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10 Critical Components for Success in the Special Education Classroom

10 Critical Components for Success in the Special Education Classroom

March 2014 | 232 pages | Corwin

Your blueprint for building structure, consistency, and accountability year-round!

Often teachers of all experience levels struggle to effectively manage special education classrooms. In this must-have guide, Rohrer and Sampson provide a solid, workable action plan to ensure measurable success for even your most challenging student.

 Discover a variety of research-based instructional strategies to:

  • Support all students, including those with autism and severe learning disabilities
  • Organize your classroom, materials, and staff and student schedules for optimal teaching and learning
  • Execute well-planned standards-based lessons, annual IEP’s, PLAALP’s, behavioral interventions, and visual supports
  • Develop communication and social skills within a language-rich environment
  • Foster parent communication and staff collaboration

Packed with real-world examples, free tools to use and share, a list of resources and a helpful glossary, this dynamic resource will inspire you, develop your teacher toolbox, and ensure your students are on the path to achievement!

10 Critical Components for Success in the Special Education Classroom offers practical and easy-to-use ideas for organizing your physical classroom space, materials, student and staff schedules. Readers will also receive well thought out strategies that will definitely aid in the ultimate end result—student success!”
—Avis Canty, Special Education Teacher
Tanglewood Middle School, Greenville, SC

“The path to success for students with autism and intellectual disabilities starts here, when their teachers implement the essential critical components outlined in this book.”
—Renee Bernhardt, Learning Support for Special Education and RTI
Cherokee County School District, Canton, GA

About the Authors
1. Physical Arrangement of the Classroom
Benefits of a Well-Designed Classroom  
Well-Defined Areas Clarify Student Expectations  
The 10-Minute Rule  
Arranging Your Classroom  
Required Areas  
Home Base  
Group Instruction Area  
Teacher Work Area  
Transition Area  
Student Schedule Area  
Work Station  
Technology Area  
Additional Areas  
Arts and Crafts, Eating, and Cooking Areas  
Personal Hygiene  
Sensory Area  
Recreation and Leisure Activity Area  
Getting Started  
Real-Life Applications  
2. Organization of Materials
Organizing Classroom Materials  
What supplies will you need?  
What stays and what goes?  
Where will materials be located?  
Group by academic subject  
Group by frequency of use  
Safety considerations  
Organizing Student’s Materials  
Real Life Applications  
3. Schedules
The Three Types of Schedules  
Building a Foundation for Your Schedules  
Daily Classroom Schedule  
Creating Your Classroom Schedule  
Posting the Classroom Schedule  
Using the Daily Classroom Schedule  
Staff Assignment Schedule  
Individual Student Schedules  
The Importance of Symbolic Communication Forms  
Creating Student Schedules  
Student Schedule Formats and Locations  
Teaching Students to Use Schedules  
Real-Life Applications  
4. Visual Strategies
What Are Visual Strategies?  
The Importance and Benefits of Visual Strategies  
Creating Visual Strategies  
Consider the Student's Communication Level  
Using Visual Strategies  
As Reminders  
Behavioral Cues  
Communication Supports  
Real-Life Expectations  
5. Behavioral Strategies
Determing the Need for Behavioral Inteventions  
Conducting a Functional Behavior Assessment  
Define the Behavior  
Gather Information About the Behavior  
Review Records  
Conduct Interviews  
Collect Baseline Data  
Look for Patterns of Behavior  
Make a Hypothesis about the Function of the Behavior  
Identifying Behavioral Goals and Objectives  
Developing a Behavioral Intevention Plan  
Defining Consequences  
Meaningful Reinforcers  
Edibles as Reinforcers  
Nonedibles as Reinforcers  
Strategies to Change Behavior  
Implementing the Behavioral Intervention Plan  
Real-Life Applications  
6. Goals, Objectives, and Lesson Plans
Legal Foundation  
Annual Goals and Objectives  
Develop a Present Level of Academic Achievement  
The Need for Data Collection  
Methods for Collecting Data  
Special Factors and the Individualized Education Program  
Write the Annual Goals and Objectives  
Lesson Plans  
Lesson Plan Elements  
Monitoring Student Progress: Your Grading System  
Real-Life Applications  
7. Instructional Strategies
Instructional Considerations  
Age-Appropriate Materials and Activities  
Variety Increases Interest  
Sensory Needs  
Instructional Methods and Strategies  
Direct Instruction  
Applied Behavior Analysis  
Grouping Students  
Social Stories  
Having a Substitute Teacher  
Work Stations  
Station Rotation  
Community-Based Instruction  
Real-Life Applications  
8. Communication Systems and Strategies
The Speech and Language Pathologist  
Communication Throughout the Day  
Teaching Social Skills  
The Use of Schedules and Communication  
Communication and Assistive Technology  
Communication and Behavior  
Real-Life Applications  
9. Communication with Parents
Setting Up a System for Parent Communication  
Student-Generated Daily Communication to Parents  
Keeping Communication Meaningful and Helpful  
Parental Involvement  
Real-Life Applications  
10. Related Services and Other School Staff
Important Information About Related Services  
Related Services Defined  
Who Qualifies for Related Services?  
Direct Versus Indirect Services  
Service Delivery Models  
Other School Staff  
Real-Life Applications  
Putting It All Together
Glossary and Acronym Guide

"10 Critical Components for Success in the Special Education Classroom is a must have resource for experienced as well as new special education teachers as well as school administration. The book offers easy to use and practical ideas for organizing your physical classroom space, materials, student and staff schedules. Readers will also receive well thought out strategies that will definitely aid in the ultimate end result; student success!"

