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!!

 

Personal, Work Life Balance

Why I Won’t Be Joining in on Gossip This Year

People who know me well will tell you that I take a little bit to warm up. I can be shy and small talk has never been my strong suit. In fact, I even experience a level of social anxiety in some situations. One of my biggest concerns when I got my first job teaching was how on earth I was going to make friends.

Somehow, the friends came quickly. I established friendships with other special education teachers as well as general education teachers. I lead a school with an Autism Awareness Initiative, which also helps me get to know teachers that I wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to talk to.

While being friendly with co-workers is a good thing, the dark side of gossip is sure to follow. It started with a quick comment, then turned into an actual time-sucking conversation. Next thing I knew, most of my conversations were gossipy in nature. Rather than asking my 70-plus colleagues for advice on handling a tricky parent teacher meeting or a strategy to help a struggling student, I joined in on pointless conversations that didn’t do anything but circulate negativity.

Not only did I join in on these conversation at school, I became too connected outside of school. I went to happy hours, holiday parties, and spent the weekends texting. In some of these instances, such as my friendship with the best inclusion teacher I’ve ever seen, these conversations were to solve problems or generate ideas.

Other conversations didn’t do the same. The night I realized that it was all-encompassing was when my husband and I got in a disagreement about something personal. He finally asked me “what did your school friends say?” and I immediately spout out the answer. That’s when it hit me, I had spent more time gossiping about the issue with my co-workers than I had actually working through it with my husband.

School and everything about it had consumed me and that is not a good place to be in. I was so focused on these friendships and joining into the gossip mill, I forgot I was a person outside that school. I’ve spent the summer getting back to what I love. I’m enjoying my newlywed life (We are only 102 days in!), diving into my huge stack of to-read books, trying new recipes, exploring my new interest in craft breweries, and snuggling with my puppy.

I feel good about the choices I’m making, because being a teacher is now just a part of me. It’s still probably the biggest part of me, but it’s not my entire picture. I’m a little nervous to go back to school, because the first time I walk away from a gossip-driven or negative conversation might be uncomfortable, but it is something I need to do. I’m not saying I will never again listen to or say a piece of gossip, but I am saying I’m going to refocus my conversations at work and my priorities outside of work.

Here’s to the new, happier, more well-rounded me!

 

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!

 

Language Arts, Uncategorized, Word Work

Word Work-Free Download!

I’m starting a new word work center in my classroom this fall and I decided to give it a try with one of my summer school students. He really enjoyed it-especially the stamp pad part 🙂

I am going to implement this with sets of CVC words, but you can use any words you want. For this particular set, the six word he had were: Cat, Bed, Dad, Pig, Pot and Net.

Day 1 was drawing a picture for each of the words. I loved seeing his artwork!

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Day 2 was “bean spelling”, although as you can see I actually had counters in this center. I wrote letters on counters I got from Amazon. I had him write the word on the line, then spell it with the counters and check the box off.

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Day 3 was stamping the words-it was REALLY hard for him to resist the urge of sticking his fingers in the stamp pad-but we worked through it! My letter stamps are a little loopy and he did stamp a couple sideways. I recommend getting a more straightforward font on your stamps.

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Day 4 was rainbow writing the words. This one was less complicated and really gave him practice at the spelling patterns of his words.

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Day 5 was roll a color. He would roll a dice and write the word in the corresponding color. We had to use virtual dice because I can’t get into my classroom right now to use the real dice!

You can download this worksheet for free here! It is a PowerPoint that is completely editable-so feel free to change the different tasks. Maybe, instead of rainbow write, you can have them write in all caps or write with their non dominant hand! There are a lot of different options. I hope you enjoy!

Teachers Pay Teachers

End of July Sale!

When I logged onto Teachers Pay Teachers this morning, I saw my store featured on the front page! It was so cool to see my brand new logo up there with 7 other teacher authors!

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I am so proud of all of the work I have done over the past 30 days. I’ve created a lot of material and I have a ton of plans ready for the fall. To celebrate, everything in my store is on sale through July 31. I will be posting several products over the next week so keep checking back and keep stocking up!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Adaptation-Station