Tammy #13Tammy Fellers taught high school math at Chanute and El Dorado High Schools – everything from Integrated Math to Trigonometry. In 2008, she became the principal and math teacher of a charter high school and in 2010, became the Assistant Principal at El Dorado Middle School.

Since 2012 Tammy has been an ESSDACK Consultant that focuses on assisting teachers with research-based instructional strategies and math content.

Tammy emphasizes the importance of instructional strategies setting the learner up for success by developing the understanding of math and not placing the emphasis on the speed of the math fact.

Key Questions:

1.    How do you see Math practices changing now and in the years ahead?

2.    What resources/strategies do you believe teachers need to meet the needs of 21st Century learners in general?

3.    What about Special Populations?

4.    Walk us through a few scenarios on how teachers might consider differentiating Math for SpEd.

Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) is a problem-solving mathematics program designed to improve number sense and computation for students in Kindergarten through fourth grades.  According to Tammy, a foundational principle of CGI is we don’t tell the kids what tool to use however the student decides for himself or herself what tool to use.

Show notes:

The Intentional Educator Tammy’s Website

Common Core Math


KATM – flipbooks

Dan Meyer

Children’s Mathematics by Thomas Carpenter

Tammy’s fraction packets are available at www.essdack.org under shop products.  You may also sign up for one of Tammy’s workshops at www.essdack.org under Workshops.


g&c antiqueTopic today is Project Based Learning: special guest Ginger Lewman, whose passion and   expertise  (or one of them anyway) is Project Based Learning.

Ginger has been working with districts on connecting it with the new Common Core State standards. Given the diversity of Special Education, I believe our listeners will be asking how can PBL benefit?

Key Questions:

1. Aren’t projects and project based learning the same thing?

2.  A walk through a sample project

3. PBL recipe cards – how can they support educators in the process of integrating Projects into their      instruction?

4. How should teachers assess the learning and translate that to a grade?

5. How can educators be sure that they are truly covering the standards with PBL?

6.  What about Special Populations? How do you see PBL benefiting them?

Below is a robust collection of resources to support teachers and leaders in planning for assessing Special Populations. This collection includes the recipe cards for PBL as well as a Live-binder of additional supports.

LifePracticePBL  – for recipe cards


Livebinder of resources

Buck Institute


Special Education And The Common Core (SpedCast #11)

May 10, 2013

Special Education and the Common Core Standards! “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”… a journey to nowhere also begins with one step! As educators begin to implement purposeful application of the new College and Career Readiness State Standards, it is important to take  a deeper look at the implications for special populations.  Key questions to ask about special education and common core standards are: Who are those struggling students in our districts? How will we differentiate […]

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The Power of the Para-educator (Spedcast #10)

March 13, 2013

With over half a million para-educators in the United States serving special ed. populations, it is evident that para-educators play a vital role in education today. Resource teachers depend upon para-educators to be their eyes and ears especially in the inclusive environment. Today’s special guest is a para-educator at a local High School. Please welcome, Charles Smalling!!!      Charles shares his reasons for becoming a para-educator and why he is passionate about his role with kids. He talks about the […]

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The Courage to Teach (Spedcast #9)

February 8, 2013

Spedcast welcomes special guest:  Dr. Mary Kaye Siebert Dr. Siebert is the Director of Learning and Instruction at Wamego Public Schools in  Wamego, Kansas. She has been working in education in many capacities for the bulk of her career. Dr. Siebert is especially passionate about building collaborative communities of trust among educators. She shares her desire to rekindle the love for teaching in the hearts of educators who are burned out, who may have lost their vision, or may need […]

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What’s Writing Got to Do With It? (Spedcast 7)

February 6, 2013

Dysgraphia I.          What is it? Dys     = impairment Graph = Greek for handwriting/letter formation ia         = having a condition DEFINED Having a condition or impairment the affects handwriting and letter formation, or impairments that affect how people acquire written language. Dysgraphia affects written language in terms of letter formation, handwriting, and perhaps even spelling. II.        Causes Research indicates that Dysgraphia is a deficit in the Orthographic processor of the brain. Brain research has come into the limelight here […]

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College and Career Ready—What’s Our Game Plan? (Spedcast #6)

February 1, 2013

The new common core standards are on the near horizon and one of the key components is that we need to help prepare students for both College AND Career. We have done a fairly nice job of preparing students for College over the years, but what of Career? I absolutely LOVE this!!! I will never forget when I went to work for  a high school with a larger than normal dropout rate.  After careful examination of the situation, it became […]

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Bullying & Chicken Glasses (Spedcast #8)

January 23, 2013

Topic today: Bullying: how does this affect special populations? Is bullying still a problem? Data gives us  a pretty good idea of where we are as a nation. In 2007, about 32 percent of 12- to 18-year-old students reported having been bullied at school during the school year and 4 percent reported having been cyber-bullied. (National Center for Educational Statistics) Pew Institute of Research: 7 in 10 (71%) of teens who have not experienced bullying believe it happens more often […]

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Teacher Tips for Successful Classroom Inclusion – episode 4/4 (Spedcast #5)

January 18, 2013

“Learning happens when someone wants to learn, not when someone wants to teach.” – Roger Shank   Inclusion is such a powerful support system when implemented strategically and purposefully.  The final  inclusion level to examine is Level 4.  This is really a class within a class model. Here are a few tips: IEP Student objectives are related to general content but are not on the same instructional level. Curriculum is determined by the Special Ed. teacher Intent is to support […]

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Teacher Tips for Successful Classroom Inclusion-2/4 episodes (Spedcast #3)

January 9, 2013

No matter the age, most students want to be with their peers as  part of the regular education classroom .  Studies indicate that when students are “included”, they gain more self confidence in their abilities, are more likely to work closer to the level of their peers, and are more likely to reach their full potential. It is important that teachers work together to increase the likelihood of these successes. Level 2:   Co-Teaching IEP – goals are related to content […]

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Teacher Tips for Successful Classroom Inclusion-1/4 episodes (Spedcast #2):

December 19, 2012

Inclusion has been around for quite a few years, but the reality of making it work can be challenging. Consider a leveled system where the student(s) requires different support based on the amount of help needed. (McNary, Glascow, & Hicks, 2005)             Level 1: Support (as Needed) IEP Para/Sped assistance as needed Teacher makes accomodations Team selects objectives for passing class Grade level state assessment INTERVENTIONS: (as needed) Modified assignments, Student mentors, Notes provided Alternative modes of representation of knowledge( […]

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Holiday Shopping Tips for Parents with Special Needs Children (Spedcast #1)

December 11, 2012

The holidays are upon us! Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping are creating a great deal of excitement and energy around us. Shopping stress is usually heightened with the inevitable large crowds, hectic traffic, and noisy checkout lines. For parents with special needs children this can be an especially challenging time. In light of these challenges, I am launching my first SPED-CAST with shopping survival Tips for parents.   1. Be Proactive! Carve out a plan in ADVANCE for preventing […]

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Teacher Tips for Successful Classroom Inclusion -3/4 episodes (Spedcast #4)

December 4, 2012

Fair is not necessarily equal; fair is giving each student what they need for success. I remember working with a teacher that struggled with making accommodations for students in her classroom. She just didn’t think it was “fair” for some students not to have to complete all of the assignment or to have modified assignments. I tried to help her understand by personalizing a little. If all the teachers in the school were required to run the mile in 5  […]

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