Monday, October 8, 2012

Beginning of a new year

Since I am so late in starting this blog, there is much to post!
I will start with my new classroom.  I have changed classrooms four times in the past five years.  It's caused great distress in my typically organized life.  I am STILL working on the room and getting my visuals, tasks, and schedules back the way I like them.
This year,  I came into a classroom that was re-modeled over the summer.  This is what I found on my first in-service day:

 To make it worse, the stuff you see in this photo was not even the right stuff!  All my classroom materials had been placed in the room next door, and I received all that class's materials.  Normally, we would have just swapped the classrooms, but the other room is a life skills room with a stove/fridge/bathroom, so it wasn't really an option.  The first day of in-service was spent just swapping the items to the correct rooms.  Then came purging the junk that was in the room.  There was SO MUCH furniture, so I got rid of a lot of it.  

I got so busy and overwhelmed in moving items around, I forgot to take any between pictures!  I'm so mad at myself, because if you could have seen the mayhem that came from trying to organize this disaster, you would probably laugh.

In the end, I was able to gather matching tables for most areas (a really big deal for my OCD brain) and many great pieces of furniture.  I had my para's begin to make schedules, visuals, and materials almost immediately.  I am so blessed to have two amazing ladies who have a lot of passion and knowledge about their job!

In the end, here are some pictures of what we put in place.  The pictures aren't great (my phone was dying a slow painful death when these were taken), but they will give an idea of what my classroom looked like after about two and a half weeks with kids:

Schedule Area.
Each kid has an individual schedule.  I have three kiddos who need a picture pull off schedule (long colored schedules).  I have two who can use a checkoff list (second to left and far right).  I have one student who needs a combination (middle). 

Leisure / Break area
Students get to take a book or favorite toy to this area when they earn their tokens.

 Work Box Shelf
These are a combination of vocational and academic tasks.  Students have a job chart that tells them which boxes to do.  Boxes range from assembly, sorting, packaging, spelling, and following written directions.  A follow up post will come that shows some of these up close.

Work With Teacher Area
I have a small bookshelf behind the table that holds student specific materials.  This is where most of my data is taken (though it's taken all over and throughout the day).  To the left, you can see one student's IEP work station.  To the right is a bookshelf that houses teaching materials.

A view from the back table
Wow, it's so messy!  This shows my desk area (in left corner), the computer center, the independent work station, our group table, and one student IEP work station.

IEP work station.
The white drawers hold individualized activities that correlate to the student IEP.  Students complete one drawer at a time and place the number of that drawer on their job board (green).  When they complete all 6 drawers, they have earned a break in the break area.  You can see on the table that this student has color coded icons that he uses to match his picture schedule icons.  This helps increase his independence.

 Listening Center
Students have word cards that they run through the "card master" and they also can choose a book on CD to listen to.
Front of Room
Here is our class rules poster, as well as our calendar and Activeboard.
Computer station
One computer is so old, it rarely works (it has a floppy disk drive!!!).  The other is brand new and has a touch screen.  Kids have specific sites or programs they are required to complete, then if time allows, can go to preferred sites for games.

And that's my room!  As I post these pictures, I notice that there are missing areas.  I plan to take new pictures tomorrow so you can compare these to what things look like now!  

How do you set up your room?  Anything stand out as bizarre or poorly done?

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