February 2017
Issue 4
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Welcome to the PreK-12 Instruction Snapshot, a monthly newsletter for all teachers supporting students with disabilities on the general education/core curriculum.
In this Issue:

1) Instructional Strategy
2) Behavioral Strategy 
3) Online Resource

4) Policy Corner
Close Reading has become one of the most effective ways for teaching reading comprehension, text structure, and in-depth meaning of texts.  It is a way to help students become proficient, independent thinkers and readers.

So what is Close Reading? An instructional approach where students engage in multiple reads of a text to 
investigate its meaning(s), vocabulary, style, and language structure utilized. Close reading allows students to dig deeper into the text and make sense of what they read.    

According to Tim Shanahan, Literacy Expert and Researcher, close reading requires a substantial emphasis on readers figuring out a high quality text. This "figuring out" is accomplished primarily by reading and discussing the text (as opposed to being told about the text by a teacher or being informed about it through some textbook commentary).

What about my students with disabilities? What can I do to help them? One way to address students with disabilities is by providing supports for them as they embark on the journey of close reading.  We can do this through having talks about the text we read as a group.  We can use sentence starters that address what the author is saying, the challenging words the author uses, the essential message the author wants the reader to understand, and the language the author uses to add meaning to the text.  

                          Click on the image below to download the foursquare template
                                     that can be used to address the areas mentioned.

You can also cut the foursquare template cards and pass them out to the students to set a purpose for reading a particular text. The foursquare template cards can be addressed one at time.  

Remember that the end goal of engaging in close reading is for the students to eventually become independent readers equipped with the right tools to analyze and discover the essence of a text.  
Click on the image below to read more about Tim Shanahan's blog on Close Reading.  
Timothy Shanahan is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former first-grade teacher.

You can also sign up for his weekly blog here.
Have you ever been in a situation where you continue trying to get your students' attention and for some reason it just doesn't work? How do we address such a challenge?  Through the use of Attention Signals. Establishing Attention Signals are a way to ensure students acknowledge that the teacher needs their attention during a lesson or for an upcoming transition.  Research indicates that the signals must be both visual and auditory in order to reach all learners.  Signals must be taught and practiced prior to being utilized.  It may also be necessary to re-teach expectations for Attention Signals throughout the semester.

Click on the Teacher Toolkit image to watch a teacher explaining how she uses
attention signals in the classroom.  


If you enjoyed the video and want to see additional examples, register to receive more tools from "The Teacher Toolkit" free of charge now. 

Also, for more strategies click below on the Division of Special Education 
Positive Behavior Support,
Multi-Tiered Tips & Strategies II Handbook.

Using Cornell Notes in the Classroom

Using Cornell Notes is a simple form of note taking in the classroom that helps students highlight main ideas and key points.  Not only is it a strategy to help students organize their ideas, but it is also an effective tool that helps students actually make sense of what they are learning.  

Carolyn Newman, teacher at Gardena High School, uses Cornell Notes in her classroom.  In her Special Day Program (SDP), where she teaches World History and American History, students use Cornell Notes as she introduces new concepts or when they read specific texts. Students use this method to structure their ideas and easily access information to write multi paragraph essays. They also use the notes to study for an upcoming quiz or test.  Cornell Notes can be used for students in elementary grades as well. 

                                     Click on the image to download a Cornell Notes template. 

              Click on the image below to view a step-by-step video on how to use Cornell Notes.   

Diploma and Graduation Guidelines 

This Bulletin provides guidance for schools regarding the guidelines for the issuance of the high school diploma and participation in the graduation and senior activities.  

Students who may participate in the graduation ceremony include those who meet the high school diploma requirements (GEN ED & SPED) and students with disabilities who qualify for the Certificate of Completion per Education Code 56390. This applies to both comprehensive and options high schools.

Click on the Bulletin image for more information.  
Division of Special Education
Los Angeles Unified School District
PreK-12 Instruction Snapshot Archive

Need Additional Assistance?
Contact: Sonia Flores at 

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