A Survival Guide for New Special Educators

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass

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What every special education teacher needs to know to survive and thrive The Beginning Special Educator's Survival Guide provides relevant, practical information for new special education teachers across a broad range of topic areas. Drawing on the latest research on special educator effectiveness and retention, this comprehensive, go-to resource addresses the most pressing needs of novice instructors, resource teachers, and inclusion specialists. Offers research-backed, classroom-tested strategies for working with a variety of special needs students Covers everything from preparing for the new school year to behavior management, customizing curriculum, creating effective IEPs, and more Billingsley and Brownell are noted experts in special educator training and support This highly practical book is filled with checklists, forms, and tools that special educators can use every day to help ensure that all special needs students get the rich, rewarding education they deserve.

Author Biography

BONNIE S. BILLINGSLEY, Ed.D., is a professor in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech.

MARY T. BROWNELL, Ph.D., is a professor of Special Education and director of the CEEDAR Center at the University of Florida.

MAYA ISRAEL, Ph.D., is assistant professor of Special Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

MARGARET L. KAMMAN, Ph.D., is assistant scholar and project coordinator for the CEEDAR Center at the University of Florida.

Table of Contents

The Authors


Tables, Figures, and Exhibits



Chapter One: Getting the Right Job

An Initial Priority: Find a Good Job Match

Steps in Your Job Search

The Interview Process

Consider the Offer

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Chapter Two: Great Beginnings

Reality 101: What to Expect in the First Years

Your Challenge: Become an Accomplished and Committed Special Educator

Reflect on the Moral Purpose That Guides Your Work

Develop Knowledge about Professional Standards and Ethics

Learn about the Community and Key Policies and Guidelines

Learn More about the Content Standards for Subjects You Teach

Use and Refine Your Knowledge about Evidence-Based Practices

Know Your Students and Systematically Monitor Their Learning

Collaborate Effectively with Administrators, Colleagues, and Parents

Protect Instructional Time and Balance Your Responsibilities

Develop Resilience and Manage Stress

Take Initiative for Your Own Professional Learning

Making It Happen: Create a Network of Supports

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Three: Working with Others

Be an Energizer

Be an Effective Communicator

Working through Conflicts

A Great Start with Parents

Ten Actions to Develop Positive Relationships with Parents

A Great Start with Administrators

A Great Start with Your Mentor(s)

A Great Start with Colleagues

Leading Effective Professional Meetings

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Four: Special Education Law

Key Laws Related to Students with Disabilities

Education for All Handicapped Children Act

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Section 504

Americans with Disabilities Act


Dealing with Legal Challenges

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Five: Developing Quality IEPs

The IEP Document

The IEP Process

Tips for a Great Start with IEPs

Tips for Developing IEP Components

The IEP Meeting

Transition Planning

IEP Summary Forms

Tips for Organizing the IEP Process

Practical Suggestions from Special Educators

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources


Chapter Six: Organizing and Managing Your Work

Your Many Roles and Responsibilities

Goals and Plans Equal Organization Success!

Manage Your Time, Manage Your Tasks

Setting Up Your Class for Success

Considerations for Middle and High School Classrooms

The Teacher’s Desk

Get Ready for Your First Day of School

Plan for Fun and Knowledge

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Seven: Classroom and Behavior Management (Elizabeth Bettini)

Tiered Approach to Providing Positive Behavioral Support

Evaluating the Intervention

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Eight: Collaboration and Co-Teaching

Fundamentals of Collaboration

Defining Characteristics for Collaboration

Understanding Collaboration in Varied Service-Delivery Models

Tips for Special Education Teachers in Collaborating for RTI

Collaboration in Inclusive Settings

Small Strategies to Make a Big Impact on Collaboration

Helping General Educators


The Co-Teacher Relationship

Characteristics Aiding in Successful Co-Teaching

Barriers and How to Overcome Them

Keeping Collaborative Records

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Nine: Supporting Your Students

The Student-Teacher Relationship

Tips for Fostering Positive Student-Teacher Relationships

Motivating Your Students

Advocating for and with Your Students

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Helping Your Students Stay Organized and Learn Responsibility

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Ten: Assessment and Knowing Your Students

Your State Standards and the CCSS

Why Test in Relationship to the Standards?

