organization, Special Education Classroom

Color Coding Independent Tasks in a Self Contained Classroom!

If you have been around my Instagram this summer, then you know that both of my paraprofessionals have left my classroom and I have been really stressed about training new staff. One huge benefit, however, is that I know all of my students. The new challenge was helping my paraprofessionals get to know them as well. My solution? Color coding!

I found these color coding stickers on Amazon. The pack had all 8 colors I am using in my classroom. I loved that the company supports Ability First, which employs adults with disabilities and special needs. Win-Win!

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The first thing I decided to use this color-coding set with was Especially Education‘s Language Arts Task Boxes. I keep Level 1 in the Iris Photo Boxes, and Level 2 in Sterlite containers. I made a template in Powerpoint that listed all of her task boxes on the left and had space on the right. Each child is assigned a color. If the task is appropriate for the child, I out a sticker with his or her color next to the task

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I did this with file folders as well. I used the Adhesive Label Squares from the Target Dollar Spot and place one on the back of each file folder. I slipped a small square of cardstock with the corresponding stickers into the pocket.

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What I love about these pockets is that I can easily switch out the slips each year to update with each new group of students!FullSizeRender-7.jpg

I am so excited about this new color coding system. Now my paraprofessionals will know which tasks are appropriate for which students, which will help them be successful in the classroom from day 1!

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase, at no cost to you!

organization, Special Education Classroom

Back to School Finds at Walmart

I love Target as much as the next teacher, but sometimes Walmart does not get the credit it deserves. I found some incredible deals when I went shopping today, and I wanted to share!

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Seriously, I’m loving the mint green theme Walmart has going on this year!

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The first thing I found were these mainstay latch lid boxes. Let me start by saying I LOVE Sterlite (clearly, majority of my purchases were Sterlite brand) but I know that sometimes we need cheaper options. The mainstay bins were roughly $3.50 in store, which was $1.50 less then Sterlite. They seemed to be sturdy and will be perfect for sensory bins. FullSizeRender-4.jpg

I also got rainbow book bins similar to these. The ones I found in the store were about $10 for a set of 5. I will be using these to organize file folders on my bookshelf.

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I love these Sterlite shoe boxes with the colorful lids. I found these value packs of 10 for $7.98 at my Walmart! Cheaper than anywhere else I saw. I will be using these to set up my new work task system, store task cards, hold toys and more. In fact, I might go buy some more tomorrow!

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I bought one of these mini crates from Sterlite because it was cute and cheap (under $1). I ended up loving it and getting 2 more. I grabbed 4 additional mini crates today. I got rid of my teacher desk so these will be perfect for storing supplies on a table in the back of my classroom.

Don’t be afraid to shop around! Pinterest pretty classroom are fun to look at, but it’s okay to save money and get other materials. Whatever helps you stay organized!

organization, Tips

Student Binders

I used to be a HOT MESS teacher. I was very disorganized and I could never find the data sheet or work sample I needed right when I needed it. Not a good trait for a special education teacher. Everything was fine until it wasn’t and after a messy end to the year back in May, I knew I had to get myself into gear. I’m trying super hard this year and I’m excited to do a blog series to show what I’m doing. Today’s topic are my beautiful student binders!

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Just look how beautiful this binder is! Each kiddo has been assigned a different color (I’ll do a more in depth blog post on the color coding later this month). I prefer the binders with the clear view cover so I can slip a cover sheet it-on the cover sheet I type the student name, the grade they are in and the school dates.

Here is the layout of the student binders:

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The Autism Helper suggested these Avery tabs because they stick out and can be easily seen and I love them! I get them from Amazon for a pretty good price!

Tab 1 is the current data sheet as well as the copies of the data sheets. Tab 2 has the programming guide that accompanies the IEP. I will also being doing blog posts on each of these components. Here’s a sneak peak of my data sheets!

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Tab 4 is specifically for parent-teacher communication. I keep a log to keep track of communication, especially face to face conversations. These conversations normally happen at drop off or early pick up and catch me a little off guard, so I make sure to write it all down. Tab 5 is a note session-for example if my OT and I do some brainstorming I will jot some notes in this section.

Tab 6 is for graded work. This is mainly the pre-tests and post-tests, but some other grades go in there as well. Tab 7 is for work samples-this is mainly some probes, special projects and any other word samples that might be important. Tab 8 is completed data sheets. As we work though the week we stick any paper evidence of the goal (word problem worksheets, writing prompts, reading passages etc) into the front of the binder.

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At the end of the week, I staple that week’s evidence to the back of the data sheet and move it to tab 8. That way it is always readily available in case anyone has questions. For example, if someone had a questions about this week’s writing prompt data (as seen above) they could just look at the attached sheet and find it quickly.

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Tab 9 keeps any original copies, including spare data sheets and communication logs. Tab 10 is listed as other-this is to capture anything else. For example, I have a kid who has medical alert due to his seizure disorder. I store those papers in this tab.

We are only in our fourth week of school but this system is working pretty well. I hope it gives you some inspiration for getting yourself organized 🙂

 

Monthly Plans, organization

Setting Up a Teacher Binder

I finally got my teacher binder up and running, and I am excited to show it to you all today! I’m also excited to use my married name this year!!

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I finally decided to type up my parent’s most used phone numbers and typed a grid to tape in the front of my binder. I’m so glad I did this! Instead of having to hunt down their emergency card or log into the system, I can grab my binder and have the numbers on the tip of my fingers. I also have a grid that lists the contents of my binder to stay organized.

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Section one of my binder is a set of my student’s data sheets. The master data sheet is in their own IEP binder, but I keep a copy in my binder. My assistants also have sets of the data in their binder. We all take data during the week, then merge on the master copy on Fridays. The student’s IEPs are also kept in their IEP binder, so I keep an IEP snapshot on each in section 2 that has the important information. I uploaded the snapshot as a freebie, grab it here!

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I downloaded these monthly calendars from Erin with You-AUT-A Know, I am hoping they help me keep track of all of the deadlines! This makes up section 3 of my binder-section 4 is for our state assessment. I have a monthly planning guide to make sure I plan for all of the standards as well as a copy of the manual for reference.

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My lesson plans are a two page spread that incorporate my schedule so I always know what is happening. The next week tab is reminders for me-for example, if I need to buy mentos for a science experiment we are doing on Wednesday, I would write it on the next week page so I remember. The week at a glance page lets me highlight parties, assemblies and other miscellaneous activities coming up. I keep all the pages of my lesson plans in section 5.

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I downloaded this meeting notes template from Tickled for Teaching. I will keep a bunch of copies in section 6 to keep track of staff meetings and professional developments. Sections 7-12 are my grade book sections. Each section has a grade book template from English Bulldog-the section I keep are Reading, Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Health.

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It took me a whole to get it set up, hopefully I can stick with it and stay organized!