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End of the Year Scramble

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We are in the final weeks of the school year, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.  We are about to step into the long-awaited summer vacation, but some of our stir-crazy students have a difficult time with that wait.  It can be difficult to harness their attention toward productive activities, especially as the academic load lightens up. In this post, we’ll cover some ways to help positively engage students in directing their attention. 

If there is a lot that needs to be accomplished and students are becoming unfocused, remind them of the classroom expectations...

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C.M. Corner: Offering Breaks

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Sunshine.  Green grass.  Field trips.  We’ve officially hit the countdown to the end of the year.  As the month finishes, students become more distracted than normal and keeping them engaged is more difficult than ever.  With all this additional stimulus, students tend to daydream, zone-out and chat with their neighbors more.  Often, verbal redirection isn’t enough to snap them back to the desired attentive behavior.  One way to help break through this slump is to offer a break.  If you’ve worked in special education, you quickly understand the power and importance of offering breaks. ...

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C.M. Corner: Handling Disrespectful Students Who Don’t Know They Are Being Disrespectful

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A student points their finger at you and says “You’re a substitute teacher, I don’t have to listen to you!” Or . . . A student raises their hand and commands you to “Tell Jimmy to stop bothering me.”  In either case, as the teacher in the classroom you are uncomfortable with the way you’ve been addressed.  You’re unsure how to respond. Let’s assume there is no malicious intent.  From their tone and body language, they don’t even realize their being disrespectful.  Sound familiar?  What can you do?  Here’s a series of steps:

 

  1. Move on....
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Specific Learning Disabilities

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Did you know that 10-15% of school aged children have a learning disability1?  There are a lot of misconceptions about Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD).  SLD is not a limitation in intelligence or inability to learn, but more in how to translate the information.  These students learn differently than their rest of their peers.  However, SLD is not just one thing.  It is a broad term that encompasses several different learning disabilities like Dyslexia (perception of letters/reading), Dysgraphia (writing/forming letters, numbers or words by hand) and Dyscalculia (understanding numbers...

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C.M. Corner: EBD

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Special Education can be one of the most rewarding places to work.  You get to watch students learn new techniques, skills and behaviors and get the chance to really build positive connections with them.  However, no two classrooms are alike, so it can present a challenge in needing to adapt to the various students that you are working with.  One of the most common needs that people work with in education is Emotional Behavioral Disorders.  Below, we have put together some tips on working with these students.

First, be honest and straightforward with your students and be aware of...

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C.M. Corner: Autism

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If you have worked in both regular education positions and special education positions, it is not hard to see that behavior looks and is managed very differently.  We hear quite frequently that some people don’t want to work in special education because they don’t know what to do or don’t have any experience in the area.  However, if you are flexible, willing to jump in and you care about the students you’re working with, then there is a lot of value you can add to those positions.  In the next few posts, we are going to look at specific areas of special education to help give some tips...

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CM Corner: School Staff

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When working assignments, we can feel like we receive a little direction and then are thrown into the day and it is either sink or swim, especially when approaching student behavior.  These situations can cause people to feel very alone when dealing with the various situations that come our way.  However, we there are several resources available for you throughout the day, the other staff members in the building!  We’ll look at how classroom paraprofessionals, the teacher next door and the office/behavioral staff can aid in managing student behavior.

Regardless of your position, as...

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C.M. Corner: Unintentional Bias

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Miscommunication is a common occurrence in everyday life.  However, working in our positions, sometimes that miscommunication can unintentionally cause larger issues.  This can cause students to feel judged, criticized or excluded and in turn, those students will often misbehave because they feel a lack of safety and care.  This week we’re going to delve a bit deeper into how those miscommunications may cross lines of prejudice and discrimination.  Understanding that this is a very sensitive topic, we are going to objectively discuss how this may occur through our language, behavior...

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C.M. Corner: Understanding Difference and Background

In the last blog post, we discussed how technology has changed and driven culture, influencing how students interact with the world around them as opposed to adults.  However, this is only a small aspect to consider in the grand scheme of the human experience.  Living in the United States, it is no secret that we are a “melting pot” of the world’s cultures and there are a multitude of differences within those cultures.  The same thing is true of our classrooms.  Each school we walk into will have a wide variety of students from various ethnic, economic, religious, political and social...

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C.M. Corner: Technology Culture

In the next couple of C.M. Corner posts, we are going to be looking at culture and how that impacts learning.  When we hear the term culture, regarding people, we often think to ethnicity or a geographic area, i.e. American Culture or urban/rural culture.  The dictionary defines culture as “the customs, arts, social institutions and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.”  If we use that definition, we begin to understand that cities, individual schools and even smaller groups of students will each have their own cultural difference.  A person’s cultural values...

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