Avis Canty, Special Education Teacher
Tanglewood Middle School, Greenville, SC

"Finally, the book that should be consulted when new ESE classrooms are created!  This book provides the blueprint to setting up a successful self-contained classroom for both beginning teachers and experienced teachers."

Karen Kozy-Landress, Speech/Language Pathologist
MILA Elementary School, Merritt Island, FL

"The path to success for students with autism and intellectual disabilities starts here, when their teachers implement the essential critical components outlined in 10 Critical Components for Success in the Special Education Classroom."

Renee Bernhardt, Learning Support for Special Education and RTI
Cherokee County School District, Canton, GA

"Raising expectations is what the 10 Critical Components is all about!  Not only does this system provide a 'map' for teachers to provide appropriate instruction with high expectations for students, it also gives a systematic and clear method for administrators to evaluate teachers in the Special Education classrooms. Put it all together, and you have a system that will ensure students are receiving structured and meaningful instruction that will prepare them for the future."

Bonnie Haecker, Director of Special Education
Santa Fe Independent School District, Santa Fe, TX

"I have had the pleasure of working with Marcia and Nannette in two school districts.  I first met them while working as Dean of Instruction at a high school campus.  These two ladies were hired by our Special Education Director to come in and 're-haul' our Life Skills programs.  I sat back and watched in amazement as they worked their 'magic.'  The classrooms transformed into learning environments right before my eyes.  As the 10 Critical Components were taught to the teachers, a significant impact was made not only on the staff, but most importantly, the students and their parents.  The 10 Critical Components encompass the needs of the whole child from the necessary physical arrangement of the classroom to individualized IEP's as well as parent communication.  After leaving that district and becoming a Special Education Director in a neighboring district, I realized my Life Skills classes were in need of a "makeover," not only in classroom arrangements, but also in instruction, communication, individualized behavior plans, and curriculum.  I immediately called upon Marcia and Nannette, and they began the process.  I am currently in year two of the 10 Critical Components.  The teachers who have begun this process are amazed at the progress of their students along with the simplicity of the components.  Once the components are in place in the classroom, everything comes together, and the students thrive.  We still have a lot of work to do to fully implement the 10 Critical Components in my district, but with Marcia and Nannette by my side, the classrooms will be instructional learning environments where all students in this district will experience success and reach their full potential.  I cannot begin to thank Marcia and Nannette for all of their hard work in working with my district."

Cynthia Peltier, Director of Special Education
Texas City ISD, Texas City, Texas

"Our teachers have been very happy with the training on the Ten Critical Components and feel that it has assisted them in being better prepared to meet the needs of their students.  In fact, the question I get most often from teachers is, 'When can they come back?'"

Laurie Goforth, Director of Special Programs
Dickinson Independent School District, Dickinson, Texas

"I will never forget my first year as a Life Skills Special Education teacher!  I had two brand new empty classrooms and absolutely no idea how to set them up for success when the students arrived.  Thank goodness my director sent Marcia and Nannette and their 10 Components!  They taught me how color coding makes the classroom structure come together.  Now each year the first thing I do is choose a color and appropriate icon/picture for each student.  I label everything 'theirs'- desks, work boxes, place in line, picture schedule, etc. with that color and icon.  It makes the first days and lessons so much easier!  Students identify what’s theirs, and learn to respect what belongs to others.   Excellent and 'essential' for the Special Education Classroom."

Shelley Hyde, Life Skills Teacher
Pearland ISD, Pearland, Texas

"I was excited to attend Marcia and Nannette's workshop on the 10 critical components when I found out who the presenters were. They both have so much to offer teachers and parents of ALL students with learning differences. My first year as a self-contained special education teacher would have ended very differently, and much sooner, had they not been there to 'reorganize' the way the classroom was set up, as well as the way I approached teaching. That was an extremely difficult year, but they got better. I do believe I learned from the best."

Laurie Moreno, Special Education Teacher

"This is a formal thank you for introducing me to the 10 Components.  Before I was introduced to Marcia and Nannette's methodology, my self-contained classroom, in my opinion, was running smoothly, as I was receiving excellent appraisals from my principal.  Although it was taking me 10 to 11 hours a day, I was 'juggling' my classroom pretty successfully one would say. My initial introduction to the 10 components was not readily accepted.  In fact you might say I resisted change.  One day I received a new student with behavioral issues, and consequently the behaviors of my current students changed as well and not for the better. Marcia and Nannette revisited my classroom and refocused me on the methodology of the 10 components. That refocusing literally saved my school year, and everyone reaped the benefits.  My students were totally happy to have a dependable schedule, my paraprofessionals were more at ease and comfortable, and of course the classroom ran more smoothly.  Various other aspects of the 10 components were equally as important, but the one mentioned above was very key to my classroom situation at the time.  I am happy to report that I ended the year working from 8 to 9 hours per day including getting administrative tasks completed as well. You made me a believer in the 10 Components."

Portia J Bogaert, Special Education Teacher
Dickinson ISD, Dickinson, Texas

"Marcia Rohrer and Nannette Samson have provided the Special Services department with outstanding services through the years. The training they provide on the 10 Critical Components enable teachers to structure their classrooms in such a way that behavioral concerns are minimized and time on task is increased. This outstanding training is then coupled with individualized assistance with classroom arrangement, staff and student scheduling, behavioral management, and delivery of instruction to maximize student progress.  These specialists have also provided our parents with thorough and in depth evaluations and targeted goals for in-home and parent training. These comprehensive services enable staff to increase their positive energy and productivity so that students attain maximum educational benefit."

Gloria Roach, Special Services Director
Channelview ISD, Channelview, Texas

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface and Introduction

1. Physical Arrangement of the Classroom

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ISBN: 9781483339160

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