Welcome to Off the Shelf, where each month, I’ll be delving into new publications, chatting with authors and connecting  you with the research-to-practice knowledge you need in your classroom. Stay tuned!


Lorraine Sobson
Editor and Manager, Professional Publications

Wicked focused on outcomes

Co-teaching has gotten a lot of attention as the practices of inclusion and collaboration have gained traction in schools. With these kinds of changes, I have been wondering about how co-teaching is evolving. What’s new in co-teaching? What are the trends? To find out more, I spoke with co-teaching expert Lisa Dieker. Lisa has been …

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Inclusion Drives Innovation

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I know that’s a mouthful, so we’ll call it NDEAM. This is an observance near and dear to my heart because, in special education, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? We work every day toward the end goal of preparing students for happy, fulfilling, and productive lives. …


Families in the Fold

Families can play an important role as collaborators in a child’s education, but collaboration between families and schools is sometimes tricky. A number of variables can complicate effective communication and partnership when well-meaning educators reach out to family members. Because each interaction can be different, I turned to scholar and educator Wendy Murawski to learn …


Innovation with Accountability

If you’ve had your eye on education news over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed a surge in stories about school “choice” for parents and students. While much of this discussion pertains to school vouchers, I thought it presented a good opportunity to talk about charter schools, which also fall under the umbrella of …


Play Your Way to Better Behavior

Challenging behavior can disrupt the learning of everyone in a classroom, so finding the right method to address it is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, doing that isn’t always easy. Methods for addressing challenging behaviors have evolved out of a complex history of inquiry in the areas of neuroscience, child psychology, behavior analysis, and counseling. That’s …


English Learners in the News

I’m a bit of a news junkie, and watching the stream of stories flowing across my desk lately, I can’t help but notice an uptick in stories about English learners (ELs). If you read CEC’s weekly newsletter, Special Education Today, perhaps you’ve noticed the same thing. In recent weeks we’ve seen stories about whether the …


Achieving Mastery in Math

Current practice in math instruction assumes that students who meet learning standards in arithmetic will experience success in algebra. But that hasn’t always proven to be the case. We call this the “arithmetic to algebra gap.” CEC’s new book, “Bridging the Gap Between Arithmetic and Algebra,” asks teachers to rethink the way we teach elementary …


Can We Balance Enrichment With Accessibility?

Pressure to improve STEM outcomes can leave you focusing on math and science as endpoints—the things we need to improve. I find CEC’s U-STARS~PLUS series really special because it looks at helping students be “at potential” in science as the means to an end, instead of as the end itself. Mary Ruth Coleman, author of CEC’s U-STARS~PLUS books, …


How to Make Grading Easier

Grades and grading can be a source of angst for new and experienced teachers alike – particularly when trying to ensure that grades for students with disabilities are meaningful and support learning. Grading is just one of the topics addressed in CEC’s newly released Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers. This week, I chatted about grading …