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May/June 2013       

Instructional Strategy Corner

A Six Step Approach to Teaching Mathematics


Students with Disabilities

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The Virginia Modified Achievement Standards (VMAST) practice items have been updated.  New practice items have been added to the existing grades 3-8 mathematics, grades 3-8 reading, End-of-Course (EOC) Algebra I, and EOC Reading items. The updated items have been added to the end of the previously posted practice items. In addition, an audio version of each reading practice item set is now available. Click here to find all practice items and guides for their use.
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 Teachers Supporting Students to Become

Self-Directed Learners

By Debbie Grosser, M.Ed.

Self-management is an evidence-based practice that supports student achievement. Teachers can assist students in developing self-management skills and becoming active participants in their learning process.  Read further to learn more about self-management and how to foster students' self-directed learning. 

Cooperative Learning in Inclusive Classrooms:
Students Who Work Together, Learn Together

By  Lisa M. Emerson, M.Ed., M.Sc.

Cooperative learning has proven to be an effective instructional strategy for all grade levels and content areas. It can also be used as a management and active engagement tool for inclusive classrooms. Students with disabilities demonstrate positive results in academics as well as social skills within classrooms that incorporate cooperative learning strategies. Read more

Instructional Sequence for Teaching the

Structure of the English Language

By  Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed.

With Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE), instructional concepts are taught directly, sequentially, and systematically (Henry, 2009). How does this impact the instructional sequence? Language concepts must be taught explicitly, not implicitly, and in an organized sequence, where one concept is taught and must be mastered before another is added, coinciding with or supporting the first. This article provides explicit examples of the organized sequence of language instruction.

 Career Preparation: Keeping an Eye on the Finish Line

By Elaine Gould, M.Ed.

This article discusses career preparation, the third phase in the career development process. This phase is critical for students with disabilities of secondary transition age, because, during career preparation, they develop the requisite skills and knowledge related to their employment and postsecondary education goals. The author provides resources to help teachers and counselors to more strategically plan and prepare students for life after high school. Read more


This is the final in a series of articles on career development for children and youth with disabilities. The first article, Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up: Coming out of the Starting Blocks, identified resources related to career awareness, the first phase in the career development process. The second article, Making Interest and Career Connections: The Race for Discovery, focused on career exploration and ways in which teachers and counselors can support students as they shape their career identity and set postsecondary goals.

 Describing Specifically Designed Instruction, Related Services, Supplementary Aids and Services, and Program Modifications in the IEP

By Dale Pennell, C.A.S.

Prior to game day, an athletic coaching staff develops a game plan that describes how the team will achieve its goal - victory! Similarly, the "game plan" that an IEP team develops identifies the specially designed instruction, related services, supplementary aids and services, and program modifications designed to achieve its goal - a student's mastery of annual goals! This article describes the components of the "game plan."  

Featured Apps: Tools for Establishing
Goals and Tracking Progress

By Cathy Buyrn, M.Ed.

Teachers today are more focused on student goals and progress monitoring than ever before.  While it is critical that teachers set specific goals and track student progress, it is just as critical that students are directly engaged in this process.  Featured Apps in this issue include a number of digital applications and paper-based templates that may be used to support personalized learning objectives and graphic progress displays.  There are a number of valuable tools for teachers to add to their toolboxes.  Read more