Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Technology must haves/wishlist?

This year, I've been working on becoming more organized in the classroom, but also on a quest to add more technology to my classroom and my teaching style.  I've always used computers and tried to give my students as much time as possible working on the computer-using learning games and typing up stories.  More recently I started using some videos, and Class Dojo as a classroom management system.  I'm really looking forward to using my new document camera and projector.

Next up, I want to start looking into incorporating more technology in my classroom-getting a smart board, some ipads, and an ipod.  

What technology/websites can't you live without?  How do you incorporate technology in your classroom and teaching?  There's so many things out there, I'd love to find out what technology you love, or can't live without in the classroom.

Happy Wednesday.  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Teacher Wish List Linky

Back to work today.  Next week is parent conferences and then spring break.  So looking forward to a week off and some much needed time with family.

Anyway, today I've been thinking about all the things I need and want for the classroom and found the perfect linky party at  First Grade Smiles

Now it's time to dream awhile and think about all the things that I've dreaming about getting for my classroom (more technology is on the top of my list).

First up, here are some of my faves in my classroom:

1) Whiteboards- I LOVE whiteboards!  I love them for spelling, math and just about anything.  They're also really motivational for my students who love using them.

2) Class Dojo-I love using it for my classroom management!  The kids love earning the positive points and rewards

3) Touch Math- I love using it to touch math, especially for teaching addition and subtraction.  I think it really helps my students a lot.

Now for my wishes:

4) Smartboard- I've slowly been making progress this year in my quest for more technology in my classroom.  Next up, I'd really love to add a smart board to my room for my teaching.

5) Ipads- I've heard a lot about the great applications for teaching on ipads, especially for special education students on ipads.  I'd really like to get some that my students can use.

6) Ipods-I'm sure there are a lot of uses for ipods in classroom.  I could use them for music, and for listening to stories.

7) Plastic boxes- I need to spruce up my classroom and get more organized and cutesy.   I really want to get more plastic boxes, and some cute materials to dress it up and make it look cuter.

What's on your wish list?

Anyway, have a great week!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week in Review

It was SO nice that it was a short week!  Unfortunately, I got sick this week with a cold.  It was hard to take off any time to recover since I was loaded down with iep meetings, but I did take off half of the day on Thursday and I was able to rest up.  I slept in yesterday and today, and I finally feel better.  It also a week of wild weather in Phoenix.  It actually snowed on Wednesday in portions of town.

I've been reading up on everyone's responses to my post about behavior plans.  Thank you so much for your responses!  Lots of great ideas to work on.  This has definitely the year of behavior.  It's been a definite issue this year, but luckily I also have a lot of great kids this year that are so fun to work with.  So hard to believe that we're finishing up our 3rd quarter, and will soon be heading toward the home stretch.  Looking forward to spring break in two weeks, and spending time with my brother and his family.

I'm also excited about finally getting a projector installed in my classroom and I just got a document camera to use in my classroom.  Then when I finally get a breather I'm going to figure out how to get a smart board for my classroom, and some ipods.

Anyway, back to work planning and watching the Academy Awards.

Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope you have a great week!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Behavior Plans

I've always believed that it's important to go heavy on the positives with my special ed. students.  It's always a little harder for me I think because I'm not their main classroom teacher and don't give them grades.  It's harder for me to take away specials or recess.

In the past I've used a sticker chart system where the students earn two stickers a day (well a class).  Once they fill up their sticker charts they are able to pick a prize from the prize box.  I've been using that for years, and I'm finding that it gets boring for students, and maybe a little boring.  They do like Class Dojo, but it doesn't always work for my tougher students.   I have a few students who like to talk and be distracting and losing points isn't an incentive to get it together.  For them I've had to use think time (time out in their classrooms).  I also have another student who can be mean to other students and a bit defiant at times.  She enjoys the positive points, but doesn't always care, especially if she starts losing points.  She doesn't want to go to think time, so that might be an incentive.  I've always tried to deal with behavior problems on my own, but some are just so extreme-out and out defiance-that I have to send them out.  We also have a PBIS program and students can earn winning tickets for good behavior and really good prizes at the end of the week.

I'd love to find out what other people do, what behavior system that you use (especially special ed. and resource teachers) and how you use it in your classroom?

Enjoy your day off of work!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

week in review

I'm so thankful for a three day weekend.  This week has been tough, with behavior issues flaring up with various students, lots of testing and ieps, planning and my observation this past week.  Thankfully, everything went well with my observation this week.  

I've been working on various things to help improve behavior like positive points using Class Dojo, think time, as well as changing up the way I group students within my class time-by individualizing their work and working with smaller groups of students at a time.

Anyway, I'm trying to use this extra time to catch up on extra work, and trying to find some balance in my life by getting back into a good exercise routine, and doing a little self care.

