Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Week 2015: Monday

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin for this year's Teacher Week.  Today is 5 Fun Facts.

1.  I am a wife and mom.  I am married to a middle school teacher and we have two amazing daughters.  They keep us busy and entertained!  

2.  I LOVE to quilt.  I don't have much time for it, but it's a great stress reliever.  Here's one of my favorite quilts.  I made it for a sweet friend who retired a few years ago.

3.  We adopted 2 basset hounds from a wonderful organized called Belly Rubs.  Bassets are the perfect pet for teachers as long as you get at least 2.  They are pack animals and need another dog to be with to be happy.  They sleep about 20 hours of the day!  So, we take them out in the morning and play a bit before school.  They sleep all day.  Play and potty when we get home and then they are ready to sleep all night.  Sweetest dogs on the planet!

4.  I love to read.  My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.  I cannot bring myself to read the newest book Harper Lee released.  

5.  I have taught special ed for 17 years and love it.  I can't imagine doing anything else.  I love seeing kids learn and enjoy going to school.

Well, that's enough about me.  Head over to  see who else has linked up.

Blog Hoppin

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Procedures and Book Creator

I can't believe that summer is over and I am already in my 3rd week of school.  If you are still on summer vacation, enjoy it for those of us back into the school routine.  Speaking of routines, how do you teach routines/procedures/expectations to your kids? I;m sure your first response is, "Practice, practice, practice."  That works great for all of the kids who begin the school year with you.  But, what do you do when you get a new student?  Or, what do you do when a student needs to be reminded of the routines later on in the year?  

I use Book Creator.  (It's a fantastic app that is so easy to use that all of my students can use it independently after a lesson.)  The first week of school while I taught all my routines, procedures, and expectations, we created a book.  When I get new students, they can read this book at anytime throughout the year.  It's also great when a student just needs to be reminded what is expected of them.

We decided to keep it very simple since this was our first week of school and I wanted to make sure that everyone participated.  We created a simple cover and jumped right in to the book.  Here's a few pages of our book.  These pages were focused on showing respect.

I asked students how they show respect at school  I made a list of everything they said.  Then, we decided what was important to include in our book.  We also discussed what picture to take that would show respect.  

My students have a very hard time waiting their turn.  They decided lining up is one time we have to wait our turn.  We also talked about other times throughout the day that we have to wait our turn. (See that little speaker button?  That is a student reading the sentence on the page.)

 The students also thought looking at the speaker was important and wanted to include it as a page.

Ready to learn is one of my favorite phrases to use.  When students are off task while I'm teaching, I just ask them to show me "Ready to learn."  We practice what this looks like and sounds like.  Here are two students demonstrating it perfectly.

Helping other is also important in my class.  This page reminds us we can always do small acts of kindness for everyone we meet throughout the day.

I love using Book Creator for our procedures.  We made several other books that focus on entire routines such as arrival.  When students enter the classroom, we ask them to do several things each morning.  This can be very overwhelming for some of our kids.  By using Book Creator, students can review any routine at any time and as many times as needed.  Since the book has both text and speech, all of my students can read the book independently.   I hope this has given you some new ideas for teaching your routines/expectations.

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