If your students are anything like mine, they try to avoid specials like the plague. Special time is when behaviors may start to come out, in order to avoid the activity. & for that very reason, we never skip specials, we just better support our students during them, to make them more successful!
Usually my visuals for leaving the classroom are thrown into an old box, mish moshed across a table, or in a “used- to – be -organized” jewelry container that is a plain old mess. As special educators, we are often running around with our heads cut off in every direction, and have very little prep. This makes it hard for everyone to be successful. This year I’ll have everything set up and easy to grab on the way out the door.
First things first, our kids NEED visuals. Specials teachers can implement this for whole group, and the sped teacher can provide the resources. This way, kids don’t feel left out, and I’m sure other kids would benefit too!
If your specials teachers aren’t willing to do this, or your kids need even more support, your paraprofessionals can bring along the materials to class, or keep them in the specials class for easy access.
First, next, last boards help kids visually see what will be happening in class, what they have to complete to be able to leave. If they are having a difficult time, you can break this down even further to let them know 3 things have to be done to go back to class.
I LOVE using paint sticks to display visuals, especially in classes like gym where there is no desk to keep things on, it’s so easy to carry around, or let it hang out at each station. Again, all students could benefit from visual directions!!
If there is something in the class that is most rewarding to your student, ask the specials teacher if they would be willing to make it last. This will help to motivate the student to complete the other tasks FIRST in order to gain access to the preferred activity.
In gym class, for some of my students, it’s a drink of water…. I mean how many requests for water can they use to get out of an activity?
If your student is not motivated by any activities in the specials class, believe me this can happen, they might be motivated by STOP or all done. My students LOVE getting to the stop sign. They know this means they can leave class, and go back to our room to earn a preferred activity or just return to work they are more comfortable with.
To some kids, the classroom is a safe zone, it’s structured and they know what is expected, outside of our four walls this might not be the case. Remember, try to keep them motivated, try to make it as easy and less stressful as possible. We want our kids to WANT to be out socializing with the other kids successfully.
How do you organize all those visuals? As I said in the beginning of the post, I’m usually not so great at that. This year I plan to keep the visuals in a baggie in the specialist room. As much as I would like to know what they have planned ahead of time, we don’t always have time to collaborate, and they don’t always have it planned ahead. In the beginning of class, I can quickly run over, chat quick, grab what I need and get supporting!
You can grab the resource seen in this post in my teachers pay teachers store !
How do you support your students during specials? I would love to hear from you!