Our Mathematical Challenge

Posted on March 03, 2012

If you were to walk into my home, decease you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, cialis 40mg I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, try to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and improve their quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classrooms. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus on students accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms.
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps.
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words.
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a student’s voice telling a story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight words. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like that is effective for student learning.  Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps locate graphic novels for students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app that provides students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen–a great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are available, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be busy sifting even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go.

Creativity

Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students to imagine that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep the plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District



If you were to walk into my home, information pills you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, site I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.
If you were to walk into my home, help you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District
If you were to walk into my home, approved you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, sildenafil I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, discount adiposity you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, viagra approved I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, information pills you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, what is ed I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, unhealthy to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, viagra you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, erectile I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, information pills check you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, visit this pilule you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, cialis 40mg view I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, pills you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, purchase I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, pills to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, side effects you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, approved I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, viagra seek you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, salve I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, online you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, visit this site I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, information pills to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • -The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, doctor you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, help I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, medications to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, approved you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, website you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, view ailment you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, drugs you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, sick I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, sickness to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, viagra approved you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, physician you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, purchase I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, viagra dosage to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, no rx you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, seek I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, ailment you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, about it I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, cost to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>
If you were to walk into my home, about it you would quickly realize that anything with a circuit board and integrated circuits are my friends. I have a passion for technology. From amateur radio to computers, I’m involved. I was once told by a mentor that I should teach with my passion, to share with my students my interests in order to improve their exposure to new things and quality of life. They didn’t have to tell me twice!

Alpine School District has blessed me with technology. Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated three classroom computers, a smartboard, and 5 iPads (three are provided by the district, two are personal iPads that I share) that are used on a daily basis. Not a class period goes by that I don’t hear “Can we use the iPads?” or “When can we use the computers?” Since our students are so comfortable and familiar with technology, it only makes sense to make sure that they have access to it in their classroom. My big focus this year has been effective integration of iPads to reinforce instruction.

Whether it’s English, reading, life skills or math my students are engaged in station activities. Each class begins with a lesson for 15-20 minutes. At the conclusion of the lesson, I direct students to break into three smaller groups to rotate through stations. One of those stations is the “iStation.”

The purpose of the iStation is to use iPad apps that either reinforce the lesson that was taught, or focus the students on accomplishing their IEP goals.

In English Class students:

  • Fill out online job applications on iPads to practice their personal information skills, using forms I’ve created in Google forms
  • Practice their spelling or sight words, using one of many magnetic letter apps
  • Use the Whiteboard app to practice their spelling words or sight words too!
  • Use the Dragon Dictation app to put their thoughts down on virtual paper. This is particularly useful for journal writing for my students who really struggle with writing.
  • Create sentences in iSentence. This is a great way to help students on various levels.
  • Create their own stories using another amazing tool, Story Builder. With three levels of prompting, and the ability to record a students voice telling their story, this one is extremely useful in my classroom.

In Reading class students use iStation to:

  • Learn grocery words, restaurant words, and safety words using apps from The Conover Company.
  • Recognize sight word. There are hundreds of sight words apps that one can use. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and running with it! Most are customizable, and some even keep track of data.
  • Discover sequencing in Making Sequences, an app that requires students to make sequences out of 2, 3, or 4 events.
  • Engage in the text. Comixology and iBooks is an app that helps you locate graphic novels for our students. If you have an iPad 2 and a projector, be sure to get the VGA adapter so you can show the stories to everyone!

For Life Skills, students use:

  • The Comic Book app to make comics of role play scenarios found in the Super Skills book by Judith Coucouvanis. With an iPad and role play scenario assigned to each group, students, with peer tutor assistance, create comics to help them better understand how to engage in certain social situations or solve problems.

The “What Would you do at School If…” app, an app that provides the students with a variety of school-based scenarios. You break the students at the station into two teams. A teacher or aide reads the scenario to the students at the station. If they provide a correct answer they get a point!

In Math class, students:

  • Use Mathboard, an app that allows teachers to not only customize math problems, but also create profiles that track students’ scores.
  • Learn to tell time in Telling Time HD. Whether you’re working with a student on telling time to various time increments or solving passage of time problems, this app is extremely useful.
  • Count out a customizable amount of change in Making Change. This app includes an onscreen prompt to assist students in the task.
  • Practice determining the place value of a number with the Place Value app. This app will ask the student what number is in a specific place, and they respond by placing the appropriate number of fingers on the screen! A great hands-on activity!

There are thousands of math apps that are out there, but we only use a handful.

Finding the right app

One thing that I am always asked is “How do you find these apps!?” You need to have a goal in mind when you go into the app store. If you’re looking for an app about fractions, type in “Fractions” in the search window. Otherwise, you’ll be browsing through thousands of pages in the education section what you’re looking for. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be sifting through a lot even after you search a specific topic; however, it’s not quite as daunting. Once you have narrowed down your search, just look at those with three or more star ratings and you’re good to go!

Creativity

Earlier, I mentioned creativity. Sometimes you have to leave the education section of the app store to really find what you are looking for. Earlier in the year I was trying to find a way to get my students more involved in a story we were reading. The book was Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I wanted my students to understand the dangerous situation the main character, Bryan, was in after the pilot died. I went home that evening and found the answer. The next day, I plugged my iPad into my VGA adapter, and placed two chairs near my desk. I then launched a flight simulator app I had downloaded (X-Plane 9), and told the students that they were Bryan from the story, and they had to try and keep their plane in the air. This got their attention, and they quickly realized how difficult it is to fly a plane with no previous experience! We’ve also been known to use soundboard apps during read-a-louds to help the students become more involved with the stories as well. We’ve also created a way to collect data on the iPad merging Google forms and the iPad, but that’s an entirely different article!

The iPad is truly an amazing piece of technology. Students of all ability levels are able to participate, no matter the subject. The only limiting factor is the creativity of the teacher.

Author: Jonathan Lindberg, Life Skills Teacher, Alpine School District

The electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>

Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, there even those in self-contained programs, ed would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, approved Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curricula and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curricula have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curricula have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction.”

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classrooms to their general education grade-level classes, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new positions, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like, only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions, as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials,” “My kids can’t read this,” “My students can’t do this math,” “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current levels of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability goals as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

The Old Instructional Model emphasized the step-by-step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

The New Instructional Model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill levels. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curricula. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access to the general education CORE, they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their abilities. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers great prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, even those in self-contained programs, viagra sale would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curriculum and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curriculum have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curriculums have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction”.

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classroom to their general education grade-level class, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new position, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials”, “My kids can’t read this”, “My students can’t do this math”, “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current level of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old instructional model emphasized the step by step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New instructional model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill level. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curriculum. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their ability. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

 

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers exciting prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, price even those in self-contained programs, recipe would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, visit this Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curriculum and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curriculum have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curriculums have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction”.

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classroom to their general education grade-level class, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new position, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials”, “My kids can’t read this”, “My students can’t do this math”, “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current level of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old instructional model emphasized the step by step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New instructional model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill level. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curriculum. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their ability. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers exciting prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, cialis 40mg and even those in self-contained programs, salve prescription would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curriculum and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curriculum have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curriculums have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction”.

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classroom to their general education grade-level class, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new position, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials”, “My kids can’t read this”, “My students can’t do this math”, “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current level of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old instructional model emphasized the step by step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New instructional model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill level. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curriculum. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their ability. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers exciting prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, website even those in self-contained programs, try would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, approved Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curriculum and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curriculum have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curriculums have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction”.

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classroom to their general education grade-level class, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new position, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials”, “My kids can’t read this”, “My students can’t do this math”, “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current level of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old instructional model emphasized the step by step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New instructional model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill level. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curriculum. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their ability. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers exciting prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 

Helping All Students to Succeed

“If you want to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, viagra a change that will persist and serve as an example to others, help you need to create a community around them, medications where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”

Malcolm Gladwell,The Tipping Point (2002) 

Salt Lake City School District is a district rich with diversity, and we celebrate that diversity. Our commitment to students and families is to help all children succeed, and our district leadership team meets regularly to look at district-level data and collaborate between departments to address the achievement gap. As a diverse district, our demographics provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges of closing the achievement gap for students.

Consider the following demographics of Salt Lake City School District:

  • The district serves over 24,000 students with over 80 languages being spoken in its schools.
  • Within the district’s boundaries, some neighborhoods report over 90% of families and children living in poverty while other neighborhoods feature multi-million dollar homes.
  • There are 36 schools in the district: 27 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools and one alternative high school. Of the 36 schools, 16 elementary schools and two middle schools are Title 1 schools.
  • Students in the Salt Lake City School District hail from around the world. Ethnic minorities make up 53% of our students, and the district serves a significant refugee population from Eastern European or African countries.
  • Approximately 60% of our students come from low-income families, and just over 33% of them are learning English as a second language.

District special education demographic data in grades K-8 closely mirror the district’s demographics.

  • A total of 12.8% of K-8 students receive special education services.
  • The percentage of ethnic minority students receiving special education services (58%) is comparable to the district K-8 ethnic minority population (58.1%).
  • Across the district’s 32 elementary and middle schools, 57.4% of the total student enrollment is in Title 1 schools whereas 59.2% of the total K-8 special education students are in Title 1 schools.

