Classroom Management Series


Evidence-Based Practices for Dropout Prevention for Students with Disabilities

By Caryn R. London

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Caryn R. London. As required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states must submit yearly reports to The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that disclose the state’s collective performance for meeting specific targets that measure the implementation and performance of IDEA requirements, as reported by Local Education Agencies (U. S. Department of Education, 2023, August 21). The dropout rate of students ages 14-21 with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) is one specific target. This target is calculated by examining all six categories for exiting special education and school in general (graduated with a regular high school diploma, graduated with an alternate diploma, received a certificate, dropped out, aged out, and died), and then dividing this number by only the students that dropped out (U. S. Department of Education, 2023, April 16). When this statistic is compared to students without disabilities, it is clear that students with disabilities are at a greater risk for dropping out of school (Stark & Noel, 2015; McFarland et al., 2016). While transition planning within student IEPs and yearly monitoring is required per IDEA, students with disabilities are still more likely to drop out of school compared to their non-disabled peers (MacFarland et al., 2019). Unfortunately research focusing on dropout prevention specifically for students with disabilities is limited.

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Articles and Series Title List

Classroom Management Series Articles

Flexible Seating

By Carol Krigger

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Carol Krigger and addresses the issue of flexible seating in the classroom. Over the years, children can be observed sitting at a desk for long periods of time. This is especially difficult for special needs students. The school day is about eight hours on average, much of that time is spent in a chair with the child expected to maintain focus with little to no movement. When addressing special education students, teachers are encouraged to find more ways to keep the attention of the student. Activities involving movement are sometimes incorporated. However, special needs and general education students alike are still tapping pencils, flipping bottles, and getting up from their seats. Behavior management systems provide support for students and teachers in hopes of diminishing the behavior. Would providing the special needs child the choice of preferred seating assist in minimizing the distracting behaviors observed? Does flexible or alternative seating benefit the attention span and academic performance in learners, especially learners with exceptionalities?

SLANT: A New Behavior Management System


This issue of NASET's Classroom Management series was written by Dr. Faye Jones. The purpose of this article is to introduce SLANT, a behavior modification system used in many schools. It is an acronym for Sit Up, Listen, Ask Questions, Nod, and Track the Speaker. SLANT is designed to assist students in the use of positive body language in class. It encourages students to be attentive, active, and become productive learners. This system can be used in the general education and special education setting.

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Energy Drain and its Effect on Behavior and Learning


Low Tension Level - Division of Energy

Everyone possesses a certain amount of psychic energy to use in dealing with the everyday demands and stresses of life. In normal development there is a certain amount of stress but because of an absence of major conflicts which tend to drain energy, the individual has more than enough to keep things in perspective. Consequently, the division of energy usually results in what we call positive behavior symptoms.This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series prvides information about energy drain and the effectrs on behavior and learning.

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I Have a Voice and I Deserve One: Teachers Giving Special-Needs Students A Voice

By Victoria Alexandria Smith

University of South Carolina-Columbia

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Victoria Alexandria Smith of the University of South Carolina-Columbia. Many students with disabilities are questioned their capability of learning and having a voice at school and in life. There are countless misconceptions made that places a negative stigma on students with disabilities. Regardless of the severity of a child’s disability, they have a right to a voice. They are still a learner that has a right to education. It is morally unjust to discriminate against a child with disabilities. A way to help these students have a voice is having teachers as advocates building awareness and acceptance in the school environment. This article will summarize teachers as advocates and the strategies they use, the importance of students with disabilities, and how they are given a voice in their school environment.

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Using Classroom Design to Reduce Challenging Behaviors in the Elementary Classroom

By Marla J. Lohmann, Kathleen A. Boothe, & Natalie M. Nenovich

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Marla J. Lohmann, Kathleen A. Boothe, & Natalie M. Nenovich. Elementary school teachers see challenging behaviors every day and may be overwhelmed by the behaviors in their classrooms.  To assist with these challenging behaviors, special education teachers are often asked to serve in a consulting role for teachers who are planning classroom behavior management systems for their own classrooms.  In this article the authors present Tier 1, classroom-wide strategies.  Each of these strategies is effective for addressing classroom behavior challenges and, when used together, the likelihood of success is increased.

