Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One step forward....

This afternoon we saw a great breakthrough moment.... and in this business, that's rare! After weeks of teaching, reteaching, modeling, practicing, reinforcing, ignoring, following a complicated behavior plan, and reinforcing some more.... he walked out of the room safely and to the counselor's office...WITHOUT DESTROYING PROPERTY OR HURTING ANYONE!!!

It was a sweet victory, and even though he was very mad, I think he recognized his personal accomplishment. He did the time out, and genuinely participated in the "processing" portion of the crisis cycle. I can't ask for much more than that.

The most satisfying part: the behavior plan we created and implemented was complicated, time consuming, and intense. Time after time, we were required to follow through, even though our hearts were hurting. It's never easy to stand firm when a cute little guy is begging for another chance.

We stuck to what we knew was right... and it paid off.

We're sure to take a few steps back soon, then a few more forward. It's a long process to make true changes to one's behavior and approach to life's challenges. But today we did take a step forward.

It felt good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The best part of my day....

You may be asking yourself, hmmm, I wonder which part of her day Mrs. Ris likes the best...?

My favorite "kid time"? Our daily morning meeting often reminds me of the old Art Linkletter schtick-"Kids say the darndest things..." Over the years I have heard about digestive issues ("My poop was yellow, Mrs. Ris!"), love triangles ("My daddy kissed the babysitter.") and various other tidbits and tall tales. ("We went to Disney World last night!") It's mostly a good time, a time when kids compliment and laugh and support each other. Yep, morning meeting has been a real source of fun over these last years!

My favorite "learning time"? Our afternoon math workshop. We break into small groups, and start with something fun: a quick learning game, thinking puzzle, or math storybook. Then we practice some problem solving strategies, using manipulatives as appropriate, and talking-talking-talking about how we are thinking these ideas through. Then we do some paper and pencil practice. It's focused and generally immensely satisfying.

Mostly, I love the look on the kids' little faces when understanding is sparked.

Gen ed or special ed...." the look" is one of the best parts of teaching.