However, demographics only tell part of the story for Salt Lake City School District. District leadership collectively accepts its responsibility to hold all schools to high expectations for their students, including students with disabilities. In elementary and middle schools, where students acquire and firm up literacy and numeracy skills, “our story” remains consistent–together we can create a community of learners where new beliefs can be practiced, expressed, and nurtured. This, however, calls for a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2007) and a collective focus between departments, schools, and classrooms. For Salt Lake City School District, creating this focus has involved systematically changing how teaching and learning occur in our schools.

Components of Our Growth Mindset

In shifting to a growth mindset, district leadership recognizes systems change in schools calls for a common message by all departments; we call it “our story”. DuFour, et.al. (2004) refer to the ”story” as communicating a message that all policies, programs, and practices are considered through the lens of  “How does this impact student learning?” For Salt Lake City School District, the message is delivered through the following components, which include district supports, common practices and teacher expectations. Although elementary schools have been the initial target group, these components of a growth mindset are now being extended to secondary schools.

Core Materials

The first component was the adoption of district core materials for elementary language arts (Story Town) and mathematics (Math Expressions). Why district-adopted core materials? The core materials align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The common core materials also ensure that a systematic approach to grade-level core with materials that are available for the range of learners in our classrooms, including special education classrooms. The core materials provide a more seamless experience for students as they move from one grade to the next and help to ensure that students experience increasing complexity in skills taught from one grade to the next. The core materials include evidence-based interventions that align with Tier 1 instruction, critical not only to students with disabilities but other students needing supplemental and intensive support. With the adoption of core materials, the work of coaches and district professional development have become more focused.

Academic Coaches

The second component are the district literacy and math coaches whose roles are to support teachers in using student data for instructional decision making, changing their classroom practice to address all learners, and using formative assessments to adjust instruction. District coaches, including the two special education academic coaches assigned to support self-contained classrooms, provide teachers with school-based modeling in the implementation of the district-adopted language arts and mathematics curriculum, effectively using the targeted instructional times for language arts and math, and maintaining an appropriate level of instructional pacing by using the district-developed pacing guides. The district coaches share our common “story” to all schools and classrooms. This communicates a common and consistent message from the district level to school level to classroom.

Pacing Guides

The literacy and mathematics departments have developed pacing guides to help schools align the work being done in classrooms. The district-developed pacing guides provide benefits for both students and teachers. For our mobile students, the pacing guides help when students move from school to another. They do not miss lessons just because they are now attending a new school. It is important for all students to have access to the entire grade-level core, which is supported by the use of pacing guides. Slowing the introduction of content is not generally an appropriate intervention for struggling learners. Because both language arts and mathematics curriculum have a spiral effect, students have multiple opportunities throughout the scope and sequence for exposure and practice of essential skills.

For teachers, pacing guides help to increase teacher accountability toward peers and students, and they help to ensure that the entire core is taught before CRTs.  Greater teacher accountability occurs with pacing guides, and meaningful collaboration is fostered between teachers at the same grade level and between teachers in different grade levels. Finally, when teachers are working on the same content, they can develop and analyze common assessments and use formative assessments to measure instructional effectiveness.

District Benchmark Assessments in Mathematics and Language Arts

District benchmark assessments, developed by the language arts and mathematics departments, are another component of our growth mindset, and they have helped to monitor student learning of the core throughout the year. Given with appropriate accommodations, the benchmarks provide a check for teachers to see that students are maintaining concepts previously taught and give teachers opportunities for error analysis at both the individual and whole class level.  When teachers meet together, the benchmarks serve as a collaborative tool so teachers can make comparisons and share effective instructional strategies to address learning gaps. For students, the district benchmark assessments provide practice using testing strategies before the summative high-stakes tests.

Monitoring Student Progress and Checking for Understanding

Through professional development, teachers are taught that checking for understanding with students should be an integral part of every lesson. By doing so, student engagement increases as well as greater accountability for lesson outcomes occurs. Checking for understanding provides teachers with immediate feedback on student understanding and allows teachers to adjust instruction to increase student understanding.

To assist teachers in focusing on what mathematics concepts from the core should be mastered at a given time, the mathematics coaches have created Essentials Trackers. The Essentials Trackers align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Each one-page document provides an overview of the unit, using the learning targets as a way to help teachers and students focus on what students should know. Under each target, explicit instructional strategies and tools are listed to define how students should be able to show their understanding. There is also space provided on this page for teachers to check for student understanding, which allows teachers to adjust instruction when students struggle.

Teacher Preparation and Student Engagement Time

Another component of the district’s growth mindset is that teacher preparation is a key element in effective instruction. All teachers are expected to be prepared for their lessons. The expectation includes making professional decisions about the use of core materials. Planning includes: content and language objectives, a variety of appropriate learning activities, questioning and grouping activities, making connections among lessons, incorporating cultural relevance, assessments and checks for understanding, pacing and timing, strategies for engaging students in the content, and being sure that materials are prepared and available.

With appropriate teacher preparation, student engagement increases. Student engagement means that students are actively participating in understanding the lesson content. Teachers are taught that effective student engagement strategies include asking questions and randomly selecting students to respond, having students respond to questions on individual white boards, and asking students to share ideas with a partner or group.

Collaboration

Teacher collaboration is a critical component and form of professional development that employs dialogue with colleagues to improve student learning. In effective collaboration, teachers gain new ways to understand and respond to student work and progress monitoring. Grade level collaboration time occurs regularly in schools, and while teachers are collaborating, students should be involved in meaningful, high-quality content instruction. When academic coaches are involved in collaboration time with grade-level teachers, their role is to facilitate teachers in sharing ideas about student progress and strategies to close achievement gaps. In addition coaches may offer their own contributions, if appropriate. Collaboration time should be structured and focused on student learning by looking at student work, benchmark assessments, progress monitoring, and student needs.

Seeing Results and Looking Toward the Future

Our story is only as effective as the results that are produced.  Our school administrators, teachers, academic coaches, and district departments continue to focus on helping all students succeed. Successes are celebrated for whole school achievements and student group achievements. For example, in 2010-11, one Title 1 school had 84% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in language arts as well as 81% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in mathematics. A second non-Title 1 school had 64% school-wide proficiency in language arts and 64% proficiency for students with disabilities with no safe harbor. With both examples the achievement gap is closing.

As our district leadership looks toward the future, supporting schools in the implementation of the mathematics and language arts common core has already begun. With the growth mindset components that we have identified, the task is not as daunting. Rather it is a new opportunity to take on a new challenge of helping all students in Salt Lake City School District succeed.

Authors: Randy Schelble, Director, Exceptional Children Services, Barbara Kuehl, Director, Academic Services & Joleigh Honey, Math Supervisor, Academic Services, Salt Lake City School District

 
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, pharmacy even those in self-contained programs, discount would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, check Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curriculum and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curriculum have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curriculums have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction”.

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classroom to their general education grade-level class, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new position, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials”, “My kids can’t read this”, “My students can’t do this math”, “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current level of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old instructional model emphasized the step by step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New instructional model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill level. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curriculum. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their ability. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers exciting prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 
Helping All Students to Succeed

“If you want to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, this check a change that will persist and serve as an example to others, cheap this you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.” Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point (2002)

Salt Lake City School District is a district rich with diversity, and we celebrate that diversity. Our commitment to students and families is to help all children succeed, and our district leadership team meets regularly to look at district-level data and collaborate between departments to address the achievement gap. As a diverse district, our demographics provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges of closing the achievement gap for students.

Consider the following demographics of Salt Lake City School District:

• The district serves over 24,000 students with over 80 languages being spoken in its schools.

• Within the district’s boundaries, some neighborhoods report over 90% of families and children living in poverty while other neighborhoods feature multi-million dollar homes.

• There are 36 schools in the district: 27 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools and one alternative high school. Of the 36 schools, 16 elementary schools and two middle schools are Title 1 schools.

• Students in the Salt Lake City School District hail from around the world. Ethnic minorities make up 53% of our students, and the district serves a significant refugee population from Eastern European or African countries.

• Approximately 60% of our students come from low-income families, and just over 33% of them are learning English as a second language.

District special education demographic data in grades K-8 closely mirror the district’s demographics.

• A total of 12.8% of K-8 students receive special education services.

• The percentage of ethnic minority students receiving special education services (58%) is comparable to the district K-8 ethnic minority population (58.1%).

• Across the district’s 32 elementary and middle schools, 57.4% of the total student enrollment is in Title 1 schools whereas 59.2% of the total K-8 special education students are in Title 1 schools.

However, demographics only tell part of the story for Salt Lake City School District. District leadership collectively accepts its responsibility to hold all schools to high expectations for their students, including students with disabilities. In elementary and middle schools, where students acquire and firm up literacy and numeracy skills, “our story” remains consistent–together we can create a community of learners where new beliefs can be practiced, expressed, and nurtured. This, however, calls for a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2007) and a collective focus between departments, schools, and classrooms. For Salt Lake City School District, creating this focus has involved systematically changing how teaching and learning occur in our schools.

