Being a moderate/severe special education teacher, it is safe to assume that my day is different than the typical teachers day. I don't say mean to say that my day is more difficult or challenging in any way. Simply put, it is different. It is this difference that made me want to be a special education teacher.
Building a positive classroom community is a goal of mine every day. The littlest adjustments within your routine and interactions with students can help shape a safe, caring and nurturing environment. One of the most important things I have found to build a successful classroom is to et students working with one another in a successful manner.0
I know that all of our classrooms use token boards and basic behavior reward systems. I use my token boards all day, every day. They are a MUST. However, sometimes I find that teachers get to wrapped up with the "working for" cards that they forget to have some fun with behavior too. I wanted to share a few ways I reward my students in the classroom as a whole!0
Teaching students to follow directions can be a tough skill to teach. However, it is SUCH an important skill to master. So many times I hear teachers complaining that "they just don't listen to me." Well, have you ever taught your students how to follow directions? If we don't teach them the skills, how can we expect them to follow them?
I love schedules. Schedules are the backbone to my program. Without schedules not only would my students go crazy, but I would go crazy too! I get a lot of questions about the set up of my binder schedules so I wanted to put together a simple video to show you the simple routine we use in my classroom!
Wouldn't it be great if students stayed on task...all day...every day? Well, yes, of course it would be! But wouldn't perfection be boring? Let's discuss different ways you can teach students the importance of staying on task while at school!
Do you have a computer area in your classroom? If so, do you have visuals to support your students educational and behavioral needs? Today I am sharing with you how I run my computer area for seemless transitions to and from the computer area!0
Smooth transitions are the backbone to any successful program. A good transition will carry over into the next activity in the classroom. If you have hectic transitions, students will take some time to recover from it and will directly affect their performance in the classroom. Simply set routines and expectations early on for a smooth year.
Do you have children shouting out all day? So many times a day I hear "Mrs. Finch I need...." It can be come overwhelming to constantly hear students asking for wants needs or questions. I decided to devote an ENTIRE week to learning and practicing raising your hand.
I get a lot of questions about how I start my day. I do things a little different than most educators. I do my morning meeting separate from my calendar. My morning meeting is simply a fun way to start the day by greeting each student and staff! This also give my staff a quick 10 minutes to check backpacks for notes from parents!0
Let's face it, behavior management is THE most important component of any classroom. A classroom, whether it be a Kindergarten class or a high school algebra class, will not be successful if the teacher does not maintain good classroom management. So often times, behaviors are misunderstood and assumed intentional on the students behalf. Today, we are going to look at behavior- the BIG picture.2
The start to any school year, for any classroom, can be tough. There are so many demands put on staff including baseline data, compliance deadlines, district benchmarks, insturction, IEP goals and of course behavior management. It is crucial to set expectations and guidelines for students from DAY 1 so that they know what is expected of them.0
I have blogged about my work center rotation system several times and I still get questions about "how exactly it works." It is very difficult to put into words the system so Idid a video tour walk through as if I were a student during work centers. Take the 4 minutes to watch the video to see what my work center rotation system is ALL about :)1
I get a lot of questions about how I utilize my work task binders in my classroom. I love storing tasks in binders because they are not bulky, they are easy to organize, and they are easy to pull out at a moments notice when working with kids.0
I have NO words to describe the excitement I have for my classroom make over. My classroom was starting to look a little "hodgepodge" from the slow remodel over the years. I made the scary decision to rip everything off my walls and start over.... and HERE GOES...Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a video tour of my classroom!4
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There's no secret that Special Ed Teachers have a unique bond with one another. Over the years of blogging I feel like I have made so many friends because we, together, understand the challenges we face as special education teachers. To those not in our profession, it may seem like a scary or daunting job. For us, it's our passion.
I wanted to do something SUPER fun to celebrate my NEW BLOG. I know I might be biased, but aint it STINKIN' cute? I am BEYOND excited with the fresh, clean look! Let's all thank Erin Hagey from You Aut-A Know. She designed and installed it and I am forever grateful...because I have NO idea how to go about it! She also has her own Shop with THE cutest SPED gear. She has mugs, bags, shirts and tanks! I want EVERY one :) Check out her shop by clicking HERE.
