Spring

Spring brings change and hope. Spring also brings allergies, more conversations about school appropriate relationships between students, and potentially for some students, moving on to the next campus.

What Is Waiting On the Other Side?

By now the next campus has probably come over. Students have made plans to attend their next school. Whatever that may be. For the young ones though, even if it is the second time changing campuses, perhaps the first time. There is a lot of questions. Fortunately, for students with disabilities, often there are tracks for students to visit their next campus to help them before they arrive to see their campus and to meet some folks who may be there in the fall.

But this is not the only strategy that needs to be used.

Students need to hear from their peers, or even older peers that everything will work out. Maybe it will be their first campus with a locker. Maybe it will be a larger campus and there are many buildings. Maybe it may be the first time they will have to change classes. But all of that will work out and they can feel confident if they give themselves time.

Spend some time with the student. Reassure the student that though they’ll have moved up to the next campus, that you still believe they can be successful.


Maybe it will be their first campus with a locker. Maybe it will be a larger campus and there are many buildings. Maybe it may be the first time they will have to change classes.

Some students express their anxiety very physically. Common challenges in this method include getting into fights with peers or even ripping at their hands. It is important to sometimes let students have a moment to deal with their anxiety. Many students do not naturally have words when they have a feeling they do not know how to mask or share.

Connect students with peers who also may be experiencing the same thing. Get the students to connect about the things they may share. Finding common ground about things not about the following year is pretty important. Building those peer relationships can help make things a little easier.

The Real Challenge of Spring

The part that students do not really seem to be able to focus on during this time of year while all the things are going on: the school year in progress is not over yet.

There will be more projects before they are dismissed for the academic year.

There will be more time with their peers.

There will be more assessments.

There will be time to improve.

There is time to understand the one thing you haven’t understood all year.

This week from Inclusion From Square One

Amanda Morin takes on how the argument for exclusion should be made and not inclusion. Check out the blog here.


That’s what inclusion is. It’s what we all want and are striving for—the feeling that you are at ease and belong without even having to think about it. It never once occurred to anybody in that room that I had to make the case for why I belonged there.

Amanda Morin

Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in #BetterTogether, Campus, Disabilities, Inclusion From Square One, peers, Reframing, Resources, social skills, Spring, Students, Transition Activities | Leave a comment

The Road to the End (of the Year)

We’re back! You might have thought we were taking a vacation. But that’s not what spring break really gives us a chance to do.

First, we released two new items on our Teachers Pay Teachers Store. Because both of these items centered around a specific theme, we created a bundle to sell if folks are interested. The items range for students of different abilities, so some may be more appropriate on some years than others.

And then we alluded to this before we left, but we really got going while we were gone. We started a new project: Inclusion From Square One. It’s not about resources, it’s about helping folks find the answers to “How”. How is inclusion possible? How do teachers…? How do families…? How do students…? All of those How pieces that are part of larger inclusion questions broken down to help groups navigate to an inclusive or even more inclusive education setting. The posts are up with Renay and Nicole Eredics’, The Inclusive Class, more are coming this month including Amanda Morin. There are plans for the future of Inclusion From Square One

Spring Dynamics

Spring provides some different issues at schools. The weather is changing. And no matter the age of the students, students know the air has changed. Unless you’re currently in the section of the United States that is experiencing the revisit of snow, the season of Spring really does affect the students.

Allergies make some students miserable. Some students seem to have lost their self control. Other students who just have found their comfort level in your class fall back on old patterns and are silent or repeatedly absent.

Add into this complex mess of issues with facing standardized testing, more outdoor sports, large projects, and unusual trip schedules and there is a pretty good chance that it may just seem you think you will lose your mind.

Add into this complex mess of issues with facing standardized testing, more outdoor sports, large projects, and unusual trip schedules and there is a pretty good chance that it may just seem you think you will lose your mind.

