A few of the little details in my Special Education Classroom

Sometimes it's the littlest details that make the biggest difference in a classroom. Here's a few of my little classroom details. Someday I will show you all of the big details too...I just need to be more prepared for that!

Supply station central. With visuals. AMAZING - because students and staff know where everything goes. So simple and organized and makes my life easier than my last two years when I thought I was pretty organized but had different things throughout the room. Everything in the same place is the way to go.

Work task boxes on a cart. When you don't have shelves...you can find something else that works! I love our independent work stations. Someday I'll have you show you all what's inside these boxes!! Update: See all my posts on work tasks.
TEACCH boxes independent work

Visuals for greetings in the morning, right outside the door to encourage students to greet each other as they come in. This was a freebie from The Adventures of Room 83!

Visuals on the door help students to remember to ask before leaving the room and to tell staff what it is they need. Keeping the door shut helps too!

This fabulous "Turn it in" idea was from the Autism Helper - um so smart! I took hers and edited it a little giving myself spaces for 3 forms coming in (they always seem to happen at the same time) and also color coded so the students can better recognize their names.

The wet ones and the Clorox wipes frequently were confused in my classroom, so I had a student draw these pictures for me and it has helped so much.

Someday I'll give you the grand tour, but until then I hope you enjoy these snapshots!
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Cloud Dough Sensory Activity

I have been loving teaching the Fine Arts class in our program this year! We have two days of music, two days of art, and one day of a sensory activity. For one of our sensory activities, we made "cloud dough" or "mood sand." I found quite a few different recipes online, and don't remember which one I used. Pretty much, cloud dough is 1 part flour and 1/8 part of baby oil. Mix together and you're ready to play!

While making our cloud dough, I had my students work on finding the biggest cup (1 cup) and the smallest cup (1/8). Each student made their own batch. I created these visual instructions for each student - download here.

A quick funny story - when it came time to mix the dough with their hands, one of my students said, "But I can't, my mom always tells me to mix with a spoon." Um, okay, I guess I can't argue with that.
I was surprised with the students who were really engaged with the sand...and the ones who weren't at all! The ones who I thought would hate it couldn't get enough of it, so I guess you don't know until you try! It was fun to mold and then break items with the sand. We even added glitter to one of them :)

Now we have cloud dough in our classroom. Super fun.
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Environmental Print - Fast Food Month!

I seriously have a love/hate relationship with my job right now. Anyone else know what I mean?

It's been so much fun planning new lessons/activities/centers/etc for my students and learning new kids and their learning styles and needs. But then there's the behaviors I'm trying to figure out, the aides I'm trying to organize/lead, and the paperwork. Ugh. But blogging about the fun stuff helps me keep a positive attitude and remember why I love teaching.

Onto some fun things - I am planning on doing one community trip a month with my students this year. And this month's field (at the end of the month) will be to a fast food restaurant. So this month's theme is going to be all about fast food. To start us off, I made an environmental print book all about fast food restaurants!
Each page has the predictable text, "I can eat at _____________" and then the restaurant on the page. This makes sure even my non-readers can read.
 Also, each page has adapted pieces that the student can match while reading the book. This helps aid in comprehension and gives the student something concrete to do while reading.
I also created a variety of worksheets including matching the logo, writing the words, finding all of one logo, etc. I hope to start using the worksheets next week and then move onto some menu options at each restaurant. My thought is to have my students choose what restaurant we will go to, so I'm curious to see which one they will pick.

Let me know if you have or know of any other fast food resources I could use this month!
Oh, and you can get this Fast Food book and worksheets on my TPT store :)
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Some IEP data sheets

Collecting data on the IEP goals...(even and especially the ones you didn't even write) can be annoying, difficult, a lot of work, is just what us special education teachers gotta do...

I recently had a question about what kinds of forms I keep on my clipboards so I snapped a couple of pictures. Mostly, I have data sheets to collect data on IEP goals. And also a few behavior data sheets.

This year I wanted to make my data sheets as easy to collect data as possible, so I tried to make it more specific than before and also circling instead of writing when possible. Make it easier for everyone, and also makes the data more reliable. Got that idea from one of my ABA enthusiastic colleagues.

Here's a couple examples:


They aren't perfect - but they are a start and I hope they turn out useful! How do you collect data on IEP goals?

One of my behavior data sheets is currently tracking swearing frequency of one of my students. So far the most PHRASES (not words) uttered was 70....in one class period. That will be a fun one :)

Also, I just updated my schedules on the post before for those of you who wanted to see better pictures and more details - hope that helps!

Update: My prompt levels key is listed below. (This was copy and pasted from some article I read - with just some minor changes I made. If you know where I got it, please let me know so I can give credit!)


Prompt Levels or Prompt Hierarchy
+ independent The student does the task or the step with no help or hints of any kind.
IV indirect verbal Ask a question that makes them think about it. “What do you need to do?” “What is next?” “What time is it?”
G gesture Point to the item they need. Point to the door if you should be leaving, point to the calculators if they need to get a calculator.
DV direct verbal The student does the task after being told exactly what to do. “You need to…”
M model The student does the task after you show them how to by doing the task yourself. For example, you wipe off the counter and then stand aside to let them try it.
PP physical prime The student does the task after you move them toward it. For example, you touch their elbow to get them to pick up a pencil.
FP full physical The student does the task while you hold onto their hand or wrist and do it with them.

Need a place to start? Make a copy of this generic goal sheet and edit away to meet the needs of your goals!
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