The Reading Academy is Coming Soon!!!

3 figures each reading a book5 Days of Reading Instruction for $150!!

Our regional data reflects a continuing need to improve reading instruction. This Reading Academy presented by Dr. Marti Dryk is organized in alignment with the 5 components of reading-

  • phonemic awareness,
  • phonics,
  • fluency,
  • vocabulary and
  • comprehension.

During these 5 different, full-day workshops, participants create make-and-take activities suitable for individual tutoring, large and small group instruction, and classroom learning centers.  Hurry!!!  The first day of the spring series will occur on May 6 with additional opportunities to follow.  Participants may sign up for one day or all five.  Lunch and resources will be provided.

Para-Educators Attend FREE!!

Our hard-working para-educators are important to the success of all of our students.  If you are a para-educator and would like to attend one day or all five, please contact Maria Daniel at 512-919-5432 or for a discount  code.  A limited number of discount codes will be allowed- first come, first served.

See the attached flyer for all of the details.

Cathy Miller

Inclusion Institute Presenters Announced!

Check out our fabulous list of break-out session presenters here:Inclusion-2013-flyer

Get Your Free Copy of LeAnn’s Book: Deeper Learning 7 Powerful Strategies for In-Depth and Longer-Lasting Learning!
The first 100 participants to register for the Inclusion Institute will receive a free copy of the book Deeper Learning co-authored by Eric Jensen and our keynote speaker, LeAnn Nickelsen.

Attention Paraprofessionals!
Thank you to everybody who applied: the application for the paraprofessional discount has now closed.
And we don’t want to forget the hard working Para-educators in our schools. A limited number of complimentary para-educator registrations are available now. Para-educators complete this form to receive your E-Campus promotional code for your free registration. (not eligible for free book)

Group Instruction #3 Choice Time

This is the third part of our six-part Inclusion Series with Katie Adams, speech-language pathologist at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. We have already learned about two great methods for tackling social skills and language comprehension in a functional, comprehensive and fun way:

How are You?
Question Time

Let’s take a look at Choice Time:

Now, you may have some questions. Here are some of the details:

What’s the Goal? The purpose of Choice Time is to request items in an appropriate and effective way.

Are visuals used?
Picture Visuals are used to facilitate choice-making. Students choose from different item sets depending on their language ability.

Do they get a chance to practice? Students practice with their paraprofessionals and peers. What a great way to build capacity as a speech-language pathologist. Also, research states that peer interaction facilitates more language and social skills.

How do you keep students engaged? Highly motivating items are used.

Is this functional? Yes! We make choices everyday. Where do you want to eat? Do you like the Aggies or the Longhorns? Gryffindor or Hufflepuff? Giving someone the opportunity to make a personal choice is empowering.

Are they sitting the entire time? They MOVE! Students volunteer and come to the front of the class to make their choices and receive their reinforcement. The smile on Willy’s face when he played with Mr. Smith was priceless.

Do you use reinforcement? Yes! Positive reinforcement is used! Students who volunteer get videoed and are “featured” in the next lesson. Clapping and praise is also used.

Do you differentiate communication systems? Absolutely! Voice Output Devices and Picture Exchange Systems are used for individuals with increased communication needs.

How do you help to facilitate communication? Sign language is used to give students a visual cue. Keep in mind that we fade cues quickly to give students the opportunity to independently initiate communication.

Did you think of getting peers involved? Absolutely! We use peer modeling. Students will higher language skills model correct behavior and language used in the task.

Are they going to generalize the skill? We thought of that. We use Model, Practice and Independence. The student receives a model of the task, practices it in a small group and then tries the task independently.

How long is the prep time, really?! The same items are used each week (visual supports printed and laminated); therefore, preparation time is not needed!

Using highly motivating reinforcers, Katie has been able to address an important skill in an engaging format. For Katie’s students, she provided an opportunity to engage in some physical fun. In the past, I have also used experiences to engage students. Do you want to mix the ingredients for the cookie dough or grease the pan? This is an opportunity to get functional and get creative! What motivates your students?

What Makes a Great Teacher?

More specifically, what makes a great special education teacher? The Council for Exceptional Children has released a position paper on the evaluation of special education teachers that takes into account the complexity of the modern special education teacher’s job. The general factors they identify include:

  • Including Fundamental Systemwide Components
  • Identifying the Complex Role of the Special Education Teacher
  • Measuring the Use of Evidence-Based Practices
  • Recognizing the Professionalism of Special Education Teachers
  • and Continually Incorporating Findings from Research

Read more about these recommendations Position_on_Special_Education_Teacher_Evaluation_Background and take a look at their suggestions for further use here: Ten ways to Use CEC Position.

These papers suggest various means of adding input to the conversation. Teachers are welcome to add further comment in the boxes below this post.


ESTAR II – Math Tier 2 training

The Texas Response to Curriculum Focal Points (TXRCFP) was created from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and identifies critical areas for mathematics instruction at each grade level. The initial Elementary-School Students in Texas: Algebra Ready (ESTAR) training informed and familiarized participants with the TXRCFP as a framework for improving overall mathematics instruction and achievement, in order to decrease the percentage of students who need math intervention.

The original ESTAR Academies were designed to further define algebra readiness and discuss the implications for classroom instruction in grades K-4.