ParaEducate
  • Remember why days are long to young folks. It isn’t just because their families are possibly cramming in a lot of things. They just don’t have as many memories associated with the way things fill time. This is their first foray. You’ve been hurdling over projects with students for possibly a while now and they’re just learning how to get over them.
  • For the student whose executive functioning may not be where their peers are, remember to be direct with instructions. One instruction at a time. It can be complex if you’re running three or four students at a time doing different or even parallel activities, but making a check list for yourself while you give single step instructions is even useful.
  • Find ways to connect with quieter students. While we really don’t insist on the eye contact rule many teachers have, try and check in and see how they are attempting to work on that poem, get at their level, speak in whispers to the student. Drawing large crowds of attention drains some of these students. Realizing that some of these students have seven or eight separate adult contacts a day can also drain the student. Let the student know that you see them, but let them have their space.
  • Return and review the classroom rules with all students. Make this a regular occurrence. Remind students of the choices they make have consequences. Some consequences can be ‘small’, being admonished by an adult. Some consequences can be ‘big’, a report card that is less than what the student wanted or a loss of sports eligibility.
  • Tissues now more than even during flu season. And if you can swing it, hand sanitizer too. While it is not possible to get allergies from a classmate, encouraging basic hygiene is pretty important.

Spring feels joyful in all the types of celebrations that occur, no matter the reason. It is a renewal, a promise of hope. Education is a hope for many students. Being the stabilizing rudder for students to learn from their mistakes and learn to self-advocate. Build on what you’ve cultivated all year.


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in Inclusion From Square One, Modifications, ParaEducate, paraeducators, Professionalism, Spring | Leave a comment

‘Twas the Night Before Spring Break

While we don’t have a lot of words for today, we’re trying to play catch up with a lot of things that need our attention, we thought we’d distract you with a moment of calm before that second before the bell rings to let the students go for Spring Break. Maybe some of them have already come and gone, but we have this right now in front of us. We’re waiting for our very own Spring Break.

And now we shall present: ‘Twas the Flurry After Spring Break

All through the campus, not a creature was stirring.

(Okay maybe a roach.)

The activities for Friday were all spent.

The students running away with glee in their voices. For the idea of ‘no school’ was at the top of their needs

While visions of free bathroom breaks danced in the heads of the educators for the long week ahead.

The science wing classroom reptilian buddies were all fed and snuggled in for a week of not being tapped at,

The computers were all set to ‘off’ in the lab

The brushes were set to drying in the art wing

The silence of music was rather poetic.

History books gained another few pages of information,

While the IEPs were tucked in the files,

The data both anecdotal and quantitative, the behavior reports, and the last minute parent email were going to have to wait.

The mini fridge — the hum was stalled: the plug pulled, the food that could not wait was removed

A week would be long and silent in the classroom, but tomorrow it would be a frenzy of activity.

We need the break. The room needs the break.

As the door closed with a click, we heard the promise, “Happy Spring Break. See you in nine days.”

Speaking of Spring Break, ParaEducate will be off for two weeks.

During the two weeks, we’re preparing for something we hope will be very useful to you all. Just to be fair, we’re not the only voice behind this project. Can’t wait to share it all with you.

Most importantly

Happy Down Syndrome Day!


ParaEducate will be off for Spring Break March 28th and April 4, 2019. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in blog, Campus, ParaEducate, paraeducators, publications | Comments Off on ‘Twas the Night Before Spring Break

A Seat at the Table

We have often eluded to this phrase ‘a seat at the table’ in our presentations. But today, we really did experience what this means.

We had the chance to be held accountable with other general education teachers in a meeting about potential piloting new curriculum. And the paraeducators who attended apprehensively were probably not as thrilled, but they were invited to join the group and their ideas were respected as the institutional memory of the last pilot was not within the bulk of the group looking at the new curriculum.

Then the group realized that their paraeducators would benefit from the training on a new curriculum to spot check students, as a whole student population will be learning how to face the challenges posed by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The teachers also listed other ways implementing curriculum in tandem with paraeducators would be useful for their next adoption, to be that leading edge, to take away the down time students could have in their education time getting them access earlier along their peers.

The seats at the table will continue to add on. The communities are growing from listening to each other.

ParaEducate

But beyond this, having a seat at the table with general educators reflectively means that the weight of special education’s role in every aspect of the education process was respected. And the paraeducators there walked away feeling highly valued and their contributions were something that could be heard, right, wrong, or just what was needed to make a coworker smile.

But this was one district. We know that this is not the norm. We know that many districts are challenged in this perception and may not get here as soon as many families will like.

The seats at the table will continue to add on. The communities are growing from listening to each other. But don’t say anything because it is to fill the space. Speak always to be meaningful. Pose questions that wonder. Make comments that notice. But never be afraid to not say something. Listening and processing is as important as being that voice at the table.


For all who celebrate the curves in life

Happy Pi Day (3/14)!

May there be pi and pie in your life in some variation.


