Tag Archives: Funny

This post puts a humorous spin on the topic.

Five Minute Friday

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writing
A writer was created within me when I was very young. I was told by a teacher to “share my story, put it on paper” and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I’m not a “good writer.” I can’t spell to save my life and grammar was never my thing. I constantly feel a need to defend my intelligence due to a lack of these skills and often get embarrassed by my stupid, careless mistakes. Never the less, I am a writer.

There’s something freeing about putting my thoughts on paper. Maybe it’s the therapy I need, or just the fact that it makes me feel like someone’s listening. I can’t explain why I choose to spend time writing a blog or in my journal instead of watching TV, reading a book or sometime even interacting with the people around me, but the fact is, I just do… That’s part of who I am.

The point of putting this on my educational blog, instead of in my journal, is that teachers can create writers. They can create in a student whatever they want. Early in my educational career a teacher encouraged me to write, and it’s something that has stayed with me. It’s a great reminder to me of the impact you, as a teacher, have on the lives of the children in your classroom.

My five minutes is almost up, so I’ll wrap-up with this, encourage your students. Tell them to write, read, explain, challenge and question everything around them. These skills carry through life. You can create stronger students, even writers.

This post was written in response to Lisa Jo Baker’s writing prompt “writer” for “Five Minute Friday.” You can check out Lisa Jo’s blog and all the other 5 minute Friday submissions here.

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Causion-We are sometimes our own worst enemy.

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enemy Recently I experienced what I would consider to be a very embarrassing moment. Like all very embarrassing moments it led me to think about how we work with students. Let me set the scene. I work as an educational consultant and as such I periodically put on workshops for teachers. Now, there are many things I am not good at, we’ll look at one such thing in a moment, but public speaking is something I feel is a strength. So when I hold a workshop it generally goes well, participants are happy and I feel successful. Well, not this time.

I was conducting a workshop on differentiated instruction, one that I didn’t plan under normal circumstances. The workshop started off great. Then, during the first group break one of the participants pointed out to me that there were some misspelled words in my PowerPoint. I was HORRIFIED. I’m speaking to a room full of teachers and I’ve misspelled caution. (I spelled it causion-and honestly thought it was right. Don’t judge!). Now to make matters worse there are several other errors in slides to come. (These were just missed errors; caution is the only one I legitimately didn’t know was wrong). Ok, so I’m a horrible speller and grammar is not my thing (odd that I write a blog, right?) If you’ve read very many posts on this Blog it’s obvious I do my own editing.

It doesn’t bother me that I struggle with spelling. FYI- there is not a link between spelling ability and overall intelligence. But once I notice all these errors all I could think was “every teacher in this room thinks I’m an idiot”. No one said that of course, and I turned it into a joke and went on with the presentation. But something just didn’t sit right with me. MY opinion of how people saw me outweighed what was going on. Even though I had several people tell me this wasn’t a big deal, it totally dampened the rest of my day.

You may be wondering, “what does your spelling disability and insecurities have to do with teaching students”. Well here’s how it connected for me. How many times have you had a student say, “Mrs. Whoever hates me” or “Mr. Soandso thinks I’m stupid”? No matter how many times you tell them they are wrong it doesn’t change that student’s perception of what someone else thinks.

The point is sometimes we are our own worst critic. What we perceive other people think about us is linked back to how we feel about ourselves in that moment; this is why no one can change that opinion except you. So connecting this to students; teachers need to spend time getting to know and making a connection to their students so that later in the year if they are struggling they will trust you for help and not have a preconception of what you think of them. Below are some links and ideas for icebreakers and ways to get to know your students.

Remember, we all have strengths and weakness. It’s not about what we can’t do, but what we can overcome.

*Note-causion was misspelled in the title on purpose haha.

Learning Style Inventories
http://www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/LSI/LSI.htm
http://sunburst.usd.edu/~bwjames/tut/learning-style/stylest.html

Student Interest Survey
http://www.union.k12.sc.us/ems/Teachers-Forms–Student%20Interest%20Survey.htm
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=475167#anchor
Interest Inventory
student_survey

Who says teachers don’t know how to ROCK?

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500 teachers, paraprofessionals, therapist, counselors administrators and parents attended the 15th annual Academy for Teachers of Young Children, July 10th-12th. This year’s academy was hosted by Region 15 ESC in San Angelo, TX. For two days participants had access to more than 30 different breakout sessions covering a variety of topics that support the development of young children.

It kicked off Wednesday with keynote presentations by Dr. Pam Shiller, who discussed social emotional development and school readiness; and Elizabeth Montero-Cefalo, who discussed conscious discipline and how the brain develops.

While the academy is geared for age’s birth to 5, much of the information was applicable to students of all ages. Attendees reported that the sessions were informative and fun. Presenters focused on supplying teachers with new ideas as well as inspiring and praising them for their work with children.

The conference wrapped up Friday with the last keynote speaker Nina Rodriguez.Drumming with Nina Her amazing presentations used music and rhythm to captivate and inspire. The diverse population of participates drummed in harmony, sang and danced. Even the most skeptical (that would be me) got involved and enjoyed the high energy, very engaging presentation.

NOTE: I wanted to post HILARIOUS video footage of teachers “getting down”, but I couldn’t get it to upload. So imagine 500 educations doing the Cumbia like it’s Saturday night at the club and you’ll get the idea 🙂

Special Ed-The equivalent of acronym Hell!

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screaming

There are so many things about Special Education that are tricky or hard to decipher. Laws that don’t always make sense, rules that only apply under certain circumstances and to make it worse, Special Educators often speak in their own language.

