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!

crafts, Uncategorized

“Oh The Places You’ll Go” Balloon Template

I am super fortunate to have an extremely creative para in my classroom-she always comes up with the cutest craft ideas for my classroom. As someone with limited creativity and no art skills, I depend on her to make my classroom look cute. Tomorrow is Dr. Suess’ Read Across America Day and we made these adorable and easy balloon crafts for our bulletin board.

Every student was given the balloon template and a baggie of squares cut from construction paper. Next time I will have the kids cut the pieces themselves, but to save time this round we did it.

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The kids used a glue stick to adhere all of the pieces to the balloon template. The kids really enjoyed mixing up the colors and we had a variety of construction paper sizes for different needs. Each kid also got a pre-sized piece of brown construction paper to fill in the basket portion of the balloon. When the balloon was finished, we went over the top with a glue stick just to help the pieces stick more.

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At the end we wrote “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” around the balloon. You could also have the kids do this piece. It is a super simple craft to pull together and super cute!

 

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Here is the balloon if you want to do this craft in your classroom. Thanks to my para for hand-drawing this for us! If you use this in your classroom, please tag your photos with #adaptationstation so we can see them!

 

Homework, Uncategorized

Homework-Love it or Hate it?

I have a love/hate relationship with homework. In some ways, I love how my kids are able to go home and showcase their skills with mom and dad. In other ways, I feel like my kids already have so much going on and the homework is just an added level of stress. Either way, EVERY SINGLE PARENT in my self-contained class wants homework-so I do it every week.

I send home one homework packet a week on Mondays. My students can complete these anytime during the week, but are expected to turn them in no later then Fridays. for my more academically based students, I like to include a mix of reading and math skills, something related to the content lesson of the week, some work to focus on IEP goals and seasonal activities from time to time.

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I love using the News 2 You articles as the reading homework. They usually have two different articles up, each one offered in several levels. My kids use either the regular or the simplified article and I send home the game page, the review page and the think page for homework. The regular version has more questions and the simplified version is reduced for that level!

For kids who need extra comprehension practice, I will supplement with either my comprehension worksheets or my main idea worksheets, depending on their need. For my kids who need some higher level thinking, these Problem and Solution worksheets can be the answer!

My math homework tends to be directly related to the math lesson of the week. If we are working on graphing in school, I will put  graphing worksheet in the backpack. Sometimes I supplement with no-prep packs-you can find some great options on TPT. Right now I’m using packs from My Special Learners and Especially Education and they are a perfect fit! I also send home touch money for one of my kiddos-she actually gets a print off from my file folder pack!

But what about the kids who are not on that level? I have a couple of friends who are not ready for reading and math skills. These kids are at a pre-academic level and need more focus on foundation pieces and fine motor skills. I feature one letter a week from my Alphabet Weekly Work pack for their homework. I also love to supplement with the preschool printable packs from Little Monkeys Printable!

All of my featured resources will be 50% off through this Friday! Tell me how you do homework in your self-contained classroom!

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!

Personal

Mid August Update

Wow, summer is already over! I went back on contact today and honestly, I am a mix of emotions. I am super eager to get into my routine and get back to normal. I am one of those weird teachers who does not do well with a lot of time off. On the other hand, I’m nervous because I have changed so much. My classroom looks totally different, but I have the same assistants, therapists and kiddos from last year. Having to teach them all how my classroom runs and help them change the norm while still figuring it out feels daunting, but I can do it!

We have moved rooms, again. This is how my classroom looked when I walked in yesterday. I am sorry to say I have not gotten very far-a lot will be done when my husband comes to help me on Saturday.

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As for my to do list, I did not conquer everything. I was too busy soaking up those last sweet moments of relaxation, so I guess it was well deserved! Here is what is on my end of August to do list for academics:

  • 3 little pigs materials
  • Vowel task cards
  • Graphing worksheets
  • Expanded scientific method worksheets
  • All Rules and Laws materials
  • All government materials

As you can see, the academics took a hit. Luckily, these are my October plans so I have time to get them done!

I have most of my October adapted materials printed, I just need to assemble. That’s also on my to-do list. I did get the kid’s binders set up, it’s a great start 🙂

Part 2 of my to-do list, everything else! That includes

  • Finish student binder set up
  • Create my own grade book
  • Create lesson plans
  • Create schedules
  • First week of school plans
  • IEP snapshots
  • Make teacher binder
  • Set up classroom.

Kids come to school on August 29, 12 days until go time!!

 

Monthly Plans

End of July Check In

I’ve feeling pretty good about the progress I have made, and luckily I still have almost a month until the kids come into my classroom.

First, my September lessons are printed!! I put everything in a page protector, ready to be copied when its’ time. I will do a more in depth post later this month about how I plan to stay organized!

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Looking back to my goal list, I got all of the September materials made on my list. I listed government on the to-do list, but I really meant Famous Americans. That unit is done and posted! The scientific investigation unit is about 85% done, just have a couple more worksheets to make. I also made the graphing unit but once I printed it I didn’t like the sizing so I need to re do it.

I’ve started my special education binder and plans for my students’ binders as well. I also have all of my October plans in the excel!

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Here is my to-do list through August 15:

  • Reading
    • Pre/Post test
    • Three little pigs interactive materials
    • VAAP samples
    • Trick or treat supplemental activities
  • Language Arts
    • Pre/Post test
    • All anchor charts
    • VAAP samples
  • Math
    • Pre/Post Test
    • Anchor Charts
    • Interactive Notebook
    • VAAP samples
  • Science
    • Pre/Post Test
    • Anchor Charts
    • Interactive Notebook
    • Walk through worksheets
    • VAAP samples
  • Social Studies
    • Famous Americans Interactive Notebook
    • Famous Americans Emergent Reader
    • Rules and Laws Interactive Notebook
    • Rules and Laws Emergent Reader
    • Government Emergent Reader
    • Government Interactive Notebook
    • VAAP samples
  • Adapted Materials
    • Finish prepping all hard copies of September adapted materials
    • Re-D0 graphing adapted materials
    • Make 1 November adapted book
  • Organization
    • Get a binder for each student
    • Make a cover page for each student
    • Print any papers (IEP, FBA, BIP etc) for each student
    • Decide on # of dividers and by the dividers

 

Busy busy!! I go back on contract August 17 and I will be consumed with training and setting up my classroom, so I want to get as much done as I can 🙂

 

PS The baby girl I mentioned last post arrived this past Friday. She is already the most perfect princess and I can’t wait to meet her in about 10 days!