Educational Laws and Assessment

Relationship between the Laws and Your Assessment Practices

Progress Monitoring and Curriculum-Based Measures

Formal or Standardized Tests

Assessment Accommodations and Adapting Classroom Tests

Alternative Assessments

Feedback and Grading

Assessment Considerations at the High School Level

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Eleven: Universal Design for Learning and Technology

Plan Engaging and Accessible Instruction through UDL

The Basics of UDL: Reach and Engage Your Students in Multiple Ways

Three Principles of UDL: Multiple Means of Representation, Action and Expression, and Engagement

General Hints for Implementing UDL

Using Instructional Technologies to Support Students with Disabilities

ATs to Support Students with Disabilities

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources


Chapter Twelve: Instructional Practices and Lesson Planning

Planning for Effective Instruction

Using Effective Instruction

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Thirteen: Teaching Reading

A Framework for Teaching Reading

Phonological Awareness and Phonics (Basic Decoding)

Decoding Multisyllabic Words and Promoting Morphological Awareness

Vocabulary Instruction

Promoting Fluency at the Rime, Word, and Connected-Text Levels

Promoting Reading Comprehension

Special Considerations for ELLs with Learning Disabilities

Incorporating Technology into Reading Instruction

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Fourteen: Teaching Writing

Basic Skills Underlying Proficient Writing Performance

Becoming an Independent Writer

Special Considerations for ELLs

Using Technology to Support Writing

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Fifteen: Teaching Mathematics

What Makes Math So Difficult for So Many Students?

Going beyond Arithmetic to Algebra

Characteristics of Struggling Learners in Mathematics and General Strategies for

Supporting Students

Instructional Math Standards

How Should I Teach Learners Who Have Difficulty Keeping Up with the Curriculum?

Instruction That Supports Students with Disabilities in Mathematics

What Is the Best Way to Integrate CRA into Math Instruction?

Metacognitive Math Strategies

Assessment and Feedback to Inform Mathematic Practice

Formal Assessment and Mathematics

Technology-Enhanced Mathematics Instruction

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Sixteen: Teaching Content

What Can You Do to Support Students with Disabilities in Learning Content?

What Specific Things Can I Do to Help Students with Disabilities in the Content Areas?

UDL and Instructional Technologies in Content Learning

Teaching Concepts with Content Enhancements

Teaching Simple Concepts

Complex Concepts

Inquiry-Based Approaches to Teaching and Learning Content

What Is the Relationship between Inquiry Learning and Problem-, Project-, Challenge-Based Learnings?

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources

Chapter Seventeen: Teaching Students with Limited to Pervasive Intellectual Disability (Bree A. Jimenez and Pamela J. Mims)

Who Are Your Students?

What to Teach

Why Teach Beyond Functional Skills to Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Assessments to Guide Curricular Planning

How to Teach

To Sum Up

What’s Next?

Additional Resources


Chapter Eighteen: Managing Student Health Needs (Pamela W. Carter)

Individual Health-Care Plans and Emergency Care Plans

Health Conditions and Teacher Tips

Tourette Syndrome (TS)

To Sum Up

Additional Resources


Appendix A: Definitions and Resources about Disability

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Deafness and Hearing Loss

Developmental Delay

Emotional Disturbance

Intellectual Disability

Other Health Impairment

Specific Learning Disability

Speech and Language Disorders

Traumatic Brain Injury

Visual Impairment Including Blindness

Appendix B: Key Special Education Cases

Appendix C: Assessment Vocabulary and Concepts

Validity and Reliability

Appendix D: Tips for Preparing for Observations and Interviews

Appendix E: Bonus Web Content



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