Thursday, April 30, 2015

Inclusion: Research and PROOF

I'm asked a lot by friends and colleagues to share "proof" with me that inclusion works, is necessary, or allows for student success. I individually share information with these people but thought others might be interested in my top articles.

Time Management and Organization for Students

Thank you for everyone that came out last night to the Matteson District 162 and Southland College Prep High School for hosting us last night. Thank you to all of the parents that showed up, asked questions, and joined us for our session! We had a great time and really appreciate everyone who came.

CLICK HERE for the powerpoint on Time Management and Organization for Students.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Books that are Making Me Geek Out!

I love nothing more than to dive into a new teacher resource or book. I take a sip of my coffee, push my hair behind my ears, and dig right in! The problem is that many books about teaching don't take into account the busy lives of teachers. My favorite books are those that are incredibly visual, give information in short chunks, have examples, and provide forms, checklists, and other sheets that you can print off or copy right away. Below are my top five books at the moment for busy co-teachers working in the inclusive classroom. Brew some coffee, dump in some sugar, and get to reading!  

5. Informal Assessments for Transition Planning by Gary M. Clark, James R. Patton, and L. Rozelle Moulton

This has been a go-to book of mine for the past four or five years. Research shows links between teaching self-advocacy and self-determination and future success, employment, and independence. This books is jam packed with surveys and assessments. It is a great resource to use with students starting in fourth grade and going all the way to adulthood. I have the first edition but above is a picture of the second edition published in 2013.

4. The Co-Teaching Book of Lists by Katherine Perez

This book provides bulleted lists on everything from collaborating to differentiating. It's a wonderful resource to share with your co-teacher!

3. Everday Classroom Strategies and Practices for Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Jamie D. Bleiweiss, Lauren Hough, and Shirley Cohen. 

This book provides many pictures, checklists, and forms relating to providing a thoughtful and smart inclusive classroom environment.  The introduction mentions that although the strategies are designed for students with ASD, many of the practices will be useful for other populations of students. Every learning specialist should have this book, regardless of the disability label of the students on their case load.

2. "I Hate to Write!"by Cheryl Boucher and Kathy Oehler

I am obsessed with this book. Each section is broken up by "Teacher Concern", the research explaining the student's behavior, and finally an incredible number of strategies, forms, graphic organizers, and ideas to support the student. This book is incredible. I can't gush enough!

1. From Text Maps to Memory Caps and From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks by Paula Kluth and Sheila Danaher

These books are an inclusive gold mine! They provide examples, links, and clear directions for a variety of ways (200 in total) to differentiate instruction in any inclusive classroom from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Monday, April 13, 2015


An IEP-at-a-Glance is a great tool to use when you want to quickly share the most important information from a student's IEP. I've gone through many iterations of this template throughout the years, but the one I've created (see below) is my favorite by far.

IEP-at-a-Glance Uses:
  • Share with gen ed teachers at the beginning of the school year.
  • Share with gen ed teachers after an annual IEP meeting 
  • Share with gen ed teachers after a revision.
  • Share with paraprofessionals working with student.
  • Share with any related service staff or other staff members that work with student.
  • Share with student when talking about their IEP and self determination.
  • One of the learning specialists at my school came up with a new, wonderful use... fill it out and share it with parents at the IEP meeting! This is a quick and clear way to talk about the IEP and give parents a visual.