This summer, Alyssa launched a brand new course just for self-contained teachers called Simple Self-Contained Setup 101. This course is geared toward brand new self-contained teachers, teachers new to the self-contained setting, and veteran self-contained teachers looking for more support in the classroom setup process. I fell into the third category. I’d like to share my experience with Simple Self-Contained Setup 101. If you are interested in the next round of Simple Self-Contained 101, join the waitlist here!
My Classroom Setup
First, let me share a little background of my self-contained classroom. I teach in a primary level self-contained special ed classroom for students with autism. I typically have 10 students with 3 paraprofessionals. My classroom is not large, but it isn’t tiny. I have space to work with, but I still have to get creative to make all my space functional.
In Simple Self-Contained Setup 101, there are 6 modules to work through. These modules are:
Module 1: The Schedules
In this module, we learned all about creating our classroom schedule, then we learned about the different types of student schedules and how to decide what type of schedule to give each student. During this module, we actually prepped our student schedules and all our schedule pieces.
Module 2: The Team
In this module, we learned about all the people included in our team and how to best communicate with everyone. We prepped our parent communication forms, para binder, related services sign in/out sheets, back to school forms, and IEP binder.
Module 3: The Classroom
This module was my favorite. We learned about the physical layout of our classrooms and how to best utilize our space. We also got to use the Classroom Layout Builder, which is exclusive to Simple Self-Contained Setup 101. Essentially it is a program where you build the layout of your classroom- wall, spaces, furniture, schedules, the entire layout! This will give you a map of your classroom to make actually setting up your classroom a breeze.
Module 4: The Curriculum
In this module we planned out what curriculum we would use in our classrooms. We didn’t dive into the actual curriculum, but we more so focused on planning our curriculum. We looked at planning what curriculum is appropriate for our students, the gaps our students may have, the funding needed for curriculum if it is not provided to us, and planning differentiation needed to meet the needs of each student.
Module 5: The Changes
In my opinion, this was one of the most important modules. We discussed all the possible changes we would need to make throughout the year. We planned how to decide when a change needs to be made, how to implement the change, and how long to give the change before making a plan to try something else. Changes are inevitable in the self-contained setting, so having a plan for change makes it significantly less stressful for you and your staff.
Module 6: The Celebration
In this module, we celebrated all the progress we made throughout Simple Self-Contained Setup 101. In 6 short weeks, we get a lot accomplished for the school year. During this module, we celebrated all those accomplishments, reflected on what we’ve done, and prepared ourselves to start our year strong.
Within the modules, there are videos, action items, downloadable resources, and recommended resources. The videos taught the information for the module, and the action items gave us tangible tasks to complete to work through the module. There were tons of downloadable included within each module that helped us work through the module and provided us with resources we would need throughout the year. The recommended resources were resources available for purchase that would be beneficial to us, our staff, and our students throughout the school year.
We also had an exclusive Facebook group just for members of Simple Self-Contained Setup 101. In the Facebook group, we had action item prompts to respond to each week to help us work through the modules. This group provided us with a great community of other self-contained teachers working through classroom setup together. We could post questions, pictures of our classroom, resources we found, and much more. We also have a different Facebook group available to us now that we have completed Simple Self-Contained Setup 101 so we can continue to collaborate with each other.
The final product of my classroom after Simple Self-Contained Setup is simple: I have a functional classroom with systems put in place that help our days run a lot smoother. I also had a lot more time spent enjoying my summer and not stressing about the upcoming school year. My experience in Simple Self-Contained Setup 101 changed my philosophy on classroom setup and gave me the confidence to make my classroom a functional, welcoming environment for my students and staff. If you want to see my full classroom setup, check out my blog post here!
I hope my experience in Simple-Self Contained Setup 101 helped you see how valuable this course is. It is a liberating feeling not to stress about back to school. If you were on the fence last summer about joining Simple Self-Contained Setup 101, I urge you to reconsider and join us next summer. You will be amazed at how much your perspective changes and how much better you feel starting the new year. Join the waitlist for Simple Self-Contained Setup 101 here!