Showing posts with label parents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parents. Show all posts

March Pinterest Pick 3

 Happy March! 3 weeks to a 2 week Spring Break. But between now and then only parent-teacher conferences and crazy Colorado weather!

Progress reports aren't going home until May. My teach has been working on ideas to increase our parent communication through the year without adding to the work load. This month that's what I'm sharing with you. Some free ideas that are easy to do.






  
Newsletters are easy and can be a once a month blast to parents to say the goings on in the department. I have used them in the past and the hard part is the content but once it's done it was easy to reuse from year to year. Newsletters also make it easy to share other important ideas with parents like reading strategies or other strategies parents are use at home.




I love the idea of using technology to make my life easier. From this list I'm trying Boomerang with my school gmail account. Its made writing easier the night before or making sure I send emails to parents about progress or what we are you to. Because students come and go the other ideas here don't really work of me. I do work with teachers that have found great success with Class Dojo and parents love having that feedback. 



I LOVE Google. It makes my life as a teacher so easy to communication and collaborate with them with behaviors or just daily work on goals. The ideas here have helped me think outside the box on how I could use the same ideas with parents. 





MTSS What???

The Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) definition of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) provides a basis for understanding how Colorado educators can work together to ensure equitable access and opportunity for all students to achieve the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). MTSS includes Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) as well as additional, distinct philosophies and concepts. Colorado is not the only state moving towards this model.

Within Colorado, there are six Essential Components in the Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework.

  • Shared Leadership
  • Data-Based Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Layered Continuum of Supports
  • Evidence Based Instruction, Intervention, and Assessment Practices
  • Universal Screening and Progress Monitoring
  • Family, School, and Community Partnering (FSCP)

CDE’s Definition of MTSS

In Colorado, MTSS is an integrated, comprehensive framework that focuses on CCSS, core instruction, differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs, and the alignment of systems necessary for all students’ academic, behavioral, and social success. Colorado has a long history of providing numerous systems of support. These include the interventions within the RtI2 processes, supports including Special Education, Second Language Learners and gifted and talented programs. MTSS offers the potential to create needed systematic change through intentional design and redesign of services and supports that quickly identify and match the needs of all students.

Comparing MTSS to RtI2

CDE’s RtI2 processes focus on students who are struggling and provide a vehicle for teamwork and data-based decision making to strengthen their performances before and after educational and behavioral problems increase in intensity.

MTSS Differences with RtI2

MTSS has a broader scope than does RtI2. MTSS also includes:

  • Focusing on aligning the entire system of initiatives, supports, and resources.
  • Promoting district participation in identifying and supporting systems for alignment of resources, as well as site and grade level.
  • Systematically addressing support for all students, including gifted and high achievers.
  • Enabling a paradigm shift for providing support and setting higher expectations for all students through intentional design and redesign of integrated services and supports, rather than selection of a few components of RtI and intensive interventions.
  • Endorsing Universal Design for Learning instructional strategies so all students have opportunities for learning through differentiated content, processes, and product.
  • Integrating instructional and intervention support so that systemic changes are sustainable and based on CCSS-aligned classroom instruction.
  • Challenging all school staff to change the way in which they have traditionally worked across all school settings.

MTSS is not designed for consideration in special education placement decisions, such as specific learning disabilities. MTSS focuses on all students in education contexts.

MTSS Similarities to RtI2

MTSS incorporates many of the same components of RtI2, such as

  • Supporting high-quality standards and research-based, culturally and linguistically relevant instruction with the belief that every student can learn including students of poverty, students with disabilities, English learners, and students from all ethnicities evident in the school and district cultures.
  • Integrating a data collection and assessment system, including universal screening, diagnostics and progress monitoring, to inform decisions appropriate for each tier of service delivery.
  • Relying on a problem-solving systems process and method to identify problems, develop interventions and, evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention in a multi-tiered system of service delivery.
  • Seeking and implementing appropriate research-based interventions for improving student learning.
  • Using school-wide and classroom research-based positive behavioral supports for achieving important social and learning outcomes.
  • Implementing a collaborative approach to analyze student data and working together in the intervention process.

MTSS and RtI2

The similarities and differences between Colorado’s MTSS and RtI2 processes. Both rely on RtI2’s data gathering through universal screening, data-driven decision making, problem-solving teams, and are focused on the CCSS. However, the MTSS process has a broader approach, addressing the needs of all students by aligning the entire system of initiatives, supports, and resources, and by implementing continuous improvement processes at all levels of the system.

My take away from this shift is that MTSS was created to provide enrichment and support for ALL learners. Whereas with RTI it was just those students who were not there closing achievement gaps.

Beginning Writing Skills in Preschoolers

It’s easy to keep track of your preschooler’s growth in height and weight. But how can you measure your child’s development in other areas? For instance, can you tell if there is learning and mastering age-appropriate writing skills? The questions and tips that follow will help you understand what type of early writing skills your 3- and 4-year-old child should be developing and how you can support her budding writing skills.

What are age-appropriate writing skills for Preschool?

The most important thing for parents to remember is that writing during the preschool years is, well, messy! The goal is to help children understand how writing works, that it connects in meaningful ways to reading, and that it communicates information, through words and symbols. Do they:

  • Express ideas and stories through pictures she draws?
  • Use pencils, crayons, and markers for drawing and writing?
  • Copy and draw lines and circles, and symbols like “X” and “+”?
  • Attempt (with some success) to write some of the letters in her first name?
  • Show an understanding of how writing and drawing help us communicate and function in everyday life?

What to do at home?

Now that you understand some of the beginning writing skills your child should have, you can reinforce those skills and help her make further progress. It’s easy to practice writing with your child throughout the day. Here are some activities to try:

  • Let your child use writing tools such as pencils, washable markers, chalk, and crayons. Gather and organize these materials, along with some paper, in a box that your child can decorate and have access to.
  • Encourage your child to use drawing to express ideas and tell stories.
  • Show your child that written words are a part of daily life. From grocery lists and email messages to billboards and signs in stores, writing is everywhere!
  • Teach your child to print her first name. (Be patient, as this will take practice.) This is very empowering for a preschooler!
  • Label your child’s belongings with her name. And, let your child label some of her own things (such as a notebook or crayon box).
  • Let your child mold clay letters for hands-on practice shaping letters of the alphabet.
  • Help your child create a pretend menu using pictures of food from newspapers and magazines


Promoting early writing skills at preschool

There is a growing emphasis on structured learning in today’s preschools and while there is still plenty of play time, time in school tends to follow a more rigorous curriculum than in the past. To keep track of how well your young child is learning to write, you’ll want to:

  • Ask your child’s teacher how writing is being taught and practiced – and whether your child is doing well or struggling.
  • Find out what specific early writing skills your child will need to master in order to have a successful start in kindergarten.
  • Collect samples of your child’s writing in the work and projects she brings home, display them at home, and discuss them together.
  • Encourage your child to talk about school and learning, and try to gauge how she feels about writing.

Cause for concern? 

If you’re worried that your child’s writing skills are below-average for her age group, rest assured that not all preschoolers learn to write at the same pace. However, you may want to seek help if your child:

  • Dislikes and avoids writing and copying.
  • Is late in learning to copy and write.
  • Has trouble remembering the shapes of letters and numbers.
  • Frequently reverses or otherwise incorrectly draws letters, numbers, and symbols.

