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Miller's Message:

I've done a store in the past and used carnival type tickets. This year I'm using beach bucks (class theme).

Here's what my students can earn (I'm resource this year):
Hw Pass
sit in teacher's chair
sit by a friend
bring gum in class for the day
choose a chair for the day
computer time
scratch and sniff sticker
You could also do a bathroom or water pass.

They'll get paid by coming to class on time, answering higher level questions, making good choices, etc.

check pinterest, there are a lot of good ideas.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
musicmeg222 07-23-2019 07:22 PM

Hello lovethosekid,

I taught 6th grade students with learning disabilities for a short time last year. Their IEP only stated a specific learning disability and did not provide any other details. Do you think my IEPs for students with intellectual disabilities will have specific information such as fetal alcohol syndrome? I'm also interested in finding out as much as I can about my students.

The student's first day is next Thursday, August 1st. I'm so nervous and scared all at the same time. I'm so overwhelmed with everything I need to prepare, think about, and get done before the first day. Any additional support, tips, suggestions, or helpful advice would be appreciated. Ahhhhh!!

Miller 07-20-2019 02:21 PM

I've done a store in the past and used carnival type tickets. This year I'm using beach bucks (class theme).

Here's what my students can earn (I'm resource this year):
Hw Pass
sit in teacher's chair
sit by a friend
bring gum in class for the day
choose a chair for the day
computer time
scratch and sniff sticker
You could also do a bathroom or water pass.

They'll get paid by coming to class on time, answering higher level questions, making good choices, etc.

check pinterest, there are a lot of good ideas.

musicmeg222 07-07-2019 06:45 PM

Hey everyone,

The weeks are counting down and it's almost time for the new school year to start. I don't have access to my student's IEPs and I have not seen my classroom yet, so preparing for the new year has been difficult.

I've been talking with other teachers who have given me many helpful tips and suggestions, but I'm looking for more help. They suggested that I write a basic 'beginning of the year' letter to send home with students. They also suggested that I create a student survey to help me learn more about my students. I will be teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students with intellectual disabilities in a self-contained classroom. I'm not familiar with their goals yet, but I don't believe they will be able to fill out a student survey on their own. I think this is a great idea and it would allow me to refer back to their surveys to learn about each of them. I could ask them to answer questions verbally, but then I won't have a physical copy of their responses. As a new teacher, I'm not familiar with many ways to modify suggestions such as the idea of a student survey.

I recently completed a professional development training on anchor charts - charts, rules, or large posters with information colorfully handwritten. I'm sure any visuals will be a huge benefit for my group of students, but I'm not sure what exactly to include on these charts. I feel that I have a basic understanding of teaching, but I'm not familiar with modifying instruction or these posters.

Can anyone give me suggestions, tips, or any helpful advice?


musicmeg222 06-26-2019 06:45 PM

Thanks for the responses GoodEnough85 and lovethosekid!!!

I will be teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students with ID in a self contained classroom. I'm not sure of their levels as I don't have access to their IEPs yet. I'm getting a ton of materials, information, and suggestions, so I think that will really help. I'm mostly worried about providing instruction to students of different abilities. They are in different grades, but I think most of their abilities will be the same. I'm also hoping I will be able to get into my classroom with plenty of time before the school year starts. I have two mandatory trainings as a new teacher two weeks before school starts, so I would need access about three weeks before. I'm really hoping my new location will give me early access. I haven't seen the classroom at all, so I'm not really sure what it even looks like. I was told I will have approximately 22 students on my caseload, but I heard the district cuts off at 18, so I'm not sure yet. What is the max number of students everyone has had on their caseloads?

Any other suggestions or tips? I'm getting excited about this position, but also nervous. There is so much to know and remember!!

lovethosekid 06-26-2019 05:49 AM

Most students will need a very predictable routine/daily schedule, so I would set that up first. Variety (and fun staff) should be within the predictable routine. For example: life skills class, every day 10-11 AM,fun store activities- every Friday during life skills group. I can't stress enough that daily routines are key. Have them posted with visuals and announce them at transition times. "We are done with reading group, next we will have life skills and do a cooking activity" After a while your students will know the routine and what to expect.

If you can, get an idea of what the diagnosis apart from mild-moderate DCD are. Do you have kids with autism or fetal alcohol spectrum or another diagnosis? Read up on those- each kid is different, but there are some very specific needs and strength that go with each diagnosis.

You might have non-verbal or low-verbal students. Being non-verbal does not necessarily mean a lower IQ. Think of how you will involve them them, how they get to answer questions or make choices. Use visuals, pecs , sentence frames, and voice output apps like prologue

Practice using intentional language. Most of your students will have language processing issues. Don't use too many words, and be specific in how you use them. Do not use a question if you mean it it to be a directive. For example: "Johnny, please put the toy in your backpack" instead of "Johnny, could you put the toy away?" or "Johnny, why are you playing?".
Last but not least: The kids (and your paras) will regulate off you. If you are disorganized or moody or anxious, they will be too. They depend on you being calm and friendly and non-reactive.

I loved working in self-contained. My favorite kind of kids. Enjoy them!

GoodEnough85 06-25-2019 07:30 PM

I too am the self contained EBD teacher at my school. Like a PP, I have some that are with me all day (truly SC) and some that move in between me and the other SpEd teachers and maybe 1 or 2 gen ed with support (so all SpEd most of the day but with different rooms.)

I think it is great that you are thinking ahead. You may not know the details of your students yet but there is still a lot you can pre-plan.

