Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bullying and Your Role as a Parent

The terms “bully” and “bullying” have been getting more attention recently, but do we know what the words “bully” and “bullying” really mean?

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Bullying is different from normal teasing and/or disagreement between children. According to the American Psychological Association, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions. The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying.

What can you do as a parent if you suspect that your child is being bullied? First, you have to observe your child. Not all children are vocal about what happens to them at school. There are signs that you can watch out for if your child is being bullied. Hesitation to go to school can be a very big indicator that your child is being bullied. Increased anxiety, crying, and nightmares, or decreased appetite can be indicators as well. If you discover that your child is being bullied, take time to talk to him to let him know that you care. Try to tell your child that it’s best not to fight back, instead teach him techniques on how to ignore bullies or figure out assertive ways to cope with bullying. Help your child identify friends and adults who can help him if he is worried about getting bullied again. Start documenting the bullying as well, take note of all the scenarios where your child is being bullied.

Next step is to talk to the school where the bullying is taking place. Talk to your child’s teacher about the situation and ask for his help in stopping the bullying. Do this in a calm manner, your child’s teacher may not be aware of the situation so there’s no need for you to be aggressive when you talk to him. Give your child’s teacher the details of the bullying and ask him to intervene whenever the situation arises.

You can also talk to your child’s school friends to make sure that your child has a good support system of kids and adults. If the bullying continues even after you’ve talked to your child’s teacher, the next step is to talk to the school principal to address the issue. Most schools have some sort of anti-bullying policies that are patterned after state laws that prevent student harassment in schools. Review the school policy about bullying and tell the principal about the circumstances. After talking to the principal, give it 2 weeks and follow-up with your child about the situation

If your child is still being bullied, take the next step and talk to the school district superintendent. Write them a letter and wait for a reply. Keep these letters as you may be able to use them if the bullying still doesn’t stop and the school has done nothing to stop it.

If after going through all these steps and the bullying still has not stopped, that is the time to call an attorney. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be filing a lawsuit against the school or the bully; instead, a lawyer may be able to assess the strength of your legal claim and help you look for other options to pursue. Provide your lawyer with all the documentation that you have, including the school policy against harassment and the letter you’ve written to the school district superintendent and their reply, and he will be able to guide you on the next steps that you can take.

Written by HoganInjury

Monday, May 28, 2018

How to Prepare for Parenthood With a Disability

By: Ashley Taylor

We often hear or read about parents to children with disabilities, but what if the story is the other way around?  Little is more exciting and more challenging than becoming a parent.  It’s a daunting responsibility, and as someone with a disability it can be especially overwhelming at times.  A parent is a parent, but when a disability is involved, it comes with its own set of unique situations and challenges.  With some steps toward organizing your home and your life, I promise you can face the challenges of parenthood with confidence.

It’s widely recognized that becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding missions we can take on, but this mom can tell you it’s also exhausting and, at times, terrifying.  Both my husband and I are disabled, and we have two beautiful children, but the journey to get here has had its fair share of obstacles.  However one of the best things I did was to prepare my home ahead of time.  The less you need to do when baby arrives, the better.  

First of all, as Parents points out you should go through your home and evaluate it for safety.  You may be thinking you have lots of time until your baby is toddling around, pulling things off shelves and delving into cupboards, but I guarantee you will feel as if you blinked your eyes and suddenly it’s happening - baby is on the move and the whole house is fair game!  Some simple home organizing and preparations will help keep your baby safe, so do these things now:

     Install baby-proof locks on cabinets throughout your home.
     Organise laundry areas with compartments for baby’s things or add a bin in the nursery.
     Safely stow medications, cleaning products and other poisonous materials in locked cabinets.
     Prepare an easily accessible drawer with items you will need regularly, such as baby spoons, bottles and dummies. 

Another important preparatory activity is to contemplate what equipment will be helpful to you and add it before baby’s arrival.  You may find more devices and gadgets to add later, or may need some modifications, but I can’t emphasize enough, the more you can do ahead of time the better!  Some experts recommend creating your own specialized equipment or finding someone who can do it for you if you can’t find commercially available products that meet your needs. 
Cots.  One of my favorite designs offers a swinging door for better accessibility.  There are also cots available with doors that lower and are lighter weight for easier management, as well as adjustable overall height.  Some clever designs can be manipulated with one hand. 
Carriers.  Baby carriers that work with wheelchairs and have easy to manage clips and straps will make your life so much easier!
Buggies.  Some buggies are designed to work in conjunction with wheelchairs, and some are lightweight and easily manipulated.  Some even include detachable baby lifters.
Pushchairs.  Look for pushchairs that allow for adjustable heights and come apart easily for washing. 

