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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

Family Engagement? Check!

You know family-centered interventions are recommended for creating supportive and consistent learning environments for children with disabilities. But do you know how to put that into practice? This week’s FREE tool is a checklist to help you engage with families in meaningful ways that are sensitive, respectful, and culturally responsive. The checklist will ask you to both self-reflect and reach ...

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We’ve got Brain on the Brain

After a decade of expanding research on the brain, we know more than ever about how learning occurs. This new knowledge strengthens the case for using differentiated instruction that is rich, stimulating, and focused on the learner. This week’s FREE tool is a table aligning brain research findings with the ways those findings might influence classroom instruction. The table comes ...

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Employment for All

This week we’re wrapping up National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). What a great observance! In special education, this is what it’s all about: preparing students for happy, fulfilling, and productive lives. In honor of NDEAM, this week’s FREE tool is a nifty community response form. Distribute it to local employers to promote and gauge their interest in working with ...

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The Best Reinforcement

Reinforcement follows behavior and increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur again. If there is no reinforcement, there is no learning. This is true for all students, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This week’s FREE tool is a set of steps to help students with limited verbal skills communicate which reinforcements they prefer for use during the ...

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Safe Schools for Everyone

Teachers, administrators, parents, and students can all agree: we want school to be a place that is free of violence and threatening behavior. Navigating situations where students become confrontational or even violent can be extremely challenging, and teachers shouldn’t be left to make split-second decisions without guidance. That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a table listing the codes of ...

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Spread the Word!

For many regions, October brings fall leaves, cooler temperatures, and more pumpkins than a person can know what to do with. And for all of us, October also brings a call to raise awareness about learning disabilities, because October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month! In the spirit of spreading the word about how to support students with learning disabilities at ...

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Parity. Not Parroting!

Solid co-teaching partnerships don’t rely on the expertise and authority of one teacher while the other teacher simply supports or repeats what is said. In effective partnerships, students benefit from the unique strengths and expertise of both teachers in a classroom characterized by mutual respect, shared authority, and equal responsibility. Do you have this kind of parity in your co-teaching ...

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Good IEPs Don’t Grow on Trees

IEPs are highly individualized documents, so they can’t be created in a vacuum or drafted from dime-a-dozen templates. Good IEPs grow out of collaborative discussions among students, their families, and their teachers. To guide you in this process, this week’s FREE tool is a checklist of activities to be performed before, during, and after the IEP meeting. The action items ...

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Writing with Pizzazz

Good writing drips with delectable tidbits of interesting detail, but students can struggle to generate the kinds of specifics that will draw in their readers. To help your students fill their paragraphs with the juicy stuff they need to engage readers, this week’s FREE tool is an organizer for answering question words like Who? When? and How? The organizer comes ...

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Celebrating Literacy for all Readers

On Friday, September 8, educators and students around the globe will be celebrating International Literacy Day. Here at CEC, we don’t want to miss the chance to draw attention to the magic and power of reading, so this week’s FREE tool is a literacy tip and table of literacy resources designed for teachers of students with intellectual disability. The table ...

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