Saturday, October 27, 2012

Honest conversations

I hold my tongue on a daily basis while I'm at school. There are countless things I wish I could say, but do not because...well there not school appropriate. Now what I want to say and what I actually say are pretty similar; just with a little niceness thrown in. I feel that educators have to be ever so careful with our words and have to tip toe around the truth. When if we just said what we wanted to say maybe things would get better. 

I took this approach with my 7th graders on Friday. The 7th graders are a mess. Full of drama and lack focus on what really matters. I have given countless pep talks and said a lot of nice things, but it was not working. 

So on Friday I got real with them. I had them think about their future, what they want to do and how are they going to do it. Then I pulled out my old IEPs, read some amusing teacher comments from my past regarding my behavior in school (apparently I was a hummer in class and roamed the classroom). I also discussed how school was unbearably hard and how I hated having a disability. School only became easier when I stopped complaining and got down to business. I worked hard and did not give up. Giving up would be easy, but would not provide me with the future I wanted for my life. 

I went on and told them if I was a student siting beside them I would be incredibly distracted by their behavior. Paying attention to the teacher or to the student who is twirling his pencil would take top priority in my life. 

They are the first class that I brought out my IEPs and discussed my disability with. I hope my honesty brought attention to what they are doing and how its not helping them reach their true potential. I guess time will tell if this worked with them. 

Parent conferences are these week
...that's all I'm sayin'...

Friday, October 26, 2012

An unexpected gift

Today I was given a gift from a student. All three grades that I teach work out of interactive notebooks. Last year I gave students the opportunity to leave their notebook at school or to take them home. 

One such 6th grader took his notebook home at the end of last year. I was secretly hoping that he would leave it at school because he did an amazing job with it. Well, today at the beginning of class he came up and presented me his notebook he kept over the summer. He thought I needed it as a reminder of all the lessons and activities we did last year. We flipped through the notebook and laughed at the poems he wrote last year. One poem was about me calling his mom because he was not behaving in class. Its safe to say that this student has come along way and is a joy to have in the classroom!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not a fan of...

Diploma option day for IEPs

 {For those that are unaware}
When a student will turn fourteen within the year of their annual IEP; the uncomfortable decision must be made about their diploma tract. There are two options: standard diploma or special diploma. Obviously you want to get a standard diploma. Unfortunately, a majority of my students get opted for a special diploma. Now with a special diploma your future is limited. Four year universities are out of the question, military is questionable, a majority of jobs as well as community colleges, trade schools and vocational training will accept this type of diploma. 

I guess it could be worse, but when you click on special diploma option 1 on a student's IEP and the parent is present a flood of emotions is bound to spill out.

Today was one of those meetings. A diploma option needed to be selected and when we clicked on special diploma option one, tears instantly fell down the parents face. My heart always aches as I hold back my own tears and put on a brave face for the parents and student in the room. I know that the diploma option can always change each year as the student progresses or as education laws and mandates change, but I always think that I could have a special diploma and my future would not be what it is now if  I was a student in today's schools. 

I want this shirt

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sometimes its nice to hear...

"Miss you know that your classroom is where I feel the most comfortable"
...melt my heart...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Clothes pin art

I like to display student work outside of the classroom. Typically, I just use painters tape and stick their work to the wall, but I was tired of going through all that tape just to eventually throw it away because lets face it...painters tape is a little pricey. I then came up with an idea that would use my glittery clothes pins to display students work.
I used command hooks, twine and the sparkly clothes pin to hang student's work. I only did two rows and then displayed the students work I liked best.
The work that is currently beign displayed are 8th grade "Where I am from" poem. This poem is version of the bio poem just more mature.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hello salted goodness

Today was teacher duty day and I was planning on bringing in these lovelies today, but the caramel had other plans. Lets just say that a meat thermometer does not work like a candy thermometer. Gave the caramel another shot today and everything turned out just as planned. So tomorrow these cupcakes will be at school for the adults to enjoy and the students to wish they had one. Happy beginning of quarter two!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Donors choose update

Since school has began I have received three lovely boxes full of resources for my classroom. Two of the three boxes were class sets of books (Flipped and Dolphin Tale) and one set of biographies to be used with a research project at the end of the year. 
I still have three projects that are live and waiting to be fully funded.
Barnes and Noble Nook color 
Civics/history resources to be used for research 
A revolving book stand
I highly doubt that the Nook project will be funded. Although the local Barnes and Noble reached out and asked how they could help...I thought this was very nice of them! I would much rather have the revolving book stand funded since I have boxes of books in cabinets that have no home. If the civics project does not get funded I will just re-open another once it expires. 
Donors Choose has been a life saver as far as bringing materials into my classroom. I am so great full that there are generous people out there willing to help teachers in their classroom. If you are a teacher create a project TODAY! Donors Choose makes the process very simple and will walk you through all the will not regret it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Passing Notes

Not a week goes by that I do not find a sweet little note from one of my students that they have left behind for me. Either on a post-it note or on a back of a test their sweet words make my job ten times easier. Unfortunately, I have no place to keep these notes and they eventually end up in the trash. So taking another great idea from pinterest I have created a keep safe box through the use of a shadow box.
hot glue gun