Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Identifying Potential Target Behaviors

I don't know about y'all, but I have had my fair share of students with behavior issues. I've really never known how to change that behavior, or even where to start. Thankfully, I took a course in Applied Behavior Analysis this summer, and while I am certainly no expert, I did gain a little insight into the world of people with behavior issues. We covered several interesting topics, but probably the most valuable to me was the section on identifying potential problem behaviors. We can't change a behavior if we can't decide on one we want to change!!!

Now, where to start? First, think about your student. Observe them, and if you are the special education teacher, have the general education teachers observe them as well. Write down your observations and take notes. You can use the sheet below or create your own. After a week, or a few days, gather everyone together to go over what behaviors you think are the most problematic. Choose ONE behavior to target. Make a goal that encompasses this behavior, but is not too frustrating for the student.

Now, sometimes we just don't get along with our students. It's true. There may, in fact, be a kid that you absolutely clash with. Differences of opinions are not problem behaviors. Don't pick on a student just because you just don't mesh well.

This is obviously not nearly as in depth as a certified analyst might produce, but for most situations, it will be just dandy. I will work on creating a behavior chart and giving some examples of reinforcement schedules for next time.

Have a good rest of the week!

Identifying Target Behaviors

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Class Rules

Wow! The second day of school has come and gone already. I feel like I have been running around like a crazy woman for the past two days. I even forgot to eat lunch today. I've been working on a lot of things for my classroom and one of the first things I finished and put up were my class rules. Since I only have one true bulletin board in my classroom, I have it taped to my white board. I used the Cricut Mini Monogram pack to make the circles and letters and colored paper from the bargain section at Wal-Mart. Easy and cheap (except for the whole Cricut thing, which I didn't purchase...thanks Mom!).

The rules are listed out to the side. I downloaded a free borders set from somewhere on the Internet and used even more bargain paper to spice things up. I'm trying the whole brain teaching method this year with my general education reading class. Most of them look at me crazy when I do the motions with the rules, but some are participating. I told them not to worry that they looked dumb, because they did, but so did I, and we really all needed to look silly together. They're warming up to it. Really and truly, the motions help me remember the rules, so I know it is working for them.

I hope you all have had a productive few days of school. I look forward to many more with my students!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Facebook Worksheet

Looking for something for the first day of school? Try this Facebook worksheet from freeology. I  plan on using it with my students next Monday, and I think I'm going to create a Facebook-ish bulletin board to feature a student of the week. Either that or I will do a Twitter wall like the one I saw on Pinterest (love that site!).


Meeting parents is always an adventure. For instance, tonight, at our orientation, I had a parent say she didn't like change and wasn't excited that I would be teaching her child. Well, nice to meet you too. I've had some doozies, but I've also had a lot of great moms and dads who truly want to help me and the school. I appreciate those that tell you what they think, but also take your criticism of their child without complaint. I hope and pray that I am as well mannered as some of the parents I have had in the past when my own babies get to school. Yes, teachers often don't get the appreciation or respect they deserve, but sometimes we don't give mom and dad a lot of credit either. Just food for thought!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

First Day of School

Tomorrow begins my first day at my new school. I am so excited to begin working with a new faculty and staff, and I am also looking forward to the changes this year will bring. I will finally begin working in an inclusion setting, but I will also have one general education class. I will also be in charge of creating the yearbook, which could prove to be a daunting task. On top of this, I will start my second year of grad school, try to raise my twins (with a little help from the hubs :) and hopefully lose some weight on the 24 day trim challenge. See more on that here.

One of my favorite things about heading back to school is parent orientation. I LOVE getting to meet my "babies" and their folks. In the past, I have tried several ways to get the parents involved in starting their child's year off right. This year, I have changed my strategy a bit. Instead of having parents write me a letter about their child, I created a typed form for them to fill out. I think this will be easier for the parents and I will get to read about their child WAY before school starts, instead of the first day.

