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The Exceptional Teacher's Handbook

The Exceptional Teacher's Handbook
The First-Year Special Education Teacher's Guide to Success

Third Edition

February 2009 | 240 pages | Corwin

"What an excellent resource for the beginning teacher! Practical, down-to-earth resources that can be implemented the first day of school!"
—Kristle F. Evans, Director of Human Resources/Community Relations
Lampeter-Strasburg School District, PA

"The book is organized logically and flows well from the first chapter to the last. It helps teachers manage an effective special education classroom the entire school year. This book should be a required resource for every new special education teacher."
—Phyllis N. Levert, School Administrator
Georgia School Districts, Atlanta, GA

Specific guidelines and strategies to help special educators navigate their first year!

The first year in the career of a special education teacher is filled with expectation and promise. Revised to address the most common needs of beginning special education teachers, the third edition of The Exceptional Teacher's Handbook helps new educators move confidently from preplanning to post-planning for the entire school year.

The authors present a step-by-step management approach complete with planning checklists and other ready-to-use forms within the context of IDEA 2004 and NCLB. Written from the perspective of a classroom teacher, this popular reference offers updates on:

  • Recognized disabilities
  • Best instructional practices for getting the most out of your students
  • Successful parent conferences
  • Effective plans for professional learning
  • Alternate assessments, emergencies in the school setting, education terminology, and more

Actively address challenges and concerns with this one-stop handbook that will help smooth the transition from student teacher to professional educator.

About the Authors
1. Preparing for a Successful School Year
Strategy 1: Get to Know Your School

Strategy 2: Allocate Time for Reflecting

Strategy 3: Locate a Mentor Teacher

Strategy 4: Identify Essential Tasks

Strategy 5: Orientate Assigned Paraprofessionals

Strategy 6: Establish a Communication System

Form 1.1. Get to Know Your School Checklist

Form 1.2. Preplanning Checklist

Form 1.3. Monthly Planning Checklist

Form 1.4. Postplanning Checklist

Form 1.5. Correspondence Log

Form 1.6. Student Emergency Information

Form 1.7. Noninstructional Classroom Supply Checklist

Form 1.8. Instructional Classroom Supply Checklist

Form 1.9. Classroom Inventory Checklist

Form 1.10. Paraprofessional's Classroom Responsibilties Checklist

Form 1.11. Student Service Information

Form 1.12. Present Levels of Performance

Form 1.13. Self-Evaluation Instrument for the Special Education Teacher

Resource 1.1. Suggestions for Working With a Paraprofessional

Resource 1.2. Web Sites for Parents and Students

Resource 1.3. Assistive Technology Information

2. Understanding Students With Disabilities
Strategy 1: Review Student Information

Strategy 2: Conduct Student Surveys and Inventories

Strategy 3: Review Recognized Disabilities in IDEA

Form 2.1. Student Folder Checklist

Form 2.2. Student Profile

Form 2.3. Student Academic Inventory

Form 2.4. Student Learning Styles Survey

Form 2.5. Student Interest Survey

3. Placing Students in the Least Restrictive Environment
Section 1: Review of Service Delivery Models

Section 2: The Placement Decision

Section 3: Classroom Accommodations and Modifications

Section 4: Monitoring Students in the General Education Setting

Section 5: Tips for the Regular Education Teacher

Form 3.1. Selecting the Least Restrictive Environment Checklist

Form 3.2. Teacher Summary Report

Form 3.3. Classroom Adaptations

Form 3.4. Classroom Adaptation Evaluation

Form 3.5. Student's Materials List

Form 3.6A. Teacher Directions for Completing Student Monitor Forms

Form 3.6B. Student Monitor Form

Form 3.7. Student Monitor Results Summary

Form 3.8. Individual Student Progress Report Summary

Form 3.9. Individual Student Final Grade Summary

Resource 3.1. Defining Accommodations and Modifications

Resource 3.2. Suggestions for Tests Adaptions

4. Managing the Classroom
Step 1: Review the School's Policies and Procedures Pertaining to Student and Teacher Expectations

Step 2: Ensure the Physical Arrangement and Decor of the Classroom Is Inviting and Conducive to Learning

Step 3: Ensure the Classroom Climate Is Supportive and Reflects a Sense of Mutual Respect Between Teacher and Students

Step 4: Communicate All Expectations for Students' Academic Performance and Behaviors in the Classroom

Step 5: Develop Classroom Policies and Procedures That Clearly Regulate All Activities