I want you to explore my blog and all of the new features. To do so, we are going to have a little RIDDLE Scavenger Hunt. I am giving away 6 UNIQUE items from her shop. Each item has it's own Riddle and Rafflecopter entry. There is no limit, so enter all 6 if you want! I will announce all winners on Saturday, August 20th on my blog! Be sure to come back and check to see if you won!
I get asked all the time about my daily schedule. My Daily schedule is organized down to the minute. I run my day different than most teachers, so I wanted to go into detail about each part of the day to help you understand the flow of our day!
For the past 6 years I have really struggled with sight word practice in my classroom for those students that need more than just "flash cards." How many times can you read, repeat and drill words. It can become tedious and quite daunting for our students....which...of course....leads to behaviors. It can also discourage students and prohibit them from becoming readers. I've had this idea in the works for quite some time and FINALLY got around to making them. (shhh....I have a BUNCH more activities coming your way when I find the time).
I have created as sight word system to build fluency in a hands on and affective way for all of your students. The whole bundle focuses on the Dolch sight word lists. My products include 315 sight words (pre primer, primer, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and nouns) broken into 30 lists. These lists remain constant throughout all of the products and match the data binder for easy assessment!
I know we are all in our final countdown to summer. If you are like me, you may or may not have a countdown on your white board. The daily satisfaction of changing the number to one day closer to freedom helps get through these final weeks of school! While we all need our break, I have a few tips to make next school year start of with a bang. Get all of your prep work for the basic classroom tools done this year so that you can focus on student files, IEP's and curriculum in August!0
This blog post is a fun one for me. What I am about to talk about goes against the grain of EVERY special education teacher's instinct. Yes, you read it right. We are going to talk about sabotaging our daily schedules that are so crucial to our students success. To read about visual schedules in my classroom click HERE to learn about some of the best practices of special education schedules!
One of the toughest things our kiddos experience in a special education classroom is confusion. My students struggle the most when our schedules get mixed up, out of order or something happens out of our control that requires flexibility. As special education teachers, we cannot always predict certain aspects of our day. Sometimes a tantrum may require a smooth transition outside for a walk, a surprise fire drill, a visitor walk through or a cancelled special. This can cause such epic tantrums in my classroom that I have started a new thing called "schedule sabotage." This is when I mess something up on purpose. Teaching flexibility is an important skill because our students will not have a perfectly planned out life- they must learn to go with the flow. This is not an easy task. But whenever I do mess something up I let my staff now ahead of time so we are ready to cope with any side affects we may get.
April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance month. This is something that is now near and dear to my heart, however it has not always been. I wanted to spend today to introduce myself to my new followers and share why I became a special education teacher. It is not your typical "I knew I wanted to be a SPED teacher since I was a child story..."
Today I wanted to talk about one of my favorite tools to use in the classroom.....Social Stories! I get a million questions asking about how I use them, when I use them, why I use them and who I use them with. I wanted to take some time to explain how I implement them in my classroom!
Being a Special Education teacher is far from easy. Juggling behaviors, communication needs, data, IEP goals, communication with parents, curriculum organization (WHAT CURRICULUM?), adapting materials and the most time consuming of it all....3
I talk about my Calm Down Kits in my blog posts all the time because I use them THAT much. I get a lot of questions asking about them, how I use them, when I use them and why I use them. I have blogged about them in the past but I wanted to do a refresher on these visual tools that I am SO dependent on in my classroom!
As any follower of mine knows, I LOVE to use monthly themes to drive instruction. For years I have been using my vocabulary units to drive themes for the entire month. The vocabulary unit consists of 20 vocabulary words. I use these vocabulary words to create art projects, sensory activities, classroom decorations and academic tasks for the month. Using the same words over the whole month allows students enough practice and routine to master the meaning and spelling!0
I love my work center rotation system. It is by far the best system for my students in my classroom. My visual working cards make it super easy for my students to understand what is expected of them. To read more about my work center system click here.