School District: Katy ISD
Position: Autism Teacher
Shanna Bodenhamer teaches in an Autism classroom at Katy Independent School District in Texas. She has been using Rethink for the past year and has found it invaluable in her classroom. She uses the program for everything from data collection to training her paraprofessionals. We wanted to find more about the fabulous work she is doing to support her students, so we asked Shanna about how she is using Rethink and what she has found most valuable:
Rethink: Can you describe how you have incorporated Rethink into your classroom routines and teaching practice?
Shanna: I use Rethink for overall program development including, developing the FBA and BIP, writing goals and objectives, creating materials, collecting data, and analyzing program effectiveness. There are also lesson plans and materials available for each goal and I have incorporated these resources into my instruction. What I like about Rethink is that it can be used during the entire teaching process from start (assessments) to finish (measuring progress).
“What I like about Rethink is that it can be used during the entire teaching process from start to finish.”
Rethink: In your 1 year using Rethink, what have you found to be the most valuable aspects of Rethink to your instruction and/or students?
Shanna: What I have found to be the most valuable aspect of using Rethink is the graphing of the student’s data collection. Prior to Rethink, I would spend hours creating them myself using an Excel program. Rethink makes it easy to enter data into the student’s program and creates a graph that can be printed for student files or parent conferences.
Rethink: Do your paraprofessionals utilize Rethink?
Yes. Rethink offers professional development videos and assessments. When our district first started using Rethink, myself and the paraprofessionals that I work with, watched the videos and took the assessments. As the teacher in the classroom, I am responsible for providing paraprofessional training. The Rethink videos are one useful tool that can be incorporated to provide professional development.
My paraprofessionals use the data collection sheets that can printed from the student’s program and they each have access to enter data for the students with whom they work.
Rethink: What is one problem or issue you have had in your classroom that Rethink helped solve?
Shanna: The hours and hours I spent graphing and analyzing data!!!
Rethink: What advice would you give to a teacher new to Rethink?
Shanna: When I first started using Rethink, I used the sample student’s profile so that I could practice using all of Rethink’s features without worrying whether or not I was going to ruin anything. Another suggestion is to set small goals for yourself (i.e. This week, I will complete the assessment on all of my students. Next week, I will complete the BIP for each student). Rethink has many features that are beneficial to a variety of classrooms. It will take time to learn to use each feature proficiently so it is best to not overwhelm yourself. Find small ways to incorporate Rethink into the flow of your classroom.
Rethink: Have you been able to use Rethink to bridge the gap between home and school?
Shanna: In the materials section of the behavior management portion, there are resources such as token boards and visual schedules. At the end of last year, I provided a group parent training on the topic of establishing routines and behavior management during the summer months. I used the visual schedules from the Rethink materials section and provided each parent with a schedule that was appropriate for their child. An important aspect of my job is providing families with the resources they need. It was nice having easy access to materials in order to help my students and their families.
Rethink: Why do you believe Rethink is valuable to special educators?
From a behavior aspect, Rethink provides an evidence-based approach to developing a behavior intervention program, data collection, data analysis, and reporting progress. From an academic aspect, Rethink provides assessments, goals, lesson plans, lesson materials, and instructional videos. Rethink is easy to incorporate into any classroom whether it is self-contained or inclusion based.
I began my journey with Rethink in a self-contained classroom but have transitioned to supporting an inclusion based program. The great thing is that Rethink made the transition with me and I have found that it can meet the needs of a variety of classrooms.