The Essential Components Of A Self-Contained Special Ed. Classroom

While no two special education classes are exactly alike, successful and effective programs have a few things in common. These commonalities are what I consider to be essential....

While no two special education classes are exactly alike, successful and effective programs have a few things in common. These commonalities are what I consider to be essential.

Behavior System

Every  special education classroom needs to have a system for shaping and improving student behavior. In my classroom, we use a token economy system. This system focuses on positive reinforcement, is supported by research and has been around since 1970s. Here are some posts to learn more about implementing a token economy system in your classroom:





Visual Supports

Everyone benefits from visual supports... students and staff! Think about all of the visuals that you come into contact with during your day. Most likely they made your life easier. They eased some anxiety for you. The same can be said for our students. Evaluate your students to see which type of visuals that help them be more successful. Visual schedules, labels, picture directions, etc. are all types of visuals that may help your students. 


Visuals can also be helpful in building independence in our students. Many times, our students become prompt dependent. It is very important that we work to decrease how reliant our students are on others to go throughout their day. Here are some blog posts to explain further:





A System For Data Collection

There are many, many, many systems out there for collecting data, so I'm not going to list them all. You do need to find a system that is easy and is manageable for you. Ask yourself.... How are you going track progress on IEP goals, how are you going to track generalization, how are you going to make sure students are maintaining previously mastered skills? 

For me, I schedule an hour every day to specifically target IEP goals and review of mastered skills. I call this "work centers" in my room. For this hour, my paras and I are doing direct instruction with all of our students. Click below for more information:




A Plan For Instruction

Instruction can be challenging in special education. We frequently have students at a variety of levels with a range of abilities and disabilities. It can be easy for teachers to get in the habit of only using table tasks, binder systems and file folders as instructional tools with their students. These instructional tools make planning for instruction easier, but don't always target moving students to the next level of instruction. Click the picture below to learn more about planning for and implementing instruction that moves students past simple matching tasks:







An Organized Classroom

Don't get me wrong.... I am not saying that your class has to be Pinterest ready, but there should be an underlying system that is easy and keeps your program running effectively. For example, you need a system for lesson planning, prepping and organizing the materials for your lessons, etc. 

One of my most important tips is to set up a system that can run whether you are in the classroom or not. Setting it up so it can run without you will greatly decrease the amount of times you are interrupted during instruction.  Click the picture below to learn how to set this up:



Setting up a system for all of your lesson plans materials is super easy! Click below for the EASIEST system ever!!




Having trouble with one of these components? Leave a comment and I would be happy to help!

While no two special education classes are exactly alike, successful and effective programs have a few things in common. These commonalities are what I consider to be essential.





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