What's going on in Room 125?

Weekly Update: 3-26-15


I have a couple of resources for you this morning.

One, I added to the “Parent Resources” tab of this website. Here it is again, a site with many social stories: http://benziesangmassocialstoriesforautism.blogspot.com/?m=1

The other is a packet with information about summer opportunities. Here it is: Summer Opportunies.

As you may know, Ms Shelly has been doing most of the teaching these past two weeks (with my collaboration and support). This is the “climax” of her internship, so please support her and feel free to ask questions regarding her path and plan for the rest of the semester.

Spring break is next week! If you have a moment to send me a quick note about your plans, I would love to support students in conversations with their peers about upcoming adventures.

Have a lovely end of the week and a fantastic break!

-Ms Wales

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Light it Up Blue

Lee gave me many materials from her involvement with Light it Up Blue, including information about a hockey game this week. We’ll send these home today. Let me know if you have questions and/or would like to be involved but need financial support.


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Class Picture Day Tomorrow

We will have our class and gen ed class pictures tomorrow! Please turn in your order forms if you want a picture. Let me know if you have questions.

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Horseback Riding Tomorrow

Our first horseback riding trip is tomorrow! While we will be going on several other similar trips, this is different in that we will be there longer being filmed for our feature in the DPS Foundation promotional video.  (If you checked  “no” for media/photo permission at the beginning of the year, your child will not be shown in this film).

Tomorrow, you must send your child with the following:

  1. Weather appropriate clothing—especially layers! We’ll be there rain or shine, hot or cold. Jeans/long pants are recommended.
  2. Close-toed shoes that are fine to be muddied.
  3. Water There  is not drinkable water at the  ranch.

The following items are optional:

  1. A helmet (such as a bike helmet). The ranch has helmets, but if your child has one they are comfortable in, feel free to send that (especially if putting on another helmet may be upsetting).
  2. Sunscreen-apply this before sending your child to school. We will be outside all day!
  3. Allergy medicine-if your child experiences allergies (e.g. to horses, dust, hay), consider giving them whatever medicine they take to alieve this prior to school.

Our bus leaves at 9:15 in the morning tomorrow and we should arrive back at school around 1:45-2. For more information about the ranch, check out the site:  http://www.acresofopportunityranch.com/

Let me know if you have questions!  Looking forward to a fun day!

-Ms Wales

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Weekly Update: 3-12-14


With all of the testing in school this week, we have had quite the ever-changing schedule. I have been out supporting testing every afternoon, specials schedules have been changed, and supporting paras have been rotated. This is a lot of change for a room that thrives on structure. SO PROUD of this class for going with the flow and rolling with the surprises. Next week will still involve some schedule changes, but I will no longer be testing  and therefore will be back in action in Room 125 all day.

Thank you again for those of you that joined us for Touch the World. Thanks to the design of one of our Recess Buddies and collaboration with a Small Print Shop, we have the design for some pretty cute t-shirts for this year’s project! Can’t wait to get them ordered and out to Edison’s inclusive students and teachers.

Our first horseback riding trip is next Friday! I have waivers from several of you. If you have not turned yours in, please do so by tomorrow March 13. Students may not participate in these trips without these forms. I am very excited about the opportunity for our students. This hands-on learning is a meaningful way to practice IEP, communication, and behavior goals and work on generalization. Every year I am amazed to see students grow week to week in their relationships with the horses and their understanding of ranch expectations and routines.  If you have any questions about what we do there or why, please call or email me! I do not want anyone to miss outJ I will send home information about what to bring and where in a later update.

Thanks for all you do! Happy Spring!

-Ms Wales

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Horseback Riding!

As you know, we are recipients of the AtoZ grant again this year for our horseback riding trips at Acres of Opportunity Ranch. Today, I sent home waivers and medical release forms that must be filled out for your child to participate in these trips. Please return these forms to me no later than this Friday, March 13.

Our first visit will be next Friday, March 20. We will be at the ranch from approximately 10:15-1:30. This is longer than our usual trips as the DPS Foundation (who fund the grant) will be filming us to be part of a video encouraging people to donate to the grant which gives us this opportunity.

I am still waiting on busing confirmation for our other dates. I will let you know when this schedule is set, but anticipate every Friday from 10-12 for the remainder of the year after the filming.

