All Treats and No Tricks for Teachers!

Everyone knows that the best part of Halloween is the treats!

That's why your favorite group of secondary bloggers has decided to share their best treats with you this month!

My treat for you is a writing intervention.  

Our Middle School students are knee-deep in essays and they seem to have "brain-dumped" everything they learned last year.  Even though we have reviewed all the things they learned last year, it's as if they all have selective memories.  So...I made these:

These are outlines (frames) for informative and argumentative essays!  

On the left, it tells the students what type of information is required and on the right is space for the student to write the matching sentence.  

It's very simple and direct  - made especially as a writing intervention for students who need more structure or scaffolding than a traditional graphic organizer.

Now this is not the "be all, end all" but it is a good start for students who have essay writer's block.  :) 

ELA Buffet by Darlene Anne and Desktop Learning Adventures by Pamela

SPED Spot Sunday - ELA!

Do you have students with special needs in your general education class?

I work with middle school teachers every day (well, not weekends) that are in this boat.  They each have a subject area that is their specialty but struggle with what to do to help kids with special needs.  

As an ELA and Special Needs Inclusion Teacher, one of my jobs is to help the teachers find ways for students to be successful.   So then this week I thought, why not share these ideas on my blog too?   

That's how the idea of #SPEDspot was born! 

Each Sunday I plan to share a quick inclusion idea for a specific subject area.

This week, I am focused on ELA.  The teachers at my middle school honestly do a great job explaining things in class.  I know because I visit them often as an inclusion/facilitator teacher.  Plus the textbooks are consumable so kids can write in them.   So why aren't the SPED kids being very successful?  

They don't make connections.  They don't really see how all the lessons connect to the final embedded assessment essay.  They need structure to tie it all together.

So what do teachers do to help?

They use graphic organizers!  This doesn't mean just the traditional Venn diagram or web.  I'm talking about checklists, interactive notebook flipbooks and foldables.  

Let's just start with checklists.  I was just working with an 8th grade Language Arts teacher who wanted his students to edit and revise their rough drafts.   He thought they would just read each other's papers, use the proper proofreading marks and voila!  editing would be done. (Not so much with SPED students.)  So I gave him this:

This gives the SPED students some structure to follow.  I made sure I went to his most challenging class to see how it worked.  I saw kids who would normally just sit and look at the paper actually working with the checklist and proudly showing me what they were able to check off.  (I just wish I had remembered to take pictures!)

You can get an editable copy by clicking {here}.

Next week, I will post about interactive notebook flipbooks and foldables.  However, in the meantime, please check out this great giveaway with a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift certificate and a chance to win a bundle of 17 ELA products!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by!

Top 3 Classroom Behavior Tips!

You know the honeymoon stage at school, right?  That's the time when your new students are on their best behavior while they figure out who's who and how they fit in or can attempt to take control.  This stage usually lasts about a month until one day for no particular reason, things seem to go awry.  

This is how it happened to me one year:

I had a very quiet young man who rarely said anything to anyone.  He sat toward the back by his own choice and was completing assignments.  Then one day,  he snarled at me for asking him a question.  I think I literally took a step back because I was so shocked.  Another student said something to him like "Hey man, all she did was ask you a question" and before I could say or do anything else, he jumped up, threw a desk over and left.   

Now that's an extreme story of the honeymoon being over but since I teach both Middle School ELA and SPED, I am often asked about behavior management when it is over and things get a bit rough (but hopefully not as rough as I described).

So today, I offer you my Top 3 Classroom Behavior Tips!
They are in order of least intervention necessary to most intervention necessary.

This is my favorite and has served me well for nearly 22 years.  I pass out raffle tickets for answering questions, for being kind, for scoring a 100% (2 tickets) or in the 90-99% range (1 ticket), for paying attention and for winning an academic game.  

Then on Fridays, I do a drawing.  I have 3 boxes - 2 have something the students like and one is a "zonker" - usually a school supply.  If the student's name is drawn, he/she can choose one of the boxes or the "sure thing" - candy from my jar.

How many drawings do I do?  That's the beauty part.  As the week goes on, I keep a tally of how many times the class is cooperative.  When they are not so cooperative, a tally mark is erased.  On Friday, I draw as many tickets as there are tally marks.  

Now throughout the year I offer tickets for all sorts of other things too - like on time homework or the best essay.  These types of rewards also equal more tickets - I generally go with 5 or 10 tickets depending on how much of a "big deal" I think the behavior is to me or to the class experience.

I also love passing them out when I catch someone doing something good as a model to other students.  When I have students who do not get the reward and say "Where's my ticket?", I respond with "If you had met the expectation, you would get a ticket too.  I am sure you will next time."  

This is another one that has brought me some great results.  I borrow the student that is causing disruption from his class on my planning period and have him walk with me while I run an errand.  On this walk, we talk about the disruption, its source and discuss solutions.  We might even put the solutions in writing.  

This is powerful because you are walking and so it's not "just another lecture".  In fact, it's more like a brainstorming session and you can always refer back to it with the student.  

This is a new strategy that I have just started this year.  Why this year?  Well I am teaching an ALL Special Needs Learning Strategies class with 18 students that each have their very own special need.  It is challenging to say the least.   So I needed something new that could meet the needs of each student.

Enter behavior cards!

As I greet each student at the door, I hand him/her a card with one specific behavior goal for the period.  If the student meets that goal, he/she gets a reward at the end of the period.  Since I use the ticket system from above, I give them 5 tickets.

This has been a complete game-changer for me!  I have had far less redirections and disruptions overall and it has made all the difference.  

If you have special needs students in your general classroom, you might need even more ideas for working with your students' challenges.  If so, then you might want to take a look at my

Ready to Use Special Needs Strategies for Middle School Teachers.  Comes in a handy flipbook for easy reference!  #classroom #education

This handy little resource provides research on inclusion and accommodations and then has "Grab and Go" that give you ideas for helping students with these specific challenges:
-identifying main idea
-mathematical concepts
-completing assignments
-staying on task

Thanks for stopping by!

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Spooky October Fun in Middle School!

I love to have some spooky fun with my middle school students and so I'm excited to join Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner for this month's Pick 3!

Here's a fun little activity to get your kids up, moving and thinking!!  You could easily have students defend their reasoning for a little practice with the concept of evidence.  

I confess.  I have loved reading "The Raven" or a Poe short story at this time of year.  However, I realize it would be good to branch out and attempt to compare some other spooky short stories with Poe.  Of course, that's also a perfect set up for a great argumentative essay with evidence!


Last, but not least, this is the perfect time of year to bury those "dead words".  I like this example because not only do we let a certain word rest in peace, we can see a nice list of other words to use instead!  I know some of these will appear on my wall soon!

Before you go off to check out some other great pins, you might be interested in this:

Just click on the picture for more information.  :)

An InLinkz Link-up

Thanks for stopping by!