Saturday, April 4, 2015


Sometimes my students don't like to talk. I have one student that when he is upset, frustrated, anxious, or angry he completely shuts down. He doesn't say a word and just looks at me. I have tried asking him questions, but I think this makes him more anxious and he can't get his words out. I've had some success in asking him yes or no questions that he can nod or shake his head no, but this can be exhausting and frustrating for the both of us. When he is in a good mood, he is able to talk and let us know if he needs something, so it's not like he can't talk at all. I decided last weekend to make a communication type board/folder for him when he is in his shut down mode. We practiced using it while he was in a talking mood, just so like fire drills- it's important to practice what to do when in crisis while we are calm. I had to change a few things- some of the emotions/moods/feelings he didn't think were necessary, like happy or calm, and I had to add hungry and annoyed. He and I came up with the coping skills together also. I also explained that if he was unsafe, he may have to wait to use some of the coping strategies until he was safe. My goal is to use this folder before we get to that, though. I like to catch them before they start hurting themselves, others, or me- but sometimes it happens (more to me than anyone else).

I laminated the questions and answers and then hot glued them on the folder. I only have access to a personal laminator, but maybe I'll go to Office Max over the next week to laminate a full folder for added durability, especially since he ripped off the questions the other day.

In case you can't see, the questions are on a flap that open up to show the possible answers. All my student has to do is point at his answer. It has worked 5 out of 8 times, so I do think it's worth keeping with him. I just have to make it stronger!

Friday, April 3, 2015

My Daily Schedule, take 2

This time I'm linking up with a fun monthly linky party with Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd for
My daily schedule is quite different from the norm. I teach in a separate facility for students with severe emotional and behavior disorders. Every classroom has a behavior specialist that comes in the room to teach social, coping, and life skills to the students. In my 3rd and 4th grade room, the behavior specialist comes in twice a day for one hour each time (yes, a total of 2 hours per day!). It is the most difficult time of my day! My students don't like to talk about their choices, feelings, or habits, and they REALLY have a hard time sitting through an hour long lesson! I've tried explaining this to the specialist, which I would think would realize this, but they are still expected to sit and listen. Next year, it is changing to just one 30  to 45 minute session- I'm so excited that I get to teach more! Anyways, I'll stop venting and get on with my schedule.

As you can see, this year I don't have a lot of instructional time and with those pesky new assessments- it is making it difficult for my students to pass them. I know that I give them 2 free times, but with their behaviors they need sensory breaks to keep them motivated. I also use my science and social studies time to teach reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. In my math, because I have students ranging in skills from a first grade level to a fifth grade level, I start out with whole group, then meet with smaller groups while the other students are completing individual work and/or centers. My students also come from 9 various home schools and ride the bus anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get to school or back home. 

I have enjoyed seeing other bloggers schedules for their classrooms and how they manage various groups and students. Hopefully, someone can also look at my schedule and gain some insight for their classroom!
I guess I need to get back blogging more, since I totally messed up my post the first time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday Made Its, on a Tuesday!

This summer has flown by! I will be starting back to work next Tuesday, August 5th for meetings! I'm not sure when I'll get into my room, but I know I have 2 weeks at least of meetings before I step back into my classroom! I finally found time to complete some home projects that I wanted to for Monday Made It. I've gotten so many great ideas from Tara's 4th grade frolics linky, my pinterest boards run over!

 My first made it was inspired from a pinterest pin that I saved a while back. When we moved into our new house, I couldn't decide what to do with my bathroom- it's pink! I still haven't decided, but the pink tiles and floral wallpaper are growing on me! I knew that I wanted to display some of my old photos of my parents, grandparents, and my sister and I, but didn't like the look of a gallery wall in my bath. So I found an old picture frame, painted it, strung twine on it and then I could clothespin photos on the twine. I decided to copy the photos and then laminated them so that they wouldn't curl from the steamy environment.
 I think it turned out really good. I love that I can change up the photos, too!

My second made it is tie backs for our bedroom curtains, also inspired by pinterest. I was getting tired of trying to pull back the curtains in the morning and then closing them at night (for some reason they seem to stick to the curtain rod when I wanted to move them). Plus during the day, they would blow around and close by themselves!

I used twine and painted wooden heart shapes a color that would contrast with the walls. I hot glued the hearts on the twine. I then put the twine on little metal hoops and put a cup hook on the wall to hold the curtains back.

I hope that next week I can get some things done for my classroom, I've pinned some more great ideas!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Introducing myself, a special educator from Ohio!

I'm joining up with Tales of a Carolina Girl for the Get to Know a Special Education Teacher. I love reading how others set up their classrooms and deal with various situations, makes me think I'm not so alone in this!

I currently teach 3rd and 4th grade students with emotional and behavior disorders in a self-contained, separate facility. My goal is to get them back to their home school! My school has 6 teachers that serve students from kindergarten to grade 12 from all over Wood County and some of the surrounding area schools. We are unique in that we are located in a children's mental health agency and have therapists and behavior specialists coming into our room for different students and therapy groups. 

