Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week: Where I Teach

**If you are here from the Special Ed Freebie Hop/Giveaway, click here for my post/freebie/to continue the hop!**

Yesterday, I shared a little bit of "all about me" for day 1 of Teacher Week. Today, I'm sharing a sneak peak of my classroom for this year!

The thing is, for me, summer school just ended last week. My room is still a colossal mess. I was able to be in the classroom for just a couple hours yesterday (I left much earlier than I'd wanted to when they started testing the fire alarms!!). Today I spent most of the day in the classroom - mostly cleaning up from summer school and attempting to begin organizing for the new year. I did get a few areas in the room 'finished,' but it's nowhere near done. I'll be posting a full classroom reveal when I get it done (probably sometime next week).

I decided to ditch a "theme" for decor this year (last year I did Hollywood) and go with a color scheme instead. I fell in love with the "Dots on Turquoise" decor from Creative Teaching Press.

This is the bulletin board for our morning meeting/circle time. I'm lucky to have two side rooms off my main room, so this is one of my side rooms. I love how the turquoise pops against the black paper! Super classy.

Our circle time consists of (from left to right) calendar skills (we use my Patterned Calendar Pieces), weather (temperature bar graph - this fantastic idea was from Sasha @ The Autism Helper and we also use weather icons from A Special Kind of Class' Weekly Weather Graph), tallying the days in school, and our question of the day (the Q, Y, N poster towards the middle of the board). The question of the day is usually a yes/no question, and we use our responses to count, graph, and talk about more/less/same. The blank pocket chart is for our daily schedule - it is empty now because I'm redoing our schedule cards for the year. The two small posters at the top of the board are our behavior expectations - each gives guidelines for "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" behavior during group time.

Since we also do Guided Reading in this same room, the pocket chart on the far right is vocab and ordinal numbers/sequencing from the book for our first week of school, "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books." I purchased Primary Graffiti's Old Lady Swallowed Sub Tub Bundle at the back to school sale this year, and am excited about using these books and activities - not for subs, but for my own teaching, for fun, seasonal breaks from our usual curriculum units once a month during guided reading!

This is the supply/teacher table in our circle time room. It rarely looks this clean but I'm hoping to keep it this way! In circle time we also do social greetings (not pictured - we use the Go Talk Now app on our iPad for this) and the Pledge of Allegiance. You can see another guided reading "Old Lady" activity there with the book prepped for the first day. In the green basket are extra supplies for our circle time notebooks (not pictured - the notebooks are getting revamped tonight, actually! they usually live in a bin behind the clock on this table). You can also see our "yes/no" two-button voice output communicator that we use with our question of the day. The box behind the communicator is our Birthday Box - each student gets to choose a book and a sticker from this box on their birthday! And of course, we also have the requisite hand sanitizer and kleenex!

Another thing I got completed today was our ELA and Math focus boards! This is a room divider turned into bulletin boards on wheels! (The back side of these boards are also bulletin boards, which hold our days of the week and months of the year cards for circle.)

For the Working With Letters/Words part of our balanced literacy this year, I've decided to do a sound of the week. Our first sound is M, so that's what the left side is. I made an "M" puzzle (top left) and at the bottom is a pocket chart with "M" sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words. Students will either match picture to word, or identify where the "M" sound is in the word, depending on ability. I like doing a sound of the week, rather than initial letter, since it really hits on auditory discrimination - something my kiddos who will not be readers can definitely benefit from, too! The alphabet sound chart is a freebie from Maria Manroe @ Kindercraze!

The right side is our math focus board...We have been asked to use the Common Core Essential Elements for our math instruction this year, which is quite honestly too high functioning for most of my students. But, the wonderful folks at the Wayne County (MI) ISD center-based programs have created some fantastic resources to help make sense of the Essential Elements and level them for low-incidence students - perfect!!! They have even created pacing guides that give a month-by-month suggested focus! Well, if someone has already done the work for me, why reinvent the wheel?? For the grade level I'm using (I have 6 grade levels in my class so for our main math focus I just picked the one in the middle) September's focus is fractions and more/less. The Angry Birds question comes directly from a monthly assessment Wayne County put together - I just made it bulletin-board size for my kiddos!

(I'm planning a post on the math Essential Elements and how I'm using Wayne County's resources soon, so stay tuned!)

