Special Education February Blog Hop

A great group of Special Education Teachers and I have joined together to have a month-long blog hop full of awesome surprises!  

Bright Idea: A Perfect Way to Display Student Work

 Yay!  The Bright Ideas Link Up is back!  I hope you all had a restful holiday season.  We had a wonderful time with both kids old enough to understand what was going on.  The excitement was electrifying!  

I am super excited to catch up on some bright ideas from my blogger buddies!  I have been inspired by so many wonderful ideas since this link up started last year.  My bright idea this month is all about displaying student work in an easy and attractive way.

The Real Teachers of "Blog" County

One of the biggest misconceptions about teachers that have blogs is that they have picture-perfect classrooms, flawless lesson delivery, and dream class lists.  In reality, we are just like you.  We share a lot of the same struggles you have.  

One of my blogger buddies, Hilary from 2nd Grade is Out of this World came up with a great idea to give you all a sneak peek into the reality of our classrooms.  Welcome to the first installment of The Real Teachers of "Blog" County.

When you walk into my classroom, it looks pretty good.  I take a lot of pride in keeping my classroom neat and organized.  There is a place for everything and I like everything in it's place.  

But I have a secret...

I am a closet messy person!  If you look behind the curtains or in any of my drawers, you will find a semi-organized (at least to me) disaster.  

Here is a peek under my desk.  This is actually pretty clean.  I am getting observed this week and my principal will sit in my seat so I will clean it out one day after school.

One of my parents sewed me shelf curtains for my bookshelves and a few of my tables.  I have them attached by velcro and love that they hide my disaster.  

This cabinet is so bad, that the junk on the top shelf falls down on me when I open the doors.  Some day I will clean it out.  Not today!

My desk is embarrassing!  I feel bad for an substitute that needs to get a pen out of my drawers.  You never know what you're going to find in my desk.  

I can't even tell you want is hidden in my classroom behind the curtains and in drawers.  It is my intention every summer to clean it all out, but I always get caught up in other more important, i.e. more fun, things.  

Show us your mess!  Join the fun and link up with us!

Next month, we will be disclosing our secret hoarding stashes!  See you again soon!

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Do You RtI? (and a giveaway!)

The short answer?  Yes!  

Every good teacher uses RtI strategies!  Most of the time, you don't even realize that you're doing it.  We use other words for the things we do:  Differentiation, Preteaching, Reteaching, Modifying, etc. 

A few years ago, our school district changed our whole RtI process.  We used to only look at the kids that were really struggling in class.  Now we look at every kid.  That's right!  Every single kid!  Of course, we spend more time on some than others, but every kid gets at least a piece of time.

So one of the things that we are really focusing on this year is documenting all of the interventions, no matter how small.  It is something that some of us are having a hard time with because a lot of what we do is just plain ol' being a great teacher!  We have to switch our thinking to list some of those interventions that don't seem big enough to be worth mentioning.

One of the biggest misconceptions about RtI is that we feel like the interventions NEED to be big or NEED to be a "program".  Maybe we feel like it only a specialist can deliver the intervention.  Nope!  Great RtI starts with the smallest interventions that you can do right in your classroom with little effort!

Here are some interventions that you may be already doing in your classroom without even knowing it:

*  Having a student sit in the front row.
*  Giving math facts practice for extra homework.
*  Reading with a buddy during study hall.
*  10 minutes on the iPad playing reading games before dismissal.
*  Checking a planner before packing up.

Those are just a few easy things that we use in our classroom but there are so many more examples.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Mentoring Minds to see if I wanted to test one of their products.  I checked out their website and immediately knew that I needed to get my hands on some of their RtI materials.

Last week, I received this:

I was so excited to flip through it!  So excited that I brought it to another training because I couldn't wait!

Oh my goodness!  I LOVE it!  There are so many great ideas and strategies.  The layout is easy to follow and it even divides the strategies up by tiers.  

Another thing that I really like about this flip book is that it includes behavior strategies as well.  A few months ago, I attended an RtI training and the one thing that really stuck with me was that we need to first figure out if a student's deficit is caused by a "will" problem or a "skill" problem.  The behavior strategies section gives ideas to attack a "will" problem head on!

My most favorite part is that it is small enough to fit into my RtI binder.  For awhile, we had giant posters all over our conference room walls with different interventions listed by tier.  This is so much more practical.  It can actually fit right in the inside front pocket with no problem!

Want to hear more good news?  Mentoring Minds is allowing me to give away another RtI Strategies Flip Chart (valued at $25) here on my blog! Be sure to enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So be confident!  Trust that teacher brain!  RtI isn't as intimidating as it sounds.  Most likely, you're using many strategies and interventions without even knowing it!  

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