This week, I am attending the annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). You may not know it, but I taught special education my entire classroom career. I started working in the field while I was still in high school and have had a passion for disabilities advocacy ever since. CEC is THE conference for special educators. As a matter of fact, when I was a teacher, presenting at CEC was on my bucket list. I marked that off several years ago, but actually haven’t been able to get back to the conference since then. All this is just to tell you how excited I am to be here this week as a learner.
Lance sent me a message last night that asked, “What did you learn today?” Instead of just replying to him, I thought perhaps I’d share with you all my adventures at CEC12.
Yesterday afternoon, Sir Ken Robinson kicked things off. I had seen him present previously, but was interested to see how his message might change for a group of special educators. It was a a typical presentation for him, that means awesome and inspiring. One of the quotes that really resonated with me was “Special needs students are not exceptional – all kids have special needs and are in need of personalized education”
The first session I attended today was “Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Elementary Math Class” presented by Melissa Jenkins from George Mason University. She has identified three keys for success:
- Ensure Adequate Pre-Requisite Skills
- Number Sense
- Fact Fluency
- Provide Structure for Problem Solving
- Teach for Generalization
I’m not quite the live-blogger that my friend RJ Stangherlin is and I still hunt and peck when I type. So here are a few take-aways from the session.
- Take time for in-depth instruction in the primary grades
- Continue exploring pattern and number sense beyond grade 1
- Systematically monitor progress in early grades
- Provide supplemental instruction for struggling students
Melissa also shared a mathematics manipulative that is barely available in the US called Numicon. It looked pretty interesting.
I’ll share what I learn as the conference continues. I can’t promise I’ll blog all of the sessions… some could be duds, ya’ know. I hope the one I’m in now is going to be good. The room is packed for “Applying Universal Design to Lesson Planning”.