Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Using technology, creativity, and passion to construct Universal Design for Learning for moderate-severe students

The amazing crew of Robin Hooper's Mod-Severe 3rd-5th grade class at Hannalei Elementary really know how to use technology and Tier 1 tools to increase accessibility for academic instruction and provide a truly language enriched environment to their students with various disabilities and complex communication needs. 

Welcome Mrs. Hooper's class!
(from left photo to right) Robert Campbell, Lindsay Raasch, Robin Hooper (Education Specialist/Teacher), Annalee Gil, Donald Carl, Maria Aguilar, Stacie Kass (SLP).

See the video below to understand what makes this classroom staff a model example of how to truly integrate technology and tools for teaching to achieve success for their students:

Robin's class utilizes a mobile video HDtv with Elmo projector, video, and DVD player to interactively conduct whole class lessons to increase student engagement and understanding. Her classroom word walls use core vocabulary words from the current month's Unique Learning System's themes. The school SLP, Stacie, has even provided the staff visual supports for prompting reminders! On a non-tech note, Robin ensures that at the end of each day, all her students and staff provide at least one compliment to a peer or colleague before they head out the door. ICING ON THE CAKE!  This positive spirit is evident upon walking through the door, as all staff collaborate and are constantly supporting each other to be the very best they can be for their students. 

Click the slides below for more great ideas from Robin's classroom to support students within a mod-severe classroom:

NCCSE AT Team Supports Ability Awareness month at Mission Estancia Elementary

As part of Mission Estancia's celebration of Ability Awareness month, the NCCSE AT crew gave a presentation and hands-on learning experiences to students kinder-5th grade. To help achieve the goal of bringing true awareness of what it feels like to have a disability, the AT group showed videos of students who have learning challenges in the areas of reading, writing, and organization, conducted an activity demonstrating the difficulty in knowing what you want to say and not being able to express it,  as well as demonstrated what it's like to not be able to use your voice. The powerful videos and activities brought about thoughtful discussion of ways in which students can help students who might have difficulties at school. The AT group also shared technology tools and strategies that can help kids overcome these various challenges.  Take a closer look at the slides below:


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Creating Access for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities

JoAnna Rodriguez is Special Education teacher at San Elijo Elementary School in the San Marcos Unified School District.  Her classroom consists of Kindergarten to 2nd grade students who have moderate to severe disabilities.  She has been a moderate/severe teacher for 12 years.  One thing that you will notice right away when you enter her classroom, is that it looks just like any other elementary school classroom and she sets high expectations for her students.  It is a literacy rich environment, with lots of visual supports and has various accessibility options to meet the needs of her students.

Check out the slideshow below to see how JoAnna creates access using Tier 1 and 2 accessibility solutions for all!

Check out the video below to see how JoAnna provides low tech to high tech solutions for a student that requires Tier 3 accessibility supports.

Thanks for all the awesome work you do to create access JoAnna!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Kicking Off the 2016/2017 School Year with Totally Terrific Teaching Techniques & Tools (T6)

We hope you all had a wonderful summer!  Our department kicked off the school year with our Totally Terrific Teaching Techniques & Tools (T6) summer institute.  It was awesome!  A special thanks to the teachers who shared their time, energy...and part of their summer to present at T6.    If you were not able to attend, you can access the handouts/presentations online.

Here are a few highlights from T6!

We look forward to another year of showing off the amazing work being done in our SELPA to ensure access for ALL students!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Beth & Oliva- Co-Teaching Team at Alvin Dunn I.B. World School! (SMUSD)

Beth and Olivia Co-teach together for part of the morning in a 3rd grade classroom.   Beth has been teaching for 2 years and is currently in pursuit of a Master's Degree in Bilingual Education.  She has a Bilingual CLAD Authorization in Spanish and is also an authorized International Baccalaureate Teacher.  Oliva is an Education Specialist for students in grades 2-3.  She has a Masters Degree in Special Education and has a Education Specialist Instruction credential and a multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

They were both a part of the UDL cadre in San Marcos.  There are 7 students in the classroom with IEPs. They started the year with maximum support of paraeducators in the classroom most of the day.  Over time, they were able to reduce the amount of adult support as they realized the students were doing well with natural supports and Universal Design for Learning. 
Follow the classroom on Twitter @MissAbramowitz

As a 1:1 iPad classroom, they incorporate technology into their daily lessons.
See how they use Educreations during Math in the video below.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lauri Carpenter Share's How She Uses Unique Learning Systems at Del Mar Heights Elementary (DMUSD)

Lauri Carpenter and her awesome Paraeducators.  They work tremendously well as a team!

Lauri Carpenter is a Moderate/Severe Education Specialist at Del Mar Heights Elementary School. Lauri uses the Unique Learning System (ULS), which aligns with the Common Core. She uses Adobe Acrobat Pro to adapt ULS materials to provide additional differentiation for students.  Instead of highlighting specific, topic-based nouns during the ULS lesson, Lauri emphasizes and focuses on "core/power" words such as: different, said, story, because, temporal words: morning, night, and core question vocabulary words such as: When, Who, How, and What.  In doing so, she facilitates a higher degree of generalization of learned vocabulary and comprehension across environments and activities.   This empowers her less verbal students with access to more vocabulary for expressive output across a range of communicative functions.  

Realizing that watching videos is highly motivating to many of her students, she presents the ULS story of the week on a flat screen monitor.  She prefers to use this method over SMART boards or projectors because she found that her students were more  engaged when focusing on something that they are used to (TV).  Students are engaged from the start and, therefore, more willing to participate. 

Watch how Lauri incorporates the ULS theme in a math lesson.

Lauri learned how to use QR codes in the classroom at one of  NCCSE'S Technology Summer Institutes. She uses them as an interactive part of her circle time to create a deeper understanding of the concepts presented (days of the week, months of the year, and weather).  By using these various forms of AT during circle time, Lauri increases her student's level of engagement and peer discussion of the topics

See how Lauri uses QR codes during circle time

You can find light/low-tech to high-tech options being used in Lauri's classroom!

 A job well done team!

The First Ever Ability Awareness Week at Capri Elementary! (Encinitas)

Capri held it's first Ability Awareness Week January 25-29, 2016.  It was organized by Jen Simons.  She's a parent and the Special Education Liaison for Capri.  She asked if we could host a table during lunchtime at both the main area (grades 1-5) and the kindergarten area.  Students were able cycle through and learn about/experience various technology used by students with varied abilities (including text-to-speech, speech-to-text, Alternative Augmentative Communication and switches).  We were happy to be a part of it!

Jen Simons (Special Education Liason for Capri) & her boys


Jen Inaba, School Psychologist and Debbie Burke, Ed-Specialist (pictured above-left) were both crucial to this event along with Nancy Jois, Kindergarten teacher (pictured above-right).  Nancy organized the "Kindness Challenge"