Limitation Setting ME!


Dear Readers,

I’m on such a self-improvement tear. Usually after school is out for the summer, I have a chance to absorb & process all of the information I didn’t have time to during the year. I relate it to The Quickening (Click here, here, here, here, & here).

Self-Improvement Project

I’ve recently started studying Anthony Robbins’ philosophy. I really vibe with the ones where he talks about limiting beliefs we place on ourselves. After listening to him, I can see that I’ve set limits on myself because I didn’t think I deserved more.

Since school ended I’ve been in such an introspective mood. I’ve been in such a positive sense of expectancy. I’m happy that this sense of expectancy has returned because I stopped having a positive sense of expectancy after experiencing hard times in life. I can remember having great expectations when I was younger. I would be in such a state because I knew that something good was going to happen. I just didn’t know what. Well, somewhere along the way I stopped being in a state of expectancy and I started being or having a sense of dread because that’s all that seemed to be happening in my life. Instead of continuing with being ME & being in a state of positive expectancy, I sidetracked myself & changed my life and my positive sense of self expectancy for the worse.

However, after listening to Anthony Robbins lately, I’m discovering how to get back to where I came from when I stayed in a state of positive expectancy.

Here are 10 empowering beliefs that will change your life:

  1. The past does not equal the future.
  2. There is always a way if I’m committed.
  3. There are no failures, only outcomes- as long as I learn something, I’m succeeding.
  4. If I can’t, I must. If I must, I can. *
  5. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose that serves me.
  6. I find great joy in little things…a smile… a flower… a sunset
  7. I give more of myself to others than anyone expects.
  8. I create my own reality and I am responsible for what I create.
  9. If I’m confused, I’m about to learn something.
  10. Everyday above ground is a great day.

I’m going to spend the next year meditating on this! Bye for now!

Graphing WJIV Scores


Dear Readers,

Are you looking for an easier way to explain the Woodcock-Johnson scores to your student’s parents?

Well, I was! That’s when I had a brilliant idea and decided to graph the scores. I’m not sure why I never graphed them before. It would have made my life so much easier when it’s time to explain the Woodcock-Johnson scores.

This was sorely needed because so many times, at the IEP meeting, parents are “talked at” and overloaded with so much information. I can’t speak for the parents and say that they don’t understand, but the blank look sometimes says it all. I like this graph because the parents can see and hear the information.

I got the idea while planning lessons for my students who need simultaneous auditory & visual input. By graphing the scores, parents are able to see and hear the information for themselves, at a glance. Not only that, the graph saves about 10 minutes of explanation.

Here’s a mock up of READING scores from the WJIV. I also graphed WRITING & MATH scores. The first & last score (90-110) are just an illustration to show the AVERAGE range.

SAMPLE WJIV SCORES.png

You can use any color you’d like. These are the colors I used:

Standard Score Range WJ-IV

Classification

131 and above Very Superior
121 to 130 Superior
111 to 120 High Average (Black)
90 to 110 Average (Purple)
80 to 89 Low Average (Green)
70 to 79 Low (Borderline) (Blue)
69 and below Very Low     (Red)                                        (Significantly Below Average)

***I didn’t choose any colors for Superior & Very Superior because I have not yet had students score at this level.***

There are many sites where you can create graphs. Here’s the site I used: https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/classic/ 

Let me know if this will work for you! Bye for now!

Sensory Processing Disorder or ADD/ADHD?


Dear Reader,

I’m doing research to fill gaps in my knowledge. One particular curiosity I discovered is that ADHD & Sensory Processing can often be confused with each other.

ADD:ADHD

I’m going to research and write a post when I’m finished. Here are some of the articles I’m using for my research. Enjoy!

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/793.html (Sensory Processing or ADHD?)

http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/2014/01/sensory-processing-disorder-or-adhd/ (Sensory Processing or ADHD?)

http://www.webmd.com/children/features/the-truth-about-sensory-processing-disorder (Sensory Processing Disorder)

http://www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?ContentID=106831&Section=ADHD&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2014-4-28-how-sensory-processing-issues-affect-kids-school (Sensory Processing)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149116/ (Sensory Processing Problems in Children with ADHA, A Systematic Review)

Techy Me! or Challenge Accepted!


