What's going on in Room 125?

Weekly Update, 9-27-2012

Another busy week for Room 125! We are now finishing our second week of 2nd grade mainstreamed science with Ms. Martin’s class and Recess Buddies. Our kindergartener went on his first field trip with Ms. Guckes’ class.  And we started some new things in Room 125:

Voice Scale

You have probably seen our Voice Scale come home in a few forms in your child’s homework notebook. This is the way we are measuring and practicing voice volume in Room 125 and the rest of school. This scale is meant to help students recognize the volume of their voice, as well as choose an appropriate volume across different settings. Here are some places we use the volumes:

1. hallway, bathroom, computer, group time when someone else is talking

2. library, group work in inclusion

3. talking to a friend, working with a teacher in centers

4. recess

5. never, unless it’s an emergency.

We have been practicing all the volumes except 5, which is saved for emergencies only. Practice this scale at home whenever possible. It will help students learn and utilize this scale if it is used consistently throughout their day. Point out what volume they are throughout the day and/or talk about what volume they should be. We will continue to use this scale throughout the year.












Special Helper

Monday, we started Special Helper again. This is the same as last year. Each day a different student gets to be Special Helper. The get to do things like help me during Morning Meeting, be the line leader, and make choices that we use throughout the day. Special Helper changes daily in a random rotation.  It is a Special Helper’s job to be a good role model, following the rules and doing good listening.  If a Special Helper has consistent trouble showing good Special Helper behavior, they may be fired for the day. Special Helper is a privilege and worthy of celebration, so feel free to ask me when your child is Special Helper and how they do!

Pajama Day

Monday, October 1st is pajama day!  Students and teachers are invited to wear their favorite pajamas and bring a stuffed animal to school on Monday! It’s October count day, and it’s very important for all students to be at school so our school can receive funding from the state. Send your child in pajamas for the fun!

I Need Your Feedback!

Please e-mail me, comment on this blog, or send me a note letting me know how frequently you use our website. I want this to be the most effective source of communication it can be, and appreciate your help and feedback to make it so.

Have a great weekend!

-Ms. Wales


Weekly Update, 9-20-2012: Touch the World and More!

Touch the World!

I can not express my gratitude for the support of those who participated in Touch the World enough!! Thank you for supporting your children and our classroom by coming to our event, supporting their practice and prep at home, buying tickets, and/or bringing family members to the event. I am so proud of how well the students from Room 125 did for their stage debut!  I am glad they got to share their hard work with so many families and friends. This event was a big step for building our community of students, teachers, parents, and friends…and we raised a good amount of money!  The PayPal will remain open on this site through the end of September for those who still wish to make donations, but as of last night we raised $1589!!!  WOW. Split between the classrooms this will bring about $300 to our classroom for apps for our new iPads. I am so grateful for all of our support, and thrilled to be able to bring our technology and inclusion dreams to life!  I will keep you posted on our projects. Thanks again for your tremendous amount of support last night. I will post some pictures for everyone to see at left:)

Recess Buddies

This week was the first week of our Recess Buddies program (check out the Recess Buddies tab at left if you are not familiar with the program). While it will take a week or two to get a solid schedule, and more time to get into a steady routine, I am excited that the second year of this great program is on a role! Our 5th grade mentors seem excited, and I’ve seen the Room 125 kids already having fun with their new friends on the playground. Once our schedule is established, I will let you know who your child’s Buddies are so you can talk about them at home. Until then, continue to talk to your child about good ways to play with friends, and to remember that their Buddies are their friends!

A Few Classroom Routine Updates:

1. The Learning Tree: Every day as a part of the morning routine, each student puts their name on the Learning Tree in our classroom. The first few weeks of school the focus was the word “on”, as in “put your name on the tree”. This week we introduced the concept of top and bottom, as we put our name “on top of the tree”. You can work on this concept at home by labeling the tops and bottoms of objects, people, buildings, really anything!  Just point the top or bottom out to your child. You could even make a game by putting things on the top or bottom of something. You could even label tops and bottoms around the house with “Top” and “Bottom” sticky notes, which would also promote sight word reading.

