The Act of Creation…


So many times as I’ve been about to embark on a great journey, it’s been started by a quote. Well, this quote by Pablo Picasso is no different. Here’s the quote: Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”

This is so apropos because I feel like my life has been torn down and is currently in the process of being restructured and rebuilt. I’m on medical leave from work and don’t know what my next steps are. I thought by this time in my life that I’d know for sure what path I’d like to take. Wrong!

Image result for painting showing confusion←I feel like this lady right here. I know that something good is on the horizon because my career is in shambles. I’ve been trying to get my resume together but just can’t seem to get it together. I tell ya’, one of these years I’m going to get it together!

Walking In My Power! Part 2


Dear Readers,

My apologies! Yesterday I wrote a post entitled, Walking in Your Power! I thought I explained what walking in your power is, but apparently I did not. Well, for those of you who don’t have me on Facebook, it must have seemed that it came out of the blue. So, although this post should have been part 1 of Walking in Your Power, it is Part 2.

Here is my Facebook post explaining what walking in your power is:

I have one question for you, Are you walking in your power?!?!
I ask this because there was a time when I thought I was broken and would never be fixed. I thought that no one could possibly really love this broken, disheveled mess that I called ME! I was so wrong. I love ME; this formerly broken mess of a woman who learned who I am, who doesn’t accept SH*T from anyone, who realizes her worth, who walks in her own power!
I am finally beginning to walk in my power. I was up, around 4 a.m., watching various motivational videos and reading anything I could find about walking in my power. One of the simplest ones I read was on Huffington Post entitled, “Why Aren’t You Walking in Your Power?”
It wasn’t a long article. It was very simple and to the point. I recommend it.

Check it out @ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/mindfulness-practice_b_420…

You’ll see from reading the Huffington Post article that walking in your power is you being your best self, it’s owning your truth, it’s realizing your true purpose and who you really are! 

In the words of Vicki Kirk-May, “It’s time to dominate!” It’s time to SHINE!!!

It’s time to become the real ME. I feel like I’ve only been a facsimile of who I can and am supposed to be. This quote, down below, by Anaïs Nin, perfectly symbolizes my situation. I can no longer remain tight in a bud. It’s too painful. I’m ready to be and embrace the new me; the ME that is my best self; the one who owns my truth- ALL OF IT. I accept all of me, the good and the bad. I accept and own everything I’ve done, up until now.

IT’S TIME TO REALLY LIVE!

 

As always, I’ll keep you updated on the happenings in my life!

Burnt Out!


Dear Readers,

I am burnt out! I’m fighting, but it’s sooooooooooooooo hard!!! My burn out is taking the form of:

  • going to bed late
  • waking up late (as a result of going to bed late)
  • not being as productive as I can be
  • wasting time at work
  • leaving things at home

I’m going to be Captain Obvious here and say that I don’t like being burnt out. I only have 7 more school days after today. I know I’m going to make it. It’s just hard getting there.

 

Resource Lab Grade Check/Productivity Forms


Dear Readers,

I just realized that I have not been sharing resources that I’ve created. One resource that I use because it hits so many indicators at once is The Resource Lab Grade Check/Productivity Log. I use these forms  twice weekly for my grade check process that places the onus on the students to know their grades at all times and set goals.

productive-vs-busy

It:

  1. makes students take respon-sibility for their grades.
  2. puts the onus on the students to take responsibility for showing how productive or unproductive they were during their stations/centers time.
  3. It helps the students set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  4. It’s a running record of the students response/explanation of their grades that can be used during parent conferences. {Not sure if this is a problem at your sites, but the students, at one point in time, were saying that teachers were not helping them. This will help show that students are aware of their grades at all times.

Here are the links:

* NOTE: Although this says, Counseling Grade Check, it can be used as a grade check for Resource Lab or for any class where the students need to check all their grades. I use this one with the Counselor for students who don’t yet know how to write S.M.A.R.T. goals. So, feel free to take Counseling out of the title.

*NOTE: This form can be changed around, added to, deleted to suit your purposes.

You can make a copy for yourself or email me for a copy @ specialedandme@gmail.com. If you use it, let me know how it works for you.

Bye for now!

 

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!

They Can Barely “Function”?


Dear Readers,

This year, I am really going hard with the metacognitive strategies for my students. I started them out with Learning Styles (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic/Tactile), Multiple Intelligence Survey (HOW are you smart?), Executive Functioning Skills (8 Key Skills- Impulse Control, Emotional Control, Working Memory, Planning & Prioritization, Organization, Task Initiation, Flexible Thinking, & Self-Monitoring), & Fixed/Growth Mindset.
IMPULSE CONTROL C

I’m working on all of them, but what I’m really working diligently on is impulse control. At least five of my students have weaknesses in the area of impulse control. Let me be real here and say that they are wearing me out. I know that this will be a year-long journey, but it’s a journey I must start if I’m to have any chance of normalcy in my Lab.

Wish me luck on this journey!

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)

Piggy & The Emergency Packet!


