The Amazing Way that Picture Rings Can Be a Behavior Incentive

Friday, October 7, 2016
Last week I posted an Instagram Story (are you following me? @_missbehavior) showing our class' picture rings, and I got tons of questions about them.

Honestly, they're pretty simple! I use a standard binder ring, a hole punch, and my trusty laminator. I thank my lucky stars on a daily basis that my current school has unlimited copies and a wonderful color printer. In years past I have not had this luxury and have relied on crowd funding sites like DonorsChoose. 

I think the most powerful part of these picture rings is student choice. When I have a spare moment (typically during free time), I have students come to my laptop with me and we find pictures they choose on Google Images. I've had kiddos pick pictures of Ninjago, Hello Kitty, skateboarding, Loud House, sticky hands (those horrible gummy toys in the shape of hands - haha!), and more. I print them, laminate them, cut them out, and hole punch them in the corner.

How to Incorporate Breathing and Yoga to Bring Calmness to Your Classroom

Monday, October 3, 2016
Classroom calmness is NOT easy to cultivate, but it's possible. Here's a few ideas and resources that have worked for me, thus far, in my self contained ED classroom.


Yoga has been the beginning of my journey in creating a calm classroom. I LOVE teaching yoga to the kiddos. It's a great brain break, helps with self control, and teaches so many skills that can be hard to target in other capacities. When I teach yoga, I personally do not use yoga videos. I find that following a person's movements (whether it's you, a gym teacher, or an outside instructor) is way more beneficial than having the students follow a screen. They need the immediate feedback and ability to modify that a live instructor can offer and a video cannot.

You don't need mats, but I have found that they do help with boundaries. I created a DonorsChoose project to obtain yoga mats for my classroom a few years ago. Another idea is to ask students to bring in a beach towel, or you can grab them at a Dollar Tree or 5 Below when in season.


A Few Fun and Simple Ways to Get Your Class Up & Moving!

Monday, August 29, 2016

School started and I don't know about you, but I am seriously WIPED OUT. My class is a group of 6 firecrackers and I have been chasing around after them since day 1. I really wish I was exaggerating.

We have developed some routines in our class that help my rambunctious kiddos stay focused. We do have some fidgets, stress balls, and the like at their desks for work times, but nothing compares to a full blown brain break. Alas, here is my all time favorite fidget - the Tangle! They are virtually silent (well, as long as they don't bang them on a desk, which is a whole different story), they are research based to help with focus, and kids really seem to love them. They're also pretty non-intrusive, and inexpensive! Below is an affiliate link.


Self-care secrets from a (formerly) burned out special ed teacher

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yeah, burn out is real. Most of us hate admitting it, but we have at least towed the line with burn out at some point in our teaching lives. For me, it comes and goes in waves. Some days I make it through the day and no matter how successful, stressful, ridiculous, or exciting my day was, I feel great and know why I do what I do. And some days, I literally go home and fall asleep on the couch with tears in my eyes and my winter coat still on. The struggle is real.

So - WHAT  DO YOU DO?! Well, there's the usuals: get a manicure once a pay period, have several wine options in your fridge at all times, keep a well stocked chocolate stash in the corner of your desk. Please do those things. DO THOSE THINGS. But self care is more than a back rub and a cold glass of Pinot.

And... let me be clear, this is not my strong suit. But I know the importance in taking care of myself and how it directly impacts my students and my relationships with others. So here's some ways that I am working on taking care of myself, so that I am the best teacher, wife, friend, and family member that I can be.


Paraprofessionals... A blessing and a curse...

Sunday, August 7, 2016
If you've ever had a paraprofessional that you've had to wake up from a catnap during circle time or somehow always "loses track of time" and takes a 6 million hour lunch break a few times per week, you know what I mean about the "curse" part of the title of this post. I have had my fair share of paraprofessional experiences, and I'll say I'm thankful to report that most of them have been incredibly positive.

I have never had built-in time where I could debrief with my paraprofessionals, and it drove me crazy. If they had more lengthy questions, I wanted to introduce a new behavior plan, switch to a new data collection protocol (etc etc etc), it was almost impossible to roll it out smoothly. I got approval from my administration to show a movie on Friday afternoons so we could have the time to look at data together, ask and answer questions, and just bounce ideas off of one another. I found this to be incredibly useful, and allowed me to train and implement structured strategies with my not-so-strong paraprofessionals.

So while I just love those paras who end up being our fiercest sidekicks and literally our right and left hands, it's HARD to manage other adults. We cannot control them, sometimes they don't agree with our strategies (like reinforcement schedules... PLEASE JUST FOLLOW IT... gah!), and typically they are older meaning it can be hard to redirect someone who could literally be your mom. But, I will leave you with these images that I hope will encourage you to put in the extra effort to train them well, create positive environments that naturally enforce hard work, and show gratitude towards these staff members that are literally golden.


Mini-Trashcan Makeover

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I. love. mini-trashcans. Let me count the ways.

1.) I just think miniature things are really cute.
2.) My students have always gotten a kick out of them.
3.) Paper scraps. Sticker backs. Crayon wrapper pieces.

I have always used these at small group tables when we are doing literally anything. Instead of the kids going back and forth to the garbage can NINETY TIMES in one lesson (this is such a pet peeve of mine), this little trashcan gives the kids no reason to get up. Then, one kiddo gets the job of emptying out after the lesson. Done.

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