ParaEducate will be off for Spring Break March 28th and April 4, 2019. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in #BetterTogether, Campus, Disabilities, General Education Students, General Education Teachers, paraeducators, Professionalism, Students | Comments Off on A Seat at the Table

You’re Going To Be Okay Anyway

For the past week, we’ve been working on a series of things to release and the graphics are nearly ready. These new items will hopefully be very useful to some folks very shortly. Early samples were really very useful. And then last night we received news that we crossed 800 followers on Facebook.

It is a bit of a celebration, but we temper this fact that our followers and supporters nee more than us just to be there and a connection out there in virtual space. We know that getting materials that others can use is very important to us.

Our time on the road did do us in, in fact we had missed a lot in those four days we were away. But this does make us think a lot about the struggles a paraeducator may have when a teacher is a substitute.

Some reminders for everyone:

  • Realize that some classes feel threats are a challenge to meet and exceed. This not to confuse patience with passivity. Students, even students with disabilities might confuse this information. Cooler approaches prevail.
  • Paraeducators in a classroom, even the ones who are specifically assigned 1:1 with students do have relationships with the other students. Some students may be slow to trust substitutes and that trust can be establish in a regular class period. A gentle reminder to students follow the school rules can be very helpful to everyone
  • Health plan information needs to be clearly marked to the substitute. As do recent additions if at all possible. As soon as that student is added to the class at least shove a sticky note just in case you’re out the next day.
  • Sometimes have your finger on ‘escape’. A student who might not approach well with any changes perhaps ask for their buy in to be somewhere else for a short block of time to work on the same content in a different location. Reward students for being proactive in their learning.


If a polite, “Hey you wouldn’t do that if the teacher were here.” can diffuse the situation and get a student back on track, then it’s not a big deal.

ParaEducate

It seems like a lot of information to leave a substitute for a general education class. But it also lets the substitute be aware of any nuances in advance of a class.

No, there is no obligation truly written into any contract that requires a paraeducator to help keep tabs on students when a substitute has come to class. A professional courtesy is helpful. It is exhausting and can be very draining. But think about the bigger lines. Respect between individuals, the infractions that  will get a student sent to the office. If a polite, “Hey you wouldn’t do that if the teacher were here.” can diffuse the situation and get a student back on track, then it’s not a big deal.

A word of caution, not all substitute teachers are receptive. It can be surmised usually very quickly. Always have a place of assuming positive intentions.

We’re well aware…

We’ve not skipped our Cal-TASH recap. We’re waiting to hear back on some folks from Cal-TASH. Though we did get to spend one more minute with Adiba Nelson and met her daughter, the inspiration behind ClaraBella Blue!

One more thing…

ParaEducate will be taking Spring Break March 28th and April 4th. We have something planned. We hope to be ready to share by then.


ParaEducate will be off for Spring Break March 28th and April 4, 2019. Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in Behavior Strategies, blog, Campus, Conferences, Disabilities, General Education Students, ParaEducate, paraeducators, Professionalism, Students, substitutes | Comments Off on You’re Going To Be Okay Anyway

Seven.

We have recovered from the constant packing and unpacking involved with travel. The office of ParaEducate almost looks ready to go as we’re considering materials for publication this summer. We’ve been corresponding with a variety of folks online and offline and preparing for that ‘next’ thing we have on our list. Except tonight, it’s a little different. Tonight, we sit on the anniversary of ParaEducate.

Absolutely, our favorite moment in the last seven years was announcing that ParaEducate was available for publication. While that day is further away from where we stand today, we also know we are reminded all the time about why we stay and connect with hundreds of educational professionals. Thank you for your support.

For seven years, we’ve gone out and connected with a variety of professionals and we’ve shared our knowledge. This is what we enjoy doing. We’ve gotten better and there is always room to improve. Seven years should mean a major change, and we may have some that we do not anticipate, but we know that this journey of providing support to paraeducators, special education teachers, and students with disabilities will not be one path we will not be on.

Over our seven years on many campuses, ParaEducate has met many passionate inclusive educators, both general education and special education. We’ve met administrators who appreciate the complexities of not just holding students accountable for their behaviors but supporting staff when those behaviors are being guided into something more positive. We’ve also met administrators who are patient enough to understand safe behaviors needed by all students to be successful at school, that waiting things out sometimes garners results just as much as a stern talking to and a potential punishment. By no means does this mean that actions do not have consequences, instead consequences are presented and students are taught to grow from these consequences to be better than they were five minutes prior, five days prior, even five years prior.

