Company Name - Working Collaboratively with Families
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iPad Apps for Accommodations

I often see posts from teachers and parents alike asking for the “best apps” for such-and-such age group, but I lament what is missing from those questions: what can the apps be used for?
The iPad is such a great accommodation tool, less noticeable and more functional (in my experience) than a Chromebook.  Yes, apps facilitate learning, but they can’t replace an experience or learning opportunity. When you have apps like the ones below, you can accommodate so many different learning differences!

The Case Against Summer

This year I am so excited to be starting up theReading Improvement Camp- but the more I get into this, I think I should have called it the Summer Headstart Program.  I know that could be confusing because we already have headstart programs here in Canada, but calling it the Summer Advantage would be copying a very successful program in the US.

All that being said, it is interesting as we start up this summer program and discuss what an updated education system for the 21st century looks like to come across an article called

Alternative Assessments

If we could change our education system more readily, I wonder if there would still remain the debate about testing and/or standardized testing.  I understand the fears about changing an entire system without research to back up what appears to work, but despite the research, it doesn’t work in every classroom. Why not? Each teacher is delightfully different. Those differences can be part of what makes our system great: they can also be what bog it down.
You likely know that I am a special education teacher.

Connecting with Educators

As a teacher that chooses to work outside the system, to hopefully improve the system, I am used to teachers and administrators looking at me funny. 

But do you know every time I connect online, I am accepted as an educator trying to improve. I have re-discovered a love for professional development. In a world of ever moving information, it is nice to see what others are excited about. It is also nice to see that others are approaching education in ways that are similar to mine or radically different than mine.

Inclusion in Alberta: Ideas about Quality

SO How does inclusion get better in this transition period?  

Well with a change in mindset.  

Now as a special needs teacher, you might wonder – have I supported Inclusion from the beginning? Honestly, the concept of inclusion I heard about and saw in presentations from the Ministry of Education/Alberta Learning here in Calgary, no I did not agree.  What I am seeing on the ground now in this transition period, no I do not agree.  HOWEVER, with the larger concept of QUALITY, INCLUSIVE education – yes, I DO agree.

Inclusion... What we need...

In effort to remain positive as we reintegrate students back into “regular, inclusive” classrooms, I have refrained from posting anything about local inclusion initiatives until we could see them working! SO:
Lots of upheaval and change and several people are frustrated with what they see: Here is what I see: parents frustrated with a lack of accommodation, a lack of responsibly and responsive IEP/IPP/ISPs, change of schools to get to the program the school board recommends (and a distinct lack of appropriate transportation…), an unwillingness to take parent observations and input seriously, and an extreme unwillingness to support the BYOD program endorsed by the school division!

How would you make the system better?

Another parent at the end of their rope today and little support from the system... I know teachers are trying, so how do we make the system better? NOT just smaller class sizes, but better educated teachers who have more tools in their toolbox, better communication as a team serving the students needs... time to keep plugging away for improvements!!

How would you as parents improve the education system?

My new pet peeve...

Ok, so being in the school system, and I was a one point not that long ago, I know the constraints that are put on teachers - class size, composition, parent demands, extra curricula's etc.  I also know the constraints put on principals - teachers that don't fit on the team or don't live up to the expectations or simply are over worked.

HOWEVER, in the last few weeks, I am starting to hear a more and more disturbing trend from parents: schools that won't support students for one of two reasons: 1.

Hiring VS Recruiting

As we beginning a new year - that is getting ready for another school year at Sharkey Support. The idea of hiring versus recruiting is being tossed around.  I know that a lot of people use those terms interchangeably, but they are not.
Recruiting is to raise a force by enlistment (which means to enter a cause or secure services for a cause) HOWEVER, hiring is to engage a service for wages.

I have discovered that maybe our problem in teaching is that we are hiring people to fill a service for a wage.

Volunteering to a close for 2012

As we draw to the end of the 2012, Sharkey Support Services has a lot to be thankful for! For parent support, for opportunities to be heard in the community, for volunteer opportunities, for the vision and support to continue forward and to Moroz Psychology for spreading the word!  

Additionally we have been able to volunteer this year with Inn from the Cold.  We made treats for the kids and families there, we had a tour and even were able to work a few times with the preschool age kids - it was fun!
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Recent Posts

iPad Apps for Accommodations
The Case Against Summer
Alternative Assessments
Connecting with Educators
Inclusion in Alberta: Ideas about Quality


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