Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Toolkit for Special Education Teachers-Introduction

I am reading The Special Educator's Toolkit by Cindy Golden. It was on my wishlist forever and one day, I impulsively ordered it. I was so excited to receive it, but then...it just sat next to my chair, I would browse through it and notice something interesting, but lay it down again. Initially, I thought that I would pick one section and apply it, but as I browsed the realization came that the whole system should be utilized to be truly effective.  So I decided to start writing about it on my blog. I know myself and I won't ever get around to it if I don't make it an assignment.  My goal is to summarize some of the high points and give my interpretation of the information.
Ultimately,  I  will report on my progress in applying  the OMAC system in my special education classroom/program and how it turns out.

 Research Basis for the OMAC system

OMAC is the acronym for the Organization and Management of a Classroom system. The author explains that it is nothing new, but a compilation of all the research based techniques and interventions organized  into one book for teachers. When I read this line, I was relieved! Today's world has so much information that it is overwhelming, I end up giving up and not wanting to think about it anymore!
The author shares information about Autism and some best practices when working with students with this diagnosis. She does an overview of ABA and the teaching methods associated with it.  I hadn't really made the connection that some very familiar systems are ABA based!  
The OMAC system is for students with all types of disabilities. This system is a summary of the best practice in the field of special education and organized in such a way to be easily implemented in all types of educational settings by experienced teachers, as well as new ones.

 Getting started

Who can implement this system? Anyone! This book is for veterans, mid-career folks and rookies. It can provide a start and it can give you fresh ideas.

What is the OMAC system?  It is made up of six layers, the author says think of it as a recipe, the end product is to create a model program or classroom that is organized and easier to manage that is based on research based best practice.

Where can it be implemented? Anywhere!

When should you start it? Anytime and with all grade levels. The author recommends that a layer be completed before going to the next. 

Why do this? Reduce stress for yourself, improve parent and staff communication, increase student achievement in behavior and academics.

How? The author provides some forms to assist in looking at your current structure and getting a handle on what you and your students need.

Okay! Now I am going to work on those forms, take a good hard look at my classroom organization before beginning!