• Back to School 2020

    Posted by Jessica Paisley on 8/4/2020

    Next week we will be embarking on a whole new journey in public education. Surely, so many changes can be very scary, but I promise we will make it through together! I wanted to share some resrouces with you that might be helpful in preparing both yourself, and your child for the upcoming school year. Take some time to read these resources, and please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. I hope you had a wonderful summer. I look forward to working with you this school year. 

    Basic Back to School Tips:

    • Practice your routine. Start waking your child up early week or two before school begins so they can get used to the schedule change. Make sure they have enough time to get ready and out the door so you can adjust the time in advance if needed. This includes students who are learning online from home! 

    • Select outfits the night before. Let your child pick out their first-day outfit, even if they’re only going to see classmates and their teacher via video. Having clothes set out the night before helps speed along getting ready in the morning. If learning online from home, be sure to still incorporate this into your nightly routine... students may feel more alert and ready to participate in online classes if they are dressed, showered, and ready as if they were going to school. 

    • Food Prep. Get your kids in the kitchen and let them help prepare their lunch or review the high school plan for eating lunches in school. They may look different from previous school years due to sanitary policies, so prepare them for what to expect if they order a school lunch. If you give them a few options to choose from, they’ll have a special treat to look forward to on their first day back.

    • Set an alarm. Don’t be late on the first day! Schedules and routines are going to vary - this mathces my number 1 tip, to practice your routine early so there are no last minute surprises on the first day. This includes for online learning. It may be more difficult for students learning from home to login and get ready for their day.

    • Personal Hygiene Products. Sanitizing is going to be especially important this school year. Although there will be some supplies at school, consider putting together a clear bag of personal hygiene basics for your child - hand sanitizer, gloves, finger wipes, cleaning spray for glasses, tech wipes, tissues, soap, an extra face mask, and other products that might be useful to your cild during their day so that they can practice good personal hygiene and limit having to use shared sufaces. On this note, students will have limited time at their locker so be sure to implement a system of organization so that they have what they need at all times. Reach out to me for more suggestions surrounding this topic.

    • Google Classroom. Don't forget about Google Classroom! Many teachers will be utilizing paperless strategies to teach this school year. Please refer to my Google Classroom blog post to refresh your skills on how this portal works! 

    • https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx

    • https://blog.ed.gov/2016/08/9-back-to-school-pro-tips/
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  • Google Classroom

    Posted by Jessica Paisley on 4/17/2020

    I hope this email finds you staying safe, and healthy. What a crazy time we are in right now. In education, especially, we are finding ourselves in uncharted waters. Our faculty and staff has been working really hard to try and keep up with the everchanging updates to technoogy and resources that are available to your child during this time of distance learning. Our school is using the Google Classroom platform, which has allowed us to communicate and collaborate with students in ways we used to never think would be possible. In my opinion, it has been a fantasitc experience, however, challenging. In order to help you charter this online learning tool, I wanted to post a few links I think are great resources for parents who are knew to Google Classroom. If you think they would be helpful, watch them, and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!


    Google Classroom Guide for Parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Iowi-gmbys

    Google Classroom Tutorial for Parents and Students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo

    How to Login to Google Classroom for Parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcPiS8Yv61U

    Remote Learning Tips for Parents using Google Classroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHpufNWBB8k

    Google Classroom Tips for Parents: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/136306/google-classroom-tips-for-parents/


    Happy Learning, 
    Mrs. Paisley 

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  • COVID-19 Support and Ideas

    Posted by Jessica Paisley on 3/25/2020

    The COVID-19 outbreak has surely been a trying time for all of us. However, for students with Autism or other developmental disabilities, explaining the effects of COVID-19 can be even more difficult. To help guide your child with facts, not fear, you can use the script found on this link to help explain the virus and preventative measures to your child: https://www.wuwm.com/post/how-talk-about-covid-19-people-who-have-autism#stream/0

    You can also watch this virtual social story together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkZ23tDzN4c&feature=youtu.be

    Keeping a rountine, and structure during this time will be very important. In addition to keeping your regular schedule in tact, think about including your child in weekly meal planning/preparation, household chores, discussing/practicing better hygiene, compelting indoor exercises with YouTube, or socialzing with peers, family members, or teachers using technology such as video chatting on cell phones, or downloading Apps like ZOOM or SKYPE. 

    A simple websearch will provide you with lists of fun indoor activities like these: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2020/03/16/coronavirus-quarantine-100-things-do-while-trapped-inside/5054632002/ or you can plan outside activities like these: https://www.naturespath.com/en-ca/blog/7-fun-simple-outdoor-activities-kids/ which may also support some of the sensory needs your child has! Parents can also consider setting up a "safe space" in their home that is filled with their child's favorite things. This can be their deesclation space when they become anxious or overhwhelmed, and by using some fun sensory ideas such as these: https://www.diyncrafts.com/15322/home/parenting/30-diy-sensory-toys-and-games-to-stimulate-your-childs-creative-growth it can make them more apt to practicing coping skills they would be encouraged to use in a school setting. You may also be able to use some of the ideas from my Summer Planning blog post! 

    Although the inernet is a plethora of information, that too can become overwhelming. Please do not forget that I continue to be a resource for you during this time, and you can contact me at any time should you need my assistance. Please refer to the COVID-19 Support page on my faculty website for more information on how your child can contact me for academic or social support, and be sure to check back to the district website for updated information from administration. 

    Also, you may find this link helpful for additional resources: https://www.pattan.net/Home/Mini-Slideshow-With-Image/COVID-19-Resources-1



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  • Summer Planning

    Posted by Jessica Paisley on 4/17/2019

    As the summer approaches, it is important for children to continue to be engaged in learning. Learning that occurs outside of the classroom is equally as important to the overall development of your child. Below, is a list of things to consider when planning summer activities for your child. They won't even realize they are learning and growing when they participate in these ideas. 