An IEP Meeting--What Parents Should Know

It is important that parents become informed and involved in their child’s education. There are many sources of information and support in your state. However, the more skills you have and the more information you learn, the better you can advocate for your child. Over the past few years we have found that parents tend to make some common mistakes during the Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting. The following is a list of the common mistakes and some suggestions for avoiding them:

1.  Believing the professionals are the only experts.
It can be very intimidating to sit at a table with several educators and professionals. Professionals and Educators do bring a great deal of knowledge and experience to the table. Although most parents do not have a background or degree in education, they have a great deal of knowledge and experience regarding their child. Parents are experts in their own right; they also provide historical information and the big picture from year to year. They know what works and does not work with their child and can be a great asset to the IEP team.

Parents have an intuitive sense as to what is appropriate for their child. After working with parents for eleven years, I'm still amazed at how parents are usually intuitively correct about what will work for their child. I encourage parents to follow their hunches. If something does not sound right, check it out.

2.  Not making requests in writing.
Any request a parent makes needs to be in writing. This includes requests for assessments, IEP meetings, correspondence, related services, etc. Written requests are important because they initiate timelines that the school district must follow in response to your request. This will also create a paper trail. When you write a letter be sure to send it certified mail. When you have a discussion by phone with a school official, write a letter that briefly outlines what you talked about. Documenting your conversations helps prevent miscommunication.

3.  Not being familiar with Prior Notice of the Procedural Safeguards (34 CFR 300.503)
All sections of the Procedural Safeguards are important to parents. This particular section gives parents some leverage during the IEP meetings. Whenever parents make a request for their child in the IEP meeting, the IEP committee is required under Prior Notice to provide the parents with written notice with a reasonable period of time. The notice must include the following:
A description of the action proposed or refused.
An explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
A description of any other options that the agency considered and the reasons why those options were rejected;
A description of each evaluation procedure, test, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;
A description of any other factor that is relevant to the agency’s proposal or refusal.

Prior Written Notice is sent home every time the Service Page is changed. This page holds all the information that changes a child’s time in and out of the class, as well as the types of services. This also includes any changes to a child’s Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

4.  Allowing the assessment information to be presented for the first time at the IEP meeting.
Parents are entitled to have the assessment information explained to them before the IEP meeting. I encourage parents to have the person who administered the assessment give them a copy of the report and meet with them to explain the report several days before the IEP meeting. I go so far as send the reports home three days before the meeting. This enables the parents to think through the information before making decisions for their child. If all IEP decisions are based on the information from the assessment, it only makes sense for the parents to be knowledgeable and informed about the assessment results in a way they can understand.

5.   Accepting goals and objectives that are not measurable.
Measurable goals and objectives are paramount for your child’s IEP. Without measurable goals and objectives, it is difficult to determine if your child has had a successful school year. In working with parents, we have encountered many IEP goals and objectives that are not measurable.

All goals and objectives should come from assessment data. Assessment has four different components: 1) Formal assessment (i.e., WIAT, Woodcock-Johnson, Brigance), 2) Informal assessment (i.e., classroom work), 3) Teacher/parent observation, and 4) Interviews. After the information has been collected about the student it is compiled into an assessment report. Recommendations on how to work with the student are listed toward the end of the report.

After the assessment has been completed, the IEP committee determines the student’s present level of performance (PLOP) and states what the student is currently able to do. The committee then develops the IEP goals and objectives. The goals state what the student is expected to accomplish by the end of the year. Objectives break the goals down into increments. For example:

PLOP
Based on the Brigance and classroom work, Johnny is currently able to read on a fourth grade level with 90% mastery.

Goals
By the end of the school year Johnny will be able to read on a fifth grade level as measured by the Brigance and classroom work with 80% mastery.

Objectives
By October 1, Johnny will be able to read-on fourth grade, second month level with teacher assistance as measured by the Brigance and classroom work with 80% mastery.

By January 1, without teacher assistance, Johnny will be able to read on a fourth grade, sixth month level as measured by the Brigance and classroom work with 80% mastery.

A method of determining if your goals and objectives are measurable is to ask someone who is not on your IEP team to read them (i.e., a teacher, another parent, advocate, etc.). Then ask “Hypothetically, if you were to go into the classroom, would you be able to see my child working on these goals and objectives?” If someone outside of your IEP team cannot answer “yes”, then the goals and objectives are not measurable.

6. Allowing placement decisions to be made before IEP goals and objectives are written. Many times after assessment is discussed, the IEP committee will determine the child’s placement. Goals and objectives are always written before placement is discussed. To ensure that the child is placed in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), the IEP committee must determine: Which of these goals and objectives can best be met in the general classroom?

With any remaining goals and objectives that cannot be met in the general class-room, the committee determines: Which of these goals and objectives can be best met in the general classroom with modifications and support?

This line of inquiry continues until all placement options have been decided upon for all the goals and objectives. The committee must always start with the LRE and then work toward a more restrictive environment only as necessary. IDEA is very clear that the IEP committee must always consider the general education classroom as the first option for students with disabilities.

7. Allowing your child’s IEP meeting to be rushed so that the school staff can begin the next child’s IEP meeting.

This practice is particularly common at the end of the school year when we are frantically trying to have IEP meetings for all the students who receive special education services. IEP meetings may be held one right after another. There is no problem with this practice as long as the members of the IEP team feel that all issues have been adequately discussed. Many times, however, parents feel rushed. It is important that all issues are adequately addressed before ending the IEP meeting. When the teachers have not planned adequate time to address all relevant issues, request that the IEP team meet again at a more convenient time to further discuss your child’s education.

8. Not asking a lot of questions.
It is very important to ask questions and lots of them. Educators use many terms and acronyms specific to special education. Parents may become confused when these terms are used during the IEP meeting. This can add to the frustration that a parent may already be feeling when they do not under-stand what is being said. It is important to ask what the terms or acronyms mean. Unless a parent has a background in special education, they are not expected to know the terms and acronyms.  Informed decisions cannot be made when parents do not understand what is being discussed.

At some point in time everyone has made all the mistakes listed above. I have developed the habit of debriefing after every IEP meeting to discuss the team performance during the meeting. As a team, we have gradually accumulated information and developed skills and we continue to trust our intuition. This has helped our team at all our IEP meetings. It’s well worth the extra time. If you have questions talk with your IEP team.


Supporting Parents with IEP process

As a parent, you have the right to participate in all of your child’s IEP meetings. In fact, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law governing special education, lists parents first on the list of required members of a student’s IEP team.

They play an important role in decisions about where and how their child will be taught. This is referred to as “placement.” This term covers not only which classroom or school your child is placed in, but also which services will be included in their IEP. Services can include things like one-on-one sessions with a speech therapist or the use of assistive technology.

“You may not be an expert about special education, but you are an expert about your child.” IDEA says that the IEP team cannot change a child’s placement without giving a parent a chance to challenge that change. During the process (which is called dispute resolution), the student has the right to remain in their current placement.

Parents participate throughout the IEP process. A parent’s input is important throughout the IEP process. This starts with their child’s first evaluation and continues right through to the transition plan in his high school IEP. The school knows your child as a student. Some members of the team may only know him “on paper"—through test results, for instance. But a parent represents their child in a very personal way.

Helping the team assess your child’s skills: The IEP is based on something called “the present level of academic achievement and functional performance” (known as PLAAFP, PLP or PLOP). In short, this means they need to how your child is doing now so they can measure his future progress. A parent’s input about how your child functions at home is valuable to PLOP. Parents might share that their child has meltdowns while doing algebra homework but has no problems with other kinds of math. These observations help the IEP team figure out weaknesses, strengths and level of academic skills.

