Let's talk about IEP goal bins. We know that every special education teacher often feels very overwhelmed with the idea that they have to take so much data every single day. I want to simplify this for you so that you don't feel so overwhelmed. I want to walk you through how I set up my IEP goal bins so that you can feel organized and start focusing on teaching again!
What Exactly is an IEP Goal Bin?
Basically, it's any bin or container, or even a box that is filled with everything that you will need to take data on those IEP goals. During my first few years as a special education teacher, I can remember so vividly run around like a crazy person trying to find materials that I would need to work on those goals. I would finally get the student one-on-one and forget random things around the room: a highlighter, some counting bears, a ruler, even some crayons. Having a place to hold all of the student materials, teacher materials and data collection sheets was a game changer for me.
What Should You put Inside the IEP goal bin?
First, you need to go through the student's IEP and write a list of all the materials that you would need for each goal. IF they have objectives, you would need the materials for that as well. For example, if Sarah is working on counting objects to 10, I will make sure that her bin has counting manipulatives like cubes or bears. Or if Johnny is working on WH comprehension questions, I would grab my WH Reading comprehension passages and throw those in the bins as well.
Using Task Boxes for IEP Goal Bins
The reason that I use Task Boxes above anything else in my goal bins is because of all the great benefits that they have. They are small and compact and take up almost no room. Task Boxes are all organized in a little box. They are a lot more engaging than paper and pencil tasks, so progress monitoring can be a breeze. Task boxes streamline the data collection process by providing a systematic way to observe and record each student's performance on specific tasks and it's quick too! Using task boxes normally is no longer than 5-10 per task box. I can get through a lot of my goals this way.
Creating a Student IEP Goal Bin Binder
Many teachers prefer to add a clipboard with students' data collection sheets right into the bin. However, I prefer to set mine up a little bit differently. I create a whole class IEP goal binder that I just bring with me if I am traveling and I use it for all students. Each student has a spot in the binder. I put in my data collection sheets, a copy of their goals and objectives and a data graph. In addition, I like to add the graph because parents and administration really like the visual this gives to student progress. I also like to add pockets in case I need to keep something inside the binder when I attend IEP meetings. If you are looking for some data collection sheets, I have an entire resource dedicated for that.
You might even be saying, Lisa, I am not a paper-pencil type, I like digital forms. Look no further, I have this other blog post called, Using Google Forms to track IEP data, you can go there and read all about how to track data digitally. I
Don't forget about the Schedule!
Every IEP goal for a student is on a schedule. You, as the special education teacher, need to make sure that you are taking data accurately and efficiently. Some goals are progress monitored every other week, some are every day and some are even every month. I recommend creating a clear and organized schedule that aligns with the frequency of progress monitoring for each goal. This ensures that data collection is consistent and meaningful.
I would also recommend using a visual calendar or tracking system within the IEP binder to highlight when each goal should be assessed. I typically tape mine to the inside of the binder. Additionally, you can set reminders or alerts on your phone or Google Calendar to prompt you to take timely data collection. This proactive approach not only keeps everyone informed but also allows for timely intervention or modification of strategies if progress is not as expected. A well-maintained schedule is a valuable tool for fostering effective communication and collaboration, ultimately contributing to the success of the student's program.
In wrapping up, think of IEP goal bins and binders as a superhero toolkit for special education teachers. By keeping clear goals, organizing bins, noting progress, and sticking to a simple schedule, you'll feel well-organized and ready to teach! With your organized toolkit, you're not just a teacher; you're a champion for every student's success story!