Sunday, September 15, 2013

This Year in My Speech Room

Wow, it's been a while since I've written anything on here.  I've been so busy with the start of my school year, getting ready to see my students and enjoying my last few weeks of nice weather!  It really has been a whirlwind.  I've been in classrooms, and once again, have proved that I shouldn't be able to interact with regular education students.  I'm going into the 3rd week of school with 5 referrals and got interventions out for 4 of them last week.  I somehow managed to get a schedule with no major conflicts out and was approved by teachers on the first try.  I said it on my facebook, but I'm not sure if I should be thrilled or, afraid, very afraid. 

All of that being said, I think today is a good time for a peek into my therapy room!  I finally finished getting things together yesterday, and believe I am ready to start seeing kids.

One of my goals for the year is to be more visibly organized.  I say visibly because I am one of those people who lives in a state of organized chaos.  It looks disorganized to anyone else, but I regularly shock people by knowing knowing exactly what weird place something is in.  All of the pictures show me before starting my schedule, so let's just all be hopeful about maintenance!

Word Wall
I only have students in 1st through 5th grade this year.
Let's start with the thing I'm most excited for this year.  My IB Word Wall.  I don't know how many other therapist are working in IB (International Baccalaureate) Schools.  Brief background: In IB schools science and social studies are taught in 6 themes which rotate throughout the year.  All grade levels have a unit in each area so what students learn one year is directly connected with what happens the next year.  As a part of IB, we are all expected to connect to the units in the therapy room.  This year I'm focusing on vocabulary used in each unit.  I'm planning on focusing on 2-3 words for each unit.  Some of my kids could handle more words, but for others life will be good if they learn 2 or 3 words per unit. 

I have the central idea for each unit posted with the grade level.  The grades are written on the stomachs of the owls.  I know that the idea for most word walls is to keep vocabulary that is learned up on the wall for students to view.  This would be very distracting for some of my students.  So, I put a library pocket up for each grade level.  It will keep the words on the wall so we can review them, but it keeps the focus on the current words.  Right now I'm still missing the vocabulary, but hope to hear back and get it up next week.

Next up!  My therapy table.

As a general rule, I like to keep most of my supplies within arms reach from my table.  I take out individual materials and games out as I use them and put them back when I'm done, but I have found it useful to have different things I can quickly grab in case what I originally planned isn't working for my students.  Above the white board, you can see the principals used in IB.  I like some decoration, but tend to keep things pretty plain for my students who would be distracted by too much visual stimuli. 

Under the whiteboard!  My favorite place to keep lots of different things.

Some supplies rotate in and out of this area throughout the year as needed for my students.  The TPT activity file is new this year, so I'm excited to have things more organize, rather than having all things that are not card decks in the same upright magazine file.  You can't see the file cabinet to the right, but it stores extra therapy data sheets, scheduling things, preferred toys for one of my ASD students (since he can't open the drawer) in the top drawer.  The bottom drawer is my "paper drawer" and has copies of following directions sheets, articulation sheets and many other activities. 

Quick peek at things that are on and below the table on the right side.  On the table, are student folders, kleenex/hand sanitizer and a pencil bucket.  I keep my sticker sheets in front of the folders.  Below the table are chlorox wipes, the prize box and pencil boxes for student supplies: pencils/highlighters, markers, crayons and colored pencils.

Storage for those pesky, ever multiplying and wonderful TPT cards.

Both of the white containers are (not quite) full of TPT cards.  They aren't full because I did want some room to grow without having to reorganize everything (for the umteenth time).  I have them organized by goal area in each of the drawers.  The top 3-drawer unit was a goodwill find, and the bottom ones came from Joann Fabrics.  The green one, has miscellaneous stuff in it:  mirrors, glass wipes, index cards, toobaloos and more.  The middle drawer has SuperDuper cards that I own, and the bottom one has TPT cards for grammar.  Hopefully, this will help me find TPT cards as I'm moving from making them as I go, to using ones I have.  I keep holiday/season themed TPT cards in Photo boxes on my bookshelves.  Those will probably end up under the whiteboard as it's appropriate to use them.

Storage Shelves (even I'm beginning to wonder how there's more to write about!)

Inside the Word Wall Cabinet

This is where the games live.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I don't mind giving students a choice in what we do sometimes, but I prefer them to choose from two games, not infinity (or whatever, number I'm up to.  For a complete list of my games see a complete list in google docs.  The bottom shelf of games, is school owned and not included on my list unless there are duplicates. 

The middle two shelves have some supplies on them.  These shelves are most representative of my organizational system when I really let things go.  Last year, I shared the room with a therapist who has similar skills so things are pretty mixed up (we probably would have driven anyone else nuts, so wish me luck with my new office mate!).  I really wanted to share the messy shelves, because I have to believe that there are others out there who, while impressed with all the super-organized rooms posted about, really just won't get there (like me). 

The bookshelves!  My favorites.  The keeper of the book.  There are 4 shelves this big across the front wall of my speech room.  This shelf, and the top 2 shelves of the one next to it contain things that belong to me personally and not the school (I also have somethings stacked on top of the bookshelves.  There are more books on the other side that are separate.  I did try to organize the books this year.  You'd think after all of my years working in bookstores during college, this wouldn't have been so daunting a task.  I eventaully decided to go with theme (holidays ect), a section with 'my personal favorites,' series are separate and together, and the books I use for articulation practice are also separate.  (as a side note, I picked up A Little Book of Slime at a Scholastic warehouse sale, and can't wait for some of my S kids to give it a shot!)

Whew!  This got long.  As I was rereading, I got a little laugh about my IB word wall, and how most of the post falls under the IB them "how we organize ourselves."

I hope everyone is having a great time with their students, or is excited to get started as I am!