Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tattle Tongues

Casey Imrich is our school psychologist and comes to our class once a week to teach social skills lessons. This week she focused on the difference between telling and tattling. She read and discussed the book A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook. The students then made their own tattle tongues as a reminder. We are now able to refer to the book and activity when students are tattling.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Number of the Day

I use this as a warm up to get us into math. We use today's date as the number and the students need to finish the rest. The activity addresses number identification, place value, sequencing, number words, addition, subtraction and mental math. I have also considered using it as center work. I have this on the SMART board as well as a worksheet for the students. Check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers to get them. (DM)

Watch as my reading GROWS!

This is our first year in many that we do not have an aide assigned to our classroom so we needed to find a new way to run our ELA stations while we saw guided reading and speech groups. I came up with the acronym GROWS and we made a chart: G is for guided reading, R is for reading to self, O is for on the computer, W is for word work and S is for speech. Guided reading and speech groups are pretty regular but the middle three change frequently.
At the bottom we planted a reading garden with a flower for each student. As they make progress towards their reading goals we add petals to the flowers. Hopefully in the spring we will have a beautiful garden!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reach for the Stars!

Our school is slowly integrating the 7 Habits of Happy Kids program. One of the habits is to "begin with the end in mind." So in September we had the students really think about something (school related) that was hard for them and set a goal. Each arm has their goals written on it. The stars will hold their many accomplishments that they reach throughout the school year. We are hoping to fill the board and maybe even the wall. They are so excited to "add a star" when they have succeeded at something that was once very hard!

UPDATE: June 20,2013

The kids had a great year and many of them reached their goals. We created a little poster with their pictures from the first day of school and yesterday in front of the star board. It is amazing how much they grow in just one school year. They had fun re-reading their goals and celebrating their achievements!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall leaf people

Mrs. Moody did a great language lesson about falling leaves today. She read Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert and then the students needed to follow directions to complete a leaf person. This required a lot of fine motor skill to fold the paper, align the pieces and glue them together. You simply need 2 leaf cut outs, 4 strips of paper and fun google eyes.

Fear and Blogging....

I can't (and won't) speak for Kristin on this one, but there is something a little terrifying about blogging for me. I am so passionate about teaching that is feels very personal to share it all. I am always hitting the internet for new ideas and I've wanted to find a way to share my ideas, lessons, etc..but there is a little fear in it for me. For instance, I have yet to share this blog on my own facebook page, the one place where all the people that care for and support me are located.

A couple years ago, I took this great writing workshop. It was a really neat experience that was not as much about teaching writing as it was about writing, finding inspiration and creating interesting experiences for our students. I have never felt so vulnerable when participating in professional development. This helped me realize how my students may be feeling when I ask them to write and share. It feels like a huge risk to perform when I am unsure how the audience will respond especially when it is something I feel so passionate about. I have to keep that in mind when I'm working with my students who lack confidence and find ways to build their confidence.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our LARGE word wall. For years we used a typical sized bulletin board for our word wall. We noticed how disruptive it was during a quiet writing time to have students getting up to look up words, sometimes having several students at the board at once. We decided it was worth it to use a large portion of our classroom as our word wall. Now the students can see the words right from their seats and our writing time is much more productive!

These are the simplest posters I could make to help my students remember what is being asked for when using WH question words. I have used these in all subject areas and refer to them frequently during guided reading. These are FREE and in color in my teacherspayteachers.com store.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Co-Teaching...what's it really all about?

Kristin and I have been teaching together for 10 years. This seems to be a unique situation in education today; I know it is in our district. Special education teachers move around as much as the students do, which makes developing a solid co-teaching relationship very difficult. This is how I would break it down: Co-teaching is a bit like a marriage. In the beginning you are dating, you want to get along, please each other, show off what you bring to the table and are very careful with the others feelings. Then you get serious, an exclusive relationship. You are more comfortable, your personal philosophies become stronger and maybe you disagree a little more. Debate is important. Then maybe you have a rough patch because after all, we are teachers and therefore total control freaks! (This is my personal observation, of course) But in the end you realize how much better your classroom is because you are both there. You are now married, Congrats! You realize its okay to say "that lesson really stunk today" and not feel like a failure (burning dinner). After all, you have a partner to help make it better tomorrow.

I have a partner to bounce my ideas off. I have a partner to help me visualize & create my off the wall, middle of the night ideas. I have a partner to make those ideas better! I have a partner to fill in my blanks and balance my weaknesses. AND I have a partner that allows me to run to the restroom whenever necessary. (Super important while I was pregnant!) 

My advice to a new team....open up, get personal and be honest. Share the workload and balance your strengths. Discuss everything and your roles will fall into place. It takes time to get there and I hope you all have that opportunity. Remember, your unique talents are what will make your team great. You can still have your own ideas and opinions and they don't always have to be the same.

Any questions about co-teaching? We have been through a lot and would love to share our experiences. (DM) 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The OWLS Team!

Darcy Meyer: Special Education Teacher
Kristin Moody: Speech and Language Pathologist

OWLS is an acronym for Opportunities with Language and Speech. The OWLS Program was started back in 2004. Our school district was in need of a program for those students that were struggling academically due to moderate to severe speech and language needs. Darcy was already working in the district as a special education teacher when the idea for this type of program was first brought to the table. Kristin was hired to fill the position of the speech therapist in the program. As the first school year moved on we knew we had something special. Throughout our years together we have come up with so many lessons and ideas that we needed a way to share them. We hope you enjoy our Blog as much as we have enjoyed all the experiences that make it up!

A little about Darcy...
I always thought that I wanted to be a teacher and then had a silly idea that I wanted to make more money. When I went to college I tried out several majors but nothing seemed quite right. I took my first education class, spent some time in a classroom and was hooked! I recieved my Bachelor's Degree in elementary and special education in 2000 from Niagara University, then taught for 2 years in Florida before returning to NY to earn my Master's Degree in special education from Nazareth College, finishing in 2005. In the 2008-2009 school year, I began the process to become a National Board Certified Teacher. I achieved this certification in 2009. I am thrilled to be able to start sharing all the work I have done over the past 12 years!

A little about Kristin...
Growing up I had always wanted to be a chef. I always saw myself going to Culinary school and becoming the next big thing on the Food Network. Instead I decided on a school where I could continue playing sports, unsure of what academic path I would take. As I researched the schools that were interested in me as an athlete I came across the Communication Disorders Program at Elmira College. Being a child that spent many hours with a speech therapist, fixing an /r/ distortion, I knew I found my place. My first placement was in a classroom working with children with hearing impairments. I fell in love with ASL and adored that population. I went on to earn my Master's Degree in Speech and Language Pathology at Nazareth College and was awarded my Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech and Language Pathology in 2010. I consider myself a very fortunate person to enjoy my job as much as I do. I hope you enjoy reading about it!