You could really tweak this form any way you wanted. I actually have a letter for the parents to read when they come to orientation, explaining the purpose of the form. So, with all that said, it is time for putting babies to bed, and then mommy hitting the sack. I hope all of you have a fabulous Monday!

1 St Day Parent Letter

Friday, August 10, 2012

Master Lock

If any of you have students with cerebral palsy or other mobility issues, this is a great lock. Students do not have to twist for numbers, they simply move it side to side or up and down to get it open. This particular lock was ordered from a catalog, but I have included the link below the picture for the Master Lock website. These can be tricky to get the hang of, so make sure you practice with your students!

Master Lock Speed Dial

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Best Youg Adult Novels

NPR has released their list of the best young adult novels. My favorite series, Harry Potter, tops the list. Some other favorites are The Book Thief, Speak and Tuck Everlasting. Having taught special education for the past four years, I realize it is often hard to get students with learning disabilities interested in reading. However, it is not hard for you, the teacher, to read aloud. Yes, you have time to squeeze in ten minutes of reading a day. I don't know where, but you are smart. You are a teacher. You want to give your kids the best education. Find the time. It's important!

Top 100 Young Adult Novels

Monday, August 6, 2012


Do you have any kids that can't sit still? That fidget constantly? That crawl under their desk to do their work? (Or is that one just in my room?) Don't lie. You know you have them. Students like this can be extremely frustrating, but they are also what make our jobs as teachers worth it. Anywho, yesterday while perusing Wal-Mart on the tax-free weekend, I found these little gems.

I know, they look...well, shaggy. And they are. But, I really think these will help my fidgeters (is that a word?) this year. How? Well, when a student moves, pats, hums, etc., they are getting some type of automatic reinforcement. Those movements, however appealing to the student, can be distracting for the rest of the class. I'm hoping that these pencil grips provide some less obvious type of reinforcement, and I'm also hoping they don't go sailing across the room :)

Of course, these will go with explicit instructions that they stay on MY pencils, and these pencils are to be returned at the end of class. I think I'm going to have to end up buying more so that no one gets jealous or feels different. Are there things you use to keep your students focused during the day?

Check out the pic below to see a Shaggie in action!

Enjoy these last few days of summer y'all! They're going by all to fast!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Accommodations and Modifications Schedule

Recently, a friend and I were discussing the scheduling issues of inclusion teachers. I have never taught inclusion before, but I know that it is sometimes hard to keep up with who has tests and worksheets that need to be accommodated or modified. This friend and I talked about how we could be more organized in our new jobs this year, without adding a lot of stress to the general education teachers. Below, you'll see a weekly schedule sheet where teachers can attach the originals, jot down what needs to be changed and turn it into my school mailbox. I hope this works, because I will be handling a K-8th grade inclusion load this year!

Here is the Scribd link. How do you keep yourself organized?

Weekly Schedule

Friday, August 3, 2012

Organizing IEP Files

I don't know about y'all, but my IEP files sometimes get cluttered. Last year, our Exceptional Education Director came up with a way to keep them organized with color coding. This really helped me stay on top of my paperwork, because I knew where everything was located within the file.
Our sign out sheets for the IEP were located on the inside of the manila folder. To the right is a picture of the color coding, and I have also attached the Google doc link if you need to print.

IEP File Organization

It's About Time!

Okay, I have taken a super long break. I have had two babies, moved, taken two grad school courses and started a new job in the past three months. I promise to get back into the swing of things now.  Recently, upon setting up my new classroom, I discovered an old Christmas project I made for my 5th grade students. It was an "interactive" calendar that I made from a cookie sheet, paint, felt and wooden craft circles. I found a similar calendar in a magazine that I can't find or I would post the link here. Anyways, my students loved it and it's held up for four years. Merry Christmas in August!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's Been A While

So, after looking at my last post (way back when) I realized I needed to catch you up on a few things. First of all, I've been busy. I started grad school, then found out I was pregnant WITH TWINS, and now I am on bed rest. I will have plenty of time to write and post now! We did a few fun projects this year that I will post later. Hope you are all doing well!