Exploring and reflecting on meaningful pathways to inclusive and personalized learning and living for students with complex developmental needs because education should prepare all students for a lifetime of inclusion, connection, growth and learning.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Color Coding Student Materials and Spaces

So I needed a break from "thinking" work and decided to spend a couple of days doing some decorating type of work.  With the evolution of my classroom and the number of students who are now ambultory and have functional use of their hands I have revamped things quite a bit in that they need to be able to take care of their own materials.  So I'm doing things like changing to individual pencil boxes rather than using communal supplies.  One of the other things I decided to do is color code each student's materials so that students are easily able to find their own.  So I tackled their binders first and just kept going.  In the end here is everything that I color coded for each student.  I didn't realize that there was so much stuff for each individual :).
Home-School Communication Binder: I'm using a binder rather than a duotang for written notes between parents and myself.  The idea is loosely built around "M.O.O.S.E. Binders".  I have broken the sections in to "Money and Notes" and put a pouch behind that section.  This will be used for things like lunch order forms, school fundraisers...etc.  The second section is the "Communication Log" and this will be pretty much exactly what I had put in duotangs last year.  Each day learning assistants fill in information that parents are interested in (each sheet is different) such as toileting, positions, aggressive incidents (basically I build this with the parents so that they get the information they feel is important). Then I put a note in saying how the student's day was. Parents can write a note back in the morning.  The third section is "School Newsletters" and I'm putting this in there because I always misplace the things and figured this might be a way if there are other parents like me out there ;).  The final section is just "L.A.P. Classroom" and I will put in anything relevant to our room like my contact information, extra forms, class and staff list...etc.

Personal Binder: This is something new that I'm adding this year.  I'm very excited about these. The idea came from the Unique Learning Transition Band (with some small modificatins to make it work in my room). This is a place for students to keep track of themselves.  The sections in this binder are (1) Personal Calendar, (2) Daily Schedule, (3) Personal Checklist and (4) Other Materials.  The Personal Calendar will be a place for the student to record things that are coming up in their lives.  Parents will need to assist with this.  We will be making or buying cards and mailing them to people when there is something important coming up for friends and family.  The Daily Schedule is just an outline of what is happening on that day.  Some of the students will also have running schedules that they use throughout the day.  I'm still working on the personal checklist.  In the Unique program its all based on getting paid but I haven't completely decided yet on how I'm going to make that work. 

Religion Binder: This is just a place to keep all materials related to our Religion Class.  Some of what goes in here is just pictures of students doing religion activities.

O.S.C.A.R. Binder (in my closet and for my eyes only):  I found this term when looking up information on M.O.O.S.E. binders and was at first going to use it as home-school communication but then figured it actually applied more to the personal binders that I keep for each of the students.  These are binders that are for my eyes only and are locked away.  I put copies of what is needed information in student binders.  I put these together a couple of years ago and they have been so helpful in keeping everything organized!  This binder is broken up in to the following sections: (1) Current I.P.P., (2) Parent Contact, (3) Consultation Notes, (4) Program Planning and (5) Other.  I record notes about any parent contact that I make (in person, on the phone or e-mail) in section 2.  Consultation notes are any notes from meeting with therapists, psychologists, behavior intervention workers, outside agencies that work with the student...etc.  The 4th section is just so I have a place to store ideas when I think of something I want to implement for a student.  I check off things that are done in this area or make notes if I change my mind or if we tried a version and know it won't work.

Transition Portfolio Binder: My older students are working on Transition Portfoios.  This is meant to be a "picture" of the student that can travel with them to the agency that takes over their adult programming.  It is a work in progress!

Individual Programming Binder: This is the binder that much of the day is built around. I have posted about this several times and am in the process of completely revamping these this summer.  Its a huge process.  Basically this is an outline of goals, activities and tracking forms related specifically to the student.

Lunch Program Binder: A few of my students do an individual lunch program every day.  This program has the planning their menus for a week at a time, checking their items and then making grocery lists and then going shopping for the items.  I am creating binders this year to keep everything for this program organized.  More about this soon!

Visual Supports Binder: All of my students have binders that have their personal visual supports in them.  These are the ones that we use throughout the day.  Some students have loaded binders while others only have a few pictures in there.  I started this last year and its been a great way to keep all these visuals organized.  On a funny note: we have one student who loves books and he will go in and take people's "library" PECs every chance he can get so that he can request library about 40 times a day ;).  I do have this binder broken in to sections and sections vary from student to student.

PECS Binders: This is for the students who use the formal PECs program and it is their personal binder.

Morning Meeting Binder:  I used these last year and there are some great things in there but I'm thinking to retire them for at least the first part of the year as we will be covering everything in them during morning meeting.  If I'm finding I need to use them WITH the morning meeting later in the year they are ready to go. I'm pretty sure though that the personal binder will do just fine.

Theme Duotangs: I made duotangs with each of the seven movies we are studying for each of the students.  We will store any activities we do in this duotang.  Visual recipes will be sent home in case parents want to recook them at home.  A lot of this duotang will be response types of activities - did you like the movie, did you enjoy the game type of thing.  We will also do some voting and graph making in this duotang as well as some science experiment notes.  Each duotang will be sent home at the end of the theme.

Pencil Box: Moving to pencil boxes instead of communal supplies (although communal supplies will still be available).  For those who can't get out their own materials due to physical challenges this will be an excellent time to work on functions of objects!  I ended up buying black pencil boxes and sticker paper and making large stickers in the student's color to go on their box.

Programming Materials Box: Our students do not have desks.  To keep things organized, I have always used large boxes for their materials.  I have put large colored labels on the sides of these boxes.

Coat Hook(s): They are still supposed to change my coat hook area.  It is in a very small corner of the room and layered 4 layers high.  Up until a year ago we only had 2 students who were able to hang their own coats so we just gave them spots that were easy to get at.  This fall, we have 7 of the 10 and its not set up for that.  They are supposed to come in and spread them along an entire wall.  Each student will have two hooks (one for coat and one for backpack/lunch bag) and I made lablels for these.  I would like to get lockers but that might be a year or two down the line.

Hygeine Bag: I want the student's hygeine bags to be color coded this year as well so I'm on the hunt for large clear hygeine bags that I can label with their color codes.  I still need to put some thought in to this because the labels will need to be able to withstand water and what not ;).

Visual Schedule (Binder or Board Dependent on Student) and Reinforcement Cards: Some of my students have these and I have also modified these so that they are in the student's colors.  Note tihs visual schedule is beyond the one that we will use in the personal binder.
Its been a busy but productive couple of days. Later in August when I start posting pictures of my classroom I'm hoping you will be able to cearly see the shelves full of colored materials :).
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