How to Ensure That an Effective IEP Is Developed and Implemented

What frustrates parents the most about dealing with the school in relation to their special needs child?

When parents call me to say that they need help to advocate at a school meeting, it is because their child’s educational needs aren’t being met at school and they don’t know what they can do to change things. When I ask the obvious question; does your child have an Individual Education Plan in place? They say ‘Yes, but it is not being followed’. And THAT is what frustrates parents. They’ve followed the process of requesting an IPRC meeting to identify their child as exceptional and to determine the correct classroom placement, which finally led to the development of the IEP. The IEP is a document… a plan that should guide teachers on the steps to take in order to meet the educational needs of the student. So why is the student still having so much difficulty at school? You can’t MAKE a teacher teach a certain way, or provide the modifications and accommodations that are in the IEP. So what is a parent supposed to do?

Perhaps the reason that the IEP is not being followed is that it is too general – it is not specific to the individual student. Perhaps it was processed in isolation as part of a procedure rather than being developed with input from a multidisciplinary team of professionals with each of the student’s needs as the focus of the IEP.

I suggest that the parent request an IEP meeting to include all the key players, which is anyone who can provide input and suggest teaching strategies and accommodations to meet the needs of the child. The principal, because ultimately the principal is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the IEP; the classroom teacher and the educational assistant, because they will be the ones providing the teaching and the accommodations that are in the IEP; the special education resource teacher because he or she is the lead person in the development of the IEP; if the child has motor skills difficulties make sure an occupational therapist attends; if the child has language difficulties make sure a speech and language pathologist attends; if the child has behaviour difficulties make sure a behavioural consultant attends, if the child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make sure someone from the ASD support team attends, and so on…

At the meeting, the first step will be to clearly define the strength and needs of the student. Then go through the IEP step by step to make sure each need is thoroughly addressed, and that the goals and expectations are specific and measurable. Make sure that any equipment accommodations are readily available and can be provided immediately. Identify who is responsible for what service and how often. And finally, request that all school staff who have dealings with the student, are aware of the accommodations in the IEP.

At the end of the meeting, schedule a follow-up meeting in one month to evaluate what is working in the IEP and what is not working. This is not to evaluate the student per se, but rather the effectiveness of the IEP and whether or not it is being implemented successfully. Make the necessary changes to the IEP, and schedule another follow- up meeting in one month. Do this as many times as is necessary.

This is the best strategy to ensure that the IEP is effective and it is being implemented as written.

Effective Classroom Management Tips and Tricks

Effective classroom management strategies can ensure a pleasant teaching environment for the entire year. Conversely, poor classroom management may lead to a difficult class and a year that drags on. These tips will get you well on your way to creating a positive environment in your classroom.

Post class rules

Students need to know what is expected of them from the very beginning. It is also useful to have visuals of the rules so that you can redirect small misbehavior problems by pointing at the appropriate rule poster. Since I have very little artistic talent I had my students create the posters for me. We went over the rules the first day of class and I had students each create a poster for two rules. We displayed all the posters for the first week. I later had the students vote on a single poster for each rule to leave up.

Post consequences

Students may occasionally break a rule. It is important that you have established a procedure for dealing with infractions. The consequences must be appropriate and clear so the student knows what to expect. Go over all consequences at the beginning of the school year and review if necessary.

Model appropriate behavior.

Since one of my rules is to respect everyone in the classroom, I make sure to be respectful to my students. Remember that you as the teacher must set the example. It will be difficult to get the students to follow your rules if you make exceptions for other students or yourself. If you also follow the rules it shows that they are important and will allow your classroom to feel like a community. Also be sure to thank your students when appropriate; we all like to be appreciated.

Develop a routine for beginning your class

Students often misbehave when they are bored or frustrated. You can prevent some of this boredom by beginning class immediately and in a predictable fashion. Students like to know what to expect. I prefer to begin immediately after the bell rings so students know that our class time is valuable. Try to avoid beginning with verbally taking roll as students will become distracted and talk amongst themselves during this time. Since my school requires roll to be taken within the first five minutes of class I take roll silently while the students work on a warm-up opening activity.

Write a daily schedule on the board so students can see what is coming next. Having a visual guide to the class time will help the students make transitions between activities. A visual schedule will also prevent some questions about what time is break and “how long do we have to do this?”

