Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Students with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Freebie

Children with ODD frequently argue and throw tantrums. They get angry a lot and show their anger through disruptive behaviors. These actions make it hard for children with ODD to maintain positive relationships. They also do not like to comply with adult requests. Normally, they become angry when an adult makes a request because they feel that the request is not reasonable. I'm going to suggest a few things that may help manage a student that shows signs of ODD. 

1. Avoid I statements. Examples: "I like the way you ______." or "I really wish you would ______." Instead give praise that makes them feel ownership over the task or choice they made. Using I statements make the child feel like they've lost control. 

2. When providing directions during class instruction, be sure the student understands the purpose of the assignment. This can be a challenge because the student may not agree with the purpose. Try to connect it with something that they like personally. 

3. Students with ODD, a lot of times, do not like public attention. Praise them privately with a thumbs up, post-it note, or even a brag note to the parents! 

4. Constructive criticism should only be given in private! Always start off with something positive and, allow the student to express their concerns.

5. Give the student a personal schedule. This will allow the student to refer back to the schedule at any time of the day. This will give them security and could easily eliminate some behavior issues. 

6. Give the student breaks (5-10 minutes) and allow them to complete their work in chunks. To provide a worksheet in chunks, fold half of the worksheet or cut the worksheet into separate pieces. 

7. Know your student! Collect data and learn what triggers your student. Learn what they like and do not like. Be watchful of signs that may appear before a student has an episode. This will also help eliminate some of the defiant behaviors. 

I hope I've posted something that is helpful to someone! Go to my TPT store to download a free weekly progress and behavior form that can be sent home to parents. I'd love to have your feedback! If there is something you'd like added to this form, please let me know. I'll do my best to assist you!

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Teaching Students with Emotional Disturbances

What is ED?
It's a broad term used to describe various emotional disorders and conditions. Some disorders that fit under this category are anxiety/mood disorders, conduct disorders, eating disorders, and psychiatric disorders. ED can affect every facet of student learning, such as concentration, pressures of student responsibilities and time limits, and social interaction.  

I think one of the most challenging parts of being a special education teacher is working with students that have emotional disturbances. I don't think there is one right answer for helping these students, but I can share things that I know have worked. You can also take ideas and adapt them to fit what works for you and your students. These are not quick fixes, and invested time is required to help these students. 

1. The most important thing is knowing your student. You need to study them. Know what type of emotional disturbance they have, their history/experiences, and try to access records from a psychologist or counselor if applicable. The more you know, the better you will understand that student. The more you understand the student, the easier it will be to sympathize with them and help them. 

2. Learn what the student likes and what their strengths are. Set the student up for success. Give opportunities that will allow you to praise them and build them up. 

3. Support the student by including them in group activities such as partner work and cooperative learning groups. It may be overwhelming for some students, so give them a place to go when they need a break from all the stimuli. 

4. Set clear classroom rules and expectations. Be consistent ALL of the time with your behavior procedures. Students with ED do not need wishy washy. They need to know what is expected of them throughout the whole day. 

5. Provide accommodations that help students reach their behavior IEP goals. Do not expect them to be successful 100% of the time. They are not going to be perfect and they will still have bad days, no matter what plan is in place. 

6. Communicate with their parents or legal guardians. They will be beneficial when making behavior plans for their child. Also, that is your way to stay informed on medication changes and any other changes that could affect their behavior. Life is tough for kids, too. I think we tend to forget that sometimes. 

7. Do not take things personally and do not get stressed over what isn't being accomplished. You are accomplishing more than you realize. We will never know what impact we make in children's lives, and students with ED cannot be successful academically until their behaviors are under control.

Since we are on the topic of behaviors... I made a behavior management system specifically for children with special needs. They are concrete learners and they learn best through visual and tactile experiences. The system has a weather theme because you can easily connect weather with emotions. All of the students start at the top on a sunny day. As necessary, students will move down to a cloudy day (warning), a rainy day (lose recess or whatever fits for you and your students), and a thunder storm (call parents). I've also created punch cards for the students and monthly certificates. I like to reward students in small ways and give them a bigger reward at the end of each month. 