Components of Our Growth Mindset

In shifting to a growth mindset, district leadership recognizes systems change in schools calls for a common message by all departments; we call it “our story”. DuFour, et.al. (2004) refer to the ”story” as communicating a message that all policies, programs, and practices are considered through the lens of “How does this impact student learning?” For Salt Lake City School District, the message is delivered through the following components, which include district supports, common practices and teacher expectations. Although elementary schools have been the initial target group, these components of a growth mindset are now being extended to secondary schools.

Core Materials

The first component was the adoption of district core materials for elementary language arts (Story Town) and mathematics (Math Expressions). Why district-adopted core materials? The core materials align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The common core materials also ensure that a systematic approach to grade-level core with materials that are available for the range of learners in our classrooms, including special education classrooms. The core materials provide a more seamless experience for students as they move from one grade to the next and help to ensure that students experience increasing complexity in skills taught from one grade to the next. The core materials include evidence-based interventions that align with Tier 1 instruction, critical not only to students with disabilities but other students needing supplemental and intensive support. With the adoption of core materials, the work of coaches and district professional development have become more focused.

Academic Coaches

The second component are the district literacy and math coaches whose roles are to support teachers in using student data for instructional decision making, changing their classroom practice to address all learners, and using formative assessments to adjust instruction. District coaches, including the two special education academic coaches assigned to support self-contained classrooms, provide teachers with school-based modeling in the implementation of the district-adopted language arts and mathematics curriculum, effectively using the targeted instructional times for language arts and math, and maintaining an appropriate level of instructional pacing by using the district-developed pacing guides. The district coaches share our common “story” to all schools and classrooms. This communicates a common and consistent message from the district level to school level to classroom.

Pacing Guides

The literacy and mathematics departments have developed pacing guides to help schools align the work being done in classrooms. The district-developed pacing guides provide benefits for both students and teachers. For our mobile students, the pacing guides help for students who move from one school to another. They don’t need to miss lessons just because they are now attending a new school. It is important for all students to have access to the entire grade-level core, which is supported by the use of pacing guides. Slowing the introduction of content is not generally an appropriate intervention for struggling learners. Because both language arts and mathematics curriculum have a spiral effect, students have multiple opportunities throughout the scope and sequence for exposure and practice of essential skills.

For teachers, pacing guides help to increase teacher accountability toward peers and students, and they help to ensure that the entire core is taught before CRTs. Greater teacher accountability occurs with pacing guides, and meaningful collaboration is fostered between teachers at the same grade level and between teachers in different grade levels. Finally, when teachers are working on the same content, they can develop and analyze common assessments and use formative assessments to measure instructional effectiveness.

District Benchmark Assessments in Mathematics and Language Arts

District benchmark assessments, developed by the language arts and mathematics departments, are another component of our growth mindset, and they have helped to monitor student learning of the core throughout the year. Given with appropriate accommodations, the benchmarks provide a check for teachers to see that students are maintaining concepts previously taught and give teachers opportunities for error analysis at both the individual and whole class level. When teachers meet together, the benchmarks serve as a collaborative tool so teachers can make comparisons and share effective instructional strategies to address learning gaps. For students, the district benchmark assessments provide practice using testing strategies before the summative high-stakes tests.

Monitoring Student Progress and Checking for Understanding

Teachers are expected to use a range of progress monitoring assessments to monitor student progress and check for understanding. Beyond the district-development benchmarks, ongoing progress monitoring includes using “essential trackers” developed by the language arts and mathematics academic coaches to align with core materials, weekly tests, unit tests, quizzes and warm-ups, and student class work. In addition, the academic coaches provide support for teachers in using growth assessments, performance tasks, and skill routines as monitors of student progress.

Through professional development, teachers are taught that checking for understanding with students should be an integral part of every lesson. By doing so, student engagement increases as well as greater accountability for lesson outcomes occurs. Checking for understanding provides teachers with immediate feedback on student understanding and allows teachers to adjust instruction to increase student understanding.

Teacher Preparation and Student Engagement Time

Another component of the district’s growth mindset is that teacher preparation is a key element in effective instruction. All teachers are expected to be prepared for their lessons. The expectation includes making professional decisions about the use of core materials. Planning includes: content and language objectives, a variety of appropriate learning activities, questioning and grouping activities, making connections among lessons, incorporating cultural relevance, assessments and checks for understanding, pacing and timing, strategies for engaging students in the content, and being sure that materials are prepared and available.

With appropriate teacher preparation, student engagement increases. Student engagement means that students are actively participating in understanding the lesson content. Teachers are taught that effective student engagement strategies include asking questions and randomly selecting students to respond, having students respond to questions on individual white boards, and asking students to share ideas with a partner or group.

Collaboration

Teacher collaboration is a critical component and form of professional development that employs dialogue with colleagues to improve student learning. In effective collaboration, teachers gain new ways to understand and respond to student work and progress monitoring. Grade level collaboration time occurs regularly in schools, and while teachers are collaborating, students should be involved in meaningful, high-quality content instruction. When academic coaches are involved in collaboration time with grade-level teachers, their role is to facilitate teachers in sharing ideas about student progress and strategies to close achievement gaps. In addition coaches may offer their own contributions, if appropriate. Collaboration time should be structured and focused on student learning by looking at student work, benchmark assessments, progress monitoring, and student needs.

Seeing Results and Looking Toward the Future

Our story is only as effective as the results that are produced. Our school administrators, teachers, academic coaches, and district departments continue to focus on helping all students succeed. Successes are celebrated for whole school achievements and student group achievements. For example, in 2010-11, one Title 1 school had 84% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in language arts as well as 81% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in mathematics. A second non-Title 1 school had 64% school-wide proficiency in language arts and 64% proficiency for students with disabilities with no safe harbor. With both examples the achievement gap is closing.

As our district leadership looks toward the future, supporting schools in the implementation of the mathematics and language arts common core has already begun. With the growth mindset components that we have identified, the task is not as daunting. Rather it is a new opportunity to take on a new challenge of helping all students in Salt Lake City School District succeed.

 

(Include 3 photos: Literacy Board, math routines, content objectives)

Authors: Randy Schelble, Director, Exceptional Children Services, Barbara Kuehl, Director, Academic Services & Joleigh Honey, Math Supervisor, Academic Services, Salt Lake City School District

 
Helping All Students to Succeed

“If you want to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, more about a change that will persist and serve as an example to others, cost you need to create a community around them, thumb where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.” Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point (2002)

Salt Lake City School District is a district rich with diversity, and we celebrate that diversity. Our commitment to students and families is to help all children succeed, and our district leadership team meets regularly to look at district-level data and collaborate between departments to address the achievement gap. As a diverse district, our demographics provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges of closing the achievement gap for students.

Consider the following demographics of Salt Lake City School District:

• The district serves over 24,000 students with over 80 languages being spoken in its schools.

• Within the district’s boundaries, some neighborhoods report over 90% of families and children living in poverty while other neighborhoods feature multi-million dollar homes.

• There are 36 schools in the district: 27 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools and one alternative high school. Of the 36 schools, 16 elementary schools and two middle schools are Title 1 schools.

• Students in the Salt Lake City School District hail from around the world. Ethnic minorities make up 53% of our students, and the district serves a significant refugee population from Eastern European or African countries.

• Approximately 60% of our students come from low-income families, and just over 33% of them are learning English as a second language.

District special education demographic data in grades K-8 closely mirror the district’s demographics.

• A total of 12.8% of K-8 students receive special education services.

• The percentage of ethnic minority students receiving special education services (58%) is comparable to the district K-8 ethnic minority population (58.1%).

• Across the district’s 32 elementary and middle schools, 57.4% of the total student enrollment is in Title 1 schools whereas 59.2% of the total K-8 special education students are in Title 1 schools.

However, demographics only tell part of the story for Salt Lake City School District. District leadership collectively accepts its responsibility to hold all schools to high expectations for their students, including students with disabilities. In elementary and middle schools, where students acquire and firm up literacy and numeracy skills, “our story” remains consistent–together we can create a community of learners where new beliefs can be practiced, expressed, and nurtured. This, however, calls for a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2007) and a collective focus between departments, schools, and classrooms. For Salt Lake City School District, creating this focus has involved systematically changing how teaching and learning occur in our schools.

Components of Our Growth Mindset

In shifting to a growth mindset, district leadership recognizes systems change in schools calls for a common message by all departments; we call it “our story”. DuFour, et.al. (2004) refer to the ”story” as communicating a message that all policies, programs, and practices are considered through the lens of “How does this impact student learning?” For Salt Lake City School District, the message is delivered through the following components, which include district supports, common practices and teacher expectations. Although elementary schools have been the initial target group, these components of a growth mindset are now being extended to secondary schools.

Core Materials

The first component was the adoption of district core materials for elementary language arts (Story Town) and mathematics (Math Expressions). Why district-adopted core materials? The core materials align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The common core materials also ensure that a systematic approach to grade-level core with materials that are available for the range of learners in our classrooms, including special education classrooms. The core materials provide a more seamless experience for students as they move from one grade to the next and help to ensure that students experience increasing complexity in skills taught from one grade to the next. The core materials include evidence-based interventions that align with Tier 1 instruction, critical not only to students with disabilities but other students needing supplemental and intensive support. With the adoption of core materials, the work of coaches and district professional development have become more focused.

