Visuals in the Special Education classroom a vital for success. Using a class schedule, individual schedule, first/then board, or reward chart are just some of the ways to help set students up for success.
1. Classroom Visual Schedules
As adults, we all thrive with a schedule. Even if you are a free spirit you need a schedule to keep your commitments and accomplish you must do tasks for the day. Keeping and following a schedule is a major life skill that needs to be explicitly taught to our special-needs students. In my classroom, I like to post a general daily schedule with the group activities such as unpacking, ELA centers, morning meeting, snack, group work (science/social studies), lunch/recess, specials, Math centers, and pack-up/home.
This helps the students know when we will be moving about the school and when they get to go home! During centers, I like to have individual cards that match the colors of each center. This gives students the independence to move from center to cent without needing prompts from adults.
2. First/Then Visual Boards
For students that can’t handle too much on one board a first/then or first/next/then board is a great starting point. This shows the student exactly what they have to accomplish before their reward or next task. As students get more and more successful with first/then boards you can make it a three-step schedule and use first/next/then boards. Soon your students will be ready for independent class models with more tasks to accomplish before their reinforcer.
3. Visual Reward Charts
I don’t know about you, but I will never be willing to work for a full day (or week/year for that matter) without a payout. For us, that is usually a paycheck. For our students, a token economy is an important visual to help them understand the requirements they need to accomplish before they get their payout. What I love about token charts in special education classrooms is that they are individualized to the student. They get to choose the reward that makes them want to work hard and complete their best work!
You can check out my classroom visual pack on TPT to help set your classroom up for success! Check it out here!
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