whatsuproom125

What's going on in Room 125?

Classroom Information

Hello Parents and Families!

It is my pleasure to welcome you and your child to our classroom!  I am looking forward to another year filled with learning and growth.  This website has all the information you need about our classroom!  (If it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll add it!)

Classroom Make-Up

Room 125 is a 1st-4th grade classroom serving students on the autism spectrum.  Classroom structure and scheduling will vary based on the needs of each student.

Communication

One of the most important things that you and I can do to support your child’s learning is to communicate regularly.  This website will be the number 1 place for you to check for info about our classroom. I will update at least weekly (generally on Thursdays) with a blog post about what we have been up to, what is coming, and/or pictures when possible. Please subscribe to our blog (click “follow” on the bottom of the page) so you’ll be notified when there are updates. This is an easy way for you to check out what we’re doing in Room 125 and to stay informed on classroom happenings.  You can also contact me in the following ways:

1. E-mail:I will check my e-mail as possible throughout the day. This will generally be the best way to reach me for non-emergencies. kelsey_wales@dpsk12.org

2. Classroom phone: You can call me at 720-424-7799. However, this phone will not ring so not to interrupt teaching. You can leave me a message which I will check and return when possible.

3. Office phone: If it is urgent that you get a hold of me right away, call the office at 720-424-7780. They will either call me (school calls do ring my phone) or track me down. This is the best way to reach me in an emergency. Please use this method only in emergency situations to limit classroom interruptions.

4. Homework notebook: Your child will have a homework notebook which will go back and forth from school and home daily. This will allow us to communicate with notes about your child’s day, as well as any homework they may have. On very busy or short-staffed days I may not be able to write notes as I would like. Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me after school for an update if that’s the case! Please make sure to check this notebook daily and write a note about your child’s evening and morning so that I am informed about how they are doing and feeling.

5. Thursday folders: These will be sent home every Thursday. Check these for information about school and community events.

6. Facebook: I do not use Facebook for classroom/school communication. In order to maintain some separation between work and home, my Facebook policy is to consider friendships only after a child graduates from Edison.

7. Paraprofessionals: Our wonderful paraprofessionals spend a lot of time with our students, especially in inclusion settings. However, all programming, supports, and goals are my responsibilities. As such, any questions about your child’s day, needs, programming, goals, etc should be directed toward me. While the paras may be able to tell you a story from inclusion, I will be the primary communicator about your child’s experience at school.

Homework Notebooks

Every day your student and I will work on a homework paper to be sent home to you.  This notebook will contain class work, paperwork, and daily communication sheets. This may look different for each child. At the beginning of the year, each notebook will likely contain “standard” communication pages, but as I get to know your child and your family more, we will work together to make these pages fit your child’s specific needs. Regardless, please check this notebook daily and share notes from home to make sure we are on the same page about your child’s experiences and needs.

Homework: I rarely assign specific assignments to students. Instead, I try to keep you updated with things you could work on at home. I may share specific “steps” towards goals that we are targeting (such as what number we’re counting to, words we’re reading, or vocabulary we are communicating), provide resources, or share topics that we are working on in my classroom or that are being covered in general education. My goal is to equip you with tools you can use to support what we are working on at school and/or which may help you at home, not to give assignments with a due date or grade. Please communicate with me to assure that the information I share with you in this realm is applicable, or if there is another way I can support you.

(We do have an interactive bulletin board targeting asking and answering questions, while including visuals and information relevant to student lives’. When I change this board, I may ask for pictures to support your child’s communication. I will explain this further at Back to School Night. The first board requires a picture of each child’s family. So please send one or email me one to include!)

Depending on your child’s strengths and needs, they may receive homework from general education. For some students, this may be viewed as a resource as described above. For others, they may be expected to complete the homework just as their typically developing peers, at least with adaptations. If you are unsure of your child’s requirements, or would like them to participate in this homework but need help brainstorming ways to make this relevant to them, let me know!

Thursday folders

Every Thursday I will send home an additional folder.  This folder contains information from Edison and is recognizable by the Edison Eagle design. All students at Edison have a Thursday Folder with this information sent home weekly. Please check this folder for information about Edison happenings. This is the best way for you to stay updated and involved with school wide events!  If you are ever unsure of how your child/family fits into this information, please ask me. Please send these folders back to school weekly.