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Five for Friday on Saturday and a Freebie

 My husband and I went to an event called Fantasy of Trees. It was beautiful! It's a place where they display and sale Christmas trees! They all had their own theme. They also had gingerbread houses that different classrooms had made and live music. 100% of their profit went to St. Jude's Children Hospital. 

I attempt to make something different most weeks for dinner. Tonight, I made Mac N Cheese soup. It was delish! I think it will be a new regular! 

A friend bought some craft, foam Christmas trees at a yard sale. She brought them to me on Thursday and we decorated them on Friday. They were a hit with the kids! 

My husband is a cattle farmer. I don't ever notice the difference between each cow very much. For some reason, this particular cow stood out to me. Her nose is slightly crooked and she has such a gentle personality. I don't believe my husband will be selling her. I've already named her Nellie and I give her treats from time to time! 

This past week, we read "If You Take A Mouse to the Movies". I found an adorable activity from First Grade W.O.W that helps students connect their personal life to the story. Since most of our students have fine motor challenges, I printed off pictures of various things they might like while watching a movie. I liked that the template was big, but it really ended up being too big for our kids, considering their attention span. To shorten the amount of time we spent on the activity, I had the students just color the "popcorn" and "popcorn buckets". 

Now here is your free snowman template! Decorate it by using items like buttons, construction paper, and chocolate chips for the eyes, nose, and mouth. Then, glue popcorn all over! Enjoy!

Don't forget the facebook frenzy is this weekend! Go like my page (A Tender Teacher for Special Needs) for a fun Christmas freebie, and click on the snowman to circle around for other freebies!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Currently and a Christmas Book Recommendation

Listening: I always take our old socks and use them to put small treats in for my dog. He loves it! Here's a picture of my sweet boy! 

Loving: I have never been into Christmas decorating as much as I am this year. I am actually quite overwhelmed because I want to do more. I am getting a big bow made now with burlap, red lace, and white beads. It's suppose to go on top of our Christmas tree, but I've considered putting it on the front door, too. We'll see. I'll have to post a pic when it's finished! 

Thinking: I am so sleepy! School is back in session this week and it's full force! As soon as I finish this blog post, I'm going to bed! 

Wanting: I have been craving a cup of pumpkin spice coffee for the last few days. Maybe I can make that happen this weekend!  

Needing: I am so ready for a vacation. I love our little town that we live in, but I need a few days with different scenery. We haven't been on vacation since our honeymoon, which will be 5 years in May!! 

Favorite Tradition: For our first Christmas as a married couple, I bought us a personalized ornament. I decided after that to just start buying one every year! One day (good Lord willing) we will have a Christmas tree full of personalized ornaments! Last year, we bought a little ornament for Dooley... our fur baby. 

Llama Llama Holiday Drama
I love reading books that use rhyming words, and this book is perfect for Christmas! You can bring out so many things with it. You can bake cookies or decorate your classroom tree after reading this book. The best part is that it teaches in the end what is most important! Hmm... I think I will begin working on a unit for this. ;-) Stay tuned! 

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Merry Follower Giveaway

I am proud to say that I am one of the collaborative authors at The Learning Highway. I am so thankful to know these wonderful gals!! We have decided to have a giveaway! You can enter for products for grades K-1, 2-3, and/or 4-5. What are you waiting for? Click on the picture to go enter for your chance to win!! 

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Walk Strong for Health

Hello friends, 

I just now realized how much I've missed being on here! This past week has been so busy and I feel like I haven't had time to breathe! Today was the start of our Thanksgiving break, and I have been pretty lazy!! I did manage to walk 5 miles with Leslie Sansone, though!! Her videos are why I'm blogging tonight! I've been using her walking videos for about 5 years now. I-LOVE-THEM! When I get tired of one, I just go buy another one. Then, I just rotate with what I have. It keeps me from getting bored. If you are bored with your exercise routine or you are trying to get motivated, I encourage you to try one of her videos. You will get an incredible cardio workout in the comfort of your own home. Plus, she's a Christian, so you don't have to worry about anything being distasteful. 
Here are some of my favorites: 


I also really like her video Walk the Walk - Firm Walk, but don't be fooled! The only walking you'll do in it is for the warm up. It's strictly toning, and she targets your whole body. If you are just starting out, you will not need anything. Once you advance, weights will be necessary. 

