How Should Students With Learning Disabilities Be Identified? and Glogster Pictures

I came across this article posted on Education Week, "How Should Students With Learning Disabilities Be Identified?". It talks about how RTI has become the new "Wait and Fail" model. My team was told at the beginning of the school year, that RTI could not be used to delay or deny access to special education and an IEP. Colorado adapted RTI two years ago as the only means to identify a student with a learning disability. Each year we get a little bit better and create a stronger model to support students before they fail. This year we got really good at hold Student Study Teams monthly with classroom teachers. How does your building/district have RTI set-up?

Last week, I had my students practicing visualization using poetry. They had to pick a poem and them use pictures to describe what they saw while reading the poem. They had a blast using Glogster to create their visions. Here's a couple of examples:

Paperwork Overload and Something to Help

I can't see the bottom of my desk right now. I'm knee deep in all the end of the year paperwork while finishing a couple of IEPs. However, each May before I leave, I go through all my IEP files to make sure that they are up to date. This is a daunting task since I want to keep everything.  My district doesn't give a lot of direction on what needs to be kept because as long as the IEP is document is in the system. But, but, but what about your own copies? The data, progress monitoring, and the testing protocols. With the help of a former exceptional needs teacher, I create a Exceptional Needs Student Records form and both parents and teacher could use to track what information you have for each student folder. How do you organize your personal student records after each IEP meeting?
Exceptional Needs Student Records

Poetry, Visualization, and Glogster

Picturing Penguin
6th graders have wonderful visualization skills when paired with poetry. Last week (before our half day and field day) they started working of how to visually describe a poem in only pictures. Visualization is important because it means you have to infer using pictures. When readers visualize, students construct meaning by creating sensory images. I started with poetry to help my students gain a deeper understanding of inferring.

As a group, we started with Eloise Greenfield's "Honey, I Love and other Love Poems." Rope Rhyme helped students begin to think outside the box. I put both poems on an chart paper without the title. I wanted to group to infer a title before I told them. The group keyed into important words like "jump right in" and "clappedy-clappedy sound" to infer the poem was about jumping rope.  As we worked through the poems as a group, we created a list of things they saw. This list would then become the list of pictures they would go and find.

I also used "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to help a new student access the concept. She was able to see the poem and create a list of items that she could find pictures for. She list was more literal but with the help of the others in the group she added a space shuttle, moon,and  planets. The students each picked out their own poem to create a list of pictures that they could go and find that described the poem.

Once they had the list of pictures, they went looking for them on Google. When they have their pictures, they will go to Glogster to create the poster of their poem. The only words they can use are their name, the title and author of the poem. Nothing else. Pictures to come. How do you teach student visualization? Which mentor text have you found to be the best?

My new student joined us from out of state four weeks before the end of the year. I created both of these hand outs to help her classroom teacher understand Autism.
Tips for Working With Student With Autism Teaching Students With Autism

Summer Reading BINGO

Getting kids to read over the summer is hard. The last two years, we have sent all kids in our building home with 6 "just right" books to read over the summer. We do this in the hopes that all of them will read over the summer because we know that not every student has books at home or a way to get to the library.

No matter how hard I plead with parents and my kids to read, it never seems to work. As they begin the final countdown to Summer Break, I remind them how important reading is and try to hook them up with authors they might like. Plus making sure they all have a library card.

A couple of years ago, I came up with BINGO Summer Reading game to take them through different genre and places they could read over the summer. The ones that do come back get a prize and its added to our PTA sponsored drawing; for student's who did read over the summer.

How do you encourage students to read over the long break? I'd live to hear about your ideas!

Summer Reading Bingo

Web 2.0--Prezi

Earlier this week, I posted about using Web 2.0 tools to create a final product. Prezi was the first one I tried. (Free account for teachers to use for educational purposed only.) Prezi is like a Power Point but its much, much shorter. I kept students to the templates, so they had three boxes to put the key word that would help them remember what the main idea was. No sentences. Plus, it's easy for the students to use and it doesn't take days. I'm a big fan of short, sweet, and student friendly when it comes to technology.

For my comprehension reading groups, I use The Comprehension Toolkit by Stephanie Harvey & Anne Goudvis. They have written a Primary version as well that I use. The Toolkit teaches students comprehension strategies through gradual release.

My sixth graders have been working on using the strategy "Sift and Sort" to determine what is important to help them find the main idea. Once they have found the main idea and written it down, they move on to creating their Prezi. The group will present to each other on Monday.  Here's a look at what they look like. All on a single screen. As they move through the presentation the document will move to each header.

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

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