Sunday, December 28, 2014

Google updated system!

I love data! I really just can't stress that enough. I love my kiddos more, but when it comes to me trying to decide if I am doing what is best for the kids, I lean heavily on data. I don't like qualitative data either! I know, I know!! I am your worst nightmare if you want to ask my opinion about a student, and all we have to go on is gut feelings, the first thing I will want is some data to support what we are generally seeing and feeling about a student. Don't get me wrong, I lean on intuition also! Intuition is very important, but when I am judging myself or the progress of my students, I want to look at the numbers. I think that part of it comes from my basic dislike of judgement. I don't like to pass judgement on anyone because what I value or deem good, may not meet those standards in your book. So if I have a goal, and know where I am headed, by golly I want some hard data to go with it.

With all that said, let me tell you, I have struggled to find the perfect system for collecting data on campus. I work with teachers at every grade level from K-5 and also have 3 paraprofessionals. We are a school that follows an inclusion model, therefore students with IEP's are in the classrooms more than 80% of the time. I pull some students to work on remediation if they are more than 2 grade levels below, but every student on our campus is exposed to the general education core curriculum. This can make it challenging to track IEP goals. Some students I do not work with daily and I rely heavily on the general education teachers and the paraprofessionals to collect data. Last year we tried folders and data sheets. This was not an entire flop, but also was not where I wanted to be. It took a lot of time to collect the folders, enter the data in a spreadsheet and then return the folders back to the classrooms. There was also upkeep on having blank copies of the data sheets in the folders. It doesn't sound like it would take much time, but every minute adds up to chunks of time that I would rather be teaching.

I kept thinking that there had to be a better way. And by better, I mean faster, more efficient, and user friendly for everyone. We are a school blessed with technology, and I kept thinking there had to be a better way....Google Forms is my answer. I am still in the process of fine tuning it, but I think I am pretty close to having a system that works well for my campus. I plan to make a packet to place on TPT to outline exactly how I use the forms. In the mean time, get on your google account and start playing with Google Forms. Get familiar with it and start thinking about how you can make data collection more efficient with it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dancing Raisins!

I keep glancing at the calendar wondering where the time has gone! We had a bad snow storm and as a result, missed our first scheduled week back in January! My mind is racing on how I can stay focused and make up that week of missed work. While I was off on snow days, I managed to post one of the units on TPT that I developed for my small study groups that I meet with in my room. I really like to try and create lessons that will get my bundles of energy excited about reading and writing. I have to say, this did the trick!

Yes you are seeing correctly, we did a science experiment. I took a common experiment, added in a mini lesson on inferences and tied that to the idea of a hypothesis. Students then did an experiment, used visualization and even wrote a science report. Yup....I just said science report!!!
Sometimes I find it challenging to get my students with disabilities to write, but they were more than happy to write these reports. Hope this gives you some great ideas on ways to create some lessons that will get your students writing and using skills they have learned. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 you use them?

This year was my second year at the elementary level. One item that I find I am using more and more for my students who struggle with attention and movement is a fidget. I have experimented with all kinds of objects including small squeeze balls, balloons filled with flour or rice, erasers, small rubber toys. If it is small, doesn't make noise and can stay in the hands of one of my students, well then in my eyes, we have a fidget!

I have found that the biggest problem with the fidget is that it can quickly become a distraction to the classroom and other students if I don't take time to teach my students how to use a fidget properly. This, my friends, is when the fidget rules were created. I found a 3 or 4 page social story online, but have since lost the link. I decided that I needed a one page sheet that I could read to my students and give copies to the general education teachers and instructional assistants as well.

Here is a copy! I will be posting it on TPT soon so that you can download it. Tell me what you think! I considered adding pictures of items that could be a fidget, but decided that I wanted the story to be read quickly and not have a lot of distractions on it. Hope you find this useful!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Classroom Set Up!

Welcome to my room! We transitioned from calling it the Resource Room to the Learning Center. Not sure why. I guess because we felt the Learning Center better represented what was happening in our room. 

So here is a glimpse of my set up. I am always changing my room, but these two areas stay about the same.

 This is our break area. Inside the tent, there is a mat, lycra bag and a weighted blanket. I never use this area for a negative consequence. This is a safe place for the students to come and take a break when they are overwhelmed. I am working with one student with Autism to teach him to use the 5 point scale. When he hits a 4 in the frustration his favorite thing right now is the lycra bag!

This is my group work area. This year I used a modified Writers Workshop during the 30 minute intervention times that I worked with students. I combined writing and reading strategies during my instruction. The students write in this area. The multi-colored drawers in the background hold all the writing paper. I had to make procedures and expectations clear for the students using the ball chairs and I still have to limit the use sometimes, but the movement is really good for the kiddos. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

First Teachers Pay Teachers Product

I am so excited....well kind of. Yes, I know my blog is horrible. I have so much to do and learn about blogging and building a professional network with teachers. The exciting part is that I am about to upload my first product to Teachers Pay Teachers!

It is a freebie about data collection. I have spent a lot of time this year working through a system of data collection for special education. I am constantly making adjustments as I use my system to make it more efficient. I would love to hear from some of you about how you collect and organize your data!

Here is a sneak peak at what I am posting later today.

I am going to continue to work on my system and create forms that I can share. I currently use a Data Binder as well as I have a folder system for each of the general education classrooms also.

I hope some of you have a better beginning to your spring break. I am currently watching it snow!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Matter of Perspecitive

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle."
-Albert Einstein

"...Neal is not getting special treatment, but is getting his needs met so that he can continue to participate."
-Elaine Hall from "Now I See the Moon"