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Professional development

For a Boost of Optimism, Read (and Watch) This

"I don't think there's a child out there who doesn't want to learn and be the best they can be."

Those are the words of Barbara Preuss, a veteran educator with more than 30 years of experience.

That is to say, she is no bright-eyed novice about to be confronted by reality. She is confronted by plenty of reality, every day. And yet she retains her belief that even the kids who act out and misbehave still want to learn and still need to learn.

She retains this belief because she has seen it again and again, in all the schools where she has worked.

Why I'm Not Impressed with Effective Teachers

I was making a presentation about how to raise reading achievement. I was taking my audience through research on what needed to be taught and how it needed to be taught if kids were to do as well as possible. I was telling about my experiences as director of reading of the Chicago Public Schools at a time when my teachers raised reading achievement.

When I finished, a teacher approached me. “What do you think is the most important variable in higher reading achievement?”

My answer was, “The amount of teaching — academic experience — that we provide to our children.”

8 New, Nearly New Dyslexia Resources Support Struggling Readers + Teachers Who Serve Them

Teachers, parents, and students should be seeing subtle and obvious changes in how dyslexia is identified and how educational services are delivered in schools.

Inclusion: Advice, Keys to Educating Diverse Early Learners with Dual Language + Disabilities

The Iris Center announces a new IRISSTAR Legacy Module, Dual Language Learners with Disabilities: Supporting Young Children in the Classroom. It is free online and offers ideas for serving diverse early learners in a classroom where instruction must take into account multiple languages, cultures, diverse learning needs, and backgrounds.

Lindamood Bell Reading: Effects Are Potentially Positive, Mixed, Says US DOE Clearinghouse

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences describes an update for the Lindamood Bell approach to reading instruction (LiPS®). Findings show some potentially positive effects and some mixed effects.

Can Be Important

Webinar Watch: Try Summer Learning Online: Boost Accessible + Truly Individualized Learning

Free Webinars from well-respected sources are plentiful this summer. All found here advance the use of accessible educational materials and technology devices with learning supports. These go a long way to help students stay on grade, reach individualized education goals, and master district objectives and their state standards of learning. Accessible materials are the only way to close an achievement gap when print fails. The webinar sponsors, descriptions, dates and time are:

Jump On In: Special Needs Radio Is a Quick, Smart Destination for Professional Growth, Insights

So many special education webinars, so little time. It is hard to choose. But, podcasts can be a short, sweet, and entertaining opportunity to inform teaching and learning.

Jump On In

When Sharon Plante uses her combined expertise of technology in education and learning disabilities for her #spedchat "Learning Differently" podcast interviews, the BAM Radio Network's Special Education Channel comes alive with 12 minutes of engaging key conversations, information, opinions, and resources. 

"Power Up's" 2015 Resolutions, Resources: Try Top Tech Solutions for Improving Teaching & Learning

Hopefully, all educators have New Year's resolutions in place to improve professional practice. "POWER Up What Works," an activity of the federal education department, is lending a hand by publishing five proposals by Judy Zorfass related to improving teaching and learning by using educational technology.

Seven Ways to Give Students with Print Disabilities Accessible Educational Materials for Learning

With IEP "season" just beginning, says the National Center for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM), two webinars are coming in February to help educators and families know the basics and determine a student's eligibility for alternatives during instruction when books in print are barriers to learning.

Alternatives to print help to assure that students with print disabilities are able to participate in the general education curriculum and make progress toward their IEP goals.

A Smarter Balanced PARCC?

By now, it's probably not a surprise that there are two different assessments that states are adopting for their Common Core state test. Many of the comparison studies have proven that the previous state assessments tested students at levels 1 and 2 of the DOK (depth of knowledge). After disaggregating the test-released items for the Smarter Balanced and PARCC assessments, studies have shown the levels of released questions have elevated to the higher tiers: 3 and 4.

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"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo