Don’t Miss this Beat the Heat Line Up!

Beat the Heat 2019 is almost here!  This summer conference is dedicated to providing professional development to educators, parents, and others who work with children ages 3-21 with significant intellectual and low incidence disabilities.

Don’t miss out y’all (and it’ll be hard to because we have so many user-friendly registration options). 2019 has another great line up of content from amazing national and statewide presenters! Here’s a peek:

  • Anne Meeker, Ph.D. will present “WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE:” Songs and Strategies to Support Young Children with Challenging Behaviors 
  • Erin Sheldon, M.Ed. will present Inclusive Classroom Strategies, AT, and Peer Supports for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
  • Crystal Bell will present Charting the LifeCourse: Key Principles, Concepts, and Practices
  • Barb Hobbs, M.Ed. will present Let’s Open a Can of Worms: Sexuality, Safety, and Disabilities
  • Randy Foederer and Vicki Foederer, CAPE will present Getting to the Goals in Adapted Physical Education 
  • Sara Kitchen and Scott Baltisberger, VI Outreach Specialists @ TSBVI will present Active Learning: Interactions

We hope to see you there! Use this link https://www4.esc13.net/lowincidence/beat-the-heat/ to register. Stay tuned; additional details about breakout sessions, keynote, maker faire, and our finalized schedule will be coming soon.

Questions? Contact: Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net 

STAARtling Teacher Hacks in Preparation for STAAR Online

Here are four cool things teachers and administrators have been doing to help students feel better prepared for STAAR Online:

  1. Print a poster-size picture from the Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program (like the image below) to make explicit connections to what the tool will look like and where to find it on the screen even when using paper-based instruction.  It might sound like this:”Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that are you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

“Students, right now we’re using our red pens to cross out options we know are not correct. During STAAR Online, you will find the eliminator tool at the top (teacher points to the X icon),”

or “Class, I want you to take your highlighters out and mark the key words. During STAAR Online, you will do the same thing by selecting the word with your mouse to make the highlight option show up.”

or “Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”

2. Place a page protector or clear contact paper over students’ monitors, turning the screen and cover into scratch paper. Students use the same math strategies as they do on paper but can generalize this skill into an online environment. Love it!

3. Eanes ISD and Desmos collaborated to develop a “test mode” for the popular iOS and Chrome app providing a secure, allowable graphing calculator to use on STAAR paper or online.

4. Campuses and districts have decided to replace one of their district benchmark tests with the STAAR Interim Assessment. Students get to practice using the same supports they’ll see on STAAR and districts get to plan from the data they receive.

If you know of a different STAAR prep “hack,” please share! Contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net

Preparing Your Students for STAAR Online During Classroom Instruction: Easy Peasy!


You’ve determined that STAAR Online will best match the accommodations your student receives in class that have been successful. You’ve provided your student time to take the STAAR tutorials and practice tests, and even helped personalize settings as part of using the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist.

Now you’re wondering how the in-class supports you’re providing, traditionally without technology, will transfer into an online environment. How can we accomplish and duplicate these by using technology in class to improve the odds that students will use the online supports come test day?

First, we can put ourselves in a mindset of normalizing the use of digital accommodations. After all, how many of us use spellcheck or ebooks and audiobooks?

Regarding practice opportunities for Content and Language Supports provided primarily through rollovers and pop-ups, really it’s as easy as the ideas demonstrated in this table.
Content & Language Supports… …with Technology
provide clarifying information for a graphic organizer, political cartoon, or map

provide a visual representation in the selection, question, answer choices, or in the writing prompt by adding graphics, photographs, or animations

isolate specific text or information in a selection that is referenced in the question or answer choices

reword complex question or answer choices to condense text

define or clarify construct-irrelevant words, phrases, and sentences using plain language, synonyms, definitions, examples, and consistent language

reorganize and simplify historical excerpts, respecting the TEKS based academic vocabulary

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a map, graphic organizer, or cartoon

get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a picture, video, etc.

 

bookmarking the selection and hyperlinking to that selection in the answer choice

use a website called Rewordify -this tool simplifies difficult English words

explicitly teach students to use the built-in “synonym” tool within MSWord,  a thesaurus add-on in Google Docs, or a thesaurus Chrome extension by selecting the word, right clicking and choosing “find synonym.”

use websites such as Newsela or CommonLit which automatically levels text, and has text-to-speech and other STAAR-like features.

Regarding practice for oral administration via text-to-speech (TTS), really it’s about providing lots of opportunities for students to experience text-to-speech and any form of TTS practice is useful!

