Welcome to Tool of the Week, CEC’s special education resource destination! We want to make your work easier and support you in your practice. Subscribe today and you’ll find a FREE tool for your special education toolbox in your inbox every week.

Tool of the Week is a service of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the international professional membership organization supporting special educators. All Tools of the Week come from CEC’s first-rate publications and are provided for educational use only; the content may not be reproduced or resold without express permission of CEC.

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Recent Posts

Data Duos: Progress Monitoring and Co-Teaching

Progress monitoring is essential for teachers who want to ensure their lessons respond to student needs and achievement. To make sure you cover your data collection and progress-monitoring bases without taking valuable time away from teaching, this week’s FREE tool is a set of steps to help co-teachers divide and conquer the data collection monster. What are you monitoring? How ...

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Teacher Toolkit for Writing

Writing is a multifaceted process that requires multifaceted supports. To help you support student writing, this week’s FREE tool is a table full of tips for teaching the writing process. What are your students’ barriers to writing? How can you help to circumvent those barriers? Can technology help? The table addresses these questions and more. It comes from “What Really ...

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Building Better Behavior

Some children need extra support learning and practicing positive behavior, but that doesn’t mean all students can’t benefit from behavior-centered lessons. This week’s FREE tool is a sample classroom matrix intended to help you build behavior-centered lesson plans for your entire class. Use the sample as a guide to fill in your own routines and rules, then build a lesson ...

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Science and Nonfiction Connections

Weather this time of year can be unpredictable―will it be hot, cold, sunny, snowing?  What a great time to introduce a science and literacy lesson centered around the weather! This week’s FREE tool is a lesson plan about weather forecasting for students K–3 that will get your students thinking for themselves about the day’s precipitation. The lesson comes from CEC’s ...

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Making the Call

Making an emergency phone call and communicating the necessary information to the respondent can literally save lives, so the ability to perform these tasks should not be taken for granted. That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a task analysis for assessing a student’s ability to perform the steps necessary to make an emergency call while out in the community. ...

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Skill-Based Deficit Areas

Student behavior can have complex sources. The better a teacher understands those sources the better the student can be supported. This week’s FREE tool is a brief chart identifying areas where skill-based deficits may underlie certain unproductive or disruptive behaviors. The tool comes from CEC’s “When Behavior Makes Learning Hard: Positive Steps for Changing Student Behavior,” a brief and accessible ...

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Teaching Sex Education

Friendship and companionship are essential to human development and happiness. To grow into adults who can engage in meaningful relationships, students with developmental disability must be provided with early and ongoing supports that enhance their ability to live fulfilling lives as adults. This week’s FREE tool is a table outlining elements of sex education according to age level to guide ...

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The Real World: Knowing What to Teach

Teaching students the skills they need to step out in the real world is an exciting and rewarding job. There’s so much to learn! To keep you from feeling overwhelmed by that abundance, this week’s FREE tool is a process chart for helping you determine the areas where your students need instruction. The chart will help you start with the ...

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Think Positive. Be Positive.

Kick off 2018 by revisiting your classroom climate. Have you built a sense of community? Do all of your students feel supported and welcomed? This week’s FREE tool outlines the basic practices that undergird positive classroom environments. Check it out to be sure you’re maintaining the positive community you set out to establish at the beginning of the school year. ...

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The Lesson Plan: A Breakdown

The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers

Even the most experienced teachers should come to class with well-thought-out written lesson plans or outlines. Written plans keep teachers on track and provide a framework for reflecting on and evaluating how things went after the fact. This week’s FREE tool is a table that breaks down the components of a good lesson plan to guide teachers in crafting effective ...

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