Academic Coaches

The second component are the district literacy and math coaches whose roles are to support teachers in using student data for instructional decision making, changing their classroom practice to address all learners, and using formative assessments to adjust instruction. District coaches, including the two special education academic coaches assigned to support self-contained classrooms, provide teachers with school-based modeling in the implementation of the district-adopted language arts and mathematics curriculum, effectively using the targeted instructional times for language arts and math, and maintaining an appropriate level of instructional pacing by using the district-developed pacing guides. The district coaches share our common “story” to all schools and classrooms. This communicates a common and consistent message from the district level to school level to classroom.

Pacing Guides

The literacy and mathematics departments have developed pacing guides to help schools align the work being done in classrooms. The district-developed pacing guides provide benefits for both students and teachers. For our mobile students, the pacing guides help for students who move from one school to another. They don’t need to miss lessons just because they are now attending a new school. It is important for all students to have access to the entire grade-level core, which is supported by the use of pacing guides. Slowing the introduction of content is not generally an appropriate intervention for struggling learners. Because both language arts and mathematics curriculum have a spiral effect, students have multiple opportunities throughout the scope and sequence for exposure and practice of essential skills.

For teachers, pacing guides help to increase teacher accountability toward peers and students, and they help to ensure that the entire core is taught before CRTs. Greater teacher accountability occurs with pacing guides, and meaningful collaboration is fostered between teachers at the same grade level and between teachers in different grade levels. Finally, when teachers are working on the same content, they can develop and analyze common assessments and use formative assessments to measure instructional effectiveness.

District Benchmark Assessments in Mathematics and Language Arts

District benchmark assessments, developed by the language arts and mathematics departments, are another component of our growth mindset, and they have helped to monitor student learning of the core throughout the year. Given with appropriate accommodations, the benchmarks provide a check for teachers to see that students are maintaining concepts previously taught and give teachers opportunities for error analysis at both the individual and whole class level. When teachers meet together, the benchmarks serve as a collaborative tool so teachers can make comparisons and share effective instructional strategies to address learning gaps. For students, the district benchmark assessments provide practice using testing strategies before the summative high-stakes tests.

Monitoring Student Progress and Checking for Understanding

Teachers are expected to use a range of progress monitoring assessments to monitor student progress and check for understanding. Beyond the district-development benchmarks, ongoing progress monitoring includes using “essential trackers” developed by the language arts and mathematics academic coaches to align with core materials, weekly tests, unit tests, quizzes and warm-ups, and student class work. In addition, the academic coaches provide support for teachers in using growth assessments, performance tasks, and skill routines as monitors of student progress.

Through professional development, teachers are taught that checking for understanding with students should be an integral part of every lesson. By doing so, student engagement increases as well as greater accountability for lesson outcomes occurs. Checking for understanding provides teachers with immediate feedback on student understanding and allows teachers to adjust instruction to increase student understanding.

Teacher Preparation and Student Engagement Time

Another component of the district’s growth mindset is that teacher preparation is a key element in effective instruction. All teachers are expected to be prepared for their lessons. The expectation includes making professional decisions about the use of core materials. Planning includes: content and language objectives, a variety of appropriate learning activities, questioning and grouping activities, making connections among lessons, incorporating cultural relevance, assessments and checks for understanding, pacing and timing, strategies for engaging students in the content, and being sure that materials are prepared and available.

With appropriate teacher preparation, student engagement increases. Student engagement means that students are actively participating in understanding the lesson content. Teachers are taught that effective student engagement strategies include asking questions and randomly selecting students to respond, having students respond to questions on individual white boards, and asking students to share ideas with a partner or group.

Collaboration

Teacher collaboration is a critical component and form of professional development that employs dialogue with colleagues to improve student learning. In effective collaboration, teachers gain new ways to understand and respond to student work and progress monitoring. Grade level collaboration time occurs regularly in schools, and while teachers are collaborating, students should be involved in meaningful, high-quality content instruction. When academic coaches are involved in collaboration time with grade-level teachers, their role is to facilitate teachers in sharing ideas about student progress and strategies to close achievement gaps. In addition coaches may offer their own contributions, if appropriate. Collaboration time should be structured and focused on student learning by looking at student work, benchmark assessments, progress monitoring, and student needs.

Seeing Results and Looking Toward the Future

Our story is only as effective as the results that are produced. Our school administrators, teachers, academic coaches, and district departments continue to focus on helping all students succeed. Successes are celebrated for whole school achievements and student group achievements. For example, in 2010-11, one Title 1 school had 84% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in language arts as well as 81% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in mathematics. A second non-Title 1 school had 64% school-wide proficiency in language arts and 64% proficiency for students with disabilities with no safe harbor. With both examples the achievement gap is closing.

As our district leadership looks toward the future, supporting schools in the implementation of the mathematics and language arts common core has already begun. With the growth mindset components that we have identified, the task is not as daunting. Rather it is a new opportunity to take on a new challenge of helping all students in Salt Lake City School District succeed.

Authors: Randy Schelble, Director, Exceptional Children Services, Barbara Kuehl, Director, Academic Services & Joleigh Honey, Math Supervisor, Academic Services, Salt Lake City School District

(Include 3 photos: Literacy Board, math routines, content objectives)

Helping All Students to Succeed

“If you want to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, viagra 100mg medicine a change that will persist and serve as an example to others, stomach information pills you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”

Malcolm Gladwell,The Tipping Point (2002) 

Salt Lake City School District is a district rich with diversity, and we celebrate that diversity. Our commitment to students and families is to help all children succeed, and our district leadership team meets regularly to look at district-level data and collaborate between departments to address the achievement gap. As a diverse district, our demographics provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges of closing the achievement gap for students.

Consider the following demographics of Salt Lake City School District:

  • The district serves over 24,000 students with over 80 languages being spoken in its schools.
  • Within the district’s boundaries, some neighborhoods report over 90% of families and children living in poverty while other neighborhoods feature multi-million dollar homes.
  • There are 36 schools in the district: 27 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools and one alternative high school. Of the 36 schools, 16 elementary schools and two middle schools are Title 1 schools.
  • Students in the Salt Lake City School District hail from around the world. Ethnic minorities make up 53% of our students, and the district serves a significant refugee population from Eastern European or African countries.
  • Approximately 60% of our students come from low-income families, and just over 33% of them are learning English as a second language.

District special education demographic data in grades K-8 closely mirror the district’s demographics.

  • A total of 12.8% of K-8 students receive special education services.
  • The percentage of ethnic minority students receiving special education services (58%) is comparable to the district K-8 ethnic minority population (58.1%).
  • Across the district’s 32 elementary and middle schools, 57.4% of the total student enrollment is in Title 1 schools whereas 59.2% of the total K-8 special education students are in Title 1 schools.

However, demographics only tell part of the story for Salt Lake City School District. District leadership collectively accepts its responsibility to hold all schools to high expectations for their students, including students with disabilities. In elementary and middle schools, where students acquire and firm up literacy and numeracy skills, “our story” remains consistent–together we can create a community of learners where new beliefs can be practiced, expressed, and nurtured. This, however, calls for a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2007) and a collective focus between departments, schools, and classrooms. For Salt Lake City School District, creating this focus has involved systematically changing how teaching and learning occur in our schools.

Components of Our Growth Mindset

In shifting to a growth mindset, district leadership recognizes systems change in schools calls for a common message by all departments; we call it “our story”. DuFour, et.al. (2004) refer to the ”story” as communicating a message that all policies, programs, and practices are considered through the lens of  “How does this impact student learning?” For Salt Lake City School District, the message is delivered through the following components, which include district supports, common practices and teacher expectations. Although elementary schools have been the initial target group, these components of a growth mindset are now being extended to secondary schools.

Core Materials

The first component was the adoption of district core materials for elementary language arts (Story Town) and mathematics (Math Expressions). Why district-adopted core materials? The core materials align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The common core materials also ensure that a systematic approach to grade-level core with materials that are available for the range of learners in our classrooms, including special education classrooms. The core materials provide a more seamless experience for students as they move from one grade to the next and help to ensure that students experience increasing complexity in skills taught from one grade to the next. The core materials include evidence-based interventions that align with Tier 1 instruction, critical not only to students with disabilities but other students needing supplemental and intensive support. With the adoption of core materials, the work of coaches and district professional development have become more focused.

Academic Coaches

The second component are the district literacy and math coaches whose roles are to support teachers in using student data for instructional decision making, changing their classroom practice to address all learners, and using formative assessments to adjust instruction. District coaches, including the two special education academic coaches assigned to support self-contained classrooms, provide teachers with school-based modeling in the implementation of the district-adopted language arts and mathematics curriculum, effectively using the targeted instructional times for language arts and math, and maintaining an appropriate level of instructional pacing by using the district-developed pacing guides. The district coaches share our common “story” to all schools and classrooms. This communicates a common and consistent message from the district level to school level to classroom.

 

Pacing Guides

The literacy and mathematics departments have developed pacing guides to help schools align the work being done in classrooms. The district-developed pacing guides provide benefits for both students and teachers. For our mobile students, the pacing guides help when students move from school to another. They do not miss lessons just because they are now attending a new school. It is important for all students to have access to the entire grade-level core, which is supported by the use of pacing guides. Slowing the introduction of content is not generally an appropriate intervention for struggling learners. Because both language arts and mathematics curriculum have a spiral effect, students have multiple opportunities throughout the scope and sequence for exposure and practice of essential skills.

