tips to help make your first month back smoother.
Some fellow special education bloggers and I put our heads together to help you take back your summer!
1. Traci from The Bender Bunch recommends taking time prior to the first day of school, to go through your caseload and make yourself a 1 page calendar that lists all of your annual review dates and re-evals so these events don't sneak up on you!
2. Gabrielle from Teaching Special Thinkers suggests having all of your routines set in place before the start of school. Beginning routines such as lining up and sitting for group right away sets the tone for the rest of the year. Natasha from The Resource Teacher points out that students with special needs, especially students with autism, thrive off routines. Get them started with the routine right away!
3. Once you have decided on your routines or procedures, Alyssa from Simply Special Ed advises to go through the routines with easy tasks to get students used to the new routines and daily pattern without much challenge or frustration. As they get more used to the routine, increase the work load.
4. Kim from Mrs. H's Resource Room says, "Get organized!" Kim hands out IEPs to all of the general education teachers and makes sure that support staff know which students have extenuating circumstances that they need to be aware of (behaviors, allergies, etc.) Caitlin from Learning Ahoy!! adds that you should try to give input on where your students should sit, keep materials, etc. The Gen. ed teacher should have a clear understanding of any accommodations, modifications or services that the student(s) you share should receive.
5. I tell others to make their classroom work for them by using visuals for both students and staff! Check out these blog posts for ideas on how to use visuals to make your life easier: Using Visuals To Reduce Prompt Dependency with students and Cue Staff With Visuals.
6. Angelia from Extra Special Teaching reminds us to double check if any of your students receive SPED transportation before the 1st day of school. If so, you will want to make sure you have covered their needs from the beginning. Think about whether students will need to be met at the bus, walked to breakfast or their classroom or other procedures your school has in place.
7. Sebrina from Burke's Special Kids and Jennifer from Teach.Love.Autism
say a great way to begin the school year is by connecting with parents. Even a phone call builds the team relationship and pays off in the classroom.
8. Jannike from Special Ed Connections makes sure everyone is on the same page by meeting with paras prior to the start of school for team building and to go over their students' needs. Discuss responsibilities, expectations, their schedules, routines, class structure, and answer any questions they may have.
9. Lindy from Considerate Classroom suggests posting rules and expectations in each specific area of the classroom. Then, teach, model and remind students of the rules and expectations from day one and throughout the school year.
10 Sarah from Primarily Au-Some advises to talk to grade level teachers and try to start inclusion from day one. Many teachers try to wait for a few weeks to start inclusion because they want to "get to know their class first." Your students should be part of their class, too. It helps your students get into a routine that won't change as well.
Bonus tip: I would also add that you should be thinking of ways to delegate or set up systems that paras and therapists can complete without your help. I think it is so important that I wrote a whole blog post about it: Set up your room as if you won't be there.
Hope these tips help you to have a smoother first month of the school year!!!