Thursday, September 12, 2013

Daily Schedule - update

I guess I jinxed myself with the daily schedule post yesterday.  Today, while I was out at a training, I got a call from one of my paras.  While in the gym 5th period (when we've been going for the past three weeks per my AP's instructions), one of the coach's brought in their class and informed my staff that they would no longer be allowed in the gym that period.
I called after my meeting and apparently at some point in the last couple of days they changed around some staff schedules and didn't bother to tell me!!!
Soo, now I have to create draft #10 of the schedule, which I am positive will then have to lead to drafts 11, 12, and 13 before it all works out again.  I am struggling to wrap my head around this right now.
GRRRR, back to the drawing board.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Daily Schedules - top priority

Wow, it has been a tough two and a half weeks.  My kiddos are VERY BUSY!!!  With new kiddos and new staff, I feel like my head is spinning with just teaching procedures.  I'm finding that now I have to write out specific step by step instructions for my para's on how to deal with student behavior, how to implement reinforcement systems, etc.  I guess I took for granted how knowledgeable my staff was last year!!
Anyway, my top priority has been setting schedules, both for students and staff.
To ensure schedules are most effective, here are the steps I take:
1.  Set up a excel document with 15 minute segments down and each student's name across the top. (once I get some things set up, I change the times to match things like bells, etc)
2.  Fill in the non-negotiables (lunch, gened, etc).
3.  Set up group times
4.  Fill in rotations
5.  Assign staff to specific rotations and students

To make it all work correctly, this year I had to do NINE drafts of this!!  I kept having to rework groups, ensure that kids who needed extra assistance were assigned 1 staff who supervised others while at independent.
Here are three versions of the schedule, just so you can see the progression.  I know that there will still be a few changes, and I still have a couple of spots that need to be filled, but at day 13, I'm feeling pretty confident!

Version 1:  Made before I actually knew my students and staff very well.  In this one, I set non-negotiables and groups and then just blindly filled in students based on that information I had. . . We used this for 2 whole days!

Here is version 4. . . I had already made multiple changes.  In this schedule, I created a couple of new stations, took out some stations, and began to assign staff more appropriately. . .

This is the current schedule. . . In this one, every student is accounted for with staff members.  Students are either working with staff directly or supervised (when in parenthesis).  Yellow table is where I work with students, at the blue table my stronger para works on reading, fluency, and the red table is where students play a game of some sort and work on turn taking and social skills.  I am really enjoying this schedule so far, but you can see that there are still a couple of ??.  These are times that are not filled completely with meaningful activities so I am still determining what to do.  If you have any suggestions, I'm more than open!!
Key:  MM-morning meeting; cards/Ipad-language master, then Ipad activity;  I-independent; WD-work drawers (set of 6 drawers that target IEP objectives in the generalization phase); WB-work boxes (pre-vocational tasks); TT-another time I work with students. . . 

So. . . that's the way I make schedules.  How are you doing with your schedules??  Anything you think I should try??

Monday, September 2, 2013

I'm Back. . .

Hello friends!
So, I fell off the blogging worlds edge.  I envy my favorite bloggers who are able to post daily or even weekly.  It seems when things get busy, the blog is the first thing to go!  I am making a pledge to blog at least 1x per week, hopefully more.

I have just finished my first week of school.  It was possibly the hardest first week I've ever had!  I have 8 kiddos with severe autism.  Four are returning to me and have done well remembering how to follow classroom procedures.  Four are brand new middle schoolers and have a ton to learn.  They have difficulty just sitting in their seats right now!
I also lost both my fabulous parapros from last school year.  One left to go to an elementary campus to work with the itty-bitties.  The other followed some of our most difficult students to high school.  I was blessed with two new great people, but neither have ever worked in a classroom for students with autism.  It has been a little overwhelming trying to train the staff AND students at the same time!

Anyway, for my first post back, I'm joining in with a "Currently".  If you want to join, run over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade and link up!