We have made tremendous professional friends beyond our campuses. We would never have gotten very far without amazing individuals across the United States, Canada, and a few in Hong Kong all supporting one another.

We have worked with a variety of people with disabilities over the years. These people, students mostly, but some were never our student to begin with, have reminded us of the work necessary to get not just through school, but to better understand the complexities of learning that enrichment through education is not just purely an academic pursuit.

What we know on our horizon is yet another book awaits our attention this summer. We’ve changed publishers so this will definitely reflect in time it will take from approval to publication. We are looking to connect with more of our professional friends. We will continue to reach out through webinars and conferences. And this blog will remain.

Absolutely, our favorite moment in the last seven years was announcing that ParaEducate was available for publication. While that day is further away from where we stand today, we also know we are reminded all the time about why we stay and connect with hundreds of educational professionals. Thank you for your support


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in Adminstrators, blog, Campus, Classroom, Disabilities, General Education Teachers, Inclusion, ParaEducate, paraeducators, Professionalism, publications, Special Education Teachers, Students, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Seven.

Morale Boosters

The suitcase is packed, the gear is ready, presentation all planned out. We’re heading out the door to Cal TASH 2019 today. We can’t wait the things we can potentially learn over the next forty-eight hours sends a bit of excitement. Of course it would be nice if our flight wasn’t delayed, but we know what awaits us at Cal TASH.

While we head out for all of these events, we are hearing about teams experiencing burn out. It is not uncommon this time of year to feel dragged over spikes in every single class. The majority of the United States is under several feet of snow, this is quite a challenge for many people, let alone families with members with disabilities. Everyone is in close quarters. There are more reasons to have behaviors that are not always pleasant.

But what to do about raising morale during this time of year?

  • Remember to say ‘thank you’ on a regular basis. Coworkers and students. Say it for everything.
  • Remember your work identity beyond that of working with students. At work, Renay doesn’t just randomly disappear for a few days at a time—she is sometimes called into other classes to help with technology problems. We know that there are many artists, readers, and those with thoughts who work with students and share their interests. We have staff who love to garden, staff who take an interest in outdoor hiking, staff who love sports, staff who are elite gamers online and off line, and many other interests. Share them with your coworkers.
  • Visit the school library and wander the book shelves. Even if you are not a voracious reader, or consider yourself a reader at all, there is something very calming about reading book spines. You might even find a book that sparks your interest. You could connect with a student who is looking for a friend.
  • This sounds crazy, we did talk about the weather being dangerous in some parts of the country, but if it safe, go outside. Get a little bit of sun. Watch the snow crumble around a fresh shoe print. Go back in, grab a warm cup of something you prefer. If you’re in a rainy area, hope for that break in the clouds, enjoy the way the rain and wind mix with the trees from the safety of inside the classroom.
  • Take a moment to draw with students what the classroom would look like if you added a hamster tube around the room. Just let the students know that this will not be happening, but it is fun to think about. And it gives their mental squirrels a good place to be when things are not progressing the way we all think they should progress.
  • Take breaks with your student. Ten problems accomplished? All right time for some wall push ups. Talk about the basketball game—it is February, what local basketball team is going where? Doesn’t matter college or professional. If you’re able, take a basketball out and get in 10 baskets each.
  • Start small groups with three positive comments from everyone. We usually do this prompt with 3 positive comments about your weekend. Or three positive comments about our favorite video game. Just wrapping one’s mind around positivity helps.
  • Use skill building to challenge each other. We often find typing games online (for free, there are many) and keep a list of scores with students. We find this gets some motivation in everyone and even reluctant participants find a bit of challenge in this. There are students from time to time who will blast out the competition, but for students who are starting to learn to type this may work with some.

But we’re really all about the ‘thank you’. Say it often enough and it will start making an impact.

A Random But Useful Side Note

We were also approached this week about a student. “They can do [thing academic or otherwise], but they don’t want to do that part when they are with me.”

Go back a bit, build that rapport to let the student see you know they can do the things you really need to get to. Even in the middle of the year. Even with a student who you have known for a while.

There are a lot of reasons why a student will shut down. Sometimes, even when the student is viewed as capable, that there is something bigger that makes ‘one more thing’ a lot harder. It is okay to scale back sometimes to something that might be mildly age inappropriate. Cover the extra words so the student doesn’t have to sift through everything visually. Work for five minutes, get a short game. Do another activity that is not academically motivated. Go back a bit, build that rapport to let the student see you know they can do the things you really need to get to. Even in the middle of the year. Even with a student who you have known for a while. It will make all the difference and then progress can happen.


