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Transition Checkbox on Meeting Notices-Make Sure To Check!

Attention Teachers!  As you prepare your meeting notices for transition age youth please remember to go to the bottom of the page and check the box for transition age students.  This box states that representatives of outside agencies involved with transition planning, have been invited to attend this meeting, with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority, where appropriate OR agency participation is not applicable for this student.  As transition coordinators we are often finding this box is not checked when we are reviewing IEPs along with other AEA staff and teachers for the I-STAR compliance process and this is a must have for that review.  If this box is not checked for transition age youth the IEP will be out of compliance.


To blog or not to blog… that is the question!

As our Transition Department pondered how we could better serve our teachers, students, and parents, we had an epiphany.   It went something like this:   “A blog, you say?  But none of us are very tech savvy… yes, it would force us to learn…. okay, we could get information out to more people at a click of a button….  OK!  Let’s do it!!!”    🙂

It is our hope that this blog site will be a useful tool for you.  We have linked most of the resources we have shared from past trainings, so if you need quick access to something, it should now be only a “click” away!  We will also be posting new updates, ah-ha’s, etc. to keep you informed of any changes or ideas that may help you with transition planning.

And, if you are like us, we forget to go back and check those great sights that we find.  To simplify this, you can sign up to have an email sent to you anytime we post something new, so you will automatically be reminded to check it out.  This is  done by going to the right side of the page,  under the SEARCH box.  There are two options you can choose from:  you can either subscribe via RSS  or subscribe via Email.  If you click on the “subscribe via email” then you will get email notices sent directly to the address you designate.  I know I certainly need all the reminders I can get!

So, if you have any transition questions, suggestions, or recommendations, please let us know!  We look forward to blogging and learning with you!


POLL: Transition is….


Thinking More About Concept Based Teaching and Learning

As I was reviewing my materials from our fall training on Concept Based Teaching and Learning, I asked myself what big ideas have remained with me since the training?  One of my personal “big  ideas”  was understanding the actual definition of Concept Based Teaching and Learning.  According to Lynn Erickson (2012), one of the instructors of the training that I went to,  it is a three-dimensional curriculum design model that frames the factual and skill content of subject areas with disciplinary concepts and generalizations.  Concept-based curriculum is contrasted with the traditional two-dimensional model of topic and skill-based curriculum design.  So what is the real difference between the two?  Two-dimensional models focus on facts and skills while three dimensional models focus on concepts, facts, and skills to gain deeper conceptual understanding of disciplinary content.  Whoa… does that even relate at all to what we do in the transition field?  I believe that the many different transition skills that students need for success in their future living, learning, and working environments would benefit from a concept based approach to instruction.  Students and their teachers would use facts as a tool to help students reach deeper and possibly clearer understanding of the skills they need for adulthood.  If students had to help figure out the strategies that needed to be successful in the future rather than being told what strategies work and why they should use them, students may become more involved in the whole transition process.  Additionally they may be able to use those same type concept based teaching and learning strategies in multiple situations in their future because they were part of the development of the strategies they needed.  It’s fuel for thought……if we want our students to develop higher levels of thinking skills we too as educators must continue to challenge ourselves, and I believe that Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction may be one of those ways.


Mark your calendars!

The transition department will be providing trainings on Wednesday, April 10th and Tuesday, April 23, 2013.  Both trainings will be held at the AEA Office in Pocahontas.

We are just in the planning stage of having Sean Roy, from PACER Center be our key presenter, along with Karen Thompson, from ASK Resources for the April 10th date.

We are hoping to be able to present more information to our special education teachers on April 23rd in regards to incorporating I Have A Plan Iowa information into the IEP for next fall’s IEPs.

Watch here for updates in our planning process!


Transition: fitting all the pieces together!


Concept-based Curriculum and Transition

Our Transition Department attended a workshop on Concept-based Curriculum & Instruction earlier this fall,  led by Lynn Erickson and Lois Lanning.  We want to share some ah-ha moments from our trainings, and hopefully you will be able to see how this impacts the overall transition of our students/children.

Concept-based Curriculum is defined by Erickson as “a three-dimensional curriculum design model that frames the factual and skill content of subject areas with disciplinary  concepts and generalizations.”   So… what is the difference between two-dimensional and three-dimensional curriculum designs?  The two-dimensional model is what we  have mostly used in education – – it focuses on facts and skills.  In addition to facts and skills, the three-dimensional model also focuses on concepts, which helps develop a deeper understanding and application of the material.

It is easy to see that helping all of our students be able to apply what they learn is critical.  Simply memorizing facts for a test which are then immediately forgotten (because there is no application/conceptual understanding) does not help them later in life.

As we read and learn more about Concept-based Curriculum and instruction, we will share tidbits  with you.  After all, our ultimate goal is to  help our students be as best prepared for life after high school, right?

For more information, check out Lois Lanning’s book “Designing a Concept-based Curriculum for English Language Arts” and Dr. Lynn Erickson’s book “Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom.”