Reflect and Refresh: Part 1 – Looking Back

Welcome to Reflect and Refresh, a two-part party where teacher bloggers share their reflections on the 2014-2015 school year and ways they are planning to refresh their teaching in 2015-2016.

looking back end of the school year reflections blog post header

With school years wrapping things up all over the nation, some of you having finished a few weeks ago and some of you having just days left, it’s the perfect time of year to reflect and refresh on the past school year.

Since this was my first year teaching elementary life skills, I feel as though I needed to sit down to think about things I did that worked well for me this year, and then other things that I want to change for next year.

One thing that worked really well for me this school year was sending home a daily behavior sheet for each of my students at the end of every day.

Since I only had 5 students, it took me only a few minutes. I liked it because I could share with parents when students had an absolutely fabulous day, or ask for advice when students had an off day.

I left a section on the paper for parent comments as well. My friends’ parents became so accustomed to receiving this daily sheet, that I would get emails when I forgot to send them (for those hectic end of the days). I loved it and the parents really appreciated it.

I will definitely continue with sending home a little note every day.

 color coded student iep binders - organizing your IEPs one child at a time. blog post at mrs. ds corner

Organization and Classroom Management
It may have taken me half the school year to realize, but color coding my classroom saved my sanity and my teaching… and it was honestly something that just came to me one day. I started with colored supply cups and work bins. I gave each student a color.

Best. decision. ever. Seriously!

My teaching changed for the entire rest of the school year when I could just tell a student, “go get your work out of your bin” and that student would know exactly what I meant. This little trick saved a lot of classroom transition time.

I eventually moved into colored clips for headphone storage and colored labels for our classroom LeapPads.

Life. Changing!

If you want more information about organizing all of your IEP’s – check out this blog post!

There’s no point in reflecting on the school year and not changing things up or wishing you’d done something differently… and for me it comes to collaboration with general ed teachers.

I pretty much came up with everything on my own for this school year and it took a lot of time. Now that I’ve got the hang of how a life skills classroom functions and works, I will definitely be collaborating more with the general ed teachers in my building.

FLASH FORWARD: Read this blog post on Collaborating with General Ed and Making the Pieces Fit.

 classroom library and organization tips blog header

My Big Summer Project
This is one project I am dreading, but one that I am really looking forward to too. Right now my holiday books are in order based on when they occur during the year. My other books are in 3 bins and are in no particular order. I’d love to have them sorted by AR reading level or any type of reading level to be honest. This would make getting books ready for students much quicker and easier. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t take me all summer to organize my library!

FLASH FORWARD: Read this blog post on Building Your Classroom Library on a Budget.

FLASH FORWARD: Read this blog post on Classroom Library + Organization

{ Read Part 2: Looking Forward – Back to School Goals here. }


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