2. Letter of the Week: This week we talked about the letter B. Next week will be C. Help your child learn the letter of the week by finding in in books or on signs, or writing it when you color or do homework.

3. Science: As you know, this year we started science in Room 125. This is a great time for group hands-on learning and communication. This week we talked about the word “explore” while we explored bubbles in a variety of ways. Everyone seemed to enjoy making bubbles with homemade wands or straws and waterbottles in the water. Check out the pictures at left to see the fun.

Pick Up and Drop Off

As a reminder the bell for the start of school rings at 8:45am. If you come to school after that time, you will need to sign in at the office. Your child can come to the room as early as 8:30am for breakfast, but no earlier than that. This is especially important because I often have meetings in the morning and will not be in the room until 8:30. If you come early to school you can wait with your child in the cafeteria until 8:30.

School ends at 3:30pm. If you need to pick your child up prior to 3:30, make sure to stop by the office before coming to the room to sign them out.  If you pick up your child, meet me by the cement picnic table by the large playground out back at 3:30pm.  

Let me know if you have any questions!

Teacher Support

I want to update you on some teacher learning I am able to participate in this year. Partly in relation to my efforts with some other teachers to build a strong community among the teachers of students with autism in the district (e.g. Touch the World), many of the teachers in DPS have agreed to meet monthly for a 2.5 hour class/collaboration to learn and share methods and ideas for teaching students with autism. We had our first class this Monday, and it was phenomenal. It was great to be able to talk with other similar teachers, and I learned a lot of things that will benefit the students in Room 125.  I am excited to continue to learn and grow as a teacher for your wonderful children.

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PS To the Weekly Update

1. Finally got some photos up from the week!  Technical difficulties made me a little late. Sorry!

2. Next week we will start second grade science in Ms. Martin’s class. Visit her website here: http://mssandoval.weebly.com/

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Weekly Update, 9-10-12: The Start of Our New Schedule

New Schedule

This week we started our new schedule. This included Specials (music, art, PE) inclusion for all students and longer and more content driven morning and afternoon centers.  I am proud of how well the students in Room 125 adapted to the changes!  This week our centers focused on Touch the World. Students worked hard making posters, invitations, and decorations for our big event. We also continued to practice our dance for the performance. Students are doing an awesome job with this!  The excitement is definitely building among our students, teachers, and school.  I’m so glad our whole class will be able to participate in this event!

This week we also started “Letter of the Week.” Each week, we will focus on a new letter. We will read and write it at Morning Meeting and use our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to practice writing it at centers.  We are using “Dr. Suess’s ABC” to make our own class alphabet as we go along. This week the Letter of the Week was A. We will go through the alphabet with the school year.

More Technology is coming to Room 125!

Amazing news!  I applied for a grant for a classroom set up iPads….and we are getting them!  A generous donor liked the sound of my project and he is working with DPS tech support person to write an agreement and order us some more iPads. This is going to bring great opportunities to our classroom. Many of you saw last year how our one iPad transformed the teaching and learning in our room by bringing us into the 21st Century and giving many students a voice. With more iPads we will be able to do more in our classroom as well as in mainstream classes. With a class set, students will be able to bring their technology into their mainstreamed class, using it to be more involved and engaged with their peers.  I am so grateful for this grant and am excited for the opportunities that it will bring our students!  The only thing is, it is up to me/our classroom to raise the money for our apps and protective cases. So, Touch the World is now more important than ever!  The money we raise here will be used to support our new technology.  Keep inviting friends!

Touch the World

..is less than a week away!  As I’ve mentioned, our class excitement is growing as we work hard every day preparing for “our party”.  Many people from our school and community are coming to support us. Continue to invite members of your community! The more support, the better. If you would like some mini fliers to pass out, please let me know and we’ll send some home!  I’m thrilled that everyone from our class will be there!  This will be an amazing night for Room 125 and other classrooms for students with autism in Denver!

Next Week

Next week we will continue to prepare for Touch the World.  The big event is Wednesday at 6.  We will continue to work on skills for mainstreaming, recognizing faces, and Letter of the Week.  We will celebrate Ms. Lexi’s birthday. We will try out a new program for our daily read aloud, aiming for more engagement with all students and the story.  I will also be meeting with this year’s Recess Buddies and hopefully starting up the recess matches sometime during the week.