Dear Readers,

I have a student that I call Piggy because she loves to eat. Don’t worry, she’s not offended; she actually thinks it’s cute. She is the cutest thing. I’m writing this post about her because how cute she is. All of her life she’s relied on how pretty she is. I sat down and talked to her one day and asked her if she ever thought that she could do “it!” I asked her if she was going to rely on her looks forever.

“Trust me when I say that looks fade, we gain weight, etc., etc.,” I told her.

She looked absolutely horrified when I told her that I wasn’t always a size 12. I took the time to tell her that she doesn’t have to rely only on her looks; that she could do “it.”

“You think I can?,” she asked.

“Yes, Piggy! I know you can!”

During my weekly grade check I told her that I wanted her to actually try in Biology & Math class. She agreed that she would. I told her that I was going to stay on her to make sure she did. She smiled and thanked me.

Well, I had to tell you the story of Piggy to finally get around to the Emergency Packets I made for my students.

1888442_10152314646446335_8088628171617566612_n

Obviously that’s not my hand in the picture, but I digress. This is what was in the packets I made them. It took me a couple of days to assemble the packets, so I didn’t want the students to waste them. I told them to take out the chocolate Kiss if they didn’t want it and return the bag of items to me because others wanted them.

When I got to Piggy, I asked her if she wanted the packet. To my surprise she said that she did. After she ate the Kiss, she read the note and thanked me. This shocked me because at the beginning of the year she would have simply thrown the bag away without a second thought. It said a lot that she actually cared and is starting to believe in herself.

This warmed my heart so much. I really enjoy making a difference in their lives!

Go Ahead, Call My Boss!


Dear Readers,

Bad teacher:parentThe title was too long to finish writing how I feel, so I’ll write it here. “Go ahead, call my boss. I have nothing to hide,” is what I thought as I gave this mom my number to call the head of the SpEd department. She’s one of those “shoot first and ask questions later” kind of people.

There’s such a big backstory on her and the situation I’m currently experiencing. My first meeting with her started off friendly enough. However, my thoughts about her changed once I saw how she attacked the 9th grade English teacher over her son’s grades which he earned. Little did I know that I would be the next one.

During our meeting, she was cordial enough. She then took me totally by surprise when, out of the blue, she began launching accusatory questions at me about a “C” grade. Even when I showed her his grades, she was still not satisfied. It was at this point that she stomped out of the room and apparently went straight to the Assistant Principal’s office. She told the AP that I attacked her, was unfriendly, and that she didn’t want to deal with me. I could tell by the AP’s voice and intonation that she believed the parent. I was insulted for a hot second until I realized that I didn’t care. I went to speak to the AP in charge of SpEd and let him know her M.O. He let me know that he had my back and that he would defuse the situation if it came down to it. I thanked him and went on my merry little way.

Did it end there? Of course it didn’t. That would have been too easy. The REAL problem began when the 311 report was run and the SpEd Director noticed that two students were assigned behavior intervention services. Wouldn’t you know that he was one of them? I sent home notices that she would not return. I called her and she would not answer. I even tried to schedule meetings with her that she would agree to and not show up. She began insisting that he receive the services even though she didn’t even know what they were. She began to try to bombard me with e-mails. That’s when I promptly told her that she could speak with my boss or one of the SpEd coaches if she would feel more at ease. I gave her both their numbers and wished her well. You know what, she never even gave them a call. In fact, she hasn’t even shown up for any parent conferences since then. It was not a surprise to me. I knew that she was one of the those people who try to bulldoze their way through to get their way when they know that simply asking will work. Those types of people puzzle me. I just don’t understand it. Has she never heard, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

I have not had to deal with her since then but his IEP is coming up in May. I’ll keep you updated on that. Bye for now!

The Little Engine That Could!


Dear Readers,

little-engine 2I am pleasantly surprised with my students! I’m seeing leaders emerge with strengths they, or I, in some cases, didn’t even know they had. What am I talking about? I’m talking about my students coming alive and developing their life skills.

One of the activities I introduced to them when we came back from break was jigsawing. In one of my last post I stated how I put the onus on my students for asking for extra time and getting their missed work from when they were absent. I know they are only in the 9th & 10th grade but within the next 3-4 years they will be young adults in charge of their own lives. So, they need to have certain skills. Two skills they really need and that are very important to have are self-advocacy & self-reliance. They are beginning to do well with self-advocacy skills, so now I’m training them in self-reliance. Many times during the last semester, the work would be right in front of them but they would not take to time to try to uncover it. I thought and thought about how to help the overcome their learned helplessness but it was tough. Let me tell you that learned helplessness runs deep. They were so used to believing they couldn’t do it that they stopped trying.

Well, by lecturing them, supporting them, and helping them realize that they can do it, they have begun to advocate for themselves and to rely on themselves. It’s one of the best feeling in the world to see that light bulb go on and have someone realize they can do it. I always think of The Little Engine That Could when this happens. I should read it to them. They’re so young they probably haven’t heard of it. I’ll see. Back to the lecture at hand. I’m happy to see them blossoming. I’ll keep you updated.

What is Your Disability?