Form 4.1. Daily Point System

Form 4.2. Behavior Contract

Form 4.3. Student Progress Report

Form 4.4. Classroom Policies and Procedures Checklist

Form 4.5. Classroom Management Plan Evaluation

Resource 4.1. Tips for Classroom Arrangement

Resource 4.2. Bulletin Boards Guidelines and Information

Resource 4.3. Tips for Communicating With Students and Parents

Resource 4.4. Tips for Developing Classroom Rules and Consequences

Resource 4.5. Tips for Developing Behavior Modification Plans

5. Teaching All Students
Section 1: Preparing for Instruction

Section 2: Planning and Implementing Effective Lesson Plans

Section 3: Instructional Strategies for All Students

Section 4: Evaluating Student Progress

Form 5.1. IEP Goals and Objectives Checklist

Form 5.2. Classroom Teacher's Instructional Materials List

Form 5.3. Class Schedule

Form 5.4. Weekly Lesson Plan

Resource 5.1. Guide to Locating Instructional Materials

Resource 5.2. Technology-Connected Lesson Plan Form

6. Preparing for a Successful Parent Conference
Form 6.1. Essential Tasks for All Parent-Teacher Conferences

Form 6.2. Essential Information for the Progress Report Conference

Form 6.3. Essential Information for the Problem-Solving Conference

Form 6.4. Conference Notification

Form 6.5. Conference Reminder

Form 6.6. Conference Minutes

Form 6.7. Conference Summary

Resource 6.1. Teacher Guidelines for Parent Conferences

Resource 6.2. Parent Tips for Conference Preparation

Resource 6.3. Dealing With the Anger of Parents

7. Understanding Education Assessments
Section 1: Review Basic Test and Measurement Information

Section 2: Understand the Levels of Educational Assessments in Schools

Section 3: Know the Current IDEA Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Assessing Students With Disabilities

Section 4: Review of Alternate Assessments

Section 5: Review of Appropriate Assessment Accommodations

Form 7.1. Test Administration Checklist

Resource 7.1. Educational Assessments

Resource 7.2. Possible Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Resource 7.3. Formative and Summative Assessments

8. Writing a Legal and Effective Individualized Education Program
Section 1: The Legal Requirements of an IEP

Section 2: Understanding the Components of an IEP

Section 3: Involving Students and Parents in the IEP Process

Form 8.1. Essential Information for the Annual IEP

Resource 8.1. Four Pillars of NCLB

Resource 8.2. IEP Reference Materials

9. Preparing Students for Transition
Strategy 1: Understanding the Legal Aspects of Transition

Strategy 2: Prepare Students for Movement to a New School

Strategy 3: Prepare Students for Post-School Endeavors

Form 9.1. High School 4-Year Plan

Form 9.2. Unit of Credit Checklist

Form 9.3. Work-Based Student Evaluation

Form 9.4. Student's Critique of Job Site

Resource 9.1. Students With Disabilities Preparing for Post secondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Resource 9.2. Work Behavior Training Strategies for Vocational Training With Students With Disabilities

Resource 9.3. Job Accommodations for People With Mental Retardation (MR) or Other Developmental Disabilities (DD)

10. Preparing a Plan for Professional Learning
Strategy 1: Formulate a Professional Learning Plan

Strategy 2: Develop a Professional Portfolio

Strategy 3: Join a Professional Organization

Strategy 4: Read Professional Organization

Strategy 5: Enroll in Advanced College Courses or Professional Learning Classes

Strategy 6: Participate in a Professional Learning Community

Form 10.1. Professional Development Plan

Form 10.2. Portfolio Format for the Professional Educator

Form 10.3. Conference Planning Guide

Resource 10.1. The Special Education Teacher's Guide to Professional Organizations

Resource 10.2. The Special Education Teacher's Guide to Professional Periodicals

Resource 10.3. The Special Education Teacher's Guide to Professional Books

Resource 10.4. Web Sites for Special Education Teachers

Resource A: Emergencies in the School Setting
Section 1: Physical Health Issues of Students

Section 2: Mental Health Issues of Students

Section 3: Review of Natural Disasters

Section 4: Acts of Violence

Form A.1. Medical History

Form A.2. Emergency Medical Plan

Form A.3. Medical Incident Report

Form A.4. Medical Incident Log

Resource A.1. Classroom "Go-Kit" Supplies

Resource A.2. Recommended First Aid Supplies

Resource B: Stress Management for the First-Year Teacher
Resource B.1. Tips for Stress Management

Resource C: Support Organizations for Students
Resource D: Guide to Locating Instructional Materials
Resource E: Education Terminology

"What an excellent resource for the beginning teacher! Practical, down-to-earth resources that can be implemented the first day of school!"

Kristle F. Evans, Director of Human Resources/Community Relations
Lampeter-Strasburg School District, PA

"The book is organized logically and flows well from the first chapter to the last. It helps teachers manage an effective special education classroom, from pre-planning through post-planning, the entire school year. This book should be a required resource for every new special education teacher."

Phyllis N. Levert, School Administrator
Georgia School Districts, Atlanta, GA

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