Back to School Special: Top 10 Must Haves for an Inclusive SPED Teacher (9)

Sunday, August 7, 2016
It's almost over! If you're just joining us, here's some of what I believe are must haves for any inclusive SPED teacher.
  1. Highlighting Tape/ Highlighters
  2. Sticky Graphs/ Graph Patches
  3. iPads & Apps
  4. Graphic Novels (Comics?)
  5. Composition Notebooks
  6. Clear Page Protector Sheets/ Dry Erase Pockets / Laminator
  7. Color Coded Hanging Folders & File Folders
  8. Labels - All Types

Here's a size comparison of the timers, for those of you who are interested in
purchasing a bigger timer.
I didn't use timers at all my first year out and I feel like a fool for doing that. This previous year, I used an iPad timer or my phone timer, but that doesn't really appeal to kids. There's something about timers being placed near a student that makes it "fun." Students mentioned that they felt as if I personalized class time for them when they had a timer placed near them or had one that showed how much time was left. They enjoyed having a physical timer used where they can see how much time is actually left, rather than having me announce it. Additionally, students loved the visual aspect of this timer - the red band really made a difference compared to just numbers decreasing.

Julia introduced me to Time Timers. I purchased the 12" one in the beginning of the year with my union money and used it when I was testing for Reading. These timers are so fun to use since you drag the timer hand down to how much time is needed. The time allotted is a red band that decreases as time progresses. I let well-behaved students set up the timer as an incentive! However, there is some maintenance/ routine teaching that needs to be taught. Batteries consistently went missing and, at times, students would mess with the timer - dragging the band down to get additional time. Those meddlin' middle schoolers!

That little clear bump is how you drag down the red band to represent how much
time is left for the assignment/ assessment.
After I saw how great it was as a whole class item, I purchased a smaller version as a personal timer for specific students. One of my students excelled when he was given a time on task assignment. I would work with him on how much time he would need to complete 5, 10, or 15 problems during district wide assessments and he would have his own personal timer next to him. Once the timer was complete, it would make a buzzing/beeping sound. This meant he earned a break, and I've gradually let him choose from a list of different types of breaks. Shout out to Julia for teaching me this!

Speaking of Julia, she also taught me a different technique before she introduced me to this timer. All she used was a regular class clock (or you can get cheap ones from five below) and an expo marker. She would color in what time students had left and when the minute hand landed at the end of the colored section, the student earned their break. Super easy to wipe off and redo when the student returned from their break.
Meet "Sky" the penguin timer from '14-'15.
Two years ago, I worked with a co-teacher who loved timers and routine teaching. She purchased a new timer each year and had students name the timer. I offered to purchase that years timer as an effort to show her that this is a shared classroom. She assigned the timer to a "caretaker" and that student was assigned the job of setting up the timer for all timed tasks in class. This student also set up the timer for the morning do-now. I thought this was a great/cute way of using the timer.
This has a magnetic back that sticks to the board.
It also has a clip on the back, where my co-teacher
would clip the assignment.
This year, all teachers were given a School Smart timer. My co-teacher would set it up and stick it to the board. Students would work until it beeped. There was also a clip on the back of it, so she would clip the assignment to it. She also claims that it kept HER on task! As a co-teacher, I found using this was great with timing interventions. I knew how much time I had to make it happen and when to transition back in to whole class teaching. I stopped the whole "oh, is it my turn now?" look at my co-teacher and knew that after 20 minutes of silent reading, I'd ask students to read the objective and to identify key words. My co-teacher would be ready to hand out papers and to give directions for the assignment while I herded kids to LLI time.


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