Top 10 Sensory Tools for Elementary Students

Thursday, July 18, 2019


Whether you have a designated calm corner in your classroom or not (though I think you should!), having sensory tools in your classroom is a must! Sensory tools aren't just for your heavy hitters, students with diagnosed disabilities, or the wiggly ones - they're for everybody! They can help students when they're dysregulated, give students tools to use to keep their attention, offer a helpful break from academics, and more. I think we can all agree that every student needs access to those opportunities! Here are my top 10 sensory tools to have available to your students (in no particular order!)

5 Organization Favorites for Special Ed Classrooms

Sunday, June 23, 2019


If you're a special educator, you know organization is ESSENTIAL before you lose your data sheets and can't find a signed document. Here's my 5 favorite organizational tools that can help keep any teacher organized.

1.) Paper organizer

I have used these for their original purpose, to organize paper by color (great way to keep Astrobrights or construction paper organized!), and I have used it as classroom mailboxes! Add a little tab off the side of each section with a student name, and you have an easy solution for passing out papers and organizing student folders. Easily fits on a table top!

5 Words to Avoid When Helping Students De-Escalate

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

De-escalation is such a HARD process - and the language we use can become the reasons why a student calms, or a student escalates further. De-escalation language should always be non-judgmental and the adult should try to listen more than they talk. So if you are talking, here's 5 words to avoid to help the process.

1.) "But..."

Whenever we use the word "but" in a sentence, we're going against what our conversation partner is saying. In de-escalation, it's all about affirming and listening, not trying to argue your point. Instead of interjecting what you want to say, try taking a deep breath and turning on your listening ears.

How to Effectively Teach Multiple Grade Levels In One Special Education Classroom

Monday, May 6, 2019


Teaching special education has its own set of super unique challenges, between behaviors, social skills training, communication needs, and planning for inclusion, we often have a huge disparity in academic skill sets AND multiple grade levels in one classroom. Is there really any way to target ALL of the needs and requirements sitting in front of you? Well the answer is, yes.

One of my most frequently asked questions is, "How do you teach all of the standards to all of the grade levels in a multiage special education classroom?!" It feels impossible, but with the right set up, YOU CAN DO IT!

How to Use Calm Books to Assist in De-Escalation

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


If you're a regular around here, you know how much I love a good calm corner in a classroom. Having a designated safe space to sort out big emotions is so crucial in school! But in reality, it's hard to actually encourage the de-escalation process - there's often little adults can do. Outside of setting up meaningful environmental supports and co-regulating with students, adults should be remember that one crucial piece they control is to give space and time for students to de-escalate. Barking directives or forcing verbal processing while a student is in crisis ("in their downstairs brain") will only likely agitate the child, and you won't get the results you're looking for. So - how CAN we encourage de-escalation?

Research also tells us that in order to de-escalate, we need to focus on the present moment and sloooowww down. While escalated, we can't complete "think sheets" or start sharing what's making us so overwhelmed with emotion. But what we can do, are simple calming tasks. Meeting kids in their downstairs brain (I keep saying that - read this quick and informative piece on this language and why it's not only important to know, but good words to use to explain our brains to kids!) is the best way to help turn brains from chaotic to calm.

10 Cute AND Affordable Teacher Outfits from Amazon

Monday, April 29, 2019



Teacher clothes can be hard to find - especially for special education teachers who often find ourselves in the most interesting situations within a moments notice! Here's 10 items to make functional, yet professional and cute outfits happen! All of these items can be found on Amazon - they're affordable, and if you're a Prime member, they'll get to you in 2 days! Wahoo!

Daily Ritual Gray Joggers

While these are pretty casual, tuck in a button down shirt and add some cute flats and you've dressed them up! These are great pants for teachers always on the floor building block towers or for classrooms where physical management is common. Currently, these pants are $22.00.

How to Effectively Debrief Behavioral Situations with Think Sheets

Thursday, April 25, 2019

When big incidents occur in our classrooms, honestly, we just want them to stop. Am I right, or am I right?! Sometimes just the thought of rehashing the eruption that had just occurred would make me want to fake sick and head on home! Being well versed in de-escalation is important, and in restorative conversations, but holding space for those conversations in ways that are productive and problem solving in nature can take a LOT of practice with certain students, and often for ourselves. 

These conversations are imperative to helping students process their responses to situations they perceived as upsetting, scary, or frustrating so they can understand how their responses affected others, and how they can work to have safer and more expected responses to those situations in the future.

I have found that using structured think sheets can take some of the overwhelm out of the very needed restorative conversation. 
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