Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Love Affair with Dentistry

When I was 14, I was in my 4th year of orthodontia and my first year of Water Polo. Mishaps ensued.

I am pretty sure that my front tooth was murdered as a result of extreme front tooth movement, combined with blunt force trauma to the face. It was really bound to happen at some point, since at that point in my life my passions included (in this order): Straightening out the God awful mess that was my teeth, Acne cream and Contact Sports. Oooooh to be young again! I would share a picture of me during this time in my life, if only so you could share in a laugh, but they are all at my parents house. Who'd want that in their OWN house? C'mon!

Long story short, my original pearly white was replaced by a fake pearly white. When I played Water Polo at Oregon State University, my crown (Toothy, as I lovingly referred to it) was a common injury amongst young women with my particular skill set: Kicking-ace and jotting down contact information.
2 out of 5 girls in this picture suffer from FFT (Fake Front Tooth). Bet you can't guess who! The sign of a good dentist. 
**Please note, in 2009 everyone had a flip phone. Flip phones were in.**

This past month or so, I my husband pointed out to me that there was a crack in my crown. When I went to the dentist he said that no, he could not just "spackle it over, or something." I figured it was worth asking... If you can do it to a wall to get your deposit back on an apartment, it seemed natural enough to me! So at 29, it was time that I part ways with the 2nd adult front tooth I'd ever had. 

Yeah, I know it's ridiculous to be sentimental about ones front tooth. I have met normal people before... But I am a girl that wears her retainers to bed every night. They are red and sparkly, like Dorothy's shoes! The orthodontist did not think it was hilarious when I was getting them made, but I've met few orthodontists that see me as more than the my parents' excellent dental care plan. 

In 4th grade, I found out that I had impacted canines. My lower set of adult canines were growing together.... in my jaw.... like Heathcliff and Katherine... trying to come together and ruining everything in their path. So at the end of 4th grade, I had my first oral surgery. The oral surgeon tried to find an example case he had worked on to share with me... he could not find a SINGLE CASE that was as bad as mine in his fancy photo book of doomed canines. 

From there, it was brackets and wires and yanking, oh my!! I would go for months at a time without eating solid food. I literally gave up gum for 2 years, no questions asked, because chewing was such a beez. Not only did I have a set of bottom chompers that were the marvel of every orthodontist I visited (3) and oral surgeons (1), I had a gap in my front teeth that was a thing of beauty. It took 4 years of agony to correct this nightmare. And then what did I do???? I decided it was time to take up the face smackingest sport I could thing of!

So after I had a new front tooth, did I wear a mouth guard? Or take it easy? NOPE!!! But every single time I got hit in the face, I ran my tongue through my mouth to make sure that everyone was accounted for. And they always were!! 

So, to conclude, there is no moral to this story or heart-warming ending. Just the knowledge that I have earned my beautiful smile with years of heart ache and pain; and the deep DEEP hope that my children inherit my husbands teeth: Perfectly straight and not a brace in sight. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

4 Ways to Reinforce Reading Interventions in the Classroom

Many students attend Reading Interventions in a small group setting: whether it's a Title 1 Reading Intervention or Special Education Intervention. I cannot stress how important it is that what's being taught in a reading intervention group be reviewed and reinforced in the general education classroom. 

I know that classroom teachers have so much on their plates and the list of things they have to do seems to get longer everyday. BUT there are a few ways to make reviewing intervention materials quick and (relatively) painless!

1. Folders that go back and forth between the General Education Classroom and Intervention Groups. 

In my school, the Reading Specialist and I send blue folders back and forth between outr group and the classroom teacher. There is a pocket in the front. When students have had a chance to review materials in the classroom, the teacher changes the card from red to green. After group, we change it back to red. 
Since I teach a lot of groups using Reading Mastery and Corrective Reading, I am able to put the finished workbook page in the folder. Each page has the words or stories we've read. As students get higher in Reading Mastery K, I make copies of the Decodable Books and put those in each folder. I also use put Reading Mastery Seatwork sheets in the folder for EVEN MORE practice when students have a hard time participating in Core Reading. 

2. Review Templates

A one-page, or half-page review sheet of words, sounds and phonics skills is a great way for classroom teachers to reinforce skills taught in intervention groups, easily and efficiently. I use these Reading Mastery K: Review Templates for my Reading Mastery groups. It is a lot of work to create on the front end, but then you have those templates for years to come. There will be another group next year that is in that same Reading Curriculum. So having a Review Template ready to go will make re-teaching intervention group material that much easier!

3. Buddy Reading

During CAFE Daily 5, students can read intervention materials with a buddy. It works even better if you have more than one student in the same intervention group in a classroom. Students in the same intervention group can "read to a partner," with their review materials. I know a great teacher that even pulls those kids together and reinforces Intervention skills during their small group time. She even goes so far as to pull spelling exercises and word sorts of her own, working on the same sounds as a part of their writing group. 

4. Word Sorts and Games

If you already have Review Templates, this is really easy to do. You can make a memory game, with 2 copies of a template. You can have students sort words from their word lists by phonics skills or letter sounds. (You could also use the Words Their Way sort that corresponds to that sound or pattern). 

