Tuesday, May 31, 2011

flying circles

A small little project was needed to go with students' biographies. I found this display circle mobile in a report book and decided to give it a whirl. Students were required to read two other students biographies. After reading each essay they wrote a five sentence summary and drew a picture of that person. Some of their pictures are interesting...there is a pink Dr. Seuss and an African American Abraham Lincoln. The display circles turned out better than I thought and they add some life to the classrooms ceiling. I often catch students head raised to the ceiling gazing at the flying circles.
 One student commented that the circles reminded him of being back in kindergarten with student work hanging from the ceiling.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bee Week

Bzz Bzz Bzz
Can you hear it
preliminaries Wednesday @ 8 ESPN III
semifinals Thursday @ 10 a.m  ESPN
finals Thursday @ 8:30 p.m ESPN

If you are in the D.C area you can attend the finals for $40

Here are some fun facts about this years bee

There are 275 spellers from the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe. Other countries that will be represented are: Canada, Bahamas, China, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

There is an 8 year old who is competing this year from Virginia

The ages of this year’s spellers range from 8 to 15

49.8% are girls and 50.2% are boys

The speller’s favorite subject is math

Twenty four spellers have at least one relative who has competed in previous national finals

The spellers favorite words include

//I cannot say or spell any of those words\\

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How many licks...

Ruth tried to answer the age old question
How many licks to the middle of a Tootsie Roll
Unfortunately, she lost interest before she reached the middle

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The R-word

I love Lauren Potter a.k.a Becky from GLEE!
I do not love the R-word

Monday, May 23, 2011

Teacher with a disability?

Over the past week I have revealed to some students that I have a disability
All of the students have had the same reaction

How can you have a disability
You're lying
Teachers can't have a disability
But you're smart
So you're saying that you were in the same classes as we are in
I want proof

I find their reaction interesting and sad. They identify having a disability as having no hope, that they will never be able to escape the "disability bubble"

 They are on the island of misfit toys

What they fail to realize is that just because you have a disability does not mean you have no ability at all. They have been going through school thinking that their label is negative and something that will never be overcome.

One student claimed that he is looking forward to graduating high school so he will not be identified as being different and have to be in "those classrooms"

I feel that people in general have a twisted outlook on disabilities and shy away from ESE classrooms. I believe when students with disabilities are held to high realistic expectations they will break people perception of what a disability is. Unfortunately, education likes to keep students with disabilities in their bubble

When I find a needle big enough I am going to pop that bubble

Alarm Chirping

Today is Monday
Car alarms were sounding and birds were chirping all last night
I am running on a few hours of sleep
I do not function well with little sleep

This is my day

We are closing off the year by completing biographies on various famous people
Everyone from Tyler Perry to Mother Teresa

Students have been researching information on their person via books and the Internet. I find students take on research interesting. They would rather hop on the web and search than pick up a book that is entirely on their person to find information. Unfortunately, they expect information to jump out at them when they are surfing the web or even looking//not reading\\ a book.

 The problem I am finding is that research is time consuming and they would rather have the information given to them than find it themselves. I have had countless students come up to me and say "they don't tell me when Maya Angelou was born" as they are holding a book about Maya Angelou. I take the book and within a minute have found Maya's birth date
mind blowing
I of course tell the student that the author must have used some magical ink that information suddenly appears when a teacher is holding the book
They do not find my sarcasm amusing

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

IEP of the year

Today I had an IEP
I know this may sound odd, but I actually look forward to this IEP all year.
I know sad

The fact is most IEPs are very draining and the reality of what students with disabilities face everyday weighs very heavily on me. Fortunately, for me today was a marvelous IEP. This student has everything heading in the right direction.

This student is

The general education teacher stated that songs of praise is never ending for this student and that is the truth

//Cherry on Top\\
Watching parents beam about their student's sucess
Love It

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Florida's Future

I recently received this email from student first that outlined changes in education that is soon to take place:

Dear Florida Member,

Thanks to your diligent efforts, next year Florida students will have a much greater chance at having a great teacher and attending a great school. Last week, following the transformative Student Success Law, Florida passed additional bills which will give parents the information and choices they deserve to ensure their child gets a great education.

Next year, Florida will be putting students first by:
  • Allowing the expansion and fair financing of high performing charter schools, creating more choices for the 37,000 students that were turned away last year.
  • Providing parents with information about the effectiveness of their school through a school rating system and giving parents the right to move their children out of failing schools and into high performing schools, even if that means changing districts.
  • Expanding the number of children with disabilities that will be able to attend private schools that can meet their needs, through the McKay Scholarship.
  • Implementing a fair and robust teacher evaluation system and rewarding the best teachers with salary increases.
  • Saving great teachers by ending seniority-based layoffs so that more students will have a great teacher.
  • Giving principals the tools to only hire effective teachers.
Congratulations Florida! Please take a minute to inspire our members in other states to work to follow Florida's lead.

Please tell us what this ground-breaking education reform means to you and to the students and teachers of Florida.

Thank you for your important role in putting students' interests first in Florida

The StudentsFirst Team

True story
 A parent called one day concerned thinking that their student would have to change to the Mckay school...I quickly explained what the Mckay scholarship was. I think most parents are unaware of this opportunity that their students have through the Mckay Scholarship...even though they receive multiple letters through the year about the Mckay scholarship!

Florida's school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provided over 20,500 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school during the 2008-09 school year. The McKay Scholarships Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of a special needs student who is dissatisfied with the student’s current school may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
"The school-choice issue is not about public versus private; it's about choice. It's about knowing what works well for my family and being able to make that choice for them." -- Parent of a McKay Scholarships Student

Also why are charter schools all of a sudden favored

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wild Magnets

Today's craft adventure consisted of re-creating a store bought glass magnet.

glass gems
scrap book paper
mod podge
//Store magnet on left\\//Home made magnet on right\\
Not too bad for a Sunday

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dachshund overload

Call me crazy, but there is a tiny part of me that would like to use Lisa Bensson designs in my home. I fear that instead of becoming a crazy cat lady I will be the dorky dog lady.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jumping up and down


FL writes scores came in today and my 8th graders rocked their essays! They proved that having a disability is not going to hold them back! I am still all jittery with excitement with how fantastic they did!! I pretty much made a fool of myself when I found out the scores this morning, but it was worth it!

Here is the break down
6 out of 17 students scored a 4 //which means they are writing on a 8th gr. level\\
9 out of 17 students scored a 3
2 out of 17 students scored a 2

I have never experienced such joy and excitement in revealing test scores before. I did not have my 8th graders today, but once word got out that FL writes scores were out they bee lined their little selves to my door where I held the scores. They were absolutely adorable and ecstatic when they found out how well they did.

I realize that some may not be impressed with their scores, but considering where they have come and how hard they have worked they did unbelievable! I remember at the beginning of the year they somehow managed to write a five paragraph essay in fifteen minutes//which terrified me\\ After reading their essays I knew we had a long difficult journey ahead of us. Fortunately, for me they are hard working dedicated students that came through. I thoroughly believe that if you have high realistic expectations they will reach //if not exceed\\ every goal.

I have already set the stage with my future 8th graders for next year. Expectations have been set and preparation has begun to make another fantastic group of writers for next year!


I am one happy teacher today!