Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scheduling the new year!

Wow! We are already half way through December! There are only 3 school days left in 2014! This school year is flying by so fast!

In such a short time we have accomplished so many things--each and every day I am in absolute awe at what our kids can do, how much they've grown, and how independent they are becoming! We are all so excited to hit the ground running in January. Though we don't have a field trip planned, our space unit is going to be out of this world! :)

Also coming up in 2015 is your child's annual IEP! As you know, our rockstar specialists serve many kids at many schools, so scheduling meetings can be quite a challenge. We try our best to have everyone there, so we can all celebrate and plan ahead together. This means that the SRC specialists and teachers get together every August and look at all the necessary meetings for the upcoming year, and try to tentatively schedule all of the meetings around each other. In the next few days, I will send an email (or note home in the communication journal) with the tentative date we hope to schedule your student's IEP meeting. Some of these meetings are several months away, but we try our best to plan ahead so our specialists can attend meetings for all their kids. Once you receive this email or note, please let me know as soon as possible whether or not this works for your family. Finding a new date can be complicated, so the sooner we know, the better!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Getting in the giving spirit!

An excited bunch of shoppers!

Even with all the warnings for terrible rain and wind, we set off for our shopping adventure this afternoon! We were very pleasantly surprised with sunshine and mild temperatures for our first trip of the year using public transportation! As many of you know, I am a firm believer in providing our kids opportunities for life lessons in authentic environments, and I am so proud to watch my kids learn to master public transportation at such a young age! Wow! It's especially fun to get to share these moments with "my" kids as they get older and move to Amanda's class! I am so excited to see each and every student work towards independence every day!

Today, we went to the dollar tree and shopped for gifts for parents. I wish you could have been there to see it! Each and every student thought very carefully about what YOU want, not what HE wanted! Wow! This was such a lovely act of selflessness! We're looking forward to hearing how much you love your presents!

Below are some pictures from our adventure! Hopefully it doesn't ruin any surprise presents ;)

Riding the bus

Being silly

Fun on the bus!

Walking safely with friends and teachers

Shopping the aisles

Sharing a cart

Deciding what to get

Mom will love it!

Checking the quality

Using money to pay

Looking at the cashier

Getting a receipt

Excited about our gifts

Waiting for the bus

Enjoying the beautiful walk home

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

We are so thankful for our wonderful families!

Today we cooked and ate our Thanksgiving Lunch! Thank you to everyone who donated food and drink! We had a great time cooking our lunch and waiting for our lunch to cook! 

Breaking apart rolls to eat

Using muscles to open cans

Neatly pouring and cutting new foods

Cutting on the right line

We sat at our placemats and tried our yummy Thanksgiving lunch! Some students tried foods for the first time in their lives! I am so proud of you! It was so much fun! 

Yum! We handmade our own placemats and then sat with ALL the foods on our plates!
Sometimes new foods are hard! But that's okay!
Trying turkey

Eating mashed potatoes

Trying mashed potatoes, rolls and cranberry sauce!


Sitting with friends from Miss Amanda's class!

Happy Thanksgiving from the SRC Primary staff! Hope you all have a wonderful, restful holiday weekend! See you in December!

Thank you from the SRC Primary Teachers

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wahoo! We are on time!

This morning at our assembly, our class was recognized with the On-Time Award! We had ZERO tardies for the month of November! Way to go moms, dads, and friends!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Words of the Month

Each month, we teach our students new vocabulary words that are easily related to our seasons, holidays and thematic units that are also great words to generalize across environments! Jessi focuses on these words during speech circle, and we use them throughout the day. These may be good words for you to start using at home too!

November's words of the month:

Empty and Full
Like and Don't Like
Left and Right

December's words of the month:

More and Less
A lot and A little

Feel free to email me and/or Jessi for ideas on how to use these words at home!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Holiday Season

With holidays fast approaching, I want to share my thoughts with our families and community.  While the holiday season is filled with joy and merriment for many people, it can also be a stressful time--particularly for children, and most especially for children impacted by disabilities. Sometimes it is easy to forget that while decoration or celebration is fun and exciting, it may also be overwhelming or just too different for some kids.

In no way do I suggest NOT celebrating or NOT exposing kids to the holidays. I just like to make sure kids are prepared! This season is fun, and even if your family celebrates in non-traditional ways, these mainstream traditions are something they are potentially going to be exposed to in their community for many years to come!

