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November 2016
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Small Steps Change Lives

School Psychology Awareness Week 2016: November 14 - 18, 2016

Please join us in celebrating School Psychology Awareness Week November 14-18, 2016. Thank you to the thoughtful, hard working St. Croix River Education District School Psychologists (SCRED) for all they do in supporting staff, students and families every day. This year’s theme is “Small Steps Change Lives” and highlights how taking small steps can build greater successes and develops the academic and social-emotional skills students need to promote personal achievement, growth, and resilience, as well as a sense of belonging and wellbeing.
 
According to a National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) press release, children learn and grow as they take on and overcome new challenges.  With the appropriate supports, students can see how every obstacle or frustration can become a chance to develop their skills.  The learning environment is the ideal setting to help students make the connection between every positive step in their lives and the strength that grows from these steps. Moreover, cumulatively these small steps can make a big impact on the school culture and environment, as students become engaged contributing members of the school community.
 
SCRED School Psychologists put forth incredible effort to assist students in taking small steps toward succeeding academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.  When you see the School Psychologist in your building, please take a moment to thank them for the support they provide to students, staff and parents.

NASP Suggested Activities for Promoting Small Steps When Working with Students:

  • Connect with school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports. Consider your school rules and how these behaviors support them. Help students see how engaging in these behaviors will help them meet personal or classroom goals. Encourage teachers to provide intermittent positive reinforcement in the form of verbal comments, thumbs up, or even school-wide tokens (e.g., Stepping Stones, etc.) for engaging in these types of behaviors. Include the words and explanations in the school's morning announcement.
  • Create personal progress steps. Work with the art teacher or individually with students to have them create personal posters depicting the small steps that they have taken to reach a goal.
  • Perspective taking. Engage students in a discussion or activity about what it would feel like to be on the giving and receiving end of the activities. Use role-playing to help them understand another's perspective.
  • Catch them being good. Praise and positive attention can go a long way in boosting students' positive behavior and can greatly impact school climate. Positive emotions and sense of success can buffer kids against negative reactions to adversity. Work with students and staff to identify and reinforce positive behaviors when they are exhibited throughout the school. Write the positive act or behavior on a footprint and post on the wall so that students can see the growing path of progress created by the good things they do. This can be part of a larger school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports program or specific to individual classrooms. Browse your local library for books that help teach these skills.
  • Start the day in a positive light. During morning class meetings, the teacher can pick one item that represents a positive social interaction. That would be the theme of the morning meeting. As they share, each student takes a turn to do or say something that reflects the general idea.
  • Individual goal setting. The poster includes behaviors that will help any student or adult thrive. Help students consider specific behaviors that they could take to change lives. If you are using the interactive poster option above, let them pick their word for the day and take them with them to be brought back and posted on the wall later (or on a personal poster they have created).
  • Hold a scavenger hunt. Have students work as a class-wide team to each find someone throughout the day who is demonstrating one of the concepts or behaviors from the poster. See if together the class can identify all of the concepts. Or have students select five concepts to find that day and see if each student can find people demonstrating these concepts. Provide an opportunity to share at the end of the day.

RESOURCES

What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Intervention Reports and Practice Guides:
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) is an investment of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education that was established in 2002. The WCC reviews the existing research on different programs, products, practices and policies in education with the goal of providing educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. The WWC focused on the results from high-quality research to answer the question “What works in education?” 

Click here to access 21 WWC Intervention Reports and Educators Practice Guides that summarize the results of WWC reviews.  Topics categories include: Behavior, Children and Youth with Disabilities, Early Childhood, English Learners, Kindergarten through 12th Grade,  Literacy, Math, Path to Graduation, Post Secondary, Schoolwide Programs, Science, and Teacher Excellence.  

 
The purpose of the Breaking Down Instructional Barriers monthly articles are to focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help you incorporate Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) and Assistive Technology (AT) into every lesson to benefit every learner. This month’s Spotlight on Breaking Down Instructional Barriers looks at Extensions and Applications in Google Chrome. 

Google Chrome
Chrome apps and extensions address the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines:  Providing Multiple Means for Representation, Action, Expression and Engagement. Google Chrome incorporates many tools that can be used to provide inclusive learning opportunities for students. Extensions and applications can be found in the Google Chrome store and most are free of charge. Students and teachers can add extensions to their Chrome account and access them on computers or Chromebooks anywhere to provide accessibility in any setting. Below are links to some of the most commonly used free extensions:
  • Grammarly checks spelling, punctuation, grammar in any online application.
  • Just Read turns any web page into a clean view for reading now or later on your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Voice Note typing with speech recognition that can be used with any website application.
  • Save to Google Drive helps you save web content or browser screenshots to your Google Drive.
  • SpeakIt! converts Text-To-Speech for selected text on web pages.
  • Skimzee is a web article summarizer. You can dynamically adjust summary level and length.
  • Scrible provides highlight tools for web pages and saves annotated page in library to review later.
  • Tab Resize is split screen extension designed to provide ease in resizing your tabs. A set of default layouts are provided.
 
Infinitec
St. Croix River Education District continues to provide this UDL and AT resource to all member districts’ staff.  All new staff are encouraged to register at www.myinfinitec.org
Here are links to the newest Infinitec Newsletters with more suggestions on what is new and how to get the most out of the Infinitec resource:  
AT Regional (5/7) Committee Newsletter

 
Copyright © 2016 St. Croix River Education District, All rights reserved.


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