NOW AVAILABLE…. The NEW ESTAR II Academies are designed to focus on Tier 2 intervention. Participants experience valuable classroom instructional strategies to support algebra readiness and differentiation for Tier 2 intervention.
The ESTAR II Academy emphasizes research-based Tier II strategies from the IES Practice Guide for Assisting Struggling Students with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools and engages participants in how to identify students needing Tier II support for math and meet their instructional needs. Participants will learn how to interpret results of the ESTAR Universal Screener, use the screener results and other forms of data to make instructional decisions, and provide practical strategies for implementing evidence-based interventions for students receiving Tier II mathematics support.
Best news is that training is now FREE! for a limited time only.
Sign up now at
Workshop dates May 16th and 17th, or July 15th and 18th, or August 14th and 15th

Register Now! Class is 4/25/2013.

All participants will receive a copy of the book and a flash drive to save their work!

Attention PPCD, Early Childhood and Primary Lifeskills!  Only one week left until we welcome author and presenter  Jessica Roberts, who will walk us through making a video-based social story.  For more information on video social stories, visit her website:

Jessica will pair up with a Region 13  literacy specialist for a full day of training.

Register through ESC 13 ecampus, there are still a few seats available.

Course Number: SP1324232

Course Name: Literacy and Video Modeling in the Early Childhood Classroom

Price: $50.00


Group Instruction #2: Question Time

This is the second part of our six-part Inclusion Series with Katie Adams, speech-language pathologist at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. The purpose of Question Time is to increase independence by answering who, what and where questions. A big thanks to Katie for sharing her work!

1. Use of Power Point – Pictures of students in class engaged in various activities to promote use of questioning

2. Use of Visuals – Real pictures of students used in Power Point, Power Point pictures given to students in the speech packet

3. Use of Sign Language – Visual cues of sign language shown to students to emphasize the difference between who, what and where questions

4. Use of Positive Reinforcement – Students who volunteer receive clapping/praise with participation in lesson

5. Use of Peer Modeling: Students with higher language skills model correct behavior and language used in the task

Prep Time: Power Point is saved, and 1 to 2 new pictures are added each month (10 minutes)

Let’s take a look:

Being able to answer questions is an important life skill. Functionally, students would be able to give personal preferences and choice, give detail to experiences and contribute to conversational interchanges. Let’s think about how we can make some minor changes to Question Time to address different levels of communication. For an oral speaker, he can answer the questions spontaneously, with visual cues or with a verbal model. For a student using Core Vocabulary, item preferences for the question words can be placed accordingly on the student’s communication board or device. Once the student answers a question by pointing to the communication board, a single-message device could be used to orally respond, “That one. That is what he is holding!” Remember, there are various ways for students to respond, and it is our job to develop an individualized communication system for our students to access their world.

Group Instruction #1: How Are You?

Region 13 would like to take this opportunity to present a video series. Katie Adams, speech-language pathologist (SLP) extraordinaire at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District, does inclusion speech and language therapy in the classroom on a weekly basis. For an entire hour, she sees all students in the classroom. Throughout the six mini-lessons, Katie differentiates to each students’ individualized needs. This model of language therapy not only provides teaching of skills in a functional classroom environment, but it also gives an opportunity to build capacity for the teaching of language skills with the classroom teacher and educational assistants in attendance. In this model, the educational assistants are sitting at each table and taking data for the SLP! This series will include:

1. How are YOU? (Video Below)
2. Question time
3. Choice Time
4. Emotions
5. Listen Up
6. Relaxation Time

So, you may ask, what do I need to do to make something like this happen? Katie Adams has been kind enough to share her work.  Here are the specifics:

Set Up

  • 1 hour once a week taught by the SLP
  • Around 15 students or less in the Functional Academic Classroom
  • Paraprofessionals in the Room
  • Students are grouped at each table by language ability in order for efficient differentiated instruction
  • Lesson is broken into 6 sections that target different aspects of communication to meet individual language needs
  • The lesson is the same for one month for CONSISTENCY and MASTERY
  • Paraprofessionals teach a section of the lesson the last month as they have watched the lesson for three weeks
  • The lesson has 6 items on the schedule (10 minutes for each)
  • Students are given a Speech Packet with Visuals of the Lesson that is sent home at the end of the month for generalization at home

Prep Work

  • 2 hours at the beginning on the month (Less each time as it gets more routinized)
  • No prep after the initial 2 hours as the lesson is the same for one month
  • Collaboration with paraprofessional and teacher for hour-long lesson


  • Visual Picture Schedule in the Same Format Every Week
  • 6 Language Sections Numbered 1 through 6
  • Allows for Students to know Expectations of the Class
  • Promotes Consistency as the students know the objectives in each section
  • Helps with organization for the SLP
  • Decreases Behaviors due to decreased anxiety and stress
  • Helps paraprofessionals know what to do

Data Collection

  • SLP created simple easy data collection forms
  • Paraprofessionals take data with the students at their table during the lesson
  • SLP trains during the lesson

Alright, here is the first lesson:  How Are YOU?

Notice how Katie uses the Little Mac to engage Matthew. Finding opportunities to engage all students at their communicative level is VITAL. Katie knew that one of Matthew’s interests is basketball, and she used that knowledge in this communicative interchange. As an SLP, what else can you do? You could give opportunities for multiple conversational turns, sabotage a routinized communicative exchange with a bizarre answer to facilitate new communicative intent and humor AND create opportunities for the student to independently initiate the communication. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

Remember, the goal and emphasis of this model is on generalizing functional communication skills in order to better prepare our students for work and assisted living environments as well as education to the staff on strategies that increase language development.

Stay tuned for the next five lessons!