Dear Readers,

I work at a Blended Learning School.barney-stinson-challenge-accepted It’s a format that combines technology with traditional learning. When I took the job I was so out of my league. However I issued myself a challenge to get into that league. CHALLENGE: Learn and incorporate as much technology into the classroom as possible within the next couple of months. At the time I was hired, I hadn’t used much technology in the classroom except my classroom blog and iFilm.

However, I knew at this school I had to step up my game. So, I did! I accepted the challenge. Not only that, I saw the challenge and upped the ante a bit.

Usually, I can’t see my progress as it’s happening. However, in an earlier post, I briefly wrote about my Quickening process (click here). I also wrote about some of the programs I was using (click here). If I can think of anything else, I’ll post it. For now, here are the programs I’ve learned.

  • Kahoot! online quiz program that automatically compiles correct & incorrect answers for me,
  • Edmodo to post my power points, make quizzes, and display instructions,
  • Haiku, used by our SpEd. department,
  • Pinnacle to take roll & track grades,
  • Class Dojo for behavior management,
  • my school website to upload digital agendas,
  • my other school website to download important documents & answer PD surveys,
  • Google docs,
  • Google sheets,
  • Google forms,
  • Google slides
  • Online stopwatch for tracking time,
  • Weebly website to post links and work from core classes.

Not sure, but I think that’s all. One last thing I’m very proud of is how I’m using Google sheets to make my exit slips for the month. I was using Google forms to send them daily, but discovered it was quickly filling up my Google drive and causing too much work for me. I knew I needed to find an easier and more efficient way to get the job done. I played around with Google sheets and figured out how to do it. Happy to say that I’m no longer creating daily exit slips; I’m now creating them monthly. If you’d like to know how, shoot me an email @ specialedandme@gmail.com.

 

 

A Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset!


Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard of a Growth Mindset or a Fixed Mindset? If you haven’t, then I am about to explain it. A Growth Mindset is a good thing to have. It’s a belief that you can make a difference.

The flip side of this is a Fixed Mindset where you believe that your path is fixed and you cannot make a change.

Here is a Tedx Talk by Edward Briceño. I’m having a little trouble posting it, so just in case it doesn’t show up here’s the website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc

Middle School Writing Prompts


Dear Readers,

Here’s a site where I’ve found 180 Middle School writing prompts.

http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/journal-writing-prompts.html#1  (1-45)

http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/journal-writing-prompts.html#2 (46-90)

http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/journal-writing-prompts.html#3 (91-135)

http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/journal-writing-prompts.html#4 (136-180)

I’m going to look for more and post later. Bye for now!

Handwriting: What Is Normal?


Dear Readers,

I found this great article on Reading Rockets about handwriting, and how to know whether or not your child’s is normal. I thought  it was wonderful as it gave handwriting milestones from Pre-K–3rd grade. Also, it’s a little known fact that poor handwriting and learning disabilities sometimes go hand in hand.

I highly recommend this article. If you’d like to read, here it is: http://www.readingrockets.org

How to get students to follow directions the first time


Dear Readers,

I came across this very nice post, written by Angela Watson. It’s nine tips to get your students to follow directions the first time. I’m going to use them. Here’s her entire article. However, if you’d like a look-see, here’s the link:

How to get students to listen to and follow directions the FIRST time!

Since this is the beginning of the school year, I know you haven’t reached the point in the school year where you’re having some moments when you feel like you’ll lose your mind if you have to repeat yourself one. more. time. And that’s perfectly normal. A big part of a teacher’s job is teaching students to listen, follow directions, and be self-directed and independent in their work, and that means LOTS of repetition and reinforcement. It can be exhausting, for sure, so here are some tips to help kids listen to your directions and follow them the first time:Read More »

First Books Book Giveaway!


Dear Readers,

***Here is the information for free books. The shipping fee is only $0.45 /book to ship anywhere in the U.S.***

Give the gift of books – Apply for our last book distribution of the year!
A book is the gift that keeps on giving, and First Book is doing everything we can to make sure our programs can give the gift of reading to their kids this holiday season.  So, the First Book National Book Bank is having one last book distribution this calendar year, so you can get brand new books for free that your kids will love, just in time for winter break. With activity books, Christmas stories, and tons of awesome YA titles, we’ve got something for everyone!

