April 24, 2013

Best Guest Blogger! The Resource(ful) Room

Hello Everyone! Amy here from The Resource(ful) Room! I am so excited to be guest blogging for Tina and wanted to give you all a better look at who I am as a teacher, and give you a peak into a typical day in my classroom! I hope you enjoy!!

Where do you teach and what do you teach?
I teach reading and math to special education students in 4th- 6th grades, plus a couple of intervention groups for grades 2, 5, and 6! I am currently teaching in Elkhart IN, and love it! I am at a wonderful school, I am so thankful for my job.

How long have you been teaching? 5 years

What is the hardest part of your job and what do you do to get through those hard times?  
The hardest part for me is defiantly the paperwork involved with special education it always needs to be done at the end of the year when so many other things are also happening and it can get overwhelming. I usually know that it’s going to be a rough time so I clear my personal calendar and make sure I don’t take on any extra tasks at that time. And I stock up on chocolate!

What is your favorite thing about teaching?
I love seeing a child succeed. Especially children who never believed they could succeed before! Every headache the paperwork gives me is worth the smile on a student’s face that feels success and knows that they can do great things if they work hard! Hands down the best thing about my job

Why did you become a teacher?
I started out volunteering at my own children’s school and quickly fell in love with the classroom. My son had an amazing kindergarten teacher who exuded enthusiasm for her job. Volunteering in her room turned into making lots of fun new activities for the kids on my own and her encouraging me to go for it and head back to college. The next year I helped her with a couple of students who needed extra special attention. I fell in love with those two precious little girls and decided to pursue a degree in special education so I could help more students like them!

What grades have you taught?
I have taught every grade Kindergarten through twelfth (special education}.

Which grade/subject is your favorite?
I loved, loved, loved teaching Kindergarten and first grade students. Then I was moved to upper elementary grades and taught 3rd through 5th, loved that just as much. I was moved again and taught middle school/high school which I did enjoy but didn’t LOVE! Right now I am teaching 4th-6th and I LOVE IT!! I still see things that make me want to create for littles again but this age group really “gets” what you’re teaching them. It’s a wonderful time when kids just really start to bloom and the learning gets so much deeper. They can sit down and listen to you!! They can work independently!! They can give you some real feedback!! It’s just a great age group to see grow!

I love teaching reading and writing. Since I was in kindergarten myself I have had a love for books and wanted to write one myself. I love sharing that passion with my students. I think reading opens the doors to all the other subjects. Math is fun and I do enjoy teaching it just not as much as I enjoy reading and writing.
Does your state use the Common Core?
Right now we are still using the Indiana standards in the upper elementary grades, but will be transitioning to the common core in the next couple of years.

What are your thoughts on the Common Core?
Like many teachers I know I see the good and bad of the common core. I like the idea of national standards that keep everyone on the same page at each grade level. I love the idea of integrating other subject matter such as science and social studies into reading and language arts. However I think increasing expectations have been placed on students who are developmentally ready to conquer them. Speaking from a special education standpoint it will be quite the feet from my students to achieve the standards required to get a high school diploma. I don’t feel that they should just be pushed through without the skills necessary to become productive citizens there has to be a balance somewhere. We still need vocational/technical skills training for those unable to meet the rigorous demands of the common core. I don’t want to say my students can’t do it, but for some it will be so overwhelming that they just won’t stay in school and that makes me very very sad. With the proper training they could hold good jobs and contribute to the economy and their own families as adults, without it I fear they will just leave the educational system and end up on a very unproductive path.

What are some of your “go to” blogs?
I love reading other blogs! Special education is my heart so some of my favorites include, Extra Special Teaching, SpedVentures, Ms. Rachel’s Room, and The Lower Elementary Cottage.

Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging to share my ideas with others. I would get so excited to create something new and hands on for my classroom and didn’t have anyone to share that excitement with so blogging was the perfect outlet!

Do you sale/buy on TpT or another site?
I just started selling on TPT in Jan. I don’t have a lot there yet but have plans to get a whole lot more out there this summer!

Who are some of your favorite sellers on TpT or another site?
I love Christina Bainbridge’s stuff on TPT she is amazing! I also like Kelli Bordelon she has amazing writing units that have greatly increased my students motivation. Kelley Dolling has amazing hands on units, and Tracy Tegeler has awesome non-fiction resources!

How many students are in your class?
Right now I have 6 students on my official caseload but I see about 20 students during the day. I believe that education can’t really be split into special education/general education so I’ve worked with my grade levels to include students in my groups who need the same instruction that my students with IEPs need. We mix it up according to what we are teaching; some of my students with IEPs don’t come to me if we are teaching something they don’t need the extra instruction in. I love how this has worked this year!

