Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Classroom Behavior Management Plan


I'm dropping by today to share with you what my classroom behavior management system looks like. Of course I also have individual systems in place too, like my cool points charts, self-monitoring sheets, and token systems you've probably read about...but this is an overview of my "whole" classroom system. 

Yes folks, I do use a clip chart and love it! My system is much more than just a clip chart though!! It is not only easy for my students to understand, but is a very powerful visual for my students and let me tell you why. There are other components that make it so powerful!

My student's take home charts completely align with the clip chart. The emotions on my clip chart match the faces on their take home charts. This is another thing that makes it so comprehensive and meaningful for my students. This allows all of my students, even my lowest functioning students to easily understand their take home chart. These hang in student view each day.


Students having a rough day can often be caught sneaking a peek at their chart to see what they got.

Here is a closer view. The clip chart is recorded on their take home charts 3 times a day. This allows students that may start out rough to turn their day around and end on a good or super. Parents are required to sign them and return them each day. Then, they are filed in an individual student binder as data. (Sorry for the end of the year rough copy that's been recopied over & over. The original is crisp)

Students that end their day on good or super, get a small treat on their way out each day from this little drawer that sits at my exit door. Again, this is very successful for your challenging behaviors, because it gives those students the opportunity to turn their day around, rather than figuring, "Oh, I already blew it and got sad so I may as well misbehave the rest of the day now." 
I also change this up from time to time with stickers, no homework coupons, or a stamp on their hand. (On a side note: Make sure to keep your "end of the day treat box" filled with treats that those challenging behavior students LOVE!!)

What else is key and makes this system so powerful is "The Treasure Tree." One of my classroom favorites!

Every Friday, students that have ended every day that week on good or super on the clip chart, get TREASURE TREE! So there's a daily incentive and opportunity to turn your day around, and then this provides a weekly incentive. So how do I keep track of who gets treasure tree on Friday?? Very simply (and my aides do it).


These incentive charts are marked at the end of each day with where they ended up on the clip chart. Here is what the colors mean.
Purple = Super
Green = Good
Yellow = Warning
Red = Sad


So, as you can see, this student ended on warning (yellow sticker) on this particular Friday, so she did not earn treasure tree. She did earn it though for the previous weeks; weeks 1, 2, and 3, and she got the "end of the day" treat on Mon.-Thurs. The two "X's" means she was absent or there was no school.

This system is even more powerful when parents buy in and support it. I say this because the students that have consequences at home for coming home with warnings or sads, are the students that are not only frequently checking their charts, but are also the students that literally will cry when they have to move their clip down. 

Students that don't have consequences at home, still want to follow it, because they want that end of the day treat and that prize they've been eyeing all week on the treasure tree. 

That's why the treasure tree is also another powerful component to this system. It is an incentive in itself. New prizes are added every Monday morning and they can't wait to pick out what they're going to work for each week when they arrive on Monday morning. It also remains there as a visual reminder all day and all week long!

I also love the treasure tree because the time my students used to take rummaging through the treasure box breaking other toys trying to decide what they wanted, and me having to do a countdown to help them make a decision DROVE ME CRAZY! Not with the treasure tree. BTW, it is out of student reach.

I could just go on and on, because I love my system so much and it is so effective! But I won't! I'll leave you with some frequently asked questions though, that you might have too.

Q: What about dealing with more aggressive behaviors in the classroom?
A: The first paragraph of this post has 3 links that offer suggestions with this. Plus, if you search "behavior" on my blog you'll find many posts.

Q:What if a student is absent 3 days? Do they still get treasure tree on Fridays? 
A: No, I require a student to be at school at least 3 days that week to be eligible to earn treasure tree. It's not fair that other kids have to work hard all week to earn it. 

Q:Do you still give the candy/sticker treat at the end of the day on Friday too?
A: No. That is only given on Mon.-Thurs.

Q: How do you find the time to keep up with this? 
A: This is all delegated to one aide. My aide takes 20 seconds to mark "morning" on the take home charts on her way out to lunch. She marks "afternoon" upon their return from lunch and specials. Last 30 minutes of our day is "social time" and this is when she marks "end of day" and takes care of the stickers charts.

