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School Portraits scheduled for September 19th!

Mrs. Sara Peterson (Swearingen)'s Page

September 26, 2016


What are some ways to add movement into a classroom without disrupting instruction?


So often we tell students to sit still and be quiet.  What you may start seeing is one student starts tapping a foot.  Another starts drumming a beat on his desk.  Within moments, there is a full-on band playing in the classroom.  


Kids (and adults) need to move!


There is much research supporting movement and kinesthetics in learning. Let your students increase the oxygen rich blood flowing to the brain! Let them take a brain break for a few minutes so your mind can process what it has been learning.  Let them regroup! 


Some ways to do this in the classroom are by incorporating flexible seating and allowing yourself to be comfortable with students standing while they are working.  Try it out for yourself, you may find you enjoy standing and working as well.


I have incorporated bucket seats, wobble boards and standing desks into the Learning Lab to allow students flexible options while they work.  They do not have to ask permission, they grab what they need and get started. 



Notice student is utilizing a wobble board and a standing desk.






















Student is using a wobble board, stress ball and fuzzy stick.























Student is using a standing desk as a slant board and a fuzzy stick.



































Students are sitting on bucket seats.




























There are many more ways to incorporate movement in the classroom.  Several websites have been designed for that purpose.  Others have timers to remind you that every 8-10 minutes, you should let your students stop by having a brain break, reviewing information with a peer or other form of acceptable movement in the class to help process information.  If you don't account for this time in the room, students will find ways to make it themselves.



August 30, 2016
Many teachers are trying to get a handle on their student's needs this time of year.  They have been given paperwork, SPED documentation, RTI files, 504 paperwork, ESL Rosters, Dyslexia and Reading interventions and it is all more than a little overwhelming.  This is all of course on top of preparing their lessons, structuring their day and forming relationships with their students, parents and co-workers.
As I heard at a recent training, "How do you eat the elephant?" "One bite at a time!"
Over the years, there are a few things I have learned about not becoming overwhelmed with paperwork, particularly student specific paperwork.
1.  Find the most important piece of your documentation. Keep in mind, this will vary based on who you are and what you do.
          I want to know if a student has an identified condition impacting their education.
          I also want to know, what were the recommended supports this student received last year.
                    Look for:
                              a summary section,
                              a chart, or even
                              a list of things to try with the student. 
2. Takes notes on students in a way that works for you.
          I have a chart with common accommodations listed down the side and a place for names at the top.  I             write student's names across the top and check of accommodations their paperwork indicates they need.  If          there are other supports that a student seems to need on a consistent basis, I will add those to the list and          highlight or use a different color ink.  When I go to meetings on this student, this becomes a reference tool          for me on the types of accommodations the student has routinely needed in class.  Since multiple students          are listed on the page, I would not copy this and turn into the file for the student, but it does help me make          an informed decision as opposed to trying to recall those details in the midst of a meeting.
          Also, check with your coworkers, there may be something someone already has created or a resource                 they use to keep up with student's needs.
3. If you are not sure, ASK.
          There is always someone available who knows something about your student or someone who has strategies that may be beneficial to try with a student. Reach out and ask.  If you are talking in person, be mindful of where you are having that confidential conversation and who is around.  If you are using email or texting about a student, refer to your school's policy for sharing information through electronic means.
Later, when you get your feet under you, there will be time to read more thoroughly through those files and information.  As we would have our students do, preview your files, look at those charts and graphs, get an overview of who your student is (or was at the time of the meeting).  Be prepared to see growth has taken place and things that may have been an issue in the past, are not presently a concern.
Good luck and keep chewing along...

August 23, 2016


Tracking Tuesdays


I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you more information about my goals.  I want to help support you better in the classroom.  I have seen the lists, I know the numbers.  With the number of students we have that are identified as SPED,  504, ESL, already on the RTI list, At Risk, or Economically Disadvantaged, there are few that don’t have some type of label. 


I would like to offer a time and place, a forum of sorts, to get some insight or feedback on things you can do to support your students in class.  Often, these ideas benefit everyone.  Sure, there are some students who don’t need some of these things, but it may help them learn material better by providing these supports as well. 


I encourage you to come especially if you have questions or concerns about a student.  I know many of our staff have wonderful ideas and things they have done in the past to support students and am looking forward to their input. 


Keep in mind, Tuesdays are a great day to record student’s accommodations if you have not done so already.

Tracking Tuesdays

Learning Lab

Room 305


(Teachers in the ACE Program, get with me, if you are interested and we can work out an alternate time to meet.)

August 17, 2016
Tomorrow is Meet the Teacher. Come on in and see how we are Growing Excellence.
School starts on Monday and we can't wait to see everyone here!
Stay dry and enjoy your weekend!

Tracking Tuesdays

Learning Lab

Room 305