Distribution names:

Season’s Readings: Books for Ages 0-9
Season’s Readings: Books for Ages 10-18

Cost of books:  Free!
Shipping & handling fee: $0.45 / book to be shipped anywhere in the US.
When will I get my books?: Books will arrive by mid December

As always, we encourage you to apply for as many distributions as you want, and spread the word to any programs that serve children in need – we have plenty of books to go around!

Happy reading!

First Book

Common Signs of Dyslexia by Reading Rockets


 

Here’s a great checklist for common warning signs of dyslexia. Again, it’s a bit of a read, but worth it.

Common Signs of Dyslexia

By: International Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia is a language-based disability that affects both oral and written language. With help, children with dyslexia can become successful readers. Find out the warning signs for dyslexia that preschool and elementary school children might display.

Facts about dyslexia

Startling facts about dyslexia and related language-based learning disabilities:

  • Fifteen to twenty percent of the population has a reading disability.
  • Of students with specific learning disabilities who receive special education services, seventy to eighty percent have deficits in reading. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.
  • If children who are dyslexic get effective phonological training in kindergarten and first grade, they will have significantly fewer problems in learning to read at grade level than do children who are not identified or helped until third grade.
  • Seventy four percent of the children who were poor readers in the third grade remained poor readers in the ninth grade. This means that they couldn’t read well when they became adults.
  • Individuals inherit the genetic links for dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia affects males and females nearly equally, and people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds as well.

Common signs: PreschoolRead More »

Getting It Together, Part Whatever!!!


Dear Readers,

I am slowly but surely getting it together. As you may know, I got a promotion (with no bump in pay) to Inclusion Specialist at my school. Once I thought about the enormity of the situation, I, of course, became overwhelmed as I sometimes do. I then stopped and thought about it. I became The Little Engine That Could. I slowly went from I Think I Can Do This to I Can Do This to I Not Only Can do This, But I Can Do It Well!

I’m aware that I’m undertaking a huge task, but I am honestly up for it. My school is very small. I only have 8 students with I.E.P.s with one upcoming in November. There’s a student who I’m going to work with in 1st grade who I’m very concerned about. I’m not sure if the issue is language or comprehension, but I will watch him to see. I’m also going to work with a couple of the Kindergarten students on behavior and becoming more independent.
I met with the Inclusion Specialist at a local school and was able to secure some very useful information. I will post at a later date all of the information she gave me. I was very happy with how giving & open she was. I hope when I doing this job for a couple of years and someone comes to me for help and advice that I’m as helpful and giving as she was.

So, I’m researching some of the sites she gave me. One, in particular, is Susan Barton, a dyslexia expert based in Northern California. Just in case you’re interested, here’s the website: www.BrightSolutions.US & http://www.dys-add.com/

I’m about to watch the videos on the second site. I’ll let you know how I liked them.

Bye for now!

Talbots Later-in-Life Scholarship


Since I’ve been a shopping fool at Talbots lately, I was emailed information regarding Talbots Charitable Foundation for women pursuing a scholarship later in life. I sure wish I would have seen this when I returned to school: www.talbotsscholarship.com (This is not the address of the link, I simply put this one because it’s easier on the eye than the actual link)

In keeping with our tradition of serving the community, the Talbots Charitable Foundation is proud to offer the 2012 Talbots Scholarship Program for women pursuing a college degree later in life.

Here’s information straight from the website:

Since its inception in 1997, the program has awarded more than $1 million dollars in scholarships. This year, the Talbots Scholarship Program will award $200,000 in scholarships for the 2012 academic year, including seventeen $10,000 scholarships. It will also present the $30,000 Nancy Talbot Scholarship Award, named in honor of the founder of Talbots and granted to one extraordinary finalist who demonstrates courage, conviction and an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit.

“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Xtra Math.com


Just the other day, I posted about the summer slide and how to avoid it. Well, I discovered a great way to help combat it. Here’s the latest website that I signing Phillise up for. It’s called Xtramath.org. I’m also requiring my students to sign up for it for the summer. That way, I can keep track of them and will know approximately where they are (academically) when they return to school. It’s a cool site and it’s free. Check it out!

**** I MADE A MISTAKE. I INCORRECTLY LISTED THE WEBSITE AS XTRAMATH.COM WHEN IT IS XTRAMATH.ORG.******

Dictionaries & So Much More!