 

Think about tools you already have. Many of these have text-to-speech:

  • online textbooks
  • TextQuest’s database
  • subscription-based ebooks such as Learning A-Z’s ebooks
  • Bookshare or Learning Ally’s books
  • the built-in “speak selected text” in iPad, Chromebook, and MSWord
  • or perhaps your district has a text-to-speech plugin for web browsers

Text-to-speech options are available everywhere, wherever there is text to read, it’s just a google search away! Or an email question away… don’t forget to ask your campus edTech/AT/librarian in case there is a district license to a commercial product that you didn’t know about (e.g. Snap&Read Universal, Read&Write for Google, Kurzweil, etc.).

Of course, using worksheets and other paper materials is problematic for TTS. Here are some steps to consider: are your instructional materials available in a digital format (.rtf, .doc, .pdf)? If not – scan, copy and paste, or type it manually. Not enough devices? Figure out grouping, stations, splitters for headsets, etc.

Using these tools routinely will help build stamina, familiarity, and good habits with online content and supports. In the same way,  the more you can embed digital formative or summative assessment using online tools such as Google Forms and even Kahoot, the more prepared your students will be. 
For questions, contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net.

Benefits of STAAR Online Versus Paper


If your instruction looks like this (and we know for many students it does)

…then your student(s) should be taking STAAR online!

Why? Because these supports are only available in the STAAR Online Content and Language Supports.

Sure, you might be thinking about the potential for technology glitches. Online testing might feel risky, but the benefits outweigh the risks. When students receive the same supports on STAAR that they need and routinely use in the classroom their outcomes will benefit.

For another perspective, please click to see this side-by-side document: STAAR Online Benefits.  Then, get with your team to consider classroom instruction, student data from STAAR Online released tests, interim assessments, and other online assignments to make the best decision for each student.

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance. Contact Kim.West@esc13.txed.net

 

STAARtlingly Helpful January PD!

It’s almost here…!! Wishing you a warm, wonderful, and peaceful holiday season!

Understanding that when the break is over, educators and students will be that much closer to high stakes testing days, we want to highlight an upcoming workshop designed to bring clarity around the most current STAAR accessibility resources.

When focused on teaching, preparing for and deciding between paper and online STAAR accessibility options can feel overwhelming.

In this interactive workshop you will become familiar with the updated STAAR accessibility policies. You will learn about expanded student eligibility criteria, expanded allowability of technology tools, and how to meet the technology guidelines. Most important, you will learn how to integrate technology into your content area/s that simulates the online accessibility resources, enhances your teaching, and addresses students’ need to routinely and effectively use their supports during instruction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the STAAR Accessibility updates
  • Explore STAAR Online Practice Tests and the embedded supports
  • Discover tech tools that simulate STAAR embedded supports and choose the tech tools that are applicable to your content area and your students
  • Practice using instructional/assistive technology tools
  • Discuss classroom implementation strategies to ensure students have opportunities to use supports routinely, effectively and independently
  • Understand the parameters of the 2018-19 Technology Guidelines and test security processes
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources of Accommodation Central

Note: There will be a focus on the following Designated Supports as well as the Calculator and Dictionary Policies:

  • Basic Transcribing
  • Oral Administration
  • Spelling Assistance
  • Content and Language Supports
  • Calculation Aids

Whether you’re a special or general educator, administrator, or related service provider we hope to see you at one of these dates:

  • Jan 22, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 23, 2019 registration details here
  • Jan 29, 2019 registration details here

Please contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5246 for any questions.

 

Winter Workshops for Educators of Students with Significant Disabilities!

You won’t want to miss these winter learning opportunities in 2019!

1/8/19:  Evidence-Based Practices: Research Based Teaching Strategies for Teachers of Students with Disabilities (SP1939799) $45

In this workshop, participants will learn the definition of evidence-based practices (EBPs), why these high yield strategies are important, and where to find resources on EBPs that can enhance instructional practices. By the end of the workshop, participants will have the knowledge and tools needed to implement the EBPs of prompting, modeling, reinforcement, differential reinforcement, task analysis, visual supports, and social narratives.

1/28/19 and 1/29/19:  Road to Recovery: Supporting Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Who Have Experienced Trauma (SP1939395) $90

Participants will learn basic knowledge, skills, and values about working with children with IDD who have had traumatic experiences and how to use this knowledge to support children’s safety, well-being, happiness, and recovery through trauma-informed practice. Training activities, including small group exercises, analysis of case vignettes, and discussion, will also encourage exploration of assumptions and attitudes that providers may bring to these cases that may help or hinder their ability to do the work needed. The setting will allow providers to immediately apply ideas, practice problem-solving skills, and learn from each other.

