Sunday, May 26, 2013

Whole Brain Teaching

I'm a little late to the whole brain teaching party but I think I'm going to try it next year, at least a modified version of it.  I read a little about WBT last summer on many of your blogs but I had enough on my plate with a new, very different position.  As I'm wrapping up my first year as a classroom teacher, I realized that using some of the WBT ideas may have helped eliminate some of the we-had-spring-break-and-now-it's-summer behaviors I'm seeing now.  Here is how I'm modifying WBT to fit my special education classroom.

First, I'm not a fan of all of the whole brain teaching rules like make smart choices & keep your dear teacher happy.  Those are not specific enough for my students.  I changed them around a little and here is what I came up with: 

1. Listen when someone is speaking
2. Follow directions quickly
3. Raise your hand to speak or stand 
4. Work quietly (with all of the adults talking to kids during independent work time, it gets noisy - this way I can remind everyone to work quietly)
5. Be kind, be safe, be honest 

I am going to have the class recite the rules each morning with hand motions.  When the class is getting noisy, I'll call out "Rule 4" and they will recite rule 4 with hand motions as a reminder.  This year, we don't really revisit the rules a lot and there isn't a system for doing it.  I think that the repetition of the rules will help keep the kids in line throughout the year.

Next, I am also adopting the Whole Brain Teaching class-yes call and response as well as the "hands and eyes".   I like that the students have to respond with the way I speak so if I whisper, they whisper.  

I think that Mirror would be too hard for my students.  They would be so focused on copying my hands that they would have a hard time listening.  I'm also not doing teach-ok, switch, or the scoreboard.  
 
I've made posters for my rules in a few themes (all editable) if you are interested.
                                        Cats                         Super Heros                      Dinosaurs

                                                Wild Things/Monsters         Frogs in a Pond

Click the pictures to be taken to the items.  If anyone wants a different theme, let me know!  I'll be adding more as I get free time.

Is anyone else trying WBT next year?  What classroom theme are you thinking about doing next year?


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day & Getting Ready for Next Year


Mother's day is tricky in my room.  Many of my students don't live with their parents.  They are in foster care or live with grandparents now.  I don't want to make a huge deal about mother's day and make any of them feel bad so I combined it with a science unit. Mid-April we planted flower seeds as a part of our plant unit.  I made these super cute clouds/castles to go along with our Jack and the Beanstalk read aloud.  I used them to label the kids plants.  One of my students with Autism sat and waited for her magic beanstalk to grow.  She was so disappointed that the seeds didn't immediately produce a giant plant! Now that the sprouts are growing nicely, the kids are taking them home to their moms (or just home) for Mother's day.  (The blue planters I found in Target's dollar spot)



(These pics were taken a while ago, they are bigger now!)

I know that this year isn't over yet but I'm getting SO excited to start getting ready for next year!  I have so many ideas for Monday Made It! I'm glad that I keep seeing posts about all of you who are doing this too!  Next year, I will have ANOTHER new position.  I will either be a 1st-3rd grade 12:1:1 teacher OR a 4th-5th 12:1:1 teacher.  (For those of you who don't know, a 12:1:1 room means there are 12 special needs students, 1 teacher, and 1 aide).  Not knowing is driving me nuts!
If I had known which class I was getting, I would have bough soooo much more during this sale (I'm hoping to find out next week-fingers crossed)!  

I can't resist getting ready for next year so this is what I bought (click on the pictures to go to the product on TPT): 

Umm...this is actually for this year.  I love the memory book & awards!

I used a prize catalog last year but then this year I inherited a giant prize box so I decided to go with it.  Next year, I'm going to do both...they can choose the prizebox or a prize from the catalog.  Of course, I HAD to have the rules to go with it:
The Five Bees Promise:  5 Simple Rules for Any Grade!

This unit looked like so much fun so I couldn't resist!  I figured it could work for whatever room I get.

If you've made it this far, I have a question for you: What position would you rather have:  1st through 3rd grade or 4th and 5th grade?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free E-book

Happy Teacher Appretiation Day!  

Remedia Publications is giving away a free ebook (up to a $7.99 value) with the coupon code: EBKTHX
Wonder Stories (Reading Level 2)
I love these Wonder Stories books.  They are full of high interest reading material written at lower levels.  Head over to rempub.com to get yours!  Offer ends at midnight tonight.  

Everything in my Teachers Notebook store is also on sale until Friday.  Stop over and check it out :) 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sub Prep {Freebie}

The last few weeks I have been grading state tests and going to CSE meetings.  This means prepping for a substitute.  Since all of my students have special needs, I always end up leaving a ton of notes for my subs (medical needs, behavior plans).  I was in desperate need of a sub binder.  I looked around at different sub binders online but they all had extra info that I didn't want my sub to have to look through - we don't have tornados so I don't need a spot for tornado drills but we do have a 3R drill.  I decided to create my own and I made it completely editable.  It only took me about 20 minutes to put mine together.  I felt so much better once it was done.  I knew that my sub had all the information he/she needed to get through the day.  Here are a few pics: 
    
Editable cover (section dividers also) & a Class Roster page with room for pictures

     
Pages for class management, routines, and schedule have open text boxes so you can completely customize it to your room.  If you need more pages, just copy & paste that slide.  The transportation list is also editable so you type in the different types of transportation your class uses.  

     
 There are also pages for important student info, student modifications, where to find materials, directions to school locations, and emergency drills (again all customizable).  
I've also included a classroom tour page for a picture tour of your room & a how was your day sheet.  
I cut these out and clip them to the binder.  The sub can then clip all of the papers he/she collects throughout the day with these labels.  It makes it easier for me and them.  There are also blank/editable labels.  
Click here to get this for yourself :) 

I was also tired of trying to come up with tasks that I feel comfortable with a sub doing but that still fit in with my curriculum.  I scoured the internet for activities that my students could do  pretty much throughout the year.  That way, I can prep materials for a few sub days in September and not have to worry about having outdated, irrelevant activities.  I put together some generic lesson plans - just check off a few things and add any class-specific notes you want to leave for the sub!  Of course you also have to print out the materials but I've even found them for you (all free online)!  My sub plans are completely free...stop by my Teachers Notebook store to grab your copy! 


I used these last week even though I knew I would be out ahead of time.  It was so much faster than writing the crazy sub plans I used to write.  If you haven't already made a sub binder & emergency plans, I highly recommend it!  I felt so much more prepared having these two things set up. 

If you need a binder, this one is a great deal (77 cents!) on amazon right now! 


Thanks for Visiting Happy Teacher Appretiation Week!
{I'll be having a sale in my store this week to celebrate all of you wonderful teachers!}

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