Classroom Website

As an effort to keep you updated on what we’re doing in the classroom and at Edison, I have created this classroom website.  This is the best place to get information about our classroom. I will update the website at least weekly (with the exception of short weeks), usually on Thursdays, with some notes about what we’ve been doing in class, upcoming events, or ideas for home. By clicking the “Follow” button on the bottom of this website, you can receive automatic e-mails when I post something on the website, ensuring that you get the information. I often post things requiring your feedback; feel free to respond on the website (keep in mind others will see this), e-mail, homework notebooks, or in person.

If you do not have internet access, or if this website is not convenient for you, please let me know so we can work out another way for you to get the information.

Also, stay up to date on our Recess Buddies Program by visiting our site: recessbuddies.wordpress.com.

Classroom Rules

I strive on building a strong community within my classroom, in which we all respect and support each other while building independence and responsibility for every student.  We will work hard in the first few weeks to develop good classroom behaviors which will serve students in my classroom and in others. We build on these skills throughout the year.

Within our classroom we have a list of rules to help us build a strong classroom community, as well as personal safety and responsibility. I expect every student to follow these rules, and we provide many supports and opportunities to practice to make sure every student meets that expectation. Many home-school communication pages will include these rules and how your child did with them each day. Please go over the rules daily, celebrating what your child did well and discussing what they could improve upon. Our classroom rules are:

I will do my work.

I will use nice words and actions.

I will listen to my teachers.

I will keep my hands and feet to myself.

Each day we will refer to these rules, and discuss how they were followed or forgotten during different activities.  We also have signs that correspond to each rule. I can show you these signs so that you can use them to support the verbal language. Please take some time to read and practice these rules at home with your child. Make sure to refer to their daily homework paper to reinforce their successes with the rules, or talk about what they struggled with and how to make better choices next time.

We will also connect these rules to our school wide Character Education Program (CARES):

Community Minded

Aware (of surroundings and what you are doing)

Respectful (of yourself and others) & Responsible (for your actions and learning)

Empathetic (towards others)

Safe

The CARES rules can be found on Edison’s website at: http://edison.dpsk12.org/

 Edison Earnings

Edison uses a school-wide reward system for students showing exemplary character traits according to the above CARES model. Every time a student earns a buck, they get to choose a small prize from our prize box (so if you see a new little trinket in your child’s backpack, ask them/me what they did!). We will have a school-wide First Friday meeting monthly to reward those who have earned Edison Earnings.  For more information, please visit the Edison website.

Inclusion

One of the main goals in our classroom is for all students to be involved with the Edison community.  Though this looks different for each student, all students are given opportunities to learn and interact with their peers, whether it’s through inclusive classes, the Recess Buddy program, peer mentors, or a combination of these opportunities.  Families are encouraged to be part of the school community as well by attending school and classroom events. All major school events–such as assemblies, field trips, class parties, graduations, grade level performances, etc–will be celebrated with general education classes. Make sure to stay involved with your child’s mainstreamed class and grade level with their teacher’s website as well.  If you have any questions about how your specific child can be included in the school community, please contact me.

Communication between general education teachers, you, and I can often seem complex. With so many students in multiple grade levels with different amounts of involvements and varying teachers, there is potential for communication confusion. Never hesitate to ask for clarification. Your child’s general education teacher will be the go-to for grade level events, field trips, class parties, etc. I am the go-to for help in adaptations/involvement, IEP programming, and Room 125 information. This three-way communication always has room to improve, so please provide feedback to me and your child’s general education teacher for how we can do this most effectively.

Sharing Information About Autism

My philosophy is to be open with students and teachers about autism and my students. I believe answering questions and explaining behaviors and needs helps others to better understand my students and to have less fear or anxiety towards the differences in our students. At the beginning of the school year I often talk to different classes about my students, autism, and any questions they may have. At Back to School Night I will further explain my practices about this, and you will have the opportunity to let me know if you have any concerns or different opinions about this. I will not share information about your child in this way if you would prefer that remain confidential. Please just let me know.