If you discover you need financial assistance in preparing for this big adventure, there are a number of grants available you should explore.  I found a great online resource through Disability-Grants. 

Be creative in how you manage activities, and you can even involve your child in the problem-solving process.  Sometimes babies can modify their behavior with signals from you.  For instance, one study found that a baby learned to curl up kitten-style for mum to be able to effectively place him in a carrier.  Her secret?  She tugged his clothes the same way prior to lifting him every time.

As you go into parenthood, it’s vital to be aware of your personal needs.  Believe me, parenting is exhausting and stressful, so I agree with the professionals who advise engaging in a self-care plan in order to have sufficient physical and mental reserves for baby.  Establish some healthy coping methods, eat right, and get enough rest.  And definitely don’t set the bar beyond reach; being too hard on yourself is a classic parenting blunder.  Guilt and stress are not your friends!

The bottom line is you’re going to be a great parent!  Make some preparations at home and gather your resources.  Stay creative through the process, take care of yourself, and get help when you need it.  Parenthood is a big challenge but you’ll be a smashing success!

Ashley Taylor                                   


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Reading and Writing CVC Words: Part 2

Piggy-backing off of my first set of CVC Task Cards, I have created a second set to keep the novelty alive in your classroom :)  CVC Task Cards can be used in a variety of ways, and is an excellent tool for your CVC resource collection.  

You can use this resource as a scoot game, a writing center or word work station, a read and write the room activity, an assessment for progress monitoring, an early finisher bucket activity, to build speech, vocabulary, or phoneme segmentation, or as an intervention tool with a tutor.

To scaffold the students independence, I begin the lesson by reviewing the 24 picture cards. This is a great way to build vocabulary, too!  For example, when showing them the "cot" picture card, several students called out "bed".  Rather than correcting them, I encouraged them to think of types of beds.  After hearing bed, mat, and mattress, another student shouted out "cot".  This left us an opportunity to talk about what a cot is, and places we might see cots.

After making sure the students know what the pictures are, I then pull a couple cards to practice phoneme segmentation, breaking apart the sounds in the words.  We then do a shared writing activity, modeling how to write the CVC word independently.  

For my first grade intervention group, I chose to use these as a scoot game. Although scoot games are traditionally thought of for a whole class activity, I find it to work great in a small group, as well.

After each student gets a recording sheet, I then give each student one CVC card.  They write the CVC word in the corresponding space (there is a number in the top-left of the CVC cards, and each space on the recording sheet is numbered).

In a small group, I can easily monitor who needs additional help or extra time.  Once they write their word, I then say "scoot", and they pass their card to the person sitting next to them.

After getting making it through a round, I then collect the cards, and give them new cards - repeating that until they've written the 24 CVC words.

To store this resource, I like to keep the recording sheets and the CVC cards in a clear container.  This is a great way to leave it as a center, as well.  The kids can simply get a recording sheet, and go through the CVC cards at their own pace.

Add this resource to your collection, by clicking  HERE to purchase CVC Task Cards: Set 2.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

Teachers Pay Teachers Giveaway

I've teamed up with an amazing group of educators to bring you this wonderful giveaway! With $100 you can stock up on task cards, games, centers, and so much more! 


Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher) 


Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 4/13/18 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Puntucation Marks

How often do you pick up a students writing journal and find a page of wonderful thoughts ran together into one long sentence? Or, when listening to students read, do you find they are lacking expression and fluency?  As an academic skills tutor, I see this all too often.  Many students need reinforcement with punctuation when reading and writing.

 To help reinforce this concept, I created these Punctuation Task Cards and Printable Worksheets.

 The task cards were created as an interactive activity.  They can be used as scoot cards for a whole class activity, left in a center or a writing station, as an intervention tool in small groups or guided reading, or set up as a read and write the room activity.  

Students read the short sentence, and write the correct punctuation mark on their recording sheet.  When working with my kindergarten students, I like to read the sentence aloud, emphasizing expression in my voice. 

During the first half of the year, I also read the cards to my first grade intervention groups. I choose to do this because I want the focus to be on punctuation, not on trying to sound out words while reading a short sentence.

My second grade intervention group reads the cards independently, and writes the punctuation marks on their recording sheet.  Rather than being teacher led, they enjoying using the task cards as a scoot game.

As a follow-up to the task card activities, I check the students understanding of punctuation marks with these Printable Worksheets.

