So happy to have our first standardized test done. Woohoo! CogAT done, check! All went well, no drama, no issues and we all made it through.
It seems like this year we are flying and hardly have a chance to breathe, it has been 1 thing right after another. An email from my favorite AP summed it up well, "I was waiting to send this out when there was a lull in activity, but it seems there will never be a break. So here we go..."
She is right. Up next, Parent Teacher conferences this week. I need to get moving on my reading and writing continuum reports for each student. They are electronic this year, which will speed up the process. This is the earliest we have held conferences and it just seems like it is too soon. Unfortunately not everyone signed up for meetings. I am wondering if our attempt to streamline and do things digitally is the reason. Hoping for a smooth week and no drama during conferences.
Special Education. A word that can send people running and screaming. It brings up all sorts of emotions and varied reactions. Since becoming an educator I have learned to view special education differently, but isn't that always the case when you are more informed? The most phenomenal impact on me though was how it changed when I became a mother.
We all want/envision/hope/dream that our children will become the next genius/president/Nobel Prize winner. We see the potential in our children and dream they will achieve great things. When someone sits across from you and tells you that may not happen without lots of effort and your child may need some extra support to be successful in school it can hit you hard. You might have had some suspicions and worries, but that information is still never easy to swallow, no matter how much you might have already known.
I honestly think what made me a better teacher was becoming a mother, and more so having to face that my children will not be the class valedictorian. Don't get me wrong, I would never tell them that, and I encourage them to strive for being the best they can be, but I am realistic. I see where they struggle; I see that they are normal kids, and recognize that they have some weaknesses. Furthermore, I know that the schools can help them work with their weaknesses. So having a teacher say, "We need to evaluate your child for a learning disability." does not freak me out. Instead I am thankful they care enough and have noticed that something might be off, and that they can be helped. If my children were perfect geniuses I might have false expectations of other kids, and be unrealistic in what I believe they should/could do.
So as a mother of a child in our special education program, I am striving to help my students the most I can. I also try to help their parents understand that serving their child through special education is not the end of the world. They will not be labeled by their peers, nor will they receive a second-rate education. I am prepared, I can be empathetic, and I have experienced the process in their shoes already.
This week I had to help break the news that we need to pursue some more testing. I had to help them cope with accepting that special education may be in their child's future. But most of all, I let them know that their child will be receiving the best education possible, and it is important we do not turn the other way because their success is our goal and I want the child to see that they are capable of great things.
This week I also had to sit and have someone tell me that my son qualifies for support through special education. I was so thankful that he is going to get the help he needs in speech. I am thankful we are addressing this now, so he may be more successful when he starts kindergarten. I know this is the right direction to go because he will receive fewer services if we address this issue now instead of ignoring it. Since he is not my first child to go through the evaluation process and I worked collaboratively with special education I was well prepared for the news. Once gain, thankful that my county offers a program to support my children's needs. Early intervention is the key and I know in a few years both my sons will be stronger students because of the services they received.
I recently read a blog about https://planbook.com and I decided to explore the site. I signed up and I am in love with the on-line lesson plan book. It is a total bargain at $12 a year, and you can earn free months if you get colleagues to sign up. I am terrible at writing down lesson plans once the year gets started. I make plans, get going, and with all the craziness the last things to be recorded are my actual plans. Little bits and pieces get written down, but most of the time my plans are random bits. The nice part is you can print lesson plans for the day when you have to leave sub plans. If you are required to list standards with your lessons they have all the standards available. You can also attach files to your plans, perfect if you work on files on your home computer and then need to access/print them on your work computer. Perfect solution for attaching all my great Teachers Pay Teachers purchases since they are always too big for me to email to my work account. Here is a little picture of one of my plans - I only wrote a brief amount for my lesson since it was the introduction day.
An absolute perfect planner for me!
What have you done this year that has been a perfect solution for you?