Great place to start getting curious about difficult student behavior.
Basic Phonics Skills Test III
The Basic Phonics Skills Test III (BPST) is a phonics assessment that consists of the recognition of letter sounds, specific phonics patterns, and the blending of single syllable and polysyllabic words out of context. The BPST is a tool for teacher to isolate the phonics sounds students can identify and blend successfully.
– Give the student a copy of the BPST Student sheets.
– Begin with the letter sounds portion of the test, or begin with the word lists if
individual letter sounds have already been identified or are not a concern.
– Ask the student to read the sound and/or words aloud from left to right. Words must be blended, not simply sounded out, to be considered correct.
– Record the student’s correct responses with a check mark above the corresponding letter and/or word on the BPST Teacher sheet.
– You may choose to also record the student’s incorrect responses by writing the mispronunciation given above the corresponding letter and/or word.
– Consider stopping when the student is unable to correctly read all or most of the words in two consecutive rows.
– Do not offer the student any assistance except to ask him/her to move on to the next word as needed.
– Consider carefully the errors the student made in each section to determine
possible areas for instruction and intervention. Any section in which a student
achieved less than 80% proficiency represents a possible area of focus. The order of
sections does not represent a particular instructional sequence.
– It is important to note that a student who mispronounces polysyllabic words out of
context may demonstrate a need for vocabulary instruction versus phonics intervention. Listen to the child read polysyllabic words in the context of an
appropriately leveled text to determine if a vocabulary need is present
Why is this important?
Phonics is the process of mapping the sounds in words to written letters. This is one of the earliest reading skills children should develop, because it introduces them to the link between letters and sounds, known as the alphabetic principle.
A lack of phonics instruction in early childhood can lead to reading difficulties further down the track. It’s important that children can grasp the concept that printed text represents the sounds of spoken words. There are many phonics activities that you can do with your child at home, which will help your child to develop early phonics skills, although it’s important to remember that these activities should always be complemented with regular reading.
We use measures like the BPST 3 to help understand the child’s level of phonics competency to help inform our instruction. Some children who score low will need additional practice with developing their understanding of phonics.
The day after the mass shooting occurred in Florida many kids were talking about the massacre. They were asking a variety of questions like, “Will that happen to us at our school?” or simply “Am I safe at school?” As educators, parents, and community members we have an obligation to know what to say to our kids. This post will review what the National Association of School Psychologist (NASP) recommends.
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
- Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
- Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
- Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
- Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
- Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
- Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
- Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
- Schools are safe places. School staff works with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
The school building is safe because … (cite specific school procedures).
- We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
- There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
- Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and probability that it will affect you (our school community).
- Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
- Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
- Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.
NASP has additional information for parents and educators on school safety, violence prevention, children’s trauma reactions, and crisis response at www.nasponline.org.
The handout, Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers is available in the following languages:
Kidpower is an excellent organization with a world-class reputation in supporting child safety. Their materials and training have helped many schools in our area and I can attest to their commitment to building safer communities.
Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International is a global non-profit leader dedicated to child protection advocacy and empowering people of all ages, abilities, cultures, beliefs, and identities with life skills for safety and success. Our vision is to work together to create cultures of safety, respect, and kindness for everyone, everywhere.
Since 1989, Kidpower has protected nearly 5 million people, including those with special needs, from bullying, abuse, kidnapping, and other violence by empowering them with awareness, knowledge, and skills – and has prepared them to take charge of their safety and well being. Worldwide, thousands of educators, mental health experts, public safety officials, health care providers, community leaders, and parents recommend Kidpower for being effective, positive, hands-on, safe, trauma-informed, culturally competent, age-appropriate, and relevant.
Kidpower delivers services through:
Hands-on experiential workshops for families, schools, organizations, businesses, and agencies
Training for people wishing to learn how to use and teach our programs
Partnerships with groups that share our commitment to safety and respect
Consulting and coaching calls, for individuals and groups, to provide long-distance support
Extensive online educational resources including articles, handouts, posters, and videos
Cartoon-illustrated books for children, teens, and adults and other publications
Initiatives such as International Child Protection Advocacy Month in September
WHAT IS AN INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND?
An inclusive playground addresses the needs of all people including those who have autism, intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other disabilities. It also addresses the needs of typical children. An inclusive playground accommodates everyone and challenges them at their own developmental level. Source
(courtesy of AAA State of Play in the article “How-To Accommodate Special Needs Children on the Playground”)
Follow these links to learn more about accommodating special-needs children on the playground:
In our schools, gender awareness and the fluidity of gender attitudes are evolving. The understanding and acceptance of this gender continuum can be a barrier to student learning. This post is to help illuminate concepts, tools, and strategies to help ensure students are supported on campus.
