Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Midyear changes

Oh wow.

It's been forever since I've been on blogger. I'm sorry about that. From October until now, things have been a whirlwind.  One reason, of many, was my wedding! 

So now onto what you're really here for... my SPED-related content. 

This year has been a brand new start for me in a new district, but since August we have had a major change every month and I haven't been able to catch my breath! I gained 5 new kids in the first semester (totaling 9 in a self-contained class).  Luckily we were able to get a para to support as well! After Thanksgiving, all of the sped staff schedules changed and another can of crazy opened up! Since things were so hectic the first semester, I thought January would be the perfect opportunity to start fresh and make some mid-year changes. This way we're all on the same page and know the same rules and expectations. 

There were a few things that weren't working out for my students and their current abilities. Yesterday was our in-service and we were able to get some things accomplished to help today go smoothly:

First was the physical structure in the classroom.  My paras and I hit the ground running and rearranged a few pieces of furniture and it opened up the room so nicely! The kids enjoyed the extra space and seemed to like the placement of their U-shaped desks instead of being in a row. I also made 4" schedule pieces to put on the wall.  The little visuals I had velcroed up were always getting pulled down...even if my kids had their own schedule pieces in their binders). I guess the teachers' is better!?

Secondly, I have used the workbox system for a couple of years similar to The Autism helper , Breezy Special Ed and Autism Adventures in Room 83. This system is fabulous, but I just couldn't get my current group to be successful with it. They have fine motor limitations and limited mobility and this system wasn't cutting it for us. So here comes the solution: IEP tubs! If you've seen examples from The Bender Bunch and Autism Adventures, they are genius!! All the kids' work is in one place to pull and work during the day.  There is less confusion where their work is because it's all in one place and labeled in separate folders or binders.  Today was very smooth using this method as well as keeping all of their data sheets in a folder in their tub as well.

Of course, we reviewed rules and expectations. I also did some re-grouping and split the class up into even smaller 2 kid groups to help manage some behaviors and students who need more assistance while working.

Overall, it was a great day.  I had tried so many things since August and was getting frustrated. I just need 2 weeks of vacation to figure it out! The crazy thing with Special Education's crazy and you just keep trying until something works.  It's never too late to try something new, self-reflect or ask for help or guidance!

If you or your kids are struggling, don't be afraid to change things up! You've got this, only 1 semester left! 

Until (hopefully soon) next time,