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Welcome!

Welcome to my blog:) Since I am so far away from my friends and family, I want to keep you updated on the fun and trials of my new job. Thank you to everyone for your support, encouragement, and the tips/ideas you may offer!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

1st Linky Party

Just like so many other bloggers, I'm really in to Pinterest right now!  So I thought I would participate in my first linky party, click here to visit Michelle @ Math in the Middle, and link up too!

And check out my pin board on Pinterest!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Classroom Jobs

This post is all about my classroom jobs....

I currently don't have specific people labeled do do specific jobs.  Instead, it more or less depends on who is behaving-rewards and who is in my room when I need a job done.

My school jobs include....

Secretary's Assistants - help count handouts that go to each classroom, sharpen pencils
Event Coordinator - changes the calendar monthly, changes the calendar poster daily
Mail carriers - helps sorts and deliver our school mail
Veterinarian - feeds the class fish and cleans the tank
Landscaper - waters and prunes school plants

Additionally, I would like to try to have someone who answers the phone when my paraprofessional and I are busy.  However, I'm not sure I'm ready to hand over that much control/responsability to one of my students, but I do think it would help my students work on their social skills.

These jobs have required a lot of modeling and practice to ensure that my students are completing the tasks correctly, but it is worth it to me because students are working on OT and speech goals on top of academic and social skills.

The secretary's assistants have been working on counting, motor skills to separate and the pages, straighten them in to nice piles, put paper clips on the stacks of paper, and writing skills because students have to write the teachers' names on a post-it that goes on top of each classes stack of papers.  Things went much better today because I spent much more time modeling what the students were supposed to do and breaking the task in to steps.  I also use this as a time to talk about team work because this gets done much faster with more people working on it.  Since we have only been doing this for 2 days, I am still 2nd counting the handouts, but I hope to be able to stop doing that soon.  It currently takes about 3 students 20 minutes to do this task.  We will see how much faster they get at this task in the up coming weeks!

The Event Coordinator changes my magnetic calendar monthly.  This helps my students learn the months of the year and days of the week.  It also helps them work on counting and when holidays are.  On a daily basis, the event coordinator also has to update the calendar poster.  The calendar poster has blanks for "today is," "yesterday was," "tomorrow is," "the month is," "we have been in school for __ days," etc.

This is my first year initiating a school wide mail program.  All students are welcome to write to other students or staff as part of an assignment or during free time.  Teachers are not required to utilize the mail system, but I gave suggestions for incorporating it in standards based assessments or activities the teachers have students complete any way.  Ideas included invitations for plays, thank you notes, pen pals, persuasive letters, informative letters, postcards, etc.  I have a big blue mail box outside of my classroom for the students to put the mail in.  The mail carriers are responsible for sorting the mail in to files, each teacher has a file with their name on it.  Then my students deliver the mail!  They practice walking quietly in the hallway, using greetings, saying please and thank you, quietly entering a classroom, answering questions, etc.  Plus, the other students in school LOVE getting mail, so they are very excited when my students show up:-D  This is working well so far, and I love it!

I haven't actually had any my students perform the most important Veterinarian task - cleaning the fish bowl!  So we will have to see how this goes.  I am hoping if I break it down in to little steps my students will be great at it!  However, feeding the fish has turned in to a very nice reward/incentive for my students!

I haven't had anyone perform Landscaper duties yet either.  I only have one plant, so I am contemplating asking other teachers if they have plants that they would like my students to come water too.  Not sure about this one yet.

I like my real world job titles too because they allow for conversations about real world jobs.

If you have any other job ideas you would like to share, please do!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pictures of my Classroom

This is my reading area.  Students can put the blue mat down to sit or lay on to read, the can sit on the bouncy balls, or the carpet.  The shelves contain numerous books.  Some of them have been leveled; however, the ones visible straight ahead have not been labeled.  When students are "reading to self" or "reading to a partner" as part of the Daily 5, they can sit in this area.

The books in the orange boxes and on the white shelf on the right are leveled.  This is to help students quickly find books at their level.  During Daily 5 there are iPick (I pick books for purpose, interest, comprehension, and cause I know the words).  With the books leveled, I feel more comfortable with students picking books they will comprehend better, and by giving them the opportunity to choose from books at their level, I hope that it will increase their interest in the books they are reading.


This is my work station.  On the top left are my bulletin boarders and posters boxes, in the top middle shelf I have DVDs/VHSs, in the cubbies I have books I frequently use and pics to remind me of my family.  The large clock is a visual timer for when my students are taking breaks or need to wait a certain length of time before going to the next activity.  Since time is a difficult thing to grasp, I set the visual timer if students need to work for 10 minutes before music time, they can see the red area decrease as the time till music decreases.


This will be my main student work area.  The whiteboard does double duty as an interactive whiteboard using a Wii remote.  I haven't gotten to use it much yet or see what it can do because it is new to my classroom.  I'm super excited to use it though.  I have a sink, so all my students will be washing their hands first thing when they come to my classroom.


The bulletin board is for student work samples.  The filing cart is for my students to organize the school mail.  The red pocket hanger is for students to put work to take home.  I will put themed/seasonal/special author books in the book display.


Not pictured - Secondary work table.

Not pictured - Listening station.

I LOVE MY CLASSROOM!  I can't wait to start teaching students in it tomorrow!!!

Beginning 2011-2012

I had a rough start to my school year, this year!  I can only imagine, if my first day of school my first year of teaching had been like my first day of school my second year of teaching....I would not have made it to year 2.

Half of the tantrums on day one resulted because I would not let a little one cut in line.  Yes, it was the first day of school, but I did not want my students getting in to bad habits, which would be harder to break later in the school year.  What I learned from this: do NOT give in, even if a 20 minute tantrum results.  It is important to stick to your guns once you have decided something.  It may be hard at first, but it gets better.  Day two was much better.  My little one whined about a couple of directions, but did not have a tantrum!  After the 3 day weekend, we will see if he remembers what we learned the first day of school.

My boyfriend made day 1 so much better by sending me these!


This weekend I created my weekly schedule for interventions with individual students.  Tomorrow, will be my first day following my schedule.  I will be taking students for math, reading, spelling, writing, and social skills interventions based on their needs.

Tomorrow I will mostly be doing assessments to see how much information my students remember from last year.  Assessments include letters, sounds, sight words, spelling words, money, time, addition, subtraction, and a reading benchmark.

Things I need to do -
* print picture schedules on BoardMaker
* make sensory bins
* do student assessments
* find out if any of my students need para support in specials classes
* confirm intervention schedule with regular ed teachers
* finish organizing files
* organize my daily 5
* adopt new student's IEP