What Is Inside of my OG Bag?

My Orton-Gillingham bag is full of fantastic resources and tools to help a child read. It is quite heavy!  I  was looking for a large bag that would zip close.  I decided on this bag from Lands End because of the pockets on the inside and the heavy fabric.

OG Bag

OG Bag 2

Sitting right inside is my double blending board.  I found this one on Etsy.  It’s made in Colorado using blue stain pine.  Love it as much as i do? Check out their Etsy site here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/245551667/18-single-blending-board-with-blue-stain?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=blending%20board&ref=sc_gallery_3&plkey=f08b7dba599f0db574d5a0464f6715fba28101e6:245551667

Blending Board

I have two sets of the OG card packs. These are used during each session to review sounds, teach new sounds, and practice how they are spelled.  We than practice how to blend the sounds together on the board.

Blending Board 2

 

card deck

I found two perfectly sized containers at Target to hold my red and green crayons.  You can buy just red or green crayons straight from amazon. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=red+crayons

crayons

I have this little 31 tote bag inside that holds different sized sticky notes as well as extra colored index cards.  It’s important to be able to find what I need quickly in my bag when working with a child.

container

Those colored index cards make the vowel tents.  This is where we practice the open and closed sounds of the vowels not only in isolation but in words as well.

vowel tents 1

Flip those vowel tents inside out, prop them back up and you have the different sounds that -ed makes.

Vowel Tents 2

I love a good notebook! 🙂 I have a notebook for everything! Here is where I can quickly take notes on each student and later write it in their individual file.

notebook

No OG is complete without their multi-sensory sand. It has two different colors with two different grains.  When we pour it on a paper plate and the student spells the sound, the color pops through.

Sand

Here’s where the inside pockets of my large bag come in handy. I have three small containers.  One for glue sticks and tape, one for vowel intensive craft sticks, and one for highlighters and pens.  I also have individual pouches of pencils and my scissors.

boxes

Pencils Scissors

An important tool is the Recipe for Reading book. It has letter sounds, vowel digraphs, consonant blends, and spelling rules in a sequential cumulative order.

Recipe

Another 31 bag that I previously had sits at the bottom of my bag with all of my file folders.  I have an individual file folder for each student, assessments, literacy connection pieces, phonological awareness activities, encoding and decoding tools.

Folders

This is a wonderful tool for encoding phonetic words.

Finger Tapping.jpg

 

For decoding new words, students learn the different syllable division patterns. I personally love this activity. 🙂 The composition notebook is cut in half. After the student completes a decoding activity through syllable division, she/he glues it into their notebook to create an interactive colorful notebook with the syllable division rule. We also add vocabulary meanings when necessary.  We use the highlighters here which not only makes it colorful but easy to locate the individual rules.

Syllable Division.jpg

 

I stapled my baggies of felt to the inside of my Elkonin Boxes folders for students who need extra practice with Phonological Awareness.

Elkonin Boxes

This Phonological Awareness book creates practice of skills through fun and engaging games.

Phonological Games

A file folder with everything I need to teach a new red word.

Red Words

 

Another important piece is strengthening vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.  I have books and folders of reading passages that align with the lesson being learned that specifically work on each of those three areas.  I also have a file folder of different levels of reader’s theater for students to practice reading.

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Check us out on Pinterest as well! We are finding some useful resources that we love sharing.

https://www.pinterest.com/confidentsoluti/boards/

 

If you’re interested in OG tutoring, or hearing more about Orton-Gillingham, please send me an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  Please put OG Tutoring in the subject line.

With Gratitude,

Christina

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OG Tutoring

The Orton-Gillingham approach was originally used to teach people with dyslexia how to read.  However, this systematic, multi-sensory approach truly benefits all learners.  If your child is struggling to read, please contact me for further information about tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham approach.  Filling in the gaps and teaching necessary reading skills to your child will benefit him/her throughout their life.  Having the ability to pick up a book, read it and get lost in the story is a true gift.  I would love to help your child succeed! If you would like more information about tutoring or what the Orton-Gillingham approach is, you can reach me at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  Please put OG Tutoring in the subject line.

With Appreciation,

Christina

 

reading image

Child Find

Child Find is a legal requirement that schools “find” children (ages birth through 21) with disabilities who may need special education services.   If the school knows or suspects a child has a disability then, according to the law, it must agree to evaluations.  Here are some excellent resources detailing Child Find:

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/child-find-what-it-is-and-how-it-works

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/policies/project-child-find

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

childfind-poster

Know Your Forms-IEPs

This is the last post in the “Know Your Forms” series.  It is a lengthy one, however, we feel it is important to understand all pieces of your child’s IEP (whether it’s your child’s first one or the annual review).  Your team should discuss each piece of the IEP during your meeting.

You’ve been through the process and you are FINALLY at the point where your child is eligible for an IEP. IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. The IEP meeting can be held at the same time as the eligibility meeting or it can be held up to 10 days after the eligibility meeting, but still within the 90 day deadline (Know Your Forms-Eligibility and  Know Your Forms-Referral For Help). After your initial IEP meeting, you will have this meeting annually to review your child’s progress and update his/her goals.

