Mental Health Week

Mental Health is unseen and as a result often ignored or not dealt with in the best way. This week Buzzfeed has been making its readers aware of mental health. Many of the posts have been comical but truthful. They are about the challenges that individuals who’s brains process in this way struggle with things others may take for granted. The video seen above might seem a little silly but it is powerful. Have you ever heard the term “spoonie”? If you have it’s probably because you know someone who defines them self as one or you are one. If not here is an article about what being a “spoonie” means.

Mental health is something that is easy to talk about abstractly. However, it is not as easy to talk about in common terms. I wanted to bring this topic to light because for me a students mental and emotional health (or unseen illnesses) are just as valid and important as the ones that can be seen. It is never easy to know what to say to someone struggling with mental health. Sometimes there is no right thing to say other than: I’m here for you, I’m not going to judge you, Do you want to talk?

Many students or parents will be struggling with these unseen illnesses. Here and here are links to the Buzzfeed mental health week opening post and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Remember just like something that can be seen physically a student struggling with something going on that’s unseen needs help too. Here are some ways you can get started in helping.

 

#Breakthestigma

-Miss.Moriah-

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent teacher conference nights can be a challenge to set up but they are very rewarding if everything goes smoothly! They don’t have to occur just once a semester either. If something is going great, or well… not so great you can call or set up a meeting during the year too. Here are some articles and forms to help you have the best parent-teacher meetings you can!

Share and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

This teacher gives some great tips and easy to use forms for parent teacher reminders. There is also a nice one to use the night of the meeting.

-What should my room look like? How soon do I notify parents? What if I think I will need extra time for one conference? This teacher made an easy to read post with some forms for lower/upper elementary.

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Reward Systems

Every room needs a reward system. They don’t need to be expensive though! I’m a fan of intrinsic motivation or fun whole class rewards. I’ve never been a big fan of prize boxes or candy. Too often I see these result in arrangements, tears, and the give-me gimmies. However, if that’s what your students need to succeed then I understand too. In this post I wanted to provide some ideas for classroom reward systems that I like.  These systems and ideas don’t involve a lot of money or candy.

Enjoy and Grow!

-Miss.Moriah-

-This teacher had a fun idea. She put magnets on the back of a large puzzle and the students earned pieces. When it was completed they earned a class prize that was set together.

-This idea was cute! I like catching students helping others and being nice. Plus what kiddo doesn’t love googly eyes?

-I saw a teacher use check registers through out the year with 5th grade students as the reward system. Students had to carefully keep track of the “money” given to them for a perfect attendance day, homework, 100% on a test, being a good buddy, etc. Then at the end of the year there was an auction with class cash. Some items were special like from school events such as a poetry night poster or mask from a play. Others were small dollar store toys.

-Need some ideas for classroom rewards? PJ day, crazy socks, wear hats in class, bring a stuffed animal to school, homework pass, extra 5 minutes of recess, game day for math, movie in the afternoon (perhaps Magic School Bus or Bill Nye) . There are a lot of in class prizes students can work towards!

 

Exit Tickets

Exit Slips

Exit Slips are great way for you to get feedback from your students about how a lesson or the whole day went. They take less than 5 minutes and can be anonymous if you choose. These are informal assessments and can be a nice way to see what students are still confused  or what they really got. Included here are some exit slip examples and ideas. What’s your favorite out the door assessment?

Learn and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

– Check out this article and learn about ideas for online exit slips!

-Want some ideas for exit slip questions? This article has 53.

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Quotes and Inspiration

Quotes and Inspiration

Grades due, gotcha blue? IEPs, 504’s, the acronyms in meetings I can’t take one more!

Sometimes, ok many times, in the year being a teacher can be stressful. You may wonder why the heck did I get myself into this?! I love quotes as little pick me ups of inspiration. They work great not only for me but sometimes for students too (depending on how old the student is). If your students are working on ELA skills like, decoding a digging into meaning, starting the day off with one may not be a bad idea. They are nice discussion points and can be community building.

Since the holidays, grades, and first snow are all fast approaching I think we could all use some words of inspiration to keep us going right now!

 

Keep Calm, Grow On,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”Socrates

“Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults.”Abraham Lincoln

“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”Rita Pierson

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”Abraham Lincoln

“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

*I saw this one recently and it’s a good one for the class wall 🙂

“There’s an old saying: Erasers are for people who make errors. But a better saying: Erasers are for people willing to correct their mistakes.”

“A hundred mistakes are an education if you learn something from each one.”