Q: How are the clips moved?
A: Students are simply asked to move their clip. They are always happy to move up, but of course not always happy to move down. If a student refuses and staff has to move it, then the clip is moved down two times. So instead of going to warning, they would go all the way to sad.

Q: What if a student is ODD and simply refuses to use clip system and/or gets very angry and has a meltdown when clip is moved.
A: Good question! Occasionally, you will have a student that you simply cannot ask to move a clip down due to their negative response to punitive consequences. For those students my "Cool Points" charts are very effective. 

Q: Is this a new system you started?
A: No, I have been using this exact system in my classroom for 5 years and will continue because it is so effective and meaningful for my students. If it's effective, why change it? 

Q: If I use a clip chart will I be focusing on negative behavior?
A: No, my classroom is centered around and functions on positive reinforcement. I believe in catching my students being good and reinforcing positive behavior, while ignoring the negative. "Praise the best, Ignore the rest" is my motto. But there are times when we simply cannot ignore a negative behavior and a child needs to be held accountable for his actions and learn to understand consequences. 

If you need something new and you'd like to give this a try in your classroom, the take home behavior charts are available in a few versions that I have customized for other teachers and are FREE at this link.
Take Home Charts

You will find the clip chart link at the link above too.

I couldn't find my exact tree I use for my "Treasure Tree" (5 yrs old), but you can find a very similar one here

Just remember with anything, it has to be implemented with fidelity and consistency. This clip chart could not stand alone. It would have no meaning whatsoever. It is the components that all tie in with it and the consistent implementation that my staff and I fulfill that make it so effective and powerful. 

If you have more questions, leave them below with your email and I'll get right back to you!

Happy Summer! 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

PECS Storage System & Giveaway!


Hi friends! I'm dropping in briefly today to show you how I organize my PECS using a toolbox from my local hardware store...AND to offer you a giveaway opportunity!
 This is the toolbox that I use. It is a 39-drawer toolbox and you can find it from Ace Hardware here. Other sizes could work too, but I like this one due to it having both large and small sized drawers. Some of our more frequently used PECS require larger drawers, and this toolbox is very deep, so even the small drawers store alot of pictures and also have a divider in each allowing you two sections if needed.

I then organize my PECS into categories. So some examples of the categories I have are:
nouns
verbs
people
toys
clothing
school supplies
colors
attributes
snacks
sentence starters....and so on.
The PECS you see in the picture above are from this set. I highly recommend this purchase if you are just starting PECS. You will have just about every symbol you could imagine right at your fingertips without the stress of having to create symbols you find you need as you go or worrying about what program you will need to create them. While I do occasionally still need to make a symbol from "Smarty Symbols" or "Symbol Stix," this set has been a major timesaver and is worth every penny. The symbols are all pre-cut and ready to use!

You can find this symbol set here and it is currently $15 off!!

Here is a close up look. I just love this system and I know you will too! I've tried binders with trading card pockets, hanging plastic shoe pockets, and cigar boxes even! This is the first system that has worked well and lets me easily retrieve my PECS easily and quickly as I need them!

If you're interested in the PECS Toolbox labels they are available here, but don't go anywhere just yet! 

I'm giving away one 39-drawer toolbox just like this one, to one lucky winner and I'm even throwing in a bonus! You'll also receive a set of my labels for FREE!

To enter, just pin the image below or pin from here and leave your pin URL in the comments! I'll choose a winner this weekend!

 Good Luck!

WINNER ANNOUNCED: Mrs. Bloemer

Monday, June 19, 2017

SPED NECESSITIES



So you're a brand new SPED teacher....what do you need for your classroom? What are the priorities? I asked some of my friends from "We Teach Sped" and this is what they had to say.

~Alyssa from "Simply Special Ed" can't live without SAND TIMERS & SPORTS TIMERS on Amazon. Find Sports timers on Amazon here.

~Kate from "Fun in ECSE" can't live without VELCRO. Definitely a must. Feiner Supply is the best place to purchase your Velcro. Go here to purchase.

~Nicole from "Learning Lab" can't live without a DESK CALENDAR. She uses it to write in important tasks since it's always right on her desk and too big to lose! She also writes notes to herself on it so she can see them first thing every morning. These can be found at Walmart, Target, or any office supply store.

~Jennipher from "Teach.Love.Autism." says the best investment you can make is a personal LAMINATOR. I must agree, I LOVE my laminator! You can find the one that I have here for only $20 and it's worked great for over two years now! I purchase my laminating sheets from SAMS; 200 for only $20, which is one of the best deals I have found. You can see the ones I use here

~Pam from "Mrs. P's Specialities" encourages a ROLLING DRY ERASE BOARD that is magnetic. She says you can use it for directions, in the writing center, in the magnetic center, for small group instruction, and more. I love this idea! I found a few on Amazon, but a little pricey. I'm going to shop around a little more for this item.

~Erin from "You-Aut-A-Know" recommends DRY ERASE MARKERS galore! She uses them to write on the tables in her classroom. Yes, you can definitely never have enough dry erase markers. Students also just love being allowed to use these to write on their tables/desks. They're a little pricey, so when you catch a sale, STOCK UP!!

~Brie from "Breezy Special Ed" suggests MINI DRY ERASE BOARDS. She says their perfect for on the go first/then boards, token boards, and a place to write reminders of social stories!

~Now my turn....here are some of my most used purchases in my classroom that I truly could not live without! 

This timer is the greatest! I have timers going all over the place in my classroom and kids on reinforcement timers continuously throughout the day. With this timer you can set it for up to four students at a time. It is available on Amazon here.

Another timer I could not live without! This is the "Time Timer" from Lakeshore and it comes in 3 different sizes. I use this timer for center rotations and I love it because it allows me to monitor when the rotation is coming to an end and whether or not I have time to start a new activity or not. It's also great for those students that need predictable time and/or warnings of an activity ending. Now while I mentioned these are available at Lakeshore, check with your Assistive Technology Department first! I was able to get mine for free from my AT Dept. 

If you are going to be using a PECS program with any of your students, I highly recommend this purchase for new teachers or teachers just starting PECS. You will have just about every symbol you could imagine right at your fingertips without the stress of having to create symbols you find you need as you go or without worrying about what program you will need to create them. This set has been a major time and lifesaver for me and is available here. It is worth every penny!

One other thing I highly recommend is a pair of Titanium non-stick scissors. These will be your best friend for cutting Velcro. 

And lastly, be sure to have plenty of token boards on hand and plenty of reinforcers. 

I hope this post has been helpful! I wish you the best of luck!

Monday, June 12, 2017

THE FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: Helpful Advice for New SPED Teachers



We Teach Sped, a collaborative group I'm a part of, frequently gets the question, "What is your best advice for a new Special Education Teacher?" With a new year coming up, we thought it would be a perfect time to answer this question for everyone. 

Here is what some of my "We Teach SPED" friends had to say. 

"Start off slow and build from there. Rome wasn't built in a day! You can only do so much at once!" ~Simply Special Ed

"Mark when all of your IEPs and METs are due at the start of the year and mark 30 days out from the due date so you have time to assess, schedule, and write up the paperwork." ~Fun in ECSE

"Skim over IEPs in the beginning of the year but get to know the student as a real person instead of as words written on a document." ~Learning Lab

"Always make a point to keep good communication with your student's families because when problems arise you will have them there by your side supporting you to help their child." ~Teach.Love.Autism

"Have a plan/route in place for every part of the day. Teach your students and staff the routines so you aren't being interrupted every 2 seconds. You should not be the only person in the room with all of the answers!" ~Mrs. P's Specialties

"Focus on setting up your classroom for student success. Provide all the visual supports they may need. Set up work stations and centers for students to use. You can always decorate bulletin boards and "make it cute" later." ~You-Aut-A-Know

"Start with a schedule but be flexible and know it will probably change as you get to know your students and their needs." ~Breezy Special Ed

This is all such wonderful advice! All great tips that will definitely result in a smoother start to your year! And now my own advice to you and a very crucial one..... 

"Starting with a solid and consistent classroom management plan in place on day 1 and teaching and practicing it with your students will help your year run almost seamlessly. Of course many of us will still have our challenging behaviors to deal with and our students will not master our CM procedures overnight, but with persistent consistency they will; and it will be so worth it in the long run! Classroom Management is the most important and is the foundation of running a positive and effective classroom efficiently, building a relationship with your students, and the #1 governing factor to student learning." ~The Bender Bunch

"Effective classroom teachers manage their classrooms. Ineffective teachers discipline their classrooms." ~Harry Wong

Being proactive and consistent is the key! Without a solid classroom management plan, you can forget teaching and learning! New teachers, or any teachers that still struggle with this, this is so important! 

Your classroom management plan will consist of many things you'll need to think out, like when or will you allow bathroom breaks during certain times, how will students ask for a drink of water, how will you line students up, where they will put their backpacks upon arrival, etc. You must have a procedure for everything and you MUST teach it to your students. It may seem like alot and overwhelming at this moment, but implementing a solid and consistent CM Plan on day 1 will make your life so much easier.


"Spend the first week or two teaching and practicing these procedures with your students." Role model and role-play. Set academics aside for the first couple of weeks and practice, practice, practice until your students understand the procedures and routines.

Download the checklist that I use to teach beginning of the year procedures to my students here.

I also highly recommend every new teacher read Harry Wong's book, "The First Days of School." I just love this book. It will prepare you for what your teaching program did not prepare you for! It is so powerful and was a very valuable resource for me when I first started out. It will answer all of your questions and help you start out grounded!


Harry Wong's Book is available on Amazon here.
AND 
I'm also giving one away for FREE!!


To enter: 
Comment below with your biggest challenge or fear! A winner will be chosen on 6/18 and the book will be shipped to the winner! 

(Unfortunately, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents ONLY.)



You can also read some other helpful tips that I cover in this previous post here

Be on the look out next month as I'll be blogging about part of my classroom management program and how it looks in my classoom. On the 20th, I'll be blogging about necessities you'll need for your classrooms! So don't miss it!



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Look at My Oriental Trading Finds

I just love Oriental Trading and especially their "Teacher Supply" Section. So when they gave me the opportunity to do another product review, of course I said "Yes!" 

Here is what I picked out and I love it all! Everything is going to be so useful for next year!


Dry Erase Number Bond Task Cards
The set includes 50 cards, erases nicely, and I like that they are very thick and durable.
Check them out here.

Place Value Mats
I love these! They are very large, 14 x 18, and are very durable and laminated.
See them here.

Number Bond Pizza Wheels
So cute and fun, what child would not want to do these? It's hard to see, but these are wheels that children can spin around to reveal a new number. They are a little flimsier than I was expecting, but are laminated and also dry erase.
Check them out here.

Context Clues Puzzles
One of my faves! Context Clues are difficult to teach to students with intellectual disabilities. This will be a great place to start, allow me to target this skill, and will be easy enough for most of my students to do. I also like that the puzzle pieces are the same, so my students can't just try to match up pieces.
Find them here.


What Am I Game?
We actually played this on the last day of school and my kids loved it! Lots of fun and a great time filler when you need something quick.
Check it out here

Nuts 4 Contractions
This will be super fun and engaging for practicing contractions next year. The box and cards are thick and very sturdy. Include 50 contractions, 100 puzzle pieces in all. The only thing I would change for this resource, is a lid for the box. Since there is not a lid, it is more difficult to store and stack.
See it here.

You can read another OT review I did here on resources that I still use in my classroom.


BIG NEWS! Oriental Trading has also recently updated their site to provide a new and improved, explicit webpage just for teachers allowing a more pleasant shopping experience, called "Learn 365." Teachers can now shop by grade level and/or subject.

If you haven't shopped the OT Teacher Supply Section, you should check it out! They have lots of good stuff and it's ALL VERY reasonably priced!