Web 2.0

My district is moving towards having students use Google. Next year, school websites will be on Google as well. I stumbled across Kathy Schrock's Bloomin' Apps. She has a wonderful tech based website. She has broken down Google apps, IPad apps, and several others by Blooms Taxonomy.
My students love it when I can find ways to bring computers into their learning. (They know more than me half the time.) This will be great for the last month of school, to try them out and find ones that they love the most for next year. More to definitely to come, as we explore these apps.

Kindergarten Transition Time

It's that time of year at school, where my team gets together with our preschool team for transitions. I have found that even though it's a special education meeting, we spend most of the time talking about kindergarten looks like, smells like, and how it is different from preschool.
I like to think the my kindergarten team has set up something special. They have a full time para-professional plus both a special education and Title 1 reading specialist that go in for reading. We seem to be unique in this fashion. It helps us provide services in the room instead of pulling students out.

We work very hard with the preschool team to ensure that we get to know the student and their family. We want to make sure that the student is correctly placed in kindergarten-its a big move even with the adult support; having twice as many students than they are use to in preschool and having to stay all day can be hard. 

This year I created a hand out to give our incoming preschool parents, to give them some ideas about what they can do at home over the summer to help get ready for kindergarten. Because we can recieve a varity of student with a wide range of needs, I have other items that give to specific families where the preschool team thinks that coming to the "Big School" will be hard such as social stories and  before school visits in the fall. Many of our special education preschool students have syblings at our school and know it better I do. What else to your teams give out to parents to help them? I'd love to hear how other teams help preschool students and their parents transition into kindergarten.
Helping Your Child Get Off to a Good Start in Kindergarten

Grade Retention

It seems like after Spring Break classroom teachers start talking about students who they think need go be "held back." I should say that grade retention is NOT an intervention OR something that comes from special education. Research doesn't support retaining students. I do believe that it's a parent decision and they should be informed of both the long/short terms gains as well as the consequences of retention.

I always want to know what the teacher or parent is hoping to gain. What's point if you don't have plan in mind? What is going to be different for the student? If they didn't get the first time, what makes you think that they are going to getting if it is presented to them the same way again. You can't use it as a means to get someone identified for special education because you are comparing the student to their same aged peers. Retaining a student as a means to avoid or speed up the identification process can mess things up. That's because retention is not an intervention.
I have a kindergarten student with severe articulation difficulties which make it very hard for the classroom teacher to understand him. He also demonstrates many "attention-like" problem behaviors. The team has noticed that he is easily frustrated when he is not understood and can be very ornery with adults and kids in his class. This is student that needs to go to 1st even if he's not academically ready. Having him repeat kindergarten because of his "attention-like" behavior and his articulation will not make for a very productive 6th grade year for the adults in his life.

On the other hand, a mother of a different kindergarten student wants to retain her son to help close a language gap (3 plus years). He is currently where he should have been at the beginning of the school year. He didn't go to preschool. Missing that experience weights on his mother. Not going to preschool has made kindergarten very difficult for him and would most likly end up hating school by Christmas.

Our of the two kindergarten students the 2nd would be a better choice to retain. His language skills would grow and he could do some growing up. But at the end of the day it's parents who have to make that choice. My team supports the parents decision no matter they choose to do.

I have attached several articles that I would encourage you to read and pass on to teacher, parents, and administrators on the pros and cons in grade retention.

Grade Retention Is Grade Retention Right for Your Child Pros and Cons of Grade Retention Repeating a Grade

Autism Awarness

April is Autism Awareness Month.

CDC estimates 1in 88 U.S. children has autism

New estimates from the U.S. Centers forDisease Control and Prevention show that roughly 1 in 88 American children hasbeen diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, representing an increase ofmore than 20% over previous estimates. It is unclear why the number ofdiagnoses are on the rise, though some say the higher numbers are attributablein part to changes in strategies for screening, diagnosing and serving childrenwith the disorder. "One thing the data tells us with certainty: There are manychildren and families who need help," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director ofthe CDC.

Earlier this month I saw the heading. I know that in recent months there has been lots of talk about what the medical community isdoing with the DSM and the chages they wish to make to how Autism and otherSpectrem disorders are diagnosed. I have had more students with Autismmainstreamed into my school in recent years and am always looking for whatothers are doing to help students with Autism be successful in their homeschools.

I have added a page with information that has comemy way. Please let me know when links fail to work. As I find current andpowerful information I will add it to the page.

Autism is a hot topic this week in Colorado as weare hosting the CEC National Conference. The Council forExceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professionalorganization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals withdisabilities and/or gifts and talents. They have tons of information forclassroom teachers and parents.

Smiles and Sounds

One of my 6th grade students, has found Katie Perry's "Firework" inspiration this year and wanted to share a video that she found on You-Tube. It was created last spring by one of our local high schools. She has found strength and courage from it as she gets ready for middle school. I also smile and sing along when I hear it on the radio. (And at times dance)



Many of my students have mastered knowing the ending sounds are for words. But I have one that it's apart of his daily instruction as he gets ready for 1st grade. This set has the ones he struggles with. I hope you find it useful.
Final Set B M R S

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I'm Ms. Whiteley. I teach in the beautiful Mile High state--Colorado. This is my 13th year teaching in an rural K-6 Elementary school as a Exceptional Needs Teachers. As Exceptional Needs National Board Certified Teacher, I believe that ALL students can learn and be successful. When I'm not in school, I love to take my two Italian Greyhounds hiking 14ers and reaching for the stars. Thanks for Hopping By.
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