Please let me know if you have questions. This is the fourth consecutive year we have participated in the opportunity. I also have fairly extensive horse and therapeutic riding experiences so hopefully will be able to answer any questions you have about the trips.


-Ms Wales

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Touch the World

So many thanks to those of you who made it out to Touch the World on Friday to participate, volunteer, and/or donate! In addition to a fun time, we raised a total of $965! Half of this will go toward Edison’s Inclusive T-Shirt Project (we also have designs from the event!)….so look forward to a new shipment of inclusive t-shirts and art for the Edison community. I am so grateful to work with such an amazing group of people and to have such a large support network.

Thank you all!


Weekly Update: 3-3-15


Here is a delayed (or early) weekly update!
Three items:
1. Touch the World
2. PARCC testing
3. Math Instruction
Touch the World
Touch the World is Friday (March 6)! Please, please spread the word! We have been preparing at school by practicing our dance for the performance, collecting recyclables for the instrument creation station, enlisting volunteers, and making and hanging signs to promote the event. While the event is optional, it would be awesome for everyone to be there as it is a great opportunity to have fun as a class outside of school. Please let me know if you can not make it, as this will influence some of the things we prepare.
In order to support our school project, we need to sell a lot more tickets. Please share the link with everyone you know! 🙂
PARCC Testing
State testing starts next week for 3-5 grades. Our class will be affected in a few ways. Some schedules will change to accommodate switched specials times. Right now, it seems 2nd grade is most affected. In the afternoons I will be supporting testing with 3rd grade. So, our classroom’s schedule and teachers will be different (mainly paras will keep things going as close to usual as possible with support of another adult in the building). Prepare your children to “go with the flow” and support the 3rd-5th graders.
Math Instruction
 I realized it’s been a while since I’ve sent home some math tips for my weekly update, so I wanted to write this week about the “concrete-representational-abstract” sequence for teaching math concepts. This sequence can be used to teach virtually all math concepts and helps students develop more concrete understanding when solving problems and using math. The sequence is fairly self-explanatory and uses these general guidelines:
  Start with concrete methods to teach a concept. This means real objects.
  Once students are proficient using objects for a skill, move to representations. This means using pictures (e.g. to represent the objects and problem).
   After students are able to demonstrate skills with representations, then we can work on the abstract. This means using numbers and/or words (e.g. how the problem is written.
    Below are some ideas for what this may look like for three different math skills. The CRA sequence is a great tool to have, though, because it can be applied to most operations and skills. If you have questions on how you can use the sequence at home, let me know!
Example 1: Counting
   Concrete: Place objects out and have your child point to each one while you/they say the number as they count. (Even if your child isn’t counting, this is great to do to work on one-to-one correspondence which is relevant in math, reading, and communicating!) If your child is having trouble touching one at a time, try varying the objects (each one is different) and/or using bigger or more spaced out objects. You may show the number you are counting on a notecard or in another manner.
    Representational: Draw or print pictures of the objects you used to count or other pictures and repeat the touching and counting. Again, pair this with the number you are counting.
    Abstract: Show the number and count out loud with your child.
Example 2: Addition
    Concrete: For an addition problem, count out a corresponding number of objects for each number. So, far 2+3 count out 2 pennies, legos, Goldfish, etc to put by the 2 and 3 to go by the 3. Then, count all of the objects to find the total.
    Representational Repeat what was done above, this time using pictures of the objects or other pictures. An advanced form of this is having your child draw a picture to represent each number, for example 2 circles to represent 2.
    Abstract Solve the problem without pictures or objects.
Example 3: Multiplication
    Concrete: Use plates to represent groups and place objects within the plates to represent the amount in each group. The multiplication problem can be approached as something like “2 groups (plates) of 3 objects (pennies on each plate) equals 6 objects total.”
   Representational: Draw circles to represent the plates and smaller circles or dots within each group. Follow the same procedure as above.
   Abstract: Solve without the pictures or objects.
For all operations, once students have a good understanding at each of the three levels, work on fluency by practicing math facts repeatedly and quickly.
Do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions, ideas, or concerns. I know a lot has being going on with new students, testing, Touch the World, field trips, and school events. We’re really getting ready for all the spring fun! Let me know if anything is unclear.
Thank you! Goodnight!
-Ms Wales
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