Thursday, July 5, 2018

Supply Management in the Classroom

In light of #NewTeacherTipTuesday, I felt like I should share the story behind my "You'll Need" supply icons. Classroom management in general has always been an important component of teaching to me. I have spent five years as a Collab teacher (in my district, this means that all of the students in Special Education/with IEPs are placed in one classroom in each grade level and have some type of support from a Special Education co-teacher) and I have had students with a variety of needs- autism at varying levels, DeGeorge syndrome, Oppositional Defiance, emotional disturbances, anxiety disorders, ADD/ADHD, traumatic brain injuries, etc. Without established routines and procedures, my room can become a war zone.
Like- furniture flying, head banging, F-bomb dropping, finger flipping war zone.
And no learning goes on when that happens.

So what do you do when you have a class that can go from ZERO to SIXTY in just seconds? You work on solving the problems that are within your realm of control. You work on the things that can cause the most disruptions, and transitional times were a BIG one in our classroom. I looped up from 4th Grade to 5th Grade with a particularly needy class in between the 16/17 and 17/18 school year. People on my campus thought I was NUTS for wanting to move up with this particular class. When my principal first asked me, I told him I didn't know if I could do it. But when all my options were weighed, it was the right thing to do. These kids needed someone to keep sticking it out for them. Needed someone to keep showing up for them. Needed someone to PUSH them. So up I went, fully aware of the problems I needed to solve between June and August.

Knowing full well who I was going to be with, I knew that listening and following directions was going to continue being an issue. But I also knew how badly some of my students with special needs wanted to FEEL like they were "normal." While my co-teacher and I always strive to make everyone appear on a level playing field, by the time kids reach 5th Grade, they know who is "special" and who is not. Some of my students had physical markers of their differently-abledness. You could see and hear differently-abledness by the way they spoke, or hardly spoke at all, and responded to simple situations. And there was no hiding from needing more teacher guidance than their peers just to make it to the end of the school day without a visit from the behavior teacher.

So I decided that pictures were going to be the way we would transition. 

I would make a visual for every supply my kids could possibly need and post them in one clear area at the change of each subject. At the start of the year, relying on the icons was taught just like any other procedure. The trick to making this actually work in my classroom? I no longer answered questions about what kids needed. I would say it ONCE, post the icons, and ignore all questions until I was ready to begin my lesson. Some of you are probably freaking out- SHE DIDN'T ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS?! THAT'S HER JOB! Yeah, it's part of it. But it's also my job not to continue perpetuating learned helplessness.

Fortunately, my dry erase board is magnetic, so all I had to do was add a strip of magnetic tape to the back of my icons to get them to adhere to my board. You can also try Velcro! 

So did it really work? Sure, at first I still had a few kids that weren't prepared with what they needed, but peer pressure smoothed out those problems and even my students with behavioral issues didn't want to be the last one ready to go. When I found myself running to grab papers, set up the projector, jot something on the board, etc., one of my reliable students would put the icons up for me. For several of them, it almost became a battle of who could get up to the board first to pull out what we were going to need.

One of my sweet, reliable girls changing out icons for me!

Once I had made the icons for myself, I knew this could be something that helped a lot of other teachers so I decided to post it in my TpT Shop- You can find the bundle of all the icons here! Currently the bundle has more than 300 icons (it honestly may be 400 or more- I have stopped counting!) that includes separate sets for Math Manipulatives, Science Lab Materials, and Technology. The bundle will also be editable in the coming weeks! I have an entire list of things that I will continue to add to the bundle throughout this summer and into the school year. Follow me on TeachersPayTeachers so you don't miss out on any new products or updates!

If you don't need several hundred icons with individually colored items, I made a simplified version called "Basics" that are available here! These are intended for middle and high school teachers or teachers who are departmentalized and don't need everything that the Bundle has to offer. The cool part about the Basics is that if you need a particular set of icons from the Bundle (say you teach Math, and you just need the Math Manipulatives and not a bunch of Science or Tech icons), they're available individually, too! I have plans Check out the individual sets here:

I keep this handy magnetic pouch right below where I display my icons on my board. 

If you've made it this far, there is still even MORE to tell you about these icons. A digital version that's moveable and projectable via PowerPoint or Google Slides is also an option if you're wanting to save yourself some printing and cutting, or if you want something that travels and is tech friendly! The digital icons haven't been updated with all of the amazing new icons, but that's coming as well. It's just time consuming to put every single piece into Google and with a toddler who will not let me on the computer during her waking hours, it takes even longer! Good thing she's super cute and I love her to pieces. Anyways, check out the digital icons here!
[If you're not quite sure about the digital icons, head over to my Instagram @TheTexasTeacher14 to watch my InstaStories on these guys! I walk you through how it works from start to finish!]

Here's a fairly decent pic of the digital icons in use in my classroom! Adding the typed directions is super helpful! No writing anything out. 

So should you make it to the end of this post and still not have found quite what you're looking for- the icons are also available in Spanish and French. Please feel free to comment, email, Instagram-message, smoke signal... whatever your preferred method of contact is if you have questions about using this method in your classroom. I am seriously happy to help however I can!

No comments:

Post a Comment