Assessing without Language

A little background-This year, I have a student with autism who has limited verbal skills. This poses a small problem when being assessed on the DRA. As all my fellow teachers know the first part of the book is read aloud (depending on the level some more than others) with the comprehension either completed verbally or in writing.

In small group, he has had great success when he has prompts like the 5 "W's" or when he does his retell in pictures. But because the district has said, it must be administered as per the directions-which don't provide accommodations for these sort of things. My team and I have been working on coming up with ways that we could get a better idea of where he is truly an independent reader. Even though we have to us the DRA as written, we can create a way that takes the verbal piece mostly out of the picture and use that to drive his instruction.

My hope is that I'll have a product that will drive instruction and not just a DRA number. The student I designed this form has been out sick. So I'll have more to share next week. Have a great long weekend.




Beginning of the Year iPad apps

Throughout the previous school year, I collected 200 plus apps for student use. The problem-well-there is no way we would use all of them. So I had to come up with a plan on how I wanted to start the year off. That plan had to include attacking SAMR.


With the exception of a couple, I went with apps that I had students use the most. These should get use up and running. All the apps are on the first page with folders containing math games, off limits stuff, and apps that can be used later on. The ones on the first page are the ones we used the most last year. I'm hoping this will make it easier to find apps, and easy to add and change out as I need to. I love using the flowchart (below) to help me plan and make decisions on using iPads. Stay tuned for how I have students use them as the year begins. Have a great weekend.

Back 2 School Sale & Freebie

I reported this past Monday. Things have been nuts. I have a new team mate and new leadership again this year. So I'm little CRAZY right now. I've spent my week in training but I have a little freebie to help out your classroom teachers know a little about their IEPs. Yes, they should read the IEPs but we all know how nuts those the first week is.They don't have time to talk, since they have to get rooms ready before Back to School night. But knowing something of them as they are getting up and running is huge. I leave this with them and get back to them by the end of the first week. By Friday they are a little less nuts.

Everything in my store will be on sale Sunday and Monday. Make sure to check out the Special Education Binder (it has all the forms you you need and is editable) http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Special-Education-Binder-Editable-746955and the first 2 units for 1st Grade Math Investigations Units are backwards planned and ready for daily lesson planning http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Investigations-Mathematics-Adding-and-Subtracting-within-20-to-Solve-Problems-794139 and http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Investigations-Mathematics-Counting-Large-Quantities-and-Making-Ten-809094.

My fellow Colorado Bloggers and Pinners are also selling on TpT have some great products that you should check out:

Jean Martin's best selling novel study for Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  It is is wonderful book and teaches kids of all ages about tolerance and acceptance for kids who are different. Also promotes the understanding that who we are on the inside is what really counts.  This is a 5-8 novel study.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Novel-Study-for-WONDER-by-RJ-Palacio-395229

Kristy Morris's kindergarten one and second grade writing journals are a big hit with her students.

Naomi O'Brien's Common Core Main Idea unit is perfect for 1st and 2nd graders. Main Idea can be tricky for some kids! I used these sheets for morning work and had my kids confident about knowing what the main idea of a story was. 

Kristin Holmquist's "Find Someone Who" Math Bundle. Is perfect for 2nd to 4th graders. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Find-Someone-Who-Math-Bundle-627087  It's a great way to review math concepts at the end of the unit, or as a "refresher" anytime throughout the year. The best part is kids are up and out of their seats, working together, and learning from each other. 

Cecelia's, First Grade ELA and Math Common Core Morning Work. This is one of my top selling products.  It is so easy to use and assures teachers that students will be working on many Common Core Standards. For Math, it addresses 1. O.A.,1. N.B.T, I.M.D. and 1.G and in language arts,  the Common Core ELA Standards this morning work addresses  are 1 L.1, 1L.2, 1 R.L. 7, 1R. F. S. 1, 1R. F. S. 2, 1R. F. S. 3, and 1R. F. S. 4.  The product is is mostly back and white, so it will cost less to print. This 24 page product is what you need to keep kids busy while practicing skills so you can do all that you need to in the a.m. without interruption.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/First-Grade-Common-Core-Morning-Work-Literacy-and-Math-1st-Month-297277

To save money, you can purchase the entire year's worth of morning work at a 10% discount {not including the TPT Back to School Sale discount of 28%}.  So on August 18 and 19, using code BTS13, it will be an amazing 38% off:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Math-and-Literacy-Morning-Work-for-the-Entire-Year-First-Grade-649987

Pamela Kranz's Math Games Galore Bundle.  It's a collection of my favorite math computation, order of operations and place value games.  I love these games because they're easily differentiated, work well in a variety of learning situations (centers, solitaire, team challenges, whole class, homework), and are easy to leave for a substitute once the class knows how to play.  They're appropriate for grades 4-8.