What is your disability? That is a question I asked of my students. In my first period class, I have 10 students. Of those 10, only one student knew that he was diagnosed with ADHD. The other ones had no idea what their disability was. So I gave them the assignment that I sussed out over the break. Since I introduced them to jigsawing, I printed articles for the three disabilities in my class- Specific Learning Disability (SLD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Autism.

Here’s the breakdown. Of my 26 students, 1 has Language & Speech Services (LAS), 2 don’t have the lab with me, 4 have autism, and 2 have ADHD, with 16 having SLD. I split them into groups, gave them the articles and the link for the Google sheet to answer the questions they would later transfer to their ppt. or Google slides presentation. I then explained their roles and let them tear apart the article and answer the questions. They were free to research any questions that were not answered by the article. I’ll discuss the outcome in another post. Just color me impressed!

Bye for now!

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.

 

 

My Threshold!


Dear Readers,

I discovered something about myself last night. It was always my belief that I could take a nap later in the day in order to last long into the night. Well, I discovered that I was wrong. Even though I took a long nap and woke up at 7:30 p.m., I still tapped out about 10:30. I thought I could write and complete other work, but realized that I’d reached my threshold. I was beginning to do Midnight thinking. That’s when I realized that I needed to throw in the towel.

-Signed, No Longer in Denial!

 

***WATCH THE VIDEO from 19:17-19:37- This is what my writing is like when I’ve reached my threshold.***

 

 

So Much To Write About!


Dear Readers,

Usually at the end of the year I have what I call The Quickening. For those of you who are not Syfy fans, that’s a reference to the movie Highlander. In the movie there are beings- Immortals- who are fighting for the right to be “The Only One.” In order to be the only one, the Immortals hunt each other down, fight to the death with swords and chop off the other Immortal’s head in order to claim their knowledge (usually hundreds of years), which comes out in the form of violent lightning that engulfs the victor & literally deposits the knowledge in the victor’s head. Well, I said all that to say that’s how I feel. The only thing is that I usually feel this at the end of the year when I’ve had time to process and sort through everything I’ve learned up until that point. My new job is so intense and so all encompassing that I feel The Quickening now. What’s even stranger is that I felt it as it was happening. I even helped encouraged the process.

At the beginning of the school year I could tell that I was in for quite an experience; I could feel it. There seemed to be magic and a sense of the possibilities in the air. I could feel that this job could be what I needed and more. I have my church’s breakfast banquet to attend, so I will write more later about my Quickening.

 

“Only Me,” he said.


Dear Readers,

I got a story to tell you. Wanna’ hear, here it goes. One of my students was in a mood today. You see, in the beginning of school I gave him many chances to answer questions when others didn’t know the answer. After awhile, I pulled back and didn’t let him answer as much because I wanted other students to have a chance to answer. Well, I guess he didn’t understand that because he bad mouthed me to another teacher who told me, so I talked to him and asked him why he was bad mouthing me. He told me that he didn’t feel that I was giving him enough individual attention. He told me that I should only give my attention to him.

“You should give your attention to only me,” he said.

“Now, that doesn’t make sense to me. How am I supposed to support the other students? How would it look if I gave my attention to only you?”

“I’d like it fine. That’s what you should do,” he said.

I had to tell him that he was important, but not the most important person in the world. I talked to him for a couple more minutes until he finally got it. He said it wasn’t fair but he understood. Let me just say for the record that I do give him a fair amount of my time. He stops by sometimes before school & during lunch. We’ve come to an understanding.

He’s very conscientious and an all-around good guy who deserves the best. I’ll continue to make him feel special.

Detox Time!


Dear Readers,

I’ve been so overly busy the past couple of weeks that I have not had time to detox. One of the main reasons is that my classroom is never empty. I have the class for 1st & 2nd period; the 11th/12th grade Resource Teacher has it 3rd & 4th, and the Spanish teacher has it 5th & 6th. Not to mention that the Spanish teacher tutors on Mondays & Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, we have PDs; on Thursdays, I have tutoring; Fridays are free, but who wants to stay on Friday, right? Couple all of this with the many demands of my church and you have a very burnt out me.

Snickers

Because of all this, I’ve bee feeling like I could star in one of the  Snickers commercial because I wasn’t myself. I could not center myself, so I stole some time today. There’s a storage closet on the 2nd floor that no one’s using W-F. This will be my go-to spot when it’s not in use because I am so refreshed. I took lunch + my prep period = 2.5 hours. When I tell you that I emerged sooooo refreshed from the storage closet, I mean it. I was able to think clearly. Now I can think of solutions to problems I’ve been having. So, let me get to it. Bye for now!

The Jacket!


Dear Readers,
I purchased this lovely Trina Turk cropped blazer. I got it at a beyond wonderful price. Why am I upset then? Well, it seems I put on a bit of weight and I can’t fit it. Who can fit it? My baby girl, who @ 12 years old is 5’6 and towers over me. Since she is shaped like her dad’s side of the family she’s nice and slender.
She is very supportive of me and challenged me to lose the weight to get into the jacket by October. If I don’t slim down by then enough to button it, then she gets to keep it. Guess I need to get on the ball!
In order to keep myself honest, I will post some before pics. I will also post pics in October. Here’s to getting into that Trina Turk jacket! Bye for now.