The printable worksheets are great for assessments and progress monitoring, homework, morning work, a review activity for tutors, and whole class lessons.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Making Words: Plants and Flowers

Over the past couple of weeks, my Flowers and Plants Vocabulary Cards  have been selling quickly.  With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you all a hidden gem in my store: Making Words Flowers and Plants.

Similar to the Spring resource I recently blogged about, this Making Words: Flowers and Plants edition also includes illustrated vocabulary cards and 10 no-prep worksheets.

Whether for small groups, whole class, or left out as a writing center, Making Words can easily be modified to meet the needs of your students.

For example, some students need reinforcement on transferring print, letter identification, and letter formation.  For these kiddos, I would have them write just the word. 

Whereas, kiddos who need the challenge to work on writing concepts, I would have them produce and write a sentence using the focus word at the top.

First, the kiddos cut out the scrambled letter tiles at the bottom of the page.

Next, they glue the letter tiles down to BUILD the word at the top of the page. After building the word, they either write the word or a sentence, and DRAW a matching illustration.

Here is an example where the student wanted to use the illustrated word card as a reference when drawing his illustration.

 These illustrated word cards are also great for a pocket chart display left nearby a the Making Words center.

When done, they can self-check their work by checking off each section (at the top of the page), including BUILD, WRITE, and ILLUSTRATE.  This could also be an area for you to mark their effort in each skill. 

You can download Making Words: Flowers and Plants HERE

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring Writing Center

 Today, my kindergarten intervention group worked on building vocabulary, concepts of print, and writing skills using the Spring edition of Making Words.

These no-prep worksheets made it simple to establish an engaging activity that not only met the individual levels of each student, but the Kindergarten and 1st grade ELA standards, as well.

We began our lesson by discussing the illustrated word cards that come with the resource.  These Spring words include basket, bunny, eggs, flower, butterfly, snail, umbrella, rain boots, and Earth Day.  The students would tell me what they are, and give me a sentence using one or more of the words.

Next, I allowed them to choose which word they wanted to build and write about.  Since today was the last day I'd meet with this group before Easter, I wanted to limit my selection to the Easter-themed words: eggs, bunny, and basket.  After returning from Spring Break, I will extend the lesson with the remaining words.

They selected the Making Words worksheet that had the word of their choice, and began cutting the scrambled word tiles from the bottom of the page.  Next, they BUILD the word, gluing the letters in the correct order.

After building the word, they WRITE the word.  To challenge this particular group of kiddos, I had them write a sentence using the word - rather than simply copying the word.

As you can see in the picture below, this boy wanted to use the word cards as a resource when writing his sentence. The word cards are a BONUS and can be used several ways, such as on a seasonal word wall, posted in a writing center, in a making words center, as a pocket chart activity, and as vocabulary cards for quick language building exercises.

After writing, they DRAW an illustration that matches their sentence.

This resource is wonderful because it can be used in a Making Words center, as a Writing Center, as a whole group, or during small group intervention.  It's also a simple activity for parent volunteers or tutors to do with the kids. 

You can purchase this Making Words: Spring resource HERE

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Read and Write the Room: Spring

Spring has arrived! During this time of year, your kiddos are likely  springing around the classroom eager to get their energy out.  Here's your perfect solution: Read and Write the Room

This Spring themed activity is excellent for engaging your active learners in 
vocabulary, reading, and writing. 

Simply choose which level your kiddos need, hang pictures around the room, and send them off with a clipboard and recording sheet. 

Level 1: Recording sheets have pictures that match the cards hung around the room. 

As they find the cards, they record the word next to the matching picture on their record sheet.

At this level, the kids are tracking and transferring print, along with building vocabulary, visual discrimination, and letter formation.

If your kiddos need more a challenge, you can simply print and prep Level 2 (also included in the Read and Write the Room resources)

In Level 2, students are searching for pictures based on beginning sounds, rather than simply copying the words.  These picture cards DO NOT have the words. 

The kiddos find the picture that starts with the letter on their recording sheet, and write the word using inventive spelling. 

"I love that this product is differentiated! My students who are ready to look at pictures and write the word have their set and my students who need more support are able to find the pictures and copy the words. Thank you for the differentiated product!" (Brittany W.)

"My class is seriously IN LOVE with your Read the Room activities!  Thanks so much"
(Rachel C.)

You can purchase and download this center activity, HERE.

Whether at home or in the classroom, this will be sure to keep your kiddos engaged in learning.   Set it up around the room, use as task cards, a scoot game, or leave in a writing center for a small group... when you purchase this resource, your options are unlimited! 

Thank you for stopping by!