I have now been in my new position as a Social and Emotional Learning Specialist with AISD for a month.  I have learned so much in such a short time and I am truly inspired by my amazing team!  Social and emotional learning has been my passion for many years and I am honored to be a part of an initiative that is impacting so many children!  

I have been thinking a lot about my blog and website as it was such a huge part of my previous position as a Social Communication Special Education teacher.  I love sharing ideas that others can use in their classrooms and want to continue to have that dialogue with educators and parents from all over the country.  My posts probably won't be as frequent as they once were, but I am making a commitment to continue to post on this site.  Who knows what it will evolve into, but I am just excited to share things I learn along the way on this new journey.  I hope everyone can find some inspiration and know that the social and emotional work we do with children is invaluable and gives them the necessary skills to be successful in life and society.  

"Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn." -Benjamin Franklin
Hi everyone!  Wow, we are in the single digits of how many days left til summer!  

In social group, we have been writing our social stories for the kids to have over the summer.  These books have a lot of information about Boone.  Each group is deciding what they want their book to say on each page.  Next week, I will be taking the students to meet their new teachers for next year.  We will take a picture with their new teacher for their social stories.  The social stories will come home on the last day of school.  

In Lunch Bunch, we have been practicing all the social skills we have learned this year through cooperative play and teamwork.  Groups are playing table games or Wii Bowling.  It is so fun seeing them interact positively with each other!  I'm seeing such amazing social progress in them!  I am a proud

If you have any questions about anything, my door is always open!  Come visit, call me or email me.  This goes for the summer too!  ~Angela Cardenas
Hi everyone!

I know I'm a broken record always saying that time is flying, but it seriously is!!  I can't believe we are already in the last month of school!

We have been busy in the SCORES room learning about Superflex's new Power Plan and the new team of Thinkables that work with Superflex to help defeat the Unthinkables.  Hopefully you saw these pages come home in the blue folder and had a chance to discuss them with your child.  This week and next, we are working on creating a book of the 4-5 Thinkables that we personally feel that we need to "activate" more in our lives.  Click here and scroll down to Thinkable Dream Team to see an example of the book we are making.  Your child will be bringing their books home next week.  When you see your child using these great strategies, be sure to positively reinforce this skill (ie. "It looks like you have Sunny Sun in your brain!  That's awesome!  What great social thinking!").  When you see that they are needing to activate these strategies, using the Thinkable's name is a good trigger to remind the student of what they have learned about the Thinkable (ie. "It looks like you are getting upset and Glassman is getting into your brain.  Remember Rainbow Girl can help you!").  Supporting their social communication learning at home will help them to generalize skills in the various settings of their lives.

This is the time of year that we start planning for next year.  We take great care and thought for the placement of your child's next class/teacher.  Just like every year, we will be making summer social stories for the kids to have over the summer to read about Boone.  I will take the students to meet their new teachers and take a picture.  Please remember that this is a service that only SCORES kids have so I ask that you keep the information about your child's next year teacher to yourself.  Everyone else will find out their teachers in August.

Last summer, I offered tutoring services.  It went so well and I enjoyed seeing my students over the summer so much that I am going to offer this service again!  My rate is $30 an hour.  I can come to your house, you can come to mine or we can meet at a public library.  My schedule is fairly flexible.  I can tutor Reading, Math, Writing or anything else you think your child needs to work on.  I can also work on social skills instruction if you would like them to get extra practice over the summer.  If you are interested in this tutoring service over the summer, please let me know some times that work for you.  I would like to know by the end of this month so that I can make sure to pack up some of my teaching materials to bring home for the summer.  You are welcome to let anyone else you know that may be interested as well.

I think that's all for now!  Please email or call me with any questions or concerns.  Have a great May!  -Angela Cardenas
Wow, the spring is flying by!  We already only have 7 weeks of school left before summer!  I hope everyone had a lot of fun at our Spring Carnival on Friday!  We had a blast! 

