Moving my speech room has set off a domino effect. Our old school is bursting at the seams and we had to add a new 5th grade teacher to our team. A large classroom was needed and mine fit the bill. I had to move.
It’s so easy to be inflexible and not want to change. But I chose a different route, (after one day of kicking and screaming in my head). Which means learning to tolerate discomfort and finding ways to be extra nice to myself during that time so that the stress doesn’t take over.
Also, I have accumulated a lot of “stuff”. Being in a large space for four years allowed me to expand my materials in size and quantity. Moving to a space half the size has forced me to downsize. Well, not forced, I could keep everything if I want to be cluttered and cramped. I don’t. So I’ve been sorting through files, papers, activity books, toys and games. if I haven’t used them or referred to them in a year, I am letting them go. The games and toys are in the “Big Prize Box”, the kids get to choose something from that when they reach the end of their sticker chart (usually about halfway into the year). The other items I gave to some of my teacher friends; the rest will go to Treasures for Teachers.
It’s an upheaval for my students too. A lot of them said they didn’t want me to move and that they were going to miss my room. Some of them helped me move. Most of them have so much going on in their lives that they can’t rely on or control, Room 4 was a nice constant for them. I am helping them learn that we can bring that feeling with us to Room 20. The rest is just geography.
And a little bit of unpacking!
School has been back in session for six weeks now and things have been a little crazy. After my room flooded from heavy rains, I got back into my room after a few weeks of clean-up. The professional clean-up crew nicely packed all my games and materials into boxes, which I haven’t completely unpacked because the bookcases were trashed from the water damage. (The carpet was thrown away as well, thank goodness).
I am waiting to hear when the replacements will come, if it is too much longer, then I am off to Good Will or Treasure4Teachers. That might not be the worse thing, then I can paint the bookcases a fun color. I always get such great DIY ideas from A Beautiful Mess www.abeautifulmess.com (love their blog).
Last week, we had our first ever “Rain Day”, with school closures for our whole district. Thankfully, the janitor had placed sandbags in front of my door and no flooding for Room 4 this time. Meanwhile, therapy sessions are in full swing. The kids make me laugh every day and I love working with them!
Cute story: I was doing the vocabulary portion of a language evaluation. I asked 8-yr. old Xavier to tell as many meanings as he could think of for the word “sole”. He thought and thought. Then, I saw the light bulb come on. He rubs his chin like it’s a beard (Picture the Antonio Banderas version of Puss In Boots) “Sole, we meet again.” Bahaha.
I found this cute bulletin board idea on Pinterest and used it for a great how-was-your-summer activity.
- White paper (I just used photocopy paper)
- Colored markers
I traced most of the kids hands for them in pencil. Then, I told them to decorate their hand however they liked. I showed them the Pinterest picture that we were following.
During the activity, we just chatted. I was able to get an informal sample of how each student was doing with their goals in a casual conversational setting (usually this is very informative). We talked about their speech-language schedule for the year, reviewed goals, and reviewed the “rules of the classroom”. (I use the Whole Brain Teaching Rules. If you are not familiar with them here is a link http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=160:five-classroom-rules&Itemid=127And here is a link to the Free Download of the Posters I use from Mrs. Magee on Teachers Pay Teachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Whole-Brain-Teaching-Rules-Posters-FREE-292602
The older students cut out their finished hand, however, in the interest of time, I did it for the younger students. For my students with special needs, we used this as a following-directions and labeling colors activity. They loved it!
Have students put their name on one of the fingers of their hand so it will be visible in the finished product.
I just used bulletin board paper for the background, the saying and the flower stem and leaves. I wrote the quote in freehand (sometimes my art background comes in handy). To create the flower, just start with the outer edges of it, I just visualized a big circle. You could do a light pencil outline if you need to. Then start stapling on the larger hands and spiral your way to the center. The kids love the finished product and are having fun finding their hands. Such a great message too!
This school year, I decided to “spiff up” my speech room. I have never done a lot to it before, because I seem to get moved around quite a bit. But after two years of being in the same room, I was feeling pretty secure. Our school building is pretty old, so my room definitely needed some TLC.
Last year I used some contac paper to give my desk a little makeover, so I used that to cover the paint-splashed baseboards. The lower panes of the windows had been badly painted a beige-putty color, so ugly! So, I covered that portion with bulletin board paper and used the space for an inspirational quote.
I put all of my therapy cards and pictures into bins and printed labels for them. I even got myself a new chair ($25 at Treasures for Teachers) and assembled it myself.
Last weekend, I went to Ikea and purchased a cute polka-dotted rug for my new reading area. Luckily, I did not put the rug out yet because on Wednesday morning, when I arrived at school, this is what I found.
We had torrential rainfall overnight. Here in Phoenix, there really is no place for the water to drain, so it swept in from the road over the sidewalk and under the door, into my room. The floor was covered in mud and pools of water. (Bad day to wear white pants). Now, the room is being professionally cleaned, so I am evacuated for 2-3 weeks. Certainly not the end of the world, but a little disappointing. My friend, Junie, the school social worker is generously sharing her room with me, so therapy can go on.
The moral of the story? I thought my first blog post was going to be photos of my newly organized speech room. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we plan. The kids don’t mind, it’s all part of the adventure. In the long run, the way that we treat them and how they feel when they are with us, is what they will remember.