"How To Set Up A Special Education Program"- Additional Visual Supports

Friday, July 3, 2015

Technology is a huge motivator and component of any special education program.  One of the challenges of implementing technology is teaching students to transition away from the preferred activity.  This can send some students into a large tantrum.  By implementing a simple visual you can create a non-verbal prompt to transition the student away from the technology.  It is recommended to pair this visual with a visual timer to help the student understand how much time they have left. 


"How To Set Up a Special Education Program"- Visual Schedules

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Schedules!!!  Yes- they are important, and YES they are a headache.  The importance of utilizing visual schedules in a special education classroom is well researched and well proven to be successful.  With that being said, every classroom must utilize a wide range of visual schedules to help their students be successful.  Here is a weekly schedule displayed on a bulletin board. This is great way to allow all students, staff and administrators to understand the sequence of the classrooms day and to provide consistency with the routine for the students.

Here is a close up of the schedule icons along side with push-in and individual specials

The day of the week/date are posted on top

"How To Set Up A Special Education Program"- Visual Supports Overview

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Students with special needs thrive off of visuals.  Visual supports help students to better understand what is expected of them throughout the school day.  They also help students to organize their thoughts, behaviors and emotions.  Visual supports are the most crucial element to setting up a special education program.

Special Education Classroom Daily Schedule- Lunch/Rest Time/Afternoon Specials

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Like recess,  I am not with my students during lunch.  It is my chance to eat lunch and enjoy some quiet!  However, lunch is still a huge learning process for my students.  Communication is the main focus during lunch.  Read more about how we implement communication during our lunch routine in our cafeteria in my communication chapter.  Once students are done eating they get to attend recess outside with the rest of their peers. 

After lunch, my students come in and check their schedules for
rest time.  Rest time is similar to our book time after our morning recess.  Students rest while my staff take students to the restroom either individually or in groups.  During rest time, we turn off the lights, turn on a disco ball (YES A DISCO BALL), listen to music and relax.  Students can choose to lay in bean bags, peapods, swings, or with blankets and pillows.  Students can also choose to read a book or play with a puzzle.  Rest time is a great activity to give my students a break and a chance to re-collect themselves before the end of the day.

Our afternoons are a little more flexible.  Our activities change depending on the day.  This year we had whole group OT on Tuesdays which was always a blast.  Monday’s and Thursdays were typically art projects or sensory games.  Fridays were ALWAYS movies!  We work for Fun Friday in my classroom.  In our district, students have minimum days on Wednesdays for staff meetings so my students leave right after lunch.

THank you for joining me on my 6 day journey discussing all there is about my daily schedule!  Tomorrow we will be moving into Chapter 5, Visual Supports!

Special Education Classroom Daily Schedule- Afternoon Work Centers/Calendar

Monday, June 29, 2015

Our afternoon work centers are exactly the same as they are in the morning, except different work at each station.  Students know the routine, get their working card and rotate between the tables before they earn their reward.  Refer to the curriculum chapter to read more about what we work on at each center!

Special Education Classroom Daily Schedule- Snack/Recess/Book Time

Sunday, June 28, 2015

After the earned free time after work centers students check their schedule and get ready for breakfast/snack.  The entire school gets to eat snack during recess.  However, I do snack inside my classroom before recess.  I like to keep it structured and functional within the classroom so we have all of our tools handy.  I utilize this time of day to really focus on communication.  My school SLP pushes in during this time to help with different students and their IEP goals.  Overall, this is a quick 15 minute snack time that takes place in the classroom.  The rule is- “if you don’t ask, you must not be hungry.”  During snack we have communication devices, switches, PECs books and iPad apps.  Check out the chapter on COMMUNICATION to learn more about how we use snack as a tool for communication!

Special Education Classroom Daily Schedule- Work Center Rotations

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I absolutely LOVE my work centers!  This blog post I will only be discussing the system of work centers.  I will be discussing the actual work and curriculum that takes place at each center in the curriculum section of this blog series!  I have finetuned this system to make it the most efficient system for my students. I love my work centers because it promotes independence and it is consistent!  I have 3 work centers during our work center rotations.  
There is a RED, BLUE and GREEN table.

Above each labeled table is a cute little sign to make it more noticeable which table is where. 

Morning work centers takes place right after our Morning Meeting. Students check their schedules and get their working card.  They are passed out once they check their schedule. 
 I come around and let them choose a toy/activity that they are going to "work for” from our token economy folder.   

Once they all have their working cards and activities picked, work centers start!  Students are grouped into 3 groups (3 students per group.)  Each student group has their own group color: purple, orange and yellow .  I have the student groups posted on the back cabinets so that all the staff and students know where they are supposed to be when!  

Each groups working card has the color table schedule on the bottom so that the student knows which table they are to go to first!

Working cards are carried by the student from table to table.  Each group's working card has visual cues at the bottom of the card indicating the order of tables they will attend to (Ex. 1st Red table, 2nd green table, and 3rd blue table).  
The working card serves as a great reinforcer for my student's.  When a student becomes unmotivated or begins to act out, a simple prompt to the working card reminds the student that they will be rewarded for good behavior and hard work.  

At the end of the rotation, if the student has completed their work and behaved appropriately they receive a colored clip to clip on to the working card..  We spend an hour total during the morning work centers.  We spend 15 minutes at each center totaling 45 minutes of work time.   If the student has earned all 3 clips after work centers, they place their working card on their desk and "trade" it in for their preferred task/activity.  For those student's that did not earn all three clips, they return back to the table they did not earn their clip from and finish their uncompleted work.  Student's are held accountable for their behaviors, and must earn free time.  The students have about15 minutes to play and clean up before snack time! 

Here is a summary of my work center routine:
Thank you for reading this LONG post about my work center rotations… I know it was a long one.  Tomorrow I will go into detail about my snack/recess/book time routines!

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