Last week in social group, we started a new management system called Class Dojo.  Click here and scroll down to Class Dojo to learn how we are using this system in the SCORES room.  

Next week, we will be STAAR testing again.  Third and fourth grades will be taking Reading and Math.  Fifth grade will be taking the Science test.  If you have students in these grade levels, encourage them to be practicing their test anxiety strategies we learned about a couple weeks ago.  

In social group this week, we are working on Superflex's Very Cool 5 Step Power Plan.  I will blog about this next week.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know!  
                                                  -Angela Cardenas
I hope everyone had a great Spring Break!  The weather was amazing, wasn't it?!  I enjoyed time with family and we got to take Teo to his first carnival in Rockport, Texas where my parents live.  Great fun!

Andrea Ramirez, my student teacher, is in her "total teach" right now, where she is responsible for all lessons.  I am still observing and working with students, but she is in charge of the bulk of the teaching.  She is doing a great job!!  

This week in social group, we have been working on different concepts based on the grade levels:

Kindergarten - Second grade social groups have been working on thoughts creating feelings.  Click here and scroll down to "What is a Thought? (A Thought is a Lot!)" to learn more.  

Third - Fifth grade social groups have been working on test anxiety.  With STAAR coming up, this is a very relevant topic to cover for these kiddos.  Click here and scroll down to "Tyler Tames the Testing Tiger" to learn more.

In Lunch Bunch, students participated in Conversation Tree.  Most of the students have done this activity before so they were excited when they found out they were doing it again.  Our topic was "spring brea" and students were able to tell stories and share their fun adventures from their week off from school!  The kids had a great time.  To learn more about this activity, click here and scroll down to "Conversation Tree".

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I'm here to help!                   -Angela Cardenas
Wow, February really flew by, didn't it?!  

I really enjoyed attending parent teacher conferences over the past few weeks.  If I wasn't able to attend your child's conference and you would like to meet with me, please email or call anytime!  

We have been busy working on social thinking in the SCORES room.  Click here and scroll to Social Detective to learn more about our activities.  Hopefully your kids told you about the scavenger hunt we went on.  It was FUN!

Spring Break is around the corner!  I hope you and your kiddos enjoy some much needed down time!  I know I am looking forward to spending the week with my family!                 Take care, 
Angela Cardenas   
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  

We have been busy in the SCORES room!  Last week in social group, we worked on perspective taking and inference through watching various Mr. Bean animated clips.  There are many animated Mr. Bean clips on Youtube.  Mr. Bean is a great way to practice perspective taking and inference because he doesn't talk much and when he does, he has major Mumble Monster in his brain!  He also has really exaggerated and silly behavior so it offers a lot of opportunity for inference conversation.  Plus, the kids are really engaged because he is funny-Bonus!  

In Lunch Bunch, we worked on kindness.  Click here and scroll down to Wall of Kindness to learn more about this activity.

This week, we are working on empathy in social group.  We are completing various worksheets together from the book, Teaching Children Empathy, The Social Emotion by Tonia Caselman.  Click here to learn more about this book.  We have been focusing on rating ourselves in regards to empathy and empathetic listening.  You should see these worksheets coming home in their blue SCORES folders.  Their homework has been to discuss these topics with you using their worksheets.  In Lunch Bunch this week, students are playing a Valentine's Day Social Language game made by Jenna Rayburn.  Click here to learn more about this game that has many components of social language.

I am super excited about our social group activity for next week!  We are going on an social skills scavenger hunt!  There will be clues throughout the building that get the kids thinking about appropriate social communication skills and then they will have to demonstrate inference and conversation skills to get to the next clue.  It should be super fun and engaging!

Parent teacher conferences are in full swing!  I am attending as many conferences as I possibly can.  Inevitably, there are scheduling conflicts when working with 13 teachers.  If I am not able to attend your conference, I am happy to meet with you separately to discuss your child's social progress.  Call or email me if you would like to set up a meeting.  

