Teacher Tools

Transition Collaboration Strategies Survey

For many educators, slower summer schedules give teachers time to breathe and do a little housekeeping. So we chose a self-reflective tool for this week’s FREE Tool of the Week. This Transition Collaboration Strategies Survey asks Transition Specialists to reflect on their collaborative skills to identify areas they might develop over the coming school year. The survey comes from the ...

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Characteristics of Learning Disabilities and Second Language Acquisition

Summer vacation is upon many of us, but CEC’s Tool of the Week never takes a break! This week’s FREE tool is the table “Characteristics of Learning Disabilities and Second Language Acquisition.” In this easy-to-read comparison you’ll see how many of the signs of learning disabilities closely resemble those of emergent language. We think you’ll find reading this table an ...

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Section 504 Eligibility Flow Chart

Special education processes can get bogged down in jargon, conflicting opinions, family emotions, or just too many details. This week’s FREE Tool of the Week is a flow chart to help school counselors determine 504 eligibility. This flow chart will get you back to basics, so pin it on a bulletin board in your office or staple it inside your ...

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Example Task Chain for Using a System of Least Prompts

This week’s FREE tool is a sample task chain for using a system of least prompts when teaching life-skills to a student with developmental disabilities. In the system of least prompts, you begin a task with the least amount of prompting possible and increase assistance only as needed. This table provides an example of prompting for a student who is ...

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Peer-Mediated Learning Strategies Observation Form

This week’s FREE Tool is a quick and simple observation form from Friendship 101, a step-by-step guidebook for teaching social competency. The form provides a straightforward way to collect data on Peer-Mediated Learning Strategies (PMLS), evidence-based practices that teach social skills to students with disabilities through the involvement of a typically developing peer. The practice provides students with disabilities a ...

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PROSE Checklist for Improving School-to-Home Communication

Family involvement, as facilitated by effective communication, is shown to improve student learning. But we most often reach out to families through written communication that can present challenges. This week’s tool, taken from the TEACHING Exceptional Children article, “PROSE Checklist Strategies for Improving School-to-Home Written Communication“, offers strategies for overcoming communication barriers between you and your students’ families.

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Example Curricula for Teaching Sex Education

Students with developmental disabilities or autism often have sex education excluded from their programming. This week’s Tool, from Friendship 101: Helping Students Build Social Competence, provides some sample sex education curricula IEP teams can review and evaluate to ensure they provide accurate and comprehensive information and align with other educational materials for students ages 5-18 with developmental disabilities. P.S. – Want to ...

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Writing Narratives about Student Behavior

The general education classroom teacher often completes a teacher narrative as one component of evaluating students for eligibility for special education services – and frequently provides progress monitoring as well. These documents are considered legal documents, so both teachers and specialists need to be able to clearly, objectively, and appropriately describe students’ class participation, academic progress, involvement with peers and ...

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Exploring Science: Come On, Rain!

A couple of weeks ago the Tool of the Week was a science content lesson plan about the rain cycle. The lesson plan came from the most recent publication in our U-STARS~PLUS series, Science & Nonfiction Connections. U-STARS publications provide teachers with lesson plans and strategies for presenting science content – with enrichment activities and “thinking questions” that benefit all ...

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Determining Where Real-World Instruction Should Occur

Real-world skills are critical for students’ success, and the settings in which these skills are taught are often critical to facilitate student retention and use of these skills in real situations. This week’s Tool of the Week is a decision-making process for determining the appropriate settings for teaching real-world skills. This week’s Tool comes from Footsteps Toward the Future: Implementing a Real-World Curriculum ...

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