Emotional Intelligence


Some studies indicate that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success than IQ. Emotional intelligence has also been implicated in executive functioning skills deficits. We see many students who have difficulty managing emotions and, as a result, have difficulty moving forward with their homework or class work. For adults, EI also impacts day to day activities, creativity, and problem solving skills. The following website is dedicated to developing EI in children. http://kidsemotionalintelligence.com/what-is-emotional_intelligence.html

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YouTube has become a powerful tool in education. In our center, we have used YouTube to assist students with understanding vocabulary terms and various concepts they may not have previously experienced. However, one of the challenges has been to weed out videos that are not useful as learning tools or might be inappropriate for our young viewers. You can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon TeacherTube, a YouTube specifically for teachers and students. Teachers can upload and tag videos, documents, audio clips, and photos to share with other educators around the world. As with YouTube, TeacherTube enables you to subscribe to other members’ accounts and even make your uploads private. Check it out and happy surfing!




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During my last doctoral course, some members of my cohort engaged in a discussion (more like a debate) about the appropriateness of using social media to communicate with students. Some claimed that they used social media sites such as Facebook to engage in discussions with students, making use of privacy settings and using features such as creating groups designated for certain discussion topics. The primary concern has been focused on how and where to draw the line between a teacher’s personal and professional lives.

Today, as I enjoy the last day of my children’s Spring break doing some web research, I came across Edmodo, which has a design reminiscent of Facebook. Yet, it is specifically designed for teachers and students. It is a secure site which enables dynamic collaboration and discussion among teachers and students. Teachers can create groups and invite students to join. Files, images, links, and videos can easily be shared in one forum. Teachers can also use the site to share  information amongst themselves, sharing and storing content through each user’s library. These are just a few of Edmodo‘s features. As education attempts to keep up with rapidly evolving technological advances and the movement toward anytime/anyplace-learning, Edmodo is a site to be considered.

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Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!



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Testing out Blogsy

Got an iPad several months ago and I’m constantly discovering new things I can do with it. Recently downloaded the Blogsy app. Let’s see if it works!


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Carol Gray’s Social Stories

Carol Gray, founder of the Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding, explains that social stories describe situations in terms of perspectives, social cues and common responses. In our experience at DOORS, social stories are written in a specific format which enables the reader to develop social understanding centered around a concept, skill, or situation. While our focus is academics, we cannot separate academics from the need to address behaviors and social skills. Particularly for children with comprehension challenges, social understanding is a critical component of their program. Even when looking at illustrations in a picture book, social understanding is necessary to grasp perspectives, emotions, cause and effect relationships, and inferences.

There are quite a few social stories books out there, but did you know that you can write them yourself? The benefit to writing them yourself is that they are tailored to the child’s social needs. Visit the Gray Center’s webpage on writing social stories for more information.

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Always a good one to revisit…

Header Image

By now most of us have already seen this video, but, for me, always a great one to revisit. Carly Fleischmann, was diagnosed with autism and was nonverbal for much of her early life. Technology gave her a voice. If you haven’t already seen it, check her out on ABC’s 20/20. Here’s a clip on YouTube: Carly on 20/20.  She’s also blogging: Carly’s website.

Inspires me to be a better teacher!

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Spelling Tips

Parents often ask me how they can best help their children with spelling. Here are some tips I’m pleased to share. Keep in mind that the goal is to make spelling practice efficient so your child putting focus where it needs to be. Too often, students are asked to copy and write the spelling words three or more times each or take daily written quizzes. These things can help. However, consider doing the following to help make things easier on you and your child:

1. Quiz your child on Monday evening. Correct the quiz with your child, drawing his or her attention to the part they missed.

2. Create flashcards for the missed words, highlighting the part of the word they need to remember. For example, if your child spelled “thot” for “thought”, you might highlight the “ough” pattern in the center of the word.

3. Practice those flashcards. Flash the word to your child, and have them write the word in the air or on a surface with their finger. This encourages them to use their memory.

4. Do visual memory exercises. Ask your child questions which draw on the visual component. For example, ask how many tall letters they remember in that word; how many letters hang low; see if they can spell the word backwards; ask them to explain the tricky part or the strategy they are using to remember the word.

5. Re-quiz daily on the tricky words, and spot check the rest of the list throughout the week.

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CAPSO Convention 2011

CAPSO, the California Association of Private School Organizations, supports private school education based on the belief of educational options and parent choice. As an educator for DOORS Educational Center and a consultant for Alternative Designs for Special Education, I am pleased to have been accepted as a conference presenter for this year’s CAPSO Convention, 2011, to take place at the Long Beach Convention Center. I will be presenting on the topics of reading, math, and technology with an emphasis on special education. My hope is to collaboratively think outside of the box, empowering myself and other private educators to recognize student needs and make appropriate and creative curricular and instructional decisions. Hope some of you can make it!—-Claire C.

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Mary Pratt’s Parent Seminar

This is the last week to sign up for Mary Pratt’s “Best Chance at Success for Special Needs Children.” Parents will learn to understand their child’s needs; navigate behavior management; and increase cooperation. The seminar meets on Mondays, October 10-24, 2011. For more information, click here.

This seminar is provided in conjunction with ASK, Autism Solutions for Kids!

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