What Did You Learn Today?

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
    • Patterns
    • Number Sense
    • Fact Fluency
  • Provide Structure for Problem Solving
    • Mnemonics
    • Representation
  • 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”.

 

Comments

  1. Marilynn Enns Smith

    Was able to attend a presentation/training by Jennifer Gingerich and was blown away by the variety and quality of ideas she shared, not only in using Discovery Education’s tremendous resources, but also other ways to enliven the classroom and maximize student learning. Time well spent. Thank you for this fabulous opportunity!

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