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2 More Mistakes you are Making when Prompting Students

Previously, I shared 3 prompts you're making with your students that you may not even notice and now I'm back to share some more unintentional prompts you may be providing in your classroom without even noticing.

Lack of distracters
Have you ever prepared the perfect task for your students and they don't even try on the last stimulus because there's only one matching option left? It happens in my classroom all the time. Even when students have made errors and their answers don't even match!

How do I solve this?
Sometimes I put an extra distracter in the task box for my students. If students are completing a matching task, sometimes, I'll put in an extra icon I have laying around or a piece from another task. This helps my students attend to what they are doing from the start of the task to the end of the task. If my students are working on one of my CVC reading tasks, I'll add in an extra word or two that they will not match to a stimulus card.

Another way I help solve this is removing stimulus from a task. Here's a great example. I absolutely adore my math flipbooks in my classroom, but when the students get to the last page, they simply take the last number and match it to the page. Even if they've made errors on the other pages. To combat this problem, I remove a page from my flipbooks. That's right, during the prep process, I purposefully do not include one of the pages in my addition or subtraction flipbooks. This will leave the student with an extra number to choose from on their final problem and avoids the arbitrary match at the end. Check out how the last page of my buddy's subtraction flipbooks look:

Facial Expressions
Here's another prompt you may be providing in your classroom and have no clue that you're doing it. Our facial expressions can give our students so many cues. Have you ever asked a student to do something, they attempted to do the task, and looked at your face for a reaction? That's a pretty clear sign that you are providing extra prompts through your facial expressions.

I've been super guilty of this one in the past and it's something that took me a while to work on with my students. I'll tell you right now, you may or may not know if your students are reading you for facial cues, but in my case it was quite evident. My students wouldn't even look at the stimulus during teaching time, they were only looking at my face.

I tried a few different ways to combat these facial cues I was giving in my classroom. Here's what I tried:

  • Giving no eye contact. At all.
  • Smiling and nodding to every response. I felt crazy, but it was a consistent response.

I won't lie, both of these felt really silly in the moment, but I'll tell you, it was super successful for the students I was targeting with this intervention. Within a couple weeks, I had my students attending to the stimulus instead of my reaction to their response.

Have you been over prompting your students without even realizing it?

Fire drill must haves

If your classroom is anything like mine, mastering everyday classroom routines take a lot of time, practice, and patience. Now we throw fire drills into the mix and a lot of my students are thrown off. I have found the best way to master fire drills is to do a lot of preparation with my students throughout the year.

We talk about fire drills often and practice lining up and walking out to the holding area even when we are not in an active fire drill. I mean, practice makes perfect, right? We may not have mastered fire drills yet, but we are working towards a smoother drill every time.

With all this practice, I have 3 fire drill must haves in my classroom. Which ones are you using? What could you add to help students become more prepared for fire drills?

**Note: This post included affiliate links. If you purchase any of the items featured in this post you will not be charged any more and a small commission will be sent my way. This helps keep this website up and running.**

We know from evidence that social narratives are great for students on the spectrum. It is going to provide your students a context for what is happening during a fire drill and a plan of how they are supposed to act and react during the fire drill. I actually have a few social stories I use with my class and here's a quick roundup of some awesome fire drill social narratives I've found:
  • This interactive social narrative from Julie at Superheroes in SPED is great for some of my learners. There interactive pieces keeps them engaged while we read about fire drills.
  • I love this social story from Mary Ann at Superteach56 for my students who are better able attend to read alouds.
Using a social narrative to introduce the ideas and routines of a fire drill are a great way to prepare students at the beginning of the year. I even review multiple times throughout the year. This may even be strategically done when I know a fire drill is approaching.

We've pretaught about fire drills with social stories, but now it's go time! And with all the other students on campus filing out to the holding area all of our preteaching and practice can quickly turn into chaos. Another evidence based practice for our students is the use of visual supports and these are imperative during a fire drill.

Our students need reminders of the expected behaviors at a fire drill. I keep my visual cues on a ring attached to my fire drill clipboard I have to take out the door during a fire drill. That way they are right at my fingertips and I can use them easily.

Need some visuals? Check out this great free resource from Mary Ann at Superteach56!

Lets face it, fire drills are loud. I find them super obnoxious and I don't have any sensory processing deficits. So, if your students are like mine, the noise of a fire drill can overwhelm their sensory systems. And if you work with any students with sensory processing difficulties, you're going to need some noise cancelling headphones.

I have a drawer full of them in my classroom and one of my paras walks by them when we exit for a fire drill. Her task is to grab a handful of headphones on her way out the door.

Do you have any fire drill must haves the I left off the list? Leave a comment to let me know what you can't live without during a fire drill in your classroom!

Tackle Transition Times Like a Pro!

Transition times in the Special Education classroom can be difficult. Check out these 2 easy tips to tackle transition times like a pro in your classroom!
Teaching our students to transition in the Special Education classroom is a necessary skill. Students need to transition to school, between activities, around campus, and from school each and every day. Teaching these skills can be really tricky in the high intensity classroom, but I have two tips to help your students tackle transition times like pros!

Structuring Classroom Supplies for your Students

Do you know this student? The one who will wander around looking for the perfect classroom supplies before they can even START on a task. I've known that student a few times. And after it took us an entire morning to find the "just right" pencil in our classroom, it was clear to me that this Goldilocks routine was not going to work in my classroom and I needed to come up with an intervention for this student immediately!

Making the Most of Your Activity Matrix

I talked about the activity matrix I use in my classroom a while ago. An activity matrix really is a fabulous tool for working in a collaborative classroom where you may or may not have time to touch base with paraprofessionals and service providers regularly (I know I have like zero time to do any collaboration face to face in my classroom). If you are unfamiliar with an activity matrix, you should check out this awesome video I stumbled across.

Winter Task Boxes

Do you love using Task Boxes in your classroom? I know I do and these Task Boxes we are working with in January are seriously everything! My students are loving them and I'm loving them, too. Come take a peek at what we're up to in our classroom this month!

Getting Organized in the New Year: 1:1 Work Time

I love the new year. It's full of excitement of the new things that will be happening. It feels like a fresh start, too. I find myself getting things organized in my classroom as I get ready for a new year. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks as well as some of my favorite tools for keeping an organized classroom, but I'm still able to keep everything I may need at my fingertips.**Note: This post included affiliate links. If you purchase any of the items featured in this post you will not be charged any more and a small commission will be sent my way. This helps keep this website up and running.**
I'm over here sharing more tips and tricks for getting organized in the new year here on the blog. Over the past couple weeks I have shared how to organize your classroom for Morning Meeting and Center Times. Today I'm thrilled to share with you how I organize myself, materials, and more for my 1:1 Work Time in my classroom. Let me show you how I keep myself sane during this time in my classroom.

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