For teachers, pacing guides help to increase teacher accountability toward peers and students, and they help to ensure that the entire core is taught before CRTs.  Greater teacher accountability occurs with pacing guides, and meaningful collaboration is fostered between teachers at the same grade level and between teachers in different grade levels. Finally, when teachers are working on the same content, they can develop and analyze common assessments and use formative assessments to measure instructional effectiveness.

District Benchmark Assessments in Mathematics and Language Arts

District benchmark assessments, developed by the language arts and mathematics departments, are another component of our growth mindset, and they have helped to monitor student learning of the core throughout the year. Given with appropriate accommodations, the benchmarks provide a check for teachers to see that students are maintaining concepts previously taught and give teachers opportunities for error analysis at both the individual and whole class level.  When teachers meet together, the benchmarks serve as a collaborative tool so teachers can make comparisons and share effective instructional strategies to address learning gaps. For students, the district benchmark assessments provide practice using testing strategies before the summative high-stakes tests.

Monitoring Student Progress and Checking for Understanding

Through professional development, teachers are taught that checking for understanding with students should be an integral part of every lesson. By doing so, student engagement increases as well as greater accountability for lesson outcomes occurs. Checking for understanding provides teachers with immediate feedback on student understanding and allows teachers to adjust instruction to increase student understanding.

To assist teachers in focusing on what mathematics concepts from the core should be mastered at a given time, the mathematics coaches have created Essentials Trackers. The Essentials Trackers align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Each one-page document provides an overview of the unit, using the learning targets as a way to help teachers and students focus on what students should know. Under each target, explicit instructional strategies and tools are listed to define how students should be able to show their understanding. There is also space provided on this page for teachers to check for student understanding, which allows teachers to adjust instruction when students struggle.

Teacher Preparation and Student Engagement Time

Another component of the district’s growth mindset is that teacher preparation is a key element in effective instruction. All teachers are expected to be prepared for their lessons. The expectation includes making professional decisions about the use of core materials. Planning includes: content and language objectives, a variety of appropriate learning activities, questioning and grouping activities, making connections among lessons, incorporating cultural relevance, assessments and checks for understanding, pacing and timing, strategies for engaging students in the content, and being sure that materials are prepared and available.

With appropriate teacher preparation, student engagement increases. Student engagement means that students are actively participating in understanding the lesson content. Teachers are taught that effective student engagement strategies include asking questions and randomly selecting students to respond, having students respond to questions on individual white boards, and asking students to share ideas with a partner or group.

Collaboration

Teacher collaboration is a critical component and form of professional development that employs dialogue with colleagues to improve student learning. In effective collaboration, teachers gain new ways to understand and respond to student work and progress monitoring. Grade level collaboration time occurs regularly in schools, and while teachers are collaborating, students should be involved in meaningful, high-quality content instruction. When academic coaches are involved in collaboration time with grade-level teachers, their role is to facilitate teachers in sharing ideas about student progress and strategies to close achievement gaps. In addition coaches may offer their own contributions, if appropriate. Collaboration time should be structured and focused on student learning by looking at student work, benchmark assessments, progress monitoring, and student needs.

Seeing Results and Looking Toward the Future

Our story is only as effective as the results that are produced.  Our school administrators, teachers, academic coaches, and district departments continue to focus on helping all students succeed. Successes are celebrated for whole school achievements and student group achievements. For example, in 2010-11, one Title 1 school had 84% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in language arts as well as 81% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in mathematics. A second non-Title 1 school had 64% school-wide proficiency in language arts and 64% proficiency for students with disabilities with no safe harbor. With both examples the achievement gap is closing.

As our district leadership looks toward the future, supporting schools in the implementation of the mathematics and language arts common core has already begun. With the growth mindset components that we have identified, the task is not as daunting. Rather it is a new opportunity to take on a new challenge of helping all students in Salt Lake City School District succeed.

Authors: Randy Schelble, Director, Exceptional Children Services, Barbara Kuehl, Director, Academic Services & Joleigh Honey, Math Supervisor, Academic Services, Salt Lake City School District

An electronic version of this article can be accessed HERE>  http://essentialeducator.org/?p=12189

 
Helping All Students to Succeed

“If you want to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior, stomach a change that will persist and serve as an example to others, you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.” Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point (2002)

Salt Lake City School District is a district rich with diversity, and we celebrate that diversity. Our commitment to students and families is to help all children succeed, and our district leadership team meets regularly to look at district-level data and collaborate between departments to address the achievement gap. As a diverse district, our demographics provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges of closing the achievement gap for students.

Consider the following demographics of Salt Lake City School District:

• The district serves over 24,000 students with over 80 languages being spoken in its schools.

• Within the district’s boundaries, some neighborhoods report over 90% of families and children living in poverty while other neighborhoods feature multi-million dollar homes.

• There are 36 schools in the district: 27 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools and one alternative high school. Of the 36 schools, 16 elementary schools and two middle schools are Title 1 schools.

• Students in the Salt Lake City School District hail from around the world. Ethnic minorities make up 53% of our students, and the district serves a significant refugee population from Eastern European or African countries.

• Approximately 60% of our students come from low-income families, and just over 33% of them are learning English as a second language.

District special education demographic data in grades K-8 closely mirror the district’s demographics.

• A total of 12.8% of K-8 students receive special education services.

• The percentage of ethnic minority students receiving special education services (58%) is comparable to the district K-8 ethnic minority population (58.1%).

• Across the district’s 32 elementary and middle schools, 57.4% of the total student enrollment is in Title 1 schools whereas 59.2% of the total K-8 special education students are in Title 1 schools.

However, demographics only tell part of the story for Salt Lake City School District. District leadership collectively accepts its responsibility to hold all schools to high expectations for their students, including students with disabilities. In elementary and middle schools, where students acquire and firm up literacy and numeracy skills, “our story” remains consistent–together we can create a community of learners where new beliefs can be practiced, expressed, and nurtured. This, however, calls for a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2007) and a collective focus between departments, schools, and classrooms. For Salt Lake City School District, creating this focus has involved systematically changing how teaching and learning occur in our schools.

Components of Our Growth Mindset

In shifting to a growth mindset, district leadership recognizes systems change in schools calls for a common message by all departments; we call it “our story”. DuFour, et.al. (2004) refer to the ”story” as communicating a message that all policies, programs, and practices are considered through the lens of “How does this impact student learning?” For Salt Lake City School District, the message is delivered through the following components, which include district supports, common practices and teacher expectations. Although elementary schools have been the initial target group, these components of a growth mindset are now being extended to secondary schools.

Core Materials

The first component was the adoption of district core materials for elementary language arts (Story Town) and mathematics (Math Expressions). Why district-adopted core materials? The core materials align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The common core materials also ensure that a systematic approach to grade-level core with materials that are available for the range of learners in our classrooms, including special education classrooms. The core materials provide a more seamless experience for students as they move from one grade to the next and help to ensure that students experience increasing complexity in skills taught from one grade to the next. The core materials include evidence-based interventions that align with Tier 1 instruction, critical not only to students with disabilities but other students needing supplemental and intensive support. With the adoption of core materials, the work of coaches and district professional development have become more focused.

Academic Coaches

The second component are the district literacy and math coaches whose roles are to support teachers in using student data for instructional decision making, changing their classroom practice to address all learners, and using formative assessments to adjust instruction. District coaches, including the two special education academic coaches assigned to support self-contained classrooms, provide teachers with school-based modeling in the implementation of the district-adopted language arts and mathematics curriculum, effectively using the targeted instructional times for language arts and math, and maintaining an appropriate level of instructional pacing by using the district-developed pacing guides. The district coaches share our common “story” to all schools and classrooms. This communicates a common and consistent message from the district level to school level to classroom.

Pacing Guides

The literacy and mathematics departments have developed pacing guides to help schools align the work being done in classrooms. The district-developed pacing guides provide benefits for both students and teachers. For our mobile students, the pacing guides help for students who move from one school to another. They don’t need to miss lessons just because they are now attending a new school. It is important for all students to have access to the entire grade-level core, which is supported by the use of pacing guides. Slowing the introduction of content is not generally an appropriate intervention for struggling learners. Because both language arts and mathematics curriculum have a spiral effect, students have multiple opportunities throughout the scope and sequence for exposure and practice of essential skills.

For teachers, pacing guides help to increase teacher accountability toward peers and students, and they help to ensure that the entire core is taught before CRTs. Greater teacher accountability occurs with pacing guides, and meaningful collaboration is fostered between teachers at the same grade level and between teachers in different grade levels. Finally, when teachers are working on the same content, they can develop and analyze common assessments and use formative assessments to measure instructional effectiveness.

District Benchmark Assessments in Mathematics and Language Arts

District benchmark assessments, developed by the language arts and mathematics departments, are another component of our growth mindset, and they have helped to monitor student learning of the core throughout the year. Given with appropriate accommodations, the benchmarks provide a check for teachers to see that students are maintaining concepts previously taught and give teachers opportunities for error analysis at both the individual and whole class level. When teachers meet together, the benchmarks serve as a collaborative tool so teachers can make comparisons and share effective instructional strategies to address learning gaps. For students, the district benchmark assessments provide practice using testing strategies before the summative high-stakes tests.

