T/TAC Topics                                                                                                     March 2017
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What's all the buzz with self-regulation?
The term self regulation has been popping up in our schools in the last several years, particularly in the field of Early Childhood Education. But what exactly is self-regulation? Murray, Rosanbalm and Christopoulos (2016) define self-regulation as the act of managing one's thoughts and feelings and to engage in goal-directed actions such as organizing behavior, controlling impulses and solving problem constructively.

The act of self-regulating, however, is dependent upon specific environmental and contextual supports that are ongoing (Murray, Rosanbalm, Christopoulos, 2016). Having a greater understanding of self-regulation skills may have a significant impact on how we view children's behavior within the context of their environment.

Stop, think, act: Integrating self-regulation in the early childhood classroom by Megan McClelland and Shauna Tominey is an excellent resource for hands-on activities that help children learn and practice self-regulation techniques. Healthy self-regulation in early childhood leads to strong academic performance, helps children to form healthy friendships and gives them the social emotional resources they need to face stressful situations throughout life (McClelland & Tominey, 2016). This book includes techniques to use during circle time and transitions throughout the day. Suggestions for strengthening self-regulation skills while teaching literacy and math are included also.

McClelland, M.M. and   Tominey, S.L.  (2016).   Stop, think, act: Integrating self-regulation in the early childhood classroom. New York:  Routledge Publishing.

Murray D.W., Rosanbalm, K., and Christopoulos, C . (2016). Self-regulation and toxic stress: Implications for programs and practice. Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University. OPRE Report #2015-97.  Retrieved from  
Individualized professional development opportunities
Teachers often lament that mandatory professional development in their respective school division doesn't match the needs of the special education teacher. Every five years teachers in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to submit evidence of professional development activities in order to complete the recertification process. School divisions offer professional development opportunities, but often  our special educators require/want more individualized professional development. There are many online options for special education professionals that better fit the needs of the students they serve. Before teachers explore these online opportunities, they need to check with their Human Resources manager for their school division to ensure these online activities are supported by their division. Once they understand their division's process, let the learning begin!

TTAC Online www.ttaconline.org  offers webshops on a variety of topics, tracks progress and provides the teacher with a certificate upon completion that can be used by his school division to award professional development points towards recertification. Topics such as assistive technology and secondary transition are covered in in-depth webshops .  For specifics on how TTAC Online   recertification   works  visit:  https://ttaconline.org/online-training-webshops.

The VCU Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE) offers webcasts which can be used for recertification . Topics such as reading instruction, social skills and conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments are covered in-depth. VCU-ACE requires prior approval from school divisions to use the webcasts for recertification .  For specifics on how VCU-ACE works with the recertification process visit  https://vcuautismcenter.org/te/ceu.cfm .

The IRIS Modules offered by The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University are another online option to meet individual needs. The IRIS Center offers a series of trainings called The Star Legacy Modules for which progress, completion and time spent can be tracked and reported. This online resource requires users to establish a free online account in order to take advantage of these benefits. For specifics on how the IRIS Center at Vanderbilt works with the recertification process, visit 
https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/pd-hours/earn-pd-hours/ .  

Library resource:   A "5" could make me lose control! 
If you are working with students who need additional support in self-managing emotions such as anxiety, stress, and anger, A "5" could make me lose control!   by Kari Dunn Burton, could 
be a useful tool to introduce in your classroom.  This kit contains hands-on activities designed to assist students in developing ways to cope with intense emotions and feelings by classifying social and emotional information.  These activities are followed by guidance on analyzing and problem solving to determine responses that would be the most appropriate.

Using this interactive process, the student places cards that list highly stressful situations into color-coded pockets designed to designate the various stress levels, ranging from five (most stressful) to one (least stressful).  This step is considered the first step towards changing the way a student thinks about emotions and how he/she chooses to respond. The program helps students develop a better understanding of unwritten rules, boundaries and legal issues, as well as an understanding of the consequences that result from their actions and/or choices. 

For students demonstrating difficulties in the areas of communication, the set includes an assortment of cards: word cards, picture and word cards, and blank cards to differentiate the activities as appropriate.  A "5 " could make me lose control! also includes suggestions for how to use the process as a part of an effective behavioral assessment and a problem- solving activity.

This resource is available for  checkout through the VCU T/TAC library.
VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU 
700 E Franklin Street, Suite 140
P.O. Box 843081
Richmond, VA 23284-3081