The Real Reason why children fidget! by Angela Hanscom


Dear Readers,

I found this excellent article that purports to explain why children fidget. Read this and see if you agree. Enjoy!

WHY CHILDREN FIDGET: And what we can do about it
Angela Hanscom – Thursday, June 05, 2014

A perfect stranger pours her heart out to me over the phone. She complains that her six-year-old son is unable to sit still in the classroom. The school wants to test him for ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder). This sounds familiar, I think to myself. As a pediatric occupational therapist, I’ve noticed that this is a fairly common problem today.

The mother goes on to explain how her son comes home every day with a yellow smiley face. The rest of his class goes home with green smiley faces for good behavior. Every day this child is reminded that his behavior is unacceptable, simply because he can’t sit still for long periods of time.

The mother starts crying. “He is starting to say things like, ‘I hate myself’ and ‘I’m no good at anything.’” This young boy’s self-esteem is plummeting all because he needs to move more often.Read More »

Happy Mother’s Day & Graduation to ME!


leilacover

Dear Readers,

Today, I have at least three great things going for me. First, I am a mother, and have been for over 23 years. My children range in age from 11-23. So, HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to me!

Secondly, I walked across the stage today at LMU for my Master’s in Special Education and my Education Specialist teaching credential. YAY ME!!! It was a struggle, but it’s done. Next step is Ph.D when Phillise graduates from high school in 8 years!

Lastly, I’ve been blogging for 6 years now! I can’t believe it. The time has simply flown by. I sometimes look back on my posts and see how far I’ve come. Lately, I’ve been a little discouraged. I’ve gotten better though. I was only looking at the negative and not the positive. I’ve been meditating and reading Iyanla & keeping my thoughts positive. I just might make it. I’M GOING TO MAKE IT!!!

I am the little engine that could. I’ve progress from I think I can to I know I can and will!

Thank you for being there Dear Readers. Here’s some pictures of me on my special day today!

Self-portraits @ 42, almost 43 years old!

photo(16)      photo(13)

My husband and my four children relaxing after graduation!

photo(12)

I Just Exhaled!


Dear Readers,

When I say that I waited to the last minute, I mean that I waited until the last minute. I just submitted my literature review that was due by midnight. It was three years in the making. I’ll tell you all about it, but not now. I am exhausted! I have seriously been working all weekend. I started yesterday morning at 8:30 and finished at about 1:30 a.m. Today, I started at about 7 a.m. and just finished. But, that’s what happens when you wait ’til the last minute. I have seriously learned my lesson. Now, I have to bite my nails to wait and see if I pass. I’ll keep you updated. Bye for now!

Too Successful???


***Warning- This post is a little wordy!***

Dear Readers,

I find myself with quite an unusual situation of being too successful! Is there such a thing? Apparently there is. Let me explain.

Yesterday I was the representative of my school for Coaster’s initial I.E.P. It was relatively small. It consisted of the Assistant Principal (who’s in charge of Special Education-A.P.E.I.S. or A.P. for short), the school psychologist, the RSP teacher, Coaster’s mom, and I. It was held in the A.P.’s office; really small and cozy. Very nice, not intimidating at all. Not only that, but the school goes to the 6th grade, which would give Coaster an additional year in elementary school. The only thing I disagreed with was the psychologist’s use of jargon that was not explained to Coaster’s mom. Other than that the meeting went very smoothly.

The reason I say that I was too successful is because Coaster qualified for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) instead of Autism (Aut). I asked the school psychologist about it and she said that she wanted to observe him more because she didn’t see as many of the behaviors usually prevalent with children with autism.

I was thinking, “Boy, she should have seen him last year before I started working with him!”

Coaster’s mom told them that Coaster is a different person thanks to me. After I detailed the various behavior modification techniques I used with Coaster, the School Psychologist said she now understood why she didn’t see some of the behaviors she was expecting.

I was happy on one hand, but not so happy on the other. On one hand I am happy for Coaster that his behavior has improved so much, to the point of his behaviors upgrading from severe to moderately low; which means a better of quality for life for him. On the other hand I am unhappy because it was my hope that Coaster’s offer of a Free & Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.) would be placement in a class specifically for students with Autism. However, his offer of F.A.P.E. was an hour of Resource class 1-2/week.

I then asked if the offer of a Special Day Class/Program (SDC/P) was even an option because the 6th grade class size is 30 students. There is no way that Coaster will be able to cope with 30 students. He would positively have a meltdown on the first day of school. The AP said that the F.A.P.E. offer would was his Least Restrictive Environment (L.R.E.) and that he needed to be placed in his L.R.E. first. She was correct, but I am still worried about his mental well-being should his mom choose to put him in that school next year.

