Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I'm BACKKKKKKKK!

Whew! 4 more days of school and I am on summer break. I have never felt more ready for summer. My class this year was incredibly challenging. For those that don't know, I taught a K-3 self contained sped class for students with extreme behavioral needs. This year I got bit, hit, kicked, punched in the face, etc. It was an eye opening experience to say the least.

On a happier note, next year I will be teaching KINDERGARTEN! I applied for a job at a new school, in a general education kindergarten class, and I got the job! I am so excited to be starting something new, and to have a team of teachers who have years of experience to help me. Kindergarten is my dream job, so I am ready for the switch. :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Third Month Check-In

I want to say that I can't believe that I haven't blogged since August, but that would be a total lie. This year so far has been challenging, exhausting, overwhelming, time consuming, and crazy. Of course I haven't had time to blog!

Teaching a class of students that have behavioral needs is a whole different ball game. I thought I was ready and prepared but there was nothing in the world that could have prepared me for this class. And form what I am being told, I have an "easy" class compared to the previous years, and what I "could" be getting.

It's hard. I spend so many days frustrated. Days where I barely get to do any teaching because I am too busy trying to prevent dangerous behaviors.

Don't get me wrong, we have some great days! And many of my students have had HUGE behavior progress since the beginning of the year. And I have amazing and wonderful support at my school. My principal, my paras, even the other teachers- they are awesome and I can't imagine not having them for support. But this class is hard. It is frustrating. And it is definitely starting to take it's toll. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Watch Me Prove You Wrong

I had an interesting experience today. And maybe I'm overreacting. But maybe I'm not.

I went into my classroom today to work on setting up. On my previous trek into my classroom, I removed a bunch of furniture- mostly the desks. These desks were giant (the size of a desk for a 5th grader-which was not going to work in my K-2 class), and were the ones where the chair is connected to the desk. They didn't work nicely in "groups" of desks, and they seemed so separate from each other. I hated them. So out into the hallway they went with a note for the custodians letting them know that I did not need the desks.

Don't get me wrong, I think desks are great. I used them in my last class, but I almost always had them pushed together into a "group" format. And because of that, I made the decision to ditch the desks and use tables for my students. I love the group work, the conversations, the discussions, and the teamwork that tables encourage. I love that because I only have a couple small tables, my students can choose alternative seating if they want to. They can sit on the floor, they can stand, they can sit at other centers around the classroom- the possibilities are endless!

Now it took me a long time to commit to this kind of seating arrangement. And to be honest, I do still have some desks hidden in my room for those kiddos who can't handle the group time. As a SPED teacher, I know that this might pose a problem later on down the road, but I want them working in groups. I want them working with their peers. I want them learning those social skills. What I DON'T want is them sitting by themselves at a desk where they feel alone. Unless that's what they want- then by all means, go for it.

I promise I'm getting to the "story" part of this post...

Today when I went into my classroom, I was immediately approached by my custodian. He proceeded to inform me that the desks were in my room for a reason- because my SPED kiddos throw the chairs. And it's dangerous. And that's why my classroom needs to have the desks. He told me I have "those EBD kids..." and I became extremely frustrated.

I know my kids have behavior concerns. That's why they are in my class. But I have extremely high hopes and expectations for the kiddos. I worked with an EBD student last year, and I was AMAZED at the amount of progress we made in a short time period. Sure, there were a couple days in the beginning of the year where he picked up his chair and chucked it across the room, but that didn't mean that he didn't deserve a chair. He needed to learn coping mechanisms and replacement behaviors. He wouldn't always be in a class where everything was strapped down so he couldn't throw it. So we worked on it. We practiced. We made improvements. And in less than a month, that same student never threw a chair again.

I guess my point is: I know I have difficult kids, but I am not going to walk into this year expecting the worst. If I have low expectations, I am sure thats how the kids will act. And for my custodian, a man who interacts with my students, to tell me that I have "those EBD kids..." really makes my heart hurt for these students. There will be no chair throwing in my class, because our classroom will be a family. We will have expectations and consequences, and we will learn to cope when we are upset. We will sit in groups, and we will work together, and we will have everything that our general education peers have. We will not sit in ugly, dysfunctional, too-big desks just because someone says that we can't handle. Because I will not allow anyone to classify or judge my students based on the class that they are assigned.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Advice Needed...

I'm having a hard time setting up my classroom this year. I want to be excited about it, but I just can't seem to find my inspiration. I think it is hard because:


  1. I don't know how many kids I have... Last I heard, I only had two students, but my principal said that could change and go up to eight. 
  2. I don't know the grades of these kids... that could be anywhere from K-3. 
  3. The furniture in my classroom is mismatched, and I'm having a hard time deciding what the function of it all should be. 
  4. I don't know what the behavior level is of the kids I am teaching (I am a SPED teacher and will be teaching an emotional/behavioral class).
  5. It appears the teacher before me was just trying to "just get through the year" which left the room in complete chaos. 
So how am I supposed to know if I should keep the desks, or switch them out for tables?
How do I even use "table groups" when I may only have 2 students?
Should I make do with the furniture that I have and try to make it work, or do I go to ikea and get some that I know will be functional and useful?
Do I set up spaces for eight kids, or do I set up spaces for the two I know I have?

