This month is all about organization at The Autism Helper and this is the perfect time of the year to organize instructional programs. In my classroom, instructional programs (or just “Programs” as my students know them by) are the individual IEP goals that I work on with students. I pull students one-on-one and run the discreet trials with my students. My students really enjoy programs because they get individualized attention and are proud once they have mastered a certain set. Here’s how I organize Instructional Programs in my classroom…
1. Find a Location & Time
Finding the right location and time of the day is key for Instructional Programs, as this can determine how you organize the space and what procedures you use for pulling students individually. I used to do programs at a “Teacher Time” type station, but since I changed the stations in my classroom, I decided that the times of the day I do programs would be a little more fluid. I run programs in the morning, when I have enough staff to run the Math Meeting and Daily Work Stations, which frees myself to do Instructional Programs. I created a location where I can pull students to work on programs, but I also set up the station in such a way that I can take the materials with me and work with students in multiple locations in the classroom.
2. Create a Goal Cheat Sheet
I like to create a simplified goal cheat sheet that includes all my students’ goals written in simple terms. I also like to include the ABLLS-R skill (H5, Q11) because that is how I determine my student’s IEP goals. I include the ABLLS-R skill for easy reference so I can easily look up the benchmark once students have demonstrated mastery. This is also a easy way to see if students have to same goal which makes it easier when getting together and organizing your materials for programs. Creating a goal cheat sheet will also help you to set up the data sheets for each student.
3. Organize Data Sheets
There are so many ways to organize student data sheets. I have done it with individual student binders or keep them in binders based on small groups, using tabs with students’ names on them (which I write in pencil on card stock tabs so I can erase and use again). I put the data sheets for all their goals under their name tab and will use Post-It flags to make flipping through the goals under a student’s tab easier (especially as you accumulate more data).
4. Determine Sets/Gather Materials
I have always had more success doing these steps simultaneously because sometimes the sets are based on the materials I have (wh- questions sets) or I need to organize or make materials based on the goal. For example, when I organize a letter ID or sound ID program, I present the sets in the Jolly Phonics letter order. I also use Jolly Phonics at my reading station, so it gives my students exposure to the same letters, in the same order at both stations. Once the sets are determined, I indicate the set number on the materials by writing a number the the materials or grouping certain flashcards together.
I keep the materials in a caddy that I can carry around to multiple locations in the classroom. I also can just leave it at the programs table to store or when I pull students at that table. In the caddy, I have materials for “give me” counting (cups and bingo chips), flashcards in recipe boxes and pre-made flashcards. I also have some questions on regular sized-paper in clear sheets that I keep in the data binders or in a magnetic pocket by my programs table if students in multiple groups are using the same material.
5. Run the Programs/Make Adjustments
After you have set up the data sheets and organized the programs, make adjustments as needed. Usually, I need to change the number of items in a set (which is why I always use pencil on the data sheets) in order to help the student learn that set and move on to the next set. You might find that one binder for all your students works best or that individual binders work better for your set up. Running the programs is the only way to see what works and what doesn’t and it is often necessary to make adjustments so your students are successful!