FINAL OUTCOME: His mom, as I expected, rejected the F.A.P.E. offer because she didn’t want him to leave our school. I understand that. He does NOT adapt to change well. So, he will finish out the remainder of the school year at our school and hopefully be placed in his school of residence next year. Even though his mother rejected the F.A.P.E. offer that was offered to her, some services were offered. The services offered will be in the form of 12 hours of training for me to learn more strategies to deal with Coaster. It wasn’t the best case scenario but at least his mother now has a clearer picture of his disability.

Although I am really sad that he will be leaving at the end of the school year, it is for the best. It really makes me wonder how many students with disabilities drop out of high school because of the low chances for success. I know the number is high. Too high!

Although I can’t save them all, it is my desire to work on those students one at a time! Imagine if more and more people did that? Everyone can contribute just a little. Bye for now Dear Readers!

Half Full? or Half Empty? (or All About the Solutions!!!)


To quote Adrian Monk, “It’s a gift and a curse!”

Is the glass half full or is it half empty? It all depends on how you look at it. I’ve always had the ability to identify problems. This can be seen as a negative or a positive. In my life, it’s mostly been a negative. However, in the classroom, it’s definitely a positive. I can spend 5-10 minutes with a child and be able to tell you so much about them. People wonder how I’m able to do that! Well, it’s amazingly simple- Just listen! Children are amazingly self-aware. If you ask them, 9/10 times they will tell you what you want to know.

Since I’m tired, I will not write a long drawn out post. I will simply wind this up. Being able to identify problems is a good skill to have, but it’s only half the battle. Now, since I’m the Inclusion Specialist at my school, I’m the one responsible for finding solutions. Believe me when I say that I’ve been working overtime doing just that. I’m all about the solutions.

Now, in addition to finding problems, I’ve found that I also have the ability for finding solutions. It’s funny what you learn about yourself when you’re under pressure or you have to do what you have to do. One other problem I have the answer to is…Sleep! I’m on my way to bed! Goodnight!

Addressing Drama! Part 3


Dear Readers,

The girls, save one, have returned their permission slips and have begun seeing the Art Therapist. Since I got mad at them the week before last about all of their drama, they have been solving more of their own problems. Thank God for that because they were really stressing me out. Little girls can be sooooooooooooooooooooooooo catty. Whew! Here’s hoping for less girls and more boys next year!

A Genesis to Revelation Explanation!


That’s a funny title. You may even be curious as to what it is. Well, what is a Genesis to Revelation explanation? Glad you asked, now I can tell you. My brother-in-law, who’s a pastor, is (let’s say) very thorough. Don’t ask him a question if you don’t want to get an answer that’s at least 20 minutes long. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, you go ahead and ask him and you’ll see what I mean. If you ask him a question about the book of Revelations, he will tell you that, in order to fully understand his answer, he has to take you back to the book of Genesis. Just in case you don’t know what those books are, Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and Revelations is the last book.

I said all that to explain what a Genesis to Revelation explanation is. It’s when you ask someone a question, expecting a simple answer, and they want to give you a very long and complicated history lesson.

*WARNING!* DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THE BLOG HUB.COM


I was recently alerted that my blog appears, in its entirety, @ thebloghub.com. I couldn’t believe it. I checked it out & simply could not believe it. Not only did I never give them permission to use my post (and make money from it), but I contacted them to take the site down. Do you think they did it??? Well, do you??? The answer is a big fat resounding no. I would like to know if anyone knows of any way to sue them or at the very least, get them to take it down. This is very frustrating. I have never made one thin dime from this blog that I have worked tirelessly on for over 3 long years. This is my baby! How dare they STEAL my intellectual property!

Before writing this post, I visited the site & it has changed. It’s not an exact copy of my site like it was this morning, but it has the exact same content with my name. I am so mad I could just spit.

***AGAIN, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT SIGN UP FOR BLOG HUB.COM. THEY WILL STEAL YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & MAKE MONEY FROM IT.***

IF ANYONE CAN HELP ME, PLEASE CONTACT ME @ specialedandme@gmail.com

But God…


Taken directly from divazonemagazine.com
BUT GOD
If we were to ever be totally honest with ourselves, we would be quick to acknowledge that over the course of our lives, we have done some things, been some places and said some things that we wish we could take back and that if it weren’t for God, we’d wonder how we ever made it.  These are our, But God! experiences.

Then there are the times when you wonder how your bills will get paid when your money is already spent well before payday; But God!

Times when your children won’t listen or do right; But God!

Times when you walk into your job only to find a pink slip with your name on it; But God!

Times when you go for a simple check-up only to learn that cancer has invaded your body; But God!

Times when you do all you can to be the perfect spouse or partner, yet to them, the grass always seems greener on the other side; But God!

Times when you work your fingers to the bone for ministry’s sake, and all you ever hear are complaints; But God!

Times when family and friends scandalize your name and call you everything except a child of God; But God!

Times when you just want to throw up both hands, turn and walk away; times when life seems unbearable and too much to face; But God!

Times when our rent or house payment are due and eviction/foreclosure is around the corner; But God!

It is in all these times when it is no one But God!, who reaches down from Heaven, picks us up out of our messes and places us on a road called straight.

