Classroom Management for Dummies!

Dear Readers,

I’m dealing with behavior problems from very immature high schoolers. Being only one of two Special Education teachers in a school with no Special Education, I am the resident expert. Even though I am very good at discipline, I am not a certified behavior specialist. My site does have a Behavior Intervention Case Manager (BICM- pronounced bick-um) in the building next door. I said all of that to say that some of the teachers have been coming to me with behavior problems. Thankfully I’ve had some experience dealing with behavior problems. That is why I am able to help. I’ve printed out Behavior Contracts, Weekly Behavior Progress Reports, Daily Behavior Progress Reports, & Behavior Support Plans for those with IEPs and personalized it with the school mascot and logo.

One particularly set of ideas I really found helpful were the tips on breaking the attention seeking habit @:

I also found a great resource @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km7X5kQYOg8  (Keith Hughes’ Classroom Management for Dummies)

I found many fantastic forms & ideas on Intervention Central & The Parent Coach Plan.

http://www.interventioncentral.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pdfs_tools/Wright_2012_Intervention_Planner_for_Behavior_Manual.pdf

Advisory Activities

Dear Readers,

I was too tired to post the other day, but this is what I did with my advisory class the other day. First of all, I didn’t want to show them graphic footage, but I wanted them to get it. So, I came up with a plan to show them both sides of the story.

I started with journal questions about 9/11:

  • What do you know about 9/11?
  • What does 9/11 mean to you?
  • Do you know anyone affected by 9/11?
  • How do you think Muslim people were affected by it?
  • My college professor’s husband was arrested & detained unlawfully. He lost his job and his cars, they almost lost their home.
  • Did you think he deserve to be treated like that?

I gave them 5 minutes to answer the questions. Once they finished, I read my post to them, My Lament, from 9.11.2006 where I lamented how everything is business as usual. We then talked about 9/11. I told them that I wanted them to think about 9/11 from an innocent Muslim person’s perspective. I told them that not everyone is guilty, that we can’t stereotype anyone. They watched this video from a Muslim student’s perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt9fNdWNLRg

Finally, once they finished with that video I finished with the time lapse video of The Twin Towers being rebuilt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn11DWH_LEA

My students and I had a very good discussion. They wanted to know more about it, but I wouldn’t show them videos since they were too traumatizing for me. I let them know that I will never forget that day. They sympathized and told me they hoped I felt better. They even saw me during the day and asked if I was ok. I really like my students.

A Lot to Do!

Dear Readers,

I am still getting used to working in a high school resource lab. Filling 2 hours took a bit of getting used to. I’ve acclimated to it better than I thought I would though. I was really nervous the first two weeks of school. So much so that I couldn’t sleep the night before school. However, now I do power points for my Advisory, my Resource 9 lab, and my Resource 10 lab. I have to submit a digital agenda every week, and a Unit Plan every 4-6 weeks. It’s a lot to do, but I love it. Not only does it keep me on my toes, but it’s helping to elevate my teaching. This is my 5th week of school and I have already submitted grades and held parent conferences. Never before have I completed so many tasks this early in the school year.

I’ve given myself 2 months to really acclimate to the demands of my organization. I’m half-way there. My lab and my Advisory are on point. Now, the only thing I need to do is get my push-in schedule together. Once that’s together, then I will be in a zone, ready to kick butt and take names.

When I write later, I am going to explain how I didn’t know Welligent as well as I thought I did. That’s all for now!

Welcome September!

1919671_807470385941682_6670188739235172187_nDear Readers,

September is upon us. Usually tomorrow would have been my first day of school. However, since I work for a school with an extra month of school, I am already completing report cards. I would have preferred for tomorrow or Wednesday to be my first day of work, but that’s not my reality.

As it stands, I am stretching myself further than I ever have. I am more organized than I’ve ever been, I’m free to use the restroom since I’m walking around a lot, I’m free for 2/3 periods a day for me to push in. Right now, I am loving my job.

