Systems of Support Supporting Educator Excellence through Technology and Strategy

Category Archives: Strategy

Start the year right with effective classroom rules

Great Start!As the school year is kicking off in the US and in full swing around the globe, it is a great time to take a moment and review your classroom rules (I prefer to call them expectations). This short list is the foundation for how your school year will play out and gives your students a firm footing to know exactly what you expect. Here are 3 ideas that will help you start (or restart) on the right track.

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Dangerous Assumptions when Integrating Technology in the Classroom

A recent conversation with a school administrator highlighted for me again the unrealistic expectations that are placed on technology in educational environments. This idea that if we get ______ (insert the most popular technology here), then everything will be better. Technology AssumptionsFrom student achievement to parent involvement there is this hope that a device, software, or website will fix it all. Remember that I am a “technology in the classroom evangelist” and am not departing from that stance. However, it is important for us to consider two fatal assumptions that have the potential to impact more than just our ability to implement technology, but to disrupt student achievement.

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How to know your intervention is working

A unique aspect of our work as a therapist, educator, or clinician is identifying the place between what we “think” is happening and what we “know” is happening in regards to client progress. The only way to make this jump from feeling to fact is to dive head first into the dreaded “D” word. You know what I am referring to…data. Last week I shared how to leverage a tech tool to duplicate yourself. This week I will show you how to use this same tool to create data collection forms that will efficiently inform your practice with much less effort. collecting intervention data

When I started my work 15 years ago this “D” word consisted of paper forms, pencils, and calculators. Eventually there was a shift to using Microsoft Excel to manipulate the data as wider access to computers was provided. Now we have moved forward to cloud based tools. One of the most simple to use tools at our fingertips is google forms (and it’s free!).  Here are 4 steps to getting in deep with data to drive your intervention. Read more →

How to duplicate yourself in the classroom

One of the most difficult parts of being an educator, therapist, or interventionist is that you need to be everywhere at once. Especially considering the ideal learning environment is one that is designed around the specific needs of each student. The reality is when you have 5 students or 50, this ideal can be difficult to practically attain day in and day out. I’ve got an idea that will allow you to be in multiple places at once, delivering specific feedback to student performance, and it’s painless!

Rear view of class raising hands

This idea is creatively developing a form within Google Drive. Google drive is a free tool that is within any google account you have (if you have gmail you have this). If your district is a Google Apps for Education district, then you have access too. This feature allows you to develop a virtual teacher that will give feedback and reteaching right when your learner needs it. Here is a quick video from the Google for Education page on how to create forms. Now that you know the nuts and bolts of form creation, here is the strategy.

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Three steps to stay on track

“When your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will be your downfall”.  These are wise words that I heard many times early on in my career from a wise mentor that genuinely cared about my long-term success. The point is that we must have a way of refueling ourselves so that we are able to continue the journey of pouring into others. I have found that we educators, therapists, clinicians, and consultants are the worst at adhering to this principle. The enormity of our work, the long task lists, meetings upon meetings, and preparation for tomorrow, next week, and next year can cause you to be so busy that you have to be reminded to stop and smell the roses. So here’s your reminder!


Jason C. and I had the incredible opportunity to speak at the Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference on the Gold Coast in Australia. I have never been to an event that was so well organized with every detail thought through and delivered with excellence. It was during this time away from the distractions of the typical day to day that I was able to do 3 things that I would like you to consider doing yourself.

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Using the 5 Whys to Help Identify Solutions

In last week’s post I talked about the importance of developing a process for determining technology needs. This helps to ensure schools purchase what is needed vs. what is hot at the moment. However, sometimes it is not feasible (or necessary) to do a full technology needs assessment to determine what is really needed. In this post I will be explaining a super simple technique to help you quickly get to the bottom of an issue, which makes finding the appropriate solution much easier. It is called the 5 Whys.

The 5 whys


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Collecting Classroom Data – Great Example!

Last week Jason G shared some methods on how to collect your own classroom data to learn if a particular strategy is working. In this post I will be taking things a step further by sharing an example from a classroom I worked with that did just that.

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When Searching for Evidence-based Practices, This is What You’ll Find


In the pursuit of research to support and inform our work, finding relevant material is the first hurdle to clear. Jason C. tackled this task through sharing practical suggestions on how to use Google Scholar to locate this research. Once you start digging through search results, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to determine what is good and what is not. There are a few things to know when combing through your search results. Read more →

Using Google Scholar to Locate Research Based Practices

In the first post of the new year this blog discussed the importance of ensuring that technology and strategies used in classrooms are based on research.  While research doesn’t always keep up with the latest technology, it is still necessary to know what works and modify it as needed to fit your setting.

So where do you find research? While several options exist, including professional development opportunities or academic libraries you may have access to, one of the most exhaustive resources available is Google Scholar.  In this post I will share what Google Scholar is and some tips to help with its navigation.

Google Scholar Homepage

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Framing Routine: A High Powered Graphic Organizer

Last week Jason C. shared 5 great examples of web-based graphic organizers that you can use with your learners. With those tools in mind, here is another great instructional strategy using a graphic organizer that you can use to help your learners:

  • recall key information
  • understand the relationship between the main ideas and associated details
  • summarize the main idea of the passage

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