TTAC Topics                                                                                                 February  2015
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Reduce learner helplessness

Have you ever asked yourself how to make your students more independent and reduce learner helplessness? Middle- and high-school students with disabilities need to "own" their own learning strategies! It's easier said than done, but teaching students a learning strategy helps them much more than just providing their necessary accommodations. Robert Reid and his colleagues have updated their book, Strategy instruction for students with learning disabilities, to include an overview of recent research, a how-to guide on strategy instruction, and specific strategies for handwriting, spelling, reading comprehension, writing, math, test-taking, and study skills. This evidence-based approach works with all learners and should be a tool in every practitioner's toolbox.


Check out the book from the VDOE T/TAC at VCU libraryReid, R., Lienemann, T.O, & Hagaman, J. (2013). Strategy instruction for students with learning disabilities, 2nd Ed. New York: Guilford.


Free tools for struggling learners

Did you know that the browser Chrome has free extensions for your struggling learners to use?  Students can use these extensions as they do research on the World Wide Web. 


Chrome extensions are small icons added to the Chrome web browser that enable features to be applied to a web page or within Google drive. Examples of Chrome extensions that allow a web page to be read aloud include: Speak It, Select & Speak, AT Toolbar, and Read & Write for Google.  The Chrome extension Clearly eliminates the distractors, pictures and ads on a web page. The Chrome extension, Too Long Didn't Read (TLDR) summarizes web page content.


To add these extensions to your Chrome browser, visit the Chrome web store.  The extensions mentioned are free.   


Learning math concepts begins in early childhood

"I won't be 5 until after Jos�. But then it will be my turn to be the oldest."


"I'm running faster. I bet I get to the top of the hill before you!"


"When the big hand points down at the 6, I'm going to clap my hands for clean-up."


"Big yellow rings in this box and small ones there. Same for the big and little green squares."


Have you heard these or similar phrases spoken in your classroom? A solid foundation of math skills for early learners is essential in order for them to understand the simplest of comparisons and measurement as they experience everyday life. The Virginia Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year Olds states that the minimum standards in mathematical concepts include:

  • Number and Number Sense
  • Computation
  • Measurement
  • Geometry
  • Data Collection and Statistics
  • Patterns and Relationships

You will find early childhood fine motor, manipulative and math learning kits in our T/TAC Library that provide a multitude of learning materials to use with your students as they experience math concepts throughout their daily routine. 


Stop by our library to check out these and other instructional resources. Our office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. Can't make it into the office? Some library items can be placed in the mail or delivered to your school.  Call us for more information.

VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU
700 E Franklin Street, Suite 140
P.O. Box 843081
Richmond, VA 23284-3081