Friday, December 12, 2008

Fire Drill

7:20 School starts
7:21 Stef comes in and says we're going for a walk and finger spells "fire Drill"
7:30 Kids with coat and ready to go.
7:30 1/2 SH throwing a fit
7:31 Ultimatum, Stay in here until fire drill or come outside now
7:31 1/2 SH walks outside
7:34 Outside with kids, FREEZING!
7:35 Class huddled in a circle singing Christmas Carols
7:36 SH shaking knees with no arms!
7:50 Back in Class

How often did your high school classes huddle together and sing Christmas Carols? Jealous?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I probably don't like you either.

About a week ago our student SH had a difficult day. Someone had sat at his table and this was out of the ordinary and change is very difficult. As he was crying in my room my para Lara asked him about Christmas and he replied "Christmas is cancelled." She asked him why and if he asked Christmas and his reply was "No, I don't like Christmas and I probably don't like you either."
Later that afternoon SH was lying on the couch in Miss Stef's room and I was asking him a question. Again SH replied. "I probably don't like you either Mrs. Ostedgaard." This ridiculous statement became the topic of conversation between myself and the staff.
I told myself I would write about it, however I completely forgot because things have been a little crazy lately. Well today during math SH was working on his math and he said "Mrs. Ostedgaard, I probably don't you like you either." I replied. "Well SH I like you." Of course he responded with "NO NO NO, I probably don't like you either. Miss Ann, Miss Megan and I are fighting." We continued bantering back and forth until the end of class.

I do so enjoy my students!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Outside Looking In.

I haven't written in a while and so I thought I would share a little bit about some of the events that occur that feel "normal" to me but are very odd to the people around us.

Today, we had a student who was upset and decided to run out of the classroom and cry. Another teacher who does not teach special education came into my room to ask me some questions, as he walked in he said "Did you know that there is a boy crying outside in the hallway." and I said "Oh he's fine." He was surprised by my reaction, but didn't seem too concerned. I of course immediately knew who the student was and that he was going to fine there, he just needed to time to cool off, however to the average high school teacher, this was very unusual behavior.

The second event occurred this afternoon. One of our students is having a very difficult time keeping her hands to herself and we have made 4 trips to the deans office for hitting this year. Finally we decided that maybe she would need to talk to a police officer to scare her into behaving. The police officer comes in and as soon as he sees her he softens up and smiles at her. I cannot fault him entirely she is cute and very sweet, but when you know the student has been hitting and you have been called in for back up you've gotta help a sista out.

The last story also happened this afternoon. I was working diligently in my room and Miss Stef is next door working with some kids. I hear some screaming and foot stomping and I immediately know that it is our of our students and I know exactly which one. I smile and refocus on my work knowing all too well that Miss Stef has taken care of whatever it is. I look out my the window in my door just in time to see S.H. flashing past my door. I watch for another second and wait for Stef or someone else to come out looking for him and after a moment no one comes out. So I walk out of my room and around the corner and see S.H. smiling to himself sitting on a bench. I ask him what happens and he says something that I don't catch and I ask him to come with me. He take my hand and follows me back in to Miss Stef's class. He mentions something about a box hitting his nose and I have no idea what he is talking about. Stefanie tells me that they were throwing band aids across the room as a game and one accidentally hit him in the nose at this time S.H. pretends to faint on the floor. I laugh and walk back to my room to finish my work. All in a day's work I guess.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Don't make him mad

We've been having some hitting in our class lately and consequences don't really seem to be getting through in the traditional detention etc. So when CM hit BN I was very angry and I told her that she would have to tell our old para Mr. Will what she had done and that he would be very upset with her. At this time SH was in the room and when he heard this he started crying. At first I didn't know what to do, I couldn't even understand why he was crying...yet there he sat sobbing. SH was finally able to fight through his tears to say "CM don't make Mr. Will mad, I don't want him to be mad at you." I giggled to myself as I stole a glance at our para Lara who also was stiffling a giggle. I walked over to SH and explained to him that sometimes people make bad choices and that Mr. Will would forgive CM. He sniffled as I explained this to him and asked for a hug. As I hugged him he mumbled... "Don't make Mr. Will mad."

I just love the compassion I see in my room.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I have to say that as I write this post tears are brought to my eyes thinking of this story. The sweet and innocent display of affection was so surprising and so beautiful that it makes my heart swell and a smile comes to my face.
This morning as I was talking to one of my paraprofessionals about nothing important DE, who has autism and therefore struggles to make strong connections to people in his life, suddenly came up and gave me a big hug. Now, I received hugs through out the day from many of my friends here in the ILC, in fact sometimes we have to set up boundries because we all know that adults don't hug this much and we have to explain that we need to keep boundries. But when something this suprising and this huge happens there is no rule for how to respond. There is nothing to do but stand there in awe and smile to yourself, knowing that have made a connection to a student that is incomparable to any other.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


As I mentioned in a previous post I haven't written much lately because I've been prepping for observations. It's always interesting to see what people are going to see when they get observed. My first lesson was a math lesson, which went surprisingly well, nobody cried, and everyone completed their assignment with success. The second lesson didn't go quite as well. I had students coming in and out of the classroom as is typical. KK had to go the bathroom, MY had to go to the nurse, SH was banging his head against his knee and kicking and screaming. CM had no idea what were doing. This of course is very usual for me to deal with, however these scenarios aren't nearly as big of a production in a your typical general education classroom. It's also an educational experience for our administrators who come into our class because usually they don't have any experience in Special Education and they get to see a very different perspective of high school, from the eyes of our students.

