Collaboration for Inclusion: Videos

The videos below are from the National Center on Educational Outcomes’ Youtube channel and highlight best practices for special education teachers who are collaborating with other teachers, with parents, and with students:

Teachers Working Together to Identify Student Needs


Special Education Teacher Communicating with Parents

Why All Praise is Not Created Equal

“Hey, you’re smart!”  That feels good to hear, doesn’t it?  Praise always feels good, but not all praise motivates us to try new things, challenge ourselves, or deal with failure.

Two Guys on Your Head radio series had a great piece about praise and motivation. Something all teachers and parents should hear and consider.

Check out the broadcast using the link below

Inclusion Support for ELA-R

If you are teaching students with disabilities in an inclusion setting, either as a Special Education teacher or as a General Education teacher, Region 13 would like to encourage you to attend Accessing the General Curriculum in English Language Arts on April 9, 2014. Participants will leave with strategies to help deliver engaging, scaffolded lesson cycles, determine and implement appropriate accommodations, collect and use formative assessment data, manage behavior, and differentiate instruction for students with disabilities. Just search E-Campus for SP1428576

Calculator Apps Have Been Authorized for STAAR 8th Grade

TEA has released the following information regarding STAAR Calculator policy:

Commissioner Williams authorizes calculator apps
for 8th grade STAAR mathematics in 2014-2015

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Michael Williams has advised superintendents he will allow districts to satisfy a requirement to use graphing calculators for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) grade 8 mathematics assessment with either a traditional handheld graphing calculator or a graphing calculator application available on an electronic tablet. The Commissioner’s decision marks the first time an electronic calculator application has been authorized for use by students in a Texas state assessment.

Use of calculator apps on electronic tablets will be allowed on a pilot basis for the 2014-2015 administration of the 8th grade mathematics assessment only. For the pilot year, the Texas Education Agency will still prohibit the use of smart phones.

“After extensive feedback from superintendents across our state coupled with conversations with agency staff, I am allowing a broader array of technology to meet the 8th grade calculator requirement,” said Commissioner Williams. “While I recognize this revised policy will not address all concerns and may still require some districts to purchase additional technology, I am hopeful this policy will enable us to provide some flexibility.”

Commissioner Williams originally wrote to Texas superintendents in February regarding the required use of graphing calculators for the STAAR grade 8 mathematics assessment. Beginning in the 2014–2015 school year, districts must ensure that each student has a graphing calculator to use when taking the STAAR grade 8 mathematics assessment. Calculators are now necessary for grade 8 mathematics because the State Board of Education significantly increased the algebra content in the grade 8 TEKS requiring the use of graphing calculators – not only in classroom instruction, but also on the state assessment.

In his letter to superintendents, the Commissioner continued to express concerns about ensuring test security and preventing cheating. For districts that choose to use technology other than a handheld graphing calculator, there will likely be additional test monitoring and security measures put in place to ensure that the integrity of the test is not compromised.

“Depending on the success of this pilot, especially as it relates to test security and any confirmed testing irregularities, I will make decisions about either continuing and possibly expanding the use of additional technologies or prohibiting their use moving forward,” said Commissioner Williams in his letter. “The future viability of technology like this during state assessments will largely depend on the success, vigilance, and integrity within your districts.”

Districts choosing to meet the calculator requirement for the grade 8 mathematics test using technology (other than a handheld graphing calculator) should note that all other major standardized tests – including the PSAT, SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP) exams and Texas Success Initiative (TSI) Assessment – do not permit the use of calculator applications on tablets, smart phones, or other electronic devices. As a result, Commissioner Williams advised districts that they may want to keep in mind the policies their students will need to follow for these tests when deciding which technology to use for classroom instruction.

Some school districts may elect to have students use a graphing calculator application on a tablet or other mobile device during routine classroom instruction and homework, with an actual graphing calculator available for use during the assessment. In these instances, the calculator application should have the same functionality as the calculator to be used on the state assessment to ensure that students are familiar with the calculator. However, students are not required to use the exact same tool during routine class work or homework and the state assessment.

To view the Commissioner’s letter sent to school districts and charters, visit

Math Should Be Fun!

Does your Inclusion or Resource Math classroom need a little fun and excitement?

Research tells us learning needs to be engaging and fun, but how do you make Math fun?

Math Games is a half-day workshop that will provide teachers with tools and strategies for implementing meaningful skill building games for students in their classrooms. These games encourage engagement which creates a fun learning environment in your class.

The games at this workshop can be used in small group and whole class. Games are great for Math centers and promote student verbalization and problem solving skills.

Teachers will have a fun-filled morning of playing math games and learning. Teachers will take home games that will be ready to play Monday morning.


This Saturday, March 22nd 9 am to 12 pm at ESC Region 13.

Register today at

Math Games for 3rd to 8th grade (SP1428735)


Twice-Exceptional Students

A “twice-exceptional learner” is a child or youth who performs at — or shows the potential for performing at — a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who:

  1. exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area;
  2. possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or
  3. excels in a specific academic field (TEC 29.121)

…and who also gives evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility (IDEA, 2004) (300.8) (Section 504) criteria such as:

  • learning disabilities;
  • speech and language disorders;
  • emotional/behavioral disorders;
  • physical disabilities;
  • sensory disabilities (hearing impaired, visually impaired, blind-deaf);
  • traumatic brain injury;
  • autism spectrum disorder; or
  • other health impairments such as ADHD.

Parents, teachers, and other educators may be interested in exploring TEA’s “Equity in Gifted Education” website, which includes a host of resources dedicated to meeting the needs of this student population. Access the website here:

©2014 Texas Education Agency All Rights Reserved 2014

Facilitated ARD Meetings

Why do Facilitated IEP meetings generate better student results?

ARD/IEP meetings benefit from skilled and capable facilitators who can assist the team in crafting agreements that lead to better educational programs for students with disabilities. Facilitation makes the meeting process easier and helps team members communicate and solve problems more effectively. Every team member, parent, and school personnel can use facilitation to improve the process and outcome.

Watch this video of an IEP meeting demonstrating the use of facilitation skills and techniques to learn how you too can implement these valuable and effective skills/techniques. Free tools and resources have been developed to help ensure your next IEP meeting is the best one yet.

Looking at the Brain

Fascinating TED talk on the neurological foundations of disabilities. Some of the terminology around disability that the speaker uses is not 100% current.