You should receive an invitation to the IEP meeting. You always have the right to ask for a different day or time. Your child’s team should be present for all special education meetings.  (Who Is On Your Child’s Team?).

The first section of the IEP reviews your child’s strengths, any progress he/she has made, and how your child performed on any assessments. This will be a summary of all the data that you have already discussed at the initial referral and eligibility meetings.   If it’s the annual review of your child’s IEP, it will be a summary of data on his/her goals, testing data, and progress from the year.

After this, you will be asked for any concerns you have for enhancing your child’s education and what your vision is for your child’s future.  Take your time here! Really think about your concerns regarding your child’s education. When considering your vision for your child’s future, you can consider the future to be tomorrow, the end of the school year, or even after your child has finished school.  This is something that you can prepare ahead of time and bring with you to your child’s IEP meeting.

Next, the special education teacher will ask if there are any upcoming transitions for your child as well as document any special factors ( such as deaf, blind, special communication needs, specially designed physical education, or limited English proficiency).

The next area is known as “PLOP”–Present Level of performance and written goals.  You will have a separate page for each area of your child’s needs.  For example, you could have a present level summary and goals for  math and another one for reading.  Measurable annual goals will be written to match your child’s present level of performance summary.  You may also have short term objectives or benchmarks written. This is required if your child is on extended standards. Some districts do not require objectives or benchmarks for annual goals if your child is following the standard course of study.  Each annual goal will align to the common core/ NC standard course of study for your child’s current grade level. At the bottom of  each present level and goals page, your special education teacher will document how he or she will gather data to track your child’s goals.  For example, it could be through anecdotal notes and student work samples.  It is ok to speak up here too. Make recommendations or express concerns. Don’t worry if you don’t know the verbage or how to fully express what you want. The team should help with this. During this time, the team will also decide if any related service your child qualified for should be integrated into this goal or if any assistive technology is needed.  What that means is, if your child is also going to receive speech language services or occupational therapy services, will those therapists also work on the same goal as the special education teacher?   Typically,  you will receive a progress report on your child’s IEP goals with each report card.

Accommodations and modifications, North Carolina testing, and least restrictive environment will be discussed next. Accommodations are a way the general education teacher (i.e.. classroom teacher) can help your child be more successful in his/her school day. For example, an accommodation may be that your child uses a slant board and a modified pencil during writing assignments. A modification is typically done by a special education teacher and related service providers but can be used in the regular education classroom. Modifications are specific strategies and tools that will help your child achieve their IEP goals. For the North Carolina testing program, your team will decide what accommodations or modifications are necessary for your child.  For example, your team may decide that your child needs extended time on tests or needs to be tested in a smaller group in a separate room. Any accommodations for any state test must be implemented throughout the year for classroom tests. Please remember that you can always make suggestions for accommodations that you have seen your child use successfully. You are a part of your child’s team.  Least restrictive environment (LRE) will be discussed and decided upon next. This will determine where your child will receive their special support within the general education classroom or the resource classroom. If the team decides that your child will be more successful within the resource classroom, a statement will be written justifying why the decision was made to pull them from the general education classroom.

Please note that this section of your child’s IEP could be “visually overwhelming”. It breaks down your child’s school day (including lunch, core academic subjects, and specials/connect classes) into sections where each accommodation is listed in detail. 

The team will then consider how much time is needed for specially designed instruction. Services will be broken down into how many times per week, month, or reporting period and for how many minutes per session. This includes times spent with the special education teacher as well as times with any related service providers.

Continuum of Placement should be considered next. This is the percentage of minutes your child spends away from their general education classroom. If your child attends a special education preschool or is served in a different setting (home, separate school, etc.) there is a box to be checked.

The last few boxes let you know how you will receive progress reports (typically sent with report cards). Extended School Year can be considered during this meeting, but typically is a separate meeting if your child is a candidate. Finally, everyone will sign the IEP. If this is your child’s first IEP, you will also sign a form called a DEC6. This simply is a form granting the school permission to serve your child in special education.  As always, you will also sign and receive the DEC 5 The Importance of a DEC5

A note for High School students: once your child is 14 years of age, he/she will be invited to attend the IEP meeting.

This meeting can be LONG. If you need a break, don’t hesitate to ask for one. This document is very important, but it’s also fluid. You or any other team member can call a meeting to reconsider any part of the IEP at any time.

Our intent with this post was to give you a general idea of what to expect during your child’s IEP meeting, understanding the IEP (which is also called a DEC 4),  and how to be prepared. This document is very detailed and lengthy. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email .

 

With appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

 

 

 

Know Your Forms-Eligibility

After you’ve had your initial meeting (Know Your Forms-Referral For Help), the next meeting will be to discuss all the data and any new evaluations that have taken place since your last meeting.  There are  14 categories a child can qualify under in North Carolina.  They are the following: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Developmental Delay, Serious Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment including blindness.  Your child must meet at least one of these areas to qualify for special education in North Carolina. There are times where a student will meet two of the criteria and you can list a primary disability and a secondary disability on the eligibility form.

