Creating a Morning Routine: What Do Values Have To Do With It?

Let’s talk about morning routines. If you’ve ever researched self-development or productivity, you’ve undoubtedly come across tons of resources about morning routines and the different activities that people engage in to help jump start their day. While there is no one size fits all method to morning routines, the clear message that spans these websites, books, and articles is the idea that having a routine can help you immensely in your quest to meet your goals.

Though goal setting and achievement are important, I want to challenge you to go a bit deeper and look at the values that are driving these goals. Examining our values is important because often they become so ingrained that we are not aware of them though they play a big part in our decision making. Taking the time to be clear about our values and to work our values into our daily lives can help us to live happier lives.morning-routine

Try these steps to help you create a morning routine that works well with YOUR values:

Step 1. Examine your Values

    • Reflect on what is most important to you and make a list of these values. For additional support, check out our values resources and practice activities.

Step 2. Create Goals and Identify Steps to Meet Them

    • Now that you have some clarity around your values, create 1-2 goals that are aligned with these values to be top priorities your morning routine.
    • Think about what steps you will need to help you meet your goals. Are you interested in fostering more positive relationships with your family? Perhaps you can take some time in the morning to write short notes of appreciation to share with loved ones.

Step 3. Create a Morning Routine Using Your Goals

    • Think realistically about how much time you can devote to a morning routine and then prescribe time allotments for your value-driven activities. For example, you may decide to spend 30 minutes doing yoga if healthy living is a key value.

Step 4. Act and Reassess

    • Start with a routine with 1-2 goals and reassess your progress at the end of the week. Make changes if needed.

Infusing your values within your morning routine provides an opportunity to wake up living a value-driven life. Let us know how it goes if you implement these steps this week.

Authored by: Tia Navelene Barnes, Ph.D.

tia-barnesTia Navelene Barnes, Ph.D., is a social emotional learning researcher. As a former educator of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), Dr. Barnes’ research interests focus on creating environments where students with emotional and behavioral challenges can thrive. Dr. Barnes received her doctorate in August 2013 from the University of Florida where she majored in special education with an emphasis on emotional and/or behavioral disorders and minored in research and evaluation methodology. She then worked at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence where her work focused on classroom environment for students with EBD and examining social emotional learning through a culturally responsive lens. She has published work in several journals including Infant and Child Development, the Journal of School Violence, Aggression and Violent Behavior, and Education and Treatment of Children. She loves engaging with educators and feels that supporting educators is key to supporting student success.

Rethink Responds to Hurricane Harvey

Around the country we are watching the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. We would like to extend our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all our clients, members of our Rethink community, and all those in Texas and Louisiana who have been affected by the storm. As a Company we will be making a donation to the American Red Cross to assist those who have been impacted. We will also be releasing support materials around emergency preparedness for children with disabilities.

With Rethink’s mission of supporting children with developmental disabilities we are acutely aware of the unique needs of vulnerable populations during disasters. Emergency preparedness takes on an extra layer for families that have members with disabilities and for schools that support children with disabilities.

There are resources to assist in emergency planning. The Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs has guidelines that we should all be following. The Red Cross is often a first responder to emergencies and they too have resources for Special Needs Emergency Preparedness and in some locations specific support for children with developmental disabilities.

We commend the first responders in these communities and will work with the greater disability community to ensure preparedness for children with disabilities. If you’re interested in supporting disaster relief efforts, consider the Red Cross or Save the Children, both of which have established specific Hurricane Harvey relief funds.

Putting a Stop-block on the Summer Slide

Summer reading can help students avoid the summer slide3 tips for how teachers can support students in avoiding the summer slide

The Summer Slide is a familiar conundrum for all educators. The term refers to the learning loss many students experience over the summer break. Research done in 1996 concluded that students on average experienced the equivalent of at least one month of learning loss as measured by standardized test scores over the summer. While all students are at risk of learning regression over long breaks, additional research suggests that students with special needs may be more at risk of both regression and slower recoupment of skills when they return in the fall than their general education peers.

Isn’t that what Extended School Year is for?

While many special education students will have opportunities to attend Extended School Year (ESY) programs over the summer, ESY can present its own unique challenges. For one, students are taken out of their regular routines, which for students with significant disabilities can severely impede their ability to learn. With only 4 to 6 weeks of classes, there is little time for establishing the procedures and routines that these students need to thrive. Additionally, students in ESY programs are often supported by interim teachers and paraprofessionals, many of whom have little-to-no experience working with the students in the program. Finally, ESY staff do not always have access to quality curriculum that is aligned with state standards and addresses the unique IEP goals of each student. As research reveals, “quality is the key to making time matter,” (Aronson, Zimmerman, and Carlos, 1999) and with all of these factors combined, ESY can end up having little impact on learning regression.

What can I do? I don’t see my students over the summer.

Whether or not your students will be attending ESY, there are things you can do now as a teacher to support skill maintenance over the summer for your students and make the inevitable change in routine more manageable.

1.  Provide easy-to-access learning opportunities using technology

Rethink's Activity Center provides students access to digital learning to avoid the summer slide.
Rethink’s Activity Center provides students opportunities to practice skills they learned during the school year that are tied with IEP goals on mobile devices and laptop computers.

A recent article on how technology can help prevent summer “brain drain” pointed to the fact that students without access to educational content over the summer are more likely to experience learning loss. With mobile technology, providing students access to educational content on the devices they are already accessing is easy. Spend some time now finding online games, applications, and activities that reinforce the skills your students are learning in the school year and provide students and their families training and practice on how to use and access this content. Your students will be able to stay engaged in learning in a way that doesn’t just feel like homework.

 

2.  Prepare students for upcoming changes in routine

For many students with special needs, unexpected changes in routine can be challenging. Preparing students for upcoming changes and helping them know what to expect can make the transition from the regular school day routine to home, ESY, day camp or wherever they may be over the summer more successful, and set them up for success when it comes to learning.

Here are a few ideas for how you can start preparing students now:

  • Start a count down!: Encourage your students to be excited about summer while also communicating to them that summer means a change in routine. You can review a count down calendar with your students in the classroom every morning and use this as an opportunity to talk about some of the changes they can expect.
  • Review summer routines: If your student is attending ESY, use a picture schedule to help teach them about the new routine in advance. If ESY is in the building, you can even show them to their new classroom so that when the time comes, it is already a familiar place. If your student will be at home or somewhere else over the summer, find out from their parents and families what their schedule will be, and do the same by creating an individualized schedule that will help them anticipate the change in routine.

3.  Involve parents and families

Often the one constant for students between the regular school year and the summer, parents and families are crucial to establishing new routines for students over the summer and providing them with opportunities for learning. As a student’s teacher, you can work with parents and families before school is out to support them in preparing their children for whatever the summer may hold. A few ideas for how you can collaborate with families are:

  • Encourage families to reinforce classroom routines at home: Consistency between home and school is key to reinforcing learning. If you are doing a summer count down in class, for instance, encourage parents to do the same at home every morning before school. If you are using a picture schedule to teach a student about their new routine, provide the parent with a copy so they can review at home as well.
  • Help families build learning opportunities into summer routines: Collaborate with your student’s family to create a predictable summer schedule for the student, and build in specified times for learning into the schedule. For instance, if you are providing online activities for the student to work on over the summer, coordinate with the student’s parent to find a time in their daily schedule where the student will have access to a tablet or device so they can complete the activities.

Remember that advanced planning is key to supporting your student in the summer transition, and there are lots of simple things you can do now to make this transition easier on your students and help them maintain all the wonderful things they have learned throughout the school year.

On that note, happy summer! Enjoy yourselves. You deserve it!

 

5 Indicators That You May Be A Conference Guru

2015SanAntonio 2By Roz Prescott @RozAtRethink

This Memorial Day weekend Rethink had the wonderful opportunity to attend and present at this year’s ABAI Conference in San Antonio. In addition to all the amazing take-aways from the presentations and panels we attended, we also learned a little something about ourselves: we are indeed conference gurus.  Are you a one too?  If you can answer yes to the following, join the club!

 

1.  You have successfully set up a monster booth at least once in your career

If you have ever lugged huge “booth carriers” across country, completed a full workout getting all the components out and ready to put together, and then spent 2 hours trying to work out how everything fits together … you might be a conference guru!

To avoid throwing out our backs, the Rethink team wisely decided to take a more subtle approach to our booth. We kept it simple with our Rethink banner and our own smiling faces. We met lots of current customers and hopefully future partners and had some great conversations.

Dr. Patricia Wright, VP Professional Services at Rethink, with a teacher and Rethink user all the way from Fairbanks, AK.
Patricia Wright, VP Professional Services at Rethink, with a teacher and Rethink user all the way from Fairbanks, AK.

2.  You are prepared with both summer and winter attire depending on the whims of the hotel air-conditioning

If you hiStock_000018234936_Doubleave ever had to carefully plan and are prepared with your attire and wardrobe to allow for significant temperature changes in short periods of time (often in the same workshop session) … you might be a conference guru!

Thankfully the Rethink team came prepared for anything and managed to keep our body temperatures relatively stable with just the right mix of summer/winter attire!

3.  You have breathed a sigh of relief when people actually attend your presentation session

If you have experienced slight panic or anxiety attacks with the thought that you will be the only presenter at the conference who has no one show up to their presentation … you might be a conference guru!

Two members of our Rethink team, myself and Patricia Wright, presented at the ABAI Conference this year in sessions about Educational Technology. Thankfully lots of people were interested and showed up to both sessions!  Thanks to all who showed their support!

Dr. Patricia Wright discussing benefits of educational technology during her panel session.
Patricia Wright discussing benefits of educational technology during her panel session.

 

Roz Prescott MA, BCBA sharing the positive results of using technology for paraprofessional training
Roz Prescott MA, BCBA sharing the positive results of using technology for paraprofessional training

 

4.  You act like a teenager seeing a rock star when meeting your academic mentors and heroes (and shamelessly ask for a selfie)

The Rethink team got to take shameless selfies with many of our ABA mentors and heroes this past weekend at the ABAI Conference 2015.

Dr. Patricia Wright meeting Oliver Wendt, Assistant Professor at Purdue University
Patricia Wright meeting Oliver Wendt, Assistant Professor at Purdue University
Roz Prescott with Dr. Aubrey Daniels-Aubrey Daniels International.
Roz Prescott with Dr. Aubrey Daniels-Aubrey Daniels International.

5.  You willingly give up your holiday weekend to advance your knowledge and learning while sitting in uncomfortable seats and eating overpriced hotel food

Yep! That’s us–walking 15,000 steps (or approximately 7 miles per day) from classroom to classroom and even spending some sessions seated on the floor, all in the name of knowledge!

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Why do we do it you ask? The answer is simple: we are passionate about our field and consider the chance to advance our knowledge of value to ourselves, the places we work, and the children and students we support. See you all next year for more of the same!

3 Tips for Building Your Personal Learning Network

Becoming a more informed, more knowledgable, more connected educator through your personal learning network.

It’s spring, which at Rethink can only mean one thing—it’s User Group Season! Throughout April and May Rethink has been visiting districts across the country that are utilizing Rethink in their special education programs and facilitating conversation and sharing around best practices.

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Educators share and connect at the San Francisco User Group

What becomes clear with every User Group is the incredible value for those involved. From administrators and coordinators to teachers and paraprofessionals, the user group is a wonderful time for sharing resources, and most importantly, best-practices with one another. With all the demands on educators’ time and resources, these in-person opportunities for sharing can be few and far between. This is why many educators have increasingly turned toward building their own Personal Learning Networks online.  This month, as a follow-up to User Group Season, we are sharing some ideas for building your own Personal Learning Network using one of the most popular social media sites for educators, Twitter.

1.  Follow other educators and thought leaders

Twitter is full of educators. One of the most powerful things about the Internet is its ability to bring together likeminded people with similar interests who may never otherwise have the opportunity to connect.

To build your personal network on Twitter, start by following other educators and organizations germane to what you do in the classroom or the populations you teach. Here are a few great resources that point you to some awesome special education Twitter accounts.

Also follow Rethink and our team of clinicians and educators. They are a wonderful source of information, tips, and encouragement!

2.  Join weekly Twitter chats

Twitter chats provide an opportunity to follow topical conversations live on Twitter. With a shared time, hashtag, and topic to discuss, Twitter chats bring together all of the best aspects of Twitter into a structured forum. Participants can ask questions, share topical ideas, and stay up-to-date on latest trends in education. To participate in a Twitter chat, use a tool like Tweetchat to easily follow the conversation.

A few Twitter chats you might consider joining are:

  1. #Spedchat – Mondays from 9-10pm Eastern: A chat specifically for special educators to discuss issues in special education, share ideas and resources, and connect with others in the field.
  2. #Edtechchat – Mondays from 8-9pm Eastern: A chat for all educators to learn more about best-practices for using technology in the classroom.
  3. #Edchat – Tuesdays from 12-1pm and 7-8pm Eastern: Like #spedchat but for all educators, this is a place to talk about trends, share best-practices, and connect with other educators.
  4. #EWedchat – Wednesdays from 8-9pm Eastern: A chat hosted by Education Week that discusses a different topic every week germane to education.

For more information about joining a Twitter chat, check out this blog post.

3.  Live tweet events

Liv- tweeting events, trainings, webinars, and conferences is another way to build your network and keep you in the socially connected. Many events (including all of Rethink’s public webinars) will share a hashtag with you for live tweeting. Using this hashtag to live tweet during the event helps you connect with others participating in the same event, gather succinct ideas, and chat with others online about a topic, even after the event is over.

Some examples of the kinds of things you may consider tweeting during an event are:

  • quotes or interesting ideas mentioned by the presenter/s
  • questions you have about something mentioned by the presenter
  • questions you have for other event participants
  • ideas that occur to you during the event/presentation
  • resources pertinent to the topic being discussed

Twitter is just one of many social media tools you can use to navigate the landscape of digital learning. Best of luck finding new ways to build your Personal Learning Networks and connect with other special educators. See you in the Twittersphere!

Early Intervention and Beyond: Top 5 Tips for Teaching a Child with Autism

iStock_000028867426_XXXLargeAbout this FREE Webinar

Early intervention can be crucial in helping children with autism be successful in school and in life, but effective intervention can begin at any age. Teaching a child with autism can be easier than you think and fun for you and your child or student!  Whether you’re an educator, parent, or caregiver, there are practical things you can easily do to integrate effective teaching into your everyday routine. In this free, 60-minute webinar, Rethink’s Angela Nelson, MS, BCBA will discuss practical tips for educators and parents who want to learn more about how to effectively teach a child with autism in a fun and natural way!

Attendees will:
  • Gain practical knowledge on effectively teaching children with autism
  • Learn how to make teaching effective AND fun
  •  Learn easy-to-implement strategies for successfully motivating a child with autism

Wednesday, March 22nd, 12pm EST  REGISTER

Wednesday, March 22nd, 6pm EST  REGISTER

About Our Guest

Angela Nelson currently serves as the Executive Director of Family and Clinical Services for Rethink, conducting trainings for educators, therapists, and administrators on how to utilize Rethink’s platform as well as consultation and support on how to implement a robust platform such as Rethink in both small and large school districts.  She also provides consultative services to families utilizing the program as part of Rethink’s Employee Benefits program.  She has devoted her career to supporting children and adults with a variety of disabilities in their classrooms, homes, and communities for many years. Angela holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling from California State University, Northridge, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA, and is a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst).  Aside from her interest in Applied Behavior Analysis, Angela enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband, going to the beach, and playing sports.

 

Spotlight Teacher of the Month: Kristy Byers

School District:  Volusia County Schools, Florida
Position:  Special Education Teacher

Kristy Byers began using Rethink at the beginning of the 2014/15 school year. What she has found most valuable about Rethink is its capacity to facilitate collaboration: “With Rethink, my whole team–paraprofessionals, speech therapists, etc.–can easily keep up with each child’s progress and work with them on appropriate skills,” Kristy explained.  She has also had success collaborating with parents.  By sharing Rethink’s graphs and reports, she has found it much easier to keep parents abreast on their child’s progress and encourage participation in their child’s growth.

1041“Rethink makes collaboration so much easier.” 

26412496-a514-42e4-bf8e-179b5d716fcbIn the relatively short time that Kristy has been using the Rethink program, she has seen significant progress in some of her students with the most intensive needs. For instance, at the beginning of the year one of her students came to her with severe echolalia–communicating only by echoing or repeating other people’s speech.  Using Rethink strategies and lessons, Kristy collaborated with the student’s learning team to set up a plan and began to work on teaching him appropriate greetings.  “One day, after we’d been working with the student for about 2 weeks,” Kristy explained, “he entered the classroom, and when I said ‘good morning’, he said ‘hi!’ It was so exciting!”  Now, 2 months later, he is communicating independently with very few (if any) echolalic phrases and his whole world of communication has opened up to him.  His parents are thrilled because his learning has carried over into the home environment as well!

 

 

Inclusion: Making it Work

Story timeBy: Meredith Ouimette                                                           

What is inclusion?

According to the Council for Exceptional Children, “all children, youth, and young adults with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate education and/or services that lead to an adult life characterized by satisfying relations with others, independent living, productive engagement in the community, and participation in society at large. To achieve such outcomes, there must exist for all children, youth, and young adults a rich variety of early intervention, education, and vocational program options and experiences.”

What are some strategies that work with effective inclusion programming?

With many schools that have district wide inclusion programming, the following have been strategies that have helped them make inclusion work!

  1. Collaboration, team work, and co-teaching with special education and general education teachers
  2. Use of evidence-based practices with all students in inclusion settings
  3. Strong leadership and administrative support at the school and district level
  4. Differentiated instruction for all students in classrooms
  5. Additional and ongoing teacher and paraprofessional support and professional development

In a classroom setting, Rethink can help teachers COLLABORATE and make inclusion successful!

  1. Determine what skills a student needs to be successful through Rethink’s Inclusion Assessment
  2. Determine what level of support is needed for success
  3. Select inclusion plans and videos for teachers and paraprofessionals to use when teaching students
  4. Provide support through teachers, paraprofessionals, and peers

lesson lin

 

 

 

Explore Rethink’s Inclusion Curriculum today!  Have other questions about effective strategies with inclusion programming? Leave a comment below and get the conversation started!

Mind Your Ps and Qs: Teaching Social Skills to Reduce Challenging Behavior

Group of happy elementary friends togetherAbout this FREE Webinar

Challenging behavior in the classroom is one of the most highly discussed topics in public education. Teachers frequently report that disruptive behavior is their greatest concern and has a significant impact on their job satisfaction. This session will focus on what teachers do best – facilitate student learning and teach students new skills.  Direct instruction in social skills promotes skill development in pro-social behaviors and reduces challenging behavior. When students have social skills in their repertoire they don’t have to rely on challenging behavior.

Participants will leave the webinar with:
  • A better understanding of how social skill development can impact behavior
  • Specific teaching strategies to promote social skill development in their classrooms
  • Ideas for teaching social skills 1:1 and in groups

About Our Guest

Dr. Patricia Wright, is Rethink’s VP of Professional Services and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Prior to joining Rethink, she was the National Director for Autism Services at Easter Seals, one of the largest social service providers for individuals with autism. Dr. Wright has a passion for education and has dedicated her career to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are fully included in society.

Click the button below to learn more about social emotional wellness with a FREE on-demand webinar!
View Webinar

We Are Thankful for … You!

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The season of giving thanks is upon us!  In the spirit of the season, we have many new goodies to share with you as a special thanks for all that you do for your students!

measuring-ingredientsI.  Transition Curriculum Rethink’s new Transition Curriculum is here!  You can now log into your Rethink account to explore this amazing new curriculum and start helping your students prepare for life beyond school. The curriculum is split into five key domains:  community, home, social, leisure, employment, each domain including a library of lessons, task analyses, and lesson materials.  You can read more about this new curriculum here.

 

 

II.  New Resources we are always updating our site with additional resources to help make lesson planning and teaching easier for you and more effective.  Here is a list of some of the new resources you’ll find under the resources section of our website:

archived webinars

  • Archived Webinars: If you missed last month’s webinar series, not to worry!  You can now find recordings of our most recent webinars on Collecting Data in the Natural Environment and Strategies for Integrating ABA into Group Instruction in the archived webinars section of our website (along with many other past webinars)!

 

group-data-collection

 

  • Data Sheets:  After small and large group data collection sheets were featured in last month’s data collection webinar, we received tons of requests to have these available on our website.  In response, these data sheets are now available for download under the data sheets section of the Resources page!

 

 

  • matching-wordsFlash Cards:  Because the goal is always for our students to generalize the skills they are building in the classroom, you can now download advanced word flash cards in different fonts and colors from the flash cards section of the Resources page!

 

 

 

  • lesson-plan Lesson Plans:  And finally, we have recently added a new lesson, Making Requests by Using Signs, which is now available for download in the lesson plans section of the Resources page.

 

 

 

 

II.  Other New Stuff You Can Expect to See:

  • The new “View Data” button on Data Express allows you to view lesson graphs and manage data as you collect it.Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 1.27.13 PM
  • Now when printing out your child activity center login credentials, they will be printed in a fun student-friendly format that students can take home to their parents!Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 1.24.50 PM
  • You can now export all student data to a CSV spreadsheet for easy uploading into your IEP system.Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 1.29.10 PM

If you have any questions about any of the resources or updates please feel free to reach out to us at info@rethinkfirst.com!  We value your feedback–updates like this could never happen without it!