Are you in need of a little inspiration today?  Check out this video and then “take the path that leads to awesome!”


Tar Heel Reader is a free site that offers thousands of high-interest e-books for students.  All texts are switch accessible.


Writing with Alternative Pencils is a great option for students who cannot hold a writing utensil or use a keyboard.

The I’M DETERMINED Project is all about helping students learn self-determination skills.  Browse the site to learn about many great resources.  You will find tools such as the One Pager and Good Day Plan, which help students take an active role in goal planning, the IEP process, transitioning, and behavior planning.  Best of all, you will find templates for the tools, authentic student examples, and videos of teachers & students using these tools.


Intellectual Disabilities

The term “intellectual disability” is used when describing a very broad and diverse group of students.  Here, you will find information and resources for professionals whose students access the curriculum through the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOLs).

E-News You Can Use for Intellectual Disabilities 

Are you looking for some engaging lessons to help you teach specific ASOLs? The links below will allow you to search for lesson plans by ASOL or by grade level. These lesson plans have been submitted by talented teachers from around the state. The majority of the activities address ASOL standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Happy teaching!
Reading Lesson Plans
Writing Lesson Plans
Science Lesson Plans

Below are some online resources to help you expand your knowledge and get a head start on earning those professional development hours that you will need.
MAST (Modules Addressing Special Education & Teacher Education)

These free modules are presented by the Office of Special Education Programs, the U.S. Department of Education, and East Caroline University.  You will find dozens of topics including Universal Design for Learning, standards-based IEPs, task analysis, and working with students with intellectual disabilities.


T-TAC Online

Your friends at T-TAC have created a number of free, high-interest web shops for your enjoyment.  You can search for web shops by grade level, disability, or content.


The Iris Center

The Iris Center, which is headquartered at Vanderbilt University, exists to create resources about evidence-based practices for use in professional development programs.  Here you will find a number of modules related to assessment, accommodations, content instruction, and many other topics.  Most modules cost $25 and last approximately one hour.


Teaching the Write Way

Providing quality writing instruction for students with intellectual disabilities may seem challenging.  The key is to make instruction fun and meaningful.  Writing instruction should focus on composition: the expression of thoughts and ideas, and not on drilled handwriting exercises.  Here are some tips to help your students enjoy writing and see themselves as writers.

1) Find Each Student’s Pencil

Some students can successfully write with a standard pencil or pen.  Others may do better with adapted writing utensils or a keyboard.  Students who communicate with gestures, eye gaze, or augmentative communication devices such as switches may do well with alternative pencils.

2) Understand the Developmental Stages of Writing

Many times, as teachers, we begin writing instruction by asking students to write words such as their name.  Writing begins long before students have any concept of letter sounds or spelling.  If a student is developmentally a scribbler, then it is important to encourage this.   Here is an online module to guide you through the stages of writing.

3) Offer Meaningful Writing Prompts and Activities

Writing should provide fun and personally meaningful opportunities for your students to communicate.  Your kids may enjoy writing to or about people they know or about areas of interest such as music, sports, food, or lessons learned in class.  Visit ttaconline to query some great writing activities that are referenced to specific ASOLs.




Meeting the Instructional Needs of ALL Students with UDL

What is UDL?

The National Center on Universal Design for Learning ( defines it as a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.  There are three brain networks associated with UDL.


RECOGNITION NETWORK  (the “what” of learning) deals with presenting  information in different ways so that it can be accessed by all students.  Strategies that promote the RECOGNITION NETWORK:

    • Incorporate all five senses into your instruction.  Multisensory instruction allows for more accurate recall & improved problem solving.
    • Help students connect new information to personal experiences and previously learned material.
    • More ideas from the CAST site


STRATEGIC NETWORK  (the “how” of learning) deals with allowing different ways for students to participate in learning and communicate what they have learned.  It is important to provide a variety of ways for students to demonstrate what they have learned.  It is equally important to give students some choice in how they will do this.  (Hint: interactive opportunities will almost always be favored over worksheets and written tests.)  Here are more great ideas from the CAST site.


Here are some suggested activities to use with each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • KNOWLEDGE (visuals, examples)
  • COMPREHENSION (presentations, review)
  • APPLICATION (sketches, role play)
  • ANALYSIS (discussion, exercises)
  • SYNTHESIS (case studies, projects)
  • EVALUATION (simulations, appraisals)


AFFECTIVE NETWORK  (the “why” of learning) deals with designing instruction that is engaging and motivating to students.  Learners differ in the ways that they are motivated to learn.  Affect may be influenced by culture, background knowledge, or neurology.


How can you motivate your students to learn?

  • Think about your favorite teacher.  What can you borrow from his/her teaching style?
  • Create lessons that involve playing games, acting out, discussion, music, props, etc.
  • Find powerful ways to reinforce individual students for good effort.
  • Have fun!  A happy, engaged teacher is a more effective teacher.

 Here are more great ideas from the CAST site.