My advice is to always have a back up plan. So many times, my lessons don't work because of a melt down, interruption, lack of time, or simply the blank stares from my students so I have learned to switch it up and try a different tactic. Sometimes I give them a brain break or if I'm trying to use partner groupings, I might have them work alone to prevent those meltdowns! I've even told my class that I can tell the lesson isn't working and that I'll change it up overnight and try again tomorrow. I feel it's important for them to see that I make mistakes and that I can handle it without throwing a tantrum!

I also teach every procedure in my classroom. I start on day 1 with the classroom rules. Last year I implemented the Whole Brain rules and my students loved them. We talk about why the rules and procedures are important, how it will look and sound like, we role play the procedures for time outs, entering the room, safety drills (fire, tornado, and intruder), needing help, etc. We go over these everyday for about the first 2 weeks and then review them once or twice a week after that. I especially go over how to walk in the hallways to lunch and the rules of the lunchroom before going to lunch!

I hope that this little post helps someone, I know that I've come across a lot of good advice and new special ed. bloggers with this link up!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Meet Me!

I decided to pack more boxes for our move link up with The Teaching Tribune for their meet me linky party.

I'm so glad I have my priorities set, right?! Anyone can link up and everyday of the week there is a new linky! Fun in the sun!

It's so nice to read about other bloggers and find out a bit more about those that I follow and find new blogs to follow! Have fun! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'm having a great day!

Once again, I need to apologize for my lack of posts this past year. I have had many changes take place during the school year and just never took the time to post or even knew what to write about! My mom passed away after fighting with cancer for the past 9 1/2 years- she had stage 4 lung cancer which spread to her spine, brain, throat, and bones. While I still miss talking to her everyday, I realize she is in a much better place without pain and worry. I am grateful that I was able to spend the last week of her life with her at the hospice facility. On a funnier note, the first night she asked if I would spend the night with her- I said yes, but asked if I could borrow her nightgown- she said no! She kept asking the doctor when she would be able to get to go play dominoes with her friends at the local tea shop, too! She gave me so much courage and the ability to have a positive outlook on life.

Anyways, my school is done, as of last Thursday. Everything went smoothly this year. My student that always wanted to go home after 30-45 minutes, ended up kind of liking school (he still kept telling me that he couldn't come everyday to school). One day his mom was picking him up from school a little early and was amazed at how many teachers and staff he went up to and told them "I'm having a great day!" This was something that occurred at least 3 times a day, whenever he saw anyone! She was so happy that all the staff genuinely greeted and said good bye to her son with such caring attitudes. She mentioned that she never thought he would be a popular kid at school. It still makes me tear up to think of how much that meant to her. My goal for next year is to have each student in my room feel that special and good about themselves. I mentioned to my principal that we should greet every student in the building (there's approximately 60) with a high five or fist bump.

The last big change in my life is that I'm moving to my parents' house, where I grew up! It will mean a longer commute for me to school, but the benefits are worth it! I will be living in a bigger house and in the country! No more barking dogs or sirens during the night to keep me awake! My husband and I have been working on the house for the past 3 months, getting things cleaned up, repainted, repaired/updated. I still will have a pink tile bathroom, but I can deal with it! I will have an office for all my teaching items- it was my dad's old workshop in the basement, but it has three walls full of built in shelves! After 4 carloads of boxes I'm amazed at how much I have for teaching! I have declared that I can not go into or look at any catalogs for teaching supplies, decorations, books, etc. for at least a year- unless I get rid of something!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A long overdue posting

Wow, I just realized that it has been way too long since I last posted. I'm not sure where the days weeks went, but I'm back in school. This year I'm teaching 3rd and 4th grade students with emotional and behavior disorders and they are keeping me on my toes! They really are so sweet. One of my students keeps insisting that he doesn't belong there and that mom will be picking him up to go home (this is after 45 minutes of school). Luckily, he has a one on one aide and she is wonderful with him. We have him use a visual schedule with modified work and a sensory break after each task. After the 5 minute break if he is ready to work within 2 prompts, he gets a star. After 3 stars, he has a reward time. He loves bubbles, Thomas the Tank engine coloring book, and an old Sponge Bob game. So far it's working. He really had a horrible school experience the last 3 years, so we have to break down his work in order for him to feel successful and start liking school. My other students are so tolerant of him too, I think they realize that he needs extra supports.

I've also tried Whole Brain Teaching in my room this year and love, love, love it! I wish I would have tried it sooner. My students really know the rules and hand motions, they love the scoreboard with the mighty groan and the Oh, yeahs! One of my little 3rd graders recites the rule, "Keep your dear teacher happy" after anyone says teacher! We even started the "teach, okay" in class. Several students told me that school is going to be fun this year (and they're learning without realizing it)!

I also have all new staff in my room and adore them! They are all positive and hard working. No one is sitting for very long, unless they are reading or helping a student with their academic work. It's so nice to work with positive and caring people. It makes my day go better and I love going to work to see my students and now also my paras!

Hopefully, I will be able to blog more as I get settled back into the school routine. So far, I've only had to teach for 3 days this past week, so I'm already behind on lesson planning. I always like to plan science and social studies on Wednesday nights, reading and language arts on Thursdays, and math on Fridays, but that didn't happen this week. I do have my social studies, science, and part of math done - it was done while my car was having the tires rotated and an oil change. I hope everyone has a great week!