Sped Prep, Teachers Pay Teachers, Tips

3 Tips to Prep the Big Items

How many of you have at least one BIG product sitting in your purchases on TPT because you are too overwhelmed to download it and start working? I have been there and I’m still there! I’m bad about buying too many things on sales and then getting overwhelmed by how much there is to prep.

I’ve made it my mission this year to start utilizing more of the resources I have purchased. Here are three simple tips to help you get started, too!

Just print what you need right now

Go in and download just the pieces you need right now. I use this trick for Stephanie from Mrs. D’s Corner‘s Adapted Work Binders. I have a mini obsession with her work binders and I tend to buy pretty much each one she posts. I still have a bunch sitting in my purchases unopened because I can’t find the time to prep the whole thing. Instead of picking one binder and doing all of it, I decide to look through them all and choose certain activities.

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I have her Adapted Music Binder, but I’m not going to be teaching all of the concepts in the binder right away. We are starting with our percussion unit, so I just went in and printed the materials that align to that concept. When I change topics, I’ll go in and print the next set.

 

Create a prep flow that works for you

I use this trick when prepping Michaela from Especially Education‘s task boxes. (Okay, I’ll confess, my husband came up with this work flow). For this one, I do print off everything in the file and laminate it right away. I take one “task box” material at a time and cut it on my paper-cutter, then I organize it in a tub. I keep cutting one box worth of items at a time and adding it to the tub.

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Once everything is cut, I put away the laminator and paper-cutter and move on to Velcro. Again, I just pull out one box of material at a time, Velcro it, and add it to a beautiful rainbow container. This method is not always going to work for you or for the product you are prepping. Especially if you buy any sort of growing bundle, figure out the prep routine that works best for that product and stick to it!

 

 Make a running list

It can be really hard to prep when you don’t even know what is in your purchases. I keep a running Google Doc that lists the product name, seller, and how many pages are in the document. I don’t necessarily print all the pages. For example, I am only going to print one level of the “-wh” question flip books from Simply Special Ed, so I won’t be prepping all 177 pages. I still list 177 pages because it will take me time to go through and pin down what I need.

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I do this to use my time more effectively. When I have six hours and a great Netflix lined up on Friday night? I want to use that time to tackle a big project like the Pumpkin Independent Work Binder System from Autism Adventures. If I pop a lasagna in the oven and have just an hour until it’s ready? Maybe I’ll choose a smaller project like the Sight Word Laminate Velcro and Go tasks from You Aut-A-Know to get started.

I hope these three tips help you start to conquer some of those big items sitting in your purchases! What other tips do you have?

 

 

Paperwork, Tips, Work Life Balance

What To Do When You Make a Mistake

We have all been there. You misplace a document, you miss a deadline, you completely forget about something. It just happened to me this week. A colleague gave me something to give a parent, and I totally forgot to pass it along! My instinct was to panic but I had to take a deep breath and remind myself of 5 important steps.

Own the Mistake

The worst thing you can do in this situation is pretend like the mistake didn’t happen. Even if you make the mistake go away for the time being, there is a very high chance it will rear its’ ugly head at a later date. You don’t want to be in that situation.

Tell the People Who Need to Know

Immediately disclose the mistake to your supervisor or another individual who oversees the area. In my instance, I reported the mistake to the coordinator who gave me the paper in the first place. If you tell them before it gets to them some other way, it will help you in the long run.

Offer a Remedy

If your mistake causes someone else more work, it can quickly become a source of frustration. When you suggest  a solution to a problem or offer to assist in any way needed, you can help alleviate some of the tension. Show the person impacted that you are willing to go the extra mile to help!

Learn From the Mistake 

If the mistake occurred due to your lack of organization, revisit the method you use to keep track of things! If the mistake occurred because you are unsure of how to do something, ask for clarification or additional training. For example, it would be easy to make mistake using an online system if you had no idea how to do certain operations within the system!

Move On

Am I the only one who lies in bed and thinks about that mistake I made 4 months ago? This isn’t healthy and it doesn’t help! Once you fix the mistake and learn from it, move on! Don’t beat yourself up; we are all human!

IEP, Tips

IEP Reference Flipbook

When you have 8 kids with a comhined total of 97 g0als-it is hard to keep track of it all! I created these flipbooks to help both of my assistants as well as myself remember all of the goals! This comes in handy in many ways. For example, if my TA and a student get to inclusuon early and have 5 spare minutes, she can flip to his section to have a quic reference of his goals and work on one! It’s super easy to put together!

I typed each of my student’s goals into small boxes, printed the paper, cut out the boxes and glued them to index cards. I glued front and back to the card to save index cards.

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First, all of my students are color-coded. I took an index card, split it into 8 section and colored each section to match the student colors.I then cut off a strip of the colored index cards-this will be used to create the tabs.

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Cut apart each color to make a tab. Lay a piece of tape down on the table, and place the small square color side down.Take the end of the tape it and fold it over so the colored square is facing up. The square should be covered with tape on both sides now.

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Cut the square away from the tape, and trim it down. This will be the tab!

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Cut small strips of white index cards. Place the tab colored side down on the table. Place the strip on the back of the tab, and use a small piece of tape to connect the two.

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Tape the strip to the back of the index card. I find it helpful to line up the cover index card for each student’s section to make sure none of the sections overlap.

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To finish up, hole punch all of the cards and put them on a binder ring. At the end, you will have this awesome flipbook! It is so easy to reference goals this way. When I’m working with N., I just flip to the purple tab to see what she is working on. When a new IEP is written, I just have to remove that one section and replace the index cards with new goals-how easy is that?

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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 🙂

 

Blogging, Teachers Pay Teachers, Tips

My New Logo!!

I am so excited to share my brand new logo created by Ashley with Teach Create Motivate! She is featuring a branding package that was exactly what I was looking for!

The process was super simple. I saw her post on Instagram about the branding package and I emailed her for more information. She emailed me back in minutes!! I explained to her what I was looking for and provided the clip art I wanted to use. When I purchased the package, her next available date to start was July 18, which she confirmed in the email.

True to her word, she emailed me on July 18 to say she stared my package! In the 19th I received two sample headers. I absolutely loved one of them and told her to go ahead and move forward with that design! The next day she had the logo done as well-check it out:

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I absolutely love it!! I wanted the train station feel to go along with the name and I wanted bright, vivid colors and kid friendly text! She totally hit the nail on the head with this logo! The matching header is just as cute!

 

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If you need a branding package but are as graphic design challenged as I am, check out her site-the money is totally worth it!!