Structured Special Ed

Structured Special Ed

I am passionate about help all students and creating and sharing products and strategies to help teachers support their students in special education.

Operating as usual

Photos from Structured Special Ed's post 26/05/2022

Last day of school ✨

Peace out year 7 of teaching ✌🏻I can’t wait to come back next year and only be part time and get to stay home with baby Larson part time 😍

Speaking of baby Larson.. 37 weeks pregnant today and so excited to spend these last 2-3 weeks before baby comes relaxing on summer break

Photos from Structured Special Ed's post 03/05/2022

A coworkers told me about the CUTEST children’s book on personal space and I just had to share 😍

So we are reviewing personal space this week with many of my younger grades because my younger students love to come running up to touch my belly or talk to the baby or listen to the baby or hug the baby and do all of that without asking

So we are working with them on not only asking but being ok with it when the answer is no or not this time

This book has been the absolute best and cutest book I found to help drive this lesson home

So if you are looking for a children’s book on personal space from the perspective of teaching students to advocate for their own personal space or how to accept when someone says no to getting into their personal space this is a great book!


Obsessing over these two new books I added to my collection 😍

My small group K-2 students love all the Jory John and books and were so excited when I showed them these that just came in

We started with The Good Egg and The Talent Show for our mini SEL lesson on self awareness and how everyone has strengths and talents

Definitely worth checking out!


Big changes for next school year ✨

One of the hardest yet easiest decisions I have made in a long time is to give up my full time SEL specialist job next school year to go part time so I can stay home part time with baby Larson

I absolutely love my job and my students at both of my schools but I jumped at the opportunity to only stay at one school and only work 2.5 days a week next school year

I feel like this is the best of both worlds and I’m so thankful I even get this option in my role.. I couldn’t be happier to still get the chance to work my job but also get to be a part time stay at home mama

Now the not so fun job of packing and moving everything in this office to my other school or back home but excited for these big life changes 😍


So I recently asked y’all for your top favorite SEL book recommendations for primary grades and with an overwhelming number of votes were these books by Dr. Daniela Owen

So of course I bought them

And feel in love with them 😍

So I just figured I would share and that they deserved a shout out 📣


Ok Target, take my money

I feel like this is 100% for kids but I can never have too many fidgets for my calm down corner bins right?

I swear gets me every time


Today we threw out the lesson plans and played UNO

And it was the absolute best

Due to field day, we only had 12 kids in one of my 6th grade classes, so I told the teacher instead of putting them on a computer let’s make them actually play together, talk and engage and play with them so we can build those relationships and have that quality time

So we split the class, she took a group and I took a group and we played UNO for 30+ minutes for SEL time

And the kids loved it

And we loved it

And the kids needed it

It’s crazy how many of my students don’t know how to play card/board games anymore or know how to interact in these situations or have the appropriate social skills that come with these types of activities and games

I really wish we could have more days like today

Kids of all ages and grade levels need play


I got this friendly reminder today from a friend which I truly needed because to be honest I have been struggling a lot lately and I have been really hard on myself because of it

Reminding myself that my best looks different every day and that’s ok. My best each day is enough.

Not sure who needs to hear this but your best everyday is also enough.


Life update ✨

I am so excited to announce that I am heading back to college.. but this time as an instructor

I am so excited to be returning to my Alma Mater, Arizona State University, to work with and teach students who are going to school to be teachers

This has truly been a dream come true and something I have been working towards and dreaming of for so long that I can’t believe it’s finally happening

I will still be working during the day for both of my elementary schools as a specialist because I truly love my job and my students and I don’t want to leave public education but I am so excited to enter the world of higher education as faculty and see what comes from this new adventure


When my students ask for pop it breathing cards to add to their other breathing tracing cards.. I gotta give the people what they want 🤷🏻‍♀️

But real talk, student buy in is so important and I will gladly add pop its or any other high student interest thing to any visual I can if that makes them more interested in using their coping skills when they need it


Lunch with Mrs. Larson ✨

During our fall carnival, we did an auction where students could bid to win teacher time and an activity of the teachers choice so of course I did my favorite thing: eating and for lunch

I even let my winner pick a friend to join and today I got all of us lunch and cookies and it truly was the best time with these students

It was exactly what I needed to fill my cup this last week before break


I get asked all the time: “how did you build up your game cabinet on a teacher budget?”

