Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Welcome 2017-2018

It is here! The 2017-2018 school year has officially started for students this Monday.

I want to kick off my first blog post for this year by talking about how I typically kick things off into gear for the school year.

1. Rules- Every staff member is asked to somehow tie their classroom rules back to the school rules: Be Respectful, Act Responsibly, Remember Kindness, and Keep Safe. They are literally posted everywhere in this building. I typically take the first couple of sessions to lay this groundwork by focusing on Whole Body Listening (Respectful), Bucket Filling (Kindness), and transitioning in the hallways to and from (Safe/Responsible). We are going to make little mini-posters this year with what each of these words means to us. I am going to put them on my closet door around the school rules poster that I have. This way we can look back at what we said throughout the year and hold ourselves accountable.

2. Progress Monitoring- I like to start out each school year by taking a good baseline of skills. I use a mixture of tools depending on my review of the IEP and previous year's notes. The main tools I use come from the 5 Minute Articulation books screener page and the Language/Grammar Progress Monitoring Bundle from Natalie Synders. I also use wordless picture books to get a better sense of articulation, fluency, and language. I honestly feel like having this baseline really helps me write better IEPs.

3. Introducing/Reviewing our Goals!- I like to start out every year with a little about me craft that incorporates what we'll work on this year. I am trying the Dabbling Speechie's free backpack craft this year. I think that these will be great to put up on my bulletin board or the back of my hallway door. The only complaint I have right now is how time consuming it is to cut out all of the little pieces (I find it's easier to pre-cut stuff to reduce how much time certain crafts eat up).

4. Introducing/Reviewing our strategies. This is the fun part! I get to pull out my favorite materials and really get into the thick of therapy again.
  • Visual Phonics
  • Teddy Talker
  • Colorful Semantics
  • Expanding Expression Tool
  • Braidy and Story Grammar Marker
I will also be on the hunt for new ideas and strategies too! I have learned so much this summer from reading blog posts, ASHA leader articles, and CEU courses that I can't wait to try.

Now, time for some shameless room pictures! I am so happy with how things turned out. It was so much easier than years before since I tried to organize everything before summer break.

 I used a table cloth from the Dollar Store this year instead of using the butcher paper that the school provides. I love the color of it. It's almost turquoise although it looks lighter in the picture. My husband and I cut the hot air balloons off of gift bags that he spotted there as well. I love how well they turned out!

My articulation station. I have found that it's much easier to keep these materials close to my table. I can easily grab different card decks or a leveled reader when I'm in a rush for time. I am happy to say that Teddy Talker will be making his appearance in my room too. I am going to put those materials out on the brown bookcase once I finish up the lower shelf. It's my arts and crafts area and is usually a terrible mess. I'm trying out different bins to reduce the craziness, but haven't found the perfect set up just yet. I'll get there.

Our new principle wanted all of us to post "I can" posters in our rooms. I decided to make a simple set that would cover the goals I see most often. I love how the little Disney touches turned out. I wanted them to be subtle since I usually change themes each year.

My paperwork area. I keep most of the things I find on Teachers Pay Teachers in those two purple shelves according to season. I find that it's the easiest way to sort my language materials.

A view of Braidy and Story Grammar Marker. I love these two tools so much!

I hope you have enjoyed a sneak peak of my room and ideas for starting the new year. Good luck to all of you for this school year!