To learn more about DIBELS and get the assessment materials, click HERE!
Check out the DIBELS benchmark goals to help you determine how far from grade level your student is by clicking HERE!
You might want to pause for a moment here and click HERE to read about how I choose my students' IEP goal areas
AND click HERE to learn my formula for writing SMART IEP goals!
Now, check out these examples of IEP goals using DIBELS!
Happy & Healthy Teaching!
Click HERE to grab a pdf of this chart for your own teaching!
And once you choose your goal areas, check out my blog post on how to write SMART IEP goals!
Happy & Healthy Teaching!
What does the Science of Reading have to do with Special Education Teachers?
Without data, you are just a teacher with an opinion. Am I right?
So let’s start with the data!
Research shows that...
30-60% of students will to read fluently via any reading approach
40-70% of students require explicit phonological awareness training and foundational skills instruction to read fluently
10-15% of students must receive a structured literacy-based approach
Do you know what’s great about this data?
Well, the Science of Reading tells us that a structured literacy-based approach is the best approach to teaching reading.
And guess what?
A structured literacy-based approach includes…
explicit phonological awareness training and foundational skills instruction.
Seeing a connection between the Science of Reading and Special Education yet???
A structured literacy-based approach emphasizes highly explicit and systematic teaching of all important components of literacy, from decoding and encoding to reading comprehension and written expression. A structured literacy-based approach also emphasizes oral language abilities essential to literacy development, including phonemic awareness, sensitivity to speech sounds in oral language, and the ability to manipulate those sounds.
Oh hey, Special Education Teachers, does this type of teaching sound familiar?
This is exactly the type of instruction recommended for teaching students with Dyslexia!
So what else does the Science of Reading have to do with Special Education Teachers?
Well, the Science of Reading Says that advanced phonemic awareness skills are required for proficient reading.
But teaching phonemic awareness in isolation is certainly not enough to remediate students with Dyslexia.
Phoneme awareness does not naturally develop in children as spoken language does.
Explicit instruction is necessary for most students, particularly for those with Dyslexia.
Phonemic awareness instruction is most effective when connected with letters in the context of a synthetic phonics approach. This instruction is called Synthetic Phonics.
But what is Synthetic Phonics?
Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching where words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes). Students are taught how to break up words, or decode them, into individual sounds, and then blend all the way through the word.
So what does the Science of Reading have to do with Special Education Teachers? It has everything to do with Special Education Teachers!
Happy and Healthy Teaching!
A Quick & Easy 8 Step Formula
Wait! Before you start reading this blog, if you have NOT chosen your goal areas yet, read THIS blog first!
Special Education Teachers love their jobs, right?
Sure! We love working with students with disabilities, getting to teach them and watch them grow and achieve from our instruction. That is the best part of the job.
Buuut… we don’t always love the paperwork.
Do you do everything you can to avoid writing IEP goals? Copy papers… Offer to cover someone’s recess duty… Actually take that bathroom break…
Special Education Teachers will do anything we can to avoid the paperwork part.
And we all dread it. Special education teachers groan and mumble that they have to go do it as they procrastinate by chatting with a fellow educator. Writing an IEP can feel downright overwhelming.
But this does not have to be the way!
IEP goal writing does not have to be stressful! It’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it - oh, and you obviously have the ever-important, all-knowing data!
But that’s easy for me to say as I sit here writing this blog and not an IEP.
Confession time - I don’t actually ever dread writing an IEP, and that is because I use my super simple SMART IEP Goal Formula.
Today, I am going to share with you this simple formula that will forever change the way you feel about writing IEP goals and objectives. After reading these steps and applying this formula to your own goal writing, I can promise that you will start saying how easy goal writing is.
And when other Special Educators are jealous of you, send them my way!
4/18/2021 0 Comments
Extended school year - or ESY as us cool kids like to call it - are special education and related services that are provided to a student with a disability beyond the typical school year. If a student requires ESY, it is added to the student’s IEP.
But how do we know if a student requires ESY?
The need for ESY services must be determined annually on an individual student basis by the student’s IEP team. So each year the IEP team should ask - does this student require extended school year services?
Students qualify for extended school year services in 3 general areas…
When few, if any, gains are made during the typical school year and a critical skill is in the process of emerging. A team would determine a need for this when they think ESY could help the student make reasonable gains.
