SOL Review Fun
Posted by newbie-tchr at 9:10 pm in students, Web finds that work

Hard to believe, but it’s already that time of the year – total review for the SOL’s and then 1 month of teaching whatever I want before summer. While the review hasn’t been the most exhilarating thing in the world to plan, it’s something that has to be done. (especially since I’m trying to snag this job for next year – wanna look good!)

The biggest dilemma thus far has been that all of the computers are reserved for the tests – which means that all those cool online resources are totally unusable in my classroom. Now I have managed to get around it with some creativity, by using my own laptop and a loaner from the library – but it is a far cry from the many activities I had planned with online flashcards, games, review sites & the like.

The one site I’ve managed to use on both my own and the loaner has been, which is free for most parts of the site. Only a few review games require a password, but I highly recommend navigating it a bit to see if there are any public review games you could utilize in your classroom.  To accommodate the lack of technology, my 7th graders have been doing a lot of paper copies of review sheets…a lot. Going just two weeks with computers has reminded me how much I take them for granted in the classroom – and how much I hate the copy room. (Why is everything always broken in there? Are paper jams REALLY supposed to happen that much?)

Tuesday is the big day though, and I’m really anxious for the kids to do well. Granted I’ve only been in this longterm subbing position for two and half months, but in a way I think it reflects upon me – and there’s no doubt I want to look like a viable candidate for the job. Fingers crossed that the week of review we’ve been working on helps, and the kids ace it.

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IEP part Dos
Posted by newbie-tchr at 12:49 pm in 1

Last post I talked about the IEP meeting I was excited to go to – and after being delayed three times, we finally had it today. Woohoo! Keeping in tradition with how everything has been has been handled with this poor kid – it went horrible

First off, the teachers, SPED instructor, case manager, parent & child all meet in the conference room. And who should be 20 minutes late? The translator – because he’s not important or anything. After sending two people out to get him, the case manager attempted to start the meeting having the child translate for the mom when no one was returning with translator in tow.

While we really didn’t have much else to do without him, the mom was understandably irritated & I couldnt help think the entire time what a bad message we were sending the student and the parent. Walking away from that meeting, (which ended up lasting only ten minutes once the translator came) I felt like the attitude the school had the entire time was “why can’t you just speak English.” Yes, it was difficult, but between the tardiness and the frustration seen in the staff, how could the mom or student walk away feeling like something positive happened?

I don’t normally complain a lot, but what’s frustrating me so much in this situation is that this is a girl who both needs and wants special ed services. Yet, the school does nothing to help her out. In fact, they go out of their way to do nothing. Yet there are other kids who are lucky enough to have parents who can advocate them, and despite the fact that the kids are apathetic and don’t want help – we have to pull out every stop. It just gets so frustrating to see good kids miss out on advantages they’re entitled to because their parents don’t know how to manipulate the system.

It just gets so aggravating, and I’m still not sure what I can do about it.

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IEP Madness
Posted by newbie-tchr at 3:12 pm in 1

I’ve yet to figure out if it’s an end-of-the-year thing, or just a 7th grade thing, but the IEP’s seem to be piling up lately. With in the next week or two, I’ve got three meetings with different students. So far I’ve volunteered for those that I could go to, partially because I want a chance to meet the parents, and partially cause I think it’s nice to hear if other teachers are seeing the same thing I am.

The one that I’m most eager about is on Friday, and it’s for one of my favorite students – which actually isn’t the only reason I want to go. The reason I’m so eager to go is because I personally think the school’s been ignoring the girl’s needs all year, and she needs an advocate. Apparently in her IEP it states that she has a read-aloud requirement for tests, assessments, etc…but for some reason, no one notified any of the teachers. It was only after I started to ask around about her poor test scores that it came to light.

The only reason it really bothers me is because there are plenty of students who have parents that are constantly arguing for their kids, and this poor girls’ parents don’t understand that they have the ability to. So, my hope is that by going to this meeting, I can at least help make sure that someone is there looking out for her best interests.

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8 weeks left!
Posted by newbie-tchr at 8:53 pm in 1

The end of the year is coming up, which means that the SOL’s are too. Because of the constant test prep, the laptops and computer labs have been claimed for the next month. Tragically for this blog, that means my technology finds for the next month will be restricted to those I can use on my laptop alone.

On the bright side, maybe this means I’ll find some realllllly creative ways to incorporate technology into my classroom.

On a side note, why in the Lord’s name are state SOL’s so much earlier than the end of the school year? There’s almost a full month between the SOL’s and the end of the school year, which means that unless I hear otherwise, hope my kids are prepared to learn about a unit called “random things I find interesting that there wasn’t time for during the school year.” Unit full of US history conspiracies and oddities – YUP. This girl’s pretty excited.

Quickly before I go – used this site for some fantastic lesson plans about the Civil Rights movement, check it out!

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