After attending the training, I have been so inspired. The trainer, Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacob, challenged all in attendance to prepare their students for the year 2031 by becoming more computer savvy and introduce our students to an online source to replace a traditional source. I accepted her challenge by introducing my students to the Visual Thesaurus to complete their work for their Reading packet which I recently redesigned. I changed their weekly packets from Reading Response Journals to Vocabulary  & Spelling Journals.  Just as when I first introduced the Reading Response Journals, the students were having a hard time adjusting to the new packet. Here’s the schedule for the packet:

  • Day 1- Define vocabulary words & their language or origin (Homework)
  • Day 2- Write a sentence with the vocabulary words (Homework)
  • Day 3- Define spelling words & their language of origin for classwork; Homework- Write a sentence with the spelling words
  • Day 4- Write a synonym for your spelling words for classwork
  • Day 5- Write an antonym for your spelling words (Homework)

Looking in the traditional dictionary was too much for them. That’s why I introduced them to the Visual Thesaurus. Tuesday in the computer lab, I will introduce them to Longman’s Dictionary (We have one in the classroom). I’ve accepted Dr. Jacobs’ challenge and  researched resources that will aid me in my quest to do that. With the limited amount of time to do so, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Dictionay links:

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/lpd3.htm (Longman’s Dictionary)

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term= (online Etymology dictionary)

http://www.alphadictionary.com/index.shtml (Alpha dictionary)

http://www.visualthesaurus.com (Visual Thesaurus)

NOTE: All of these resources are free, except for Visual Thesaurus. It cost $19.95/year, but it is well worth it. My students love it.

How to Write a Book Report/Review (Online or Otherwise)


I’m helping my students write better book reports. In the midst of my searching, I happened upon this Scholastic website with advice from Rodman Philbrick (author of The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg & others). I will have extra time in computer lab this week (since I’m test driving one of the math programs that I, and the Principal, will be deciding on), so this will be one of my assignments for my students. There’s even an option on the site to read other student’s reviews. My challenge to my students will be to find a book they’ve read, read the review, and write a better one.

I liked it, so go here and check it out and see if you like it too: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/bookrev/read.htm

HERE’S TO 2010!

Lakeshore Coupon


Here’s the newest Lakeshore coupon.

Present this coupon at time of purchase.
©Lakeshore coupon code: 3782
Offer valid 2/1/11–2/28/11. $25, $50 or $75 minimum purchase required. Teacher’s Club members only. Valid on in-store purchases only. Limit one coupon per customer. Offer excludes sales tax & shipping charges. Valid on in-stock items only. No ship-to or special orders. Not to be used toward the purchase of gift cards or in conjunction with any other offers, prior purchases, sale items or Great Buys. No cash value. Must present coupon and Teacher’s Club card at time of purchase.

African-American Firsts!


For Black History month, I assigned my students projects on trailblazers- the first in their field. I definitely wanted them to do a project for Black History month, but was just tired of students wanting to report on Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or some other well-known figure that’s been done to death. Don’t get me wrong. I want my current & future students to know about these people, but I also want them to know about the less well known contributors who don’t get as much credit. So, my challenge to them was to find a trailblazer who contributed to all mankind, not just Blacks. Of course they proffered up Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, The Rock or Dwayne Johnson as he’s known now. My question to them was, “What have they done besides be great at their chosen profession & have brown skin or black heritage?”

They gave me blank stares, but they finally started to get it. Once they got it, they chose well. So, here is the list of people my students chose:

Jack Johnson, Marian Anderson, Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Carter Woodson, & a couple I can’t remember right now that I will update once I find my list. I am excited about this assignment. I am going to put on a show for the Principal complete with faces stapled to giant tongue depressors.

How’s that for putting on a show?

P.S.- I have a great link to a wikipedia for African-American firsts that take you back to the 1800s & the first known black man to publish a book by the name of Jupiter Hamon. Like to see it, here it goes: Wikipedia link- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_firsts

HERE’S TO 2011!

SUPER TEACHER WORKSHEETS


I recently added a new link onto my Teacher Resources. It’s called Super Teacher Worksheet. The owner of the website left several comments on the website and I visited it. Now, how ironic is this? I actually used this website to make my Christmas Vacation packet for my students.

