Fantastic Friends Make a Difference - Please Share!

  • Posted on: 6 May 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy
Fantastic Friends

My name is Marissa Hacker and I am 17 years old and I am the founder of Fantastic Friends. I have a twin brother, Matthew, who has Autism, and his autism makes him face problems with socialization and making friends. 

The night before our 15th birthday, Matthew came home crying, from a summer camp. He told me that he was upset because he didn’t have any friends. This made me want to help him make friends as fast as I could, because in that moment I truly understood his pain of being lonely.

Inclusion is a Global Issue

  • Posted on: 14 April 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Most of us have heard the saying, "Teaching is a lonely profession". Indeed, educators have long had a tradition of independently running their own classrooms; taking care of their own responsibilities without much input from others or interaction from other professionals. We sometimes blame the teachers, the school schedules or a lack of time for this isolationist modus operandus, but these things are not at the root of the issue from my perspective.

Facilitating Conflicted or Unexpected Discussions

  • Posted on: 14 April 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Nothing 'throws people for a loop' like an unexpected issue or conflict that arises during a meeting. Rather than being discombobulated or intimidated, learn to accept such instances as normal parts of collaboration and problem-solving processes. Facilitate conflicted discussions effectively, and you'll be in a good position to provide the leadership your teams need to make decisions that are truly centered on the needs of the students.  Sounds easier said than done? Read on for 10 Tips to Keep in Mind When Collaboratively Facilitating Conflicted or Unexpected Discussions.

Online Courses for Students with Disabilities: 5 Considerations

  • Posted on: 14 April 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Online courses for students with disabilities are increasingly seen as a viable alternative to traditional instruction.  Although virtual courses can be useful tools, they should not be considered a panacea for students who struggle in more typical learning situations. Before you decide to place a student in an online course, or as you determine what types of support the student will need to be successful in that course, consider the following:

Information: Too Much of a Good Thing?

  • Posted on: 21 March 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

There's more information available through a handheld device than all the teachers you've ever known could convey if they taught 24/7 for the next 100 years. Did I make that up?  Yes, but honestly I think they would have to teach infinitely longer than 100 years. Information is everywhere, and it can be obtained quickly and easily.  The 'playing field' of education has changed, but most educators don't realize it. How many teachers do you know who still believe it is their job to simply pass on information to their students? The problem is, that's not what students need.

'Must Read' Article on IEPs

  • Posted on: 20 March 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Once in a while I read an article that is so useful, I think everyone should read it.  I recently found such on article that addresses the topic of procedural errors in the IEP development process. On the surface, it sounds like old news.  Procedural errors... hmmm... obviously we want to avoid them. However, the way this article is written sets it apart from many others that tend to induce sleep rather than provide relevant guidance.  What is this article and why should you share it with every professional who serves on an IEP team in your school system?

Be a Hero, Dump the Zero

  • Posted on: 17 March 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Schools across the country are frantically looking for ways to raise student achievement and state test scores. Consultants are working with school staffs to improve teaching, purchase computer programs, engage students, and redesign courses to get students “back to basics.”

But the problem with our schools’ low student achievement might be something much more basic than technology and/or textbooks. It might be the way we assign grades.

Conquer the Common Core and Love Your Job? Really?

  • Posted on: 25 February 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Really! The book, Tap Dancing to Work: How a Small Group of Teachers Can Conquer the Common Core, provides the means for teachers to work together to enhance standards-based instruction, improve outcomes for students, and put the joy back into teaching. Authors Michael White, Bonnie Grimm, Lindsey Young and Bob Stark have developed a practical, systematic way for any group of educators to get better results for students.