Super easy answer:
- Goodwill
- Offer Up
- Facebook Marketplace
- Garage sales
- Teachers leaving/retiring

Literally nothing in this closet was bought brand new by me (other than my emotion question dice from target.. must have).. some was gifted but not much

I always am popping into Goodwill for games and books and they even have a day where it’s discounted for teachers

I set alarms to notify me on Offer Up and Facebook Marketplace for board games, toys, puzzles, Lakeshore items, etc and honestly anytime I tell them I’m a teacher and it’s for my classroom.. they always give me things at such a great rate. People love and feel for teachers especially since so much comes out of our own

Tip: it’s always best to buy stuff like this at the end of the school year when people are leaving the classroom or after holidays like Christmas when people are getting rid of older toys to make room for new toys.. you might even find some great Black Friday deals

It took 3 years to build this collection because I was cheap, on a teachers budget and picky about quality but it was all worth the wait




We at Teach Your Heart Out!™️] are bringing you a brand new virtual and in person conference experience!

It’s game inspired and filled with challenges, prizes and amazing content.

It’s December 3rd & 4th and we would love for you to join us for this one of a kind experience!!

My session is all about proactive behavior strategies you can use in your classroom.

Want to attend? Head to Teach Your Heart Out!™️] to purchase your ticket

Photos from Structured Special Ed's post 19/10/2021

Low key obsessed with these mini treasure boxes I found at

I have my big treasure box that almost 99% of my students love and can always find something in there that is reinforcing

BUT I do have one student who doesn’t find anything in that big treasure box reinforcing

And that’s ok

So she has a little treasure box filled with her favorite reinforcers: mini erasers

Remember, reinforcers/reinforcement has to be preferred for it to work


I get asked a lot how I take and keep data and the best thing I ever did was switch electronic data

Not only is electronic data amazing but having QR codes for all my data forms is life changing

My friend Heather from told me how she does QR codes for her data and has a whole video on her IG that goes over how to do it

So if you are curious or want to make that switch too, definitely head to her IG of how to do online data forms and QR codes


I have been advocating for years now that we need to have SEL books in our school library for students to check out

Luckily, I have librarians who also fight the good fight and we have been able to get a ton of different SEL books and bundles for my libraries

It’s one thing to have them but it’s another to display them and highlight them and draw attention to them for the kids

I absolute loved walking into my library today to see another section of the library have SEL books on display 😍


I’m trying my hardest to leave work at work and not bring it home with me

And I’m not just talking about the physical work, I’m talking about the emotion, mental, stress and drama side to our jobs

So I printed out this reminder too to put on my mirror because it speaks to my soul after the week I just had

Reminding myself work is not my whole life

I am not to feel guilty for the work that didn’t get done because I was putting out too many fires, to the 170 emails that didn’t get read because I was pulled to cover others classes, the guilt over the 9 kids and 12 classes I didn’t see this week or had to miss because I was needed else where for other things because we are so understaffed in para and support roles

It’s hard when you love your job to not let it consume you and I’m trying really really hard this year to not let it


I needed this today

This week has been hard. This year has been hard. I’ve been holding it together at school, but I feel like barely as of recently

But then it’s moments like this when I walk into a class, all the kids cheer and a kid gives me this sign he made me for my office that remind me how much I love my job and why I do this for the kids

I really needed that moment today 🥰

Photos from Structured Special Ed's post 05/10/2021


We at are bringing you a brand new virtual and in person conference experience!

It’s game inspired and filled with challenges, prizes and amazing content.

It’s December 3rd & 4th and we would love for you to join us for this one of a kind experience!!

My session is all about proactive behavior strategies you can use in your classroom.

