Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Visual Support Folders-- Game Changers!

Visual supports. You need them, your students need them, but they are literally every.where.

Maybe it's just me and maybe it's because my classroom is small but I feel like I'm constantly juggling visual supports. Supports needed at different times and no where to keep them. Every area of our classroom is "multi-purpose". I feel like I have nowhere to keep student visuals. AND on top of that, due to the age range in my classroom, I can't just leave things sitting in reach at all times. I almost have to hide individual visual supports when my students are together as a whole group because the younger students will remove pictures from others visual supports. (Despite having their own)

SO I had a genius moment over Christmas break and decided each student needed a "visual command center", a place where all their necessary visuals were kept in one spot. A folder that corresponded with their assigned color in the classroom. A folder that would be portable and easy to set aside. A folder that kept everything in one spot for that student. I started using them when we came back from break and I am in love! They have been a wonderful addition to our classroom and it's been a labor of love to put the file together to share with you all. I want you to experience what I'm experiencing with this management piece!


For my students I set up each of their folders with their corresponding color of materials in the classroom. Each student's folder has their name at the top and classroom rules reminder on the front.

When you open their folder up you have their daily schedules to the left and their work/earn charts on the right along with any tasks steps we might need to put out for certain activities.


To avoid juggling too many little token pieces I simply use check marks with dry erase markers on their earn charts since the folders are laminated. Students know they earn their check marks for completing their work.


On the back of their folders they have a first/then board and earn choices at the bottom. The earn choices selection allows me to keep their top reinforcers readily available so they can make their choice for what they want to work for.

Most often our folders stay folded so that we are flipping back and forth between the daily schedules and the work/earn chart.

I keep a page up by our calendar with their options for specials. When we do our schedule review each morning I put what special we have on the board I also go around and add this specials card to their daily schedule.


With my multi-grade level classroom my pre-k students actually follow a different daily routine for most of the day and they do not have visual support folders. This makes it easy to store the specials choices on one page. If this was something happening with my entire class I would need two pages to store their options.

**These schedule card options are from Especially Education. I purchased her scheduling packs at the start of the school year and have been using her images. If you purchase my visual support folder pack you will get schedule cards included in case you do not already have a set. I recommend continuing with whichever schedule cards your students are familiar with.** 

As things are checked off of our schedule I either remove students cards or they remove them and give them to me. I put them all in one cup and since they are color coded it is easy to re-sort at the end of the day.


They also make great transition cues. My students will be finishing up our morning fitness song on the Smartboard while I set their folders out at the table. When it's time to transition they know to sit where their color is.

At the end of each earn opportunity I erase their check marks and their charts are ready to go again for the next set of given tasks in the classroom.

When we are not using their visual support folders I simply stick them in their color coded buckets. This helps me always know where to find them when I need them and the students know where to look for them as well.

 *The picture is blurred to hide student names, but it still gives you the idea.*

Could you see yourself using these in your classroom? You HAVE to try them if they include some visuals you already have going for students. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome AND helpful these have been for me and my students! When you purchase the pack you get rule cards, task steps, schedule cards, and the materials to place onto the folders for set-up. The rule cards, task steps, and schedule cards are all color coded and available in 13 different colors--you know, to help meet your classroom needs once we you have 11 students. Oh, that's just me? I digress... The pictures for these cards have been made with Smarty Symbols and you can click [here] to purchase!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Visual-Support-Folders-3027704

The purchase pack also has a file for a set-up guide to help you know where what goes on the folders.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Visual-Support-Folders-3027704

I'd love your feedback on how these are working for you in your classroom or if you think that will be beneficial for you!
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3 comments

Michelle Kolodziejczyk said...

OHHHH I love this idea! I struggle with the same issues you do. My kids want all the visuals despite having their own. It's been so difficult. So many of my kids use different visuals for different things, we are struggling to keep it together. I can't wait to try this!! :D

Erin Blecki said...

Michelle I hope this is helpful for you! I love being able to have all visuals in one place, it's so easy to keep track of them. If there is a certain kind of visual you are using that you think would be a great addition to the pack, let me know! I'd like to have multiple options for teachers to customize the folders to meet their needs! :)

Anne-Marie Taylor said...

This sounds great! One question are all the kids Caucasian?

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