You can look at your routines, procedures, and consequences. You can set up how you "plan to plan." If you are using a paper plan book, a binder, an online program or some combination or that, get it ready. Make a master calendar ready to load the important dates into...IEP/eval due dates, school days off, even birthdays for your caseload/paras/etc.

Plan out "extras" for your students at any level. Trust me that lessons will rarely take the time you have planned--some will be so short and some take twice or three times what you hoped. It never hurts to have some generic tasks on hand that work on many levels--be it task boxes, "chores," math facts practice, handwriting practice, or whatever...

Task boxes can take a while to set up but they are so worth it in the end. Even the very low, especially the very low??, need to have some successes they can complete independently. If you run the lesson short and have remaining time, task box time... If the lesson for this group runs long and the other groups need something to do, task box time...

I will confess that it is HARD to set up enough activities for all of the students all of the time ! This is especially true if you are juggling multiple ability levels, age levels and disabilities all at the same time. It also depends on the quality, experience and work ethic of your paras (if you have them...)

Good luck.

musicmeg222 06-25-2019 03:03 PM


I'm still trying to gain access to my student's IEPs. I'm moving locations within the same district, but it's taking HR awhile for me to gain access to my new location and be able to view my IEPs. I'm hoping I will have time before the new school year starts to review the IEPs. I will be in a few trainings before the new year, so they really need to hurry!

I am not in CA. I am in AZ. I'm not sure of the laws here, but hopefully I'll find out more about my caseload soon!

cantsignin? 06-25-2019 04:47 AM

You really do need to find out what your students' needs are. I teach a "self-contained" ED classroom. My self-contained students are out in classrooms most of the day. In my case, the term self-contained only means that I offer that option to students who need it. I've had very few students who never leave my classroom.

Haley23 06-21-2019 11:05 PM

You really the information that SDT was talking about before you can start planning anything. I'd try to ask those questions at the upcoming self-contained training. IMO there is no way these students are "mild" if they're in a self-contained setting. It's possible they're classified as "moderate," but in a self-contained setting I'd imagine that "moderate" is leaning a lot more towards significant needs.

It's different everywhere so you really just need to ask. Here, only students with significant needs are self-contained. We have different levels within that- at the school that houses those programs, one room is for students who are non-verbal and unable to do basic tasks like feeding and toileting and the other room is for students that can do all of those things with some supports, but they still have significant needs compared to the mild/moderate population. We do have a specific "moderate needs" program, but it's nowhere near self-contained. The students spend most of their day in gen ed with a lot of push-in and some pull-out support.

Are you in CA? That's the only state that I've heard of that has something called a "special day class" that's kind of a self-contained deal for kids with mild/moderate needs. That would just never be done here or anywhere else I've heard of.

musicmeg222 06-21-2019 05:28 PM

Thank you!!

Thanks for the helpful information. Not only do I have a lot to learn, but I need to find answers for all of the important questions you provided. I hold an intern teaching certificate in mild/moderate special education K-12, so I'm assuming the students will be mild/moderate. There is also another teacher at my school with severe students, so I'm pretty sure that mine students will just be mild/moderate. I'm not sure about the other questions you have asked. Since I am a new teacher, I will have a mentor to help me. I started teaching in March and just finished a position where I was teaching for only eleven weeks. I did have a mentor then too, but honestly, she wasn't very helpful. I'm hoping I get a new mentor that is much better.

I will keep these questions in mind and ask my mentor, the principle, or someone from the special-ed department and try to get some answers.

Any other tips or suggestions for me?

SDT 06-21-2019 04:15 PM

Congratulations on the new job. The first thing you need to do is find out more about the students you will be teaching. Are the students with mild, moderate, or severe delays? Or will you have a range of ability levels? Will your students address the regular standards and take the regular state assessments, or will they address some type of modified or extended standards and take an alternate assessment? Are you expected to focus primarily on a modified version of the regular curriculum, on functional academics, or on basic life skills? You donít need to have access to the IEPís to find out this information. Do you have a mentor teacher at your new school? That person may be able to help you. If not, then your principal or someone from the special-education office should be able to give you a better idea of what type of students you will be serving. Once you know that, youíll be able to start making some plans.

musicmeg222 06-21-2019 01:55 PM

Hello everyone,

I will be teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students with intellectual disabilities in a self contained classroom for the upcoming school year. I have been attending various trainings through the district that have been helpful but are not focused exactly on the self contained classroom setting. I will be attending a training next week for self contained teachers but am looking for more help.

I do not have access to the IEPs of the students on my caseload yet. I know those will be helpful but I could use more guidance. I have to figure out how to modify or briefly change information I've learned in trainings so it applies to my students abilities and levels. As a new teacher, this seems difficult for me. I also need to plan lessons and have ideas of activities that students are able to do.

Right now, I am taking teaching classes as part of my post degree certificate program and just covered a chapter on intellectual disabilities. I have learned that students with ID have difficulty with common everyday tasks such as counting money and making purchases. While eating breakfast earlier today, I was brainstorming ideas and thought about having a student store. I dont know exactly how it will work or if I will use this idea or not, but I thought that students could earn play money and at the end of the week, make purchases for items to use in the classroom or small incentives they could keep. I'm not very creative so I'm not sure what other activities such as this one I could create in the classroom that would help them with daily living.

School starts, for teachers, in about 4 1/2 weeks and I feel that I have alot to still learn to be prepared. Can anyone give me any tips, suggestions, dos and don'ts, opinions, or good luck that I could use? I want to create a warm, welcoming, fun learning environment for these students but I need help!

Thanks in advance!

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