TTAC Topics                                                                                               October 2015
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Student choice: An effective strategy to improve behavior in the classroom
Empowering students to make choices throughout the school day is a seemingly simple way for classroom teachers to increase appropriate behaviors. Disruptive behaviors are commonly used by students to communicate that they need to feel they have more power and freedom in the classroom. Providing choice is effective when options are structured, and when teacher expectations are clear and consistent.   

The idea of choice can be a powerful approach that shifts the student focus from "Will I complete this assignment?" to "How am I going to complete this assignment?"  For example, the range for providing choices related to assignments could be:
  • Break large assignments into chunks with due dates at certain intervals versus all at once.
  • Provide homework packets at the beginning of the week for students to complete over the course of the week.
  • Use a menu of options such as those provided at DaretoDifferentiate.
  • Provide choices in how to respond after a reading assignment.
  • Create a classroom environment that encourages students to work in small groups, pairs, or independently.
For additional information, Dr. Jane Bluestein, author of The Win-Win Classroom, offers a cheat sheet for teachers entitled Guidelines for Offering Choices

Early childhood book study kits
Looking for relevant professional development that's self paced and research based? Consider checking out one of our early childhood book study kits. Each kit comes with multiple copies of the book, a facilitation guide and a tip sheet for supporting adult learners. There are even duplicates of some kits to accommodate larger groups. Our book kits include the following titles:
  • Assessing Young Children in Inclusive Settings: The Blended Practices Approach 
  • Engagement of Every Child in the Preschool Classroom
  • Including One, Including All: A Guide to Relationship Based Early Childhood Inclusion 
  • Making Preschool Inclusion Work: Strategies for Supporting Children, Teachers and Programs 
  • Many Languages, One Classroom: Teaching Dual and English Language Learners: Tips and Techniques of Preschool Teachers 
  • Reflecting Children's Lives: A Handbook for Planning Your Child Centered Curriculum 
  • Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew  
  • The Intentional Teacher: Choosing the Best Strategies for Young Children's Learning 
To check out a kit from our library, visit our website  or call 804-828-6947.  If you would like help selecting the right book for your group or planning for your book study, contact Mary Tobin  at  or Mary Swingle at .

New materials for children birth to age 6
Thanks to the Outreach Services at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind and the Virginia Department of Education, our library now contains many new materials for you to borrow. We have assessments, curricula, and activities for working with infants and young children with deafness/hearing loss, blindness/visual impairment or deaf-blindness.
For infants and young children with blindness or visual impairment, the assessment Preschool Attainment through Everyday Routines (PATTER) is available. Two curricula are also available: Move, Touch, Do; and, Teaching Appropriate Purposeful Skills (TAPS). 
For those with deafness/hearing loss, the following  assessments  are available: Cottage Acquisition Scales for Language, Listening and Speech (CASLLS ), Teacher Assessment of Grammatical Structures (TAGS), and Auditory Perception Test for the Hearing Impaired.
For young children with deaf-blindness, the following books are available: Understanding and Interacting with Infants,Toddlers and Preschool Aged Children with Deaf-blindness and Suggestions for Modifying the Home and School Environment.
Go to the library page of our website to look at these evidence-based materials and several other new ones for young children with deafness/hearing loss, blindness/visual impairment or deaf-blindness. 

Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference begins in November
Register now for the 5th annual Virtual TechKnowledge Conference.  Webinars will be held for three consecutive days in November, beginning with a keynote on November 10 by Therese Willcomm, Director of New Hampshire's State Assistive Technology Program with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire.  Dr. Willcomm, often referred to as the "MacGyver of AT," will offer a fast-paced session demonstrating many creative, low-cost AT solutions.  On November 11, you will not want to miss Dr. Joy Zabala's webinar reminding us of the value of using the SETT Framework to make Assistive Technology (AT) decisions. To close out the week on November 12, Chris Bugaj will entertain us and teach us about the many AT resources available through Twitter.  You can see it's a full week of inspiring AT information! Registration and full session descriptions are available on the TechKnowledgy conference website.
VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU
700 E Franklin Street, Suite 140
P.O. Box 843081
Richmond, VA 23284-3081