I just received Summer Camp information.  Click here and scroll down to Summer Camps 2013 to download the packet.  It has information about various camps available in our area.  Many camps fill up fast, so if you want to get your child in a specific camp, I encourage you to start the process as soon as possible.

As always, if there is anything I can do to help support you and your children, please contact me.  -Angela Cardenas
Hi everyone!  Last week, we focused on yoga.  Yoga is a great strategy to help with so many things!  Lots of children struggle with focus, having too much energy, getting stressed easily and anxiety issues.  Yoga can help all of these things!  Click here and scroll down to Yoga to learn more about our activities in social group and lunch bunch.  This week, we are focusing on perspective taking and inference.  More about this in my blog next week!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Email or call me if you have any questions or concerns.  
                                              -Angela Cardenas
Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a relaxing and fun winter break!  I enjoyed lots of time with my family and even got to see snow when we drove to Arkansas to visit my family!  My son was very excited to play (and eat) snow!  See the picture below to see what I mean!  It amazes me that we are already in 2013!  How time flies! 

In the past week and a half in social group, we have been talking about resolutions and goals.  We have been discussing that the start of a new year is a time when people tend to try to make changes in their lives.  We brainstormed what we wanted to work on in our lives and created a bulletin board project called, "Hopes and Dreams for 2013".  Click here and scroll down to "Hopes..." to learn more about the activity and to see pictures.  Also, check out our bulletin board in C pod if you get a chance!  

In Lunch Bunch, we have been working on our conversation skills.  We have been playing a "Bean Bag Conversation Game" to practice having conversations.  Click here and scroll down to "bean bag..." to learn more about this fun way to practice conversation skills.  

I'm excited to introduce Andrea Ramirez, my new student teacher!  She will be with us until the beginning of May.  She will be taking over various parts of my schedule until she eventually teaches everything for 3 weeks total.  Below is an introduction from her:  

Hello! My name is Andrea Ramirez Cristoforo and I will be a student teacher in your son/daughter’s SCORES classroom for this spring semester.  I was born and raised in Mexico and I am a senior at the University of Texas at Austin where I am studying my bachelor’s degree in all-levels special education. Through this program, I have had the opportunity of teaching in a general education classroom for one semester, in a PPCD classroom and Autism setting for an entire semester, and in a bilingual resource room for another semester. I am looking forward to working with your child and I hope to make your child’s learning experience fun and meaningful!   

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email or call me!  -Angela Cardenas
Wow, this month has seriously flown by!  We have been super busy working on perspective taking in social group.  The kids have been practicing "putting themselves in others' shoes" through various scenarios and videos.  I love seeing them practice such great social thinking!

In Lunch Bunch, we discussed doing kind things for others during the holiday season.  We made a super adorable bulletin board in C pod.  If you haven't gotten a chance to see it, click here and scroll down to "We Can Light Up the World With Kindness!" to learn more.

As we roll into Winter Break, I hope you enjoy some time off with your sweet children.  In light of recent events, I know that I have been holding my baby extra close and getting in as many cuddles as possible.  I've also been reflecting a lot on the hardships of parenting, teaching and life in general.  It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the stress and frustration of life.  In the past few days, I have been really focusing on being thankful for every moment, good and bad, with my students as well as my own child.  As I cleaned yogurt off my kitchen wall, I reminded myself to be thankful I can have that experience because so many do not have that anymore.  When my toddler had a meltdown in the grocery store, I tried to remind myself that I am lucky to be on this emotional roller coaster with him because many had that taken from them in the blink of an eye.
  If you start to feel inevitable feelings of frustration, take a deep breath, remember that every moment is precious, and be grateful for all experiences.  I know it's much easier said than done, but that's my goal!  I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful Winter Break full of love, laughter and precious moments with your families.  Love, Angela Cardenas