I had a lovely day. Truely. The kind of day that makes me really, really appreciate my job. I love my job. I love my class this year. Yes, they have already tried my patience sooo much, but they are a sweet group of kids. And oh, my goodness, do they need me. We have a long way to go this year.

My little visitor was back again today in the classroom. Tuesday went fairly well, though I had a sub who really worked well with him. She'll be an amazing teacher. Wednesday, my regular aide was back, and though she is very good with challenging kids, she and E. didn't mesh well together and he didn't last more than 20 minutes in my room before we sent him back. The problem is that he doesn't care if he's in our room, so getting kicked out isn't any big deal.

So, this morning, I called his teacher and said, "I think we're going about this the wrong way." Instead of trying to keep him in my room for as long as we could, we set a shorter amount of time for a goal. If he met that time goal, then afterwards he could go do a desired activity. Honestly, that helped quite a bit, but the real key was the little toys on each desk. He was being really loud and inappropriate. My kiddos were trying valiently to ignore him (as were the teachers because it was very attention seeking behavior), but he wasn't stopping.

Until I passed out a little toy to all of the "quiet listeners", that is. We've used these before. Small little toys that they can hold in their hands. As long as they're paying attention, they can keep their toy. He, of course, didn't get one, and he quieted down immediately. Once he did, I handed him a toy, too. If he (or anyone) started talking or being attentive, I quietly took the toy out of their hands. After each activity, we would pass the toys to the right.

All of the kids enjoy it. It's quiet and simple. It's helping them learn right and left ("Pass your toy to the right"). It's cheap, since I already had the toys. It doesn't involve feeding them (I'm not a fan of food reinforcers, though I've resorted to that in the past and may in the future). The kids who don't need something special to stay on task get the same thing as the kids who do need a little something extra. And it works. For today, anyway.

So, work was good. And then tonight my 16 year old son went for my run with me. It was just a 2-mile run, and the weather was threatening as we headed out. It sprinkled the entire time with a few bursts of bright lightning. Very cool. What's not cool? Being outrun by a kid running backwards! lol.

We ran the same mile loop I used for my warmup on Wednesday. One downhill, followed by one uphill. The rest is fairly flat. I had a minor epiphany on the run that will show just what a newbie runner I am. The first mile sucked. It almost always does. I'm always surprised by how tired I feel when I've barely been running. The second mile felt much better. It almost always does. And then it hit me...Oooooohhhhhhhhhh...if I run a warmup before my next race, maybe I'll feel like this at the beginning of the race! In the past, I've watched people running warmups and thought there's no way I'm going to run EXTRA. Now I get it.


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