1. Find out the student's interest before the first day! (Conference or contact the parents... set the tone of working together as a team)
2. Read up on the interest if unfamiliar with the subject, character, etc.
3. Add information connected with the interest in the classroom (for example, books, stickers, websites, etc.)
4. Label and identify areas in the classroom (leisure area, quiet area, line-up area, circle time area, reading area, etc.)
5. Use visual supports (pictures, icons, written words, gestures, etc.) during verbal instructions
6. Encourage acceptance of differences in the classroom - model acceptance - positively reinforce students demonstrating acceptance
7. Come up with a theme, acronym, or jingle to help all students identify their purpose in the classroom. It is more than sitting at a desk - it is contributing one's strengths, helping, being a friend/encourager, etc. It is about being in a safe environment. (I've attached a theme a general ed. teacher used for her 1st grade students (T. Metteauer). Their entire school year focused on being "Partners" - being part of something special... a community of young, important individuals. )
8. Ensure all areas in the acronym, VICTORIES, are being addressed the first day - avoid waiting till later.. it is always easier to fade supports if/when needed. :)