I don’t know why I didn’t add it before, but I’m adding it now. It’s has a ton of worksheets from Math to Social Studies & back. So, thank you Tim for this website. I will be using it a lot more. Here’s the link:

http://www.superteacherworksheets.com

Valuable Lakeshore Coupons for Teacher’s Club Members


The next time you’re in Lakeshore Learning Store, make sure you sign up for their Teacher’s club. It’s free to join. I just received my latest mini-catalog with 3 valuable coupons on back. One is for Buy 1 @ Regular Price, Get 1 50% off, for July 5-31, 2010. (COUPON CODE=40000). There’s another for Save 15% for August 1-September 5, 2010. (COUPON CODE= 40005). Finally, the last one is for a free teacher’s plan book with any $20 purchase, valid July 5, 2010- September 5, 2010. (COUPON CODE= 44796)

LOS ANGELES BLACK BOOK EXPO 2010!


***ATTENTION***

The Los Angeles Black Book Expo has moved from the Expo Center near USC. It will now be held @ the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near L.A.X.

WHAT: The Los Angeles Black Book Expo

WHEN: Saturday, August 21, 2010

WHERE: L.A.X. Sheraton

TIME: 12:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Taken directly from the LABBX website: The Los Angeles Black Book Expo (LABBX) will be held August 21, 2010 at the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel. We will host a full day of activity featuring authors, storytellers, spoken word and poetry performances, musicians, exhibitors, children’s book authors, emerging writers, publishers, booksellers, panel discussions, editors, book reviewers, and others.

Dial-A-Librarian or Dial-A-Story


I love the Public Library System. They have so many services available. They have definitely stepped up their game & stepped into the 21st century. They have this great feature called Dial-A-Librarian or Dial-A-Story. Your child is able to call up the number and hear a story over the phone.

I called the libraries and you do not have to live in their area. The only thing you have to worry about is your long distance bill as some of the numbers are not local. Here are a list of numbers of the librarians that participate in the Dial-A-Librarian program:

City of Santa Clara- (408) 241-1611 (http://library.santaclaraca.gov/index.aspx?page=1600)

Toronto Public Library- (416) 395-5400 (http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/spe_ser_dialastory.jsp)

Salina Public Library- (785) 823-3333 (http://www.salpublib.org)

Marin Public Library- (415) 499-6051   (http://www.marinlibrary.org/kids/dial-a-story/index.php)

I found another huge Dial-a-Story list (Thanks to Phone Phun), complete with pictures: (http://dialastory.highachievement.org). I called a couple of the numbers. The list is not current, but other stories are still available.

I have used the Dial-A-Librarian service. It was when Purplicious first came out & I wanted to know if the book was any good before I bought it. Sure enough, I was read the whole story and decided to buy it. So, check out this service. It’s nice!

HERE’S TO 2010!

Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale!


*** Sorry, I just read on the website that it’s only open to school & District employees. Hopefully you know a teacher you can go with. ***

It’s going on now with thousands of books marked down 50% and other books up to 80% off cover prices.

What: Scholastic’s Warehouse Book Sale

When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010- June 19, 2010 (Closed for inventory Sunday, May 30- Friday, June 19, 2010)

Where: Various locations. Anaheim is the closest location to me @ 2890 E. Whitestar, Anaheim, CA 92806 (On the corner of Whitestar & LaPalma. From the 91 Freeway, take the Kraemer Blvd. exit & go North. Turn left on E. Whitestar. The building will be on your right.)

Go to www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/warehouse to register for your FAST-CART PASS and coupons for $10 or $25 off.

I’ve never been to the big warehouse sale in Anaheim, but I’ve heard about it. The prices are already cheap @ the outlet in West L.A. So, if they’re better than that, I’m all in.

More Goodies @ Barnes & Noble bookstore


Here’s something I came upon that my husband will love this since he owns the Kindle e-reader. While browsing for free summer reading programs I happened upon this informative article. It seems as if Barnes & Noble are bringing their A-game. As well as having the physical book market cornered, they are now seeking to corner the electronic or e-book market. They are offering a free book per week for five weeks once you have the code. The catch, you have to go into a Barnes & Noble bookstore. That’s fine with me since I go there at least twice a month anyway. There’s only four more weeks left. The program started May 18, 2010 and runs through June  ,2010.