Glossary of Terms – Transgender
- The classification of a person as male or female. At birth, infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy. (This is what is written on the birth certificate.) A person’s sex, however, is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including: chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
- Gender Identity
- A person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (see non-binary and/or genderqueer below.) Unlike gender expression (see below) gender identity is not visible to others.
- Gender Expression
- External manifestations of gender, expressed through a person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Typically, transgender people seek to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Sexual Orientation
- Describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.
- Transgender (adj.)
- An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms – including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the person. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.
- Transsexual (adj.)
- An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities. Still preferred by some people who have permanently changed – or seek to change – their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. It is best to ask which term a person prefers. If preferred, use as an adjective: transsexual woman or transsexual man.
- Used as shorthand to mean transgender or transsexual – or sometimes to be inclusive of a wide variety of identities under the transgender umbrella. Because its meaning is not precise or widely understood, be careful when using it with audiences who may not understand what it means. Avoid unless used in a direct quote or in cases where you can clearly explain the term’s meaning in the context of your story.
- While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. Those men typically identify as heterosexual. This activity is a form of gender expression and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite”.
- Altering one’s birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition can include some or all of the following personal, medical, and legal steps: telling one’s family, friends, and co-workers; using a different name and new pronouns; dressing differently; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) one or more types of surgery. The exact steps involved in transition vary from person to person. Avoid the phrase “sex change”.
- Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
- Also called Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). Refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition (see transition above). Avoid the phrase “sex change operation.” Do not refer to someone as being “pre-op” or “post-op.” Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to, undergo medical surgeries. Journalists should avoid overemphasizing the role of surgeries in the transition process.
- Gender Identity Disorder (GID)
- outdated, see Gender Dysphoria
- Gender Dysphoria
- In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) which replaced the outdated entry “Gender Identity Disorder” with Gender Dysphoria, and changed the criteria for diagnosis. The necessity of a psychiatric diagnosis remains controversial, as both psychiatric and medical authorities recommend individualized medical treatment through hormones and/or surgeries to treat gender dysphoria. Some transgender advocates believe the inclusion of Gender Dysphoria in the DSM is necessary in order to advocate for health insurance that covers the medically necessary treatment recommended for transgender people.
Transgender women are not cross-dressers or drag queens. Drag queens are men, typically gay men, who dress like women for the purpose of entertainment. Be aware of the differences between transgender women, cross-dressers, and drag queens. Use the term preferred by the person. Do not use the word “transvestite” at all, unless someone specifically self-identifies that way.
OTHER TERMS YOU MAY HEAR
You may hear the following terms when doing research on transgender issues or speaking to an interview subject. As they are not commonly known outside the LGBTQ community, they will require context and definition if used in mainstream media.
- A term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. “Cis-” is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as,” and is therefore an antonym of “trans-.” A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say non-transgender people.
- Gender Non-Conforming
- A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional – that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.
- Non-binary and/or genderqueer
- Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender or transsexual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer.
TRANSGENDER NAMES, PRONOUN USAGE & DESCRIPTIONS
In 2015, The Washington Post updated its style guide to include the singular they to describe people who “identify as neither male nor female.” It is increasingly common for people who have a nonbinary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun.
- Always use a transgender person’s chosen name.
- Many transgender people are able to obtain a legal name change from a court. However, some transgender people cannot afford a legal name change or are not yet old enough to legally change their name. They should be afforded the same respect for their chosen name as anyone else who uses a name other than their birth name (e.g., celebrities).
- Use the pronoun that matches the person’s authentic gender.
- A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or undergone surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender. If you are not certain which pronoun to use, ask the person, “What pronouns do you use?”
- If it is not possible to ask a transgender person which pronoun they use, use the pronoun that is consistent with the person’s appearance and gender expression or use the singular they.
- For example, if a person wears a dress and uses the name Susan, feminine pronouns are usually appropriate. Or it is also acceptable to use the singular they to describe someone when you don’t wish to assign a gender. For example: “Every individual should be able to express their gender in a way that is comfortable for them.”
- Some people use the singular they to reflect their non-binary gender identity.
- In 2015, The Washington Post updated its style guide to include the singular they to describe people who “identify as neither male nor female.” It is increasingly common for people who have a non-binary gender identity to use they/them as their pronoun. For example: “Jacob writes eloquently about their non-binary identity. They have also appeared frequently in the media to talk about their family’s reaction to their gender expression.”
It is never appropriate to put quotation marks around either a transgender person’s chosen name or the pronoun that reflects that person’s gender identity.”