Booger Face

We had quite the trauma during math class last Friday. B.S. had a chair with wheels, which of course made him the envy of all his peers. He was taking the chair from station to station, but he forgot it at the second station and D.M. started racing for it at the same time that B.S. grabbed it from him. I tried to gently suggest that B.S. have it for today but that D.M. could have it for the next class the following week. So D.M. grabbed one of the other chairs and rammed into the chair with wheels. Then he yelled "BOOGER FACE" at B.S. and ran out of the room. B.S. was clearly upset. In the end the two were able to apologize. Our perceptions of name calling are quite different in my class.

Sorry Mr. Egg

I know it's been a while since I posted anything the last week has been kinda crazy between observations and just plain keeping up with everything in school I haven't had time to write about my class.
This story was not actually my story to tell but I'm going to share it with you because I thought it was so very silly. My team mate Stefanie was being observed by our principal and let me say that most observations are pretty silly to watch, nothing EVER goes as planned, but he was there to observe Social Studies and during this particular lesson the students were learning how to make cookies. One of the students suddenly became agitated and started to cry. Stefanie went over to see what was wrong and it turned out that he was upset because they were going to have to crack the egg. My favorite part of this story is Stefanie's response. Stefanie calmed the student down and told him that chickens really want us to eat their eggs. In the end he did crack the egg, but not with out a few more tears.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Count Counts

During math today we have the Autism choir break out into a chant. In case you aren't familiar the Autism choir is a benevolent phrase used for students who are echolalic, meaning students with Autism sometimes have the ability to repeat things that have heard in the past. Some students are able to parrot a line, or voice to a tee. When this occurs with multiple students with Autism it has the potential to get other students with Autism to parrot that student, thus coining the name Autism choir.
Anyway now that you've had your Special Education lesson of the day I can continue with the story. My 4A math class is full of diligent workers. Each student is working hard at their own station and there is a buzz in the classroom as the students complete their work. It's not loud, just a the nice buzz of students working hard. I am circulating the class looking for anyone who may require assistance when I pass by my friend S.H. and he counting his quarters in an exact parrot of the count from Sesame Street. "One, Two, Three. AH AH AH AH!" Then "One, Two, Three, Four, Five. AH AH AH AH!" I giggle softly to myself and move on to the next student. When from across the room I hear P.L. say "One, Two, Three. AH AH AH AH!" Then "One, Two, Three, Four, Five. AH AH AH AH!" The room slowly erupts into silent giggles as my 3 paraprofessionals and 1 student assistant hear the choir break out into a round of counting like the Count. Needless to say, very little was accomplished after this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Going to the Chapel Baby

C.M. is going to the chapel and she’s gonna get married. C.M. announced today that she was marrying Mr. Will. We asked her if he knew yet and she said yes. Apparently C.M. ran into our old paraprofessional Will in the hallway. As is tradition for C.M. she became utterly ecstatic and apparently decided she was going to propose to Will. However, Will is married and probably not marrying C.M. Poor Dear. (Oh wait, she says she’s not a Deer.)

Mario and Bowser

I think one of the greatest things about my class is the ability to just remain an observer at different times of the day. Two of my favorite times to observe my students are right before school and at the end of the day. These are two times when all of the students are in Stef and I’s classroom. The chaos that occurs with 19 special education students is quite hilarious. Yes, of course, it is managed chaos with 6 adults helping these students make sure they have everything they need to go home, however the student interaction is priceless.
This morning I had a wonderful opportunity to sit and observe as two of my students talked about Mario and Bowser. I sat on the couch waiting for a student to return and watched as B.S. explained to me in full detail how he Mario saves the princess from the bad guy. Of course, neither he nor I could recall the name of the bad guy in Super Mario Brothers, but there is always someone there to assist you. My friend S.H. perks up and says “Bowser” in his high pitched voice. B.S. replies “OH YEAH!!!” and pulls out his magic sword (2 straws taped together.) S.H. hops up from the couch and begins growling and hissing like he’s Bowser. Mario (B.S.) waves his magic sword at Bowser (S.H.) and jumps up like he’s in the game. The two continue their play fight for about five minutes until Mario swings his sword one final time and exclaims “HA! I’VE GOT YOU NOW! YOU’RE DEAD BOWSER!” and Bowser falls to the floor in the most theatrical death scene I have ever witnessed. I think he would put some actors and actresses to shame. Bowser slumps the floor and right before he breathes his final breath he says “I’ll get you someday Mario.” And with that the scene ends. Something’s are too good to miss.

Spaghetti with Meatballs

The following blog was actually written for 10/3/08

Today was a very special day as I was lucky enough to eat lunch with 5 of my students. This happens every other day but it usually is one of my favorite times of day because I get to socialize with my students and hear what they talk about with each other. The students purchase their lunch and then we all eat together, today I had Spaghetti. The students wanted to know what kind of spaghetti and I said my dad made it. D.C. wanted to know if it had meatballs in it and I said “No, my dad doesn’t like to make meatballs.” This started D.C. on a five minute monologue about how she likes meatballs and thinks that my father should make meatballs when he makes spaghetti. OF course then B.N. jumps in and says she doesn’t like meatballs or spaghetti and D.C. says that doesn’t make sense. The two chatter back and forth about spaghetti for quite some time until D.C. Suddenly turns to me and says “I think you should get your father’s recipe and bring in some spaghetti for all of us.” It’s funny what subjects bring about such heated discussions.