There was more information in the article. If you’d like to read it, here’s the link: Summer Reading, Electronic and Free by Roy Furchgott

Book Club Information


I’m so excited about my Book Club. Every year, I always make up a packet. This year I’m making my packets up from a combination of sources. Here they are:

I also printed:

Since I have a laminator and I like for my bookmarks to be thick, I cut the bookmarks and laminate them back to back. I place them opposite each other so, no matter what, my bookmark is never upside down. I know that it may not bother other people, but it bothers me, so I do what I need to do.

FREE BOOKS!


***WARNING*** This post is very long, but worth it.

Signing up to receive the Reading Rockets newsletter was one of the best things I’ve signed up for. According to their website, “Reading Rockets offers a wealth of reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Our reading resources assist parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.”

It’s true. There is a wealth of information. Whenever I have a question that needs answering, the Reading Rockets website is one of my first stops. In fact, I recently found an excellent source for free books this morning. I’ve included the list right here, but if you want to see it for yourself, here’s the link.

National book giveaway programs

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, developed in 1995 for her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee, has been replicated in communities across the United States to bring books into the homes of preschool children. Through the program, all children in a participating community are enrolled at birth or when they move into the community. Each month, from the day the child is born until their 5th birthday, a selected book arrives at the mailbox. The Dollywood Foundation has developed the delivery system, negotiated price, selected the publisher and the individual titles, and created registration and promotional materials. Local champions in the community — businesses, school districts, civic organizations, individuals, or local government — finance the cost of the books and the mailing, register the children and promote the program.

First Book

First Book is a national nonprofit that has provided more than 50 million new books to children in need. In neighborhoods across the country, First Book unites leaders from all sectors of the community to identify and support community-based literacy programs reaching children living at or below the poverty line and provide them with grants of free books and educational materials. The First Book National Book Bank, a subsidiary of First Book, provides new books to children from low-income families using generous donations from children’s book publishers. The First Book National Book Bank distributes large quantities of publisher-donated brand-new books to programs serving children from low-income families. There are 25 to 30 book distributions hosted by the First Book National Book Bank annually at a variety of sites across the United States. The books are free to programs that are able to pick them up or just $0.25 per book to have them shipped.Read More »

The Road Map To Reading!


Here’s a little Road Map to Reading. Although the road to reading is a fairly complex process fraught with much tension and much work, there is hope. At my last site, I had an awesome Literacy Coach who gave me these steps to reading. So, without further ado, here they are:

**Phonemic Awareness– Simply put, phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate sounds and words. One of my favorite p.a. activities is to use word families (i.e., -an). If you place a /b/ in front of it, the word is now ban. Place a /c/ in front of it, and it’s now can. Place a /d/ in front of it and it is now Dan, etc.

Concepts About Print– Does the child understand that print goes from left to right.

Explicit, Systematic Instruction in Phonics– Letter/sound correspondence, i.e., “A” makes the Long /a/ or ah sound. For each letter, there is a sound or corresponding sounds.

Decoding– While writing is described as encoding (Putting into the secret language), reading is described as decoding (deciphering & making sense of the secret language). Just think about it, learning to read is like deciphering a secret language. In essence, children are secret agents deciphering the code. So, if you put the short /i/ sound with the /f/ sound, it will make if.

Fluency/Automaticity– Again, simply put, does the child read in a human-like way (very naturally) or like a robot, taking time to sound out and pronounce every letters.

Explicit Instruction in Comprehension– This is where many students get “tripped” up on the CSTs. Since they take so much time Decoding, that barely leaves any time for comprehension. I had much success. I’m not sure how other teachers go about doing this, but, as always, I keep it very simple. Once you work on all of the above, their fluency/automaticity will increase. This will leave more time for comprehension.
I read to my students every day. Now, come very close and I’ll share a very simple secret with you. While reading, I asked them questions, we discussed the story & I had them sum it up in their own words. Okay, you can leave now. That’s it. That’s the secret to increasing comprehension. That’s my explicit instruction in comprehension.