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Token Economy Systems to Increase Appropriate Behaviors

By Norma Samburgo

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Norma Samburgo and its focus is on token economy systems to increase appropriate behaviors. Behavior management is an obstacle faced by many teachers on a daily basis. The way students behave in class may determine the type of learning environment they will be immersed in, the extent of the success in the lesson delivery, the degree of students’ understanding, and in consequence, students’ achievement.  The selection of evidence-based behavior management techniques should be the first step every teacher takes before planning and delivering a lesson, especially in a middle school classroom with students with learning disabilities.  Students with learning disabilities may display disruptive behaviors such as being off task, talking out of turn, not completing tasks, and distracting other students to get their attention.  These disruptive behaviors not only have an undesirable influence on students’ academic progress, but also on the teachers’ performance since they stimulate stress (Clunies-Ross, Little, & Kienhuis, 2008).  In addition, these behaviors are associated with the lacking of time to cover all the benchmarks in the curriculum because that time is used to work on solving classrooms disruptions and therefore, making impossible to regain the educational atmosphere.

Educating Parents on Positive Behavior Support Systems for Students with Disabilities: A Review of Literature

By Janine Castro

This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management Series was written by Janine Castro of Florida International University.  As evidenced at schools and, children with disabilities can pose many demanding challenges for their parents, teachers, and service providers to resolve. There is a need for constant attention to be provided and the search of strategies that can be used in school and at home is ongoing in order to help students with disabilities to fulfill their needs and have a high quality life, positive behavioral supports (PBS) must be in place. PBS can provide parents, educators and everyone who is involved in the children’s education, evidence-based strategies that help to understand why problem behavior occurs and to identify multiple strategies to effectively reduce problem behavior. The focus of this article is to educate parents on positive behavior support system, special education teachers must consider several factors, one of the most important ones is the need of educating parents to be able to help their kids. There are plenty of literature and data on approaches and new strategies being used all over the nation, (McKevitt & Braaksma, 2008), and most include the application of PBS.

Cooperative Teaching to Benefit All Learners: What Can Educational Leaders Do to Ensure Success?

By Kristen Bonanno-Sotiropoulos, Ms.Ed.

This edition of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Kristen Bonanno-Sotiropoulos. With the ever increasing number of diverse learners entering our classrooms, it is imperative that educators are armed with the knowledge, means and resources to support achievement for all students. One powerful teaching strategy is cooperative teaching, also known as collaborative or co-teaching. Research has proven the effectiveness of having multiple educators planning together and teaching jointly. To ensure positive outcomes of cooperative teaching there are several responsibilities, characteristics, and understandings that school leaders must embrace. This paper seeks to uncover and explain how school leaders can support and grow the successfulness of cooperative teaching strategies.

Co-Teaching Comprehension Strategies in the General Education Classroom

By Holly Foarde

Due to both the Iowa Core Curriculum and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, special education students are receiving core reading instruction in the general education setting alongside their peers.  One problem that has emerged, however, is that some students are unable to apply comprehension strategies to grade level texts because the texts are too complex for them.  Co-teaching comprehension strategies with the general education teacher is one way to address this issue.  This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series, written by Holly Foarde, discusses the rationale for co-teaching comprehension strategies in the general education classroom and explains to how to implement co-teaching during reading core instruction time.

Lillian’s Lessons


This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management series was written by Joan M. Fenske RN, MS, PhD. “Lillian’s Lessons” is an original 3730-word manuscript describing the critical functions performed by a special education teacher. The essential role of the special education teacher provides not only the student but also the family with multiple lessons learned. In addition, all members of the student’s interdisciplinary team as well as administrators and school board members learn how a special education curriculum educates all who participate. The first person narrative is used to enliven the premise of the material. All subjects covered are referenced within the body of the manuscript using American Psychological Style (APA) format. Individuals named are fictional and/or no longer alive thus no privacy issues pertain to activities portrayed.

By Joan M Fenske RN, MS, PhD

Empowering Parents in the Special Education Process


This issue of NASET’s Classroom Management Series was written by Dr. Marquis Grant.  In the article, Dr. Grant addresses the fact that advocacy for children is very important. Parents are a child’s first and best advocates, bringing special knowledge and expertise to the academic environment, which should be encouraged and respected (Oregon Council for Developmental Disabilities, 2005). Yet, when it comes to the nuances of education, parents often perceive themselves to be outsiders when it comes to their child’s academics.  Research supports Family and parent engagement as being paramount in the academic success of students (Johns, 2013). In fact, data shows that 86% of the general public believes that school improvement depends heavily on support from parents. Lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem facing public schools (Michigan Department of Education, 2001). As a child matriculates through his educational careers, parent support declines considerably from each year to the next; by the time a student reaches high school, parent involvement is typically non-existent. But if parents have a central role in influencing their children's progress in school, research has shown that schools in turn have an important part to play in determining levels of parent involvement (Michigan Department of Education, 2001). Recent research indicates that family resistance to school involvement can be reversed. (McDermott and Rothenberg, 2000).

