Communicating on the Fly

It's Wednesday afternoon and your team has all gone home for the night.  You have a pile of papers on your desk to be filed.  There is another pile of student work to be posted on the bulletin board.  Homework still needs to be graded.  You opened 3 parent emails during lunch and need to adjust some things for tomorrow's homework.  There are two tests tomorrow and you need to make some more copies of graph paper.  One of your TAs had a few questions about a test that you didn't have time to answer.  Oh, and there have been some changes to the related service schedule.  And it's picture day tomorrow.  

Sound familiar?  Um, this was my Wednesday!  It wouldn't be so bad but it seems like every day is just as crazy.  Every. Single. Day. 

I love-love-LOVE my 5th grade team of other teachers and teaching assistants but sometimes relaying messages to everybody and delegating responsibilities becomes a giant undertaking!  I mean, including me, there are 8 of us!  

Throughout the day, thoughts and questions come up that cannot be addressed right away.  My four TAs and I travel with our inclusion class between four classrooms.  Questions and ideas tend to get forgotten.  

To remedy this problem, we created a space to put all of our ideas and questions.  We use the inside of one of the closet doors in my classroom.  This allows us to keep the information somewhat confidential.  

This system is especially helpful for me when I am at work after my teaching assistants have left for the day and I have things to discuss the next morning.  It's great for my entire team so that everybody is heard!

I also have a work basket.  I can place worksheets I need copies of, assignments that need checked over, or lamination that needs to be cut.  Any time one of my assistants has a few minutes where they are not directly working with a student, they check to see if there is anything else they can do to help our class.

Another way that I communicate with my teaching assistants is through Testing Folders.  These folders are organized by similar testing accommodations.  Each teaching assistant and I are assigned a group of students along with a testing location that does not change.  The day before a test, I load up the folders with the test, graph or scrap paper, and other tools my students might need.  This tool has saved us a lot of time and confusion when it is time to leave the room for testing accommodations.  

You can read more about how I set up my testing folders in this blog post about testing accommodations.  

Of course, in order to have a successful team, you have to have sit-down conversations as well.  We still meet weekly to discuss important things like students, lessons, and our classroom.  You can read more about having successful and productive team meetings in this blog post.  

What are some other ways you communicate with your teaching team when you don't have time to actually sit and talk to them?  I would love to hear what works for you and your team!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to follow this blog for more special education tips and tricks!


  1. I love your "Hold that Thought" idea...LOVE LOVE!

    Carmen Zeisler

    Exploring Elementary
    Fourth Grade

  2. Great idea!! I will have to share this one with my colleagues! Thank you!!!