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!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

IEPs....Calling all Spec Ed Teachers:)

I had my first IEP meeting at my new school today....which means I had to write my first IEP for this school yesterday/today.  My new school does not have a nice computer based program for writing IEPs or doing grades.  That meant I had to write the whole IEP in Word Document!!!  Each form was in a separate document, i.e.: I-5, I-6, I-7, etc. were all in separate word docs.

Now, in my two short years of teaching, I clearly got spoiled by writing my IEPs in Skyward because I was ready to pull my hair out by the time my IEP rolled around.

How many of you have computer based programs specifically designed for writing IEPs?

What do you use?

Who handwrites/types documents in Word?

On a positive note....the secretary of our student services department schedules all our IEP meetings, so I do not have to call parents, schedule with teachers, etc.  That is nice:)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A smile from my students:)

Over the summer I got the great idea to have a puzzle table in my classroom from Michelle at Special Education Strategies and More....  I was super excited to implement the puzzle table at school this year because I have noticed that puzzles are something my students have great difficulties with, and it makes a great quiet activity for fast finishers.

To start I had to teach my students the steps of doing puzzles the "correct" way.
1. take the puzzle pieces out of the box
2. flip all the pieces right side up
3. find all the "flat" pieces and put the boarder together 
4. begin looking for similar colors and put the inside together
5. complete puzzle
6. put it away

We also had to go over rules.  Since the puzzle table is for fast finishers there is NO talking at the puzzle table because that means other people are still working, and we need to respect them.  This has been a bit of a struggle, and requires lots of reminders.

Well, when we first started the puzzle table we used big floor puzzles on our table so that the puzzle area was contained but I wanted to start with big pieces since they are easier to manipulate.  That meant there wasn't always enough room for all the pieces on the table.  So they had to leave all the "flat" pieces on the table and take the rest off.

WELL...(HERE IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY DAY:) after a sort of rough day of feeling ineffective and lost in the haze of RtI/Spec ed and having a 45 min mandatory book study meeting, I returned to my room at 4:00.  To get to my desk I walk by the puzzle table and happened to notice that the students had started a new puzzle today and some of the pieces were on the book shelf while others were on the table.  After a closer inspection, I realized the "flat" pieces were the only pieces left on the table and all the pieces were facing right side up AND they had done this quietly!!!!  THIS MADE ME SOOOO HAPPY:-D

Here is the picture I had to take.  Notice the pieces on the white shelf....those are all the inside pieces.

My puzzle table also serves as a bit of a motivator for my students to complete their work because they want to work on the puzzle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I LOVE PUMPKIN! (freebie)

So I'm a HUGE fan of pumpkin flavored things!  I love when fall rolls around and everyone has these flavors in stock!

So far this season I've made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin puppy chow.  Last year I made pumpkin french toast, but haven't gotten around to it yet this year.  Hopefully soon:-D

As a little treat for some of the people around my school I bagged up the pumpkin puppy chow (recipe) and put a little note with it:)

If you would like to make a treat for some of your co-workers pick up the gift tags for FREE at my TpT Store.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What I'm Reading Now (School Related)

I'm linking up with Marie at The Hands-On Teacher in First for her Something New Sunday Linky Party:)

So I recently finished Divergent, AMAZING!

Product Details

Both of these books are part of series I haven't finished, and I don't have the sequels in hand.  So in the mean time I need something else to read, and since I don't want to start ANOTHER series I'm reading this book for school:  Opening Minds, Using language to change lives.

Product Details

This book is all about how we phrase things and the impact it has on students.  I'm only on chapter 2, but it has already got me thinking about how I say things to my students.

Instead of saying, "Oh you're so smart!" when a student gets an answer correct, the author says you should compliment them on their hard work (that has gotten them the correct answer).  I often fall in to the trap of telling students, "You're so smart."  Since I teach special ed I figured my students (just like any other student) could use all the encouragement I could give them.  According to the author this has actually been detrimental to my students.  So, I have been making a conscious effort to emphasize the hard work students are exerting.  

