“I have so much time!” said no teacher ever!
In fact, most teachers will loudly declare quite the opposite. That’s why these 10 time savers for special ed teachers are so important.
Not only do they help save time in the classroom, but they help preserve some of that precious time outside of school. And that’s something every teacher can use more of!
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The Best Special Ed Teacher Time Savers
1 – Laminate Sentence Strips
Unleash your inner Bob the Builder and reduce, reuse, and recycle those sentence strips from year to year! Laminating your sentence strips ensures that they will survive the school year and beyond. Organize them in containers designed to hold sentence strips and bulletin board borders so that they stay wrinkle-free.
2 – Use Adapted Books
Adapted books are those that have been modified so that they are accessible to students with disabilities. They save time because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or try to find multiple versions of texts to fit your students’ needs. There are adapted books about everything from sharks to space, so you can use them no matter which subject you’re teaching!
Join the Adapted Book Club for access to over 500 ready-to-use adapted books in both print and digital format! Learn how to print, assemble, and use them in your classroom with the included videos from The Academy. They’re a must for any special ed classroom!
3 – Create Glue Sponges
Teachers in the know ditch the glue sticks for glue sponges! Glue sponges are every day household sponges that are cut to fit the size of small, lidded containers. They then have glue poured on top. After the glue sinks into the sponge, students simply press the piece they want to glue to the sponge and it releases some of the glue that’s inside. It’s an easy, mess-free way for students to practice gluing.
4 – Ask for Help in Facebook Groups
Sometimes teachers want to do all the things on their own, but one of the best time-savers is to ask for help! Facebook groups like Mrs. D’s VIPs are a great resource for ideas, support, and problem-solving.
5 – Use Magnetic Borders
I am convinced that magnetic borders were the brainchild of a special ed teacher who was tired of replacing borders that were pulled down. Just like traditional bulletin board borders, magnetic borders are designed to accent and enhance your classroom. They come in a wide array of colors and designs like polka dots and teal wooden trim!
6 – Use Velcro in the Bathroom
There are certain things you need to keep on hand in a special ed classroom bathroom. Empty bags, Clorox wipes, deodorizing spray, paper towels, etc. Instead of putting them on a cart or high shelf that’s difficult to reach, attach them to the wall using heavy-duty hook and loop fasteners. You can hang things high enough that students can’t reach them, but at a height that’s easily accessible for you.
7 – Velcro Posters to the Wall
Special ed teachers know that sometimes posters and anchor charts get pulled down over the course of the school year – or the day! Instead of using tape or hot glue, laminate and then use hook and loop fasteners to hang them to the wall. An easy way to remember which side to put on the poster is “soft stays, hard travels” or the soft side goes on the wall and the hard side goes on the back of the poster.
8 – Write Out Your To-Do List Ahead of Time
I have found that one of the best ways to manage my teacher anxiety is to write down my list of to-dos/priorities for the next day before I leave the classroom. It helps keep me organized the next morning and helps me not to forget anything. You can grab a free copy of my Priorities List when you sign up for the Resource Library.
9 – Use Templates for Everything
I am a firm believer in using templates for everything I can. Whether it’s a newsletter template (check out the free one in the Resource Library!), templates for writing IEPs, data form templates or even sticky note templates, they all save time and allow me to focus on content versus design.
10 – Do What Works for You
Consider the 10th time-saver permission to ditch the Pinterest-perfect perception of what teaching should look like and embrace the systems and routines that work for you. Not only will it save you time to do the things that align with your beliefs and work style, it will make teaching a lot more fun. Just like we encourage our students to be themselves, be who you are as a teacher and do what works for you.