Saturday, October 25, 2014

Finally, resolution

I finally got an email this week stating I am starting back at my old middle school in the Autism program on Nov 5th. It was from the head of HR and there was an email trail from all interested parties agreeing to this date. Phew, what a stressful bunch of weeks and I am so glad it's resolved!

So now I am having to plan for when I start. I am going to stick with the curriculum map I did in the spring and which is posted on my old blog , which you can access here.

First up for science is rocks and fossils. I am still looking for resources, thank god for TPT, and am planning a trip to the Burke museum in Seattle to look at fossils to start the unit off.

 For social studies, we will be working on South America, and the geography, music, culture, etc of this continent. Looking forward to this one. Our field trip will probably include a south american restaurant, so we can practice ordering, money, etc. This will take place later in the month.  My goal is to tie our curriculum to community based instruction, twice a month all day, and do more local trips in our neighborhood to practice all of our life skills, three or more afternoons each month.

And finally, for social skills, we are going to focus on starting Superflex, and table manners for Thanksgiving. I am bummed that I missed Halloween, but it is what it is.

These are my main stations that will change monthly. The others are static or depend on IEP goals. Since I didn't start the school year with them, I have no idea what they've been doing except that they tried to follow my plan. So first up will be assessing their skills and then I will make changes once I have gotten the lay of the land, so to speak. I am so looking forward to this move and settling down in a program that needs me!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Holiday freebie

I have been planning for a job I don't actually have. I was supposed to transition to it yesterday, but in the end my current principal refused to release me even though she had originally agreed to a transfer and a date had been set.  I will probably end up having to leave the district so I can find meaningful work in my teaching field, unless she miraculously changes her mind. So frustrating, especially since our contract says I can transfer at the semester without having to get anyone's permission. Of course there won't be any jobs then. One of my favorite sayings that actually brings me calm in stressful moments is, "And this, too, shall pass".  Looking forward to the time when this is actually true.

In the meantime, I was planning for a unit on Holidays around the world, starting with Halloween. We are an international school, so this is one way to incorporate some world culture into the curriculum throughout the year. I have purchased some TPT products to teach from, so these are just extra. One is a Power Point presentation, that can also be printed out as a book. You can find it here. Holidays included are Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Ramadan, Obon. I will likely add videos and an art project to each, but haven't gotten there yet since I am still in flux. Hopefully I will actually get a chance to use them.

The other one is a picture sort of these same holidays. They can be used as a stand alone, or to make this book interactive. I also have some questions that go with this (but they are at work, so will likely post them tomorrow), where these sorts can also be used. Just print out multiple copies of what you need. You can find it here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

God bless SLPs!

My job is still in flux. This has been the crappiest start to my new school year, by far. Yesterday morning I was set to start my new job on Monday, and today that move is dead in its tracks. I have now gotten the union involved and am hoping for resolution soon.

In the meantime, my current students are a joy. I have just 2, and then during our 1st period every day, I have an older girl, an ex student of mine actually, who is doing some transition work in my room. She acts as a TA and levels books, cuts laminate for me, and does odd jobs I need done. She also works with the kids and they really respond to her! In the photo below, she is in the one in orange, taking a break and enjoying the musical interlude.

This past Wednesday, the SLP came into our room and brought her guitar.  We formed a small group and she played all kinds of songs. It was a truly  wonderful session and my students absolutely loved it! In this picture, the SLP is playing, my one student held her wrist the entire time she was strumming, and both students had beaming smiles. It was such a fun moment, and then to see my students respond and be so focused, it just made my day! God bless our service providers for the excellent work they do to reach our lowest students!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 this the last CHANGE??????

because my heart can't take anymore, lol.

Talk about long, drawn out start to a new school year. I interviewed last Friday for a k-2 position in an autism program. They called my middle school principal for a recommendation. He texts me and asks me if I am looking for work, because there is an open position at my old school. I tell him only if it is in the autism program. He does his magic and there is suddenly a vacancy in the autism program. (No people were harmed in this decision). Then I get a call from the Elementary school, offering me the K-2 position. Then the AP in the school I am currently in calls me in and tells me she heard that I might be going to the middle school, how can she keep me at the high school. This all happened in the last 24 hours. And all of a sudden I have to make a decision about 3 different positions, and make it by 4 pm today.

 My heart has been palpitating all day, to the point where I have a greater appreciation for folks that suffer from panic attacks. At 3:30 I  had a meeting at the middle school that ended with a full blown interview, with people that I had worked with for 6 years so it seemed weird to me, but that I was not prepared for. And right after this was when I had to call folks and let them know my decision.

 Even though it was stressful, stressful, STRESSFUL, I made the decision to go with what is easiest for me at this time of the year, and that is the middle school autism program that I put together last year, and left at the end of the school year for my current, about-to-end position. I know the staff, students, and the program, and have curriculum maps for the year.  Soooo, after I made that decision, and the calls, I was second guessing myself. What if I made a mistake?????? Don't you hate that??? But the decision is made, so that is that. I went from feeling very job insecure, and rightfully so, to having jobs coming out of my ears. And that has been the start to my school year. Now I need to

 do some deep breathing,  and go to my happy place.