Monthly Updates

Our carnival is April 23rd, it can be fun and it can be overwhelming for some.  If you want to avoid long lines and keep things manageable, come early and stay a limited amount of time. 


This month is full of continuous learning with three full (five day) work weeks.  Middle grades students will walk over to Southwest High School to see the play 42nd Street, a good opportunity to see the high school and future opportunities.  The 7th graders have accomplished a lot with the culmination of their researched History Day projects,  a difficult venture for many of the students I work with. 

DATES: Fri. March 26, No School -- Record Keeping Day for Teachers

March 29 thru April 2, Spring Vacation!

During recess we are seeing the melting of snow, lots of changing relationships and beginning/improved friendships.  In the middle grades students' social skills group we are talking about those changes.  Spring is coming!

The 3rd-5th graders are proceeding with the UPSTREAM ARTS program, every Monday 2-3.  I am going to tape a session so that parents (and the PTA) can view all the movement, music, acting and expressive interpretation we are involved in. We are loving it!  

 The themes and lessons of the Upstream Arts workshops are:

* focusing and concentration

* importance of listening and  cooperation

* abstract thinking

* playing cooperatively with others

* engaging in imaginary play

* using your body in creative and expressive ways

* expressing emotion in new and creative ways

* identifying emotional states in others

* improving fine and gross motor coordination

* understanding cause and effect

* engaging in 2-way communication


Here we are in the shortest and probably fastest month of the school year.  There are days off.  Seventh grade middle grades students are working on history day projects (mandatory for 7th graders), a culmination of months of research.  It seems like the school year is going fast.  

Some students will participate in social skills lessons with Upstream Arts weekly program for 12 weeks.  I look forward to a new perspective on movement/acting and expressing oneself.  I will keep you posted on the progress.  The Upstream Arts program was granted to me from the PTA.


January brings winter break and a time to celebrate all the learning we have engaged in this first semester.  Specialists will give semester grades only.


December is always a busy month.  Students are intent on completing work and projects due before the winter break.  All students participate in the bowling trip (Dec 17th) and supervision is provided.  There are lessons for first time skiiers.

 Encouraging self advocacy skills is essential at this time in the year, both for middle grades students and younger students.  Sticking up for yourself and speaking up for what you need is practiced through role-playing and modeling in the social skills group lessons.

 It is also this time of year that students must utilize their organization skills and use their agenda books to keep up with all assignments.  Checking teacher websites weekly another great strategy.


This is a quick month with the holiday coming up soon.  Things are moving along and all middle grades students have completed student led conferences. 

The work is rigorous at all grade levels, so keeping up with homework and studies really helps your student balance work, fun, exercise and learning. 

In Social Skills group we listed tips for managing stress:  make simple/realistic goals, ask for help, review and adjust schedules, get a good night's sleep, exercise daily, eat healthy, solve problems when they are small, use relaxation techniques, have a support system (call a friend, talk to a grownup), and have fun.

Please remember to check teacher webpages for weekly updates and events to come.


We are doing MAP testing two times this school year.  Most of the students I work with will take this standardized achievement test in a small group setting with extended time.  Special Education accommodations will be provided as stated in the student's IEP. This month will be the first session of this computerized testing to track progress and implement interventions. This district wide testing has a locator built in so that students get an idea of how they are doing.


 On a weekly basis, middle grades students should be viewing grades & missing work on the STUDENT PORTAL; this will help them organize and follow through.


It is the start of another exciting school year and all students will begin by learning routines, getting to know classmates, understanding class expectations, identifying goals and preparing for a rigorous year of growth.  Each student will have special education services based on the student's IEP.  Students who attend a Study Skills period will work on prescribed direct instruction (based on needs) in a small group lesson. 

Each Study Skills period begins with a Responsive Classroom approach; greeting, sharing and message for the day. It is a unique feature of working in a small group environment. Students get to practice and foster relationships and social connections. If you would like to suggest topics for social skills learning, please do not hesitate to offer. 

 SELF ADVOCACY  ( Looking out for yourself and speaking up for what you need.) is a skill I teach and encourage in all students.  The resource room is a great place to voice opinions and role play how to speak with peers and adults, fostering inclusion and a sense of belonging.

Self-advocacy + Effort = SUCCESS

Middle grades students have fifty-five minute periods of instruction, younger students may have varying time periods.  This school year,  locks are NOT mandatory but students may buy a lock for $5 if they would like to use one on their locker.  Agenda books are required and can be purchased at school for $5.

Students will be assisted with using the agenda book, organizing and using self-advocacy skills to empower learning.  Checking the teachers' webpage every Monday night and looking at the student portal weekly is essential for success in middle school. All work must be turned in on due dates unless accommodations of (reasonable) extended time have been discussed with the general education teacher. 


MAP testing will begin within the first month of school.   It is a standardized progress measure MPS uses to track student progress.  Student accommodations for testing are provided when stated in the student's IEP.  All testing is untimed.