULL-TIME TEACHERS only. This includes classroom teachers, Intervention specialists, etc. Full-time bloggers, I ask that you sit this one out.

 • US RESIDENTS ONLY: I love all teachers all over the world, but unfortunately, these
sped-sentials just can’t be shipped outside the country. Thanks for understanding!

 •One winner will be chosen to win EVERYTHING listed above and will be contacted by email at the end of the giveaway.

 • The Sped-sential goodies will be shipped directly to the winner from Amazon/School Specialty
– I’ll contact the winner for their shipping address and information.

 •The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click them and then make a purchase, Amazon tosses a few pennies my way. Those earnings don’t pay for much more than a cheap cup of coffee, but they DO help me to provide you with these awesome giveaways, so I really appreciate your support in making that possible! 😀
* I was given a school specialty sharpener for a shout-out in my blog. The opinions expressed above are my own. It is awesome, and if it wasn't I'd tell y'all.

So HOW do you enter it?

Use the Rafflecopter Below to get some entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!


  1. Hey :) Great stuff. You could probably add thousands more to the list :) I hope this is okay to post here, but I would shrink the images-- your text got lost underneath them and it made it kinda hard to read.

    1. ...Annnnd as I just refreshed the page, everything was made perfect. Please disregard my previous comment about the sizing. :-D

    2. This is a really great idea! =-)

  2. Love to grade with Mr. Sketch Stix. Makes it more fun!

  3. Great giveaways!! This is my first year as a sped teacher, after teaching 8 years of reg-Ed. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, but I have so much to learn still- and things to purchase! These items would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

  4. Great list! I love using bright color papers for everything!

  5. I love my C-Line pockets too! I use them every day.

  6. I love smelly markers, reminds me of kindergarten. I keep them to myself and don't share them ;-)

  7. My favorite special education classroom essential are the E.Z.C Reader Strips. My students love to use them when they read.

  8. I love my Fiskars Titanium Non-stick scissors for cutting velcro and laminated items! The velcro doesn't stick so I don't have to clean scissors constantly!

  9. I am a new SPED teacher but I love using colored markers with my kiddos.

  10. My favorite item is definitely the laminator! You can laminate a worksheet and have kids use the white board markers to complete them. Then you can wipe it clean and use again :)

  11. This is a great list of Sped-sentials (love the name!) Thanks for sharing 

    I have just moved from the UK, and another tool that I would definitely recommend is the use of colour when reading. Either just printed on a page or through an overlay, as many SpEd children are affected by visual stress, which I’ve been surprised to see is little recognised here in the states. Typical symptoms being:
    Headaches, blurred/moving text, distortions in the text and/or difficulties over prolonged reading periods. (not exhaustive)

    The latest research has shown that up to 20% of the population are affected by visual stress, which essentially is an over-stimulation of the visual cortex. There are 2 specific stimuli that have a great effect, and these are:

    1. the high contrast of the black text and white page. A coloured background is very helpful for many, and each child will have a colour that best works for them. The reason for the difference in colours is that there is a different wavelength of light that most stimulates each of us – so the colour that best works for you is the colour that best filters this wavelength out; it is different for everyone.

    2. also - and this is where fonts come in - the stripes that the lines of text on a page create are also a stimuli – this is why serif fonts are often unpopular, because the little tails/flicks on each letter make the overall lines of text on the page look more “stripey”. Fonts like verdana and comic sans are more rounded, and therefor don’t stimulate to the same extent. (If you haven’t tried comic sans I’d recommend it, the open “a” and more handwritten look are often helpful)

    In the UK over 65% of schools now use either coloured overlays or exercise books with coloured pages in them for children with SpEd, and it is mandatory for Sp.Ed. teachers to be educated in identifying Visual Stress. It is by NO MEANS a fix all, but it is another tool to keep in your pocket, and can be extremely beneficial for some students to read on the correct color.

    If you have children who suffer with any of the above symptoms I would strongly suggest printing some reading material on a range of pastel colours - eg. pink, green, sky blue and yellow, and seeing if they are helped by any of them. Little changes like this can make a big difference, without having to buy anything!

    Hope that helps!

  12. This whole list is amazing! The recordable answer buzzers are my favorite!

  13. Love pipsqueak markers for my kiddos and Sharpies for me. Love everything on your list. Hope I win!

  14. These are awesome and much needed supplies for every teacher!! I loveeee my Ipads. That's the one tool I need!!

  15. I love this list I want so many of these! The Westcott scissors sound like what I need for all of the Velcro cutting that's do!

  16. VELCRO! I love those dry erase covers toO!

  17. I love my iPads as well as markers for journal writing. My students enjoy switching up their writing by using markers.

  18. Thanks for the ausome giveaway! You rule!!

  19. Completely agree with your essentials! I would probably add binder rings. For some reason I just love punching items and putting a ring on it :-)

  20. I agree these are all a must have!!!

  21. These items are all so key! I discovered the dry erase crayons when I was teaching pre-k and loved them because they didn't get all over the students hands! So glad someone else likes them too!

  22. I need that pencil sharpener!!! :-)

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  24. One of the teachers I work with uses that pencil sharpener and it works like a dream! We love borrowing it!

  25. As a new Special Ed teacher, I am always learning about new resources, materials, curriculum and activities for my kids!! I love this list and love reading other teachers blogs! Thank you for all the good ideas and materials! I hope I win! :)

  26. Hello! I am so excited for this opportunity! I love being a special education teacher and there are so many go to items! I LOVE dry erase items so I can use essential pages over and over again!

  27. I'd say sticky velcro dots and binder rings! Thanks for hosting such an awesome giveaway!

    The Designer Teacher

  28. My mother's stapler from the 1970s! Heavy metal stapler, I swear the new plastic ones are garbage.

  29. my favorite... I love a good writing utensil!

  30. fidget toys... not just for kids:-) I usually end up with some in my pockets and find that I end up using them in meetings


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