Library Book Suggestions – November 2014

November’s library book suggestions are on student engagement and teacher engagement with families. [Read more…]

The Power of Engagement: Connecting Students, Families, and Learning

It is essential to provide students with disabilities “rigorous and relevant instruction to better engage students in learning and provide the skills needed to graduate and to serve them after they leave school” (Wilkins & Huckabee, 2014, p. 45). This statement, in turn, leads to the question: How do students want to be engaged in their learning? When a middle school teacher asked her eighth graders that question, one student responded, “I believe that it all boils down to relationships.  Not relationships from teacher to student or relationships from student to student, but rather relations between the text and the outside world” (Wolpert-Gawron, 2012, “Connecting the Real World,” para. 1).  Another student observed, “When a student is active they learn in a deeper way than sitting” (Wolpert-Gawron, 2012, “Get Me Out of My Seat!” para. 1). [Read more…]

Cooperative Learning Techniques for Active Student Engagement

How can cooperative learning help your students? Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy whereby small teams of students with differing abilities engage in a variety of learning activities to improve their subject-matter understanding and skills. Each team member is responsible for learning what is taught as well as for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement (Balkcom, 1992). When structures are in place for this level of dialogue to occur, the comprehension process is accelerated (Bucalos & Ling, 2005). Positive effects of cooperative learning have been reported in all subject areas, grades, and types of schools and with students from different ethnic backgrounds and achievement levels (Slavin, 1994). Hattie (2012) described cooperative learning as “a powerful intervention” (p. 78). [Read more…]

Planning for Effective Intervention Blocks

Many schools include in their master schedule time each day to provide instructional intervention, reteaching, or remediation for students who have difficulty mastering academic concepts and require additional support outside of the general education classroom (Canady & Rettig, 2008). When intervention blocks are carefully planned and continuously monitored for efficiency and effectiveness, they can benefit both students and teachers. For example, in a study of elementary students with learning disabilities who received small-group instruction outside of the general education classroom, researchers found that students made the most substantial academic gains when instruction was [Read more…]

What Educators Can Do to Foster Family Involvement

Families are key contributors to student learning at all levels of a child’s schooling (Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007).  Thus, student achievement increases and school improvement efforts are more effective when families and schools are true partners in the educational process. “Intentional, well-designed practices to inform and support family engagement have a positive and long-term effect on student outcomes, including grades, test scores, behavior, passing rates, enrollment in higher-level programs, high school graduation, and college attendance” (Mapp, Henderson, & Hill, 2014, “The Whole Truth,” para. 2). [Read more…]

Math Problem Solving and the Use of Generative Strategies

A recent Facebook post by the Secret Society of Happy People (September 17, 2014) highlighted a common concern among many educators and students regarding math word problems.  The post read, “Every time I see a math word problem, this is what it looks like:  If I had 10 ice cubes and you had 11 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof?[Read more…]

Close Reading, Text Annotation, Text-Dependent Questions, and Paired Passages – Oh My!!!

Take a deep breath. There is no need to take cover. Terms like close reading, text annotation, text-dependent questions, and paired passages are not passing fads in education. Instead, they represent a return to building inspired, engaged, independent readers. They represent promising practices for developing strategic readers, including students with disabilities (SWD) (Katz & Carlise, 2009). This article will link teachers to resources to help implement these high-yield strategies in support of rigorous college- and career-ready expectations for all students. [Read more…]

T/TAC W&M Welcomes Christine Peterson

We are pleased to welcome Christine Peterson, Project Specialist, to our T/TAC W&M team.  Christine brings the knowledge and expertise gained from over 25 years’ experience as a special and general educator. Her passion and enthusiasm for teaching are clearly evident, and she is an accomplished educator at both the elementary and high school levels. Christine is also highly qualified in Algebra and Geometry, has experience in reading program development, and is committed to including students and their families in the special education process.
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Inclusive Schools Week-December 1-5, 2014

Inclusive Schools Week is December 1-5, 2014. Visit the Inclusive Schools Week Resources page for free downloadables that make planning your celebration simple. There is still time to order celebration materials. Visit the Inclusive Schools Network Shop for affordable celebration products and simple lesson ideas. [Read more…]

Resource Available for Military Families with Students in Special Education

The Virginia Department of Education has developed a new guide for military families with children in special education. The 16-page guide provides information and answers to questions that military families with school-aged children might have about special education programs in Virginia public schools. Topics include enrollment, special education services, parental consent in Virginia, Section 504, dispute resolution and procedural safeguards. [Read more…]