It is no one But God!, who wipes every tear away, heals our bodies, protects our children, balances our finances, covers our marriages and relationships, strengthens us in ministry and keeps shelter over our heads.

Whenever we begin to feel down in the dumps, simply say, But God!

Donna Tucker is an ordained minister of the gospel and the founder/visionary of Café Connection for Women & Girls.  Café Connection focuses on establishing divine connections, locally, regionally & internationally, among women and girls who believe in the power of open and honest dialogue within an intimate and comfortable setting, on a consistent basis, created to bring forth inner peace, emotional healing and spiritual growth.  Café Connection simply opens the door for conversation of inner beauty and self-appreciation to begin.  For more information, speaking engagements, workshops or to start a Café, visit www.cafeconnectionforwomen.com or call 804-516-4429.

Yesterday’s Los Angeles Black Book Expo


Yesterday’s LABBX was fantastic. I made a couple of connections. I met author L.A. Banks, author of The Vampire Huntress Legends series.

Most notable was meeting E.P. McKnight, actress & author of Words ‘n’ Action- Inspiration for the Human Spirit for valley moments in life. Her book was so powerful. I was low on funds, so I had no intention on buying it. I’d just planned to browse. So, I picked it up, just to browse through it. I opened right to her poem entitled, The Examination. I read the first two lines and started tearing up.

“What is going on here?” I thought to myself. This is so unlike me. I don’t like crying in public. So, I laid the book down and wiped my tears away.

“Let’s try this again,” I said. So, I opened the book and started tearing up again.

“Are you serious,” asked the author.

Yes, I am. This poem is beautiful. I can’t believe it touched me so deeply. This is not like me to cry in public. I’m so embarrassed.

“It’s okay,” she said. Let me give you a hug. So, she came around to give me  hug. By this time, I’m tearing up so bad that I’m very nearly crying. I asked her how much the book was, I paid her and left.

She gave me her contact information and asked me if there was anything she could do for me. Even though it was a little embarrassing, it was a great experience. I am so happy to have met her and bought her book.

Getting Ready For My Party!


I am getting ready for my big Valentine’s Day/Anniversary party tomorrow. I rented the tables earlier. They will be delivered shortly. I have this little theme going on- my colors are red, black, or pink. So, there will be one red table, one pink table, and one black table, with the chairs and the chair covers with bows. To complement the tables, I got a dozen balloons- 4 red, 4 pink, and 4 black. I am so excited. I am decorating the house right now. I have red and pink bulbs that I am going to hang from the ceiling in my dining room, as well as various heart decorations.

I purchased decorated take-out containers from Michael’s that I’ve filled with various chocolates for the chocoholics. I have chocolate covered fortune cookies, love coupons, and love lotto lottery tickets.
I also purchased some candy in a cute little bottle labeled Love Potion that I will include with the various naughty gifts I’ve bought. I am so looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll post pictures on Sunday. Bye!

Boy, What A Long Day!


Have you ever answered the phone and wished that you wouldn’t have? Well, yesterday I had one of those phone calls. It’s a long story, so let me just begin now. Yesterday was a long day. Wednesdays always are. That’s the day I go straight from work to school until 9:45.

I’d had a good day at work and a great day at school. But, because it was such a long day, I was still tired when I got home. Usually when I come home, I get right into bed. Last night, for some reason, I just could not unwind and go to sleep no matter how much I tried. So, I just lay in the bed and tried to relax. I look at the clock and notice that it’s about 11:15. Suddenly my phone rings. An unknown number flashes on my cell phone screen.

I figure if someone is calling at 11:15 p.m. either it’s someone who needs my help or a wrong number. So I take a chance and answer it. Big mistake. Big, big mistake. Who should it be but my perpetually-in-need cousin, Shawn. She tells me that she needs a ride to the hospital because her daughter has had an asthma attack. Okay, I sound mean here, but it’s not like that. It was after 11 p.m., I’d been on my feet all day, and had been in school for over five hours. It’s not like I didn’t care. I was just tired. Not to mention that on top of that I still had to get up for work.

I grudgingly took her even though I didn’t want to. I’m almost to the hospital when I notice that my van is pulling to the right. I need a wheel alignment, but I know that something else is wrong, so I start positioning myself to get off the freeway. As I was doing that, I hear a pop. Yep, you guessed it, a flat tire. Thank God I was near an exit and there was light traffic or I don’t know what would have happened.

By the time I get off the freeway, I am rolling on nothing but rim. I immediately pull over, stop the car, and inspect the damage. The tire is shredded. The only thing that I’m thinking is how grateful I am that I wasn’t my usual leadfoot self, and that I was near an exit.

I am so glad that I had my oldest son Sam with me. He changed the tire as I thought about what could have happened. So many things ran through my head. I had to shut them off and just think about how blessed I was that nothing did happen.

With negative thoughts out of my head and sleep on my mind, I sleepily dropped of my cousin and her daughter and headed home. By the time my head hit the pillow it was 1:45 a.m.

Boy, what a long day!

I Nailed It!!!


I had a presentation yesterday in my second class @ B.N.U. I nailed it. My assignment was to analyze the California Department of Education website. I had to summarize the website, detail any relevant websites,  and lastly give my opinion of it.