Coming up with educational goals: Once PLOP is established, parents with the rest of the IEP team are required to write measurable annual goals for your child. Your input can help define and refine goals so they’re realistic but still ambitious. Annual goals give students and teachers something concrete to work toward. They also help hold the school accountable for addressing student’s needs.
Parents--Keeping an eye on services and supports: Your child is supposed to receive supports and services that are tailored to his needs. But it’s easy for a busy special education department to apply a “standard” set of supports and services to all students with a certain disability. As a parent, you can make sure the IEP is designed with your child in mind.

What if you’re concerned that the promised services and supports aren’t being provided? Follow up with someone on the team your child’s teachers, special education director or anyone else you feel comfortable talking to. Approaching the school in a collaborative spirit is usually the best way to start. But you can take more formal steps (such as writing a letter of complaint) if you don’t get the answers and action you believe are necessary.

Parents create continuity.

Parent’s role as a member of the IEP team is valuable from start to finish. Your child’s teachers, special education providers and schools may change. But as a parent you remain a constant in your child’s life. You’ll watch him learn, stumble, adapt and succeed.

When your child reaches high school, he’ll be expected to participate as a member of his IEP team and help develop a transition plan. He’ll take the lead as you shift from being his primary advocate being his “coach.”
Through it all, you can support your child and help him develop the self-awareness and self-advocacy skills he’ll need in the future.

6 Things to Help Early Readers

Three key research conclusions that support seeking help early are:
  • 90 percent of children with reading difficulties will achieve grade level in reading if they receive help by the first grade.
  • 75 percent of children whose help is delayed to age nine or later continue to struggle throughout their school careers.
  • If help is given in fourth grade, rather than in late kindergarten, it takes four times as long to improve the same skills by the same amount.

Yet identification is only the beginning. Effective and intense intervention must be offered immediately. Students who lag behind their peers must be given extra help. These groups should be fluid with students moving in and out as they master skills.

Early signs of difficulty should not be based on immaturity but data. When a kindergarten child confuses letters, associates the wrong sound with a letter, or cannot tell you a rhyme, it usually has nothing to do with social maturity. These warning signs do not necessarily mean a reading disability; these signs may indicate poor preschool preparation. They may not been exposed to letters and letter sounds, they usually catch on quickly once exposed. It is only after instruction has been provided and the child is still struggling that one can conclude there may be a more serious problem.

Key Six Pre-Reading Skills
(for children from birth through 5 years)


Print Motivation

  • Being excited about and interested in books
  • What can you do?
  • Make sure book sharing time is fun.
  • For children with short attention spans, keep it short, but read more often.
  • Don’t get upset when they put books in their mouths.
  • Read books you enjoy.
  • Choose books about things that interest the child.
  • Read with a natural, but cheerful voice.

Print Awareness

  • Understanding that print on a page represents words that are spoken, knowing how to follow words on a page, and knowing how to hold a book.
  • What can you do?
  • Allow children to handle the book and turn pages.
  • Use your finger to point out words as you move across the page.
  • Pointing out signs in your environment.
  • Read books with large bold print.
  • Introduce the cover and talk about the author and illustrator.

Phonological Awareness

  • Understanding that words are made up of smaller sounds. Hearing and playing with smaller sounds in words. Phonological Awareness comes before phonics.
  • What can you do?
  • Encourage your baby to babble, changing the beginning sounds.
  • Sing songs. Clap along with the song. Use rhythm sticks and shakers.
  • Do action rhymes.
  • Learn nursery rhymes. For older children, substitute a non-rhyming word in place of the rhyming word and see if they notice the difference.
  • Read books with rhyming texts.
  • Play “Say it fast; say it slow.” Butterfly Butt er fly Turtle Tur tle

Vocabulary

  • Knowing the names of things, feelings, concepts, and ideas. Knowing the meaning of words and connecting words to objects, events, or concepts in the world.
  • What can you do?
  • Any book will help with this, but choosing ones with words not used in daily conversation and nonfiction books are especially helpful.
  • Label things.

Narrative Skills

  • Being able to describe things and events. Being able to tell and understand stories.
  • What can you do?
  • Talk with children about what you are doing. Ask them “What?” or other open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No.”
  • Ask, “What happens next?”
  • Allow young children time to respond. Be patient.
  • Tell stories.
  • Encourage pretend play.
  • Let them help you tell flannel board stories.
  • Read stories with a beginning, middle, and end.

Letter Knowledge

  • Understanding that letters are different from each other. Recognizing letters and knowing that they have different names and sounds.
  • What can you do?
  • Let babies play with shapes.
  • Allow children to handle letter shapes.
  • Learn the alphabet song.
  • Read alphabet books and books about shapes.
  • Books where you have to find things.
  • Help your child identify the first letter in his/her name. Then find that letter in books, on signs, and other things in the environment.

The Importance of Memorizing the Times Tables (plus freebie)

One of the hardest math concepts is learning multiplication is an essential part of a student’s elementary education. It’s the foundation for more complex math student encounter as they move through school.

Why memorize the times tables?

Just like everything in life to do more complex task like walking before running learning
multiplication and memorizing the times tables are building blocks for other math topics taught in school - higher learning such as division, long multiplication, fractions and algebra. Students who have not memorized the times tables will find these levels of math much more difficult than they need to be. Students who have not mastered their tables will very often fall behind in math and begin to lose confidence.  Multiplication is used in our daily lives. You might need it when doubling a recipe, determining a discount at a store or figuring out our expected arrival time when traveling.

Calculators?

Calculators are great tools for figuring out complex calculations. However, using a calculator takes much longer for simple facts and can result in keying errors. Students who rely on calculators are also weak in estimating skills and are unaware of wrong answers that occur from keying mistakes. In Colorado and on most high stakes tests calculators are not allowed in many tests and admission exams—they have to use paper and don’t have the time to work them the using strategies.

Understanding or memorization or both?

It's not one or the other, it's both. A student must understand and memorize the facts. Early on, a student needs to understand what multiplication is - the grouping of sets, repeated addition, and a faster way of adding. Show them this with an assortment of manipulatives, by skip counting and by using arrays. As they master the basics, expand upon this concept by creating interesting word problems. Eventually comes a time to highlight the importance of rapid recall. Students need to know that they should recall the answer instantaneously. This is why quizzing and practicing need to happen at the same time.

Have fun together in this process. One of my favorite ways is to use games!  It's always a good review and opportunity for the whole family to exercise their brains.

How Parents Can Help Their Child Memorize the Times Tables

1. Make sure there is understanding.
2. Explain why it is important.
3. Demonstrate what fast recall is.
4. Be interested in math yourself.
5. Find out what facts they already know.
6. Involve your child in the goal setting process.
7. Focus primarily on the facts they need to learn.
8. Use a chart to monitor progress.
9. Provide encouragement along the way.
10. Spend quality time together practicing.
11. Acknowledge their success.
12. And most importantly: Have fun!





Spelling-How to Help

Like many of the kids I work with I dislike spelling. Growing up with parents who could spell anything (they were way older than me in grade school)-spelling with hard. I had to always work at it. Even now I have to double if not triple check my spelling before sending out an email, writing a note to parents, or just writing a paper. Today, I have some ideas for parents to help out with spelling as a family.

If you were to ask kids to name their most hated subject, most of them would say spelling, surprisingly not math. Many students struggle with their spelling words and the repetition of writing the words over and over doesn’t seem to help. This leads many students to become frustrated and to giving up.