“We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.”-Smiles

“Form good habits. They’re as hard to break as bad ones.”

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”-Thomas Fuller

 

Technology

“My… won’t load!” The smartboard is broken again…. “This link doesn’t work what do I do now?” “The computer ate my homework.”

Technology is great, when it works. However, there is still something to be said for a book or pencil. They can’t get corrupted (well maybe by a puddle) and they take a lot longer to become obsolete. Having witnessed teachers using programs to teach for them and others who use technology to assist in the learning process, I can see pros and cons in it’s daily use.

Children are not designed to sit and be on a computer for half the day. They are movers and shakers.  This isn’t to say adults are supposed to sit all day either, we just have more patience. Helping students to connect their learning in their brain and body, through the mind and music, or other multiple connections can help with recollection of information. Muscle memory is a powerful thing!

This being said I wanted to post a piece in technology since it is so prevalent in our classrooms. Included are some useful infographics of educational apps and websites for the classroom.

Learn and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

-Do you remember using geoboards? They took up a lot of space in the room for storage and could be challenging for some students to use. With this online version you always will have the colors of bands you need and no one will get poked with the geo-pins!

-This site is cute for students just learning fractions who may need a little more practice at home. The site talks to you and guides you through a pizza fraction adventure. I like it because if mom and dad don’t remember fractions well either the student can still learn independently. The information is read and written plus there are images.

-This educator compiled a bunch on resources for fractions on her blog. Check them out! Many are games or classroom tools.

-Again, depending on your students you will have different needs for technology. I found some of the items on this list more useful than others. But I liked the compilation overall. This list includes lesson planning sites, social learning, and useful tools. With 50 links on the page its worth a click.

-Of course no list of resources would be complete with out this tidbit! So my students are all on their tablets, now how do I make sure they are doing what they should be doing…. Don’t worry I don’t an article to help you out! I hated being hovered over as a student , I’m sure I was not the only one. This article includes tips from teachers on how they handle technology in the classroom. Here are FREE downloadable posters to remind students of some technology rules for the classroom too.

-I have to say I’m not Google Classroom savvy. However, many schools are starting to use this new system. I found this website with  a slideshow telling you all these cool things you can use the online tool for as well as a book (about $20 on Amazon). So if you are new to the product and your school heavily uses it it might be with a glance.

 

-What else can you look for that may not be on this list? Take a virtual field trip, listen to an audio book, play a book on youtube aloud and save your voice, use an app and text about a good day, us the tablets and record the skits your class did for parents to see at conference night. What else can you think of?

RTI and IEP’s

When my parents went to school one size fits all education was all that was in place. Today, we recognize that everyone processes information in different ways and at different paces. Some students need a little more support and differentiation than what can be offered in the classroom by one teacher though. That’s where RtI can come into play. RtI (response to intervention) can be given to all students and helps them catch up or stay on track with their peers. This educational intervention is offered to all students and having it does not require a 504 or IEP plan (which if you don’t know what those are you can read more about in the lower links). However, if a child needs these services RtI help them get on the path to those services by exhausting all other options faster.

        Here you will find links and images for not only you as an educator regarding IEP’s and RtI but, some useful things to send away with parents as well!

Learn and Grow!

-Miss. Moriah-

IEP’s

  • This site has good tips for parents going into an IEP meeting. They provide excellent real world analogies and “we” statements that can be used in the meeting.
  • Looking for IEP meeting tips? This page provides before meeting , what to ask during, and after thoughts. As an added bonus you can find an article to help pick through the differences  between an IEP and a 504. This is a great tool for parents or support staff just learning to navigate the ins and outs.
  • While this PDF is a bit lengthy, it is very useful if you word with students who have IEP’s! This book, now online, was written by a lawyer and an educator to help you best succeed at navigating the IEP world. The book is written mostly in a listing format so it is easy to read. The tips are useful and it is worth a glance if you need help with the ins and outs of IEPs.

RtI

  • Looking for a handout on RtI for a parent teacher conference? Struggling to explain what it is in non-teacher terms to someone in your community?  This handout could be just the ticket!
  • RtI can vary between school districts quite a bit. If you are confused as to what goes in what tier or how to best serve students the RtI network might be able to help you.
  • Are you a classroom teacher that needs to do some RtI? Are you becoming an RtI specialist but a little stuck on what some of the papers your students may need look like? This teacher uploaded a bunch of materials for others to view. I found it helpful and hope you do too!
  • This teacher created reminder bracelets for students as part of her RtI program. Read all about it and get her cool print out here!