Brenda Martin's language review week to week is aligned with Common Core.  It is an interchangeable bulletin board that helps students practice skills in a center type style. I really like this product because it covers so many standards and is so easy for teachers! 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Language-Review-Week-to-Week-The-Complete-Set-442491

Wanting ice cream, then Ashlyn Ellsworth's states of matter pack fits the bill. I love this product because first off I use it with my first graders and made this because there wasn't much out there to meet my science needs! The pack is easy to use and the kids love it. The science experiments are great.

Have fun shopping. I have a great week coming up and looking forward to seeing my students again. Enjoy the end of school and getting back to school.



Teaching Above the Line

I'm sure I'm not alone when it comes down to downing apps with the promise to play with them all later. Figure out which ones will work best for what and which ones are not so good. So in the ten months since I received my iPads I figure I have downloaded close to 200+ apps. Some great and others I wish I got remove from my cloud.


I prefer having my apps organized by Bloom's thinking which they have been since the beginning. (I talk about that in an earlier post there.) The problem was that keeping them all organized was tough. This year I'm moving to more SAMR thinking, so the apps that I want my students to be need to provide more than one way of thinking. Many are student favorites like Explain Everything and Haiku Deck. Others are plug and play like magnetic letters and all the math practice apps.

The plan this year is to "Teach Above the Line" when students use technology.  The apps I have pulled together represent a couple from each bubble with the plan being that these are the apps students will use the most and are now easy to find since they are not buried.

With hope, I will not take students to long to understand how we use apps when they come and I get some great products.  I'm back to school soon. Keep an eye out for my up-coming sale at my Teacher pay Teachers store. Enjoy summer while it lasts.

Common Core App

I have to share  a new app that I stumbled upon last week that I LOVE. Now I'm not one to pay for apps let alone twenty dollars for one. But I have to say Mentoring Minds Common Core K-12 Math app had everything I was looking in one place. The app is broken into three pieces: the K-12 Math Standards, Strategies and Vocabulary. 

 The standards are color coded and are broken down for easy navigation. From this menu, I can open up the standards to the specific grade level targets.

 The piece that I really love is once I open the specific target are the strategies. They provide other ideas in how to work on the target. From there I have the option to enter notes, precursors and successors for that target. I love that fact that I don't have to go looking to for the information what skills they should have mastered todo the grade level skill. And if students have mastered the grade level skill how to push the skill to the next level. I can send the task to classroom teachers with the share button. Mentoring Minds highlights if there is something they don't need to  know at a specific grade level. (Love this!)


The second section Strategies  has tons of information from accommodations and management to RTI and Critical Thinking. Each one has a page of ideas that can be easily implemented. Think twenty books in one place-makes planning with twenty books to one app. Just like there flipped charts in all right there. No more trying to remember where my Depth of Knowledge chart is or where the question stems are Bloom's.

 The last section Vocabulary covers all the common core math words that students need to know. I wish that there were pictures to support the words. But having short and simple definitions makes planning word walls easier.


I was very unsure when I bought this app that it would have everything I was looking for. As you can see you get tons for the twenty dollars.  I have bought the ELA app as well but have not played with it but understand it is set-up the same way. I'm cheap when it comes to buying apps but I love this one just for the simple fact that the strategies and what comes before and after the target are outlined for me. Its less stuff to find or to bring home when I'm planning. This app has been helpful when planning math for one of my tutoring clients. I can't wait to use the app when school starts.

I'm enjoying the last days of my summer break. Happy End of Summer and Beginning of the School Year.


Currently in August

I'm linking up with Farley again for her August Currently. I still have a week before I have to go back.


I'm listening to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare before it opens in the movies. Its been an interesting read. I'm hoping to finish it before going back. I'm loving the cooler weather. I doubt it will last much longer but the rain in the afternoon has been great for walking my dogs first thing and still have time to get a run in before it heats up. I have to set up my iPads for the beginning of the year but just not gotten to it yet. (Will share when I figure it out). I hate unpacking my classroom. I'll need to suck it up and go in and get that done before heading back in a week. I'm needing to train two new teammates and bring them up to speed. I will need to update my data charts with last years state assessment data once I have it. This information will help make decisions for the coming months. What I always do once back--Starbucks, lunch with teachers at least once before the end of the first week back, and have the first couple of units planned out and ready to go. (This I have done of math and reading.)



Have a great weekend, enjoying the time before returning to school.



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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