At some point, a student may even ask, “Why do I have to learn spelling words?” Learning spelling words is important to the student’s future. Spelling words help lay the basic foundation students will need throughout his education and life.

Spelling is important because it aids in reading. It helps cement the connection that is shared between sounds and letters. Learning high frequency sight words also has been shown to help with both reading and writing. This is why students learn sight words during their early years. Spelling and reading also have a common factor, proficiency with language.

Student should be relaxed about spelling; if not, it will inhibit their writing. They will be less willing to write out their assignments. When you listen to a struggler speller speak or read something that he or she has written, it is impossible to not notice that their choice of words may be poor or limited. This is very unfortunate because writing is something that we do throughout our lifetimes.

Bad spelling also gives others a bad impression about you. No matter what you say, if the spelling is poor, the reader will notice this before anything else. Punctuation errors often go unnoticed, but everyone notices spelling errors.

As students get older and progresses through various grades, they will have to write reports and papers. Instructors at all grade levels, including the university level, will grade harshly on poor spelling. This will invariably affect the student’s grade and possibly determine his future success in life.

Resumes are typically written using various writing software programs. Even poor spellers feel comfortable writing resumes with these systems, but what most people don’t realize is that spell check is not 100% accurate. Just begin you don’t see a green or red line, that does not mean that there are no errors in your resume. If your spelling ability is strong, you do not have to worry about not being able to see your own mistakes. A poorly written resume will not get you a job; it will get you one of those meaningless, “we’ll call” sendoffs.

You cannot place your entire future on the line by not being able to spell. Not only is the ability to spell necessary in most occupations, but a person also needs to be able to spell well in order to be able to communicate and take notes and directions. You could be trying to write someone a note that could possibly save his life, but if the person only sees a note filled with misspelled words, then that person may not be able to comprehend what you’re saying. It’s a stretch, but the message is clear. Spelling is so very important.

Here’s a few things you can do at home:
  • Don't get on his case or criticize her about his spelling. Keep your encounters very positive. Praise his effort. Just keep the mind-set of a spelling coach, not a spelling critic.
  • Are you reading to him for 30 minutes a night? You should be. Always hold the book so that he can see the text. Encourage him to look at the text as you read. The more she sees words spelled correctly, the more he'll internalize the correct spellings.
  • Buy him a simple spiral notebook, and call it him spelling notebook. Buy him a children's dictionary with relatively large type and make sure he knows how to use it. Keep them both in a prominent place, like on the kitchen counter. But this isn't for you, this is for him. Every time he notices that he has misspelled a word, he should look it up in the dictionary and then write that word over and over on a page of him spelling notebook, like 25 times, saying it aloud each time so that it's a multisensory process. That's how he can "set it in stone." This is how a phonics-only curriculum teaches spelling at the same time as handwriting and reading.
  • Kids love games, and they love to see how their parents draw. So put those two together, and make a funny worksheet with lots of words that he tends to misspell and cartoons depicting them. Have your child "correct" YOUR spelling.
  • Let's say your child is very sensitive and you don't want to have him get down on himself about spelling. So don't make a big deal out of it. When you look at him school papers and notice misspelled words, don't say a thing. Just make a mental note. Then get yourself a set of handy, dandy index cards. Write a word that your child has misspelled on a card, and put it on your fridge as "The Word of the Day." At dinner, everyone in your family should use that word in a sentence. Have fun with it! If you did this every night for a year, there couldn't be very many words left in a child's vocabulary that he doesn't already spell correctly, or that you haven't covered!

Types of Articulation Errors

I think one of the hardest things to do is support speech kidoos who are making articulation errors. Being in a school where the Speech Pathologist comes by once or twice a week makes it hard to collaborate with them let alone have time to figure out when to recommend them for a formal evaluation.


Speech sound production is a complex process that involves precise planning, coordination, and movement of different articulators (such as the jaw, lips, teeth, tongue).

Correct articulation produces clear speech. Another name for clear speech is intelligibility. Errors in speech sound production are known as articulation errors. Articulation errors are common in children when they first learn to speak.

An example of this is a young child who says “wabbit” for “rabbit.” Most children eventually outgrow such speech errors, which are a normal part of learning to produce new sounds.

When a student demonstrates articulation errors beyond those of typical development, they may need to see a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP evaluates the type of error(s) the child making and may develop an intervention or therapy plan. In speech/language sessions, the SLP teaches the child how to make the sound. He/she shows the child how to move the articulators, what type of sound it is (a “whistly” sound versus a “stop” sound, for example), and whether to turn voice on or off.

A child can make the following articulation errors when producing speech sounds: Substitutions, Omissions, Distortions, and/or Additions. 

S – Substitutions
Definition: Replace one sound with another sound.
Examples: “wed” for “red,” “thoap” for “soap,” “dut,” for “duck”

O – Omissions (also known as deletions)
Definition: Omit a sound in a word.
Note: This error affects intelligibility the most, making speech more difficult for the listener(s) to understand.
Examples: “p ay the piano” for “play the piano”, “g een nake” for “green snake”

D – Distortions
Definition: Produce a sound in an unfamiliar manner.
Examples: “pencil” (nasalized—sounds more like an “m”) for “pencil,” “sun” (lisped—sounds “slushy”) for “sun”

A – Additions
Definition: Insert an extra sound within a word.
Examples: “buhlack horse” for “black horse,” “doguh,” for “dog”

I'm always questioned by teachers and parents about when sounds are acquired. I have a copy of this picture in my "Everything-Teacher's Binder." I can pull it out an show them when what is acquired and provides them with the information that they need. Be sure to add it to your teacher binder--it's very helpful. Have a great day.



Oral Language Development

One of the most challenging things to do is build students’ oral language. It’s tough finding ways to build the skill into an already packed day. However, oral language skills impact student’s academic learning throughout their day, finding ways to add it without giving up something else is hard. As a special education teacher I spend a couple of minutes before starting group building these skills. I hope these suggestions help you find ways to build oral language into your day. At the start of each year, I use Total Physical Response with all my students as I build routines and expectations. This is something I pass on to parents because they too can use TPR to build oral language and its easy.

At the beginning of the school year, students need to know key phrases and expressions that they can use to communicate with teachers and students during the school day. Being able to communicate effectively with others is key for learning to take place. With some work, students can develop the type of everyday communication skills that facilitate learning. This strategy called Total Physical Response to help students in these early stages of language development.

Learning key phrases through Total Physical Response

Total Physical Response (TPR) activities greatly multiply the language input and output that can be handled by beginning English language learners (ELLs). TPR activities elicit whole-body responses when new words or phrases are introduced. Teachers can develop quick scripts that provide ELLs and other students with the vocabulary and/or classroom behaviors related to everyday situations. For example, "Take out your math book. Put it on your desk. Put it on your head. Put it under the chair. Hold it in your left hand."

You will see them  talk sooner when they are learning by doing. TPR activities help students adjust to school and understand the behaviors required and the instructions they will hear. This will help them in mainstream classrooms, in the halls, during lunchtime, during fire drills, on field trips, and in everyday life activities.

Strategies: How to use Total Physical Response

There are seven steps for the TPR instructional process:
1. Introduction
The teacher introduces a situation in which students follow a set of commands using actions. Usually props such as pictures or real objects accompany the actions. Some actions may be real while others are pretend.

