The first two weeks of schools are critical in any classroom... especially in a special needs classroom.
We need to be on our game all. the. time - visual schedules ready, intentional and functional activities planned, and so much more than what actually gets written on our lesson plans.
Going in to my third year in Life Skills, though, it took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to focus on during the first two weeks of school. Like I said... functional and intentional.
Erin Condren Lesson Planner. You can read my review here and see the stickers here. It counts as my personal "functional".
I printed my district's calendar and put all of those dates in my planner first. I like to be prepared and I only like to do this once, so it's always nice to get that tedious task finished at the beginning of the school year.
My next step in planning was decided WHAT I wanted my students to practice for the first two weeks. What skills do we need to recoup and relearn, and what new skills can I introduce for us to generalize as the year progresses? So I made a list for each subject.
Read here about the core vocabulary activities we will be re-practicing during the first two weeks.
And it's pretty much a given that we will be working with that pesky Old Lady who likes to eat everything. I will start with when she eats a shell and then do books the second week.
Something else we will be working on is obviously reading. Reading signs, reading classroom labels, reading each other's names, and of course reading books!
these labels from Just a Primary Girl because as soon as I saw them, a work box / work task came to mind. I am going to use them as a sorting task... a very large, yet fun... sorting task. I will give the students a few "labels" of things they want to sort (giving them the power), and then mix all of those things on the table.
During the first two weeks we will be practicing the basics with numbers 0-20, just to take baseline data on where all of us are and where we need to start off in relation to our IEP goals.
I will have them identify numbers and sequence them.
these 10 frames though because it's instant differentiation. Towards the end of the second week, we will *hopefully* be getting back into the swing of things and ready to tackle school. The activities from MMP will be a great transition for us from practice and data collection to showing what we know.
My first year in Life Skills I was given some great advice: "As long as the kids eat lunch and get home safely, that's a successful day." And honestly, we all have those days (in regular ed and special ed). So even if you've planned like crazy and it all falls apart, just remember that advice.
It doesn't make you any less of the amazing teacher that you are.