2/6/19:  STAAR Alternate 2 Overview (SP1939620) Free

This training is designed for first-time STAAR Alternate 2 test administrators.   In this optional training we will discuss the updated participation requirements, key dates, allowable accommodations for STAAR Alternate 2, planning for instruction using the essence statements,  TEKS Curriculum Framework, and TEKS vertical alignment. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice administering the test using released STAAR Alternate 2 sample test questions.

2/15/19:  Introduction to the Active Learning Approach: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities (SP1939624) $45

In this introductory workshop, participants* will explore the fundamentals of the Active Learning approach, including the Dynamic Learning Circle, Active Learning equipment, the 5 Phases of Educational Treatment, and additional training resources.  There will also be a make and take!

*This workshop is appropriate for Life Skills teachers, PPCD teachers, teachers of students with Visual Impairments,  Occupational Therapists, and Assistive Technology Specialists.

2/25/19: Creating Successful Teams for Teachers and Paraeducators (SP1940744) $45

Are you part of a team of educators working closely together in a special education setting? Then this is the workshop for you!

In this workshop, special education teachers and paraeducators will examine strategies and skills for promoting effective communication, collaboration, and team building.  Workshop topics will include ways to improve teamwork, working relationships, communication, leadership, and role clarification.  Participants will also learn strategies to support effective problem solving and decision making.  Teachers and paraeducators are encouraged, but not required, to attend as a team.

For more information, contact jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net or darcy.schiller@esc13.txed.net

Register today for Power of Inclusion!

Including students with disabilities in the general education classroom is both a challenge and an opportunity. Educators need to collaborate to successfully meet the needs of diverse learners.

Power of Inclusion is a one-day workshop that offers general educators, special educators, and paraprofessionals an opportunity to develop relationships and expand their understanding of how to provide access to the general education curriculum for all students.

Topics covered include co-teaching approaches, paraprofessional support, specially designed instruction, Universal Design for Learning, roles and responsibilities, collaboration, and planning.

Date: October 23, 2018

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price: $45.00

Register for Power of Inclusion in Ecampus by using course number FA1839170.

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

Are you a special education instructional leader?

Join us for the Special Education Instructional Network – SPIN – to connect and learn with other special educators in Region 13.

SPIN meets four times during each school year. Our first 2018-2019 meeting is on Wednesday, September 12, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

SPIN meetings are designed for special education instructional leaders to receive updates and resources and to share ideas, district news, and questions with each other.  This year, our meetings will include a book study, UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms, by Dr. Katie Novak.  In addition, Region 13 Specialists will join us to provide behavior guidance and assistive technology information.

You can register for SPIN meetings for FREE in Ecampus by using course number FA1839043.

For more information, contact Kim West, kim.west@esc13.txed.net

Announcing the Region 13 Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Professional Learning Community (PLC)!

 

Are you looking for a way to transform your teaching and your students’ learning?

Submit your application to join the Region 13 Universal Design for Learning Professional Learning Community!  This PLC is designed to provide cohort members with an understanding of the UDL framework, knowledge and resources to support UDL implementation, and individualized learning opportunities to address campus needs.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for creating an approach to your instruction based on principles that allow all students to have access to the general education curriculum. Using a proactive approach to remove learning barriers by considering the natural variability of how students learn, UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials and assessments to help optimize learning.

In addition, knowledge and implementation of UDL supports ESSA’s endorsement of UDL, enhances our connections to the student-centered focus of our appraisal systems, and provides a way to plan for social and emotional variability.

The UDL PLC application process is simple!  Just complete pages 3 and 4 of the application and submit it electronically by 5:00 PM on June 15, 2018.  To submit the application or for more information contact Kim West at kim.west@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5314.

Register for UDL Now! A Guide to Classroom Application with Author Katie Novak, Ed.D.

Katie Novak!

The internationally renowned educator and author of the best-selling book* UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms,

is coming to Region 13!

July 27th, 2018

Join us as we explore the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and discover how to use the guidelines to plan lessons, choose materials, assess learning, and be proactively strategic in addressing learner variability.

Watch Katie Novak’s video to learn more about UDL and how using this framework can transform teaching and learning!

Click to register now for face-to-face workshop

Click to register now for online workshop

*Participants who attend face-to-face workshop will receive a copy of UDL Now!