So in the SRC, we try to prepare our kids for what they may see. We have social stories and activities for:
            -Bright lights on houses
            -Trees INSIDE houses
            -Different decorations
            -Different songs on the radio
            -New foods
            -Eating at the dinner table
            -New smells
            -Visiting people we don’t see very often
            -New people in our house
            -Different people that we see, like Santa Claus
            -Getting and giving presents
            -Lots of “home days” and less time at school

With direct instruction on what to expect, and how we can calmly and safely participate (or politely decline), often times we see that the holiday season tends to go much smoother for families. Over the next month, your student will participate in activities designed to help them understand the changes in the community that they will be exposed to, and cope with those changes. In no way will we be providing any religious instruction, rather, social instruction on how to navigate the holiday season. If you have any questions or concerns about the holiday season, and how we intend to handle it, please let me know. Also, if you would like input on how to further prepare your child at home, feel free to ask.

One last note about holidays… this season tends to bring out the best and the worst in all of us. Even if things are happy and peaceful, we often will feel a little more anxiety about things that need to be done, or expectations we set for ourselves. This holiday season, keep in mind that your little ones notice your stress level (even when it is good stress). Allow yourself to enjoy those fun, exciting activities, but also remember to take time for those comforting routines.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thanks again Chevron!

Have you heard about DonorsChoose? DonorsChoose is a fantastic organization that helps teachers get the items they really need for their students! The way it works is:

-Teachers go to DonorsChoose and design a project
     -I pick what I want for our kids!
     -I research the best materials!
     -I shop through DonorsChoose's online retailers!
     -I write a proposal for WHAT we need and WHY we need it!

-DonorsChoose reviews my request and posts it

-Donors from all over the world read my request

-Donors donate!

-DonorsChoose buys the item I requested, and sends it to me!

Such an amazing charity, and in the last few years, THOUSANDS of dollars have been donated to my projects, bringing my kids what they need most! I also have my incredible teammates, Jessi, Marcia and Amanda, who complete projects that benefit our kids too!

Recently, through generous donations from my dad, and Chevron's Fuel Your School program, we got another project funded! I am so thankful to have been selected for funding by Chevron two years in a row! We are the proud recipients of a new reading software program! I am so excited to get our kids started with this new way to learn!

In order to continue to spread the excitement of their charity, DonorsChoose asks for pictures of kids learning using the resources they help provide. Today, I am sending home permission slips for your student to be photographed using resources provided through my project as well as Jessi's, Amanda's  and Marcia's. Please sign these forms and return them as soon as you can.

For more information, visit the pages below:

Donors Choose

Miss Ashlee's Donors Choose page

Chevron's Fuel Your School Program

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Resource for families

Have you heard of FACT Oregon? I just did, and I'm excited to connect you with this great advocacy group for families! FACT Oregon is a group designed by a family in our community who has a child who is impacted by disabilities. This organization has support groups, trainings, activities to gather families together! Navigating resources for parents can be overwhelming, and FACT can help! Highly recommended by our special education facilitator, Michelle, I want to share this resource with you!

For more information, click the link below:

FACT Oregon

Monday, November 3, 2014

Emotions--What do I do when I feel....

In October, we talked a lot about emotions. Here in the SRC, we work with students every day to identify their feelings and the feelings of others. We want students to recognize the characteristics of their emotions, and also begin to understand that there are things we can do when we feel a certain way. For instance, when a child is mad, we will help him identify his emotion, and then use social stories, visuals and direct instruction to teach him what he can do when he feels mad. We are also working towards recognizing the emotions of peers, and what we can do to support friends when they are feeling upset in some way. In October, we read stories, watched movies and practiced ways to be aware and supportive friends. We also wrote about it! Below are some examples of stories we wrote about our feelings!

This is something that you can practice at home! Help your child label his feelings, and then ask what he needs. For example, "I see that you feel sad. When you are sad, you can..." and then give some choices. In the classroom we are practicing labeling our feelings, asking for support around those feelings, and then moving forward. Let me know if you'd like some visuals or ideas specific to your child!

Fall learning at the Pumpkin Patch

In October, we explored fall themes at the Pumpkin Patch! We listened to the farmer talk about harvest, squash and pumpkins. We took a hayride with friends where we saw Christmas trees growing. We got to see animals and feed goats. We got to play on at a fun playground with bunnies and llamas. Last, we got to pick our very own pumpkin! We painted our pumpkins and brought them home for Halloween!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Out of town

Hello families!

A quick post to let you know that I will be out of town from Monday, October 13th through Friday, October 17th. While I am gone, I will have a fabulous substitute teacher named Miss Lisa.  Lisa covered for another elementary SRC teacher for a few months while she was on maternity leave, so she is quite qualified to work with our students, and she has also subbed in our classroom for myself and some of our instructional assistants a few times, so the kids already know her!

