Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ch ch ch changes...again!

My room is still a disaster, nothing new there. I still have nothing to work with, that is the same. Today , though, I learned that I will have only 3 medically fragile students, although none are severely so. But the autism program in our building was going to have 4 extra students,  which is over their contracted limits of 8 students each (2 teachers). And with my approval, I am now also going to be an autism inclusion case manager for the 4 new students. Basically, I will track them, and teach one class on social skills/study skills/self-regulation. The autism teachers will fold in my students for that one class. I'm actually pretty excited about it, even though it feels a little schizophrenic. But whatever, I can deal, and am actually looking forward to it. I plan to use SOCIAL THINKING curriculum by Michelle Garcia Winner. She's got a lot of books for teens with Autism/Aspergers.

I am also going to use Model Me Kids videos and accompanying curriculum. I thought all of their topics were appropriate for the new students I will be getting. You can find more information HERE.
Now, of course, I just have to wait for them to get here, so I will be punting in the meantime. What else is new.

For the three students I am teaching the rest of the day, I found this curriculum for Language Arts called Accessible Literacy Learning. You can find more information about it HERE. Meyer Johnson sells it and it is supposed to be great for kids that are non-verbal, with a variety of disabilities and /or motor needs. It works on phonological awareness and letter-sound correspondence. Anyone else out there tried it? It's expensive, as are all MJ products, but since it's a new program, I believe they will pay for it:

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Status minus 7 days

So I need to seriously VEEEEENNNNNTTTTTT!!!! Students start next Wednesday, exactly 7 days from today. Is my room ready? Nope. Do I have a schedule? Nope. Do I have access to a printer, or Boardmaker, or any appropriate curriculum besides what I have purchased from TPT? Nope. Can I use the curriculum I have from TPT? Not sure yet because I have no idea who my students are or what these unknown students can do. I was initially given a list and I got a chance to see their IEPs, but it turns out they might not be my students after all. But even if I did, I have no access to a printer. Do I have any technology for these students, such as switches or  Big Macs? Nope. But someone came in yesterday and assured me that I would have the furniture I need for my room before school starts. And that at the end of September, I would have therapy tables for my students. And that at the beginning of October I would have 8 iPads. Of course, the students start SEPTEMBER 3. That is 7 days from today, and the last time I checked, that is not the end of September or the beginning of October.

Here is what has happened so far. I have received 3 tables. End of furniture update. I am still waiting for bookshelves, file cabinets, a teacher desk, and chairs because everything that is in there now is leaving as it is slated for someone else. And then Boardmaker, a printer, switches and other AT stuff, curriculum of any kind, etc. And folks came today and took all of the items in these 2 photos that I cleaned from the kitchen cupboards. This was after I set aside what we would use in the classroom. You can see some of my boxes in the background  that I will need to put away once they remove all of the other teacher's stuff. They are coming on Friday to do that. This is so awful I have no choice but to laugh. End of vent. I now return you to your regular programming. Sigh.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New beginnings

It has been a whirlwind these last couple of weeks. I found out I am starting a new teaching position at the high school, which is both exciting and sad at the same time. I was in my old middle school for 6 years and invested a lot of time there, particularly in the Autism program which I started from scratch. It was going to be a fairly easy year with the same students as last year and the addition of one new and awesome Paraprofessional. But my heart has always been in high school, so even though I am sad about leaving, I am super excited about my new job which is in a Medically Fragile self-contained classroom. I will have 5 students to start, one of whom will come with their own 1:1 aide and their own private duty nurse. I also have 2 Paraprofessionals, both of whom were just hired ( I was not part of the hiring process), so we'll be new together.

One thing that is not new is that the room is not fully funded yet. Can we say Deja Vu??????? School starts with students on September 3 (incoming 9th graders). I don't have access to any IEPs so I have no clue what their skill sets are. There are only 2 hospital beds and a changing table as far as equipment. No technology, switches, big macs, wedges, therapy materials, teaching materials, NOTHING at all except what I am bringing with me. HA! The teacher that was in my room last year still has all of his stuff in there and likely doesn't know that his room has been switched. We go in for Prof Dev on Tuesday and Wednesday and have 2 days, Thursday and the following Tuesday, in which to put everything together before students start. The room is teeny tiny, and is basically a kitchen. I was in the classroom a couple of days this week, cleaning out the cupboards, which were dirty and filled with kitchen supplies. How many tongs does one SPED classroom need??????? Since there is no storage except these cupboards and some file cabinets, I had to be hard core about what was staying. Anyway, more pics to follow later, but here is the room as I first saw it. None of my stuff is in there.

My kitchen area. I have 2 refrigerators and a chest freezer!?!?? I've asked them to remove the side by side refrig and the chest freezer.

One white board (it's a double), and no bulletin boards. I do have a document camera.

The 2 hospital beds and the changing table, which we moved into the large restroom. Even though they have known since February this program was going to be in the building, they only ordered the therapy equipment last week, so we won't get them until "the end of September sometime".

The classroom next door and the washer and dryer.

The view from the doorway of the other classroom. The room is quite small.

See the big refrigerator and the chest in the corner? They will hopefully be gone by next week. There was no teacher desk in this room. I know there are you minimalists out there, but I need a desk, end of story. That corner is literally the only place to put one.

With big motorized wheelchairs, all their equipment, room needed to maneuver, I have no idea how to set up this room so that the one student I have that is mobile can have a work station. But it WILL happen, as I am one stubborn viking chick.