Saturday, October 19, 2013

Three letters

Being in ESE acronym jargon is thrown around weekly.

The sad thing with this jargon is that a student can loose their identity with it. Instead of being a 6th grade boy who is bright and excels in math they become a victim to the system and perhaps even a burden to others.
They no longer have a name, but a couple of letters and numbers overtake who they are. 

Oh you know he is a K and scored a 175 in math, he's non ESOL, but he has SLD and his matrix score is an 10. The more you can add to the list the least appealing he or any other student becomes to the general education system. 

But what if we stripped students of their labels and test score numbers? What if we just taught students without really focusing on the fact that they are ESE or whatever else they are? Why should they be restricted due to how the educational system views them? I mean after all they are the ones that gave them the labels to begin with, right?

Thankfully, there are three letters that are here to help students like this receive the most appropriate and least restrictive education they deserve.


To give some background on these three letters let's have a little history lesson:
In general, to maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Now I'm just guessing, but removing a child after five days of being in a general education class probably is not enough time to allow him to be successful? 

And let us not forget that there have been court cases surrounding these three letters too. I suppose I'm taking this issue a little too personally, but unfortunately I am a human being with emotions that just happens to be passionate about students with disabilities. Not only am I probably overly passionate, but I was a victim of not being provided LRE in the public school system during my first couple of years in high school; so much so that I decided to become home schooled. 

For those that are still wondering what LRE stands for Least Restrictive Environment
Oh and let's not forget that an IEP is a legal document. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I think I saw this poor word get butchered every way possible on the last spelling test. One student even put a "q" in it! Now granted if I was in middle school I'm pretty sure I would of spelled it wrong too; it's somewhat of a miracle I can spell it correctly now. During my last class I decided to save this words life by bribing my students to spell it correctly.
Last week groups of Language Arts teachers were given a sub so we could grade our essays. And what goes with a day filled with essay grading...chocolate!
F.A.S.T. F.O.W.A.R.D
I still had little bite sizes left over and this is were the bribing took place. I told them that if everyone spelled that word correctly they could have a piece of candy. Do you want to guess how many students spelled that word and all it took was a little square of chocolate.

The semi odd thing is that I had two students that failed the test miserably and yet they managed to spell the most challenging word correctly

Go figure

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Common Core

About a month ago the kind people at Carson-Dellosa sent some common core material to try out
I've been using them for the last couple of weeks in the classroom
and I have found them to be very useful.
I'm a visual/tactile learner by nature and have always hated shifting through all the standards on the computer when creating lesson plans. These new cards have made the process much more enjoyable because the standards are now at my fingertips. They all begin with a "I can" statement and use student friendly words. Each standard is on the corner of each card
Each standard is divided into categories. The language arts categories for 6th, 7th and 8th grade are:
Reading standards for literature
Reading standards for informational text
Writing standards
Speaking and listening standards
Language standards
The font is clear and easy to read. I tried placing them on the white board next to the days objective and found the font too small to read from a distance. I can see these cards being used during centers by displaying each activities standards.
Overall, I like the simplicity these cards have given me. All of the standards are at my finger tips. Plus they are glossy and allow you to write on the back of the card when the standard was used. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Magic Dust

Usually when a student is transferred into my class it's not because they are lighting the world on fire.
Prior to them arriving I am typically told all the wonders they bring into a classroom
you know...
They're lazy
They never write
Can't read
Are incredibly low
and basically are a waste of space

After the motivating list has commenced I typically have a sarcastic comment
Oh, don't worry I'll just sprinkle my magic dust and everything will be okay.
This scenario occurred about a month ago....which is just how I like to start my Wednesday! Fast forward to this week and I'm a little confused with how this student is lazy and doesn't write when they are working on essay number two. Now granted this students first attempt at an essay was straight up plagiarized, which shows effort, but they re-wrote their essay, learned their lesson and is now working on essay number two. 
Oh and yesterday this student also recieved an A on their spelling test and when they found out there was a little dance celebration

Goal board

As usual during open house parents were given the opportunity to create a goal for their student for the entire year. They place their post-it note on on our goal board.
Then a couple weeks into school students were given their own post-it note to create their goal.
Two colors were used for the goals 
Green for adults
Pink for students

Monday, October 7, 2013

letter makeover

A minor adjustment happened to our goal board this year.
The letters got a makeover
I used the cardboard letters from Jo-Anns Fabrics
covered them in some glue and then sprinkled some glitter on top. 
To attach them to the board I hot glued a command hook to each of the letters, tied some twine to the hook and stapled it underneath the boarder. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Energy stealer

Also known as bronchitis
I cannot exactly recall what happened in the classroom this past week
I was there, lessons were taught 
it's just a little fuzzy

To say that I was off my game is an understatement.
To top is all off I was contagious all week.
So taking Friday off was a smart decision given the fact that I lasted four days with 15% energy level.