The start of the school year has been off to a wonderful and crazy ride! Zoom meetings have been taking over my whole day as we get ready to teach our students in a remote setting. As we start teaching, it is important that I stay as focused as possible, especially with all of the resources that are being offered, even more so than in the spring! I was fortunate to have been given time to go into my classroom and get materials to bring home and use in my “at home classroom”. Staying organized will be very important this school year!

Working with families is always my team’s top priority! We train our learner’s families and update them on strategies to use in the home in order to get carry over and help our learners generalize the skills. During remote learning this is especially important. We will be in daily contact with families during Zoom calls and messaging on Class Dojo. Families and care takers will be part of our daily routine just as much as our learners are! My learners require adult support to navigate through our online classroom and to get on the correct Zoom link. My team and I need to meet minutes, teach skills, take data, and differentiate lessons all through the technology and materials that we have been given. We had to get creative while keeping in mind the amount of screen time children will be on! Keeping organized will help us breathe deep and keep calm throughout the day.

Daily Schedules and Yearly Outlines

First, I have our class’ daily schedule. This is where I keep each Zoom link to small group assignments, 1:1 time, circle time, read alouds, meetings with TAs, and my office hours. This is the one stop shop for my team to know where I am and where they are supposed to be. With all of the related service providers that my learners need to see, it was easiest to create one Zoom link for each learner. This group will be at the same time each day, and they will be with a different service provider each day. Families are then in charge of housing 3 Zoom links; one for circle time, one for their small groups, and one for the ending read aloud. I also have a tab at the bottom where I put my weekly lesson plans. Combining the daily schedule and my lesson plans will keep all the meeting links in one place, and guarantee that the whole team is on the same page. I will use my yearly outline to guide my lessons and activities. The related service providers also have access to this.


IEP Practice At Home

Each learner has an “at home IEP document” which is a way for us to help teach families the strategies to practice the IEP goals at home. I was able to save these as PDFs and share them with each family. The team and I list the annual goal, the benchmark, and an at home activity the families can do to support this. During small groups, related service and myself meet 1:1 with the child and their families. This is when we will help teach and run alternate curriculum programs via Zoom, meet with the parents to help answer any questions and concerns, and help coach them through the strategies we are sharing. The IEP at home document is a great reference for the families to utilize when keeping track of all of the training we will be doing and what to do to help work on IEP goals. This is going to be A LOT for the families and our learners, so we want to check in and coach them as much as we can.

Putting It All Together

Lastly, I was fortunate enough to go into my classroom before the fall semester started and create take home bags for my learners. Each Pre-k through 5th grader was also given a bag full of school supplies! Even if your school year has already started, talk with your administration and see if you can get into your classroom! Very similar to what I created for the students who qualified for ESY (link here) these bags are individualized and will make e-learning accessible to our learners. Each student received different materials based on their needs. The Speech/Language Pathologist that I work with made CVES (core vocabulary exchange system) boards, and the Occupational Therapist that I work with made work boxes packed with tasks! I created a spreadsheet in order to keep track of what they have and will use this as their “assignments” within my open center time in my Canvas course. Each day during my open center time, they will have a “menu” of STAR and PEAK ABA videos that we want them to practice, as well as one activity from their individualized bag.

This year is definitely more stressful than ever. Hang in there! Like Jen always says, give yourself grace, give your administration grace, give your families grace. We are finding out new information by the second! Let’s keep as organized as we can and BREATHE! We’re all in this together. 

Heather Hoeft
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