25 January 2014

reasons to clarify your classroom rules

Because I teach in a very small school in a very small town, I often get to fill roles that I wouldn't have the opportunity to in a different situation. (see? see me finding the good?!)

This week, I had one of those opportunities. As a kinder student was hauled out of class, I just so happened to be standing in the hallway. And it just so happened that the principal needed to attend to another important matter. So I got to run a little behavior intervention. This sweet, docile student, P, had apparently lobbed his pencil box across the room, aiming at the head of another student. And he hit him. Right smack in the nugget.

After a little relationship building (letting him try on my glasses) and maaaaaany minutes of conversation in both English and Spanish, I finally got out of him that the other student had said something ugly, in English, but little P didn't want to say it because he wasn't supposed to. As I attempted to convince him that he needed to tell me the word so I could chat with the offender, but that P wouldn't get in trouble, the principal returned. We walked him into an empty classroom, and she asked him to whisper the word. He seemed a little confused by whispering, so she showed him. He nervously leaned up right next to her ear and yelled "F*CK!" and then covered his precious little bright red face with both hands.

After a little more discussion, P revealed that the boy had dropped an f-bomb while working, and the rule in the classroom if you don't know what to do when something bad happens is:

"Tell Mrs. _____."

And Mrs. _____ was at an appointment, so a sub was in the room. And to little P, that meant taking matters into his own hands.

LOVE this graphic representation of rules/behavior from The Autism Helper
So, back to the title of the post... I have been inspired to reevaluate the way I explain things in my room and to spread the word- Classroom teachers, thiiiink about the language you use to explain your classroom rules, especially if you have a student who is on the spectrum or is labeled with Asperger's, or any other social/communication challenges. At least once a week, try to do a think aloud scenario with your students about how to react to different situations in regards to classroom rules. Use social stories to explain common confusions. You never know students may act on the laws you (their wise and perfect leader- suriously) lay down and spending a few extra minutes clarifying could save drama... or another child's cabeza! ;)

18 January 2014

choose to see the good!

The past couple of weeks I've been settling into my new role as PPCD teacher (morning) and case manager (afternoon) at our little elementary school. Though I was initially a little stressed about having to do this AND show the new teacher the ropes for the older students, I forced myself to remember that I could be back doing it all by myself (YIKES) and have really settled into a beautiful routine.

It is amazing what you can do with students when you are in relationship with them and their families. Spending all day with a group of kiddos (as opposed to bopping in and out of rooms for about 45 minutes at a time) has allowed me to really dig into each child's individual interests and preferences. While getting to know your students is definitely a best practice in all realms of education, anyone who teaches special education knows that this is absolutely KEY to seeing progress from our friends who may... um... simply refuse to do anything that they don't want to.

Last week in PPCD we introduced a few winter concepts, and but mainly focused on getting back into the swing of things. Students with autism really struggling with schedule disruptions, and coming back from break coupled with the fact that I restructured our classroom a little threw us for a loop the first couple days... Oops! This week, we have been learning more about winter. It hasn't really felt like winter (um, hello 60 degree South Texas afternoons), but we're improvising with cotton balls in the sensory bin, snowman themed file folder games, and winter vocabulary PECS and signs.
*these are obviously copyrighted by board maker- just an example of what we're talking about!
I am getting especially jazzed about February! We'll be learning about Valentine's Day and the post office and I got approved to take a field trip to our local post office so we can authentically learn how letters are mailed! Check out my TPT shop to see the beginning of some items I'm putting together for next month (never too early to be planning ahead!). The cards are free for the next few hours! (:

11 January 2014

my first ever

this is my first time ever link up with doodle bugs, and i must say that i am pretty darn excited. clearly, because i am late to the game. can we just call it fraturday, like my favorite lil teacher?

Proud of me for eating healthy lunches brought from home this week! I tried bringing a whole veggie tray to stash in my fridge at work so that I could munch on it all week and not have the excuse of forgetting something. It worked pretty well! Next step: district wide "Biggest Loser" next week!

We've been working on walking in a line in my room this week... It is faaaaar more challenging than one might expect. Looking forward to my rope & ring set that is hopefully coming in soon!

STAAR Alt window opened Monday... Anyone else panicking?!

I used some work from this awesome unit this week from Teaching Special Thinker's TPT store. I adapted it a little bit to make some of the tasks more focused on matching and the kiddos really seemed to eat it up.

I got some sweet compliments in my new do this week at school, and it was so nice to spend less time on it in the mornings. 10 inches for 10 extra minutes of sleep: EXCELLENT TRADE

04 January 2014

currently january

A little late to Farley's Link Up... but better late than never!

B & I have been borderline obsessed with Breaking Bad for the last month. We watch it on Netflix every night, and we're about halfway through the last season right now. I'm not sure what we'll do when it's over... Suggestions?

Because our break with the parents was a little busy, we left some of our Christmas presents in the box/package until we got home to make sure we didn't lose pieces and stuff. It was so smart. Now, I am unpacking in the red house and finding fun little things... It's like Christmas, round 2!

Recent changes to my job have given me renewed excitement for teaching! I worked a bunch yesterday, setting up centers and moving our group work and independent work areas around, but I can't stop thinking about all of the ways I can rearrange my ONE (I used to have two... yuck) cute little classroom. Check back for pictures.

Thought I am excited, a longer break never hurt anyone I'm sure... (:

I DESPERATELY need to start exercising again. With all the teaching stress and craziness, that part of my life slid by the wayside last semester. We officially booked our honeymoon for March, so now I am definitely feeling the pressure to get my large butt to the gym.

We had two lovely Christmases this year with both of our families. I felt really good about the way we split our time and whatnot. No stress, no drama, just lots of quality time with the people we love. Talk about good memories!