About Me

You became an Elementary Special Education Teacher because you love seeing students grow. You are one dedicated and amazing teacher! Do you know how I know this? You’re here exploring for different and unique ways to teach in your down time!
I know you. You're the kind of person who wants to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of your students, but you don't always know what's best for the exceptional needs students who have been placed in your care.
I understand you. You know that your diverse group of students deserve to have their needs met, but you also have standards to meet and gosh it's about all you can do to make a change here and there as time allows.
  • Your to-do list just keeps growing and doesn’t seem to ever get any shorter.
  • You can’t seem to switch off! Your hours extend well into the late hours of the evening and into the weekend (hellllo planning at 3 am on a Friday night).
  • You spend hours upon hours searching Pinterest for engaging lessons which really should be counted as Professional Development #amiright?!
  • I’m betting you’re pretty exhausted right now.  Teaching in the early years is all consuming and you wouldn’t change it for the world. But I just know that sometimes you wish that someone could do some of the planning so that you could focus on actually teaching!
Been there. Played that game. And now I’m here to help.
I was you. I wanted to let my students take more ownership of their education, but figuring out how to empower them and see the results is something I really didn’t have the time.
I’ve got your back and you are totally in the right place!
I know the challenge of helping classroom teachers support students with Exceptional Needs.

And I know the pressure of being a Case Manger trying to make sure the needs of the Exceptional Needs in her system are being met and having to show annual yearly progress for those students who started the year more than 2 years behind and needing to move than more than a year. #crazyhardwork
How does that sound?
Amazing? Amazing! I know this is exactly what you’ve been looking for. To get the goods, click here to shoot me a quick note and get teacher tidbits and exclusive resources. Can’t wait? Get a head start by checking out my Class Progress Monitoring Plug 'n Play graphs here.

I am Alison Whiteley, CEO of Toad-ally Exceptional Learners.  I love my job and am passionate about giving my students the best learning experience I can.  I spent hours looking for ideas to help my Mild to Moderate special education students.  Often, though, I ended up creating my own customized lesson plans for my students and classroom.  I started Toad-ally Exceptional Learners over 10 years ago as a way to share these activities with other special education teachers.

That teacher I mentioned earlier was MEdevoted and passionate.
You don’t have to do everything all by yourself.
I can save you time so that you can spend your energy doing what your love, want, and enjoy.

Here on Toad-ally Exceptional Learners, you will find so many wonderful ideas, suggestions, and lesson plans to help support you in your role as a rockin’ resource special education teacher. I’m passionate about hands-on, targeted skill learning, so you’ll find lots of easy to implement activities for hands-on learning in small groups.

You’ll also be able to shop for resources aligned to Common Core, DRA, and Fountas & Pinnell that include ideas for easy data collection. If free stuff is your thing (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good freebie?!), you can sign up to receive my weekly newsletter and access an entire library full of FREE printables to complement your playful, engaging curriculum.
I’m going to make your life as an enthusiastic, dedicated, totally fabulous teacher just a little bit easier!

Go and grab yourself a coffee and head on over to the free resource library!

Official Biography
  • I’m Alison and I am enthusiastic & dedicated to helping hardworking teachers find creative ways to meet the diverse needs of the gifted students in their classrooms.
  • I’ve been a Mild/Moderate Special Education teacher with more than 10 years of experience in Elementary Special Education.
  • I achieved my National Boards of Professional Teaching in Exceptional Needs in 2013 and Maintained in 2022.
  • I’m a coach and mentor to new Special Education teachers.
  • I love finding ways to include technology into my lessons.
  • I live with 2 Greyhounds who love hiking in the Colorado Rockies.
  • My family and I are very close. They live in the middle of the Rockies I visit often to spoil my nephew.
My goal in creating this speck in cyberspace is to draw upon my years of experience and research in Special Education to provide you with tips, insights, and resources to help you Understand, Inspire and Challenge Exceptional Needs students in your life so they may each achieve their greatest potential.

We're in this together!  Let's start a conversation!  I'd love to hear your thoughts, successes, and challenges as you navigate through your journey in Special Education.  Please feel free to email me or write in my comments section, and I will respond.

Chat Soon-


  1. Hey Alison! I a guessing that you teach in a self-contained classroom. I am a Special Education resource teacher in elementary. I am wondering what your thoughts are on a 25-30 minute pull-out time to support either reading, writing, or math. Our sped population is huge; and we are only able to alot 30 minutes per day for each service area. If we pull students for more than 50 minutes per day, the general education teachers want us to provide a modified curriculum and for us to provide grades. I love my students, but the daily juggling act is exhausting!

    1. Hey Virginia-
      In Colorado-I'm not a self-contained teacher. I, like most mild/moderate special education teachers in Colorado, either do pull out or push in to support students. My District calls me a Learning Specialist. I work with a variety of disabilities. Back in the day I was a Resource Room Teacher.

      I work on a K-6 campus-that is 2 building K-3 and 4-6. I work with 3 full time and 1 part time teachers to provide support for a large campus. My team works both push in and pull out depending on the students' needs.

      I pull out students in 30/40 minute blocks but depending on needs. So if a student needs math and reading than I will see them more. My team is always looking at student needs. What the student needs comes first.

      Modifying curriculum is something we talk about at IEP meetings and make sure IEP goals help the student gain both independence and provide scaffolding to support them back in class when your not around. My teachers make accommodations all the time for students--its part of providing personalized learning.

      Special Education students are everyone students and general education students first. In my experience, I support the classroom teacher in giving grades but as I work only on IEP goals can only provide input on how they are progress on meeting those goals. Its a collaborative process just like writing IEP goals. I would talk with your whomever your district support is for me I have a Special Education Director I can ask questions too. I would also sit with your teachers and talk about student needs and how you can best support both their classroom teacher support the student. I find my teachers are often confused about what they can do and the IEP doesn't make any sense to them.

      Lastly, the really hard part with pull-out is not pulling students out of core. I don't pull from core. I don't teach core--I teach IEP goals. This often means students missing "the fun" like science and social studies but work with each teacher and be mindful that sometimes you gain more by letting the student stay for the experiment and making up the time else where.

      Sorry for the long answer--feel free to email me at hi@toad-allyexceptionallearners.com to chat more or if you have more questions.

      The short answer--over collaborate and over communicate with your classroom teachers. Someone once told me, 10 times 10 different ways. I' not sure you can ever over communicate.

      Chat soon,

  2. Hi! My Kindergarten group loves your CHAMPS chart. Can you please tell us where you found that or how you made it? Thank you!

    1. Mine love it too! I bought it from Teachers Pay Teachers--https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CHAMPS-Posters-Bulletin-Board-Set-1387629


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.
Follow on Bloglovin
Special Ed. Blogger

I contribute to:

Search This Blog