Monday, October 14, 2013

Special Education Apps.

TCI’s list of SPED-appropriate apps is always growing, but on the following pages we’ve compiled our top 10 iPad apps for special education. And although most of the apps cover a very broad age range, we’ve also added suggested grade levels for each:
1) Sosh: Filled with activities and tools designed to help children and adults who have difficulty with social skills, Sosh (pronounced like the first syllable in “social”) is divided into five sections including Relate (connect with others), Relax (reduce stress), Regulate (manage behaviors), Reason (think it through), and Recognize (understand feelings). Sosh provides many of the tools used in cognitive and behavioral therapy, and provides students with an opportunity to work independently to resolve their challenges. $39.99. Suggested grade level: middle school and up.
2) Clicker Docs: An assistive word processor that can support students with a variety of disabilities, Clicker Docs uses word-prediction technology to offer students spelling and grammatical suggestions to correct their writing. Synthesized speech allows students to review their work by listening for auditory cues. Teachers can set up word banks to provide students with advanced vocabulary. Finally, Clicker Docs integrates with Dropbox to provide secure cloud storage and document-sharing. $28.99. Suggested grade level: elementary school and up.
3) SymbolSupport: This assistive word processor automatically translates words into pictures and symbols, a task that is especially helpful for students with cognitive disabilities. Users can create new documents or copy and paste work from other apps into SymbolSupport, and the program will convert the text into symbols. The developer, Attainment Company, also markets a freeSymbolSupport Viewer app that allows users to receive, read, store, and print documents created by the full version of the program. $59.99. Suggested grade level: all ages.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What makes a good blog?

I have been running out of things to post about recently and I just wanted to post the question for response.

What makes a good blog?  More questions?  More facts?  Please share.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What is Common Core

I had a few people ask me, "What is Common Core."

Well here you go.

What are educational standards?

Educational standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning.

What is the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.

Who leads the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

The nation’s governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.

Why is the Common Core State Standards Initiative important?

High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations that are aligned to the expectations in college and careers. The standards promote equity by ensuring all students, no matter where they live, are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to collaborate and compete with their peers in the United States and abroad.. Unlike previous state standards, which were unique to every state in the country, the Common Core State Standards enable collaboration between states on a range of tools and policies, including: 

  • the development of textbooks, digital media, and other teaching materials aligned to the standards;
  • and the development and implementation of common comprehensive assessment systems to measure student performance annually that will replace existing state testing systems; and
  • changes needed to help support educators and schools in teaching to the new standards.

Who was involved in the Common Core State Standards Initiative?

States across the country collaborated with teachers, researchers, and leading experts to design and develop the Common Core State Standards. Each state independently made the decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards, beginning in 2010. The federal government was NOTinvolved in the development of the standards. Local teachers, principals, and superintendents lead the implementation of the Common Core.

What guidance do the Common Core State Standards provide to teachers?

The Common Core State Standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to ultimately be prepared to graduate college and career ready. The standards establish what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms.

How do the Common Core State Standards compare to previous state standards?

The Common Core State Standards were written by building on the best and highest state standards in existence in the U.S., examining the expectations of other high performing countries around the world, and careful study of the research and literature available on what students need to know and be able to do to be successful in college and careers. No state in the country was asked to lower their expectations for their students in adopting the Common Core. The standards are evidence-based, aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and skills, and are informed by other top performing countries. They were developed in consultation with teachers and parents from across the country so they are also realistic and practical for the classroom.

Will there be tests based on the Common Core State Standards?

Yes. States that adopted the Common Core State Standards are currently collaborating to develop common assessments that will be aligned to the standards and replace existing end of year state assessments. These assessments will be available in the 2014-2015 school year.

What is the appropriate way to cite the Common Core State Standards?

Authors: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers
Title: Common Core State Standards (insert specific content area if you are using only one)
Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C.
Copyright Date: 2010

Monday, October 7, 2013

Are there any positives to Common Core

I have read a lot of articles, heard a lot of my follow teachers talk and been the classroom where Common Core is be implemented.  I see many negatives to the curriculum and not a whole lot of positives.  I want to ask you, do you know of any positive to this curriculum?  I love to get the other side, instead of pointing out what is wrong with Common Core.

Common Core quotes.

As an early childhood educator with 37 years of experience, I am very concerned about the developmental inappropriateness of our Common Core standards for children in Universal Pre-Kindergarten all the way up to third grade.
The “drill and grill” approach to learning not only pushes innovative and play-based learning out of many primary classes, it also goes against everything we have learned about how children’s brains grow and develop.
Put simply, children’s brains are not like adult brains. They continue to grow and change through stages all the way up to adulthood.
Dr. Megan Koschnick’s presentation at Notre Dame University echoed what many early childhood educators, psychologists, pediatricians and researchers have been saying all along. Common Core asks children to behave like adults and get to higher levels of critical thinking when in reality their brains are not “wired” that way.
When the Common Core lead writers excluded some of the best experts in the field of child development, could we expect anything different than the poor results we got?
I would strongly suggest you listen to Dr. Koschnick’s full presentation online as well as read the “Joint statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative”
As educators, parents and taxpayers struggle to understand the federal government’s Race To The Top initiative and mandates, I would suggest you read Kenneth Mitchell’s informative essay “Federal Mandates on Local Education: Cost and Consequences – Yes It’s a Race, But is it in the Right Direction?”

Friday, October 4, 2013

If you disagree with Common Core what is the answer?

I am talking specifically about Special Educational students and Common Core.  If students with disabilities are not benefiting from Common Core, what should we do?  How do we approach it?  Is there anything that can be done?

These are all interesting questions and I would love to hear feedback?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Does Common Core hurt Special Education students

Many Special Education students are black and white, especially those with Autism.  The students have been taught one way to do and been provided the steps to complete the task.  Now with Common Core it moves at a very fast pace and the curriculum does not always follow in order.  This confuses many of the Special Education students.  The curriculum is moving at such a fast pace if the students miss one day of school it is very difficult for them to get caught back up.

I was wondering what others though about Common Core, in regards to Special Education students?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Should Extended Time be extended to homework?

Student who have the accommodation of extended time usually receive more time for tests, quizzes and projects, but extended time does not go with homework.  In the district where I work in we have switched to having seven classes a day and usually the students have homework in 3/7 classes everyday, sometimes more.  A lot of my students are struggling with studying, finishing the work in class and doing their homework.  So, my question for you is should these students receive more time to complete their homework?