Monitoring Student Progress and Checking for Understanding

Teachers are expected to use a range of progress monitoring assessments to monitor student progress and check for understanding. Beyond the district-development benchmarks, ongoing progress monitoring includes using “essential trackers” developed by the language arts and mathematics academic coaches to align with core materials, weekly tests, unit tests, quizzes and warm-ups, and student class work. In addition, the academic coaches provide support for teachers in using growth assessments, performance tasks, and skill routines as monitors of student progress.

Through professional development, teachers are taught that checking for understanding with students should be an integral part of every lesson. By doing so, student engagement increases as well as greater accountability for lesson outcomes occurs. Checking for understanding provides teachers with immediate feedback on student understanding and allows teachers to adjust instruction to increase student understanding.

Teacher Preparation and Student Engagement Time

Another component of the district’s growth mindset is that teacher preparation is a key element in effective instruction. All teachers are expected to be prepared for their lessons. The expectation includes making professional decisions about the use of core materials. Planning includes: content and language objectives, a variety of appropriate learning activities, questioning and grouping activities, making connections among lessons, incorporating cultural relevance, assessments and checks for understanding, pacing and timing, strategies for engaging students in the content, and being sure that materials are prepared and available.

With appropriate teacher preparation, student engagement increases. Student engagement means that students are actively participating in understanding the lesson content. Teachers are taught that effective student engagement strategies include asking questions and randomly selecting students to respond, having students respond to questions on individual white boards, and asking students to share ideas with a partner or group.

Collaboration

Teacher collaboration is a critical component and form of professional development that employs dialogue with colleagues to improve student learning. In effective collaboration, teachers gain new ways to understand and respond to student work and progress monitoring. Grade level collaboration time occurs regularly in schools, and while teachers are collaborating, students should be involved in meaningful, high-quality content instruction. When academic coaches are involved in collaboration time with grade-level teachers, their role is to facilitate teachers in sharing ideas about student progress and strategies to close achievement gaps. In addition coaches may offer their own contributions, if appropriate. Collaboration time should be structured and focused on student learning by looking at student work, benchmark assessments, progress monitoring, and student needs.

Seeing Results and Looking Toward the Future

Our story is only as effective as the results that are produced. Our school administrators, teachers, academic coaches, and district departments continue to focus on helping all students succeed. Successes are celebrated for whole school achievements and student group achievements. For example, in 2010-11, one Title 1 school had 84% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in language arts as well as 81% school-wide proficiency and 84% proficiency for students with disabilities in mathematics. A second non-Title 1 school had 64% school-wide proficiency in language arts and 64% proficiency for students with disabilities with no safe harbor. With both examples the achievement gap is closing.

As our district leadership looks toward the future, supporting schools in the implementation of the mathematics and language arts common core has already begun. With the growth mindset components that we have identified, the task is not as daunting. Rather it is a new opportunity to take on a new challenge of helping all students in Salt Lake City School District succeed.

Authors: Randy Schelble, Director, Exceptional Children Services, Barbara Kuehl, Director, Academic Services & Joleigh Honey, Math Supervisor, Academic Services, Salt Lake City School District

(Include 3 photos: Literacy Board, math routines, content objectives)
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, clinic even those in self-contained programs, would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curricula and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curricula have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curricula have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction.”

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classrooms to their general education grade-level classes, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new positions, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like, only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions, as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials,” “My kids can’t read this,” “My students can’t do this math,” “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current levels of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability goals as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old Instructional Model emphasized the step-by-step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New Instructional Model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill levels. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curricula. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access to the general education CORE, they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their abilities. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers great prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, price even those in self-contained programs, site would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, dosage Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curricula and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curricula have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curricula have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction.”

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classrooms to their general education grade-level classes, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new positions, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like, only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions, as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials,” “My kids can’t read this,” “My students can’t do this math,” “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current levels of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability goals as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

The Old Instructional Model emphasized the step-by-step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

The New Instructional Model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill levels. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curricula. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access to the general education CORE, they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their abilities. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers great prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

An electronic version of this article can be found HERE>  http://essentialeducator.org/?p=12183

 

 

 

 

 
Supporting High Expectations for Students with Disabilities

We are the two special education academic support coaches “unofficially” known by our elementary special education self-contained teachers as the “curriculum enforcers” for the Salt Lake City School District. Our positions were created three years ago when Salt Lake City School District leadership adopted the expectation that elementary students with disabilities who were expected to take grade level CRTs at the end of the school year, sick even those in self-contained programs, would use the district math and language arts curriculum. The expectation was to use the district-adopted curriculum rather than a parallel curriculum regularly taught in special education classrooms. The programs affected by this change included our elementary Academic Support, Behavior Support, and Diagnostic self-contained classrooms.

Our positions as special education academic coaches were created to support elementary special education teachers in self-contained programs. Our role is to help teachers in transitioning to using the district-adopted elementary language arts and math curricula and to assist teachers in understanding the purpose for holding students with disabilities to high expectations in accessing grade level content. Debbie focuses on the lower grades and is assigned to work with the literacy coaches for the district. Brenda focuses on the upper grades and is assigned to work with the math coaches for the district. However, we both support language arts and math in our respective coaching classrooms.

Although our roles have evolved in the past three years, especially with the adoption of the common core for math and language arts, the rationale for teaching grade-level curriculum in special education classes remains constant. District leadership has confidence that the selected math and language arts curricula have effective instructional components as well as supplemental and intensive materials to ensure students with disabilities can be successful. These include:

• Both curricula have a spiraling instructional pattern to provide multiple exposures to essential skills, which support “specialized instruction.”

• Through each spiral, students are able to engage more actively in learning essential concepts and skills to move forward from grade to grade rather than being distracted with a separate scope and sequence from using a special education curriculum.

• Through the supplemental and intensive intervention materials, students are provided with more exposures to the same content being taught in general education classrooms. When students with disabilities are prepared to mainstream from their special education classrooms to their general education grade-level classes, they have had common lessons and are at the same lesson in the materials.

Hugs and Slugs for the “Curriculum Enforcers”

Three years ago, as we introduced ourselves to our hesitant teachers, we recognized the importance of honoring the teachers’ previous work as the first step in implementing system change. Yes, that meant chocolate and nifty office supplies. Bringing a gift as part of initial contact was crucial to laying the foundation for the relationships we would need to develop with our teachers. Hey, when you get a gift, aren’t you more open to new ideas?

Initially in our new positions, we felt at a loss as to where to start. We both had ideas about what we thought the job would look like, only to find out that part of the process was creating our roles to fit our perceptions, as well as the needs of the teachers. First, we needed to make sure all our teachers had access to the evidence-based district level curriculum that was expected to be used. That’s where we got our first set of “slugs”, with comments like, “I didn’t order these materials,” “My kids can’t read this,” “My students can’t do this math,” “You want me to teach three grade levels of materials, are you kidding me?” This began our conversations about high expectations and requirements of accessing grade level core.

Historically, we as special educators felt we had high expectations. The high expectations we had previously embraced were about “hole-filling” deficits based at the students’ current levels of performance. As we began to understand the need for even self-contained students to access grade level core curriculum, we knew we needed to explain this in a meaningful way to the teachers we were coaching. We needed a visual support (like many of our students) to get our heads wrapped around this complex idea and to give us a framework for ongoing discussions about how to make this a doable endeavor. Enter the creation of “Building the Wall of Success”! Our “wall of success” was our way of explaining high and doable expectations for students with disabilities and of showing how the district’s chosen evidence-based programs in math and language arts supported the core curriculum by providing scaffolding and intensive interventions. The capstone is the core standards and objectives. The bricks in the wall are the interventions used to support mastery of essential subskills. As we met with teachers, we explained that as special educators we were no longer full-time interventionists taking a step-by-step approach. Rather, students with disabilities are held to the same accountability goals as the general education population, so it is our obligation as special educators to expose our students to the same CORE for which they are held accountable. In other words, the curriculum focus in classrooms had to change. We began coaching teachers to move from the traditional skills-based approach to teaching to a process-focused approach of specialized instruction, which could have many different ways to get to the end result.

(Insert Building Wall of Success) (Caption to go with Building the Wall of Success)

By working with and studying the programs, we have been able to provide a rationale or “buy in” of why we need to continue to move forward and why the curriculum can be accessible.

 

(Insert Old Model) (Caption for Old Model)

The Old Instructional Model emphasized the step-by-step mastery of skills before moving onto the next level of instruction locking students into basic facts even into secondary school.

 

(Insert New Model) (Caption for New Model)

The New Instructional Model emphasizes that students with disabilities often have abilities beyond their basic skill levels. They can think and problem solve when given the opportunity. This may involve going up to go down, multiple pathways for access and sometimes, “shooting them out of a cannon.”

What Self-Contained Academic Coaching looks like . . .

We are lucky to work in a district that has an established academic coaching model in place. Our mission was to join these pre-established teams of content coaches in math and literacy with the purpose of making meaning of their expertise for our self-contained special education classrooms. In the first year, we were unsure of our place and our ability to participate in a knowledgeable and meaningful way in their professional learning communities, yet we needed the expertise of the content coaches if we were going to figure it out for students with disabilities whose placement was in a special class. The process of working collaboratively has not only hugely built our capacity but has had an impact on building capacity of the coaches about students with disabilities. This helped to build the necessary relationships to start meeting the needs of ALL students, including those students who had traditionally had been taught in separate programs.