2. Demonstration
The teacher demonstrates or asks a student to demonstrate this series of actions. The other students are expected to pay careful attention. At first, students are not expected to talk or repeat the commands. But soon they will want to join in because the commands are easy to follow and the language is clear and comprehensible. For example, the teacher gives a command such as "Take out a piece of bread" and the students say the sentence and do the action. "Now, spread peanut butter on it", and so on until a make-believe sandwich is made and eaten.

3. Group action
Next, the class acts out the series while the teacher gives the commands. Usually, this step is repeated several times so that students internalize the series thoroughly before they will be asked to produce it.

4. Written copy
Write the series on the chalkboard or chart paper so that students can make connections between oral and written words while they read and copy (or even substitute ingredients of their choice).

5. Oral repetitions and questions
After students have made a written copy, they repeat each line after the teacher, taking care with difficult words. They ask questions for clarification, and the teacher points out grammatical features such as "Yesterday we ate half a sandwich. Today we will eat a whole sandwich. Did you notice the difference between ate and eat? Yesterday we spread grape jelly, today we will spread orange jelly. Did you notice that the verb spread didn't change? Let's say the words soap and soup. Let's say the words cheap and sheep."

6. Student demonstration
Students can also take turns playing the roles of the reader of the series and the performer of the actions. Meanwhile, the teacher can check on individual students for comprehension and oral production.

7. Other activities

  • Use pictures from magazines, the Internet, pictures books. And have students talk about them. Let them take the lead. 
  • Before reading a children's story, select some action words and ask the students to perform these actions as you encounter them in the pages. List them on the chalkboard.
  • After reading the story, ask children to summarize the story by acting out the words you have demonstrated.
  • After reading the story, ask the children to select some words or phrases that they would like to turn into actions.
Building oral language skills is easy and something that can be done on the road while on vacation. Have a great week.

Great Read Alouds for Preschoolers

When you read aloud, you’re building their experiences while building vocabulary. Remember, young children can understand many more spoken words than they use. The easiest way to build language is in books that tend to be greater and more diverse than the words we use every day when talking with children. Preschoolers enjoy simple books as well as more complex books, the sound of language. Books with rhymes and nonsense words help to word reading skills.

Froodle
By: Antoinette Portis
It all started with a little brown bird that tired of making and hearing the same old sounds: caw, coo, chip, peep. Instead, it said “Froodle sproodle!” which came as an unwelcome shock to the crow, cardinal and dove. But the small brown bird’s continued wordplay inspired the others — even the crow. Simple, bold illustrations and varied type present a comical tale of individuality and lots of potential for wordplay.

If You Were a Dog
By: Jamie Swenson
Effervescent language and lively illustrations ask readers what kind of dog, cat, fist, bird, bug, frog, or dinosaur they’d be — but since they are not, they can "arrooo! like a dog, hiss! like a cat," or even "chomp, stomp, roar! like a dinosaur" in this playful, imaginative book.

Kitten's First Full Moon
By: Kevin Henkes
Children will delight in Kitten’s mistake. They know that what she thinks is a bowl of milk is really the moon’s reflection. Mostly black and white (and shades of gray) illustration expressively depict Kitten. Children enjoy the visual and verbal patterns throughout.

Little Mouse
By: Alison Murray
When the young narrator feels quiet and cuddly, she doesn’t mind being her mom’s Little Mouse. Other times, she is as strong as an ox or brave and scary like a lion. A child’s daily changing moods are reflected in the open illustrations and simple text.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama
By: Anna Dewdney
Little Llama Llama has a major meltdown when he tires of shopping with Mama in the shop-o-rama. But Mama Llama is smart and figures out how do end the llama drama. The rhyming text shares not only a common experience but a great deal of llama wisdom all told with good humor and rhyme.
Marc Brown's Playtime Rhymes: A Treasury for Families to Learn and Play Together
By: Marc Brown
Twenty familiar and some lesser-known rhymes are just right for sharing. Actions are shown in small pictograms that accompany each line. One fingerplay appears on each double page with gentle, idealized illustration for a collection perfect for sharing.
Maria Had a Little Llama/Maria tenia una llamita
By: Angela Domínguez
Cheerful, childlike depictions of Maria and her much loved llama set the familiar rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, in a Peruvian village. The little white llama follows Maria to school, makes the children laugh, but with a distinctive and unique setting and characters in a familiar cadence.
Time-Out for Sophie
By: Rosemary Wells
Exasperated Mama and Daddy put Sophie in time-out when she dumps her dinner and tosses the clean laundry. But when Granny puts herself in time-out during their book-sharing, Sophie straightens up. Text and illustration capture a young child’s tenacious behavior and her adults’ reactions, sure to be recognized by all.

Tippy-Toe, Chick, Go!
By: George Shannon, Laura Dronzek
Can the youngest chick solve the problem and help the family get to their tasty meal of potato bugs and beans? Of course, for only she can run tippy-toe around the fierce — but leashed — dog! Young children will appreciate the youngest chick’s success in this brightly illustrated tale.

Tiptoe Joe
By: Ginger Foglesong Guy
A big brown bear in red sneakers tiptoes fast to invite his friends to "…come with me/I know something you should see." Each animal clops, thuds or swishes to see Joe's surprise: two sleeping cubs with their mother. Told with lively language and humorous illustrations.

Whistle for Willie
By: Ezra Keats
Oh, how Peter wished he could whistle to call his dog, Willie. Try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to make the sound come out — until one day he could! The simple description of a child’s yearning is told in natural language and charming collage illustrations.

Yoo-Hoo, Lady Bug!
By: Mem Fox
A small ladybug loves to hide — and she does it well in each familiar scene. "Yoo-hoo, Ladybug? Where are you?" She's hiding behind the teddy bear, tucked in a box, and other places in this brightly illustrated, rhyming hide-and-seek book for younger children.

These are some of my favorites. My family jokes that I need a 12 step for book stores. But when all else falls I hit the public library who always has a great selection of books to build language. Have a great Monday!

Preschoolers and Reading

Preschool is a beginning of learning to weaver letters into words. They build their language skills and start to make sense of the sound/letter system to begin to read. These days preschool is structured to prepare preschoolers for reading and math. Below are some ideas to what parents can to foster beginning reading skills.

At this stage, students uses their ever-increasing language skills to become a “big talker” and develops an awareness of the power of the written word. Parents and caregivers of preschoolers can help them develop into readers and writers by playing with letters and their sounds, promoting dramatic play using characters from books, and reading lots of books together.

Through daily experiences, preschoolers learns more and more about the way things work in the world. At the same time, they are able to use his ever-increasing vocabulary and language skills to share their observations, ideas, and imaginary worlds with other children and adults. Young children can be entertaining storytellers, engaging conversational partners, and frustrating negotiators. During the preschool years, students become aware that the world is filled with letters and may begin to recognize familiar words.

Parents can help your preschooler become an eager reader and writer through simple conversations and reading together. It helps to plan regular times to read with your young child and talk together daily about things that interest him. You can turn everyday experiences such as waiting in lines, doing errands, and riding the bus into conversation starters. By talking about your child’s ideas, observations, and feelings, you prepare your young child for reading and writing about the world.

