Friday, July 27, 2012

Follow my new blog!

I have changed the name of my blog and moved it so that I could have a fresh start. Follow me at my new blog, Sixth Grade Tales, to find out what happens during my first year teaching!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New Adventure

I have some exciting news to share with everyone.  First, I am finished with my Master's degree!!  I will be moving out of Raleigh this weekend.  It is very bittersweet but I do have something amazing to look forward to....a new job!  That's right, after all the interviews I finally was able to pick between a few different positions and chose to take 6th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies at a school near my home.  I have been waiting to have my own classroom for years now and finally the time has come.  Teachers go back on August 20th so I still have a few weeks to start planning and do some professional development.  Here are a few things that I would like to try to get done before the start of the school year.

1.  Take a vacation!  As happy as I am to get to start planning for my classroom I really need to take a break for anything to do with school even if it is just for a weekend.  I am hoping to go to Dollywood sometime in the next few weeks.

2.  Find some easy but tasty lunch recipes.  I don't want to eat cafeteria food every day and I definitely don't want a sandwich or frozen dinner, so I'm going to be searching Pinterest for some lunch ideas I can take to school.

3.  Read for fun.  I haven't had any time this Summer to read the books I have been wanting to read so I look forward to that.  I still haven't finished The Hunger Games!

I plan on changing the name of my blog now since I am no longer a future special educator and will have my special education degree.  Although I'm not teaching all students with disabilities, I will be teaching an inclusion language arts class that I am looking forward to.  If anyone has any blog name ideas, let me know!  Hopefully I will find time to keep everyone updated on my first full year of teaching.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Finishing up my Master's

Sadly I have been unable to update my blog frequently this year.  However, I am now finished with my internship and all of my graded classes for my Master's degree. All I have left to finish the degree is some independent study work which I will be done with later this month.  It is a great feeling to know that I will very soon be licensed in Special Education.  I have no idea what the future holds as far as a teaching job, but I feel very prepared to take on whatever is handed to me.  This Summer I will be taking 2 different PRAXIS tests in order to gain certification in Middle Grades Language Arts and Special Education: Emotional/Behavioral Disorders.  While this Summer isn't as relaxing as I would like, I am so thankful to have gotten as far as I have.  A few years ago I would have never thought that I'd be doing as much as I am now and have learned the amount that I have.  Getting a Master's degree has really inspired me to be a continual learner.  Throughout the process I've realized that no matter how many classes I take or how many books I read, there is always more that I can learn in order to be a better teacher.  It is especially rewarding to learn when you are doing it for your own good and not for the benefit of others.  I am lucky enough to be ending my degree with a 4.0 and what makes me the most proud is realizing that I did it for myself.  Not once did I say to myself, "I have to make an A so that 'so and so' will be impressed."  Rather, I worked hard because I enjoyed what I was learning and wanted to take in all that I could.  

I challenge everyone to learn something new for themselves.  Really think about something you want to accomplish for yourself. I had absolutely no help from anyone in deciding that I wanted to get my Master's but now I'm very grateful that I did what I wanted for myself.  

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
Abraham Lincoln

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.
Napoleon Hill

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Problem Solving Graphic Organizer

I have been looking for a good graphic organizer to help my students with word problems.  After looking at a few different ones I decided to come up with my own. It is pretty self-explanatory and I hope that my students will quickly memorize what goes in each box on their own so they can use the organizer on tests and when doing homework. 

"Doctor" Math

I found this within this article. I wanted to save it because I believe it will be a great way to teach problem solving skills in the classroom while allowing students to be interactive.

Simulation Vocabulary
• Patient = Problem 
• Symptoms = Arithmetic Vocabulary 
• Diagnose = Choose Operation  
• Operate = Solve  
• Final Check-Up = Is The Answer Reasonable? 
Group Roles: 
• Chief of Surgery = Leader – Poses Question 
• Pathologist = Identifies The Facts (Symptoms) 
• Diagnostitian = Chooses Arithmetic Operation 
• Surgeon = Solves The Problem 
• Cardiologist = Ensures That Team Got To The Heart Of The Problem – 
Operation Was Successful

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer is around the corner

I haven't had a chance to blog lately with end of the semester assignments and exams.  It's currently finals week and I will be done next Wednesday for the semester.  This has been an amazingly busy semester but I believe I have learned a lot about Special Education.  Now I find myself checking teaching job vacancies every hour in hopes of finding the perfect job this Fall.  I need a break though so I am hoping to have plenty of time this Summer to enjoy some things in Raleigh that I haven't done yet. 

Here is my list of fun Summer activities: 

1) Check out Pullen Park
2) Go skating at Jellybeans
3) Grill out
4) Go to the beach
5) Go to North Hills for beach music.
6) Farmer's market trips
7)  Picnics
8) Try locopops
9) Fishing
10) Lady Antebellum concert

Anyone else know of fun things to do in Raleigh or nearby over the Summer please let me know!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Individual Reward System

One of the student's I tutor has a hard time staying motivated when we work on reading comprehension and phonics.  A reward system motivates him to try his best and stay focused. The systems I have been using have cost me a lot of money because I would have to continue to buy rewards too often. I am implementing a new variable reward system using a deck of cards. Here is how it will work:

1) Whenever I want to positively reinforce student behavior or something the student does well (correctly answering a question, using a strategy we have discussed, etc) he will get to flip a card over from the deck.
2)  If the card he flips over is hearts then he get's additional reinforced by adding a check to a table I have created for him.
3)  If the card isn't in the hearts suit then we continue to work and he isn't additionally reinforced.
4) On a sheet of paper I have a table with 10 boxes per row.  For every row he gets fully checked I will bring in a prize.

At the beginning, I will make reinforcement easier so he understands the concept. I will do this by allowing him to check a box anytime he turns over a black card.  After a few days of this, I will change to reinforcing him for only the hearts suit. I really like that this system will allow me to fade rewards by changing what card reinforces him.