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in 8 hours, Campus, Conferences, Disabilities, Indoor Activities, Morale, ParaEducate, paraeducators, Students | Comments Off on Morale Boosters

What Are They Getting Out of It?

We want all our parents advocates who follow our blog to take a minute before they send us an onslaught of comments. This isn’t the blog post where we talk about limitations of students with disabilities. Or the argument some schools have against doing things differently. Or any of the arguments that keep parent advocates up at night.

This is an honest post about what some students with disabilities get out of inclusive academic expectations.

We have not really in recent years been directly expressive about the variety of students with disabilities. We’ve worked with some students who have processing delays and we have worked with students with multiple disabilities that include disabilities that directly affect the student’s health and overall cognitive function. At any one time, any student, regardless of disability, can be engaged and not engaged in a classroom. There are a lot of factors that challenge a student’s attention. Some factors are genuine and cannot be mitigated (forgot medication, challenges at home). Some are the student teacher connection; for some students this really matters, for others, less so. There are the expectations of the classroom teacher, the expectations of the curriculum, and the filtering through unwritten social contracts of being in proximity to more than thirty other people.

It is potentially possible to observe all of this at any one time in any classroom at any grade with any number of students who all have needs in pursuit of academic achievement at any specific level. It is not easy to herd all the minds in one general direction when the carrot is technically intangible. Especially when a student has a disability.

This is where advocates for students usually start talking about fish climbing trees and reaching a student’s strength. But not all skills are about mental strengths and demonstrating strengths.

Sometimes it’s about building a weaker skill.

Sometimes it’s about learning that doing the thing you least like to do but doing it because you were told.

Sometimes it’s about learning compromise and turn taking.

Sometimes it’s about building self esteem.

Sometimes it’s about kindness to someone else.

Sometimes it’s about learning to be sarcastic.

Sometimes it’s about learning to be a kid your age.

Sometimes it’s about finding a way out of disappointment.

Sometimes it’s about learning to ask for help.

Sometimes it’s about doing it differently for the same result.

Sometimes it’s about doing it again even though you thought it was done.

Sometimes it’s about learning that you are held to the standard like your peers though you thought you could slip under the radar.

Sometimes it’s about learning that maybe this isn’t what you really wanted, but living with the decision.

Sometimes it’s about appreciating that there are always going to be hoops to jump through.

But most of all, it’s about learning from that experience.

We can’t adapt these lessons. We can’t modify this opportunity. This at the heart of everything else: is the process of life. Going to school is about developing skills for any job, for any potential future.

That test for the student who has a disability is coming just around the corner. Certainly the test will be modified for the student, but it will still be a test. It will be on Volcanoes. It will be a small group testing experience with other students with disabilities. As proctors of tests, we know that the student will not choose the first answer ever in a list of questions. As proctors of the test, we know that the student’s name will not possibly be on the line. We probably can’t promise you that the student will even independently read the word ‘volcano’ in a sentence. We also can’t promise you that the student truly cares a thing that you’ve said ‘volcano’ for three weeks.

But the general education teacher did say, “I want them to know lava comes from the ground. I want them to know it comes through a volcano. I want them to know that volcanoes can be found all over the world. I want them to know that lava makes igneous rocks.”

I can’t promise you that the student will do any of that in the test either. I can’t promise you the student who does not appear to care for school can tell you that truthfully and honestly. But we’re here to try. The student we support will get something out of your class.


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in #kindness, Campus, Classroom, Disabilities, General Education Students, paraeducators, Reframing, Resources, Students | Comments Off on What Are They Getting Out of It?

Hoops

Before we get to the bulk of what we want to talk about today, we really need to recap the amazing time we had at AZTASH last week. While we were on the road, it is hard to appreciate the immense task of preparing and reaching out to so many advocates, educators, and self-advocates at this event set up for hundreds. But we had a really wonderful time. The last time we were at AZWINS, it was six years ago, and some folks, we recognized from that first visit.

Unfortunately, because of the nature of this AZWINS, Renay did not visit any sessions, but she also knew that Nicole Eredics and Adiba Nelson Segal hit their presentations out of the park. Adiba spoke about Rebellion as an act for providing her daughter the life she deserved as an eventual self-advocate. And Nicole introduced quality modifications and inclusive directions. The stage was clear, we were going to build up all our folks, meet new people, and exchange ideas.