I perused the website for hours, got the necessary information and took it from there. From the information that I gathered, I was able to do a 20-minute presentation without looking at my notes. I didn’t do it by myself though, I had two partners. One made the Powerpoint, the other one made a really nice, double-sided, tri-fold handout.

My professor thought the presentation was very thorough. I also got compliments from others in the class. I did a pretty good job. Another way that I know the presentation was good is because I overheard someone in my class say that we couldn’t have possibly organized that presentation in two weeks. I was pretty happy with it.

In the immortal words of Hannibal from the A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together.

What Language Do You speak? or (Can You Spare A Square?)


** WARNING- This post is kinda’ long**

Let me begin by saying that because of budget cuts, the district will no longer be paying for hotels for teachers’ training. Nor will they be providing lunch. They provide a continental breakfast (fruit, coffee, juice, croissants, and muffins) to get you there. After that, you are on your own. I know that we’re adults and we shouldn’t expect to be fed breakfast and lunch, but we have gotten accustomed to the star treatment. Now, it’s taken away? That’s why most of the teachers in the training were so uncomfortable. We were in a cafeteria on the benches that are reserved for elementary school students. Factor in no air conditioning and crowding, then you have the making of a bunch of grouchy, irritable people.

As I was thinking about how to put exactly what I was feeling into words, two of my favorite shows came to mind: Star Trek: The Next Generation & Seinfeld, because the situations were so similar. While these two don’t seem to have a lot in common, bear with me. As usual, I will bring it around.

In one of my favorite sci-fi shows, Star Trek:TNG, we viewers are allowed to hear a conversation between the Captain and his adviser regarding his upcoming meeting with an alien race. The adviser tells him to insult the aliens first, before beginning any type of negotiations.

Basically the conversation between the two goes like this: “Are you sure that’s the right thing to do?” asks Captain Picard.

“Of course,” replies his adviser. “That’s their culture, and in order to garner any type of respect from them, you have to open with an insult.”

“Okay,” replies the captain, “as you wish”.

My situation also reminded of an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is stuck in a restroom stall that has run out of tissue. She politely asks the woman next to her if she can spare some tissue.

“No,” comes the reply, “I sure can’t”.

“Not any? Can you just give me a couple squares? Can you spare a square?” asks Elaine.

“No. Sorry!”

Well, Elaine got her back, but good. A couple of days later, Read More »

7 Things About Me


  1. I believe in keeping things short and sweet. Useless talk irritates me. I believe in getting straight to the point.
  2. I am in a state of flux.
  3. I want to know???.
  4. I am scared of starting teaching again.
  5. I sometimes seriously doubt myself.
  6. I am such a geek.
  7. I am learning how to draw.

The Fancy Nancy Thing Is Over…


Whew…it’s finally over; the Fancy Nancy party that is. I had been planning it for months. I still feel like there is more I could have done. I always feel like this, especially when I’m throwing a party. This wasn’t a birthday party though, it was a FANCY party.

This is what I did:

We decorated wands, cupcakes, and paper. Lastly, they played dress-up and took a ton of pictures. It was great. I was so tired I feel asleep in the chair while sitting up.

They had fun, but thank goodness it’s over!

Summer Reading w/Barnes & Noble


While on one of my trips to Barnes & Noble, I picked up some flyers for their Summer Reading with Andrew Clements. It’s called “Imagine If You Called It A Frindle.” It’s based on the best selling book, Frindle, by Andrew Clements.

For reading eight books of their own choosing, children are given a coupon and allowed to choose a FREE book from a special list. To get the coupon for the free book, children need only bring their signed, completed Reading Journal to a Barnes & Noble bookstore between May 29th and September 2nd.

There is a limit of one for per school-age child (grades 1-6). If you would like to know more about this, go to: www.bn.com/summerreading.com

Tuesday’s Puppet Show


Tuesday was pretty nice. We went to the puppet show @ the local library, we checked out books, came home and did our Guys Read book club thing.

I was pleasantly pleased with one of my members. She went to the restroom and came back with an armload full of books. She presented me with a book that was actually a very good find. It’s called How To Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell.

It is an excellent book. I was thinking about writing about like this, but my book would not have been anywhere near as thorough as this one. Esme, the author, really knows her stuff. I would definitely call her an expert. Her knowledge on children’s book is astounding.

We had a good time. When I figure out how to put the pix on here, I will do so.

Bye for now!

A Hectic Saturday!


I had such a hectic & crazy Saturday. It took me awhile to calm down. The day started off normally enough. However, by 4:00, I was in tears.

Why?

Well, my husband and I went to a hazardous waste disposal site. Our plans after that was to go to one of my sister’s house for a little scrapbooking. So, I put my miniature die-cutting machine in the trunk along with the hazardous waste we wanted to dispose of.

Why, oh why, didn’t I think to make sure the people didn’t take my die-cutting machine, I don’t know; but I didn’t. So, long story short, my die-cutting machine was taken out of the trunk and disposed of. And if you’re wondering if I cried, the answer would be yes. Of course I did. I am such a big fat crybaby!

