Right Where I’m Supposed to Be!

Dear Readers,

I am extremely tired and I’m happy about it. Like to hear it, here it goes. For my first teaching job I was thrown in the classroom. I did not have one single day of training.

It was like, “Hey, here’s your keys. Go to Class #5. We’ll see you at the end of the year or when we need to yell at you for something that may or may not be your fault. Have a nice day!”

That was basically how my first 2 years of teaching went. The good thing about it was that I learned to be self-reliant and have my own back. The bad part was that I didn’t get much needed training and help with little things that I really needed help.

Well, fast forward to my current job where I am working so hard. I come home tired every night, but it’s a good tired. It’s that tired from a job well done. I was just talking to my daughter in the car on the way home and I told her that I’m happy where I am right now because I’ve conquered one of my biggest problems- timely input of grades. I’ve had that problem since my first year of teaching. Well, not anymore.

I feel like such a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Although I have to say that report card time has always been a sore spot for me, it still wasn’t that bad because I’m used to having a small group of students. So, even though it was bad, I know that it’s nowhere near as bad as it is for some.

I have to say that I feel very blessed. I had six job offers to entertain and just could not choose for fear of choosing the wrong one. Now, that I’m making more progress than I ever have, I have to say that I made the right choice. I’m right where I’m supposed to be!

Proud Me! Part (I Don’t Even Know!)

Dear Readers,

kahoot

I am so proud of myself; I’ll tell you why. My school uses a Blended Learning type of learning. When I first started there I was very nervous. I knew I was in bad shape because I’m not as technologically savvy as I’d like to be. Well, all of that changed. As a 9th & 10th grade teacher, I have to use the Blended Learning model. That’s when I know, though it would be a steep learning curve, that I’d have to step up to the plate and do it. So I did!

edmodo          class dojo

Boy, did I! I had to write down the passwords to all of the accounts I’ve created since August. It amounted to 15. Count to them, 15. I was wondering why I couldn’t remember them. Once I sat down to write them all down, then I knew why I couldn’t remember them. Once I wrote them down, I taped them inside my locked file cabinet.

Now, back to the lecture at hand. I’m so proud of my self because I am very nearly paperless. These are the programs I use:

  • Kahoot! quiz to give quizzes that automatically compiles the right and wrong answers for me,
  • Edmodo to post my power points, make quizzes, and display instructions,
  • Haiku,
  • Pinnacle to take roll & track grades,
  • Class Dojo for behavior management,
  • our school website to upload digital agendas,
  • our school website to download important documents & answer PD surveys,
  • Google docs & Google drive (not sure if that’s the same thing),
  • Online stopwatch for tracking time & a bunch of others I can’t remember right now.

It’s working out. I am happy with my progress and plan on doing even more. I’ll keep you updated. Bye for now!

What I’ve Been Doing!

Dear Readers,

I’ve been extremely overly busy. It’s not something I like, but it’s necessary since I am in a building phase. I chose my current job so I can grow and that is exactly what I’m doing. I’ve grown so much since August. I now know how to open & close an IEP, since I am the IEP Case Manager. It’s funny (not ha!ha! funny) that I did not have to do many things in the IEP since I was only a participant, not a case manager. Now that I’m an IEP Case Manager, I have to open & close the IEP and do everything in between. I also have to teach my students and push-in to their other classes to help them, meet with the other campus next door, and get evaluated every couple of weeks. Did I mention that my site is going through District Validation (DVR) this year? I’m not sure if this sounds like a lot to you, but it is. Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely not complaining. I’m actually happy to have the job and to do all that the job entails. I just need to get used to it. Once that happens, I’ll be one happy camper. Right now, I’m just a little overwhelmed, which is the reason I have not been writing. This week, however, I’ve had some down time & have been able to catch up and relax a little. Hopefully I’ll have a little more time to myself and have some time to write. I’ll keep you updated. Bye for now!

Pleasantly Surprised Me!

One of my students pleasantly surprised me. He had been playing around and not really taking his classwork and homework seriously. Well, color me surprised when I discovered that he was actually working when he said he was. He has been working on a program, Achieve 3000, that helps increase lexile levels. I found out when he was recognized at one of our monthly assemblies for having one of the highest growth in his lexile level to the tune of 95 points. Not only that. In my class, I let my students play Kahoot! At first he was at the bottom, now he’s one of the top scorers. I am very pleasantly surprised.

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!

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