Special Education – Simplified.
Dr. Rita Pierson advocates that each student “needs a champion – an adult who will never give up on them.” If we accept this statement as truth (and, really, who wouldn’t with Dr. Pierson’s amazing track record in education), then Special Education teachers must be in a weight class all their own to contain the shear volume of empathy for and belief in the students they serve each day. These unsung heroes of the educational world face unique challenges each day, working with students to meet their academic, social, and functional goals while juggling progress monitoring, IEP meetings, testing accommodations, and teaching new content. We’ve compiled a list of the nine best websites for Special Education teachers to help manage the chaos of the classroom and simplify data collection, progress monitoring, and more, for free.
Once you integrate Easy CBM into your daily routine, you can kiss painful progress monitoring goodbye. This user-friendly website allows Special Education teachers to download and print or digitally assign curriculum-based assessments targeted towards specific skills that a student may be struggling with or working on. Because of this, Easy CBM makes it easy to progress monitor an entire class or caseload. All CBMs come complete with answer keys that can be used for quick scoring by hand, or that can analyze and measure data on students for any digitally assigned work.
Looking for a unique way to progress monitor your students? Look no further than this gamified classroom tool. Quizizz is a free program where teachers can create various assessments quickly and easily to measure student understanding of a specific topic or skill. When making a quiz, teachers have the option of either typing their own unique questions and answer choices or searching through previously made quizzes for questions related to their topic. With multiple modes of play (including a homework feature for assigning independent work), Quizizz is flexible and can be integrated into your classroom or progress monitoring routine with ease. Furthermore, the memes provided when students answer their questions, coupled with the competitive nature of the game, keeps students engaged with this tool from start to finish. As an added bonus, Quizizz even stores all data from a game session by user, meaning you can download and analyze student answers for comprehension and/or growth (especially if they have taken the same quiz more than once).
A list of the best websites for Special Education teachers would be incomplete without mention of this spectacular website. With an expansive library of student readings and associated quizzes, writing prompts, and activities, NewsELA allows for teachers across content areas to actively engage students in reading high-interest text. More importantly, NewsELA allows for teachers to differentiate the level of the text within the program through control of student accounts and gives students the ability to adjust the lexile level of the provided piece to help them better understand the text provided, giving each student access to the material at a level they level they feel comfortable with. Each text is also annotatable within the program, reinforcing key reading strategies. As if this tool wasn’t great enough, it also collects data on students and charts student growth over time, providing an accurate representation of student progress.
This free resource brings grammar and writing instruction to a whole new level. NoRedInk provides teachers with the ability to create, manage, and monitor classes over a period of time by delivering mini lessons and assessments on targeted skills while engaging students with various references to popular culture. After gathering baseline data on a class, NoRedInk can then target students’ areas of weakness and specific lessons, practice, and assessments can be assigned to help build their capacity as readers and writers. Most lessons take less than 15 minutes to complete and provide many opportunities for scaffolded practice. Similarly to the other aforementioned sites, NoRedInk also collects data on individual students to chart growth over time and pinpoint what skills a student will need to work on next to meet grade level standards, making progress monitoring and IEP goal writing a breeze.
Readwritethink is an extensive collection of various Ed-tech tools, graphic organizers, and lessons/activities created by teachers from around the country. Organized by grade level and content area, this resource is user-friendly and easy to navigate, giving Special Education teachers the ability to find exactly what they need when they need it. Their graphic organizers are especially helpful in meeting specific student modifications and working with students who need to process their thoughts visually. Readwritethink also features a wide variety of interactive classroom resources, giving students with learning disabilities a different way to engage with and demonstrate understanding of the material.
Teaching is all about being able to beg, borrow, and steal materials, and there are few places better to outsource your materials from than TeacherspayTeachers. This website has a plethora of free resources that can be used in Special Education programming such as graphic organizers, doodle notes, progress monitoring data sheets, and differentiated and/or multisensory activities. Once downloaded, these materials can be used again and again, saving you valuable time to be able to write all those IEPs!
We don’t mean to toot our own horn, but TeacherSherpa remains one of the best websites available for Special Education teachers. This one-stop-shop gives Special Education teachers the ability to choose between creating custom worksheets and editing worksheets they find online to be more engaging for or relevant to their students’ individualized needs. This free, easy-to-use website contains thousands of premade lesson templates from other teachers, giving you a wide variety of options across grade levels and content areas to choose from. The intuitive, user-friendly interface takes the hassle out of differentiating assignments.
Students struggling in math and science can especially benefit from the use of BrainGenie, a free website that helps teach and reinforce math skills at a variety of different levels. With hundreds of pre-programmed lessons and assessments, BrainGenie allows for teachers to pick and choose the skills that students need to focus on, providing different ways of explaining the material before assessing students on what they have learned. An added bonus: BrainGenie even gathers progress monitoring data, so you will never again need to bust out a calculator to determine a student’s average accuracy.
Khan Academy is a life (and grade) saver for many students, but it can be particularly helpful in Special Education classrooms. With dozens of videos available on almost any academic subject imaginable, Khan Academy is able to break down and explain, step-by-step, confusing content to students to help them better understand the idea or skill presented. This allows for students with learning disabilities to better understand the material because they can pause, rewind, and watch videos for clarity to work through their own problems. Furthermore, Khan Academy features many informal assessments in each unit, giving students the opportunity to practice their skills prior to applying them to more complex problems.
Have some additional sites to add to this list of the best websites for Special Education teachers? Drop your suggestions in the comment section below!