Becoming part of the district-level academic coaching model and the math and literacy coaches’ professional learning communities also opened the door for accessing the grade level collaborative meetings held at most of our elementary schools. District coaches support classroom teachers at the schools during their grade level collaborative time, where student data and progress are regularly reviewed and discussed. We realized that for self-contained teachers to better understand the math and language arts curriculum and core standards that they needed to better understand grade-level standards. We suggested that teachers choose just ONE grade level to participate with other grade level general education teachers at their schools in order to become more familiar with grade-level expectations and with using student data for instructional decision making. This process built a powerful connection between Tier 1 instruction and scaffolded Tier 1 instruction needed in our self-contained classrooms. As we modeled and coached in the self-contained classrooms, our teachers began using the curriculum with more confidence and fidelity. In addition, we supported them by developing and designing adapted materials and classroom supports for them to use as part of their daily instructional routines to better meet the needs of their students.

At the same time a critical step was to provide self-contained teachers with their own professional development with the continued focus on high expectations for students with disabilities. Self-contained teachers are spread throughout our district and rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss unique issues specific to special education student needs in implementing district curriculum in a multi-grade classroom. As this difficult work of teaching the core was being implemented, we recognized that the special education teachers needed their own support system in place to expect any kind of success. Monthly meetings have provided special education teachers opportunities to share successes and to address concerns.

Now in our third year, we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor. As expected with a systems change model, teachers are in different places in the implementation process. However, the message remains consistent—special education students must have access to grade level curriculum. We continue to meet our teachers where they are in the process and coach them in implementing the district’s math and language arts curricula. The hugs are when teachers see that their students can access grade level material and become active participants in learning. Our experience has been that when students have access to the general education CORE, they rise to the occasion and find new confidence in their abilities. This enthusiasm is contagious to teachers as well as the other students. When we go to self-contained classrooms, we now regularly see students with disabilities fully engaged in doing grade-level work. This is occurring even as our district is implementing the common core curriculum

(Insert two student math photos here).

Next Steps

The future for students with disabilities offers great prospects. It is exciting to see how the achievement gap continues to close as students in self-contained programs are taught using grade level district curriculum. Each year, our coaching becomes more explicit and focused on addressing the needs of students who need differentiated, specialized instruction in order to progress. We know that not all students will show proficiency in every area at the same level or pace. However, we also know if they don’t get the opportunity to try, how will we know what they can do?

As our district has begun implementing the common core curriculum, our role as special education academic coaches includes support for students with disabilities in common curriculum discussions among all coaches and teachers. There’s still an occasional slug, but the hugs keep coming! We are all on a path to the common goal — student success!

Suggested cover photo

Author: Debbie Palm and Brenda Bates, Self-Contained Academic Coaches, Salt Lake City School District

 

 

 

 

 
Yes, medical you read that correctly. The TWO DOLLAR interactive whiteboard.

But first…

The $2, approved 000 interactive whiteboard

 

While watching the video, dosage count how many times the kids are interacting with each other while using the board. Mouse over here for the answer. But I guess that’s OK, because, according to one teacher, “It really does cut down on behavior problems ’cause they’re really motivated and interested to sit and look at the board and pay attention.” Is that what good teaching is?

Before you jump to the conclusion that I am some technology-hating Luddite, I want you to know that I love technology. I train other teachers how to use technology effectively. In my physics lessons, I use technology with my students, but only when the pedagogy demands the technology. I have a SMART Board in my classroom. I’m a SMART Exemplary Educator. My waves lesson on the SMART Exchange website has over 400 500 600 700 downloads — the most of any high school physics lesson. There was an article written about me when I first got my SMART Board. Some students say I’m the best SMART Board user in my school. But no one said the SMART Board helped them understand physics.

According to this Washington Post article, some educators question if electronic interactive whiteboards raise achievement:

As he lectured, Gee hyperlinked to an NBC news clip, clicked to an animated Russian flag, a list of Russian leaders and a short film on the Mongol invasions. Here and there, he starred items on the board using his finger. “Let’s say this is Russia,” he said at one point, drawing a little red circle. “Okay — who invaded Russia?”

One student was fiddling with an iPhone. Another slept. A few answered the question, but the relationship between their alertness and the bright screen before them was hardly clear. And as the lesson carried on, this irony became evident: Although the device allowed Gee to show films and images with relative ease, the whiteboard was also reinforcing an age-old teaching method — teacher speaks, students listen. Or, as 18-year-old Benjamin Marple put it: “I feel they are as useful as a chalkboard.”

The word “interactive” for the the $2,000 electronic interactive white board (eIWB) means interaction with a piece of hardware to manipulate virtual objects on a screen. And most eIWBs only interact with one person at a time.

The $2 interactive whiteboard

 

$2 whiteboard

 

The word “interactive” for the $2 IWB means interaction among students. Students are working together to collectively construct knowledge, explain their reasoning processes, and get feedback from the teacher and each other. Students are interacting with each other in small groups when preparing the whiteboards. Then they interact with the whole class when they present and field questions from the class and the teacher. At all times, the teacher can see and hear student thinking and challenge them with questions. This process is called “whiteboarding.”

So, what are some of the benefits of whiteboarding with $2 whiteboards?

Encourages students to think, question, solve problems, and discuss their ideas, strategies, and solutions.

Allows students to articulate their preconceptions so the teacher can confront and resolve them.

Allows for regular classroom and evaluation and interpretation of evidence. Students come to know not only what they know, but how they know it.

Provides opportunities for students to learn from and correct their own mistakes, and to learn from the successes and mistakes of others as they check and critique each others work.

Helps create a culture of questioning. (<– go read this!)

Allows for the discussion of student-generated ideas rather than the teacher merely presenting information.

Engages students in a collaborative learning community.

Promotes strongly coherent conceptual understanding while decreasing traditional lecture.

Provides opportunities for students to teach one another, practicing using the language of the science to one another in order to develop personal meaning.

(List compiled from Whiteboarding in the Classroom and Whiteboarding.)

In my year-end survey, my students frequently comment about how the whiteboarding process was an effective teaching method for them. For example:

The whiteboard discussions are different from the traditional “put your answers on the board” in that we can really see what went wrong and explain our understanding. I feel as though we learn through the explanations we have to give and the little question prompts you give us.

Districts spend tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on electronic interactive whiteboards, plus thousands more for professional development to show teachers to use them in order to write, move, reveal, and resize virtual objects. How about taking all that money and spending it on professional development for learning how to engage students in Socratic dialogue, effective questioning, reformed science teaching methods like modeling instruction, and other inquiry learning methods? How about using the money for substitutes so an entire department can go and watch other teachers using these instructional methods in other schools?

Teachers should be spending their precious lesson planning time designing lessons to engage kids mentally and push them to higher levels, not creating flashy Powerpoints.

What skills do we want our students to have when they leave our classrooms? How to use a piece of technology? Or how to work collaboratively, ask great questions, think critically, and problem solve?

Please, instead of thinking about how to get your students to interact with a $2,000 electronic whiteboard, think about how you can get your students to interact with each other using a $2 whiteboard.

 

Where should we place our time and money?

 

Here?

 

 

 

Or here?

 

credit: whiteboardsusa.com

Resources for whiteboarding

Where to buy them:

Home Depot and Lowes sell large 4?x8? sheets of white shower board or tile board for about $12 each. You can have it cut at the store into 6 pieces that are 24?x32? in size. Hence, the $2 whiteboard. If you say you’re a teacher, they may do the cutting at no extra charge.

Whiteboards USA sells the 24?x32? boards for $9 each with rounded edges and a handhold cut. (I am not affiliated in any way this company.)

How to use them (including academic references):

Modeling Instruction – My page of introductory links about modeling in science class. Includes information about teacher workshops happening nationwide!

Resources for the modeling classroom (scroll down to “Discourse in the Modeling Classroom”)- Arizona State University

Whiteboarding in the classroom – Buffalo State

Whiteboarding – Whiteboards USA

Socratic Dialogues in the Science Classroom – Whiteboards USA

 

Author: Frank P. Noschese, high school physics teacher

Source: Action-Reaction blog

Access the electronic version of this article HERE>  http://essentialeducator.org/?p=11727

 
Yes, cure you read that correctly. The TWO DOLLAR interactive whiteboard.

But first…

The $2,000 interactive whiteboard

 

While watching the video, count how many times the kids are interacting with each other while using the board. Mouse over here for the answer. But I guess that’s OK, because, according to one teacher, “It really does cut down on behavior problems ’cause they’re really motivated and interested to sit and look at the board and pay attention.” Is that what good teaching is?

Before you jump to the conclusion that I am some technology-hating Luddite, I want you to know that I love technology. I train other teachers how to use technology effectively. In my physics lessons, I use technology with my students, but only when the pedagogy demands the technology. I have a SMART Board in my classroom. I’m a SMART Exemplary Educator. My waves lesson on the SMART Exchange website has over 400 500 600 700 downloads — the most of any high school physics lesson. There was an article written about me when I first got my SMART Board. Some students say I’m the best SMART Board user in my school. But no one said the SMART Board helped them understand physics.

