Monday, January 28, 2013

Rough Days

Today was a ROUGH one.  It began with a student throwing a 4 hour tantrum in which I got head butted, kicked, punched in the face, scratched, and bitten.  It ended with a visit to the doctor for a refresher tetanus shot, antibiotics and an antibiotic cream.  In between these things was a lot of time where I supervised the student having difficulty and very little time where I worked with other kiddos.  I hate this type of day.  I feel terrible for the student who had the episode.  When a tantrum of this magnitude happens, you know there must be an underlying issue other than just not wanting to perform a task.  I feel terrible for the other students who did not get to follow any of their typical schedule or receive their typical daily instruction.  I feel terrible for my support staff that had to give up their breaks and lunches and instead had to run around finding ways to keep students who are supposed to be at teacher time busy with other activities.  I feel terrible for myself and my co-teacher for not being able to prevent the event and for feeling like we failed all the students in one day.

Anyway, as special education teachers, we all have these types of days.  In the end, the episode subsided and the student continued on with his day.  In the end, I typed up all the reports, doctored up all the injuries, and tried to salvage any instruction I could for the day.  In the end, I came home, had an adult beverage, a hot shower and cried.  At the end of the day, I am going to bed exhausted but knowing that tomorrow will be better.

Peace out. . .

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Price of Teaching Giveaway!

Check out Brianna's blog for her halfway to 100 giveaway!! Click on her link above and fill out the information required to enter her giveaway. You could when ten free items from her TPT store, now that's a great prize!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Liebster Award!

I was nominated for the Liebster Award :) I feel soooo excited and honored.  This award is given to new bloggers with 200 followers or less (that's definitely me - thank you my 8 followers!!!). I was nominated by Rae at Mindful Rambles.  Go check her out, tons of great stuff!  
And the rules are:

1. Post 11 random things about yourself
2. Answer the questions the nominator set for you
3. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to your post.
5. Leave a comment on this post if you were nominated so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate

My 11 randoms:

1. I have 4 cats (Snack, Scout, Thomas, and Munchkin) and 2 dogs (Simon and BB).  
2. These animals almost caused my husband to dump me when we were dating!  (I had two more dogs at the time - I must admit, it was a bit of a zoo)
3. I grew up in Gray Georgia, which at the time was a 1 red light tiny town.  It is now a metropolis.
4. I started working with kids with disabilities when I was in 7th grade.  My mom made me volunteer at Special Olympics and I was hooked.
5. I have run 3 half marathons.  I LOVE to run and would run more, but I fractured my femur while training a year ago and am still in recovery.
6. My favorite animal is the Hippopotamus.
7. I am deathly afraid of moths and butterflies - they are just so darn unpredictable and could fly into my ear!!!
8. I collect folk art, especially metal fish.  I have multiple pieces by R.A. Miller and am always on the lookout for something cool.
9. I drive a Subaru Outback.  Just bought it a couple of months ago and I feel like I belong in a commercial.  It's that cool.
10. When I was 12 years old, my dad told me that if I wanted a car when I was 16, I had to help build one myself.  He and I rebuilt a 1937 Dodge Pickup Truck and I drove it all throughout highschool.  It still sits in their garage waiting for me to figure out how to get it to Texas.
11. My mom and dad are currently living at my house while my dad recovers from a stroke.  I am enjoying having them here way more than I should!

Now, for my nominations: (though I must admit, I'm pretty sure all of them have been nominated already!)

1. The Autism Tank
2. The Autism Helper
3. Breezy Special Ed
4. Chapel Hill Snippets (ok, she has 215 followers, but I still LOVE her)
5. Mrs. H's Resource Room
6. A Special Kind of Place
7. The Puzzling World of Autism
8. Resource Room Rules
9. A Special Teacher for Special Kids
10. Talk It Up
11. Special Smart Special Hearts

Make sure you jump over and check out these guys.  Each of them provides so many resources, tidbits, stories, and just plain good ideas!!!