I saved the best for last - and it's best purely for what's NOT yet in this photo! Here is our computer station. On the left is a pocket chart with student names - kids use the computer to sign in each day and many need a guide to be able to type their names. Obviously I still need to paper/border the right side, but that will hold our computer use guidelines. And on the desk is our classroom laptop (old as the hills, but it still works!), and this is the best part...it will soon also hold OUR NEW KEYBOARD!!!

Yes, that's right - for those of you who are followers of mine on Facebook, you know I recently wrote a Donors Choose project for a large-key, high contrast keyboard and metal keyguard! AND IT HAS BEEN FULLY FUNDED!!! You guys, I am so excited! My students are going to FLIP. We have had this same keyboard on loan from our ISD's lending library for the past several months but had to return it on our last day of school :( And now we're going to have our own!
I just...I can't even. I'm so overwhelmed, still, and it's been a few days since I got the notice that we were fully funded. I cannot wait!

So, there's my sneak peak of my classroom this year. I know this post got wordy...sorry! When I post the full classroom reveal, I promise there will be more photos and fewer words! :)

11 comments:

  1. Organized much?!?!? Holy moly...looks great! {My hubby is a Wayne County teacher!}

    Holly
    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well...this is a very small section of my room that's organized! :) Thanks! (And kudos to your hubby! Wayne County teachers have made my job so much easier this year!!!)

      Kara

      Delete
  2. I love your reveal and what you are doing in each section. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it and also your math content as that is one I have struggled with since I have students all over the place with their skills. I'm also need to post on how I added students, and I actually use the Brigance to get a big picture view of alk of my students. I have found it to be especially helpful for my students who are more high functioning and often have splinter skills. I also use specific skill assessments I have gotten online, such as letter sounds, writing their name, etc. I do the Brigance at the beginning of the school year, right before their IEP, and again at the end. I do the other assessments before I teach a skill and after so that I can see if my instruction worked, and throughout the year as needed. So there you have it. Good luck in setting up the rest of your room!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your reveal and what you are doing in each section. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it and also your math content as that is one I have struggled with since I have students all over the place with their skills. I'm also need to post on how I added students, and I actually use the Brigance to get a big picture view of alk of my students. I have found it to be especially helpful for my students who are more high functioning and often have splinter skills. I also use specific skill assessments I have gotten online, such as letter sounds, writing their name, etc. I do the Brigance at the beginning of the school year, right before their IEP, and again at the end. I do the other assessments before I teach a skill and after so that I can see if my instruction worked, and throughout the year as needed. So there you have it. Good luck in setting up the rest of your room!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jannike! I would love to hear more about how you assess students and what other skill assessments you use. I wish I had access to the Brigance but sadly I don't!

      Kara

      Delete
  4. Lots of typos, sorry, my phone won't let me edit; that should be assess, not added.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love your question of the day idea! I am totally going to start that. Do you have a problem with your students mostly saying yes? Doesn't matter what the question is, I have multiple students who I know will already answer yes. Trying to work on that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I do have that problem, Brie (one of the reasons I started doing a question of the day to begin with!). I usually start the year with very concrete questions - are you a boy? Are you wearing red? Did you ride the bus today? Etc...Questions we all know the answers to so we can call them on just a default answer that isn't true! I keep with the very concrete questions and practice questions those kids have to answer "no" to, before I move onto the more 'fun' questions such as "do you like..." "have you ever..." etc. that I may not actually know their answers to! Peer pressure sometimes works, too - the girl who answers yes to "are you a boy?" gets a chorus of "no you're not!"...we all chuckle a little and she gets a chance to think about her answer and change it if needed...etc. Good luck!

      Kara

      Delete
  6. It all looks great! I would love to know more about your circle time notebooks. I would also like to know more about the question of the day. I've done it before, but your system looks a little simpler. Do you write their names next to what they answer on your chart? I have mostly very low students, most of whom do not have the physical ability to hit a switch independently, but I could help with hand over hand for concrete questions...or figure something out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michie - I just answered your questions and talked a little bit more about our question of the day on a post here: http://spedventures.blogspot.com/2014/08/answering-questions-about-question-of.html
      I'll post about our circle time notebooks once I get them set for the new school year :)

      Kara

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover