Happy Presidents’ Day! Having a day off gives us time to enjoy our favorite activities and de-stress from day-to-day responsibilities. I enjoy gardening and walking my dogs. Both provide me with quiet time to reflect on what’s going well and what goals I’ll set next.
Self-reflection is an important tool for special educators. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What’s working the way I want it to during my day?
- What time of day, subject, and/or activity is the most difficult to complete?
- What feels hectic during the day?
- Which students are meeting their goals? Which students are not?
- Are students meeting my behavioral expectations?
When we take the time to reflect on our success in the classroom and what we want to improve, we’re able to monitor our progress, set goals for improvement, and give ourselves a much-needed pat on the back. In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at how we can further improve our classroom organization.
Special education classrooms can have many activities taking place at the same time, so structured routines and procedures must start with us! When our day and our classroom are well organized, we’re also modeling organizational skills for our students. Try these tips:
Post a written agenda of what will be done during the day or classroom period so students know what to expect. This works really well for students with organizational skill deficits. Provide each student a copy of the schedule so he or she can check off each activity as it is completed.
Review your daily schedule each morning and note special transitions or unusual schedule changes. Prepare your students ahead of time for these changes in their routines.
Label special areas in your classroom, i.e., those places for homework assignments, extra handouts for students who were absent, supplies, etc.
Post arrival and dismissal procedures. Review these often and include monitoring student progress with these procedures in your behavior management plan.
Assign class jobs to teach students responsibility and let them assist you with classroom organization.
Prepare a special activity for those occasions when a lesson falls flat or the mood of your students just doesn’t fit the lesson. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.
What organizational challenges have you conquered this year? Setting up a new classroom? Sharing a room with a co-teacher? Pushing into several classrooms to work with small groups of students? Working with new materials, equipment, or software?
Join our February blog and share your organizational success stories so fellow readers can benefit from your ideas! Thanks for your comments thus far.
Have a great week!