Backward Design: An Alternative to Grade-Level Retention for Students With Disabilities and Other Struggling Learners

Adam is six years old. Six months into his kindergarten year, Adam’s teachers and administrators are concerned. He is not demonstrating growth toward meeting the state and national benchmarks for kindergarten, and he struggles with even the most basic reading, math, expressive language, and social skills. He also appears not to have the basic prerequisite skills for kindergarten, such as attending, following simple directions, and getting along with peers. He cries frequently and states, “I hate school! I am STUPID!” [Read more…]

Reading Resource Guide

As announced in our last edition of Link Lines, we have new products to help newsletter readers find valuable educational resources related to topics including student engagement, classroom management, and co-teaching.  We have compiled current online resources, arranged them by media type, highlighted the five we found most helpful to practitioners, and identified those that are family-friendly.  View the Reading Resource Guide, compiled by Christine Peterson.  We will share additional guides in the 2017-18 editions of Link Lines.

Feedback – Teacher to Student


Amy is nine years old and receives special education services as a student with a Specific Learning Disability. After receiving her first graded assignment from her teacher, Ms. Smith, Amy was devastated. On the first day of school, Ms. Smith instructed the class to write a paragraph about their summer vacation. Amy was enthusiastic to write about her family’s trip to Disneyland. Despite her challenges with writing, Amy worked hard to begin each sentence with a capital letter and end with a period. She paid careful attention to the writing skills she had learned the previous school year. She capitalized proper nouns, sounded out words for spelling, and wrote neatly between the guide lines. Amy was proud as she turned in her essay and anxiously anticipated her writing conference with Ms. Smith. [Read more…]