I was so upset. I didn’t even want to go to my sister’s house. I still went, and surprisingly enjoyed myself. I still wish that I could have a do over though regarding my machine.

Oh, well!

Yep, Really Smart!


This is a guess how smart I am. Well, what are you waiting for? Go ahead! Guess!

The punchline: I am so smart that I submitted the wrong lesson plan to Livetext (an online portfolio). As a result I ended up getting only half credit. So I got a B- instead of an A when I did the work.

What? Not laughing? No, I wasn’t either. I really felt like crying. However, there is a good side to this. I am able to see the silver lining, so here it goes: I passed with an 81%. Had it been 2% less, I would have had to take the class over. So, that’s definitely a good thing that I don’t have to take the class over.
Even though I know this, I still had to calm myself down because I was at work when I saw my grade. I will keep telling myself that there’s a reason.
Once I think about it, ya’ know what? In the grand scheme of things, I will survive. A grade of B- is still passing, so I will be okay.

I didn’t think I would make it through the semester. I thought I was going to have to withdraw, take an emergency leave of absence, and/or have a nervous breakdown. But I didn’t.

I made it through and so will you.

Happy 1st Year Anniversary! (My Acceptance Speech)


I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I can’t believe I won. I don’t have anything prepared (I say as I whip out an acceptance speech). Okay, snap back to reality. Snap back to my 1year anniversary of blogging.

Happy Anniversary to me. It’s been a year. I am so glad that I started this blog. It has been such a fantastic outlet for me to vent my frustrations, and to share my success as well as my failures. I can see how I’ve grown over this past year. When I read back on my posts, I can’t believe that some of that stuff happened.

In the immortal words of Will Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby from “Talladega Nights“, Can you believe that happened to you?

The answer is no I cannot. Some of the things that I’ve conquered and suffered through over this past year have been traumatic, eye-opening, humbling, jarring, you-name-it. I am so happy that I have a record of what I’ve been going through. I wish that I’d known about this thing called a blog sooner.

So, what am I going to do for this anniversary of mine? I think I’ll do what I do best- write about it like I’m doing now. I would also like to send some shout-outs to some people. Like to hear about it, here it goes:

First and foremost, I would like to thank my husband, Phillip, who, along with The Fashionista encouraged me to do what I loved doing- writing and talking. I would also like to thank all the people who have been loyal readers, as well as the those who have been fair weather readers. I want to thank those of you who stopped reading when I stopped having the passion that I had in the beginning. Thank you for opening my eyes. Last but not least, I would like to thank you for reading this right now.

Here’s to many more years of writing/running my big mouth, venting, expressing my feelings, connecting readers to useful information, and just rambling. Cheers!

Until next time people! Hasta la bye-bye!

Guess How Smart I Am?


I haven’t said this in a long time, so let me say it now. I am the Blogmeister. As with anything, I know that this should not warrant a post, but as I said, I am the Blogmeister. Well, here’s the story, me & my good friend Traci have this saying.
I’ll call her and say, “Girl, guess how smart I am?”
“How smart are you,” she’ll say.
I am so smart that…

Well, this is the latest “Guess how smart I am?”…

This happened two weeks ago. One of my students came to me and told me that one of my other students was about to pull the fire alarm because it was open. Me, being the smart person that I am, decided that I would fix it. So, I pushed it up, and what do you think happened?
If you guessed that the fire alarm went off, then you are correct!
I very smartly pulled the fire alarm.
The principal was miffed with me. I could definitely understand it. I mean, I shouldn’t have touched it, but I didn’t want one of my students to pull the alarm because every little thing they do is under scrutiny.
I don’t regret doing this because it saved one of my students from doing it. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would call the plant manager to come and fix it.
Anyway, that is my guess how smart I am for the week. I’m sure there will be many more.

Special Education Meeting


Taken directly from L.A.U.S.D. website

Special Education Initiative: An informational meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, December 3rd for those considering a career in the field of Special Education in the Beaudry Bldg (333 S. Beaudry Ave, L.A., CA 90007). Topics will include the employment process, special education credentialing opportunities, as well as teaching special education in the District. Individuals with related experiences and a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of special education students are invited to register for the meeting by contacting Doreen Mendoza at doreen.mendoza@lausd.net or Sherry Uribe at sherry.uribe@lausd.net

Qualities Of A Marine!


These are some of the qualities that we came up with that Marines have. Here they are in no particular order:

  • They have good character.
  • They are strong (mentally).
  • They are disciplined.
  • They finish what they start.
  • They don’t leave anyone behind.They are part of a team and they love it.
  • They are the “best of the best”. They do their best.
  • They are winners.
  • They protect you. This is part of not making fun of others.

We just started all of this on Friday. I will talk to them on Monday about why these are important characteristics to have, not just for my class, but for life.

I spoke with a Marine who has been a Gunnery Sergeant for 12 years. I asked him to come and speak to my class since that is our class name. He agreed to do that when he has time.

We are the Room 33 Marines. Hu-Rah!