Back to School Special: Top 10 Must Haves for an Inclusive SPEDTeacher(10)

Monday, August 8, 2016
That's it folks - this is the last post for our back to school special series: Top 10 Must Haves for an Inclusive SPED Teacher. If you're like me, someone who waits for an entire series to end before binge watching it all (*cough The Office *cough), then you're in for a treat. I've listed all the other posts in the series below for your enjoyment. Grab some snacks!

  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
  9. Timers
Alternative/ Flexible Seating

Oh hey, can you spot something we've previously discussed?
Ever have a "fidgety" student? One that just needs to move around while they working? That's where different seating choices will help out. Trust me, they help. Also, I think choice plays a huge factor in how students will behave and learn in your classroom! I think one of the best things you and your co-teacher can do together is looking for flexible seating arrangements around the room. I don't sit still when I'm working or learning, so why would I expect my students to do the same? I can touch on Maslow's stuff, but I'm sure many of you are well versed in his teachings, so I'll spare you. 

Bean Bags and Rugs in the classroom.
Alternative or Flexible Seating arrangements make the classroom environment change from "law and order" to "everyone learns differently, let's accept that." Who wants to sit rigidly, in a small and uncomfortable seat for 45 - 60 minutes?! Not I, and nor you! As teachers, as much as we joke about "herding" students, we shouldn't be walking around demanding that students stay in their "pen."  It only encourages the thinking that this place is somewhere that you don't want to be and a place that makes you feel terrible. Even Hogwarts has alternative seating options - what up Professor Trelawney and Firenze! Also, do you know how easy it is set up 1:1 time without bringing attention to the student via flexible seating? No one knows what I'm doing! 

That little red chair saw a lot of lovin'
this previous year.
Here's the best thing - alternative/ flexible seating doesn't have to be expensive. Five Below has SO many options if you're just trying things out. I wouldn't recommend a trip to Target, since it's a death trap for my budget, but it also has great, cheap ways to make it happen in your classroom without breaking the bank.

Home girl didn't mind sitting on the floor -
she wanted nothing to do with that desk.
I haven't been back in our classroom for months, so I'll just list items that I believe you should try out in your classroom. Some of them may be links to items. Remember, I'm not endorsed by anyone *as much as I'd love some freebies from Target thrown my way, "holla at yo gurl Target").
  1. Large Pillows - So many teachers buy these from IKEA, but I've used the "pet beds" from Five Below. Wash 'em the moment a lice infestation breaks out though. You can even use the body pillows from Target's dorm section.
  2. Foldable Camping Chairs - Home Depot and Menards always have these one sale for 6 bucks in the summer. Easy to store at the end of the year, and easy to replace if it rips. 
  3. Yoga Balls - SO MANY SIZES. The kids love these when they're taking their assessments. I always have to break up some mini rumbles when we get in the room. I buy the Amazon basic brand since it has so many options, and it doesn't roll away.
  4. Rugs - You might not believe it, but giving students an option to sit at the rug is a form of flexible seating. Sometimes I like to sprawl out on the floor to organize things, why can't kids do the same?
  5. Pillow with Arms/ Bedrest pillow/ Dorming Pillow - I think kids find the arms comforting. These are great to have laying around in your library section. 
  6. Yoga Mats - Sometimes the rug isn't enough, sometimes you just want to make your island near your teachers desk. I haven't tried this one out yet, but I've seen so many teachers on IG putting up images of cheap yoga mats from Five Below. Some of them even cut it in half since their kiddos aren't 6'4" 8th graders.
  7. Balance Disks - Everyone has one of these I feel. Put the spikey side up and have a bunch of kids sit on em. Usually the squirmy ones love it the most. 
  8. Bean Bags - My co-teacher purchased a few several years ago and the kids still love it, some put it on their chairs.
There's obviously more, but this is what I've tried in the classroom or will try out soon. What do you use in the classroom?


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