A special education teacher in Lawton, CA started a "Coffee Cart" program with her students. This video takes the viewer into the school to see the kids in action. The smiles on their faces and the pride they take in their "jobs" really comes through. This is a great idea! Could you start something like this in your school?
This article summarizes a strength-based approach to teaching students with Aspergers Syndrome. This idea might not sound new or innovative, but the author expands on the idea to suggest using these narrow interests to help others and improve social abilities. If you teach students with Autism, this is worth a read.
This short Prezi explains the concept of "Growth Mindset," which can give us a new way of interacting with and praising students. We should praise efforts, processes, and learning from mistakes, rather than complimenting students on fixed traits such as intelligence or athletic ability. Furthermore, traits such as intelligence are actually not fixed, but malleable.
A junior high school teacher offers ten activities/lesson plans to help your students consider and articulate what is special about them. I like the fact that these lessons should be adaptable for diverse age and ability levels. The article was apparently published some years ago, but updated in 2012.
You might have seen this video already, but if not, please watch this. Each morning this teacher takes ten minutes to compliment his students on what they're doing well. From the looks on their faces, it's obvious that this makes them feel happy and proud. Very inspiring.
This article lists five ways to help your special needs learners feel better about themselves in the classroom. Of all the items, I've found that focusing on talents and involving them in hands-on activities have been particularly effective. I've been surprised many times by kids who struggled in all academic areas, yet excelled in other ways.
Hidden Brain is a podcast/blog of fascinating social science research on how our unconscious motives determine our behavior. This edition explains a study that demonstrated the positive effect (on grades) when students believed they shared something in common with their teachers.This is proof that our relationships matter in a big way.
I've always been impressed by the ability of the martial arts to instill confidence in almost any child. This article and accompanying video tell the story of Helen Dugan, owner and instructor at a Kansas martial arts school for children with special needs. How does she do it? She builds on what the students can do, rather than focusing on everything they can't.