Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm so honored by these awards!

I felt so special receiving my 1st award last week and I am even more honored to say that I have received 2 more in the past week!  Thank you so much to Miss Jones at

for the following award: 

and to Hooty at 
Hooty's homeroomfor the following award: 

Now it is time to pass it on (I am sorry in advance for this long post, but these are some great blogs that you should check out):  

The rules for The Versatile Blogger award are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers, include their link and let them know

Seven Random Facts About Me
1. This will be my 5th year of teaching.
2. I have studied American Sign Language and enjoy using it with friends and in my classroom.
3. I don't like the feel of shaving cream and have a hard time using it in my class even though I know students love writing and playing in it.
4. I have been a part of opening 2 Charter Schools and have taught at them both during their 1st year of service to kids.
5. I love New York City and want to go again soon
6. I use to be able to speak Spanish fairly well, but I haven't used it in the past few years, so I am very rusty on it.
7. I went to Indiana State University and graduated with a dual major in K-12 Special Education and Elementary Education

Here are the 15 bloggers that I am passing this on to:
Keeping Up With First Grade
Run Miss Nelsons got the CameraTeach 123

Here are the rules for the Liebster award:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

I'm passing it along to:

Mrs. Shelton's Kindergarten

TalesFromRoom112Keeping Up With First Grade

Congrats everyone!!  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I don't wanna....

How many times a week do I hear "I don't wanna..."??  Way too many!!  It is a phrase I haven't missed this summer... (and I don't have kids yet, so I haven't had to hear it from them either like many of you may have!  :-) )

As I plan for this phrase to be said again, I have started to think of how to avoid it.  Here are some ways that I am planning to try:

1. Incorporate the interests of my students into lessons  - I have the luxury of having the same students for many years, so I really get to know there likes and dislikes.  I am able to plan lessons for this coming year based on what will really catch each student's attention.  This is the best way to keep my students involved in their learning.  I have to make everything individual to their own interests in some way.

2. Guided Compliance - This is something that I learned about at my training this summer.  It is where you guide the student to complete a task, even if this means that you use physical prompting.  I have students that do anything to get out of work, and they have succeeded unfortunately because I haven't continued to make them do things.  I have backed off on them to try to lessen the behaviors.  I should have been continuing to push and allowing them to learn that I will back off when they become independent.  If they don't want me hand over hand making them do things, then they need to complete it on their own.  
*** I do understand that this is not something general education teachers have time to do with every kid, but please take it into consideration and see if you have resources in your school to help you make sure these kids are not getting out of their work.

3. Stack their schedule - When making schedules for kids, you need to plan to follow difficult and undesired tasks with highly rewarding and desired tasks, so the child has something to look forward to.  This may be difficult in a general education room too, but you can always incorporate smaller activities that a child can do at his or her desk or in the safe spot, such as drawing or looking at a book.  Find something that the child likes and allow them to do it for a couple minutes after a harder activity.  It could even be running a quick errand to another room for you if they just need to walk or get away or if they like to help.

These are 3 big things to do when kids are work avoidant.  What do you do???


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Avoiding the bites...

As the school year is drawing near, I am starting to freak out just a little about all the things that I wanted to get done for next school year that are no where near being ready to be done.  Anyone else with me on that??

I am really going through each student in my mind and the individual behaviors that I will be dealing with at the beginning of this school year.  I am deciding how to be proactive in dealing with these behaviors and thought I would share my thought processes with you about the different behaviors I will be encountering.

Today I will focus on biting...  Anyone have any biters in their classroom or have dealt with them in the past?

Here are my ideas going in that I have gained from previous experience and/or thought about trying with my current biters:

1. Never show fear of a biter.  The moment you start pulling away from them, many think it is a game and will continue to do it to get that reaction from you.  You should do 1 of 2 things.  1 thing is to push into the bite (obviously not too forcefully).  If a child is biting your hand or arm and you push your hand/arm toward the child, their jaw will be made to release.  If you pull outward, you will be hurting yourself as your skin is still between their teeth.  The other thing to do is to look away and drop hand SLOWLY away from their mouth.  You do not want to make eye contact, and with most kids I don't say much either.  Sometimes I will say no, but I do not want to give too much attention to this behavior.  If you look away, say very little, and slowly move your hand away you are not giving them a big reaction that they may want to see again

2. I always have Twizzler bites on hand in my classroom.  This are small, but they are chewy so it keeps something in a students mouth to chew and is candy so it is more appropriate than biting someone else.  These pictures are taken from Candy Warehouse but these can be bought in many stores.