** Taken from UC Davis, School of Education website**

I found a nice website for Phonemic Awareness

Library Services @ LAPL


Due to budget cuts, the Los Angeles Public Library is cutting services. There a, however, still a wealth of services. They are really “into” the digital information age.
One of my favorite things available on the website (I’m not sure if this service is available in house) are the Audiobooks.
My husband has the Amazon Kindle (an e-reader). Since the Kindle is an e-reader, it’s virtually like a mini-computer. It’s great. It’s just like reading a book. The only thing is that I miss the feel & touch of a “real” book. If you don’t mind that or if you are more comfortable with a computer than a book, then you’ll really love the Kindle. Books are available for instant download. They can be purchased from Amazon for as cheap as .99 cents. No shipping & handling. Just downloading! That’s pretty cheap for a book. But I found an even better deal. At the library. They offer it for an even better price- FREE.
To check out the services available, go to Los Angeles Public Library’s (LAPL) homepage @ lapl.org. On the left hand side, there are a bunch of tabs. Click on Library Resources & check out everything there is to offer.

Big Universe.com


I wish I would have known about this 2 years ago. I’d been trying to get my students to learn to read. Drawing was no problem for them as they were very creative. However, writing was a very big problem.

Well, I found this one website where you can create & publish your own book. My students would have loved this.  Maybe your students will also. Check it out!

http://www.biguniverse.com

HERE’S TO 2010!

Mission Impossible Assignment #3: School Shopping on a Budget, Part 2


My mission (which I already accepted) was to purchase school uniforms, underwear & socks, and shoes for 2 children for under $150. This was seemingly impossible, but it’s been done before and it can be done again. One of the best ways to save money is to recycle clothing from the previous year that are still in good condition.

and1So, I rummaged through David’s bureau drawers and found 5 shirts & 2 pairs of pants from last year that he can still fit. So, I only had to purchase 1 pair of khaki pants for $12.99, & two monogrammed shirts (1 white & 1 navy) @ $12.99 each + a pair of And 1 sneakers (Rocket mid) for $29.99 + tax @ Big 5 Sporting Goods for a grand total of ~$75. So my grand total for David & Phillise’s school shopping adds up $75.00 + $55.00= $130

Mission accomplished!

This post is a continuation from an earlier post last week.

Mission Impossible Assignment # 3: School Shopping On A Budget


Okay, all you shoppers out there. Boy, do I have an assignment for you: School Shopping on a budget. Should you choose to accept this assignment, you may encounter a store full of shoppers, some rude, some not. You may also stop and park @ several locations looking for the perfect deal. Well, lucky for you I know where to shop for uniforms, so look no further. I’ve found the perfect place; at least it’s the perfect place to get school uniforms at unheard of prices.

Listen up. Here’s how the mission began and ended in one place. During the summer I received a notice from Phillise’s school stating that uniforms are now mandatory. The only requirement, a navy blue or white shirt with any color bottom. Yeah! That means waaaaay less money I have to spend.

Since I knew I had a nearly impossible mission (less than $200 for 2 children) and funds are low, I decided to run to FALLAS PAREDES’ warehouse. I knew I’d find great deals there. I always do.

Was I right fellow shoppers? Yep, I sure was. I got the same deal as last year: a grey jumper & a burgundy jumper for $1 each. Yep, you read right- $1 for the jumpers. So, I got her 2 grey ones, 1 burgundy one, a navy blue skort (@ $6.99), and 3 white uniform shirts @ $1.99 each, for a grand total (after taxes) of $17.52.

@ Target, I bought 20 pairs of underwear, 6 camis & 20 pairs of socks for a grand total of $26.32. @ Old Navy, 2 weeks ago, I bought some white sneakers with black polka dots for $10.97.

So, for Phillise’s sneakers, uniforms, underwear & socks, I paid a grand total of:

$17.52 + $10.97 + $26.32= $54.81

Having only 2 children to buy school clothes is so much easier since they both wear uniforms. David even has some from last school year. I will recycle @ least 2 shirts and 1 pair of pants. So, fellow shoppers, did I accomplish my impossible assignment of school shopping for 2 children for $200 or less? Well, that remains to be seen since I still have to buy David’s shoes, uniform pants, and shirts. However, last year, I simply went to Big 5 for the shoes. Looks like I’ll be going there again this year. I will keep you posted.

If you’d like to visit the warehouse, here’s the information.

FALLAS PAREDES Warehouse

15001 S. Figueroa St.

Gardena, CA 92048

(310)965-0379

http://www.fallasparedes.com

Don’t believe it, check it out for yourself.

P.S.- I am seriously going to take pics of Phillise in her uniforms and I will scan my receipt from Fallas Paredes.