On our October calendar, it says that I will be absent, and I have already started to talk about it with the kids. Next week I will send home a social story with each family, so that you can talk about it at home if your child needs assurance.

As I will be out of town, I will not be available by email until after I return, so anything that is more of a long term concern, I will address when I return. If there are special pieces of information that will be important to your child's day, please feel free to write in your child's communication journal, as my substitute and instructional assistants will be checking the journals. In case of any emergency, please call the school, and the secretaries will be able to help you.

I'm looking forward to coming back the week of the 20th for learning, a fun field trip and the opportunity to meet with each of you at parent/teacher conferences!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Classroom Jobs

Each day kids can find out what their job is on our helper board.

We are having a fabulous start to our school year! With each new year comes so many new people, expectations and transitions. Our kids are learning constantly! Our kids are also developing a sense of school and classroom community. They are learning about Sexton Mountain, and also about their classroom and peers. We are also practicing what it means to take care and ownership of our community. As I wrote about earlier this month, your student is responsible for his own materials. The students unpack and repack their backpacks each day. They are responsible for keeping their desks and chairs neat and tidy. We have added a component to this sense of responsibility and ownership by creating classroom jobs. Every day before closing circle, the kids spend 5 minutes completing a classroom job to make sure the room is ready to go for the next day. We taught each of these skills using modeling and social stories, and are working on independence. It is so exciting to see how independent we are already!

Cleaning desks

Cleaning chairs

Every morning the students sign in, every afternoon we clean the names to be ready for the next day

Cleaning work station tables

Working together to empty all the garbage cans
In Sexton Mountain's new homework policy, Miss Amanda and I reccommend that students have some household chores. Not only does this reinforce responsitbility and ownership, it also helps build motor skills and prepare kids for independence later in life. Based on what we're practicing at school, what kinds of chores could your student practice at home?

Miss Ashlee

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remind--A New Way to Communicate

This week our principal shared an easy new way for teachers to send information to all parents at one time.

It's called Remind.

If you would like, you can sign up to receive quick reminder messages from me on your phone.

Instructions on how to sign up can be found at this link:
Sign up for Remind!

Once set up, I will use remind to communicate about emergent information that is important to the whole class like snow days, field trip reminders and special activities. This is totally optional, but just one more way to communicate! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nightly routine and morning routine

As you know, routines are very important for children in the SRC. At school, we have a very structured day, and have many functional routines in place to help our students be as independent as possible. Part of our daily arrival routine includes unpacking his own backpack. Every morning, students will place their notebooks in a basket, their folders in a basket, and their journals in their desks. It will help their morning routine run smoothly if you can help them make sure that these items travel to and from school every day. However, these are great resources for you as well! The notebook is for communication between you and I, to fill in some of those missing pieces our students may need help communicating. The folder is for us to send home important information, and some great school work! The journal is where your child will tell you about his day! A great idea for families is to make reviewing these 3 items part of their evening routine--especially the journal! This is a great way to engage your child in conversation about his day!

We are off to a great start in the SRC primary classroom-today was filled with laughter and learning!
This is your child's fall journal on his desk with his schedule. He will write in this journal every afternoon. Please return it to school each day. At winter break, you can keep this journal at home, we will have a new one in January.

This is where your child will place his notebook and folder. Please make sure to return these items to school each day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome to the SRC!

Hello Families,

I hope that you have had a refreshing and restful summer.  I would like to welcome you to the Structured Routine Center (SRC)! The SRC aims to encourage social and academic growth for students impacted by a variety of disabilities by creating an environment that discretely teaches skills and functional routines.  We also aim to provide a communication intensive environment so that we may foster authentic uses of communication. 

Students will receive specialized services in academics, social skills, communication, behavior modification, and fine and gross motor skills through a variety of research based curriculums. This class will be a primary grade blend classroom.

Just for some background information for those of you that I don’t know, I have been working with individuals with disabilities for over 15 years in a variety of settings.  I have worked with children of all ages in private and public settings, as well as in the group home setting with adults with developmental disabilities. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in so many avenues of services, because I feel that it informs my teaching practices in a very authentic way. I aspire to teach in such a holistic way that my students are being prepared with valuable skills for their lives across all settings. If you have any questions about our staff, or myself, please feel free to ask at any time.

