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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Reactive Attachment Disorder: Confessions of a Mother

This is my first post in a while...I wish I could tell you that I had been on a yacht in the clear blue ocean or in a cabin up in the mountains enjoying nature.  I wish I had a cutesie little graphic at the top so that you could pin this article.  Maybe I will make one at some point, but for right now, this is the most I can do. 

 Instead of spreading cheer to children everywhere, I have been admitting and visiting my child in the children's unit of our local mental health hospital.

Do you know what it is like to have to leave your child in the hands of strangers, knowing that he/she isn't in touch with reality?  That he/she is suicidal?  That you call to see how he/she is doing you hear the screams from 'the quiet room' <aka the padded room>.  That he/she "feels dead"???  That we may have to take him/her to residential care to live indefinitely?  What if your child came to visitation without shoes, or most recently, with zip ties for shoe strings because the shoe strings have been taken away because of the threat of self mutilation or death?

I do, and it hasn't been fun.  And it has been dreadful for my child.  I have gone through all sorts of emotions and feelings, from "How can we continue living like this?" to "How can we not continue living like this?"

What we thought was an episode of "another manic Monday" turned out to be an outreach from a child that is hurting worse than I could ever imagine.  Who knew that Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD, as it is called looked so much like a Bipolar diagnosis and ADHD??  Who knew that these three diagnoses could look like triplets?  I knew he/she had RAD as he/she has had the diagnosis for about 5 years, but no one told me it was the most important.  I have read about it, worried about it, and I have asked about it, but I never thought it would be this diagnosis that would dictate the life my child would lead.  Or dictate the life my family would have.  I am a mom...a teacher...I have three different teaching degrees.  How could I miss this?  How could I not know?  How could I miss the textbook characteristics that are rearing their ugly heads.  I could literally go down and check off the list that I am about to link here and nod in agreement with the therapists and physician in charge.  HOW DID I MISS THIS?

As a mom, my heart is breaking....and I have been told that it will get worse before it gets better.  The amount of stress we are feeling as a family is ginormous.  But, the good part is, we are facing it as a family.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and some close friends have been called on, and are praying. The youngest sibling has grown up so much in the last week and is learning to reinforce 'parental vocabulary' at the few limited visits we have had.  Who would have thought that would have to happen?  Need to happen?  

I have been very careful to protect my child's privacy.  I know one day it will be no big deal and we will charge head on into dealing with it with our 'public' friends.  But is so deep...that we feel like we need to have that added layer of protection for the child that has no close friends, has no one to hang out with, has no deeply seeded relationships.  

If we tell our friends about it will they keep their kids away from mine?  Will they warn there children to stay away from 'the teacher's kid'?  Will there ever be a deep friendship--a friend that can be called on?  A steady, positive influence?  Or will we always be worried about the types of friends that are collected?  Who will take on the role of care giver when we are not around? Will they be understanding?  Forgiving?  What will the future look like?

The forgiving...I am going to have to ask for a load of that.  I have been told that other teachers admire me for staying so calm in the classroom.  I am thankful they have not seen me in action at home.  I have punished my child for being mentally ill and didn't realize it.  I have made her go to her room.  Spanked her.  Had to restrain her.  Wanted to make her eat broccoli, which she hates.  I have chastized her and threatened her because of her grades.  I have cried over her homework with her because it was a punishment to me, too.  Or at least felt like it.  I just had no idea.  But what do I do now. How do we go on?  What am I going to have to learn and change?  Will I get the chance?

Because it is so ingrained in me, I have to think about RAD in the classroom.  Have I had a student with RAD before?  How did I cope?  What happens if I get a student with RAD?  Do any of my friends have kids in their rooms that could have RAD?  What advice could I offer when I have failed so badly with my own child's progress?

I am at an impasse.  I am going to have to relearn behaviors, go to therapy, learn better parenting, learn what to look for.  As I close, I will leave you with these links:

Children's Mental Health Disorder Fact Sheet

Reactive Attachment Disorders for Teachers 

An Open Letter to Educators

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and More Pumpkins!

This is the week for teach the pumpkin life cycle in preparation for our field trip visit to a local farm!  So, I wanted to take a bit of time to tell you what I am doing:

First off, I am going to be looking at these books:

Gail Gibbons in a no fail read on this subject!

My coworker, Courtney, shared her plans with me and introduced this book, Pumpkin Jack to me!  Yay for Courtney.  I love team players!  Courtney has been a great edition to my team.  She is so sweet!

I always try to have a book on hand that all of my kids can read on their own if they want to.  This week I chose From Seed to Pumpkin.  I think all of my kids can related to this!

I will also be using these little shapes that I got from Amazon.  There are 500 in the bag!  Surely this will last me through the month as I practice ten frames, place value, and addition with my students!  I am going to give them 2 sets of 10 with the option that if all 20 are there at the end, they can choose one of the shapes to take home.  I want to deter the 5 finger 'collecting' that goes on with 7 year olds!!

I am learning that You Tube is an AWESOME help in teaching this group of kids.  They will pay attention to the videos and can usually tell me what they just saw.  It is great to use for shared reading, too, if you find a poem or song with lyrics.  I've also learned that if I put my videos here, I can use the link to access You Tube and bypass 'the system'!!  Here are a couple that I picked out for this week:

Pumpkin Life Cycle

Spookly the Square Pumpkin

I am also going to be using:

by Robin Sellers at TpT

In the non-pumpkin area, I am going to be using these:

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for more this week!  Oh, and I updated my post that contains all of the math songs from You Tube that I have been using...there are more songs!  You might want to check it out!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Interactive Notebooks in Second Grade

Hi everyone!  It's been a week or so since I've has been busy in 2nd grade!  I just wanted to show you really quick what all we have been up to.  It seems like we have an interactive notebook for every subject these days!  We are super interactive in my room!  Here are some pictures of some of what we have been doing!

