Using the Klassroom App to Connect with Student Families

Monday, April 20, 2020

This collaboration is brought to you by Klassroom and features my unbiased experience using the app.

Distance learning is upon us. Sigh. As someone who works with teachers in many different school settings, I have found one commonality: overwhelm. We weren't trained for this, I am not tech-savvy enough to figure this out, I can't connect with families the way I need to, there's too many resources to sift through right now. IT'S A LOT - plus, we're coping with a woldwide pandemic.

Increasing Student Independence with Classroom Plants

Saturday, January 25, 2020

As special educators, we are always working to foster independence in our students, and have them leave our classrooms as independent as possible. When I was a classroom teacher, I had a classroom pet, as well as a few plants that were wonderful for students having natural and meaningful classroom jobs. As someone who loves plants but doesn't exactly have a "green thumb", we went through quite a few plants before we landed on a few that could survive in our classroom!

Caring for living things helps students stay engaged, build their self esteem, and can really help with community building as the class is working together and rooting for one common goal. 

The cool thing about plants is that they all require different things to thrive. The hard thing about plants is that they all require different things to thrive!!!! A double edged sword. Writing out directions for plants and giving students the responsibility to know what each plant needs is just another level of independence for them - in life we often have to read directions to know exactly how to do or care for something, so this is super functional!

Unpacking Executive Functioning Skills

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Everyone talks about executive functioning skills, but they often seem elusive, really abstract, and like a catch-all term. So, what ARE they and how do we target them if they are areas of need for our students?!

Thank You Notes for Donors Made Easy

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

As special educators, we know so many of us spend hours of our time crafting perfectly worded projects, GoFundMe requests, and grant applications. Our students need so many specialized materials like sensory tools, leveled book sets, orthopedic equipment, communication supports, seating accommodations... the list goes on. Our schools (sometimes) fund what they can, but it's hard with many of our school budgets that just don't meet the needs. 

During my years in the classroom I was a QUEEN - I am talking thousands and thousands of dollars of projects funded for my classrooms. I became so well versed in writing projects and maintaining the requirements like a well oiled machine. You can check out some of my tips here. One of the most time consuming parts of the projects is creating thank you notes for donors. It's so necessary, but it can be hard to find the time and find the right way to accommodate thank you notes so they're authentically from your students.

I created some simple and engaging thank you notes for my students to complete so we could send meaningful yet quick thank yous out to the amazing individuals who donated to our classroom.

3 Ways to Support Students That Elope

Monday, October 14, 2019

Ah, elopement. No, I don't mean secretly getting married - that actually sounds intriguing! I mean students who run away - from the area, from the setting, from the classroom, from the building. It's one of those behaviors we generally cannot ignore, and is incredibly disruptive to student learning.

For the sake of this blog post, we are calling it eloping or elopement - a more respectful way to discuss this behavior. After all that's what it is - a behavior. I also encourage you to refrain from calling a student "a runner" - something I hear so many education teams using (Unless you're referring to a kiddo on the cross country team!!).  As someone who formerly described students in this way - I get it. But I know better now, so I have replaced that term with saying "a student who tends to elope when _________."

Did you catch what I did there? "A student who tends to elope when _________." That when? That's the secret sauce! And, the perfect intro into 3 ways you can support students that elope.

10 Simple Ways to Support Students with Anxiety

Monday, August 19, 2019

1.) Stay Structured
Anxiety can stem from just about anything, but it's so common for a child to feel anxiety about their daily schedule. Always having a daily schedule posted (and maybe an individual version for any students that need it) with visuals and written words can be a huge source of comfort.

2.) Designated calm spaces
Calm corners aren't just for kids who have short fuses. Having a universal space for any student in your classroom to retreat to when they're feeling big emotions can make your classroom feel so much safer.

Top 10 Sensory Tools for Elementary Students

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Whether you have a designated calm corner in your classroom or not (though I think you should!), having sensory tools in your classroom is a must! Sensory tools aren't just for your heavy hitters, students with diagnosed disabilities, or the wiggly ones - they're for everybody! They can help students when they're dysregulated, give students tools to use to keep their attention, offer a helpful break from academics, and more. I think we can all agree that every student needs access to those opportunities! Here are my top 10 sensory tools to have available to your students (in no particular order!)

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