How to Help Your Preschooler Get Ready for Reading


  • Point to the words as you read aloud. When you point to the words as you read or talk about the title and author, you help your child learn about the different parts of the book. You also show him that reading involves connecting spoken words to printed ones.
  • Repeat your child’s words the right way. Most young children make grammatical errors while they are learning to talk. Instead of correcting, try repeating your child’s words the correct way. This way, you teach her proper grammar and demonstrate that making mistakes is how we learn.
  • Join your child in pretend play. Pretending actually helps children develop language and literacy skills. They use new words and ways of speaking when they play different roles. They also practice making up stories, a skill that helps them understand books read aloud to them.
  • Make up rhymes as you go about your day. Rhyming and other kinds of word play help your child to hear differences between sounds to understand that words are made up of sounds. Being able to rhyme will actually help your child learn to read and write.
  • Draw and write alongside your child. One way to encourage your child to write is to show him how you write. When you write, talk to him about what you are doing. That way, you teach your child how we use writing in everything from grocery lists to phone messages.

Preschoolers and Number Sense: Summertime Ideas

One of the most important math skills students need to learn is number sense. It is the bases for more completed math skills we learn through elementary. I have included some games you can play this summer to build number sense while having fun!

Preschool number activities often involve counting, but merely reciting the number words isn't enough. Kids also need to develop "number sense," an intuitive feeling for the actual quantity associated with a given number.That's where these activities can help. Inspired by research, the following games encourage kids to think about several key concepts, including:

  • Relative magnitudes
  • The one-to-one principle of counting and cardinality (two sets are equal if the items in each set can be matched, one-to-one, with no items left over)
  • The one-to-one principle of counting (each item to be counted is counted once and only once)
  • The stable order principle (number words must be recited in the same order)
  • The principle of increasing magnitudes (the later number words refer to greater cardinality)
  • The cardinal principle   

Common Core Standards These Games Target:

Know number names and the count sequence.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.A.1: Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.A.2: Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.A.3: Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects). K.CC.B:
Count to tell the number of objects.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4: Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.A: When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.B: Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.C: Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.5: Count to answer "how many?" questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects.
Compare numbers.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.C.6: Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.C.7: Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.

Most activities use a set of cards and counting tokens. Here’s what you need to get started. Preparing for preschool number activities:

Cards

Cards will be used in two ways, (1) as displays of dots for kids to count, and (2) as templates for kids to cover with tokens. Make your cards from heavy-stock writing paper, marking each with an Arabic numeral (1-10) and the corresponding number of dots.

Make your dots conspicuous, and space them far enough apart that your child can easily place one and only one token on top of each dot. The larger your tokens, the larger your cards will need to be.

In addition, you might make multiple cards for the same number--each card bearing dots arranged in different configurations. For example, one “three” card might show three dots arranged in a triangular configuration. Another might show the dots arranged in a line. Still another might show the dots that appear to have been placed randomly. But whatever your configuration, leave enough space between dots for your child to place a token over each dot.

Tokens

Kids can use a variety of objects for tokens, but keep in mind two points.

1. Children under the age of three years are at special risk of choking, so choose big tokens. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a ball-shaped object is unsafe if it is smaller than a 1.75” diameter golf ball. Other objects are unsafe if they can fit inside a tube with a diameter of 1.25” inches.

2. Kids can get distracted if your tokens are too interesting, so it's best to avoid the fancy plastic frogs or spiders

Games to play

One you have your cards and tokens, you can play any of the preschool number activities below. As you play, keep in mind the points raised in my evidence-based guide to preschool math lessons:

Start small. It’s important to adjust the game to your child’s attention span and developmental level. For beginners, this means counting tasks that focus on very small numbers (up to 3 or 4).

Keep it fun. If it’s not playful and fun, it’s time to stop. Be patient. It takes young children about a year to learn how the counting system works.

The basic game: One-to-one matching

Place a card, face up, before your child. Then ask your child to place the correct number of tokens on the card—one token over each dot.

After the child has finished the task, replace the card and tokens and start again with a new card. Once your child has got the hang of this, you can modify the game by helping your child count each token as he puts it in place.

The Tea Party: Relative magnitudes

Choose two cards, each displaying a different number of dots, taking care that the cards differ by a ratio of at least 2:1. For instance, try 1 vs. 2, 2 vs. 4, and 2 vs. 5. You can also try larger numbers, like 6 vs. 12.

Next, set one card in front of your child and the other in front of you. Have your child cover all the dots with tokens (pretending they are cookies) and ask her

“Which of us has more cookies?”

After she answers you, you can count to check the answer. But I’d skip this step if you are working with larger numbers (like 6 vs. 12) that are beyond your child’s current grasp. You don’t want to make this game feel like a tedious exercise.

As your child becomes better at this game, you can try somewhat smaller ratios (like 5 vs. 9).

And for another variant, ask your child to compare the total amount of cookies shared between you with the cookies represented on another, third card. In recent experiments, adults who practiced making these sorts of “guesstimates” experienced a boost in their basic arithmetic skills.

Bigger and bigger: Increasing magnitudes

Instead of playing with the tokens, have your child place the cards side-by-side in correct numeric sequence. For beginners, try this with very small numbers (1, 2, 3) and with numbers that vary by a large degree (e.g., 1, 3, 6, 12).

Sharing at the tea party: The one-to-one principle

Choose three toy creatures as party attendees and have your child set the table—providing one and only plate, cup, and spoon to each toy. Then give your child a set of “cookies” (tokens or real edibles) and ask her to share these among the party guests so they each receive the same amount. Make it simple by giving your child 6 or 9 tokens so that none will be left over.

As always, go at your child’s pace and quit if it isn’t fun. If your child makes a mistake and gives one creature too many tokens, you can play the part of another creature and complain. You can also play the part of tea party host and deliberately make a mistake. Ask for your child’s help? Did someone get too many tokens? Or not enough? Have your child fix it. Once your child gets the hang of things, try providing him with one token too many and discuss what to do about this "leftover." One solution is to divide the remainder into three equal bits. But your child may come up with other, non-mathematical solutions, like eating the extra bit himself.

Matching patterns: Counting

Play the basic game as described above, but instead of having your child place the tokens directly over the dots, have your child place the tokens alongside the card. Ask your child to arrange his tokens in the same pattern that is illustrated on the card. And count!

Matching patterns: Conservation of number

For this game, use cards bearing dots only--no numerals. To play, place two cards--each bearing the same number of dots, but arranged in different patterns--side by side. Ask your child to recreate each pattern using his tokens. When she’s done, help her count the number of tokens in each pattern. The patterns look different, but they use the same number of dots/tokens.

The cookie maker: Making predictions about changes to a set

Even before kids master counting, they can learn about the concepts of addition and subtraction. Have a puppet “bake cookies” (a set of tokens) and ask your child to count the cookies (helping if necessary). Then then have the puppet bake one more cookie and add it to the set. Are there more cookies or fewer cookies now? Ask your child to predict how many cookies are left. Then count again to check the answer. Try the same thing with subtraction by having the puppet eat a cookie.

Don’t expect answers that are precise and correct. But you may find that your child is good at getting the gist. When researchers asked 3-, 4- and 5-year olds to perform similar tasks, they found that 90% of the predictions went in the right direction.

The Big Race: Increasing magnitudes and the number line

As your child begins to master the first few number words, you can also try these research-tested preschool number activities for teaching kids about the number line. Games can be very useful for reinforcing and developing ideas and procedures previously introduced to children. Although a suggested age group is given for each of the following games, it is the children's level of experience that should determine the suitability of the game. Several demonstration games should be played, until the children become comfortable with the rules and procedures of the games.

Deal and Copy (4-5 years) 3-4 players
Materials: 15 dot cards with a variety of dot patterns representing the numbers from one to five and a plentiful supply of counters or buttons.