Have you ever heard one Special Ed teacher say to another, “I need to finish the FBA as part of the FIE. Then I can work on the BIP and PLAAFP. The student will qualify as LD and OHI. I’ll work on draft IEPs before the ARD”.

WHAT? It’s the equivalent of acronym hell! The link below will take you to a document that lists some of the most common acronyms and what they mean. I hope this helps you to have a better understanding of Special Ed and the crazy language we speak.

Special Ed acronyms

The Monday Blues :(

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kids-funThe weekend is over and it’s time to get back to work.  It’s a bummer for everyone.  When you walk into school on Monday remember you aren’t the only one who wants the weekend to continue.  You set the tone; so put on your happy face, smile and greet your students.  Make them feel welcomed.  Give them a minute to tell you about their weekend.  This is a great chance to make a connection.  Here are some ideas for fun Monday morning activities.

Check out Jumpstart.com for fun activities at every level.

Check out ClassroomConfection for fun, free printables.

Check out objectiveanalyst.com for word games, puzzles and more.

Check out ESLkids for fun games and activities, great for low language kids!

And as always you can turn to Pinterest, twitter or facebook for good ideas.  Just take a minute to have some fun.  It can still be educational, but a minute or two to be a kid will help relieve stress for you and your students.  Start the week off right!

 

Potty Training and PBIS

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PBIS or Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, is a concept that is showing up in schools across Texas.   According to Dr. Rob Horner of the University of Oregon Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (www.uoecs.org), The purpose of PBIS is to “make schools more effective learning environments for students”.

It is not a curriculum, but an adjustment in the social culture of the campus or district that leads to a positive learning environment.

Ok so that may sound complicated, but in fact the concept is simple and can be explained by using a potty training analogy.  (Yes that says potty training.  I spent part of my summer potty training a two-year old, which led me to recognize the similarities.)

As a new parent I wasn’t sure where to start with the big potty training challenge.  So I did some research.  Everything said to start by talking it up, then offer a reward and stick to it.  So I spent time talking up how great it is to be a “big boy”.  We went and bought a special potty and cool underwear.  I demonstrated the process over and over again.  Then the big day came and with great anticipation I put my child in training underwear and we starting POTTY TRAINING.  Then, my not-quite-two year old,  proceeded to pee all over my house for the next two days.  I just knew I had started to soon and this wasn’t going to stick.  But being a hard-headed person (and not wanting to admit I was a potty training failure) I continue working on the training, rewarding anything that resembled success and staying calm during the set backs. (Well, I stayed calm around my kid.  Secretly I was on the phone with my mom constantly discussing why he wouldn’t pee in the potty).  Just when I started to feel like I could not take another puddle in my floor, he started to get the hang of it.  Now that doesn’t mean he’s perfect.  He still has accidents, but overall his learned the concept.

This isn’t a parenting blog; so let me tie this to PBIS.  This is my comparison based on how I understand PBIS and it’s watered down version.  Basically I want to cover the overall concept, not specifics.  Just like to prep and teach the skill of toileting, you have to prep and teach the skills that go with good behavior.  You don’t just put on underwear and tell a kid to use the toilet, right?

Set up universal rules throughout the campus or district and teach them to the kids.  What does respect look like in the class, in the lunchroom and in the hall.  Demonstrate what you want them to do and let them practice.  Just like with potty training it takes some time for students to learn the rules and expectations. (These need to be universal throughout the school)  Different web site claim you need to teach rules through direct teaching and practice for anywhere from a week to three weeks at the beginning of the school year.  It may take longer the first year you start this and with younger students.   The time line may vary, but the hard fact is you MUST DIRECTLY teach what you want the kid to do.  Don’t be ambiguous, show them how to raise their hand, walk down the hall and line up to go to recess.  The key with PBIS is that the same rules and language are used school wide!

With potty training I found that an incentive, like M&M’s, was successful.  Students need the same thing in school.  After all teachers receive an incentive, a paycheck.  So set up a universal reward system for good behavior.  The idea, like with potty training, is that you want to get them to do the right thing before you have to clean up a “mess”.  Think of an office referral as being the equivalent of your toddler pooping in the middle of your living room.  Both are messes that take up your time.   With both if you don’t address the problem you will end up with a bigger mess in the end.  It case that was hard to follow, if you try to ignore bad behavior your classroom will stink as bad as the living room with poop in it.

So, in both cases you would rather reward the good then have to clean up the bad.  The idea according to Horner is that in most schools about 80% of student will follow the rules without an incentive, 15% are on the fence and 5% will spend considerable time in the office.  (The saying for administrator goes “5% of the population will take up 95% of your time”) With PBIS in place that middle 15% will be more likely to join the 80% who follow the rules.

Now PBIS as a whole is an environment change made though the teaching of rules and offering incentives to follow the rules.  But it is designed as a three-tiered model. Tier 1 being the teaching of school wide rules and positive behavior reward. There may also be a school wide program like CHAMPS used.   Tier 2 may include interventions like check in/check out, peer groups and social skills training.  This would only be for students who did not make progress after Tier 1 was implemented.  The 15% who still didn’t follow the rules. Tier 3 may include things like one-on-one counseling and community based wrap around services.  This would be some within that top 5%.  But these are ideas that will be discussed in other posts.

PBIS is an environment change that is universal and includes teaching and modeling rules, providing incentives for good behavior and support for students who don’t catch on right a way.  Good behavior is a skill, just like using the toilet.  It isn’t always fun to teach, and there are usually some messes, but once students catch on it will affect their lives forever.

NOTE: ok I can see how this analogy may make more sense to me because I’ve recently been potty training.  But I hope it got you to start thinking about PBIS and behavior supports.  Look for future post on incentive and Tiers 2&3.