When a student is expected to significantly regressed (based upon data taken from before and after extended school breaks) to such an extent and the amount of time required to re-learn skills or behaviors would impact the student’s ability to benefit from their Special Education program.
When the acquisition of critical life skills that assist in the student’s ability to function as independently as possible, are expected to negatively impact the student’s ability to benefit from their Special Education program.
Grab THIS resource to help you make decisions!
By: Miss Rae
12/12/2020 0 Comments
Do all students diagnosed with an Emotional Disability (ED) qualify for an IEP?
Well, let’s think about this. If a student has a disorder of anxiety, bipolar, conduct, eating, obsessive-compulsive or psychotic, are they able to make progress in the general education curriculum without Special Education services?
First, let’s start by answering the question - what qualifies as an emotional disability?
What qualifies as an emotional disability?
An emotional disturbance is one of the 13 disability categories of IDEA, under which 3- through 21-year-olds may be eligible for Special Education services. This means that a student with an emotional disturbance MAY be eligible for special education and related services in public school. But the keyword here is MAY.
IDEA defines emotional disturbance as follows:
“…a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.”
Hmmm…that’s a broad definition with some vague language so let’s do a little deep diving!
How do we define a "long period of time"?
Under this standard, IDEA does not state how long a “long period” of time is, but the Office of Special Education Programs indicates that it is between two to nine months (Letter to Anonymous, 213 IDELR 247, OSEP 1989).
And what does "to a marked degree" mean?
This term "generally refers to the frequency, duration, or intensity of a student's emotionally disturbed behavior in comparison to the behavior of peers, and can be indicative of either degree or acuity or pervasiveness (Letter to Anonymous, 213 IDELR 247, OSEP 1989).
As defined by IDEA, ED includes disorders of anxiety, bipolar, conduct, eating, obsessive-compulsive or psychotic such as schizophrenia. However, IDEA specifically states that ED does NOT apply to students that are “socially maladjusted,” unless it is determined that they also have an emotional disturbance. And how is that determination made? Well, Special Education teams should…
Review the eligibility criteria definition under IDEA.
Ask - Does the student exhibit at least 1 of the 5 criteria to a marked degree? AND Has the student exhibit at least 1 of the 5 criteria over a long period of time?
If NO - The student does not appear to have an Emotional Disability.
If YES - Eliminate EXCLUSIONARY FACTORS:
Is the student…
-maladjusted (i.e. stealing, skipping school or class, or drug use)
-having emotional problems at home or out of school and NOT at
-exhibiting mood, behavior, or academic problems related solely to
If none of the exclusionary factors apply, the student appears to have an Emotional Disability BUT if any of the exclusionary factors apply, the student does not appear to have an Emotional Disability.
You can grab the Emotional Disability Determination Flowchart HERE.
It is important to have data when exploring eligibility under any disability category, and this data can be obtained through interventions!
Three Best Practice Interventions for Students with Emotional Disabilities:
A student who responds to the intervention, most likely does not have an emotional disturbance. This is similar to when we look at the Response to Intervention model for eligibility in Special Education.
If a student does not respond to the interventions AND qualified for ED after going through the flowchart, the student needs individualized programming!
Find more best practice interventions for students with ED at...
Intervention Central -
Grab some Social Emotional IEP goals and objectives HERE!
Learn more about Emotional Disturbance in the Classroom!
Do you know what it feels like to be a student who has a learning disability in reading?
Do you want to know what it feels like to be a student who has a learning disability in reading?
Let me give you a chance to feel what it feels like!
Let's pause for a moment of reflection!
How did you do?
How did you feel as you were reading?
After we ask students to read a passage, we ask them comprehension questions to assess their understanding of the text, right?
Do you think you can answer some comprehension questions about what you just read?
So what does it feel like to be a student who has a learning disability in reading?
By: Miss Rae
Learn more about Dyslexia!
Work smarter, not harder!
This is a great piece of advice to give to any teacher you know. I know we have all heard the jokes about teachers having weekends and summers off, and while I do hope that teachers take time for themselves during their breaks, I know that their work lives never end! And when the pandemic hit and we had to move our classrooms into our homes, teachers worked even longer hours.
So here are some ways to work smarter and not harder during remote learning.
Here are some tips for making our remote reading workshops smarter!
