Our jobs are drama. And not in a bad way. There are just no boring moments. Ever. I would sacrifice my whole collection of metallic sharpies for a little boring sometimes. Our jobs are drama in that there is always so much going on and we never know what to expect. And we are in charge of it all. We are the ones they call when an emergency happens. So if the IEP system crashes, a student has a meltdown in gym, or some high up administrator shows up the middle of the school wanting a tour of a special ed room – who do they call? You. Every. Time. We are in demand. And guess what it will likely be that the meltdown happens at the same time as projectile vomit from another student all while the fire alarm is going off. With the busy, busy, busy nature of our jobs and classrooms, how in the world can we be expected to take data every single day. Those trifecta of emergencies happen way more than you’d think and sometimes a regular “chill” morning only comes once a week if you are lucky. But guess what? Even on my busiest and most chaotic morning – we still take data on every single student. Here’s how:
It’s ALL about the fluency center. On my busiest day, my fluency center is still chugging along and my para is collecting data. It’s literally the best thing ever. When I am up to my eyeballs in a new behavior plan and feel like I have completely forgotten about the rest of my plan (because safety first…), I know my little loves are still maintaining the skills they’ve learned and I’ve got data to prove it.
A fluency center doesn’t take very much time to set up and doesn’t take very much training for the paraprofessional who is running it. Once you teach someone the basic concept, you can continually switch up the content you work on. Also I have found, that most students seem to really like fluency instruction because they are working on previously mastered skills. Meaning this isn’t hard. Meaning they are successful. People like doing things they are successful at. This is a win-win-win. Data sheets can look simple. You need space for each skill you are working on, how long the timing is, how many correct, and how many incorrect. I have data sheets included in my Fluency Mega Pack.
If you are brand new to fluency or need a refresher, check out this quick video tutorial:
This center can work for all students! You can work on things like sight words, math facts, common vocabulary, or coin combination shown below. You can get as basic or as complex. We love working on personal information (resources included in Personal Info Mega Pack Level 3), functional sight words, and other advanced programs. For more basic skill and younger learners, I love working on motor imitation, categorizing, or vocabulary.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by starting this, read up on different tips for fluency instruction. I have loads of videos and blog posts. I also have a whole resource – Fluency Mega Pack – that breaks everything down and has over 500 flashcards included. It’s a great place to get started!