    - Check in with local state parks and recreation facilities for summer workshops, camps, and programs
    - Check out the Summer Work Experience tab on my main page for paid work expereince opportunities 
    - Encoruage students to watch YouTube or Television with the sound off and closed captioning ON to promote summer reading 
    - Have your child responsible for reading/keeping track of travel directions, 
    - Use their extra time at home to your advantage: Help them to prepare meals or take care of household responsibilities you don't always have time for (writing grocery lists, couponing, measuring out ingredients, cleaning the basement/attic, organizing closets) 
    - When traveling, keep a journal, vlog, or blog about family vacations and events that occur during the summer. This comes in handy when teachers ask students to reflect on their summer or share experiences at the beginning of each school year. 
    - Encourage your child to participate in community events where extra help is appreciated
    - Plant a garden together
    - Volunteers are always needed at local animal shelters, parks, or churches 
    - Get crafty and create something for someone special, or donate crafts to elderly community members 
    - Start building that college fund (or activity fund) by helping community/family members with tasks - walking dogs, cleaning cars, cutting grass, babysitting, or collecting cans for cash! 
    - Help local businesses boost themselves into the social media world - Your child can take photos, videos, or update social media platforms for local businesses or organizations. 
    - Create an at-home sensory space - have your child create a zone inclusive to what they think is "cool" and use it as a "cool down" area when things get too heated over the summer. 

    These are just a few ideas, but you can brainstorm others by clicking on the link below. Or better yet, have your child create their own summer bucket list! They may already have some ideas. It will help you learn more about the goals they are setting for themselves, and provide you with opportunities to bond with them doing something they enjoy - besides watching TV or playing video games! 

    Summer Activity Ideas

    Junior or Senior? It is never to early to start researching colleges, scholarships, or spruce up your resume! Don't forget about those colleeg visits and job shadowing that are part of your graduation requirements! 


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  • Parent Tips for Transitioning Your Student to High School

    Posted by Jessica Paisley on 3/27/2019

    It is almost the end of another school year! Below I have some tips and tricks for you to consider as you are thinking ahead to how your child will transition into entering the last building of their educational career in the Tamaqua Area School District! So, what things should you be considering? 

    1. 9th grade course selection sheets - should it be appropriate, indicate that you would prefer my homeroom and for your child to have a locker outside of my classroom - your child may also have the option to keep his/her things in my classroom in a designated shelf space should he/she struggle with fine motor skills or remembering how to use combination locks under stress. Additionally, shold your child need that "cool down and focus" period and the start or end of their school day, you can make a special note about wanting a 1st or 9th period study hall. Discuss this in the last IEP meeting of your child's 8th grade school year. 

    2. Consider any SDI changes within your child's IEP that may not be paralell to the high school level at their last Middle School IEP meeting. Ask questions about expectation differences between grade levels, curriculum, and teachers. At this time, also discuss any medical needs that might be important for the high school nurse to know about, or that may warrant special accommodations. 

    3. Over the summer, have your child practice using an email account to communicate. Since we use Google Classrooms as a platform, and Gmail any expereince they can get using online resources will be helpful for their 9th grade school year.  

    4. I like to complete an evaluation of social skills at the start of each school year. This "evaluation" is composed of a question packet. When we complete the social skills evaluation, I go through each question 1:1 with your child. It helps me get to know them, their needs, and expectations. During this time I also explain our behavior rewards system in case your child is interested in participating in that. We discuss class rules, school rules, and I open up the opportunity for students to build a positive rapport with me. 

    5. Contact me a few months into the school year. Although we will have regular communitcation and provde quarterly reports on the progress of your child, we can meet a month or two into the 9th grade school year to follow up on the individual progress of your child and smooth out any concerns that pop up.

    6. I always recommend that parents and students look at HS Faculty web-pages so that together, you can click on links and explore their class syllabus, etc. This is helpful if you are interested in any course content that may pop up next year, such as books being read in language arts, or major projects in classes.

    7. CLUBS, SPORTS, AND WORK:  At this level of your child's educational career they should be involved in something. Whether they voulenteer in the communtiy regularly, are interested in sports, or would like to join a club such as STEP UP or the Evironment and Ecology Club- please be sure they are analying their social lives and exposure to their peers and other adults in non-academic settings. I know this can be challenge, however, conversations about work should also be happening - Your child does not have to start with a job environment at a busy resturant in town-- and may not even be of age yet for working papers. Therefore, if they can help with the pet care needs of a few community members, shovel snow, or rake leaves, they are still gaining some type of expereince that they can use to their benefit. Limit screen time, and increase the skills they will need for their future! If you are interested in obtaining working papers, you can get them at our district office during business hours. 

    8. What is a sensory minded integrated learning environment? What does my classroom look like? You are welcome to set-up an after school visit! In short, we have a vareity of resources that help your child with coping skills, and socialization, while keeping in mind their sensory needs. We have holographic lighting on dimmer switches so that the classroom lighting can be adjusted to a comfortable level, bouncy bands, a bulletin board that displays student work and fun class activities, comfy chairs, relaxing music, a driving simulator, TV, game space, academic space, and more! Our classroom overlooks the courtyard, which helps with setting the tone for a relaxing work environment. We also have a sink to practice healthy hygiene, while being located within a short distance to bathrooms and the nurse. Together all these details and more make this space an integrated area, sensitive to student needs, so your child can learn in a positive and healthy atomosphere.  

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