Friday, July 29, 2016

Back-2-School Giveaway

Even though I have well over a month before I go back to school (we start September 6th!) I know some of you are going back soon. I wanted to do a little giveaway to hopefully help inspire you for the upcoming school year.

Included in the giveaway are 4 of my newest products. I am so excited about these and cannot wait to use them in my classroom.

Get a closer look at this pack here. This bundle is jam packed with leveled reading passages and "WH" comprehension questions. These are perfect for any part of the day; whole group, small group, independent practice, para professional led station, homework and more!

Get a closer look of this bundle here. Daily Questions and Journal Responses is a YEAR LONG, leveled writing pack. Yes you heard me....writing for the entire year!

Get a closer look here. This math pack is jammed packed with basic math skill worksheets. They focus on counting (including skip counting), money, adding, subtracting, time and tallies. This pack also includes a data sheet and 20 assessments!

Check this resource out here. Sight words are a very important part of the special education and early elementary curriculum. Finding ways to assess the words quickly was always something I struggled with. This pack is perfect for assessing students quick using the digital word displays I have set up.

Lastly, if selected you will receive a $10 credit to purchase anything else in my store! Check it out here.

While you are not required to consider following me when visiting the required entry sites. If you follow me you will get updates on when I post products, sales, FREEBIES and more! Good Luck with your Back-2-School "shopping and classroom set up!".

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Centers for an Upper Elementary SPED Classroom

Due to the nature of our classrooms we are bound to have a wide range of student abilities. Having such a wide range can sometimes be challenging when it comes to planning lessons, centers and activities. Not only is the wide range a challenge but, most of our students are also no where near grade level. While most of my students are at a preschool-1st grade level, I teach 4th and 5th grade.

Let's face it, no matter what their cognitive level is, it is important to have age appropriate tasks. The big thing for my classroom is INDEPENDENCE, INDEPENDENCE, INDEPENDENCE!! If students do not leave my classroom being independent in all aspects of the school day I have not done my job. They do still need a lot of help academically but...they are able to move from center to center, get out the needed materials and get started on the task.

The big thing I do that makes it more age appropriate is how students get from center to center. Instead of a giant center rotation chart I created these individual rotation charts. I have students that come in at different times. That is why you see the cards starting at different numbers.

Here are a few center activities I do in my classroom. These activities focus on the basic/primary skills my students need but have been adapted to fit my upper elementary classroom. I apologize for the lack of pictures :(.

-Independent reading with individual self selected book boxes
-Technology Reading (Raz-Kids, Lexia)

- Sentence fill ins
-Daily Leveled Work
-Writing using Expanding Expression Tool Companion
-Daily writing journal (this is not complete....coming soon :))

-For this center I don't really have activities. What I have the students do is a worksheet that goes along with the lesson I taught that day.

IEP Tubs
-These hold activities that match students individual IEP goals and objectives. I print off a snap shot of their goals and a data sheet to make it easy. I change them out as needed.

What centers do you do?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Para Led Centers

Do you ever find yourself running around like a chicken with your head cut off? Constantly checking off items on your to-do list but never seeming to find the end? Well my friends, it's time to stop! Being a special education teacher means we wear a lot of hats. So many hats that we sometimes need to give up some of the duties. Yes, yes I said it....give up some of our duties.

Most of us have the privilege of having para professionals in our classroom. Yes they are there to support the students first and foremost but...they are also there to help you. Structure your classroom in a way that allows them to take some of the work load off of you while still spending time with the students. Incorporate para led centers into your daily routines.

I am a type A personality all of the way. When I first started teaching I found myself micro managing everything. Until one day I just couldn't do it anymore. I said to myself, "Am I really the only person who can listen to the students read?" "Am I the only one who can put a "plus or minus" sign next to the students' goals?". The answer is NO!!!!

Para professionals are amazing resources to have in our classrooms. So use them!!! Here is how I figure out how to incorporate para led centers into my classroom.

1) I first come up with everything I need to do with students during the day. (Reading, Math, Writing,
Independent Work, Fine Motor Tasks, Group Time, Calendar, etc,)
2) I then put the tasks into 2 categories....1) Independent Work 2) Teacher Led
3) I then take a closer look at all of the items I have in the teacher led category and split those into 2 categories... 1) things I MUST teach  2) things I can give up some control of :)
4) All of the items in the "things I can give up column" are going to be the centers/tasks that my paras run.

The centers that paras run are going to be different for every teacher. There are certain things some of us are willing to give up some control over while some of us will never ever no matter what let anyone else touch. You know what...that's okay! That's the beauty of centers, teach what you want/love and have the rest of the materials/activities at other centers.

I try to make it easy for everyone. Most of our para professionals do not have teaching degrees so they may need some guidance. Just like we make things predictable for our students I make the centers predictable for my staff. I have them do the same thing everyday. This allows them to become comfortable with the center and puts my type A personality at ease. For me...I HATE taking data. I just hate it. I love to create forms and analyze it but I HATE to take it. So....I have my paras run centers that I can incorporate easy to use data sheets into. This is a win, win. I don't have to take data and the paras feel like they are contributing a lot to the classroom/students.

I have paras run the following centers; Worksheets (these are completed after I have taught the lesson...students are not yet able to complete these independently), Daily Work, Typing, Fluency, Reading (checking in during independent reading), Independent Work. **During the independent work centers they make sure all of the tasks are ready for the students and then take data :) on them once the students have finished the task.

I don't want you to think I am being sneaky and giving my paras all of the things I don't like to do. I am just spreading out my tasks. I look at it like this, I am teaching the new topics while the paras are helping to maintain the skills. ***I also make sure to check in on my paras to make sure they are not taking on too much. Make sure to have open communication and accept their input!!

What are some centers that you have your paras run? If you don't have paras run centers, how do you utilize them?

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