In the SRC, we offer a healthy snack to students daily. The purpose of the program is to increase tolerances to new foods, practice appropriate carrier phrases and social communication, and encourage a balanced diet.  Families from the program have given a lot of positive feedback in the past, and have shared stories about their students helping more with mealtimes at home, and eating new foods he or she had not previously tried.  We do ask for a contribution from families to offset the cost of this program.  We know that in this economy it is hard to give extra money, but this year we are asking for $36 per child (or $12 per trimester) to provide daily snack.  We can and will accommodate for special diets as well.  If you have any questions or concerns about this program please do not hesitate to ask.

Since your student will be starting in a new classroom, he/she might be overwhelmed at first by all the new people and experiences. To help the transition as much as possible we want to have toys, schedules and systems in place that will help welcome our students. Since you know your student best, on the right side of the page you will find a link to an essential information sheet. Please fill this out to the best of your ability and return them to me when you can (the school picnic is a GREAT time). This way we can be sure to have some things set up for your student to make his/her first day great! On this form there is also a question about parent communication. Do you prefer email? Telephone calls? Let me know! This way we can communicate in the mode that works best for you! Also keep in mind that I try to update this blog at least once a month, and a lot of times information that everyone needs will be posted here! Returning families: I do have your surveys from past years, please feel free to supplement with any new information.

Looking forward to a great year!

Ashlee Yokom
SRC Primary Teacher
(503) 672-3560

Thursday, May 8, 2014

End of the year activities!

End of the year activities!

It’s amazing to think we are in the final stretch of the 2013-2014 school year! This year has been so jam-packed with fun and learning and it has just flown by! We know this time gets a little crazy, so we wanted to give you a bit of a heads up about some big events coming up, and what we will need from you!

Track and Field Invitational-Thursday, May 22nd
This is the day where all the students in the district that are participating in APE get to showcase their skills! Our kids will run, jump, throw and win medals! There is also a school spirit competition, and this year’s theme is luau! We have grass skirts, leis and cool sunglasses for all the kids, but if you’d like, feel free to send your student in some Hawaiian themed gear (with running shoes and a raincoat of course!).  You are welcome to come cheer your student on at Beaverton High School from 10am to 12pm.
What we need from parents: Appropriate running/rain gear on the day of, as well as a cold lunch, and a signed permission slip (will go home soon).

Hiking Field Trips-Last 3 weeks of school
Our final thematic unit of the year is camping, so we will culminate all of our nature studies by going on mini “hiking” trips throughout the last 3 weeks of school. We will walk to local THPRD parks within one mile of Sexton Mountain and explore streams and forests. Since we want to have the best weather possible, we generally make “day-of” decisions for these trips, so our permission slip is open ended. If you would like, we can email or call you when we leave the building and when we return.
What we need from parents: Appropriate foot wear, and a signed permission slip (will go home soon)

Pizza Party-Friday, June 6th
We are going to have an end of the year pizza party to celebrate an awesome year! Parents are welcome to come!
What we need from parents: $5 per person who will be attending

Camp-learned-a-lot: June 5th-June 12th
Each year at Sexton Mountain, the whole school celebrates with a camp theme! We all write each other camp letters, sing camp songs and have fun bonding activities. During this week, the SRC classrooms are the “postmasters”—we deliver all the letters to the school, and get to meet lots of new friends! The kids love this job! We also participate in fun spirit days, including tie-dye t-shirt day! We will send more info as we get closer, but keep in mind…
What we need from parents: (optional) spirit day dress up, including providing a white t-shirt the week of June 2nd for your student to tie-dye

If you have any questions, let us know!
Ashlee and Amanda

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

April was Amazing!


These last few months have been busy! Since most of the students in the SRC have had IEP meetings recently, Amanda, the specialists and I have been very busy with multiple meetings per week, and also a huge influx of paperwork. Our time during these months is precious, so when I was not meeting with families or working on important paperwork, I was spending time planning and developing exciting lessons for our kids! I apologize if this created some delay in my response time to emails and notes--I appreciate your patience.


This month we explored ways to help make the world a better place, as well as learned a bit about how some basic systems work. We learned how to grow plants, and planted seeds in a paper towel. This way students could study the plant at each stage of growth. We learned about ways to conserve energy, and even reduced the amount of lights we use in our classroom. This was a big change to some of our students that have sensitivities to light and change, but we worked through it! We learned about how to recycle and helped teachers recycle around our building. We walked to the pond on our school property and watched the flowers blossom and baby animals grow.

Our plants proudly displayed in the hallway

Close up of a plant growing


This month we also went bowling! This was such a fun way to practice taking turns and being a part of a team. The students also got to practice cheering each other on! This will come in handy later in May at the track meet!