Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Daily 5 - Chapter 3

I'm linking up with "Thinking Out Loud" and "Mrs.Freshwater's Class" for chapter 3.

Gathering Place
I have always used a gathering place in my classroom.  I use this as the place that we meet for lessons, meeting and at all transition times.  This fall I finally received a Smart Board.  I love my Smart Board!  It is on a height adjustable wall mount, so it goes up and down so each kiddo has full access to the board.  My meeting spot is in front of the Smart Board.  I have my student's jobs and visual schedule in this gathering place as well as their token economy systems.  I don't have a carpet for my kiddos to sit on.  I actually very much dislike carpets (I think they are super gross and dirty!!!).  All of my kiddos have some sort of special needs.  I have cube chairs for some of my students to sit on, therapy balls and specialized seating chairs.  I need to have a rather large gathering place for my kiddos!!!

Cube Chair

Therapy Balls

Rifton Chairs

Picking Appropriate Books
Picking appropriate books in something my kiddos struggle with.  As the majority of my kiddos have autism, they are often great a reading sight words but their comprehension is often lacking (not always, but more often than not).  We have worked this year at picking appropriate books.  I love the idea of "IPICK"!  I think this will help me with teaching my kiddos that a book is only appropriate if they can read the words and if they UNDERSTAND what they are reading!!!! Because of the large range in student abilities, I use a lot of digital books for my students!  My kiddos love reading books on "Bookflix" and on the iPad!
Rituals and Routines
I believe rituals and routines are so important - probably the most important thing you do in your classroom.  I alway tell beginning teachers that the actual lesson planning will come but think about your routines - how you want your students to arrive in your class in the morning, how you want them to line up to transition in the hallway, how you want them to ask to use the washroom, etc... So IMPORTANT!!!  Because my kiddos all have special needs, and the majority of the students have Autism I use visual schedules and social stories to teach almost all of my routines.  I use these all year long.  I love the program Boardmaker because it is super easy to create visual schedules.  I alway have a large daily visual schedule (4X4) posted in my gathering place.  Then some of my students often need personalized schedules.  These are often smaller 1X1 or 2X2.  These are sometime carried on a velcro strip attached to their belt loop or on their desks.  Some of my kiddos need even more for visuals they have activities broken down into a "3 step" visual (i.e. colour, cut, paste).  In my world visuals and routine go together like salt and pepper.  You need both!!!!  Last January I went to ATIA Orlando and a presenter said a very smart thing, "We often take visuals away from our kiddos.  They seem to be doing great, so the first thing most people do is take away their visuals.  Then the kiddos isn't doing as great.  If they need it keep it in place!!  People don't expect you to be a good teacher with out your lesson plans.  If you had your lesson plan book taken away you wouldn't be the best teacher you could be.  Same is true for their visuals!!!"
Boardmaker Software

Class Visual Schedule
 (I use a very similar to the one here from "My First Grade Backpack")

Personalized Visual Schedule
(I use a very similar to the one here from "Mama of Many Blessings")

Favorite Quote
I don't have a favorite quote yet, but I am loving reading this book.  I love the framework!!!

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