According to this Washington Post article, some educators question if electronic interactive whiteboards raise achievement:

As he lectured, Gee hyperlinked to an NBC news clip, clicked to an animated Russian flag, a list of Russian leaders and a short film on the Mongol invasions. Here and there, he starred items on the board using his finger. “Let’s say this is Russia,” he said at one point, drawing a little red circle. “Okay — who invaded Russia?”

One student was fiddling with an iPhone. Another slept. A few answered the question, but the relationship between their alertness and the bright screen before them was hardly clear. And as the lesson carried on, this irony became evident: Although the device allowed Gee to show films and images with relative ease, the whiteboard was also reinforcing an age-old teaching method — teacher speaks, students listen. Or, as 18-year-old Benjamin Marple put it: “I feel they are as useful as a chalkboard.”

The word “interactive” for the the $2,000 electronic interactive white board (eIWB) means interaction with a piece of hardware to manipulate virtual objects on a screen. And most eIWBs only interact with one person at a time.

The $2 interactive whiteboard

 

$2 whiteboard

 

The word “interactive” for the $2 IWB means interaction among students. Students are working together to collectively construct knowledge, explain their reasoning processes, and get feedback from the teacher and each other. Students are interacting with each other in small groups when preparing the whiteboards. Then they interact with the whole class when they present and field questions from the class and the teacher. At all times, the teacher can see and hear student thinking and challenge them with questions. This process is called “whiteboarding.”

So, what are some of the benefits of whiteboarding with $2 whiteboards?

Encourages students to think, question, solve problems, and discuss their ideas, strategies, and solutions.

Allows students to articulate their preconceptions so the teacher can confront and resolve them.

Allows for regular classroom and evaluation and interpretation of evidence. Students come to know not only what they know, but how they know it.

Provides opportunities for students to learn from and correct their own mistakes, and to learn from the successes and mistakes of others as they check and critique each others work.

Helps create a culture of questioning. (<– go read this!)

Allows for the discussion of student-generated ideas rather than the teacher merely presenting information.

Engages students in a collaborative learning community.

Promotes strongly coherent conceptual understanding while decreasing traditional lecture.

Provides opportunities for students to teach one another, practicing using the language of the science to one another in order to develop personal meaning.

(List compiled from Whiteboarding in the Classroom and Whiteboarding.)

In my year-end survey, my students frequently comment about how the whiteboarding process was an effective teaching method for them. For example:

The whiteboard discussions are different from the traditional “put your answers on the board” in that we can really see what went wrong and explain our understanding. I feel as though we learn through the explanations we have to give and the little question prompts you give us.

Districts spend tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on electronic interactive whiteboards, plus thousands more for professional development to show teachers to use them in order to write, move, reveal, and resize virtual objects. How about taking all that money and spending it on professional development for learning how to engage students in Socratic dialogue, effective questioning, reformed science teaching methods like modeling instruction, and other inquiry learning methods? How about using the money for substitutes so an entire department can go and watch other teachers using these instructional methods in other schools?

Teachers should be spending their precious lesson planning time designing lessons to engage kids mentally and push them to higher levels, not creating flashy Powerpoints.

What skills do we want our students to have when they leave our classrooms? How to use a piece of technology? Or how to work collaboratively, ask great questions, think critically, and problem solve?

Please, instead of thinking about how to get your students to interact with a $2,000 electronic whiteboard, think about how you can get your students to interact with each other using a $2 whiteboard.

 

Where should we place our time and money?

 

Here?

 

 

 

Or here?

 

credit: whiteboardsusa.com

Resources for whiteboarding

Where to buy them:

Home Depot and Lowes sell large 4?x8? sheets of white shower board or tile board for about $12 each. You can have it cut at the store into 6 pieces that are 24?x32? in size. Hence, the $2 whiteboard. If you say you’re a teacher, they may do the cutting at no extra charge.

Whiteboards USA sells the 24?x32? boards for $9 each with rounded edges and a handhold cut. (I am not affiliated in any way this company.)

How to use them (including academic references):

Modeling Instruction – My page of introductory links about modeling in science class. Includes information about teacher workshops happening nationwide!

Resources for the modeling classroom (scroll down to “Discourse in the Modeling Classroom”)- Arizona State University

Whiteboarding in the classroom – Buffalo State

Whiteboarding – Whiteboards USA

Socratic Dialogues in the Science Classroom – Whiteboards USA

 

Author: Frank P. Noschese, high school physics teacher

Source: Action-Reaction blog

Access the electronic version of this article HERE>  http://essentialeducator.org/?p=11727

 

We understand the issue more and more every day. For years, ailment we’ve been told that our students don’t stack up in math when compared with their peers in other countries. Our performance isn’t that bad at the fourth grade, health but TIMSS and PISA data clearly show significant comparative declines as our students end eighth and tenth grade. One of many interpretations of these data is that math at the intermediate and middle grades is an exceedingly weak link in our educational system.

Were that not enough, drugs the link between mathematical competence and success in the workplace is becoming ever clearer as the economy slowly emerges from a deep recession. A recent and fascinating issue of the Atlantic Monthly (Davidson, 2012) provides a lucid account of the extraordinary gaps in knowledge between highly successful manufacturing workers and their less skilled counterparts who are employed, at least for now, on the same factory floor. The former possess increasing amounts of quantitative knowledge, while the latter live in fear of automation or outsourcing. Success in math at the middle grades, which is obviously fundamental to success in high school and beyond, is a cornerstone for securing the future for American students.

Standards, such as the Common Core, are one way to renew our commitment to raising mathematical performance. Yet the challenges are significant, as evident in a recent survey of school districts from around the country (Center on Educational Policy, 2011). Most districts agreed that the Common Core Standards are more rigorous than most state standards and that if implemented well, they will improve student math skills. Yet respondents also felt that new curricular materials as well as fundamental changes in instruction would be needed.

The Need for Professional Development

Every business organization including school districts wants to hire “turnkey” employees. These are teachers who can hit the ground running and deliver instruction at a high level. Yet with changing standards and what we know about how long it takes any professional to develop a high level of skills, this desire is unrealistic. The hope for turnkeys also puts aside the millions of teachers who already work in our schools. Again, the international message is clear and consistent: high achieving countries hire the best candidates they can, but they continue their professional development through many years of employment (Akiba & LeTendre, 2009; McKenzie & Company, 2007). We need to adopt this thinking if we have any hope of raising the math performance of our students in today’s schools.

There are distinct features to high quality professional development in mathematics for today’s teachers. First, it is crucial that teachers understand the concepts they are teaching. Some would argue that this means extensive refresher courses in college level mathematics, most of which is taught in a traditional, symbolic fashion. Learning more formal mathematics can possibly help some teachers, but it is an unlikely solution for most. Also, there is little guarantee that any of this kind of professional development transfers to the classroom. Instead, teachers need vivid demonstrations of key concepts (or “big ideas”), as well as opportunities to engage in learning activities that promote the kinds of instruction advocated in the Mathematical Practices component of the Common

Core. Teachers – and their students – need opportunities to analyze, discuss, and reason about concepts. They also need to solve the kinds of problems that promote strategic thinking and persistence. Naturally, how to integrate thoughtful skills practice is also part of the picture.

Teachers also need to see the “big picture” within the different strands of mathematics. For example, they need to see how rational numbers develop in complexity over grades 3 through 7. This kind of connected understanding of a strand helps teachers see how the big ideas link together, how what was taught at a previous grade level needs to be reviewed, and how what one does at their grade level is important for the next one.

Vivid examples of classroom practice are also critical. How do I use fraction bars effectively? How do I orchestrate a classroom discussion with an eye toward students who do not normally participate? How do I assist students when they get stuck grappling with rich mathematical problems? Well designed video examples can go a long way to improve practice, and they are something teachers can return to again and again.

Finally, teachers need a tremendous amount of assistance when it comes to instructional planning. Linking the content of a district’s math adoption to Common Core Standards is challenging in itself. Even more, creating opportunities within a unit of instruction for students to engage in mathematics at a high level is new to many teachers. It is easy to skip this kind of instruction, particularly if it is a new kind of classroom practice.

Teachers need guided assistance doing this as well as developing a variety of assessments that tap into the kind of thinking we want today’s students to do in math.

There is good news. We can provide the kind of professional development our teachers need. Our challenge is to accept the fact that this kind of work is an unavoidable feature of today’s successful school systems.

Author: John Woodward Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education, University of Puget Sound


References

Davidson, A. (2012, January/February). Making it in America. The atlantic monthly. Retrieved January 26, 2012 from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ archive/2012/ 01/ making-it-in-america/8844/

McKenzie & Company. (2007). How the world’s best performing countries come out on top. Retrieved January 26, 2012 from http://mckinseyonsociety.com/ downloads/ reports/Education/Worlds_School_Systems_Final.pdf

Akiba, M. & LeTendre, G. (2009). Improving teacher quality: The U.S. teacher workforce

in a global context. New York: Teachers College Press.

Center on Education Policy (2011, September). Common core state standards:

Progress and challenges in school districts’ implementation. Washington, DC:

Center on Educational Policy.