A few years ago a Reading Specialist introduced me to the game OOPS! And now it's my favorite word review game. To make OOPS! follow these steps: 
Cut up template and make into a card deck. (Or use popsicle sticks in a cup. I use that most often.) Put in several cards that say OOPS!
Students pull words and sounds out of the deck. They have to read the word correctly to keep the card.
If someone gets OOPS! They have to put all their cards back in the deck.
Students can play until someone gets a certain number of cards, or for a set number of turns. Whoever has the most cards wins.

Games and sorts may sound like a ton of work, but keep in mind that if you make them one year, you can always use them the next year. Chances are that you will have students in that same intervention curriculum next year. 

The Number One Rule of Review Is: Keep it Short!

When we review/re-teach a skill, we are looking at 10 minutes of good quality review. This is a second dose, not the initial introduction to the skill. The reason for this is simple: many students struggle with memory issues. Particularly if they have a Learning Disability. In order to move a new skill over into Long-term Memory, we need to make sure that students see it more than once in a day. A solid dose during intervention, plus additional exposure in the classroom. It's even more fantastic if skills taught during intervention are imbedded in other skills taught in the General Education classroom: Like spelling sorts and small group reading focus. That way students see the same skill repeatedly through out the day, but not in isolation or just in reading group. That helps students to generalize what they are learning in group to what is happening in the classroom.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

10 Minute DIY Sugar Scrub

I don't know about you, but in my house a sugar scrub is a must have. You only need 3 ingredients and 10 minutes to make an easy and refreshing sugar scrub.

Coconut Oil
Sugar of your choice: Refined White, Brown Sugar or Raw Sugar
Essential Oil you want the smell or benefits from.

I used Refined White Sugar and a few tablespoons of Raw Sugar, because that was what I had available. My mother-in-law gave me NOW's Cheer Up Buttercup essential oil blend. I used it to make my scrub and afterwards it smelled like a cookie. I think it will be refreshing and delicious ;)
My favorite essential oil combination for scrub is peppermint and lavender. It's supposed to be good to relieve stress but also wake you up. Peppermint and Lavender are also good for allergies. Peppermint helps on days when you are congested.

Step 1: 
Heat up Coconut Oil
I started with 1/4 cup of coconut oil and microwaved it for 30 seconds. I didn't want to melt it, just to soften it so that it would mix up a little easier at first.

Step 2: 
Add sugar and essential oil.
I start with 2 tablespoons raw, 3 tablespoons white sugar and 15 drops of essential oil. I mix that until thoroughly blended. Then I continue to add white sugar until I get the right texture. I know I am done when I grab a little bit of scrub and it feels like wet sand. I personally like a little bit of raw sugar to add a thicker grain and color to the scrub; but not too much. 

Step 3: 
Scoop into a container. 
I use a a rubber spatula so that I can get ALL of the scrub into the container. I put this scrub into an old Yum sauce jar. I used lemon essential oil to get the original label off. Just use a few drops and then it rubs right off! 

ET VOILA!! The finished product! Perfect for dry winter skin!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Homemade Lotion: To Give and To Use!!

This Christmas, I really focussed on making homemade gifts for the people that I love. I wanted to make them all thoughtful presents. Even though my gifts are home-mated, I didn't want them to be junky. So I have been experimenting with making my own lotion. So far I have tried 3 recipes.

So the FIRST lotion I made came from Wellness Mamma and it's very easy. I used Rose Essential oil: not therapeutic grade. I just wanted a Rose smell and wasn't too concerned with the therapeutic properties during my first fore into lotion making. So I used the "Essential Oil" they sell at Michael's in the soap isle. That's also where I got an ENORMOUS brick of beeswax. Once I got the beeswax home, I realized it would be impossible to cut into the wax to measure it out for the recipe. So my husband suggested heating up an old steak knife on our stovetop (we have a gas stove) and then cutting into the beeswax. Eureka! I would suggest putting down a cutting board though since the wax will probably melt and get on your counters, etc. But it flakes off of a wood cutting board very easily.

The recipe made a VERY THICK lotion. A little goes a long way. I would suggest letting it soak in a bit before getting dressed, since it can be a little oily for a minute or so. A lot of other recipes said to whip lotion with a hand mixer as it cools, because it changes the texture. I think if I use this recipe again, I might add that step. Just let it cool until it becomes opaque and then whip it.

This lotion has only two ingredients and is INCREDIBLY easy. You just need raw cocoa butter, coconut oil and then you add essential oils. When I was whipping the Cocoa Butter and the Coconut Oil it smelled delicious. I was so curious so of course I tasted it. It's not delicious....
I have been using it all week now and I love it beyond words. It's super moisturizing. I doubled the recipe to make multiple jars to give as gifts. In a double-batch I used 30 drops of therapeutic grade lavender from Doterra. The lotions smells only slightly like lavender, but it is still very pleasant. I didn't use any added colors, because I like the plain white color.

3. Organic Authority Anti Aging Face Cream
This lotion was fun and easy to make. I was surprised at how stiff and thick the lotion is. Granted, it's been 20 degrees where I live for the last month though. So it may be more lotiony at warmer temperatures. It says essential oils are optional. I used Lavender and Lemon from Doterra and Frankincense from NOW. I have to warm the lotion up in my hands before I put it on, but it is thick and moisturizing all day long.  I've been using it for a few days now and I like that it locks in the moisture without being too greasy.

As you can see in my photos, I got a label maker for Christmas. SO EXCITED!! I love putting cute labels and tags on things!