Enjoy your weekend!! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Five for Friday (on Saturday)

So glad it's the weekend!  It's been a long week and I think next week will be just as long.  I have lots of ieps, and meetings coming up, an observation and of course teaching!  I have some high maintenance students this year that have kept me on my on my toes.  Thank goodness for Starbucks for keeping me going!! Sometimes I wish I lived back east again just for the snow days and nice breaks.  I don't miss the snow though.

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday(I know it's Saturday)  I was so tired yesterday, I went to my parents for dinner and then came home and crashed.

1)  I've been implementing Class Dojo in my classroom, which I've really enjoyed and so have my students.  It's been working with some of my challenging students, but some of the students really care.  I've been avoiding taking away points for some of my groups students, because it seems to make them frustrated and give up, and some it's more an incentive.  I've had some really adhd students this year, and I've been trying to find some good incentives for them to help them really buy in.  I know one student who could go either way, is really buying into it and doing really well.   Does anyone else use Class Dojo.  If not, I really recommend the program.

2) Does anybody else use Write from the Beginning?  I've been looking at it and working on implementing with my resource students.  I loved the first parts that were really structured (circle map, flow map, but then when they started writing it was a little harder for some of my students.  It's a little more unstructured.  I used the colored pencils for the writing parts, and while I enjoy letting them use it, they get sidetracked wanting these nice sharpened colored pencils and taking forever for them to get through a story.  I'd love to find some resources, and or tips and tricks out there.  I was thinking of making it a little more structured and maybe build in points on Dojo to well written sentences.  Anyway, my observation will be during my writing class, which has some very lively, active kiddoes.  I would love to find some cool and fun for them, that uses Write from the Beginning.  So if you have anything, feel free to throw them my way.

3) I've been working on multiplication fluency with my students.  To do so I start out the lesson with some multiplication and division problems on the board, then reviewing it with the students.  This week I switched off and decided to do an all facts fluency check at the start of my class and then see how far they get.  Then they work on touch math packets, every other week we start a new times fact.  Right now we're working on times 7's and this program really teaches/reinforces skip counting which I love.   They also have the opportunity to work on division, fractions and unknown numbers.

4)  I've started using a new rotation system with my students in reading.  I use the Voyager Passport series and sometimes other programs that I add into it (Language Foundations an Orton-Gillingham based program, or one of the Linda Mood Bell programs that I was trained in).  Anyway, I took the students and grouped them according to their test scores, now I'm just fine tuning what they need to build up their skills.  I'll probably do the same with my writing groups, because I have some students that just need to build up their sentence fluency and adding ideas and information to their stories, and others that really need to build up the legibility of their writing.

5)  I'm really enjoying using my projector, not just for Class Dojo, but I'm finally able to show Brain Pop videos that my students really enjoy.  However, some of my students would rather look at the videos on my computer, instead of the screen.  I really can't wait until I get a projector installed, and document camera.  Hopefully, this should happen by the time I return from spring break.  Any suggestions on other places/sites where I can watch videos?

Anyway, hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!  Happy Saturday!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's time for February Currently

Wow, where has the time gone?  So hard to believe it's February and another Currently!  January flew by.  I've been adjusting to life without a student teacher.  We've fallen behind in testing new kids, so we have to ramp it up and start doing a lot of initials, plus my annuals and finishing up my re-evals.  It's going to be a very busy few months.  I don't feel like I've been doing a good job of keeping up with my resolutions of getting more organized and getting into a regular exercise.  I work out once or twice a week.  I'd really like to do at least four days a week and either walk or run on some of those days.  So hard to stay motivated!  Plus, I have some challenging kids this year, so I've been really trying to revamp my routine and learn how to effectively implement Class Dojo into my daily routine.  It's getting better, but it's still been rough.  Anyway, I'm linking up with Farley for this month's  Currently!

I saw an amazing movie called Chasing Ice!  If you have a chance go see it.  Now I'm hope relaxing and watching tv as I plan for the week.

I'm loving having a new projector in my classroom.  It's not my own, but one I've checked out and I've finally starting Class Dojo, which has helped me revamp what I'm doing with my students for behavior management and motivation.  Now, I want to work on getting a Smart Board, or Ipad for our classroom.  Our principal just told us that she has a lot of extra money from title one funds and can make a wish list of things we want.

I'm still working on getting organized with my classroom and my life.  I'm feeling so behind on everything, not with planning, but I'd really like some time to catch up with my life.

Last, but not least I really get irritated with people that cross randomly across major streets, especially when there is an intersection nearby.  It's becoming a big problem where I live (in Arizona).  Some people don't even pay attention, notice or care that there are cars coming they just cross.  So unsafe!  It's worse when they take kids across.

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