Series VIII

How Teacher Personality and Style Affects the Growth of Self Confidence Series


More and more, teachers are becoming a primary influence in children’s lives, and in some cases they may be the only healthy adults some children encounter during the day. Twenty five years ago family structures were different, and teachers did not require the depth and variety of social/emotional skills that are required of today’s teachers. Teachers today are not only educators, but therapists, parent substitutes, mentors, advocates, and more.

Therefore, it stands to reason that a teacher’s personality and teaching style can have a profound impact on children’s academic performance and general development. The importance of teaching style in creating a positive environment in which student confidence is fostered is the discussion of this series. It will be very important to step back and evaluate how you are defined as a teacher, your goals in teaching, and the manner in which you present yourself to students. Does your teaching style allow for an environment where confidence, security, performance and well being can really be reinforced or an environment that may actually impede the these and other factors in children?

No single aspect of a teacher’s personality may be responsible for improving or impeding the growth of confidence in a student. For example, a very strict teacher who is fair, kind, genuine, logical, and nurturing may facilitate the growth of self confidence and well being despite being very strict. On the other hand, a teacher who is funny but unstructured and disorganized may not facilitate children’s self confidence or enhance performance. Despite the fact that the children love the teacher, they may not gain confidence or academic growth if the teacher cannot provide the real-life success experiences necessary for the growth of self confidence, academic performance, security and personal growth.

Part I - Positive Teacher Characteristics

Part II - Negative Teacher Characteristics

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Series VII

Adapting Curriculum for Students with Special Needs Series


One of the most important things to keep in mind when working with student with special needs is that they can learn. In many cases, it is not the lack of understanding or knowledge that causes problems but rather the manner of presentation, response requirements, and level of presentation. The need to learn how to adapt material is crucial when working with this population. These adaptations offer them a better chance of success and task completion.

Many times, teachers of students with special needs realize that these students will not be able to learn the material being presented unless some changes or adaptations are made. These changes may need to be made in the manner of presentation of the material, the type of material presented, the manner of response, the tests and quizzes presents, homework expectations, and grading systems used. All of these adaptations increase a student’s chances of learning something. NASET’s 9 part series, Adapting Curriculum for Students with Special Needs Series, will consist of the following:

Part I - What are Curriculum Adaptations?

Part II - Nine Ways to Adapt Instruction

Part III - Checklist of Suggestions for Adapting the Curriculum

Part IV - Strategies for Adapting Tests and Quizzes

Part V - Adapting Response Mode

Part VI - Working with the Child with a Learning Disability in the Classroom

Part VII - Working with the Child with an Emotional Disturbance in the Classroom

Part VIII - Working with the Child with Intellectual Disabilities in the Classroom

Part IX - Adapting Grading Systems

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Series VI

Functional Behavioral Assessment

Functional behavioral assessment is generally considered to be a problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior. It relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the purposes of specific behavior and to help IEP teams select interventions to directly address the problem behavior. Functional behavioral assessment should be integrated, as appropriate, throughout the process of developing, reviewing, and, if necessary, revising a student’s IEP. A functional behavioral assessment looks beyond the behavior itself. The focus when conducting a functional behavioral assessment is on identifying significant, pupil-specific social, affective, cognitive, and/or environmental factors associated with the occurrence (and non-occurrence) of specific behaviors. This broader perspective offers a better understanding of the function or purpose behind student behavior.

Behavioral intervention plans based on an understanding of "why" a student misbehaves are extremely useful in addressing a wide range of problem behaviors. This new series is designed to provide you with the resources needed to understand the usefulness of functional behavioral assessments and behavioral intervention plans in addressing student problem behavior, as well as what the law requires of school districts with regard to these topics.

Links to each issue of this series:

Part I - Click Here

Part II-(A) - Click Here

Part II-(B) - Click Here

Part III - Click Here

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Series V

Research Based Strategies for the Classroom

Series V of Classroom Management is titled Research Based Strategies for the Classroom.

Connecting research recommendations to practice can improve instruction. These key research-based strategies have impact on student achievement—helping all students, in all kinds of classrooms. Strategies are organized into categories of familiar practices in order to help you fine-tune your teaching to improve student achievement. The topices that will be coivered in this series will include the following:

Part I - Thematic Instruction

Students learn better from thematic, interdisciplinary instruction -- themes are a way of understanding new concepts and provide mental organizing schemes.

Part II - Identifying Similarities and Differences

Learning to classify and discern differences and similarities prepares students for employing metaphor, analogy, and higher-order thinking skills.

Part III - Summarizing and Note Taking

Effective summarizing requires analysis that leads to deeper understanding. Students benefit from taking notes in both linguistic and visual forms.

Part IV - Reinforcing Effort

Student attitudes and beliefs have a significant effect on success in school. Achievement can increase when teachers show the connection between effort and success.

Part V - Homework and Practice

Homework can increase student understanding when assignments provide the opportunities needed to practice and apply new learning.

