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.

Sharing is not only okay, but highly encouraged, so please tell all of your friends about this FREE weekly resource. Have questions or suggestions? Contact us at tooloftheweek@cec.sped.org. Thanks for your interest in Tool of the Week!

Recent Posts

Rules of the Game

In the coming weeks, professors and graduate students will be taking a well-earned break from the rigors of higher education. This is a time when many academics catch up on research and polish up article drafts for publication. So this week’s FREE tool is a brief list of common rules to remember when formatting an article in APA style. You’ll ...

Read More »

Let it Snow

It’s that time of year when we can expect to see some of that cold and icy stuff blanketing school bus stops and playgrounds. What better way to keep kids focused on school work during snowy school days than to plan lessons about snow? That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a complete science lesson plan about snow, using the ...

Read More »

They Grow Up so Fast!

We all know how time flies. Before you know it, those bright-eyed kindergarteners turn into sixth graders, and those high school freshman are preparing for graduation. We don’t want you to get caught by surprise, so this week’s FREE tool is a table to help you plan IEPs that aim for adult outcomes in areas such as job training and ...

Read More »

Mobility equals possibility!

Learning to ride the school bus is an important step toward independence for students with disabilities, especially for those who may eventually use public transportation to move independently around town. So this week’s FREE tool is checklist for teachers to use when assessing school bus safety for students working on this important skill. The tool comes from CEC’s, “Getting Around ...

Read More »

Write it & check it!

Writing teachers, are you looking for ways to foster independence in your young writing students? This week’s FREE tool is a writing checklist for students to use when composing narratives. Line items such as “I tried to use my 5 senses” and “I made sure that each sentence was a complete thought,” will help students check for creative and technical ...

Read More »

Teaching Social Skills: A Process

Social skills are integral to the education of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because they are so important to job success, academic success, independent living, and friendship. This week’s FREE tool is a simple table outlining the process for teaching social skills to students with ASD. The process follows a direct instruction model and includes steps such as establishing ...

Read More »

Talk about ELs

If you work with English learners (ELs), this week’s FREE tool is for you! ELs come to school from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a broad range of experiences. It’s important to recognize these differences and to also see the strengths of bilingualism. This week’s tool is a table detailing the different types of ELs—from simultaneous bilinguals to ...

Read More »

Covering all bases

This week’s FREE tool is a checklist to help charter school decision makers contract outside providers for special education services. Like traditional public schools, charter schools may find it necessary to hire outside professionals in some instances. This can occur when students need only intermittent support or when a school lacks the capacity to hire specialized teachers for low-incidence disabilities. ...

Read More »

Less Stress = More Learning

The new school year is well underway! As tests and projects come due, and interim grades are distributed, student stress levels can rise. This week’s FREE tool is a set of breathing exercises designed to help students find the calm but alert state of mind they need to function best in school. The exercises are great for use with your ...

Read More »

All About You

Collaboration: who knew it was all about you! This week’s FREE tool is a set of questions to help you explore the thought processes you use when forming partnerships. Use the questions for personal reflection or as discussion prompts to help you and your collaborative team members understand one another better. The questions come from “Collaborate Smart: Practical Strategies and ...

Read More »