What's going on in Room 125?

Weekly Update: 11-29-12

Hello Room 125 Families! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great week back at school and work. Here are some highlights from the week:

Mat Man

In the past few months I have participated in several professional developments about writing. I have been engaging in a good amount of discussion, research, and reflection to brainstorm how to incorporate writing into our classroom. This includes building fine motor skills and overall writing-mechanic skills, as well as using writing to communicate a message. While continuing our frequent work to build fine motor skills, we will also take many steps towards writing to communicate a message. The first step in this developmental process is to draw a picture to tell a story. This means making meaningful decisions to draw a logical picture that can be linked to an event or idea. To start learning this process we have spent the week learning about “Mat Man” from our handwriting curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears. If you were here last year, you may remember Mat Man as we did a lot of work with him. This year we will focus even more on creating Mat Man to learn about purposeful drawing. The next step will be to change the details of Mat Man, such as making him happy or sad, adding hair or glasses, coloring clothes, or personalizing him to be a real person. From here we can start to tailor Mat Man to represent real people and events, which is a critical step in the development of writing with meaning.

You can support this by drawing Mat Man at home and using him to represented things you did as a family. Perhaps you can even draw a family portrait using the Mat Man ideas. Anything we can do to show that Mat Man and other drawings can represent real ideas and events will help communicate the purpose of writing.

Using the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum we both build and draw Mat Man. See below:

Looking Lesson

Every year in addition to individual student goals, we set classroom goals. Our big goal this year is to set and maintain eye contact in response to your name being called. This is an important social skill for all students. The first step of this goal is to make eye contact for 1-2 seconds in response to your name being called when there is no ongoing activity present. Here are some ways you can practice at home:

1. After you say your child’s name and they make eye contact reward them with praise (“Good looking!” , “Great job looking at my eyes”, “You looked at my eyes!” etc) and perhaps a favorite toy or other special item.

2. If your child does not make eye contact when you say their name, point to your eyes and explain where they need to look. Then try again and praise.

3. If your child needs more support to make eye contact, start by holding the item they want up to your eyes when you say their name and praise when they look by giving the item. You can also place your hands on either side of their head (without touching) and move towards your eyes to serve as a guide for where to look.

4. Consistently follow through to make sure that your child looks at you everytime you say their name.

5. If your child is successful with this you can expand to they next steps: maintaining eye contact for 3-5 seconds and/or making eye contact in the presence of an ongoing activity.

Rethink Autism

I mentioned in an early weekly update that I am participating in a professional learning community with many of the other teachers of students with autism in DPS. We meet monthly in different classrooms to discuss topics relevant to teaching students with autism and to share our experiences. An important piece of this learning is a pilot program with an online program called Rethink Autism (http://www.rethinkautism.com/). At our last meeting we had a webinar about this program and this week I’ve really started to explore and utilize the site. This is an amazing resource! This site includes a training center with videos and tests about different aspects of recognizing and teaching students with autism, assessments and lesson libraries to determine appropriate standards-based lessons for students, data tracking, behavior monitoring, and more! I am still just starting to figure out the site, but very excited about it’s implications for our classroom. Having an organized way to keep and share (with the team) data about goals will help me track students’ progress and keep instruction data-driven. The training videos will allow for the whole team to continue to review important ideas and strategies, while allowing us to have common language and be on the same page about instruction. Also, student profiles will be maintained so that when they move to another teacher, that teacher will be up to date on their instruction and progress, supporting an easier transition to a new school. I believe there are some resources for parents on this site, such as webinars, but am not as familiar with this aspect. I’d love to hear about it if some of you decide to explore! Let me know!

PJ Day!

Edison’s Good Citizen club is hosting a Pajama Day tomorrow as a final push for our Penny Harvest. Send in a dollar to support our school’s service project and wear PJ’s for a fun Friday!

Location Determination Discussions

Make sure to talk with me if you haven’t already so we can touch base about the location determination process for next year. As you know, 2nd graders will graduate to a new classroom at the end of this year.

As always, please contact me with any questions or ideas about what is going on in Room 125. There are a lot of things you can extend at home, so feel free to talk with me about ideas specific to your child, and/or things that you have been doing at home.

Have a great weekend!

-Ms. Wales


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Report Cards

Check your child’s homework notebook tonight for their school report cards. As we discussed during conferences, these report cards are less important than the IEP Progress Reports given to you during conferences. The grades on the school report cards are not targeted towards specific goals. There is an explanation of the grades given at the top of report cards. If you have any additional questions please let me know.

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Enrichment Day Note home

Hello Families,

Sorry for the quick notes yesterday…I was in a meeting about Enrichment Day. As mentioned in the weekly update, Enrichment Day is Tuesday! We will be spending the day with our Recess Buddies. In the morning we will go ice skating at the Apex Center. This is a great opportunity to learn something new with our Buddies! Ms. Archibald, the other teacher leading the trip, is an experienced ice skater and teacher. The Apex Center also has some tools to help beginner skaters on the ice.

Please send your student to school on Tuesday, November 20 with the following:

-warm, but thin socks





-packed lunch (let me know if you will need a sack lunch from the lunch room)

Another focus of this day will be to have discussions with the 5th graders about good ways to play with and mentor their Buddy from Room 125. At the end of the day Ms. Lexi and I will meet with each Buddy “team” to talk about their Buddy and their successes and questions at Recess. I would like to invite Room 125 parents to come at 2:45 to speak with 5th grade students about your child and answer any questions they may have. Students have a lot of curiosity about the kids in Room 125, and who better to answer their questions than their parents?  Please let me know whether or not you will be able to attend. 