Rules: One child deals out one card face up to each other player. Each child then uses the counters to replicate the arrangement of dots on his/her card and says the number aloud. The dealer checks each result, then deals out a new card to each player, placing it on top of the previous card. The children then rearrange their counters to match the new card. This continues until all the cards have been used.

Variations/Extensions:

Each child can predict aloud whether the new card has more, less or the same number of dots as the previous card. The prediction is checked by the dealer, by observing whether counters need to be taken away or added.

Increase the number of dots on the cards.

Memory Match (5-7 years) 2 players
Materials: 12 dot cards, consisting of six pairs of cards showing two different arrangements of a particular number of dots, from 1 to 6 dots. (For example, a pair for 5 might be Card A and Card B from the set above).
Rules: Spread all the cards out face down. The first player turns over any two cards. If they are a pair (i.e. have the same number of dots), the player removes the cards and scores a point. If they are not a pair, both cards are turned back down in their places. The second player then turns over two cards and so on. When all the cards have been matched, the player with more pairs wins.

Variations/Extensions
  • Increase the number of pairs of cards used.
  • Use a greater number of dots on the cards.
  • Pair a dot card with a numeral card.
What's the Difference? (7-8 years) 2-4 players

Materials: A pack of 20 to 30 dot cards (1 to 10 dots in dice and regular patterns), counters.
Rules: Spread out 10 cards face down and place the rest of the cards in a pile face down. The first player turns over the top pile card and places beside the pile. They then turns over one of the spread cards. The player works out the difference between the number of dots on each card, and takes that number of counters. (example: If one card showed 3 dots and the other 8, the player would take 5 counters.) The spread card is turned face down again in its place and the next player turns the top pile card and so on. Play continues until all the pile cards have been used. The winner is the player with the most counters; therefore the strategy is to remember the value of the spread cards so the one that gives the maximum difference can be chosen.

Variations/Extensions:
Try to turn the spread cards that give the minimum difference, so the winner is the player with the fewest counters. Roll a die instead of using pile cards. Start with a set number of counters (say 20), so that when all the counters have been claimed the game ends. Use dot cards with random arrangements of dots.

Have a great time playing this games this summer that target important math skills. Happy playing!

Preventing the Dreaded Summer Slide

Each fall I'm presented with new student who may or may not qualify for Extend School Year 9 months later. Its whats done over the summer that helps students stay where they left and in some cases grow over the long break.  Here are some ideas to try over the break between family trips and trips to the swimming pool.

Did you know that children can lose up to three months of academic progress over the summer? Over 100 years of research continually shows this trend.

Here are ten things you can do to help your child avoid the summer slide.

  • Read EVERY day!  Read non-fiction, fiction, ebooks, poetry, newspapers and read out loud! For most children, twenty minutes is an appropriate amount of time to read for a child who is an independent reader. Most libraries have a wonderful summer reading program with incentives and rewards for books read over the summer.
  • Cook with your children.  This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading and following directions.  Let your child design the menu too!  Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook.
  • Plant a garden.  Your child will gain responsibility and pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive.
  • Take a field trip to a museum, zoo or local park with walking trails.  Keep a journal about your travels.
  • Learn a new word each week!  Hang it on the fridge and see who can use it the most times throughout the week.
  • Enroll in a quality summer program that will provide your child with opportunities to build their critical thinking skills.   
  • Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
  • Listen to Audio Books during your road trip.
  • Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook.
  • Did I mention READ?!  If your child does nothing else this summer make sure they are reading!
Have a great summer! Don't forget to READ!

Speech/Language Support for the Classroom

I work in a rural schools where the speech therapist comes by two days a week and do not have time to collaborate with teachers or the special education team. I created this list speech and language strategies to give classroom teachers with ideas to implement within the classroom.

When developing the strategies, efforts were made to address the most common areas of need. Please note that all suggestions may not be appropriate for every student and you may need to modify them on an individual basis. I hope this list helps you out.

Articulation/Phonology:

1. Talk with parents about your concerns and share strategies that seem to help.
2. If you cannot understand a student and you have asked them to repeat themselves, it might help to ask the student to show you or say it in a different way. For example, ask the student to write the word if they are able to do so.
3. If the student’s response contains a known sound error, it’s important to repeat what the child said with an appropriate model. (e.g., If the child says ‘nak’ for snake, you would say, “Oh, you want the snake”). This way you are not focusing on the error or calling negative attention to the child, but providing an appropriate model.
4. With younger children bring whatever you are talking about closer to your mouth so that the child is more apt to focus on speech production.
5. If you hear a consistent speech sound error use written text to increase the child’s ability to see, hear and be aware of that sound. (e.g., Ask the student to find all of the words containing the error sound in a page of a story. Make this a routine in your classroom so that no student is singled out.)
6. If you have a student who is able to make a sound correctly some of the time when they know an adult is listening, set up a non-verbal cue with that child to let them know that you are listening. (e.g., for example, putting your hand on the student’s shoulder, before you call on them to read aloud.)
7. Highlight words in their own writing or in classroom worksheets that contain sounds that the child is misarticulating.

Grammar and/or Sentence Structure:

1. If the child says something incorrectly repeat it for them correctly in a natural way. Be sensitive about not calling negative attention to their language. For example, if the child says “I goed to the store.” You’d say, “Oh you went to the store.”
2. When the child’s speech or writing contains grammar or word order errors, show them in writing the correct form.
3. When working with the child individually with written or oral language, repeat the error and ask the child how the sentence sounds. For example, the child says or writes, “I goed to the store.” You say, “I goed to the store? Does that sound right?” If the child is unable to correct it give them a choice. For example, “Which sounds better, ‘I goed to the store.’ or ‘I went to the store.”?
4. For frequently occurring errors, build it into daily oral language as practice for the entire class.

Vocabulary and Word Meanings:

1. Prior to introducing new units/stories compile a list of key vocabulary words. Discuss words and possible meanings with students.
2. When introducing words, try using a graphic organizer or visual mapping to come up with word relationships including antonyms, or synonyms.
3. When possible pair a visual picture with the vocabulary words. When vocabulary is abstract and pictures are not available, try to relate the words to a personal experience for students to relate to.
4. Place words and definitions on note cards. Use cards to play games such as matching or memory.
5. Create word list with vocabulary and definitions to display in a visible place within the classroom.
6. Provide student with vocabulary list including definitions one week prior to beginning a new unit.
7. Encourage use of word-games with family (Tribond, etc.).
8. Consult with a speech therapist for ideas using graphic organizers.

Basic Social Language Skills/Pragmatics:

1. Social Stories (Stories written to positively depict a situation in which a student has a difficult time- providing the student with appropriate ways to interact or respond.)
2. Visual schedules (Provide students who may need visual input to assist with transitions, expectations for the day.)
3. Allow student to work in a group with students who are accepting and supportive.
4. Search for opportunities that support appropriate social interactions. (i.e. ‘Bobby, will you please go to Sue’s desk and ask her to bring me her Math folder.’)
5. Avoid having activities where students ‘pick’ a partner. Assign partners instead to avoid feelings of rejection.
6. Board games and card games can be beneficial as they promote turn taking and sportsmanship. Be available to support sportsmanship and help to remember that playing the game is more important than winning the game.
7. Comment on positive models for targeted social skill when used by other students in the classroom. (Jenny, I really like how you raised your hand instead of interrupting me when I was talking to the class.)

