Teaching special education is very much a case of trial and error. Some strategies are successful in some classrooms but are a complete bust in others. Here are a few life-changing, time-saving hacks I’ve learned over the last few years.
1. Post-It Notes
These are probably the most commonly used office supply in my classroom. Sure, I use them for reminders, but Post-its serve a far better purpose in my classroom.
They help me with lesson planning: (Find monthly lesson plans here)
They organize data: (Click here for FREE editable Special Education Data Sheets)
But most importantly, they allow a hands-on approach to student learning.
- student responses
2. Page Protectors
Need extra practice on a skill? No problem! Slip a worksheet into a page protector, and they can be used over and over! Change out content as needed.
Whether you’re working on appropriate letter sizing or practicing your scissor skills, these neon markers are perfect for providing visual boundaries for those working on fine motor skills.
4. Masking Tape (or painter’s tape)
I love this stuff! It allows you to tape directly to surfaces (whiteboards, desks, etc.) without any nasty residue or damage to the walls.
Use it to section off areas of your whiteboards to display objectives or vocabulary words.
I’ve made a “Finished” and “Not Finished” chart on a cabinet. I use it to remind me what testing and assessments I have yet to complete.
Stick a strip of tape onto a cookie sheet and use it during sorting activities.
5. Duct Tape
I use this for the carpet ONLY! Not only does it come in fun, bright colors, but it also helps students become more aware of personal space.
I can’t seem to have enough timers in my classroom. We use them to time breaks, behavior duration, station work…
7. Sentence Strips
So many uses:
- labeling items
- highlighting key vocabulary terms
- making table tents for student responses
- word work and spelling activities
Our school’s CTA knows to bring me any broken headphones. We snip the cords off, and there you have it: noise-canceling headphones for the unavoidable sensory overload events (assemblies, fire drills, and lunch, to name a few).
Grab-and-go data clipboards make progress monitoring a breeze! (Well, maybe not a breeze, but it does make it accessible and easy for you to grab and collect data at any time).
I use binders to make token boards, which we use as positive behavior supports. A binder allows the students to easily transport it with them, holding supplies and activities they will need throughout the day.