Part VI - Nonlinguistic Representation

We store knowledge in two forms: linguistic and nonlinguistic. The more students use both systems, the better they are able to think about and recall knowledge.

Part VII - Cooperative Grouping

Grouping can promote student learning and build interpersonal skills when done wisely and support structures are in place.

Part VIII - Setting Objectives

Teachers communicate learning goals to students every day. Focus students on meeting those goals and greatly improve their chances of success.

Part IX - Providing Feedback

Criteria for success and specific, timely feedback can help increase students understanding and improve learning.

Part X - Generating and Testing Hypotheses

Generating hypotheses and applying knowledge when testing requires careful orchestration of experience. Technology tools add authenticity to the learning experience.

Part XI - Cues Questions, and Advance Organizers

Increase students' readiness for learning with cues and questions that connect new ideas to existing knowledge.

Part XII - Simulations and Games

Simulation offer unique opportunities to enhance learning and allow students to test knowledge, gain experience, and practice skills.

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Series IV

Behavior Crisis Management Tools


The Classroom Management Series IV is titled Behavior Crisis Management Tools. This series focused on practical and productive techniques that can be used in a variety of behavior crisis situations that may occur in a classroom. Teachers have told us that one of their major concerns has been dealing with severe behavior problems in the classroom.

While there are many different types of crisis situations that may occur having the proper “tools” can prevent a situation from becoming even worse. This Classroom Management Series provided a variety of crisis tools for all types of situations. These tools have been gathered over the years and have been very successful in actual classroom situations.

Series IV Links:

Part 1 -  Pre-Empt Behavior

Part 2 -  Proximity Teaching

Part 9 -  Teacher as Judge

Part 17 -  Points to Remember

Series III

Teachers Responsibilities in the Identification and Reporting of Abuse and Neglect


As special education teachers and mandated reporters you are faced with an extraordinary responsibility in making sure that all the children you come into contact with on a daily basis are not being mistreated, abused or neglected. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that in 1999, 58.4 percent of all child maltreatment victims were found to have been neglected (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). In other words, of the 826,000 maltreated children in the United States in 1999, 482,000 were neglected. Although the rate of neglect has decreased from 7.7 per 1,000 children in 1995 to 6.5 per 1,000 children in 1999, neglect remains the most common form of maltreatment.

But these numbers only include the children who have been reported to Child Protective Service (CPS) agencies and whose cases were substantiated.1 A study conducted in 1993 found that almost two million children were endangered by neglect in the United States (Sedlack & Broadhurst, 1996). Clearly, the problem of neglect is pervasive. This Classroom Series will provide you with all the information necessary in identifying, understanding, reporting, and possibly preventing a child from being abused or neglected. While it is only your responsibility as a mandated reporter to “suspect” abuse or neglect and report it according to the laws of your state, the picture of abuse and neglect is larger than just the identification and reporting of such serious situations.

Series II

The Step-by-Step Guide to Building Confidence In the Classroom


The Importance of Building Confidence in the Classroom - Overview

Building Confidence in the Classroom-The Use of Positive Restructuring for Children is being presented to help you understand the very necessary foundational process we call confidence building with every child in the classroom. Without a foundation of confidence, learning, retention and thinking may be greatly affected. Positive Restructuring, an organized program for building confidence, is the vehicle that will allow you to accomplish this task in a developmental and organized manner which will ensure greater capacity and motivation for learning.

As teachers, you face problems everyday with children who are resistant, unmotivated, have fears of failure, avoid handing in work, are unwilling to participate and so on. Many times, these students’ symptoms are treated instead of the reasons why such behavior exists.  Furthermore, the real cause of these symptoms is a lack of confidence in his/her ability. When children lack this foundation of confidence, numerous secondary symptoms occur, causing great strain on their self esteem and the patience of teachers.

Teachers are well aware of how great the classroom environment is for those children who have a sense of confidence. They participate, are motivated, have positive outlooks, willing to venture out, willingness to try new things, and enjoy doing their work and learn. However, one must ask what the difference is and in many cases it is nothing more than the perception of low confidence verses the perception of high confidence. Since perception almost always determines behavior, changing one’s confidence will change one’s perception and therefore increases the likelihood of changing behavioral outcomes.

Many educators have not been provided with a clear understanding of why children do what they do and what to do when they do it. Confidence building is too crucial to leave it up to trial and error. This series will assist every teacher in this crucial task Building confidence in children should be the first responsibility of every teacher, since very little can take place without it. Such responsibility requires a complete understanding of all the pitfalls and options available. This series will provide that need.

Series I

Step-by-Step Guide to Setting up Your Classroom

Series I Links:

Part I - What to do Before the Start of School - Site Visitor Example

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