IEPs

Your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is arguably the most important document involving their education. We work as a team to develop these plans annually with you and your child to set the goals which will guide our instruction, services, placements, and accommodations throughout the school year. You are a critical component of this team. Be prepared to be involved throughout the process, including the annual meeting.  I hope to promote students’ involvement in the processes in a variety of ways this year too. If you ever have any questions about your rights during this process, please ask me immediately. Again, this is one of the most important things we do and influences your child, your family, my teaching, and so much more.

Pick Up and Drop Off Routines

Our class schedule varies by student and usually changes as the year goes on. However, pick up and drop off routines that will stay constant throughout the year for all students:

Drop off: Supervision for all Edison students starts on the playgrounds at 8:30. For our classroom you may bring your child directly to our classroom starting at 8:30 (not before).  If you arrive at school prior to 8:30, you may wait outside the building or in the cafeteria (enter through cafeteria doors) until 8:30 (breakfast starts at 8). Per school policy, please do not be in the building anywhere other than the cafeteria prior to 8:30.  Attendance will be taken at 8:50. Students that arrive after this time must be signed in in the office prior to coming to class.

Pick Up: Dismissal is at 3:30. At this time you may enter the building through the front doors and pick up your child in the classroom. If you arrive before 3:30 you must wait outside of the building until the bell rings. Please do not enter the building before 3:30. If you need to pick up your child before that time, please go to the office upon entering the building to sign your child out. They will call me to bring your child to the office so not to interrupt our learning. At 3:40 any remaining students will be brought to the office to await pick up. If you are running late, please call the office immediately.

Attendance

It is critical that your child be present at school…you have to be here in order to learn! Consistent attendance is also critical for establishing and maintaining routines, behavior expectations, and relationships with others throughout the school.  If for some reason your child is unable to attend, make sure to contact the office’s attendance line (720-424-7784). to let use know why. Please see Edison’s attendance policy: http://edison.dpsk12.org/attendance-policy/ If you do not call the attendance line, your child’s absence will be marked as “unexcused,” which may eventually lead to consequences from the school/district. If you are able to let me know as well (e.g. e-mail/voice mail), I always appreciate it for planning purposes, but for attendance purposes, it is most critical that you contact the office.

Keep in mind that if your child is vomiting/has diarrhea and/or has a fever they must stay home from school. They should be free of these things for 24 hours before returning to school.

Things to Send to School

  • Homework notebook with filled out Home-School Communication sheet (daily)
  • A minimum of one spare set of clothes to remain in student’s locker–this includes pants, underwear, socks, shirt (more if bathroom training)
  • lunch/snacks if necessary
  • water bottle…our school is hot!
  • weather appropriate clothing…we almost always go outside for recess! (if possible, send an extra sweatshirt to keep in the locker for unexpected cool recesses)
  • homework, paperwork, permission slips as necessary (notes in homework folder)

Celebrations

Birthdays, holiday parties, field trips, etc will be celebrated with your child’s general education class. Generally birthdays are celebrated at lunch if you want to send treats for the class. I will keep you informed about parties as they come up with their classes.

Free Choice

From day one in this classroom we work on “first/then” relationships. One of the most present instances of this is our “first work, then free choice” relationship. Free Choice is the area of our classroom that includes preferred toys and activities that students can “work for” during centers and other classes. We try to rotate what choices are available here, choosing things that are motivating to students. This area of the classroom (and the concept) is intended to teach that when students do their work, they then get to play with things they want to play with. While we have plenty of options in our classroom, if you think there is something from home that may be extra motivating to your child, please talk to me about seeing if we can include this as a Free Choice.

Snacks

It is often nice to have snacks on hand in the classroom in case your child gets hungry. I always include snack as a “Free Choice” option, which students may work for throughout the day. Often, general education class time may include a small snack as well, so it is always nice to have something on hand.  Please communicate with me about your child’s needs in this regard, and feel free to send snacks for us to keep here just in case.

Closing

I am looking forward to building a classroom community in which each student feels confident, safe, and grows to their greatest potential.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with comments or concerns.  By working together, we can create the best learning environment for your children. Elementary school is such a fun time full of curiosity and growth, and I am so excited to be able to experience this with your family.

I know we are going to have a great year together!

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One response to “Classroom Information

  1. mommylounge says:

    Room 125: This is a great site. You are all doing a great job in teaching and learning this year. I love coming and spending time here. This room is a my “happy place”. I always leave Edison feeling good. Keep up the good work!
    Pier

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