Activities

Plan more activities than you think you’ll have time for and always have a back-up plan. Most behavior problems occur when students get bored. Be sure you have engaging lessons to prevent this for most students. Also keep in mind that overhead-bulbs die and other technical issues happen so be sure that the lesson can go on even if something goes wrong.

Prepare engaging enrichment activities for the students that finish early. No matter how much you plan, sometimes students will still finish early. You will want to be sure that activities that these students will enjoy are available. When I plan units, I include extra activities that could be used for these situations. Silent reading is also a good option as reading is always valuable. This could be a book of the student’s choice or a book you provide.

Reward good behavior

Many students are eager to please and will appreciate their good efforts. Small rewards also work wonders. I use “Thank You Tickets” to thank the students for good behavior and appropriate class participation. These tickets can be traded for small prizes such as candy, pencils, or homework passes.

Be fair

Since your rules and the consequences are clearly posted it will be easy to enforce them the same for everyone. It will also be very obvious if you make exceptions for any one student. This will cause you to lose respect from all of the students and will make it difficult to manage your class. Be sure the rules are the same for everyone in the classroom. Also be sure to avoid confrontations with any students. Singling out one student will make that student confrontational and will likely distract your entire class. It is best to deal with behavior problems privately.

Use a seating chart

At the beginning of the year, you will definitely want a seating chart while learning the students’ names. Seating charts also help a substitute or classroom visitor as students respond better when the teacher knows and uses their names. At the beginning of the year I create a random seating chart by numbering desks and creating a set of index cards with matching numbers. I give students a card as they walk in and that is the assigned seating chart for the first week. It is also important to change this chart once you know the students as some students will need to be moved or separated. I find it helpful to change the seating several times a year to keep things interesting. Depending on your class, you could also offer to let them choose their own seats if they behave well for a set amount of time.

5 Effective Tips To Teach Math For Slow Learners

Slow learners are not any different from the normal students in their intellectual abilities except that they are too distracted and the normal teaching methods do not help them comprehend what is taught. This is why you need special teaching methods for them. When appropriate method is adopted with adequate understanding and support from parents and teachers, these slow learners can turn out to be highly successful in all aspects of life.

There are several approaches and techniques that involve individual and group teaching based on the learning ability of a child, some of which are used by programs of learning centers for such children. These centers have specially trained teachers who use specialized software tools and teaching methodologies to make math and numbers more interesting. Here are five effective tips that professionals believe can help teach math for slow learners:

  1. Practical Lessons: Even normal students do not enjoy confined space for learning and it’s a higher challenge with slow learners. One of the best ways to get math into the child’s head is to make him do little additions, subtractions or multiplications that involve people, things, flowers, fruits, and other practical things that surround him during a walk or a drive.
  2. Teaching in Small Groups or Individually: Since students with slow learning ability require special attention, teaching them alone or in small groups would let the teacher focus on the specific inability of the student. Also, leaning in a group, with peers, would increase the social abilities of the child.
  3. Customized Plan: Students love classes filled with fun and creativity. That’s why several learning programs for slow learners have customized plans to polish the specific skills that these children lack. Hence, seeking professional help and having appropriate follow ups to help at home would be a great idea to teach mathematics to these children.
  4. Sound Therapy: This has remained one of the most successful methods, which involves using sounds and tools that stimulate auditory pathways and thereby aid listening and focus. Sound therapy also helps to enhance the auditory transmission process in brain by stimulating the muscles around the ear passage and helping to regain the original power or capability.
  5. Cognitive Training: The PACE or Processing and Cognitive Enhancement training program enhances the level of perception or cognition and helps the slow learners have increased attention span and focus, which is especially helpful in learning math. It also boosts the neurological connections and offers significant growth in the student.

How does the slow learner benefit

  • Adapting all the above methods and applying the right training program offers the following benefits:
  • Improved math computation skills
  • Better sequential processing and simultaneous processing
  • Sustained attention and working memory
  • Auditory processing and discrimination, which in turn boosts comprehension and more.

Complete support and appropriate methods of teaching can help any slow learner to be a math genius. So, be patient and use these tips to see how a slow learner starts loving and enjoying mathematics.