Weekly Staff Focus in a SPED Classroom

As teachers, we regularly post our student learning objectives. It guides our instruction and helps our students understand the focus of a lesson. Posting daily objectives has been a big thing in my school (and probably yours) for the last few years. I started thinking about how helpful it would be if my team could have an objective as well, something to focus on improving each week So last spring, I implemented a weekly staff focus. Each Monday, I post our focus on our staff board.

I mapped out some of the skills that I definitely want to focus on this year. I left a few open weeks so that I can incorporate skills that I see as a need in the classroom. I usually try to chose skills that can be applied to all of our students, but occasionally, I will focus on something specific to one student. For example, last year we implemented a new AAC device with a student and we spent a few weeks focusing on modeling and core vocabulary in order to get in the habit of using the device. It was super helpful!

Ignore my dirty white board! 😉

Here are some of the skills we will focus on this year:

  • Specific behavior praise
  • Increasing our praise rate
  • Being ready and prepared to start instruction as soon as the bell rings
  • Using behavior momentum to increase compliance
  • Prompting and following the least to most prompt hierarchy
  • Encouraging independence in classroom routines
  • Accurate & complete data collection
  • Offering choices
  • Wait time between prompts
  • Engagement types & strategies to keep students engaged
  • Precision commands

I also create a weekly form for my paras that includes the focus, any events or important info for the week, and a self rating scale. I always print out a extra form for myself as well. If there is something that I'm not doing well, there’s a chance my staff are having a hard time with it too. This is a good opportunity for me to evaluate and see if there's a better way to do something or to re-train everyone on at our next staff meeting. I ask my paras to turn in their form at the end of the week with any comments. I include a spot for them to let me know if they felt they needed more training on the weekly focus. If multiple people said yes, then I add it to our staff meeting agenda. Otherwise I just do a quick one on one training. As you know, finding time for communication in the classroom can be a challenge so this form has been a great communication tool. You can grab it for free by clicking on the picture above.

If you try this, I'd love to hear how it goes & what you focus on each week! 

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