Ok, here are the questions I was given to answer:

1. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Hmmm, ability to transport.  I miss my friends/family in Georgia so much and would love to be able to get there and back quickly! 
2. If you weren't a teacher/educator/your current occupation, what would you be?  I wonder this all the time!  I'm not skilled to do ANYTHING else!  I think if possible, I'd love to work with the animals at a zoo 
3. You had to choose: sense of smell or sense of taste. Smell, definitely (as long as it doesn't affect my taste!)
4. What is your favorite genre of book?Trashy mystery whodunits!
5. What is your favorite genre of music?Folk 
6. If you could visit any place in the world, and money was no object, where would it be? Egypt!! (if it were safe as well)
7. What was your favorite subject in school? What was your least favorite? Favorite - Language Arts/Drama; Least favorite - Math
8. What is one way that you do to ensure a healthy lifestyle? Until I was injured, I ran on a daily basis.  Now, I try to drink water and eat healthy
9. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? at least 8, 10 if possible!  I need my sleep!
10. What is your favorite drink, alcoholic or not? Changes on a frequent basis.  I am addicted to Diet Cherry Coke, but I have quit drinking those!  I do love a good glass of wine.
11. Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what? Not sure I would call it a talent, but I can type out words with my toes (using only my big toes)

Ok, here are the questions for my nominees:

1.  What made you decide to work in the field of Special Education?
2.  What is your favorite animal and why?
3.  How do you like your eggs cooked?
4.  What is your favorite childhood memory?
5. What was your favorite subject in school?
6.  What is your favorite drink?
7.  What genre of book do you like most?
8.  If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
9.  If you were able to travel anywhere in the world, money and safety are guaranteed, where would it be?
10.  Where is the furthest you've traveled from home?
11.  Sweet or Salty?  

For all my nominees, copy and paste the above instructions, questions, and such to your blog. And don't forget to comment on my post when you are done, so I can check out some new interesting info about you :)

State Testing - STAAR-ALT (Texas alternative testing)

It's that time of year - Alternative state testing windows have opened!  If you are like me, this has consumed your life for the past couple of months.
I have now administered alternative tests in two states (Georgia and Texas).  Both have had their issues and both have had their perks.
In Texas, our assessment is called the STAAR-ALT.  The test includes a series of standardized tasks that you must perform with students and then evaluate their responses. Tasks come in 3 levels - Level 1 is for your very low functioning students.  It mostly requires experiences with test materials and simple responses to stimuli.  Level 2 is for your students who can make choices but require more extensive supports.  Level 3 is for higher functioning students who can generate their own responses and choose from an array of items.
Each task requires the teacher to make their own materials.  Some are simple, others require HOURS of work!  I have found that there are very limited places to find and share the materials that people make.

Here is a list of the locations I have found that do share materials and resources:
Boardmaker share has quite a few groups created to share STAAR alt materials. . . here are the ones I have joined:
Boardmaker Share Staar-Alt Administrators
Boardmaker Share Staar-Alt
Boardmaker Share Staar-Alt Admin

Region 14 ESC - this is a board that has "stickies" to some websites that provide activities you can perform to practice the STAAR concepts

STAAR-ALT Wikispaces - Has examples of filled out reporting documents.  No pre-made materials but does have ideas of the materials that other people have made

VI TechShare - NOT Staar-alt specific, but tons of links to places you can find accessible books, adapted materials, etc that you can use to create your own materials.

Tar Heel Reader - Again, Not staar-alt specific, but does have teacher and student created stories (can be printed in powerpoint or PDF) that you can use for informational texts, biographies, and other ELA tasks.

Chapel Hill Snippets - Not Staar-alt specific, but many adapted books you can print and use for informational texts, writing, and other tasks.

Sadly, this is it as far as I've found.   If you have any other sites (even for other state testing), please share!!!

I'm back - at least for a little while

So I kind of disappeared from the blogging world for a while.  Things have just been too crazy!  I don't know how those of you who post almost daily do it!  With IEP instruction, state testing, meetings, working after school and doing In Home Training with students, I just cannot find the time/energy to post!  I'm going to try hard to get back into the habit and make time for it.  I may go a little crazy this weekend and post bunches of stuff!!!

For my first post back, I want to share information about Donor's Choose.  This is a website/program that allows you to post a shopping list of classroom items you need and have donor's buy them for you!!!  I have now had three projects funded and I feel like I have hit the jackpot.  
It is so easy to use.  You just sign up for an account, create your personal classroom profile and then add the things you want.  Once you have done that, sit back and wait for your project to get funded and your materials to arrive!  
I have received three sets of books on CD for student use.  These cost over $800 and I never could have gotten them without the support of donors choose.  I also got all four sets of "School Specialty Interactive Reading Books". These books allow my students to interact with text in so many different ways.  

If these items do not seem of interest to you, there are tons of other items you can get for your classroom.  The sky is the limit.  My co-teacher purchased math and science kits for his classroom.  Our art teacher got sharpies, scrapbook paper, and notebooks.  

If you haven't checked into this yet, go do it!  It's an amazing resource and I can't wait to put up my next project!

Sampling of items I've received: