Top Special Education Blogs
Though they work in diverse special education environments with students possessing a wide spectrum of special needs, the authors of our Top Special Education Blogs share one thing in common: they regularly confront unique challenges not faced by their general education peers. Whether you are seeking inspiration, advice or resources for the classroom, browse these sites to network with dedicated professionals who advocate for exceptional children and youth in and outside of the classroom.
The author behind Teacher Sol is Maria Angela, a Washington, D.C.-based special education teacher and passionate advocate for students with special needs. On her site, Maria shares lesson plans, quizzes, and handouts that she has modified to better meet the needs of exceptional students. In addition, the Filipino native provides a ‘Get Informed’ section where she posts opportunities for teachers to recognize their students or get involved with education organizations. Maria often puts in extra hours to respond to the diverse learning needs of her students by identifying and promoting a variety of developmentally appropriate instructional strategies.
The Life That Chose Me
On The Life that Chose Me, a high school special education teacher who anonymously blogs as ‘Dick Dalton’ counts among his most popular posts an entry about the challenging and time-consuming process of writing Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals and objectives for students with special needs. Dick, a Georgia native, discusses such issues as Autism, Asperger’s, and education policy from the unique perspective of both teacher and parent. These are roles he is experienced to blog about since he is a 10-year teaching veteran and parent of two exceptional sons.
Special 2 Me
Leila, the author of Special 2 Me, is a busy teacher, graduate student, and mother of four who knows first-hand the challenges of trying to be ‘Superwoman.’ The fourth-year teacher, crafter and Star Trek fan writes that she now understands the dangers of trying to accomplish it all at an unrealistic pace. Today, just several classes away from earning her master’s degree, this California teacher has changed classroom environments, moving from a high crime school in Los Angeles to teach at a private school. When she’s not blogging about lessons learned and the importance of a balanced life, Leila offers education website recommendations with categories of interest to math and science teachers as well as those specializing in language arts and social studies.
Extra Special Teaching
Angelia Grimes-Graeme is the resource room teacher and four-year teaching veteran behind Extra Special Teaching. Since her spouse is a Marine, Angelia and her family are dependent upon Uncle Sam to tell them where they will next be assigned. This adaptability helps the busy mother of five (including a set of triplets) who has worked with students with autism, traumatic brain injuries, emotional handicaps, and intellectual disabilities. On Extra Special Teaching, she takes readers on a back-to-school tour of her new school and also shares ideas for making ‘Lucky Charm’ bags that proclaim how lucky Angelia is to have new students in class.
Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs
Since the age of 18, Kate Ahern knew that becoming a special needs teacher was her professional calling. On her blog, Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs, this self-described creative thinker recounts pearls of wisdom that she has gleaned throughout her years working with exceptional children. One such technique is borrowed from a National Public Radio (NPR) series; it’s one Kate says she uses to overcome challenging moments, which could otherwise lead special education teachers to join the ranks of the estimated 50% of special educators who resign upon reaching their fifth year of teaching. Moreover, Kate’s site offers a treasure trove of ‘Fabulous Freebies’ as well as free, online games geared toward special needs students.
Pat Hensley believes that some of the best teachers go unnoticed in their schools and districts, and so on Successful Teaching, she’s vowed to feature these exemplary teachers and highlight their successes. Though Pat is currently an instructor at Furman University in South Carolina, she previously taught special education classes in the public schools for 30 years. During those three decades, she served on the National Board of Directors for Exceptional Children, and she was designated as her school’s Teacher of the Year. In her posts, she talks about camping retreats, and how to take abstract classroom guidelines like ‘being respectful’ and translating them into clear-cut examples of what constitutes appropriate behavior.
From the Desk of Mr. Foteah
As a child, Matthew Ray dreamed of one day becoming a radio broadcaster for the New York Mets. When those hopes were dashed, he took to the airwaves of his campus radio station, eventually discovering that he wished to do more altruistic work. On his blog, From the Desk of Mr. Foteah, Matthew explains why he was drawn to the field of special education and how he coined his pen name. He also ponders the disarming power of a teacher’s smile, recommends tips for getting a school year off to a successful start, and shares the benefits of having students blog.
Teaching All Students
An eleven-year teaching veteran of the special education classroom, self-described technology ‘geek’ Patrick works in a self-contained classroom with students who have significant cognitive disabilities. On Teaching All Students, the Illinois blogger and freelance workshop presenter reviews a wide range of online games and applications that focus on developing fine motor and sorting skills and teaching cause and effect.
A Special Kind of Class
Canadian teacher Amanda has been teaching at a hospital school for 20 years, where she has worked with children who have speech or physical disabilities. When Amanda found that she could not pinpoint a reliable, existing strategy to assess her non-verbal students’ reading levels, with grant support, she set out to conduct research on this topic. On A Special Kind of Class, she shares her research findings as well as files that will help other teachers wishing to implement similar techniques into their classrooms.
The Dynamic Duo
Kelley Hively and Orlanda De Los Santos collaborate inside their Texas elementary school as special education teacher and speech and language pathologist. Outside the school, they join forces as the creators of The Dynamic Duo: Adventures in Speech & Special Education. The pair’s posts focus on topics that could be of interest to both parents and educators such as helping children through beginning and end of the school year transitions. They also share Pinterest pointers that maximize storage space when a classroom size is limited.
Eight years into her career as a teacher of middle school students with physical and cognitive impairments, Kara found that she was in a rut. Her technique to overcoming this creative impasse: seek novel ideas from the blogosphere and create her own site to document personal triumphs and challenges. On Sped-ventures, Kara ponders the value of iPad applications that she’s discovered while attending in-service training. Moreover, she includes timesaving ideas for labor-intensive, parent communication notebooks that empower students to share details about the day’s happenings using a graphics-based form.
The Resource(ful) Room
In her first years as a resource room teacher, Amy Marshall worked with children in grades K-5. However, budget cuts later dictated that she move to a K-12 resource room, a transition that Amy describes as an “exciting learning experience.” The mother of two fills The Resource(ful) Room with an abundance of free resources that she has created, making it a treasure trove for those looking to find colorful posters, calendars, and binder inserts. Also making appearances on the site are her ever-popular storage bin labels and holiday-themed math units that can come and go with the seasons.
Teachers at Risk
A 20-year veteran of the high school classroom, special educator Elona Hartjes credits her son with coming up with the name for her site. One day he remarked to his mother that she regularly spoke of children who were at risk, but what about the teachers who are equally vulnerable and in need of shared wisdom? In the six years after Teachers at Risk was born, Elona, a Teacher of Distinction award-winner, who has worked in traditional school settings and a jail, has written about teaching goal-setting, improving students’ reading experiences, and working with physically-aggressive students.
Toad-ally Exceptional Learners
Ms. Whiteley is a nine-year teaching veteran, a proud parent to Greyhounds Aria and Louis, and a strong believer in the benefits derived from empowering students to actively co-manage their data notebooks and set goals. She utilizes her blog Toad-ally Exceptional Learners to share links to reading and math games and resources and also discusses topics like progress monitoring and guided reading. Outside of the K-6 resource room, she enjoys hiking with Aria and Louis in the scenic Rocky Mountains in their native Colorado.
Mrs. H’s Resource Room
Kim Hinton is the busy mother of five and Kentucky teacher behind Mrs. H’s Resource Room. On her blog, she enlists the assistance of the Angry Birds to design a unit that focuses on social skills, shares self-made signs that communicate the building whereabouts of the on-the-go special educators, and takes readers on a tour of her room to show successful organizational strategies, as well as those that have made her room more aesthetically pleasing.
Please let us know your recommendations for blogs that should be considered for our list by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org