Feel free to call 720-424-7799 or e-mail Kelsey_wales@dpsk12.org with any questions or ideas for Enrichment Day!

-Ms Wales 

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Weekly Update: 11-15-12


This week we got excited for Thanksgiving in many ways. We practiced sharing and saying “thank you” every day during Teambuilding. We made placemats for a feast, counted Thanksgiving icons, made turkey hats, and read “A Plump and Perky Turkey”.  Tomorrow (Friday 11-16) is Edison’s Thanksgiving lunch. If you bought tickets, come join Room 125 at 11:30 for a special lunch!  If you get a chance before or after break, please send a quick note, e-mail, or phone call to share your Thanksgiving plans. This will be a good way to support conversation between students and their friends when they come back from break!

Pen Pals

We started our letters to our Pen Pals this week. This has been a fun project that students seem invested in. Though we are obviously working on writing and a new form of communication, creating the letters has been a good way to work on communication skills and goals. As we write, we have been practicing answering questions like “What is your name?” and “how old are you?” Student also have been practicing making choices from their Pen Pal Homework Assignment and an iPad choice board to decide what they want to talk about in their letters. It is great to see students share information about themselves. The skills we are learning and practicing with this project will also be meaningful to communicate with peers.


Room 125 had perfect attendance this week! Great job to the students and families for getting to school every day. It was wonderful to have our whole class at school consistently! Academics, friendships, and routines grow stronger each day that students are at school. Keep it up!

Enrichment Day

Next Tuesday is Enrichment Day! I spoke with each of you a bit about this day during conferences. We will be taking a Recess Buddy trip, similar to last spring. The trip will be lead by myself and Ms. Archibald, a 5th grade teacher. We will be going ice skating at the Apex center while getting to know some of our Recess Buddies better. This will be a great opportunity to practice something new, while teaching the 5th graders more about their Buddies. Monday we will prepare and get excited for this trip by reading News2You about ice skating, talking about ice, and “practicing” skating. It’s going to be a fun week! Keep an eye out for updates about what to bring and how to dress on Enrichment Day (coming soon!).

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Weekly Update: 11-8-12


This week was focused on social studies as we learned about current events and people. Check out some of the highlights:


To make connections to the election Monday and Tuesday we took class votes on Teambuilding and Science activities. This allowed for practice in making choices and counting. We also participated in the Edison election, where students throughout the whole school cast their vote for president. Obama won at our school too.  Tomorrow we will read News2You about the election. Though we now know the results of the election, this will still be a good opportunity to connect with current events.

Pen Pals

Thank you all for completing our first Pen Pal Assignment! This week during Room 125 Social Studies we looked at some of the letters from Mr. MacFarlands class. We also shared our answers to the Pen Pal Assignment, allowing us to learn more about our friends while practicing answering personal information questions. Tomorrow we will start to write our letters to Ohio using information from the assignment as well as some school questions.

Choo-Choo-Choose to Follow the Rules!

We started a new class project this week, that’s goals are to reward good behavior and teach about working together. It’s the Room 125 Train!  Each day, when a student does an extra-good job following a specific Room 125 rule they earn a train car to add to our train! This allows each specific student to be recognized for good behavior, while providing a visual for the whole class working together. When our train fills our whole track, Room 125 will win a surprise!




Next Week

Make sure to check Thursday folders for all of the fun things happening next week! Also visit the Edison calendar (http://edison.dpsk12.org/calendar-2/).  Build It night seems like something right up our hands-on learners alley! Also a great opportunity to spend some time with other families in the Edison Community. Let me know if you have any questions/interest in any of the upcoming events.

Have a great long weekend!

-Ms. Wales

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Weekly Update: 11-1-12

Happy November!  It’s hard to believe October is over and we’re on our way to Thanksgiving.  Here’s some things that we did to end the month:

2nd Grade Performance

I am so proud of our 2nd graders who performed in the 2nd Grade Class Specials Show yesterday! The auditorium was full of families and teachers there to watch the 2nd graders perform songs, dance, and musical instruments they made in specials. Our students were up there on stage just like the rest! So very proud and impressed with their hard work. We have some video footage, so if you’d like to peak just ask me when you come in!


This we did some Halloween themed activities. We explored the outsides and insides of a pumpkin (I will upload pictures tomorrow), went on a ghost hunt, and practiced top and bottom with a spooky skeleton. We practiced the Monster Mash, which is the dance the second-graders performed yesterday! I hope everyone had a great holiday.

Penny Harvest

We are continuing our efforts toward the Penny Harvest for Edison’s community service project. To get excited and to connect this project to our learning, we have been spending time counting and cleaning our pennies. Please send in your spare change to help our project grow!

Pen Pal

I got a surprise in the mail this week, which brings great opportunity to our classroom. My cousin is a teacher in Ohio and his students all wrote letters to our classroom with great information about themselves and their school, and question about us. Not only are the letters from his students clearly well thought-out and products of hard work, but this is a great opportunity for our classroom to practice writing and sharing with others! I will be sending a note home about this Pen Pal project soon, with an “About Me” homework assignment which we will use to help create our letters, and also share with our Recess Buddies who want to know more about us.


Thank you again to everyone that came out for conferences. I appreciate your support and communication, both of which allow for the greatest success in our students. Have a fabulous weekend!

-Ms. Wales


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