 3. I do allow gum in my classroom also.  This again just keeps something in their mouth, so they are less likely to bite.

4.  Another thing that has worked with some students are chewies that our occupational therapist has access to.  Here is a picture from Therapy Shoppe of one type:

What ideas have you tried or do you have for avoiding the bites?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My First Blog Award!!

Thank you Gretchen at Always A Lesson for my first blog award! I was so surprised and so excited to receive this!  Go check her out by clicking on her blog name above!!

When you receive this award, you must follow 3 rules:
*1. Follow the person that gave you the award.
*2. Link back to the person that gave you the award.
*3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.
So….Congrats to these 15 bloggers! Go check ‘em out!

First Grade FingerprintsTalesFromRoom112

Lessons From The MiddleClassroom Magic

Love to Laugh and Learn
The Joy of Educating
 Keeping Up With First Grade
 Mrs. Shelton's Kindergarten
 Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My First Linky Party - Fidgets!

Kathy Griffin from Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies suggested that we have a linky party for our favorite fidgets, which I thought was a GREAT idea!  So here it is.. I am hosting my first ever linky party.  Thank you for the great idea Kathy.  Everyone should check out her blog.

In my last post I told about how much I liked to use velcro.  Here is another one of my student's favorite fidgets:

This spiky glove is from Therapy Shoppe.  I had to take the picture from there because mine is nasty from all the use and is in a bag ready to be soaked to clean it this summer.  Click HERE to visit their site.  My school ordered fidgets for me from this site and I really loved what I got.  My students can have this on for sensory and still do their work.  The part on the palm has a few ridges, but is mainly flat.  

I had students use this when walking around on field trips this year.  It was a sense of security for them.  They ask for them all the time when working also.

Now it is your turn....

Friday, July 6, 2012


I hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July with family and friends!! 

Do you have kids that are always fidgeting with items in their desk or even with their own hands?  There are many different things that you can use to help these kids stay focused.  One of my favorite ideas because it is so easy and does not cause distractions or disruptions with other students is..

velcro under the desk!!! 

I learned about this from other teaching friends and it works so well with many kids!  A student can be paying attention in class but feeling a piece of velcro that is stuck under the edge of his or her desk.  This provides a tactile sensory strategy for many students.  Has anyone tried this?

More ideas to come on other fidget toys and activities, but first...

Do you use fidgets in your classroom?  What do you allow the kids to use??  I want to hear your ideas!

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Back With Seating Arrangements

Hello Everyone!!  I am back!  Thank you all for being understanding and sticking around.  I am now moved and settled into my new apartment.  I'm adjusting fairly well to the changes in my life.  I've missed my blogging family though.

As I was thinking about what to write about in this post, I was reminded of an experience this weekend that came with good advice to share. 

It is almost that time for many of us to start thinking about how we will set up our classrooms next year.  What kind of seating will you use?  As teachers, we have all learned about different types of students and what works best for them.  We are constantly changing during the school year also as we learn more about our individual students.

This weekend I had an experience with a very sweet Autistic teenager in a group setting at a family cookout.  It made me think a lot about how we set up our classrooms for those students in our room.  Autistic students have difficulty with Social experiences, so when they are entering a room of a group of people, where should we have them go?  In my situation this weekend, I knew that the best way to get him to enter with everyone else was to give him an end spot on the couch near an exit to the room.  He did not have to walk through any people to get to this spot. 

Think about things like this when setting up your classroom. 

As a student with Autism enters your classroom, what type of environment will he or she walk into?  How many people with he or she have to walk through or by?  If the student is a flight risk, you obviously don't want them right by the door, but let's not sandwich them into a line of a lot of students so they feel stuck in the middle. 

Don't forget to watch out for those things in the room that cause distractions.  Students with Autism or any type of behavior issues need to have the least amount of distractions in his or her direct line of view.  Sometimes they may even need a seat with the group for instruction but a separate work area.  This is not to be used as a punishment.  It is something that some students prefer and work better in.

What classroom set-up do you use in your room that eliminates that most behavior issues?

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