I have so many questions and I am having such a difficult time. I've always LOVED setting up my classroom, and I don't know why this year seems to be different. Any advice or ideas would be much appreciated. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

MIA!!!

I am so sorry for the lack of posts- I moved! About a month ago I moved from Hawaii to Washington, and between closing the school year, packing, moving, and getting settled, the time just disappeared! I promise I will be back soon. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Liebster Award!

I was nominated for The Liebster Award by Nicole from Adventures in the ATC!!!!

The Liebster Award is given to beginning bloggers to help acknowledge up and coming blogs. Upon receiving the nomination, the blogger answers 11 questions to help their followers get to know them better. Then, I will have a chance to nominate 11 other bloggers!

1.            Why and how long ago did you start blogging?

I have been blogging for a couple of years now. It started out as a way to laugh about my student teaching experiences, and a way to share with my family who lived far away. Now I am trying to transition it into something more like all the other teacher blogs that I see.
2.         What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Sharing! I am sharing with my family, sharing with other teachers, and they are sharing with me. I love seeing all the different things that other teachers are doing, and being able to connect with other SPED teachers who just "get it."

3.     Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?

I am still so knew to blogging that I am learning something new every day!!! I would love to learn teachers come up with the things that they post and how they continue to post in a timely manner!!!

4.         What is your favorite pastime other than blogging?

In my spare time, I have been coaching cheerleading for girls in grades 7-9. I also love hanging out with my zoo at home (2 cats, 2 dogs).

5.         How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog/TPT?

Not as much as I should. :) I am still trying to figure out how to balance my time teaching and personal life with blogging. Plus- I'm prepping for a big move in the next couple months, so I really need to work to make time to blog.

6.         What category of blog posts do you enjoy most?

I love blogs where people are just telling stories about their experiences. And I especially enjoy posts where teachers are "venting." I find so many posts to be incredibly relatable and it just reminds me that I am not alone.

7.          Where does your blog inspiration come from?

Currently my inspiration comes from whatever happened in the classroom. Art projects, lessons, funny stories. I also really enjoy participating in linky parties that way I can discover more blogs, and have a set topic to write about. :)

8.         Which post that you’ve written are you most proud of?

I must say that I don't really have a standout post yet, but one that I currently am working on in my "drafts" is probably going to be a real favorite!

9.     Is there a post you have been planning to do but have been postponing it for a while now?
The one that is currently in my draft.... I think it is the best one I have written!!! We will see once I publish it.

10.     What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

My favorite aspect of blogging is being able to make friends with teachers all over the world. It's crazy to think that someone reading my little blog could be in Texas or Florida or even Australia!!!
11.         Which idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?

I want to try the Brigance Safety Sight word pack from Simply Special Ed. Many of my kiddos are working on personal safety, so I think this would be a great idea in my classroom!!! I also find many decorating and classroom set up ideas from all of the blogs I follow, and I can't wait to try it out in my classroom next year!!
Now I nominate these wonderful teacher bloggers:

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Meet: The Special ABC's!

Blog name change? Check!

Blog design makeover? Check! (Thank you so much to Lindsey from Miss Johnston's Journey and L. Paull Designs For All!)

Instagram at over 100 followers? Check!

I am so excited for my new design! I am hoping that this is the kick in the butt that I need to start blogging more! I do post more on my instagram than I do on my blog, so please follow me on instagram as well- thespecialabcs.

*For my family who reads this blog, if you aren't on instagram, you can click the camera button on the flags at the top of my page. That will take you to my instagram page so you can see my pictures!!!*

For those who are new to my blog/instagram, I currently am a special education teacher in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. I teach a K, 1st, and 2nd grade class for students with moderate-severe disabilities. It is a lot of work, but I love it so much- more on that in a later blog post. :)

At the end of this school year, I will be moving back home to Washington State, where I will be living in the Tacoma area. I don't know my exact position yet, but I have been hired in a school district as an elementary special education teacher. I will find out my grade and classroom type soon (fingers crossed).

I have a link to my TpT store at the top of my blog, however I haven't mastered the art of teaching AND creating for others yet.  Currently, I am still in the "figure out what I want to teach and find something on TpT to help me teach it" stage, not the "I know what I am doing and can share it with others" stage. :) I'll figure it out at some point, right?!

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog. I love getting to share about my experiences and ideas, and I love reading other blogs in my free time. If you are reading this and have a blog, please leave your blog name/instagram name in a comment below so I can follow you!