A Back to School Toolkit for Special Education Teachers

Everything You Need for the Great Start to a New Year

The success of your school year will depend less on the beauty of your bulletin boards than on the structure you put in place to support successful academic performance and positive thinking and behavior. 

A teacher in front of a classroom of students
Being a substitute teacher is one form of parent involvement at your child's school. Photo © Digital Vision / Getty Images

The best way to guarantee a successful school year is to be sure you have enough enough strategies in place to provide guidance, support for the behavior you want and consequences for the behavior you do not want.  More »

Ready for the first year. Getty/Fancy/Veer/Corbis

Starting your career as a special educator can be daunting. Make sure you're prepared with some tried and true strategies and resources for first-year teachers or those who are new to a special education or integrated classroom.  More »

Standing desks in a school classroom
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When you plan your classroom seating arrangement, you make important decisions about your instructional priorities, the way you anticipate students will interact, and the kinds of instructional strategies you will use. Find plans for large group instruction, large group discussion, collaboration and a plan for a self contained special education room. More »

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Teacher and Student. © Caiaimage/Robert Daly

Putting a Positive Behavior Support Plan in place can help you have a successful year, especially if you are teaching in a self-contained classroom with special education students. Many children with disabilities also have problems with behavior and Postive Behavior Support Plans help these children succeed.  More »

Teacher pointing to students in class
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Based on Harry's Wong's book, The First Days of School, routines are the backbone of a well-run classroom. Teaching routines in the first days is a good investment of time, for it helps organize a class around acceptable behaviors, and routines become unspoken rules that help students work productively. More »

Red pencil writing a check mark
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Best practices dictate that rules are simple and few in number. It is essential to include least one general compliance rule, such as "Treat yourself and others with respect." Rules should be broad enough that there may be several procedures that go with the rule.  More »

Close up of multicolor pencils organized in jars
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Great organization can help you start the year off on a less stressful note. These tips are good for parents and good for teachers, as they help support students with disabilities make the most of their new year. More »

confident girl - young girl raising hand in classroom
Instill confidence in your daughter and teach her to raise her hand and speak her thoughts and opinions. Quavondo/Getty Images

In order to avoid natural consequences, which can be very undesirable, teachers need to establish consequences for problem behaviors and infractions of school and classroom rules. Effective consequences support learning positive alternative behaviors. More »

Students Taking Test
Students Taking Test. kali9/ E+/ Getty Images

Worksheets, icebreakers and other activities are essential for the first day of school. Printable activities like the ones found here can help you set up a great first-day lesson.  More »

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Bulletin Boards Put Your Walls to Work

notice board with notes.
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Put your walls to work: bulletin boards should be designed to support classroom management, student achievement and provide some fun!  Planning your walls will also make maintaining a lively learning environment easy.

Starting the Year Right By Being Prepared

These resources can help you start the year out on a strong note and build a learning environment and classroom structure that will help you be successful.