Following Directions:

1. When giving directions, repeat them again using different words.
2. Using gestures when giving directions can be beneficial.
3. If there are several directions, give one to two directions at a time versus all at one time.
4. Be specific when giving directions.
5. If possible, give a visual cue. For example, if making an activity you can demonstrate the steps as you go along. Showing the completed project would also provide them assistance.
6. When working with projects that have multi-step directions, it may be helpful to write the directions on the board.
7. Create a list of common directions that are used throughout the day. When needed, they can be laminated and placed on the board for the entire class, or can be smaller to be placed on the individual’s desk.
8. The student may benefit from sitting next to an individual who would be willing to provide assistance with multi-step tasks.

Processing Information:

1. Ask basic questions that have the answer in a picture or hands-on activity.
2. Provide small group opportunities where the children can discuss newly learned concepts or ideas.
3. Provide adequate time for the child to process what you have asked and form their answer. If the child does not respond after a given period of time, ask the question in a different way.
4. Use several modalities when teaching materials (speaking, reading, writing, listening, visual, hands-on).
5. Do frequent comprehension checks when teaching. Stop periodically and discuss the information you have presented.
6. Encourage the child to ask for help.
7. Provide additional support for writing down information, such as assignments in the student’s homework notebook. Actual pictures could also be taken of what needs to go home (i.e. Math book, writing notebook, etc.). Some students may need written directions on how to complete assignments so that parents can assist them in the home.

Expanding Expressive Language Skills:

1. When interacting with a young child, repeat what the child says, and add a word that is appropriate to the context. For example: While playing with a toy car, the child says “car”, you could respond “Car. GO car.” If the child uses two words- expand to three words, etc.
2. Speak in sentences that are one to two words longer than the child’s typical utterances. If a child usually combines two words, you should be modeling 3-4 words in your interactions. You may feel that your speech sounds silly, you are eliminating complex structures that the child is not yet ready to use, which allows the child to concentrate on the next level of development.
3. It is also important to expose the child to adult and peer models of conversation. Although they are not yet ready to use these structures, they are exposed to the appropriate models.
4. Introduce new words or concepts to a child by using the word in a variety of situations as well as using the word repetitively. For example, when teaching colors: show a blue ball, a blue car, the blue sky, etc. Also, use pictures or objects when available to help reinforce the ideas.
5. Music, movement, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, and storytime are very motivating times for children to promote spontaneous speech production.

Stuttering:

1. Allow the student to complete his/her thoughts without interrupting or completing the sentence for them.
2. It is important not to ask the child to stop or start over their sentence. Asking the student to ‘take a breath’ or ‘relax’ can be felt as demeaning and is not helpful.
3. Maintain natural eye contact with the student. Try not to feel embarrassed or anxious as the student will pick up on your feelings and could become more anxious. Wait naturally until the child is finished.
4. Use a slow and relaxed rate with your own speech, but not so slow that you sound unnatural. Using pauses in your speech is an effective way to slow down your speech rate as well as the students.
5. Give the student your full attention when they are speaking so that they know you are listening to what they have to say. It is helpful that the child does not feel that they need to fight for your attention. With younger children it is also helpful to get down to their level, placing a hand on their chest as well as using eye contact assures them that they have your attention.
6. After a student completes a conversational turn, it would be helpful for you to rephrase what they said in a fluent manner. This can be helpful as the student realizes you understand what they said, but also provides a fluent model for them.
7. Try to call on the student in class when you feel that they will be successful with the answer (when the student raises their hand) versus putting the student on the spot when they have not volunteered information. In addition, new material or complex information may cause the student to feel more stress and thus, increase dysfluencies.

Basic Concept Understanding and Use:

Pre-K through Grade 1:
1. Provide a visual demonstration of the concept. For example, if working on the concept ‘on,’ actually put an item ‘on’ a table.
2. Have the children physically demonstrate the concept when possible. Have the student actually get ‘on’ a carpet square.
3. Let the student use objects to demonstrate comprehension of the concept. Have the student verbalize comprehension by explaining what they did with the object. ‘Where did you put the bear?’ ‘I put it on the table.’
4. Have the student use the concept in a variety of situations throughout the day. Use their bodies, pencil and paper, in different places of the school, etc.

2nd through 5th Grade:

1. Allow students to use manipulatives to solve math problems to give them a visual cue.
2. When working on time and measurement concepts use visual organizers (i.e., timelines, thermometers, graphic organizers, etc.). Allow students to use these visual organizers on tests or projects.
3. Keep a running list of concepts the student is having trouble with and utilize others (i.e., classroom aids or student teachers) to help work on those concepts individually.
4. Give students time to talk through new concepts in social studies, science, math, etc.

Voice:

If you have a student whose vocal quality is consistently poor (hoarse, breathy, rough, or they have no voice) or their vocal quality gets progressively worse as the day wears on try the following:

1. Allow them to have a water bottle at their desk for the student to take frequent sips of. (If necessary, use a visual aid for student to track intake- a reward may be needed.)
2. Discuss healthy ways for students to use their voices, i.e. drink water, no caffeine, no yelling or making strange noises, or to use a quiet voice, but NOT to whisper.
3. Provide a positive comment to a student for using good vocal hygiene, such as not shouting to get attention.
4. Place a visual cue on students’ desk (like a picture of someone talking). When you hear vocal misuse, touch the picture on the desk to help remind the student to use good vocal techniques.


Have a great week.

What is Progress Monitoring?

Progress monitoring is a scientifically based practice that is used to assess students' academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class.

What is progress monitoring?

Progress monitoring is a scientifically based practice that is used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class.

How does progress monitoring work?

To implement progress monitoring, the student’s current levels of performance are determined and goals are identified for learning that will take place over time. The student’s academic performance is measured on a regular basis (weekly or monthly). Progress toward meeting the student’s goals is measured by comparing expected and actual rates of learning. Based on these measurements, teaching is adjusted as needed. Thus, the student’s progression of achievement is monitored and instructional techniques are adjusted to meet the individual students learning needs.

What are the benefits of progress monitoring?

When progress monitoring is implemented correctly, the benefits are great for everyone involved. Some benefits include:

  • accelerated learning because students are receiving more appropriate instruction;
  • more informed instructional decisions; documentation of student progress for accountability purposes; 
  • more efficient communication with families and other professionals about students’ progress; 
  • higher expectations for students by teachers; and fewer Special Education referrals

Overall, the use of progress monitoring results in more efficient and appropriately targeted instructional techniques and goals, which together, move all students to faster attainment of important state standards of achievement.

Who should be practicing progress monitoring?

Anyone who is interested in improving results for children should be implementing progress monitoring. Whether you are a regular educator, special educator, related service provider, administrator, or family member, you should be interested in implementing research-based progress monitoring practices. It's always a good idea for teachers and special education teachers to have it ready to show to parents or other stake holder. It's great to show parents and students.

What are the challenges of progress monitoring?


  • Educators and families need information about the effectiveness of progress monitoring that would encourage them to adopt the practice.
  • Teachers and other practitioners need support in translating progress monitoring research into easily implemented, usable strategies.
  • Technical assistance on progress monitoring must transfer knowledge in ways that accommodate differences in background, training, and beliefs, as well as differences in the nature and philosophy of the instructional programs and practices already in place.
  • This information dissemination must take place in a variety of formats, in usable forms, and at different levels of specificity.

It’s also call:

Progress monitoring is a relatively new term. Some other terms you may be more familiar with are Curriculum-Based Measurement and Curriculum-Based Assessment. Whatever method you decide to use, it is most important that you ensure it is a scientifically based practice that is supported by significant research.


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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