I tweaked my point sheets this year, mostly to include the new pictures I've found since the last edition. Because many of my kids are not readers yet, the picture cues give them the information they need to understand and buy into the point sheet. I use various sources of clip art (which is ever expanding, right?), but this year they were all from the excel program itself. I'm pleased with the pictures, but reserve the right to change them early on if they don't make sense to the kids. (smile)
Speaking of picture cues, I'm reading more and more research about how providing visual cues is one VERY EFFECTIVE way of helping kids make connections to their learning and aid retention. I often -always?- started my lessons with a stab at creating a connection between the new material and the child's previous knowledge, but it was very often in the form of a verbal question. With the new research, I plan to make the effort to include a cool picture/photo/visual respresentation to go along with my verbal connectors. Takes a little more time, yes, but I'm thinking my special ed kids need every extra chance I can provide to learn the material.
Finally, and in response to a question from reader Kevin, I want to talk a bit about the point sheet itself. It is a good general measure of behavior, and it can help paint a picture of how a particular behavior is playing out during the day. For example, the point sheet itself can clearly illustrate a pattern of behavior (loss of following direction points throughout the day is telling), and time sensitive behavior problems can be identified (like every day at 10:30 am the child loses the ability to concentrate--- medication issue?) The point sheet itself is not especially helpful for the kind of data collection that is detailed. Consequently, I'll use tally marks in the margins of the point sheet to count specific behaviors through out the day, etc. Not especially official looking, but it does the trick.
It takes discipline to go to the point sheet every 15-20 minutes or so. It's absolutely worth it, in my mind. Once school starts I will take a picture of one of the kid's point sheets and post it, comments and all. (Names will be changed to protect the not-so-innocent.)
On a personal note, I just picked up my hub and daughter from the airport after their whirlwind visit to Clemson for the Clemson vs Texas A&M football game last night. They toured the campus (daughter is a senior in high school and doing her college tour thing), and attended several A&M alum activities (Hub did his graduate work there early in our marriage.)Such an exciting time in our lives. We count our blessings everyday, and pray for those folks impacted by Katrina, and also for the heroes doing their best to provide help.