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

Co-Teaching Rating Scale

The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers

The New Year is underway, and the school year is nearing a midway point for many, so we figured it’s time for some reflection. That’s why this week’s FREE tool, is a nifty Co-teaching Rating Scale to help you and your teaching partner evaluate your work and improve communication. So put your self-reflective glasses on and get ready for questions ...

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Specialty Sets for Initial Preparation Programs

This week’s FREE tool is a flow chart to guide you through the selection of specialty sets and initial preparation standards for your special education practice. It comes to you from CEC’s What Every Special Educator Must Know—famously known as the Red Book. If you are a practicing teacher developing a professional development plan, a faculty member evaluating curricula, or ...

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Home and Community-Living Skills and Activities for a Real-World Curriculum

We thought you might be doing some planning over the winter break, so for this week’s FREE tool, we’ve got a table, Sample Home and Community-Living Skills and Activities for a Real-World Curriculum, to help you on your way. This tool is jam packed with lists of real-world skills you might consider developing in students with autism spectrum disorder or ...

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Tips for Practitioners Working with Families on Transition

When supporting students with disabilities who are transitioning to post-school, families are our friends! They can observe behavior, collect data, support student work, and reinforce learning. That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a list of Tips for Practitioners designed to help you team up with your students’ families. From information sharing, to educating, to listening and consulting, these ideas ...

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Setting SMART Goals

This week’s FREE tool is a nifty mnemonic to help you set SMART goals when transition planning. It comes from CEC’s Building Alliances, which identifies goal setting as the first step when building an action plan for transition. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results focused, and Time bound—and they’ll make an excellent springboard for your transition team action plan! ...

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Tips for Parallel Teaching Success

This week’s FREE tool is a list of tips to help you achieve parallel teaching success. Coordinating space and time with your coteacher are crucial elements to conducting effective lessons side-by-side. This week’s tool gives you the quick and dirty on chair placement, use of space, noise control, and time management. It comes from the CEC book Leading the Co-Teaching ...

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The Many Functions of the IEP

For this week’s FREE tool, we’ve got something for the conference room wall. It’s a flow chart to help you keep track of the many functions of the IEP. The IEP is the central educational document for students with disabilities. It serves as a tool for: instruction, communication, management, accountability, and progress monitoring. This flow chart illustrates a big-picture view ...

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IEP Transition Goals Checklist

The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers

This week finds us shifting gears into the season of winter holidays, so we’re thinking about transitions! This week’s FREE tool is an IEP Transition Goals Checklist. With this handy one-pager, you’ll leave no transition stone unturned. From ensuring proper instruction, to including your students in planning, to addressing postsecondary opportunities in the community, this checklist will keep you on ...

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Eco-behavioral Assessment

For many, the holiday season that is upon us will be spent socializing with far-flung family and friends, so we thought it appropriate this week’s FREE tool focus on social skills! We’ve got a quick, 4-step how-to guide for how to assess social skills according to setting. The authors call this an “eco-behavioral assessment” and stress its importance for developing ...

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Case Manager Checklist

The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers

This week, a new and improved version of CEC’s tried and true Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers is rolling of the presses! To celebrate, this week’s FREE tool comes straight out of the new book. In fact, we’ll be surprised if the ink is dry! The tool is a Case Manager Checklist that will help you manage your ...

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