When testing students, the author suggests saying, "Let's see what you already know."  Implying that if they get any answers correct they are ahead of the game.  I have not been able to smoothly implement this wording yet.  

Have you read this book?  Did you find it helpful?  Did it give you any "catchphrases" you've stuck with?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've been BOO'D:) Linky

I've been BOO'D by Jen at Positively Learning:)  She gave me a very sweet shout out for this linky!  I love reading her blog posts as they are upbeat and she gives me great ideas!  I love her blog and feel very honored to be BOO'D by Jen.

Cynthia at 2nd Grade Pad is hosting this BOO'D linky.  Here are the rules:
1. Choose a fellow blogger that has MORE followers
2. A blogger that has about the SAME number of followers
3. Someone that has LESS followers
4. Highlight their blogs with links to encourage others to check them out

5. Don't forget to let your fellow bloggers know that you shared about them.  
6. Lastly, leave them some love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat."

More Followers

Rachel at Ms. Rachel's Room
Rachel is such a sweet blogger with so much enthusiasm.  I always love the great ideas she shares for special ed teachers:)

Same Followers

Miss Allison at Miss Allison's Class
Allison also has many, many great ideas for students with autism!  I also enjoy her "Take a Break Tuesday" posts.  It's fun to see how she organizes her house and recipes she makes.

Less Followers
The Autism Tank

Hailey at Autism Tank
I am a new follower of Hailey's.  She has totally hit the ground running with her blog!  She has tons of great ideas for teachers that have students with autism.  I've already pinned some of her stuff to Pinterest:)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Home is Where the Heart Is

This weekend I made a quick trip home.  My brother was home for the weekend, and I don't anticipate being able to see him again until Christmas.  So it was a great relaxing time.  I always love coming home at this time of the year, even though it is a super busy time for my parents.  They have a family farm and are busy harvesting.  There is just something about harvest time that makes my heart very happy.

Things I love about home during fall
1.  The smell of corn.
2.  Going to the apple orchard (owned and operated by one of my best friends' parents).

  • apple donuts
  • apple cider
  • carmel apples

3.  Riding in tractors/semis.
4.  Hearing the corn go through the augers or emptying from the semi.
5.  The brisk (not COLD) air.
6.  Pumpkin flavored/scented anything.

It was so nice to be home and see my family:)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October Currently

It's that time of the month again.....for Farley's ever popular Currently!  I stayed up "late" Thursday night working on this, but then I was too tired to finish.  All the stuff (minus what I'm listening to) still applies though.  

As a "newbie" at my new school, I'm so blessed to have several teachers my age and two that have become my "instant besties".  We have decided to have girls night every other Thursday night and rotate houses.  This week we had our first girls night, and it was sooooo much fun:)  

I just ordered my fall riding boots on Wednesday night, and they should arrive some time next week.  I didn't put my order in early enough though; the cold weather has arrived before the boots!!!!

Holler if you've read Divergent (book #1)!!!  It's sooooo good!  If you haven't read it, in the words of my old roommate, DO NOT START IT (YET)!  Book # 3 doesn't come out for another year.  AHHH!!! The agony of being one of the first people on the band wagon.  This never happens to me.  I'm always the follower (for reading books), Harry Potter I didn't read until like 7 years later, Twilight I didn't read until all the books were out, Hunger Games I read after they were all out, I'm still in the process of reading Immortal Instruments (since I'm borrowing them from my cousin and we live a little ways away I have to wait between books, but I don't think all those books are out yet), and now Divergent.  Man, this is like too much "up and coming" for me;)  It's like I'm ahead of the curve.  HAHAHA!  Yea right!  But seriously if you liked The Hunger Games or The Giver, READ Immortal Instruments and Divergent.  SOOO GOOD.

But it is my Halloween/fall/Thanksgiving book because it gave me nightmares the other night.  My nightmare totally related to the book, so I can't tell you about it, or I'd spoil it.  BUT reading the book was soo good, it made the nightmare worth it.

And Go Visit Farley If You Haven't Already!