Each of the fourteen areas have their own worksheet with specific criteria for qualification.   Again, here is the link to a list of the worksheets and forms from NCDPI http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/policies/forms/statewide-forms    Your team will meet to discuss the overall evaluations which were conducted and any new data as well as review which categories your child may fit best under.  Each worksheet for each possible category must be filled out and discussed at your child’s eligibility meeting. Remember, you are meeting as a team (Who Is On Your Child’s Team?).  If your child meets the criteria on at least one of the worksheets, the team can then decide that he/she qualifies for specialized education and you can then move on towards writing an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). The DEC 3 form will also be filled out and all members of the team will sign the form in agreement.  It is common to move directly into developing an IEP (Individualized Education Plan).  To keep this post shorter and focused on the eligibility requirements, we are going to have a separate post this week regarding the IEP.

After this meeting, you will have a copy of the following forms: Invitation to the meeting, Eligibility Determination (also known as a DEC 3), the completed worksheets of the categories that were discussed at the meeting, and the DEC 5 (The Importance of a DEC5).

This determination is good for 3 years.  Every three years, your child’s special education teacher (0r case manager) will have a Reevaluation meeting (the form is called a DEC 7) to review your child’s data as a team.  The team will decide if he/she continues to meet the criteria for the disability and a new DEC 3 form as well as the qualifying worksheet(s) will once again be filled out and discussed.  It is a good idea to keep all of your copies of your child’s paperwork organized at home. It’s also a good idea to be aware of the last time your child had his/her Eligibility Evaluation meeting and when his/her three-year mark is up.

As always, your school should offer you a copy of the Parents Rights and Responsibilities Handbook in Special Education at each meeting.  Here is a link with the newest copy of the handbook: http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/ecparenthandbook.pdf

If you have any questions about a referral or eligibility meeting, drop us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. We love hearing from you!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

Appreciation

Nature's Bouquet quote wm

Appreciating the unique needs of our children is important. We use the word “our” because it does take a team to help a child.  As teachers, find that connection with your child that has unique needs in your class.  When you recognize his/her gifts, we promise your heart will fill with gratitude.  All children have gifts and strengths.  When we take the time to notice those gifts in detail, we appreciate what they have to offer to us as educators and parents.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?

The RTI system is a lenghty process.  Perhaps you, as a parent, have outside evaluations and information that you can share with your child’s school.  North Carolina schools must consider your private evaluations as part of the data finding process in identifying your child’s unique learning needs.  A parent can also formally request a special education meeting to evaluate for special education services.  Once the parent has made this request, the school has 90 days to start and complete the process.  Please read the blog post Knowing Your Forms (coming very soon) to learn about the different forms and what they mean.  During the first meeting, the team will discuss your child’s strenghts in various areas and his/her areas of need.  The team will also discuss any evaluations or inofrmation you might have and what interventions have been tried prior to this meeting.  After all data has been discussed and documented, one of three decisions will be made: 1. conduct an evaluation 2. determine your child is eligible for services or 3. do not conduct an evalution.

If the decision is to conduct the evalution, the team will decide based on the areas of need which evaluation will be conducted.  If there is enough data to support finding your child eligible at this meeting, eligibility forms can then be completed and an IEP implemented.

The third choice of not conducting an evluation could happen as a reult of not having enough data.  It could also result in your child moving to a meeting for a 504 instead (there is an upcoming blog post coming soon about the differences between IEPs and 504s). If the team decides that there is not enough data the team may decide to also have your child go back into the RTI process to gather more information, observations and overall data on what your child needs to be more successful in his/her school environment. The law says, however, that the RTI process can not be used to prolong or delay evaluating. If it is decided that your child should be evaluated based on current data, then the information that would be collected through RTI must be complete before the timeframe for the special education process is complete. In North Carolina, that would be 90 days from the day the school received the referral.

If you need help writing a letter to your child’s school, please check out this link: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/

 

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

 

What Does the School Do if My Child is Struggling?

Your child is struggling in school. You’ve noticed it and most likely your child’s teachers have noticed the struggles.  It could be in behavior, reading, math, sensory, etc.  You’ve brought up your concerns with your child’s teacher and the two of you have talked about possible ways you can help him/her at school as well as at home.  Yet, the struggles continue and your child is falling behind.  This seems like something that is beyond what common classroom modifications can help alone.

If your child is in a public school, it is common for him/her to then go through the RTI or MTSS process.  RTI stands for Response To Intervention and MTSS stands for multi-tiered system of supports.  RTI is a multi tiered system that identifies specific struggles within a student and collects data on how the interventions have helped or not helped your child.  The overall method is a common one, however, it may look a little different depending on what county you live in and if your child attends a public school or a charter school. If you would like to learn more about RTI and MTSS  you can ask your school for further details and/or check out the following links:  www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6880 and http://mtss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net

The RTI method can be lengthy but it is intended to gather good information on how your child learns, what interventions have worked and what specific struggles your child continues to have.  If your child has worked through this tier system and continues to need specialized help, he/she is typically then referred to the exceptional children’s department (special education).

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina