Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog Hoppin: Five Fun Facts

I am linking up with blog hoppin to share 5 fun facts about me.
Here we go:
1. This past summer I have become slightly obsessed with coupon apps. What I love it you can earn a little extra money or gift cards and it is easy!
The ones I love are:
Ebates
ibotta
receipt pal
receipt hog If you are interested you can enter this referral code:  gest7490
2. I have  slight obsession with adapted books for my kiddos! I love how you can work on so many skills and they are interactive. They are great for early finishers too!
3. I finished two Masters degrees in a matter of 3 years! I got my special ed. Learning Disabilities degree first and that took a year and a half and right after that I had to go back for my Early Childhood Masters. I even took off a semester to have my little guy Ethan. Now looking back I don't know how I did it, but I did!
4. When I got hired for my job as an ECSE teacher I didn't even really know what I was interviewing for. I was not familiar with what was, but I am very fortunate to have gotten the position because I love it!
5. I have two kids who are my world! I cannot imagine life without them! When I have had a really bad day at work they make it all better just by their smiles, hugs and unconditional love. (I can never get a picture of the two of them smiling together!) 

You can link up here.




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Classroom Management

My classroom management plan has changed from year to year. I have done a stoplight chart, but that didn't work great. Then, I tried the charts where you move up or down, but again for the students that struggle with behavior as soon as they moved down (even though they could move back up). Last year I tried a point system to earn different items (but some of the kids didn't care about any of the items. 
Since starting ECSE six years ago the students have changed a lot! They are coming in with more challenging behaviors or they really do not know that what they are doing isn't appropriate (last year I had a student who hit all the time, but it was meant to be playful). 
So this year I am going to be kind of throwing away the charts and points and clips and going basic!
We are going to (and have been) use social stories, teach the students how to use breaks, and make sure that they know the schedule and what is coming up (visual schedules and first/ then schedule). We are going to model and show them what good choices look like and what sad choices look like. 
I am using Jackie from Pocket of Preschool for Green and Red Choices
I am also going to be using Calm Down Kit from Melissa at Autism Adventures
My kiddos need to learn how to cope with their emotions appropriately and this is going to help. 
Here is a picture of the first/ then dvd case we use. 


You can find a copy of the first/ then here.
 
Here is the visual schedule (the new one is on the left) and I will be attaching it together with rings so if something needs to be changed I can easily add it. Make sure to emphasize when something is done ("All done with table time, now it is time for circle time"). By the end of the year the kiddos are saying it if I miss something.  You can find a copy of the schedule pictures here. 
Well, we will see if this works better than all the charts and clips and points (I think it will) because the focus is totally on helping the students learning to identify their emotion and how to regulate it appropriately. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

How to Stay Refreshed


Well, this is something I am terrible about. Especially now that I have children at home I forget to take care of myself sometimes (ok...a lot of the time!), but I know my Ethan and Madi are only going to be small for such a short time. 
Here are some things I TRY to do (key word try)...



I love working out and this can even be just taking my kids to the park and running around with them!


I try to not talk about work at home at all, but if I do I try to make sure it is only positive talk...not negative!



I try to do all my paperwork at work. If I have to stay a little late to get it done I'd rather do that than bring it home. When I home it my husband and my kids time. Certain times of the year (May!) this isn't possible, but I try to do as much as possible.



I try to get together with my co-workers and do something fun. When we are out we try not to talk about work unless if it is again positive talk! 


Sometimes I am so overwhelmed or frustrated that I want to cry (I still get this way and I have been teaching for 8 years now!), but I find if I can just smile and try to laugh it off then I feel better. Everything will get done and will work itself out. 

What do you do to stay refreshed?!




Friday, August 21, 2015

Social Stories

Social Stories are a great classroom management tool. They teach students what the correct behavior is and how to better control their emotions. Many of my students do not realize that some of the behaviors they are doing are unacceptable or "sad choices". These help students better understand why this is not a good choice. I am in the works of creating a social story bundle. The behaviors in the bundle currently are behaviors we are trying to correct with students in my classroom.

I Can Clean Up (3 options)
I Wait at the Door (3 options)
I Do Not Run Out of the Classroom (1 option)
I Do Not Bite
I Do Not Chase on the Playground
I Do Not Touch Shirts


There are one page social stories that are great to have in the area that the student(s) typically experience the behavior. When it occurs you can take this down read it with the student(s). 


There are small books that are great to read with the class even before the behavior occurs. At the beginning of the year, we read the clean up story so the students know what to expect when they hear the timer and how to appropriately handle clean up. 


When reading it talk about how and why they may feel this way. You are trying to teach the student(s) how to appropriately control their emotions (a very important life skill). 


I also have a chart showing the sad choice and the happy choice. After we read the one page social story I ask the student what choice they want to meet. Most times my students will say they want to make the happy choice. Sometimes they do choose the sad choice and when this happens then I have the student go take a break and will leave the clean up items he/ she was playing with out so when they are ready they will still complete the task. 



Try to keep the social stories accessible for easy use! 




You can find the bundle here. More social stories are being added and if there is a behavior that a child in your class is struggling with let me know and we can try to make a social story for it. 




Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Back to School Sale Today


Make sure to stock up on the More Back to School Sale! It is today only! You can check out my store here. 
 Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Week of School Activities




Here are some of the activities we do the first week of school:

 Sorting good vs. sad choices. I am using Jackie from Pocket of Preschool's pictures this year. 
You can check it out here. 
Making their birthday crowns and placemats. 

 Flip It, Say It and Stamp It back to school words. 


You can find that freebie here.
School Sensory Bin
What other fun activities do you do the first week of school?!