I am going to use an old cliche from church- I’m not where I should be, but I’m not where I used to be. I thank God that I have a job that I adore,  I’m getting closer to being the person I want to be, I’m making more money than I’ve ever made, I’ve got a new car (2014 Nissan Altima), and most importantly, I’ve got a new attitude.

I say this because just a couple of minutes ago, before I started writing this post, I began to get overwhelmed because I realized I wasn’t managing my time as wisely as I could have been. Normally it would have made me depressed and/or anxious. However, since I’ve been working on my approach to problem solving, I’m learning to assess the situation and look for a solution. I’m so proud of myself. For this reason, I am happy to welcome September because I am welcoming more than a new month. I am welcoming a new ME!!!

Love is a VERB!!!

This is just a couple of thoughts on my mind.  One thing that’s always on my mind- Love! It’s such a hard thing to “pin” down. Some say that love is a verb, like the song by L. Young:

There are so many kinds. I’m not seeking to explain them. That’s too big a job. What I’m seeking to express, to write about, is the kind of love that grabs hold of you and never lets go. It simply won’t. No matter how you try to rationalize it; no matter how you try to shake it; no matter how you try to tell yourself that you shouldn’t love them, no matter how much pain it’s causing. I’m talking about the kind that embeds itself so deeply within your soul. The kind that gives you butterflies just thinking about the moments spent together that mean so much to you. The kind that simply will NOT let go! It simply won’t!

Can we pinpoint that exact moment when we realized that this was a person who would change our lives so much? Can we remember that exact moment when this feeling- nay, this verb- took hold? What is it that makes this person so important? Why him/her? Was it ordained? Was it pre-determined from time immemorial?Why this person, of all the billions of people in the world? Why can’t you shake this person from your mind? From your heart? From your life? Why? Why? Why?

That’s what’s on my mind today? What’s on yours?

6 Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students

Dear Readers,
This article, taken directly from Edutopia is a great read on scaffolding strategies. I posted the direct link to it on the bottom. Here’s the article in its entirety:

What’s the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, “Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday.” Yikes — no safety net, no parachute, no scaffolding — just left blowing in the wind.

Let’s start by agreeing that scaffolding a lesson and differentiating instruction are two different things. Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk. When scaffolding reading, for example, you might preview the text and discuss key vocabulary, or chunk the text and read and discuss as you go. With differentiation, you may give a child an entirely different piece of text to read, you might shorten the text or alter it, and you may modify the writing assignment that follows.

Simply put, scaffolding is what you do first with kids, then for those students who are still struggling, you may need to differentiate by modifying an assignment and/or making accommodations for a student (for example, choose more accessible text and/or assign an alternative project).

Scaffolding and differentiation do have something in common though. In order to meet students where they are and appropriately scaffold a lesson, or differentiate instruction, you have to know the individual and collective zone of proximal development (ZPD) of your learners. (As education researcher Eileen Raymond states, “[T]he ZPD is the distance between what children can do by themselves and the next learning that they can be helped to achieve with competent assistance.”) Continue reading

Centers vs. Stations

Dear Readers,

It really seems as if this job is tailor-made for me. Why do I say that? I say that because at my current job, the students are required to use stations. Why is this perfect? Well, at my other school, I used stations. I just called them centers. I thought there wasn’t a difference, but have since learned that there is.

So, my principal came into the class four times this week. Yes, four times. I’ve already had 5 observations this year and it’s only the third week of school. If this school does nothing else, it will keep me on my toes. We are required to upload a digital agenda to the school’s website, submit a unit plan, use stations for Direct Instruction, Collaborative/Flex-time (Work from other classes), & Independent work (on the laptop and/or iPad). I have actually really been “on it.” In my room I have a Smart Board that I am learning how to use. I know how to use simple parts of it, but the more complicated tasks like writing on the screen with the markers and moving screens like a touch device, I can’t do yet. The way I use it now is to plug my laptop into it to show my power points. I’ll write more about the power points later.

BTW, I found a great article on Stations vs. Centers: Dare to Differentiate: http://2differentiate.pbworks.com/w/page/860074/Learning%20Stations

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