Swipe Files for Special Educators?

Learn how to make one quickly and say goodbye to those paperwork stacks!

As the beginning of the school year approaches, many of us are already thinking about the vast amount of paperwork that awaits us. From IEP meetings to progress reports, the load can sometimes feel overwhelming (to say the least!).

But what if I told you there's a way to make things easier?

Introducing Special Education Swipe Files!

What is a swipe file?

A swipe file is NOT an educational term, so no worries if you've never heard of it. It actually stems from the marketing and advertising world and refers to a file of examples and maybe even “cheat sheets” you can refer to whenever you need a bit of inspiration.

What does this have to do with paperwork?

You can create a swipe file that will keep those everyday tasks and documents in one organized space. The end result will be an one-page (or two) document that you can refer to over and over again.

Sound good? Let's get started!

1. Gather Documents – The first step is to think of all those repeating tasks we do as special educators – there's SO many! For this blogpost example, let's focus in on one important task we're all familiar with: the IEP process.

In this step, gather all the forms you need for your next meeting. These forms may come from your district, school, TPT purchases, and your own archives. By the end of this step, you'll most likely be doubting this process because right now you're looking at a HUGE pile of papers.

2. Put in Order – I promise this will get better, please stick with the process! It's now time to put allllll those documents in order. You can also start weeding out the duplicates. Do you have five different versions of an IEP reminder note? Pick your favorite go-to (just one). As this paperwork stack starts shrinking, put these tasks in chronological order as you would reach for them.

Here's my example for the IEP Process:

3. Fill in the Gaps – At this point, you may be noticing there are a few holes to fill. The best part of this process, is that now you know exactly what you have AND what you still need. That's so much better than seaching endlessly through your files and trying to remember where something is.

Find the missing documents at Positively Learning on TPT or checking inside the BIG bundle (if you don't find it, send me a request!) and add them to your list.

4. Hyperlink (the final step and BEST part! ) – By now you have a pile of documents (or pdf files) and they are in some type of order that makes sense to you. The last step is to organize the actual documents in order.

Choose your favorite digital format – Google docs, Excel, Airtable, Google Keep…

NOTE: If you are tuning out because you'd rather stay paper-based, please stick with me through this process! You can DEFINITELY create a concrete swipe file, but it will be easy to organize it digitally first.

To complete this step, you'll simply create a table with two columns:

THAT'S IT! If you've made it this far, congratulations! Now you have an one-stop location for all the paperwork files.

  • No more searching and trying to remember what you named a document back in 2017.
  • No more sitting in a meeting and wondering if you have everything you need.
  • No more last minute IEP prepping and realizing you're missing on crucial form.

Now I have two questions for YOU!

  1. What are you going to do with all your free time?
  2. What should we create a swipe file for next?

If you need a done-for-you swipe file A.S.A.P., I've tucked one into the Special Educators Resource Room Bundle (look in the IEP and 504 category).

Thanks so much for reading!

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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