Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Organizing My Paperwork

filecabinetRecently I was asked this question by a new special education teacher and I thought I would share my answers with you. I remember being overwhelmed by all that I had to do plus the deadlines that these requirements entailed. Once I had a system to organize this information, I felt more in control of what I needed to do. Being organized helped me be more effective in the classroom because I was able to focus on my lessons instead of the deadlines hanging over me. I will share with you my reader’s questions and then below I will answer each one.

How do you organize your:

1. Contact documentation to parents/guardians? (Do you have a special form?)

2. The filing system for each student?

3. The calendar to keep up with evals and IEP meetings and when you need to schedule the meetings?

4. How do you organize your plans for the students you serve?

5. Is there a checklist that you use to make sure you crossed your T’s and dotted your i’s as you complete the eval and IEP process?

6. Finally, do you know of any good websites that are specific to special education that have good articles, supports, ideas? Is there a special ed. magazine for teachers?

My Answers:

1. Contact Doc: I made up an excel spreadsheet with the date, time, person I talked to, and notes about the conversation. I made regular calls every 2 weeks so the calls were not long.

2. I had a file folder for each student where I kept all important class papers and test papers as well as notes to and from parents, referrals, etc. to be used during parent conferences. All of these were kept in a milk crate near my desk. IEP paperwork was kept in separate files in a locked file cabinet (for confidentiality purposes).

3. I used a Google calendar to post all evaluations and IEP meetings (in a different color than every day events) which emailed reminders to me.

4. Each of my students had a weekly assignment sheet with all assignments for the week on it. Since everyone was individualized, it takes a lot of time on Fri. afternoon for the following week but it helps the next week. When I grade papers, the grade is documented on the assignment sheet that they get each day so they can get immediate feedback. On Fridays, I collect these sheets and put them in their folder I keep.

5. Checklist: I made my own checklist on an excel spreadsheet for what was required for my district and items I wanted to remember. Then I can print this off before each meeting and check it over during and after the meeting to make sure I did everything.

6. Council for Exceptional Children has wonderful magazine called Teaching Exceptional Children but you have to be a member to receive it.

If you have any other suggestions of things that work for you, please share this!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Forms and Requisitions'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14169161@N00/3537725522 by: Bob


Robert said...

Organization is key to a successful and peaceful teaching environment in the case of any teacher. I really found your checklist to be very informative and truly helpful. I know that I will utilize the items included in this checklist in my own classroom. I am a new member to this site and am so looking forward to receiving updates and a lot of resources.

loonyhiker said...

@Robert I'm so glad that you found my list useful! Thanks for reading my blog!

angelesb said...

Organization is my problem!!!This post was really helpful for me, Thanks for sharing :-)

loonyhiker said...

@angelesb I think organization doesn't come naturally and everyone has to work at it. The problem is to find a system that works best for you. :)