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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

IEP Work Boxes = Quick Data

Taking data while working with a student with special needs isn't always easy. It takes a little bit of multi-tasking (okay, a lot). If you're new to the SPED lifestyle, don't worry - you'll get better at it soon. 
Mrs. Irvin's Toolbox
More and more, teachers are asked for current data on their students. Students with IEPs have goals that are reported on at least four times a year. Some districts require teachers to report on goals eight times a year minimally. It is unfortunate that we have to do this so often. (In my opinion, teachers should be trusted to decide whether a skill has been mastered or not, but don't get me started.) Data is a very useful tool. Don't let yourself get to the end of the year (or IEP duration) before realizing you don't have enough data to back up your discussions at an IEP meeting or conference. 
Mrs. Irvin's Toolbox
The flip side of this is that we have to consider what is happening to our students during the drill-n-kill of every day tasks. Students with special needs often take a little longer to master some concepts. What happens is, we end up working on the same flashcards, numbers, activities day after day. Our job is to mix it up and make practicing those same skills a little more fun. In addition to the research-based programs we use in our district, I bring in many different "adapted" resources. I have different reasons for using supplemental materials: 

  • Sometimes, the programs we use are a little monotonous - I know, our kids need that consistency, but really... The problem I have with this is that our babies DON'T master these concepts as quickly as the programs suggest they will! Thus, we find ourselves repeating the lessons or levels, over and over, in hopes that it will eventually "click" for these kids! It's a wonder the teachers aren't the ones throwing a chair or two!
  • Sometimes the programs we use are outdated, as in 10-15 years old or older! Lots of things have changed since then, especially to a six-year-old. Images of vehicles, telephones, computers, even people sometimes look a little odd. 
Being able to go over the same skills, with fresh materials, is always so refreshing. Now, I'm not saying you should ditch your research-based, approved programs! But, a little change now and then is a great way to get your students excited about doing something "new" before they realize it's the same thing you've been working on for weeks. 

Mrs. Irvin's Toolbox
The change in seasons is a great way to bring in something exciting. I like to throw in "seasonal" fun to practice basic skills like letter & number identification, counting, matching, working with shapes and patterns, etc... I like to use IEP BOXES with seasonal resources for daily practice and data collection. I've created these FALL resources to help break up the monotony. 
Fall IEP Work Boxes
Here's a fun little Kitty Ten Frame freebie that you can use in your classroom right away! Just laminate and go! 

And here's another freebie... Turkey Ten Frames...
The Teacher's Toolbox
If you'd like to start IEP boxes in your classroom, this is a great way to start. My FALL Work Boxes include lots of great tools for daily practice and even contains a data sheet to keep track of your student's progress. (More about how I use IEP boxes later!) 
Fall Work Boxes
Fall Resources for IEP Work Boxes are available in my TPT store here or click on the image below.  
Mrs. Irvin's Toolbox
By the way, these are the boxes I use for my IEP Work Boxes. They are the perfect size and really durable! It was a great investment for my classroom! 
*Affiliate links above, but I also just love sharing great finds! 

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