Veteran’s Day Activity for Special Education

I love holidays!

I also love allowing my babes to have access to learning about said holidays just like their peers. That’s really important to me. That my kiddos get to see, learn, and do the same things as their peers.

For those of you who may not know, I teach 4 beautiful children with severe intellectual disabilities. And they are perfect in every way. They may not speak or walk the way some children do, but they have so much love in their little hearts and they are the BEST at expressing that love. Yes, even without words.

So I try to give them the most exciting, engaging, and meaningful education possible while still meeting their physical and medical needs. That means that I hit all the same standards as my regular education colleagues. And when there aren’t materials readily available so that my kids can participate, I make them. I make a lot of materials.

Recently I’ve begun putting some of those things on Teachers Pay Teachers. My thought is this: If I can help just one special education teacher out there give their students some access to what their buddies in the general education classrooms are getting, I think I’ve done an okay job at being a special educator.

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So this week we’re learning all about veterans, Veteran’s Day, and how the U.S. armed forces serve and protect our country.

What an honor it is to teach.

Princess Teacher

Today was a weirdo day. First day back from break = Basically the first day of school. So from the start it was slightly different feeling. But then the real kicker… I had no students. None. Zero. My classroom was completely empty.

Weird.

But somehow it worked out as a HUGE blessing in disguise because I was able to spend the day in a class and a grade and with a group of kids that I never get to spend time with. And if I’ve learned one thing from teaching it’s that every new experience with children will teach you something.

Today I learned that I like being a “princess” teacher. What is a Princess Teacher, you ask? I believe it is a teacher with 3 qualities: 1. Patience. 2. Genuine interest. & 3. A little bit of silly.

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  • Patience. With a room full of silly kids it can be hard to come by, but first and foremost I want every student I encounter, even the ones that I don’t instruct, to see me as someone that they can trust and that will listen to them. I feel like that only comes when they see that you’ll hear them out without losing your cool or getting distracted.
  • Genuine interest. Because every child WANTS to be heard and seen as an individual and seen as something special. Asking about their day in the midst of a crazy classroom shows that you care. And why not embed the things you already know they love into your teaching. I got to do this today with a little one that so badly wanted to share with me details of her trip to her aunt’s house over break. 5 minutes of math led to 1 minute of allowed storytelling that led to one giant hug and smile.
  • Finally… if the pictures above don’t tell you anything (other than my infatuation with letting little girls and boys place flowers in my messy hair… yes, today was the second Hair Garden. #flowersinhair #dontcare), I hope it speaks to the silly. When I was called Rapunzel today instead of Mrs. Collins, I wasn’t offended in the slightest, especially because it was only on the playground and the little girl’s expression was precious. I think that sometimes we get so caught up in standards and discipline and lesson planning that we forget that we are teaching CHILDREN. Obviously there has to be respect in a classroom, but there can also be a lot of love and a lot of fun!

While I probably get weird looks from other teachers because of the flowers in my hair, I just shake it off because 1. it’s all for the kids, and 2. I’m a princess 🙂

Now that I’m a real teacher…

… I have a real Teachers Pay Teachers account!!

I feel really official.

Today alone I sold 10 products!!! By the way, did you know if was Constitution Day?? I did. And my kiddos were the most festive of kiddos at school. We even wore (well… attempted to wear) hats all day to show our patriotism!! And because I’m a forward-thinking gal, I made an activity for us to do and posted it on TPT. Apparently between 7am and 1pm today there were 10 teachers out there that were told that it was Constitution Day, and I’m SO glad that my little activity came to the rescue 🙂

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I wish I could show you the little smiley faces that wore these hats!

OH! And I also finally posted my Word Wall today.

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Successful day living the #teacherlife.

School’s Out for the Summer!

Jerger Elementary School… You’ve been so good to me 🙂

Reflections from Year 1:

  • Kids take things you say literally. “Bring it down a level” may cause children to physically slump in their chairs. “It’s an emergency” means the police and paramedics are coming, even if you just spilled your water.
  • Things that kids say to you are typically literal. One student told me that he was bringing me roses on the last day of school. Sweet, thoughtful, totally normal. On the last day I didn’t just get roses… I got a rosebush. Haha! Even better! But again, very literal.
  • Making the grade starts somewhere deeper. In school we studied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I remember going “duhhhh”. Basic needs before everything else. Got it. Well, sometimes kids with a lot of potential won’t perform… until you fulfill basic needs such as clothing, functional skills, love, and attention. It’s amazing what a kid can do when you believe in them. Or when they believe in themselves.
  • Relationships are built on love and discipline. Some days there’s more love. Some days there’s more discipline. Sticking by them through the ebb and flow is what makes it real and what builds trust.
  • You’ll think of a better way to teach something… after your lesson. Every. Stinking. Time. But is that a bad thing? Of course not. Self-evaluation in any capacity makes you better. So Year 2 is bound to be… well… less flawed. I won’t say perfect 🙂

Next year will be a challenge. And the year after that. And the year after that. But boy oh boy am I blessed to have finally caved into the field of education 🙂 Can’t imagine any better way to make a living than loving and caring for our future.

Happy summer, ya’ll. From here on out it’s posts about laying out at the pool and getting my nails done 🙂