Want to attend? Head to to purchase your ticket


Loving this reminder so much I printed it off and taped it to my mirror

I needed this because my Sunday Scaries are back and my anxiety regarding this work week and our transfer is high

Reminding myself I can handle anything this week brings my way ✨


Can we all agree how important building relationships is.. this year especially

A great strategy for building relationships is a 2x10 strategy

A 2x10 strategy simply means you spend 2 minutes of quality time for 10 days straight to help build a relationship with a student

Tips that I’ve learned over the years when doing this with my students that makes this successful is:
1. Focus on building the relationship and highlighting connections you guys have like similar interests
2. Focus on their interests and let them talk about whatever they want to talk about that interests them
3. Listen. Try to spend a lot of the time listening and encourage them to share and talk. That will help you in the future gear things to their interests like work, reinforcers, etc
4. Avoid emotionally charged topics or topics that aren’t light. Easily redirect back to lighter less emotional topics and back to their interests or things you want to know about them

Your students will love spending that 1:1 adult time with you and it a really great way to provide positive attention and establish a great relationship


Louder for the people in the back 📣

If the kid doesn’t prefer it, like it, want it.. it’s not a reinforcer

So saying that a reinforcer doesn’t/didn’t work means it’s not a reinforcer

Reinforcers need to be preferred and they need to be varied and kids need to have choice when it comes to picking their own reinforcer

Make sure whatever you are using is what that kid wants more than anything else and if/when that reinforcer loses its value, change it. Reinforcers don’t work when they have lost their value or are no longer desired


Zones Check Ins ✨

We have rolled out Zones at both of my schools and I have been working with some teachers to incorporate zones check ins

I feel like there are so many great ways to do zones check ins but we wanted to focus on more personal ones, not giant posters on the wall for everyone’s emotions to be on display while kids are getting comfortable acknowledging and sharing their emotions

So we made these little desk ones that are laminated so they are be marked on, erased and changed as their emotions change throughout the day

Some teachers taped it down to the desk and for others we velcroed the visual to the desk and put students number on the back so they could circle it, take it off and turn it in to the teacher in a bucket to go through privately


Pretty sure this is the biggest pop it I have ever seen 😍

I’m just over here stealing my friend Heather’s giant pop it to impress my students

But real talk, we were talking about how this would be a great addition to a break area/sensory wall and we would just nail it to the wall

Debating getting one myself now 🤷🏻‍♀️


Our jobs have always been important but especially now in times like this, our jobs are so important and relationships with our students are key 🔑


I added these books to my personal library of professional books and they have been an amazing addition

In my SEL role, I have to support students with a vast variety of needs and these books along with other trainings I have done in my job have come so in handy for handling these big topics

If you are looking for books on these topics, check these out! They are from and worth every penny


I saw Kim from class post about how she uses her watch for reminders and thought that was a brilliant idea 🤯

So now I have various reminders set on my watch to remind me of random things o forget to do through the day like to drink water, check my mailbox and now I added in a daily “go home” one so I don’t stay late at school

Give me all the visual, I need them 🤗


Even though it’s 110 here in Arizona, I am ready for fall and busting out all my fall activities 🍂🧡

Still working with my primary students on emotions and zones and figured we would play fall zones bingo

I let kids build their own bingo boards with a variety of different emotions and then let students pick different cards to try and figure out the emotion and what zone it falls into

They are in love with these fall emotions pictures from and think they are the cutest! They demanding more fall SEL activities with these faces, so I guess I have to come up with some other fun ideas for them


So I’m jumping on the “print on post it notes” train and wow, I’m in love 😍

I mostly am using them right now as reminder notes on kids desks to remind them about their lunch bunch days with me but I am thinking of all the other amazing ways I can use them because I feel like possibilities are endless

Don’t sleep on this super easy and awesome idea.. it’s a game changer

I downloaded this free template off TPT that you can customize from


Want to know what I spent my prep making today.. more of these visual direction visuals that I absolutely love using with my students

I am even debating shrinking them down the size to put on my lanyard

I use these ikea picture frames and added some rings to it so I could flip through visuals and store them all in one spot and have it stand up on the table for kids to reference

These are great visuals to use or gesture to instead of repeating directions

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