Saturday, December 19, 2009

Changes...

I have been going through a period of struggle/growth recently as it has become evident to me that it is time to make some big changes to how our classroom is run. I have really seen the need to establish more consistency in the programming of the students and therefore have made some big plans to make this happen.

In the past I have rotated our staff through all of the students and have worked myself in to this rotation to ensure that the students are pretty much working 1 to 1 all day long. It has become evident to me that I can no longer work with a student all day and coordinate everyone's program and ensure consistency in staff approach when they are rotating to new students. I have decided to take myself out of the rotation and just do "coordination" types of tasks during the day. I will still work with students as needed. The other thing that I've thought a lot about for next year is to break the students in to two groups and have staff only rotate through 4 or 5 students instead of rotating through 8 or 9 as that will help with the consistency end of things. Rotating staff is still important to me. Its just that I need to rethink the best way to do it in regards to our students. I'm also seeing that we have two different sets of needs in our classroom and am feeling like we may need to specialize staff in to those two areas as the crossover becomes a bit of a exercise in major changes to approach.

The physical lay out of our classroom is also evolving. One third of our class now falls on the autism spectrum and I'm seeing a real need to eliminate sensory input and to more clearly define spaces in the classroom. With the concept of changing staff rotations, I have defined three individual programming areas for the three groups of three students that we will have in the new schedule. I'm currently taking measurements for curtains and rods so that we will be able to divide these areas during work time. This will eliminate distractions for both students and staff as I'm also finding with myself and seven learning assistants in the room that staff on-task time can become an issue. During group times, we can pull the curtain back. One of the other things that has prompted this changes is the fact that our school board is paying to add some extra tracking from our bathrooming area (which already has tracking) to about half of our classroom. This area will now be redefined as work space for the students who need the tracking and it will make their programs run much more efficiently :).

In the middle of all this I'm seeing the need to get a better outline of student's programs in their programming binders so am spending time this holiday getting that together.

Its going to be a lot of work but I'm excited to see where it goes. Over the holidays, I am hoping to work on and post information about the following: 
  • Lunch program that I'm working on for one of my students (which will hopefully expand to be other students over time). I posted a bit about this already but will be putting together and posting a bunch of materials over the next little while. 
  • Environmental Print Curriculum that I have just gotten and will be using with several of our students starting in January. It looks great and I'm really excited to use it. Very appropriate and some great modifications for my students already in place. 
  •  Change to Morning Routines that we will be doing come January. I have decided to do more individual work with morning routines as it just seems to work better. I will be posting the new materials that I'm working on for this. 
  • General information about our new schedule. More information on our Community Experiences and Community Recreation programs that were stalled due to down time with pandemic issues and transitioning of students into the program. 
  • Changes to news-2-you approach. Although we are still using it, I'm finding that it is not really driving our programming as we have so much else going on. 
I will post about the changes and plans for using it in the new year. Never a dull moment in our room. I constantly feel like there is so much more to learn and do in this job (which for me is a good thing). With that, I'm off to spend some time with my son as he has just gotten up.

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