Different Sorts of Hoops

Renay has been dealing with the paperwork associated with pending triennial IEPs. Every three years, a student with an IEP goes through a series of evaluations with all the members of their IEP team. During this time, work samples are especially important. But more important that the work samples are the notes that accompany the work samples.

Notes on work samples should talk about things like, how much help did a student receive? Did you talk line through line on the essay? Did you spend time reteaching each math concept during the test? Did the student copy from their notes or the textbook? Did the student use the glossary in the textbook independently? Did you provide the student with a chance to edit their work? Does the student provide information about how to revise their written work?

All of these stories help give the IEP team a clearer picture of the student through their day as academic demands are asked of them. We strongly suggest using sticky notes to share with the General Education Teacher and the Special Education teacher. We also use copies of the final graded effort by the student as samples to share with the IEP team instead of originals. The evaluations that the different members of the IEP team gave–this is in class in comparison to their peers even with modified or adapted instructions for the student’s performance on a task or series of tasks.

If the student is working on behaviors, how long did the student engage in behaviors? Survey the class, are other students as off task as the student with an IEP? How about their disruption of the entire class? Does the student use their sensory breaks? Can a student ask for their breaks appropriately?

What strategies do teachers use to get students prepared to learn? Does it engage the student or prepare that student to learn?

A triennial IEP is a pretty major chunk of IEP. The Team uses this information to determine what the next steps for the student might be, compared to just little steps that happen at other IEPs for the student.

One More Hoop

We’re now gearing up for CalTASH 2019! Once again Adiba Segal will be there, and we can’t wait to share with other educators from all over the state of California. Find Renay there. She’ll be tweeting and documenting her connections for us.


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in #BetterTogether, Conferences, Disabilities, IEP, ParaEducate, paraeducators, Skills Lesson, Students, The Inclusive Class | Comments Off on Hoops

Things You Might Want to Know From the Road

Renay will not mince words: writing the blog on the go is not her favorite activity while traveling for a conference. After all there are a lot of things to think about: audience demographics, presentation time, presentation type, how to best engage (typically adults) with the material. These are, after all, difficult concepts to process, but what really is important is not the content but the walk away. What will the audience remember?

Renay is pretty used to being the only paraeducator at conferences. There are conferences geared to paraeducators (CSEA  Paraeducator’s Conference in California, specific to the districts that have union representation and wish to educate their teams, and then there is the biannual Paraeducator’s Conference on the National level), but they don’t talk about the expanse of the special education world.

There are many parts, most often we’ve lumped them together as ‘teacher’, ‘paraeducator’, and then ‘not either of those two’. But there are specialists.

  • Advocates: folks who have been there, seen that, and are helping districts and parents work to a student’s best outcome in pursuit of their education
  • OT: Occupational Therapists, folks who understand sensory needs for students. Additionally, OTs address how the mechanics of the human body affect the behavior of some students when doing activities like typing, writing, or other fine motor coordination
  • PT: Physical Therapists, folks who work with students who have specific needs with regards to stretching or other gross coordination. Often can work with APE.
  • AT: Assistive Technology advisors, folks who understand technology and how to help students have access to do activities. This can be in the form of a switch to operate say a blender in Home Ec or a tablet or computer to communicate.
  • Behaviorists: folks who understand how to read observations of students and their reactions to consequences. They help build strategies for students to buy into their education through many different sources.
  • APE: Adapted Physical Education, folks who take students to their general education PE class and help the student with learning physical skills at their ability level to become better coordinated in doing physical activities. Often can work with PT.
  • Mental Health: Someone trained who helps students meet their emotional needs. This is typically a licensed therapist who helps to build trust and work with the student’s needs to be addressed to stay mentally healthy.
  • SLP: A person who is a Speech and Language Therapist. Not only does an SLP address the way someone may speak, they also help students navigate their communication devices (both technology and low tech), learn social skills to better connect with peers in school, or decode some things that are typically found in the domain of English Language Arts.

All of these other folks, aren’t ‘extras’ or truly ‘other’. They get to work and advocate for a student just like everyone else.  With direct exclusion to Mental Health and some of the work a PT may do with a student, most of these ‘other folks’ can push in and help a student in the natural setting of their classroom or observe and make corrections to help the student access the most of their education.


Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online herehereherehere,and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

Posted in AAC, Advocate, APE, AT, Behavorist, blog, Conferences, General Education Teachers, Mental Health, OT, ParaEducate, PT, SLP, Special Education Teachers, Students, Support Services | Comments Off on Things You Might Want to Know From the Road