Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday Sept. 27th

 I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday random things about our week. We were pretty busy this week finishing up learning about pirates and doing some mapping activities.

We enjoyed some Friday fun today in math and used Babbling Abby's Marshmallow math activity to practice what we've been learning about place value. The students really enjoyed this hands-on activity. It was great practice for my little guys counting by both ones and tens. For my older student, he needed more practice with writing number words and this was a perfect way to motivate him.

This week has been all about maps and cardinal directions. After lots of practice labeling a compass rose in our own classroom they've got it down! I love it when things click.

This afternoon I broke the student into teams to create their own map of our school. After creating their map, they hid a red X outside and the other teams had to follow the map to find the "treasure". The students were so excited about this activity. It was nice to see them working together on a challenge and having fun. 

Our Fairview Learning rotations are in full swing. The students take home a guided reading book at least once a week to read at home with their parents. I am loving the new kitchen rod that came from IKEA to hold the student's homework bags.

Next week our new PE schedule starts. Scheduling is a nightmare for me since I teach 1st-6th grades. I've learned to be flexible and take things as they come. With new additions came an overhaul of round one of the Fairview rotation schedules. I spent quite a bit of time re-working the afternoon rotations and am keeping my fingers crossed next week runs smoothly and that I haven't made too many errors. At least it's only 7 kids to schedule for rather than 13 like last year.

That just about sums up my week. Next week we start our new book study on Stellaluna and bats. Hello October!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Three for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday random things about our week. The only problem- I didn't take enough photos this week... so you only get three. =)  Hey, I'm new to this teacher blogging gig. I'll try harder next week.

Our Word Wall work is going well. Remember how I vowed to actually use our word wall this year? Well, we are using it daily. We have about 10-15 minutes when one group or the other is out at recess. The students each get a word a day. This is individualized to their needs according to our Adapted Dolch Word testing. Monday-Thursday they get a word practice page. Then on Fridays we do a Word Wall activity. I'm using several activities from this freebie pack here. This weekend I plan on making a few of my own to add to the fun.

We started our new place value unit. I really liked these place value names by Amy Lemons. We did a variation of the activity. For my little guys, cutting out all of those ones blocks would have taken years... so they just cut down the tens rods. They also only used their initials. This was a great activity to see where everyone was at with counting ones and tens. For my little guys, it was very clear that we need to go back to counting 21-50.

We finished up our "If I were a pirate" writing and craftivity from this pirate unit. They turned out adorable! We started off with making a pirates can/have/are chart. Then the students used ideas from the chart to help them with their writing. They worked really hard and enjoyed this activity on a Friday. Next week we're going to have all kinds of fun with maps and cardinal directions.

So there you have it... a few of the activities we did this week in our class.

Friday, September 13, 2013

First Five for Friday

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching  for my first ever Five for Friday post. Now that I am getting into the groove at school, it's time to show you some of the things we've been up to this week. 

First off, it was a rough week for me at school for many reasons. I felt pretty down on Tuesday. It was a reality check for me on day 14 of school. I have a feeling this year is going to be a very long one for me. Luckily, my awesome co-worker cheered me up. This quote from her is my new motto for the school year. I have to remember that even if where they are at today is three steps back from yesterday, keep moving forward. I can only control what happens within my classroom and my attitude about each situation. I've got to stay positive.

 The arrival of my second iPad for the classroom was very exciting. This bad boy will get to travel out to the mainstream classroom with one of my students. The cool Wordflex dictionary app and the Signing Savvy membership app will help the student become more independent during language arts activities.

We started our new read-aloud "How I Became a Pirate". Today we completed this fun treasure chest beginning, middle and end  from this unit on TpT. 

We finished up our noun study. We cut pictures from magazines for our person/place/thing anchor charts. The students sorted person/place/thing pictures and words during several different activities over the past two weeks. 

We also finished up our first math unit on money. Since we are using coins this year for our Classroom Economy I wanted to ensure the students had a good foundation for counting coins. The touch money system will be perfect for my younger students. I was so proud of my youngest kiddos that could count by 5's and count nickels with pennies. These little accomplishments are huge in my classroom and a reason to celebrate. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Student Progress Notebooks

A while back I talked about sharing my student progress notebooks with you. Oh my! The beginning of the year was a whirlwind! We've been back three weeks and this weekend is the first one where I have felt a sense of calm and am not worried about Monday. I left yesterday afternoon with my plans done, centers set up, and homework ready. I wish I could be that prepared every Friday!

So here they are. My Student Progress Notebooks for each student in my Special Day Class. This is where I keep all of my data on students, work samples, and parent communication. They sit right behind my desk for easy access. Data tracking is one of the most difficult things to find time to do. I try and make things easy so it will get done.

Inside the binder I keep the following information: Communication Contacts, Audiological information, IEP goal data sheets, Parent communication log sheets, information from the mainstream classroom, Misc., and then Work Samples in the back.

Page 1- Communication Contacts. Often times our students have lots of different people working with them. Everyone from their private audiologist to CCS caseworkers. This is a handy reference page that makes life easier when I need to make a phone call.

Page2- Audiological information. It's nice to have it handy in one little spot for easy reference. It also helps to make sure I am up to date on the most current information.

Section 1- Data sheets to track student progress toward IEP goals. I've used several different forms over the years. I just developed this one over the summer that I think will be easier to use this year. It has one IEP goal per page, but has space for 13 weeks worth of data. We are on Trimester reporting, so this will be easy to go back and look at data when it's progress report time. If you'd like to try out the IEP data tracking sheet you can download it here from Google Docs.

Section 2- Parent Communication Logs. I got these from the Clutter-Free Classroom last summer during a Flash Freebie. (I can't find them on TpT, sorry.)

Section 3- Mainstream. I put any communication from the mainstream teachers into this section. This could also include paperwork the mainstream teachers give me like their grading rubrics.

Section 4- Miscellaneous. Anything that doesn't fit in any of the other sections.

Section 5- Work Samples. This is where I store all of the student's work I need to keep to document progress. This includes assessment results, our story retells, and their DRA folders.

Hopefully my Student Progress Notebooks have inspired you to document and to keep your student's data organized. Because in Special Education, if it isn't documented, it didn't happen. If any of these forms (Communication Contacts, Audiological Info, IEP Goal Data form) could be helpful to you feel free to download and use them. You can find the forms here on Google Docs.

Have a great weekend!