The other way I like to tone is by using Pilates. I like the slow, controlled movements. I also like how much more aware my body is to its own movements. I have found tons of free Pilates videos on YouTube. Go check it out!

Don't forget to stretch after you workout!!

Don't forget to snag those wish list items during the sale!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Top Ten Thanksgiving Books for Kids & Graphic Organizers FREEBIE

This is Lauren from

and I am so very excited to be here today to guest blog!  With Thanksgiving right around the corner here in the United States, I thought I would share some of my favorite children's books to help celebrate the season.  Whether you are looking for a new picture book, nonfiction selection, or poetry I've got something for you!

Click the picture to see the listing on Amazon, to take a peek inside the book and to read a detailed summary and review.

 My Top Ten Thanksgiving Books for Kids

  • It's Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky~ A collection of humorous poems that captures just about every aspect of Thanksgivingfrom football to the feast!

  • Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit by Norman Bridwell~ Clifford celebrates the holiday by visiting his mother!
  • The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings by Mike Berenstain~ The bears learn about all the things they are thankful for as they are on their way to their Grandparents' house.
  • Fancy Nancy:  Our Thanksgiving Banquet by Jane O'Connor~ Nancy and her entire family celebrate Thanksgiving with a huge feast!

  • Squanto's Journey:  The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac~ A great read-aloud for older children, this story is told from Squanto's point of view and that of the Native Americans.
  • The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing~ This is probably on your favorites list, as kids love Wing's "The Night Before" series.  Fun, vibrant pictures and an engaging story told in rhyme.
  • The First Thanksgiving by Jean Craighead George~ A beautiful historical book for older children that focuses on Plymouth Rock.
  • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano~ Turkey knows he is in trouble as Thanksgiving approaches.  A very funny book that kids love as Turkey tries to disguise himself.

  • A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting~ Mr. and Mrs. Moose are preparing for their Thanksgiving feast, but where is the turkey?

  • Splat Says Thank You!~ by Rob Scotton~ Splat is working on a book for his friend, Seymour, to let him know how thankful he is for their friendship.


Whether you do a read-aloud or have students read independently a Thanksgiving-themed book, reader response is important!  I have developed a sample-pack FREEBIE for you to use with your students as they interact with a text, respond to their reading, or for you to use as an assessment.  Click the picture below to download a few of my Thanksgiving themed reader response graphic organizers. They can be used with any fiction text!


Have a book title that you think should have made my "Top Ten" list?  Leave a comment with your favorite Thanksgiving book!
Have a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday!  Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

November Currently AND FB Frenzy AND a BOGO Sale!!

Listening: I am listening to my husband take a shower. We cut our TV off, and I actually have no music on! It's close to our bedtime, so I'm enjoying the quiet sound of water. 

Loving: I'm so thankful for my my husband and our little pug. I am so thankful to have the love that is shown to me by both of them! 

Thinking: I got a new pair of brown boots last Christmas, so now I feel like I need a new black pair. :-) I love shoes!! 

Wanting: I am so ready for a vacation. We haven't went on one in a couple of years. I'm thinking of Charleston or Tybee Island! 

Needing: Right now, I share a room with another extended resource teacher. They are planning on having my room built by the 15th of January. Then, they'll have to move all of the furniture in. I'm praying that doesn't take too long. I think I'm going to have a beach theme, so I need to start planning and gathering up resources for it! January will be here before we know it. 

A Yummy Pin: So, I think my favorite fall food in the whole world is a pumpkin cream cheese roll. I'm not a big cake person, but I could devour a whole roll on my own! They are awesome. 


I am super excited to be a part of the November Facebook Frenzy this weekend! This is my first frenzy, and I am looking forward to snagging up some great freebies! To snag the interactive mini book "The First Thanksgiving", visit my Facebook page! Then, click on the haystack to snag some more fun, free finds! 

The collaborative authors at The Learning Highway are having a buy one get one free sale for Friday only! Check out TLH blog post for the store links!! 

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