Sunday, July 1, 2007

Differentiated Mini Offices

Mini Offices must be one of those teaching ideas that came along after I finished teacher school. I am enamored with the idea of mini offices for my students since I first stumbled over the idea of mini offices a few weeks ago.

Basically Mini Offices are desk size dividers that have helpful information for students. They are made of file folders taped together or presentation boards (like the kind for science fairs) cut in half. A kindergarten mini office might have letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. A second grade mini office might have a mini-word wall, a number line, guidelines for writing, time telling information, etc.

I love the idea of differentiating mini offices for special needs students. One of my students might have all of the Dolch words, a paper QWERTY keyboard, a number line to thirty, a written schedule with cues for certain tasks, time telling and coin information and reminders about classroom rules. Another of my students might have a Mayor-Johnson picture schedule, visual images of various work tasks, a free time choice board and visual images of classroom rules. Each student's mini office only needs the information that he or she needs to increase independence and success.

Another idea I have is for the back or outward facing side to have information for teaching staff. For example a one page IEP for that student, a list of what data and work samples have to be collected for the alternative assessment, reminders about that student's AAC system (especially how to do a soft reset), and tidbits like images of sign language or how to give positive reinforcement. It can be two offices in one! (<-it helps to say that line like the Junior Mints Ad, "Two mints in one!") Each of the photographs above are from one of the links below: Commercially you can purchase chart stickers to use in your mini offices. I have even seen nice ones at Dollar Tree.

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