Terms to Avoid
- “transgenders,” “a transgender”
- Transgender should be used as an adjective, not as a noun. Do not say, “Tony is a transgender,” or “The parade included many transgenders.”
- “transgender people”,”a transgender person”
- For example, “Tony is a transgender man,” or “The parade included many transgender people.”
- The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous “-ed” tacked onto the end. An “-ed” suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is “gayed” or Ellen DeGeneres is “lesbianed,” therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is “transgendered.”
- This is not a term commonly used by transgender people. This is a term used by anti-transgender activists to dehumanize transgender people and reduce who they are to “a condition.”
- “being transgender”
- Refer to being transgender instead, or refer to the transgender community. You can also refer to the movement for transgender equality and acceptance.
- “sex change,” “pre-operative,” “post-operative
- Referring to a “sex-change operation,” or using terms such as “pre-operative” or “post-operative,” inaccurately suggests that a person must have surgery in order to transition. Avoid overemphasizing surgery when discussing transgender people or the process of transition.
- “biologically male,” “biologically female,” “genetically male,” “genetically female,” “born a man,” “born a woman”
- Problematic phrases like those above are reductive and overly-simplify a very complex subject. As mentioned above, a person’s sex is determined by a number of factors – not simply genetics – and a person’s biology does not “trump” a person’s gender identity. Finally, people are born babies: they are not “born a man” or “born a woman.”
- “assigned male at birth,” “assigned female at birth” or “designated male at birth,” “designated female at birth”
- “passing” and “stealth”
- While some transgender people may use these terms among themselves, it is not appropriate to repeat them in mainstream media unless it’s in a direct quote. The terms refer to a transgender person’s ability to go through daily life without others making an assumption that they are transgender. However, the terms themselves are problematic because “passing” implies “passing as something you’re not,” while “stealth” connotes deceit. When transgender people are living as their authentic selves, and are not perceived as transgender by others, that does not make them deceptive or misleading.
- “visibly transgender,” “not visibly transgender”
- Defamatory: “deceptive,” “fooling,” “pretending,” “posing,” “trap,” or “masquerading”
- Gender identity is an integral part of a person’s identity. Do not characterize transgender people as “deceptive,” as “fooling” or “trapping” others, or as “pretending” to be, “posing” or “masquerading” as a man or a woman. Such descriptions are inaccurate, defamatory and insulting. (See “passing” and “stealth” as problematic terms above.)
- Defamatory: “tranny,” “she-male,” “he/she,” “it,” “shim”
- These words dehumanize transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, “The person used a derogatory word for a transgender person.” Please note that while some transgender people may use “tranny” to describe themselves, others find it extremely offensive.
- Defamatory: “bathroom bill”
- A term created and used by far-right extremists to oppose nondiscrimination laws that protect transgender people. The term is geared to incite fear and panic at the thought of encountering transgender people in public restrooms. Simply refer to the nondiscrimination law/ ordinance instead. For additional resources on how to fairly and accurately report on nondiscrimination laws and bathrooms, please see “Debunking the ‘Bathroom Bill’ Myth – Accurate reporting on LGBT nondiscrimination: A guide for journalists.”
Tips for Teachers: Helping the Child with Cancer
• If possible, visit or call the child in the hospital or at home. Let them know you are thinking of them.
• Children will benefit from talking with teachers, parents, or hospital personnel in preparation for the return to school. They will cope far better knowing what to expect, and how to respond. They also need a chance to express their worries and concerns and to know how these will be addressed.
• Be alert to rumours on the school yard and attempt to dispel them as soon as possible. It may be helpful to have a standard response to inquiries, with approval from the family (e.g., “He’s getting excellent care and we are hopeful he will get well.”).
• Work with families and hospital staff to develop an educational program that will meet the child’s needs. Let the child know that you will help them continue with their education and stay connected with their friends.
• When the child returns to school designate a person who the child knows well as a “go to” person. This individual can check in with the child regularly, and be available if the student needs to let someone know they are physically or emotionally uncomfortable.
• Most children who attend school report that they just want to be treated like everyone else. As hard as it may be, try not to be overprotective. Normalize the child’s school experience as much as possible, while adjusting expectations when needed.
• When the child cannot attend for longer periods of time, establish regular contact with the parents or a liaison from the treatment centre. Plan ways that classmates can maintain regular contact with the child.
• Encourage a supportive classroom environment
The LIVESTRONG at School program uses national standards-based lessons to teach your students about the realities of cancer. While it is a difficult subject to talk about with kids, it is important for students to understand what cancer is and how it can be treated. In addition, this program informs your students about ways that they can make a difference and help those with cancer. The downloadable lessons and printable worksheets below make it easy for you to share this valuable information with your class. Questions and Answers about Cancer