Thank you for all your support as we get started with so many new things at school!  I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Touch the World!  Have a great long weekend:)

-Ms Wales

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Touch the World Note Home….12 Days away!!

Hi Families!

Touch the World is just 12 days away!  Please take some time this weekend to purchase your tickets and invite friends and family to do the same at https://whatsuproom125.wordpress.com/touch-the-world/.  Tickets cost $20 per adult. If you cannot afford this right now, do not worry! We still want (and need you there!).  We will accept any donation parents are able to make, or even just your attendance!  This is a very important event for our classroom. Many members of the Edison and DPS community are stepping up to support our classroom, and others like ours.  Next week we will be working hard as a class preparing things for the event, as well as continuing to practice our dance for our performance.  It is critical that as many of our students and families attend as possible, especially since we are asking so many others to come and support us. If you are unsure if you can attend, please contact me so we can work something out so that all of our students can be there. It is important to our class, our community, and to me that all of our students get to participate, since they are working so hard for this event, and will benefit so much. I have been working hard with other teachers all summer to prepare for a great community and fundraising kick off to benefit our students. Please let me know what I can do to support your attendance! 

This is going to be a great event. I’m excited. The kids are getting excited. The community is excited. Looking forward to seeing everyone there and to showcase our talents with the DPS community!

-Ms. Wales

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Weekly Update, 9-6-12: Week 2

This Week

We have had a quick Week 2!  Between the long weekend and continuing to work hard on school rules and routines, the week has flown by! The week we read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Who Do You See?” and other “Who Do You See Books” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. These are great books for beginning readers since they are predictable and contain many beginning sight words. The illustrations also seemed to capture everyone’s attention!  We are working on making a “Room 125, Room 125, Who Do You See?” book to help us practice recognizing our friends and saying their names.  I will send home copies of our book next week.  Read this book at home with your child to practice our class names, as well as common sight words!

Next Week and Beyond

Next week is going to be a big week for Room 125!  Our schedule will change quite a bit from what we have followed these first two weeks, as we will be switching to mainstreamed specials. If your child is a second grader, they will attend specials with Ms. Martin’s class. This will be there mainstream second-grade class, and the goal is for them to be more and more involved as the year goes on. Check out Ms. Martin’s website: http://mssandoval.weebly.com/. Likewise kindergarteners will be included in Ms. Guckes’ class (http://edisonkindercorner.weebly.com/). We will also start our Edison Earnings. Kindness Coins will likely start the following week. We will have longer centers and group lessons, focusing  more on content as we master class routines.  Recess Buddies applications are due next week, so the intention is for Buddies to be Matched and ready to rock the following week.  Make sure to continue to celebrate all successes at home, and talk about things to improve, as student’s settle into the new routine.

Also, no school for students next Friday.

Touch the World

Touch the World is only 13 days away!!  Please make sure to keep spreading the word about this event, as it directly benefits our classroom and your children. We will be performing the song “Sand Between the Toes” with the band, so it is important that everyone is there! We started learning our dance this week, and it seems everyone is having fun! We are excited to share our dance and hard work with our families and community. We will also have large screen Wii games, iPads, crafts, and snacks for everyone to enjoy.  The more money we are able to raise, the better technology we can bring into the classroom. The more people we are able to bring, the bigger community we will be able to build. We are relying on ticket sales to reach our goal, so please direct everyone you can to this website’s “Touch the World” tab at left to buy tickets for our event!  Make sure to purchase your tickets ASAP:) Let me know if you have any questions, ideas, or concerns.

Website updates

Though next week will be the start of our target schedule for the rest of the year, I will still be adjusting it as we discover what is and is not effective. I will try to keep the “Class Schedule” tab current as we figure things out. Thank you for your patience until that point.

Make sure to check the class pictures tab with the weekly update. I will try to post new pictures each week of what we have been up to.

Keep sending people to the “Touch the World” tab to buy tickets for our fundraiser! 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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