Monday, April 21, 2014

Teaching Organization...

Teaching kiddos to internalize and take responsibility for organizational skills is probably the most important life lesson that we teach each day.

When you look into their little desks you know which kiddos know how to organize their materials and keep up with their work.  It seems that those sweet little babies who need help getting organized are also the same kiddos who need help "remembering" to turn their work in.

I came up with a simple solution that can grow with kiddos as they go through elementary and is very simple to create!  I simply took all the different strategies/modifications that we normally use and put them ALL.INTO.ONE.LOCATION! Crazy simple!  Y'all...hands down one of the simplest and efficient strategies I've ever done!

The front of the binder is simply what "reward" will they get for finishing all of their work.  Each time they complete an assignment than they earn four minutes of "play time" at the end of the day.  They can earn up to 20 minutes per day.  Half the picture represents only two minutes were earned...this is a cheat for me to calculate the time!  So on this binder the kiddo earned 18 minutes of dinosaur "free play"!
The inside of the front cover is where I store the pictures that are "to be earned"....

Inside the binder I have one folder for each subject area that I monitor for the student.  I put the work for the day on the inside pocket that is labeled "work to be completed" and they are responsible for moving the work over to the "finished" side.  When they finish one subject assignment I check the assignments on the "finished" side of the folder.  If they have finished the work in the allotted amount of time then they earn a "sticker" for the front cover.

At the end of the day I calculate their time and discuss with them all of the work they completed.  The VERY END OF THE DAY is when they earn their "free play time" activity.

I plan to put a zipper pouch in the very front of the binder.  If a student has a picture schedule as an accommodation/modification that requires a picture schedule I could/will also put it in the binder...the binder will STAY AT SCHOOL.  It will not be used as a communication log for school and home.  I want to think of it simply as a "portable desk"!  The front will have the materials that they will need FOR.THAT.DAY.ONLY!  Yes,this will require a little extra work...but I will have a check sheet for them to keep track of what they are supposed to have inside that pouch for that day.  It's a process that has to be taught! 

I'll post more pictures as I "perfect" the binder! 

The goal is for them to be INDEPENDENT LIFE LONG LEARNERS!  This will be a very beneficial skill for them for the rest of their life!  To me, that's a win!

What strategies do you use for teaching organizational skills to your kiddos??  I'd love to hear about them!

Lots of Love!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brett's Battle...

So for a few months I haven't had much interest with be honest, I haven't had much desire to do anything.  I originally started blogging because of my graduate classes...shortly after I discovered that I really enjoyed it and that I was able to meet some pretty amazing "friends" through blogging!

Before I start...I have to be honest, I've debated sharing this story with others.  My husband and I have prayed about it and prayed that it wasn't true.  I now feel that I am at a point where I can share this story.  I have accepted that it's happening and have decided to use this as an outlet. 

Usually, when I'm down or not wanting to do something I use the motto: Suck it up, Buttercup!

But my sweet, sweet angel has been having his own battles.  In March, we noticed our little angel's hair had "thinned" slightly.  So we took his little angel heart to the pediatrician...
 MARCH 2014
 The pediatrician did some lab work and sent us to a regular dermatologist. Nothing! They said his hair would stop falling out because it was at the end of the cycle. 
At the beginning of April his hair still hadn't stopped falling out! We were dumbfounded at this point and returned to the doctor. We told them other strange behaviors we notice...excessive thirst, EXTREME hair loss, constant complaining that he was hot, excessive irritability, easily tired...still they said he's fine!
 APRIL 2014
Mid April we went to a pediatric dermatologist...who is a saint in our eyes!  She immediately said this was NOT normal! She immediately told us that someone his age shouldn't not be having these symptoms and that these were signs of an autoimmune disease...she documented his hair loss and all the other symptoms.  Took photos and then sent us to get his head shaved (what little there was left) that she could document growth and changes in his hair growth cycle.  She was so sincere and honest...even when what she had to tell us wasn't the best of news to deliver.  We are now working with a pediatric dermatologist and a pediatric endocrinologist...hopefully soon we will have answers.  Until then all we can do is pray!  We are so blessed to have this little man in our lives! 

Thank you to all of you who have continued to follow my lil' blog and to those of you who have joined while I've been on my hiatus.  I am so grateful for all of you!  Hopefully, now that we are working with such amazing specialists we will have answers and I can continue to blog!  

Lots of Love!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Freebie Story Bird...Have Ya Heard??

Have you heard of a digital story telling site called Story Bird?? need to go there (after you read this post :o))! It is a site that allows you to create your own "books" using photos they have. It was soooo EASY! Seriously! You can create your own projectable books on topics of your units of study! What a great way to teach "writing across pages" at this point in the year with your littles!?! Seriously! Check mine out... Here is a free short book that I created for projection on teaching colors to young learners using Story Bird. Please check it out! What other great digital story telling products do you use?? I'd love to hear about 'em! Brandy