Classroom Discipline 101


I am very excited. I just found an excellent Classroom management blog. The author is a 20 year veteran of some of L.A.U.S.D.’s toughest schools. I have not purchased this book yet, as funds are low. But, I will purchase it as soon as I can. It looks very promising. I will let you know if it’s worth a purchase or not. Or, if you buy it before I do, let me know. Drop me a comment. For now, here’s the website: Classroom Discipline 101

Lakeshore, Buy One Get One 50% off!


Here’s a coupon for buy 1 get 1 half off @ Lakeshore. It’s valid from May 1- 31. You can also visit the website @ www.lakeshorelearning.com

Present this coupon at time of purchase.
© Lakeshore coupon code: 1806
Offer valid 5/1/09 – 5/31/09. Limit one coupon per customer. Limit one item per coupon per transaction. Purchase one item at regular price and receive a second item of equal or lesser value at 50% off its regular price. Offer excludes sales tax & shipping charges. Valid on in-stock items only. No ship-to or special orders. Not to be used toward purchase of gift cards or in conjunction with any other offers, prior purchases or sale items. Sorry, no rain checks. No cash value.

How To Teach Spelling


While doing some research on teaching spelling, I came across this article: http://www.all-about-spelling.com/spelling-lesson.html. It was quite humbling as I have been doing some of those things that the article says not to do.

I am happy that I came across this information. Now I know what to do as well as what not to do. That’s what research is for.

If you are also looking for information about how to teach spelling, check out this site @ www.all-about-spelling.com

Thinking Maps Training!


I attended an all day training for thinking maps and am so excited about the possibilities. There are so many things that could possibly be done with these maps. Children as young as Kindergarten age could use some of them.

They are a great writing resource. I found a link in Open Court Resources explaining how to use them. I think that it explains it far better than I ever could. For more information click here:

Getting It Together!


I am finally getting it together. I asked for help from one of my teachers @ B.N.U. She showed me how to use the Open Court program. I was very happy about that because there isn’t another training until the summer. Although by then I won’t need it, the training is mandatory so I’ll still have to go.

I had almost forgotten about Open Court Resources , by Mathew Needleman, until one of the teachers that I work with mentioned it. She said that she got most of her resources from there. How could I have forgotten Mathew? His site is so full of useful teaching resources. I visited there and found almost everything that I need to finish my lesson plans. I even got homework stuff there.

If you’re struggling with your planning, or even if you’re not, do yourself a favor and visit Open Court Resources.

Thanks Mathew for all your help and advice. I don’t know if you know how many teachers use your site. It is such a nice site with great resources. Keep up the good work.

What’s In A Name?


I found this site that tells you the meaning of your name. Here’s the meaning of my name. If you would like to check it out, here is the website:
http://www.blogthings.com/whatsyournameshiddenmeaningquiz/

***What Leila Means***

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don’t get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It’s easy to get you excited… which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don’t stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are usually the best at everything … you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic “Type A” personality.

What’s Your Name’s Hidden Meaning?
http://www.blogthings.com/whatsyournameshiddenmeaningquiz/

    Science Experiments


    To fulfill the science part of my teaching commitment, I have been on the hunt for science experiments for my students that will be engage them and make them think. Most of all, I want to make it fun for them. I have found about 15 science experiments that I am modifying to fit my students’ different levels. Over the weekend, I am going to bind some construction paper and blank paper to make science books for them that I will let them decorate.

    If you’re in CA and would like to have a look at the standards, here are the CA standards for K-5th grade standards: www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/scmain.asp

    Here is one of the websites where I found a couple of easy to do science experiments: www.reachoutmichigan.org/funexperiments/

    Handwriting Worksheet Generator


    When I was subbing a couple of weeks ago, one of the teachers that I was working with had these handwriting worksheets that I thought were so cute. She bought the program at Lakeshore. This, however, is better. It’s free! That’s right up my alley. If you would like to create your own custom handwriting worksheets, go to this website and print it for free instead of paying for it.

    Make your own worksheets online @ http://www.atozteacherstuff.com
    Name:_______________________________

    Date:_____________

    Practice at home.

    (traditional manuscript font)

    These worksheets can be printed in modern or traditional manuscript. There are also many other resources there. Check it out!

    Here’s the link:

    http://tools.atozteacherstuff.com/handwriting/handwriting-practice.html