How many teachers are on your grade level/subject team?
We have two general education teachers per grade level and I’m split across three grades so I work with six other teachers when planning and preparing for groups.

And now that you know all about me as a Teacher, take a look at how I run my classroom!
What is your schedule like for your classroom?
I wanted to give you all a little peak into this so here is what a day in my classroom looks like…………

7:30-8:30 I have prep period, I love having this time in the morning to get everything ready for the day. At 8:30 my day with students gets started and here's what we do!

8:30-9:00 I teach a 2nd grade Success group, the students and skill we are working on change every three weeks. Right now I am working with the enrichment group on story retell.
Today we read a passage, I had sticky notes all around the room that had different elements of the story. On the anchor chart I placed the six elements we are working on. Students took turns finding sticky notes and placing them under the correct categorizes.  At the end they turned and retold the story to their partners!

9:05-9:35 6th grade Success, again this group has been fluid and the skills we focus on change every three weeks. Right now I have four students working on basic reading skills.
We are working on contractions!

9:35-10:45 6th Grade Math - I have eight students and we work on the general education curriculum with extra support and practice and basic math facts.
We always start with a warm up of review skills for the unit. Once everyone has completed that we do our lesson from Everyday Math. We usually end up with a game that helps with math facts like multiplication ZOOM or Snap It Up! Today we were reviewing for a test. I placed questions from the practice test on sticky notes in a can, students drew the notes out and worked the problems on their paper. Once they had them correct they went to the board and share with the class how to do that particular problem. Then we switched problems and everyone got a chance to work that problem on their own.

10:45-11:45 - 6th Grade Reading - I have 8 students. We start with a warm up writing activity then we work in pairs and complete four "centers" we call them rotations.  
 I give them a topic and set the timer for three minutes. They have to write the entire time, this was difficult at first but they have gotten much better throughout the year!
I display the reading rotations on the TV, I don't have a projector so this works for now. Each of the four rotations is listed with what they have to do at each station. The arrows have the names of the students in pairs and direct them where they will start for the day. Once they start they rotate around the room clock wise. Each center is 15 minutes long and it has worked WONDERFULLY for me!!

In the computer center they work on a program called Raz Kids - it gives them leveled stories to read and take quizzes on. Once they complete a certain number of quizzes they move on to a new level. They love it, it's super easy for me to set up, and it gets them reading!!

In the Vocabulary center they use words from our word wall in different ways. I've had them create comic strips, write sentences and illustrate them, I've done various matching definition activities, and their favorite I used scratch off stickers to create lottery tickets where they scratch off a word and have to try and find the matching definition under another "scratch off". 

In the fluency center they are reading leveled text timing themselves and tracking their words read in one minute. They keep the graphs in their reading notebooks and I check over them daily. They have made some great progress. On Friday's I have someone helping me and they read to her to check their progress with an adult.

In the comprehension center they work with me. Right now we are Reading the Magic Tree House books and we made these awesome Folded booklets to track our comprehension. (I'll be blogging more about those some other time)!

11:45-12:30 - 5th grade math - pretty much the same as 6th grade! We do a warm up activity then the lesson from Everyday Math. 
 We were also reviewing for a test today! We used white boards to solve problems I posted on the board!

12:30-1:15 I have lunch - Every third week I have Recess duty from 1:00-1:15

1:15-1:45 - I do one on one interventions with the students who have IEPs. I didn't get any pictures because this is mainly them reading aloud to me, doing multiplication and division problems with flash cards, or another specific intervention where it's just them and me working on a skill they need so I couldn't stop to take a picture of it.

1:45-2:15 - 5th Grade Success - I have a group of three right now who are working on reading fluency. They read aloud to me one at a time, I give them a strategy to work on then they read to themselves while I work with another student. Again I wasn't able to get a picture but I think it is self explanatory!

From 2:30-2:40 I have dismissal duty (helping students cross the road to go home)

Right now on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday I run a homework club after school for 5th and 6th graders to get help on their homework. This is an extra duty that I don't have to do but I like it!!

So there's a day in my classroom! I hope this is helpful to someone! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you'll visit me back at my blog!

1 comment:

  1. You inspire me to make my classroom so much more organized. Great use of the t.v. I’m having a giveaway please stop by http://littlelearnersinc.blogspot.com/2013/04/science-writing-and-art-oh-my-and.html