I have found that if you are new at doing interactive notebooks (I have used it some, but not fully like I am this year) that it is easy to start out with word sorts and reading strategies.  So, if you are new at this, you can get started pretty easily!  I hope these help you!

Oh, and be sure to follow me on Pinterest!  I'll be pinning lots of other great ideas on there!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why do we teach nonsense words? (Freebie)

If you have ever wondered why we teach nonsense words, then this is a great post for you!  Most teachers think that nonsense words are used ONLY to reinforce vowel sounds, but, this isn't the whole reason!  We teach nonsense words because those nonsense words turn into nonsense syllables that we can put together to make larger, multi-syllabic words.  Just take any word with 3 or more syllables and you ill find that it is full of nonsense words!  I TRULY think this is a way to get kids to quit being afraid that they are going to say a word wrong.  I've seen a big increase in reading sense I started showing how to put all of these smaller chunks together!  Here is a freebie I made to do this week.  I thought I'd share it with you!  Just click on the pic to go to Google Docs

While I've got you here, I want to give a shout out to Tessa from Tales From Outside the Classroom.  She and I were talking about nouns, so I grabbed her noun pack for my class.  It is sensational!!!  I've put a pic of the cover here along with a link to her pack

Thanks, Tessa!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Math Read Alouds

If you have been following along you know that I am adding Math back into my teaching repertoire.  In doing this, I am looking for ways to expand our horizons and show my kids that numbers don't have to just be taught or seen during math. my big hunt for math literature, I added several books to my classroom library!

This is such a cute book!  Since we've been working on even and odd numbers and equal shares, this book hit home the concept of how important equal shares are.  Since the rancher doesn't know how to do equal shares, and his neighbor agrees with everything he says, they both end up with a mixture of livestock.  And someone ends up with more cattle than they started with.  But all is well that ends well because they end up getting hitched.  The picture of the wedding cake clenched it for my girls...they have reread it several times.  I guess it is the math equivalent of a second grade romance book!

Even Steven and Odd Todd are grade level favorites...especially since we have a 'craftivity' that goes along with it.  I'll be posting about it soon!  But, I wanted to share with you that this book isCHEAP right now so you may want to grab it while you can.  Typically when they get this cheap they end up going out of print.

My kids LOVE the book More or Less because of the illustrations.  We've been working on greater than, less than, and equal to, so this is right up their alley!!

Here are the forms I used.  I'll include more next time!  Enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Math Sing-a-Longs

Here are some songs that I ran across that I am using with my kids during math to work on counting.  Feel free to book mark this post as I plan to add songs to it frequently!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Compass Craft--Link is repaired!

Right now we are studying cardinal directions, so I decided to have a little compass fun!!  This is my first ever 'original' craftivity and the kids are loving it.  We made it and then used the iPad and Apple TV <or you can use a cell phone> to download a compass app.  We practiced which direction we would need to go to find the cafeteria, office, and library.  It didn't take us long to make them either...and the best were teaching other kids!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Poetry for the Classroom

This week I am starting my poetry notebooks so I wanted to share some of the books in which I get ideas from.  I usually have kids cut out the poem <I type it or if it is fairly easy to copy, I just go ahead and copy it.  They paste it into their notebook and then illustrate it.  Usually we go back during shared reading and look for words with certain vowel sounds or I have them use different colors of crayons to circle sight words.  I try to change things up!  And of course, there is the rhythm and rhyme theme to most of them.  And added plus is that the kids can use them in buddy reading because they all have the same poems!

My favorite sources are these.  They were published many years ago, but they are still available on Amazon.  You can also get them on the Heinemann website but they usually cost more.


Runners up:

Hope this helps you get some ideas.  There are a lot of poems here!  No wonder my bookshelves at school are sagging!!  Take care and have a great week!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Friendship: Cynthia Rylant, Teacher's Cauldron, and Yvonne Crawford

How are you all doing out there?  We finally got our 3rd teacher and have cut our grade level size into a third for each of us! Hallelujah!  Let's hope this gets us on the right path so that we can roll along in the right direction!

I had planned to get started with this last week but with switching kids, finishing up testing, etc., I just decided to wait.  So, now...I know what I will be doing for the next 2 weeks.  Good ole <I can teach this with my eyes closed> Henry and Mudge!  You can always rely on Cynthia Rylant's books in a pinch!  So, I bet you are wondering why I want to rely on an old standard?

click here

click here

I am going to be using this freebie by another good friend, Jen of The Teacher's Cauldron.  It is already prepped and ready to go from last week!

After being departmentalized for the last few years and only teaching literacy/science/social studies, I am going back to a self-contained setting and will be teaching all subjects!  So, I am having to get back into the math mode.  

My friend Lyndsey had this on her blog and it made me cackle!  THIS is exactly how I feel!  

I know that I am going to be using an interactive notebook that was created by my friend Yvonne Crawford. She is so awesome.  Her work amazes me because I expect her to be more of a literacy person because she can speak a kajillion as she keeps rolling this math out, I just sit in awe!

My friend, Missy Squirrels, introduced me to this book.  Does anyone use this?  Should I get it to help with my math lessons and centers?  Please let me know if you have any information about this!  I am trying to decide what to do!

More later!

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