Start by sending students recorded mini-lessons. These can be viewed repeatedly if needed. A support of some sort (i.e. graphic organizer, mnemonic reminder, visual reminder, strategy anchor chart, etc.) should accompany the video recording to support the student's access of the general education curriculum. Small guided reading groups can be scheduled with students using an online platform like Google Meet. Additionally, a weekly one on one check-in for all students can include progress monitoring assessments and/or meeting with the teacher for direct instruction. Progress monitoring assessments can determine the frequency and need for the check-ins. Such data can guide the goal of the check-in (i.e. instructional-based, emotional support needed, clarification of academic misunderstandings, etc.).
Learn more about Teaching Strategies for Remote Learning!
Writer’s Workshop is a student-centered framework for teaching writing, based on the idea that when students write often, for extended periods of time on topics of their choosing, they learn to write best. We have mastered this in the traditional classroom
Now, we have to master Writer’s Workshop in our virtual classrooms!
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning will now forever be a reality in our lives. And because of this, it is important that we learn to translate our best practices into remote learning best practices!
Most of the workshop model can be implemented rather successfully through distance learning. Mini-lessons can still occur. These can be recorded lessons for students to watch and re-watch if needed! And they still can be developed based upon students' writing.
Independent writing can obviously still happen too! That one should be a no brainer!
To support independent writing in the classroom, we have charts and visuals around our traditional classrooms. Think about which of these need to also be provided to students at home. Perhaps students can have access to online writing reference and pictures of visual supports from the classroom.
During a typical mini-lesson, we often record our major points points you want students to be able to reference or have access to on an anchor chart. Give students access to a digital anchor chart either through a picture of one or a chart on Google Slides or Docs.
Offering feedback through comments on shared documents is great. But I would still suggest personalizing student feedback.
Personalizing feedback helps to build relationships with students. Research has shown that relationships are beneficial for student success for a number of reasons, but in particular, they help to protect against the effects of negative stress. About 45 percent of adults in the United States reported that their mental health had been affected from worry and stress during the pandemic (KFF, 2020). Children feel this stress too.
So how can you personalize feedback? Apps such as Mote (a Google Extension) allow educators to leave friendly comments on G Suite apps. Educators can leave messages about student writing to promote encouragement for further development of ideas and skills.
You can also still conference with your students! This can be done individually or in small groups. When looking at your students’ writing, if you see a small group of students who all need to conference about a similar issue in their writing, you can pull them for a small group instructional conference.
You can also create homogeneous groups of writers. This group can meet weekly to small group share and edit. They could meet as partners for peer share and edits. They can also contact each other for help as they would in the traditional classrooms.
I would suggest setting aside one day each week during your writing block for student-teacher conferences. Teachers could schedule a 5 to 10 minute virtual conference with students. Teachers should plan to conference with all students within a two week time period. If all student writing is being housed electronically, the writing can be pulled up on the screen during the virtual conference for a richer learning experience.
Make sure to support ALL students during this time. Students with learning disabilities might need to meet with you weekly for support. Students who just need that extra time may also need to meet with you weekly.
We can still support our students - even if we are not in the classroom with them!
By: Miss Rae
Reference: KFF poll
Teaching our students with learning disabilities requires specialized instruction from a specialized instructor. Special Education teachers are able to masterfully design lessons that include an abundance of multi-sensory tools because as we know - this is how our students with learning disabilities learn best. But now all teachers are being asked to instruct from their computer screens, and multi-sensory instruction seems virtually impossible - pun intended!
I’m sure this won’t surprise you, but - teachers are amazing! They have been able to transition to distance learning virtually (pun intended) without any professional development and little to no distance learning resources.
But what we do continue to have are goals for our students.
We will be able to …
-keep our students’ skills fresh
-prevent regression and
Even virtual relationships are important!
And here are 5+ Ideas for achieving those goals for Distance Learning with Learning Disabilities:
1. Phonemic Awareness
Related Phonemic Awareness Resources:
Related Decoding Resources:
Related Spelling & Decoding Resources:
Related Comprehension Resources:
Related Decoding Spelling & Comprehension Resources:
6. Social Emotional Learning
And make sure you are checking in on your students every day. Ask them how they are feeling. Let them know that it's okay to feel how they are feeling.
Happy & Healthy Teaching!
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