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Hosted by Lisa Goodell, the goals of this podcast are to EQUIP special ed teachers with ideas and solutions, as well as bring the global special ed teaching community together so we can learn from each other.

Hosted by Lisa Goodell, the goals of this podcast are to EQUIP special ed teachers with ideas and solutions, as well as bring the global special ed teaching community together so we can learn from each other.
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Hosted by Lisa Goodell, the goals of this podcast are to EQUIP special ed teachers with ideas and solutions, as well as bring the global special ed teaching community together so we can learn from each other.




Tips to Promote Independence

In this episode host, Lisa Goodell, speaks with Jenn Adams of Teach Love Autism. She shares some fantastic tips about how we can encourage our students to become as independent as possible, in and out of the class. We talk about why this is important, how she sets up her room with independent stations, and how to train others (such as paraprofessionals) to buy-in to this method. We also discuss TEACCH tasks and using visuals, helping parents with task analysis to build independence at home,...


Mid Year Move

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Chelsea Marelle. Before we get into her big move we discuss curriculum for different special ed populations, including leveled literacy interventions and interactive journals and math groups. We talk about class decor on walls, flexible seating and setting our children to find success. Then Chelsea shares her moving experience and gives tips for moving to another state in the middle of the school year: how to interview, pack up, and start over with a...


Class Set Up to Avoid Behavior Problems

I had a great talk with Chelsea Marelle for today's podcast interview about how special ed teachers can set up their classrooms to prevent common behavior problems such as impulsive behavior or refusing to work. I have broken up the interview into two parts. In this part (Part 1), Chelsea describes how she designs the physical environment of her classroom, including having structure and routines built into the schedule, which will encourage on-task behavior. We give tips on listening...


New Special Ed Teacher Answers

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Kaylene Durbin, a college student who is just starting her credential program. Today we revisit the questions she asked last time. Not only will I attempt to answer them, but I got help from other special educators online, and some have been past guests on the show! Listen in as we answer questions that aspiring or new teacher might have. (Note that part one of this conversation is called, “New Special Ed Teacher Questions” and was episode...


New Special Ed Teacher Questions

Today’s interview is inspiring and helped me remember why I went into teaching in the first place! I spoke with Kaylene Durbin, a college student who wants to teach both special ed and general ed. She shares how her college professor not only helped her decide on special education, but how to have a new appreciation for her brothers, (one of whom has cerebral palsy). We also talk about: Click here to get the full show notes with links here.


Teaching Math in a Special Ed Classroom

Today I talk about beginning math concepts, specifically how to help your special ed kiddos who have a hard time moving from counting objects to beginning addition. I talk about how to introduce adding by counting pictures on dots, with lots of hands-on activities and supplemental lessons before actually getting to the TM addition worksheets. I share about my small math flashcards and give organizational tips such as how I’ve been able to copy multiple flashcard sets for each student to use...


Co-Teaching and Inclusion Strategies

In episode 11, I talk to Jenn Hunter about co-teaching and inclusion strategies in a resource setting. Jenn explains six approaches/models for co-teaching to better serve students and shares how to get off to a great start with your co-teacher. We get into the differences between accommodations and modifications, IEP goals and types of students in inclusion, pull-out and even talk about kids on 504 plans. Great tips and resources are given to improve teacher collaboration to serve students...


Schedules and Lesson Planning

Part 3 of the Series: Self-Contained Schedules Today we are going to finish our Self-Contained Schedule series with part 3, which is about schedules and lesson planning. I continue the discussion from last week on station rotations by extending it to a new schedule/lesson plan overview I use for myself and my two teaching assistants. This is a short one-page schedule that has a schedule for each adult in class. This was a weekly schedule that tells what topic/subject each person will be...


Small Group Rotation Schedule Ideas

In this episode, which is Part 2 of the Self-Contained Schedule Series, I am excited to really go deep on how to set up small group stations in your self-contained special ed class. Over the years I found that teaching with small groups was the most effective way to maximize time with my students and paraprofessionals (also called para for short. Other places they might be called teaching assistants or teacher’s aides). I give ideas to consider as you plan your schedule, and I share several...


Eight Tips to Create a Daily Schedule in a Special Ed Class

This episode is the first in a series all about schedules. Lisa Goodell gives eight tips to help you create a daily schedule for your self-contained special ed classroom. She discusses how to plan everything out and what information is helpful to gather ahead of time. She touches on inclusion/mainstreaming into general ed classes, teaching routines/expectations, how to plan for future students and more. Be sure to check out the show notes at to get the visual...


Talk Data to Me: Data Collection in a Kindergarten Special Ed Class

Host Lisa Goodell interviews Marisa Iannaccone, a special ed teacher in Portland. We talk about how Marisa collects data in her self contained classroom with all kindergarteners on both behavior and progress monitoring for IEP goals and how it has changed from her first year to her second as a special ed teacher. She has great advice that she shares. She has the support of a behavior specialist and autism specialist. Together they collaborate on different strategies such as a "Go Bag." A...


Tools to Improve Parent Communication

In Episode 6, learn about a number of tools you can use to improve parent communication in your classroom. Newsletters, communication booklets, check-off lists, phone calls, emails, and apps are all discussed in Lisa Goodell's interview with Petra Albaza, a middle school special ed teacher. Go to to access the show notes and links for everything mentioned in the conversation. Patra also explains why good communication between teachers and parents is so...


How to Support Students with Behavior Plans

I had a fascinating conversation with Cassie Leutenegger, a behavior support teacher, regarding how she works with students with behavior plans and their general ed teachers. She teaches students in K-5, and works with students who have ADHD, emotional behavior disorder (EBD) or Autism in a specialized program. Some of her students (K-5) are in a self-contained class that she teaches. She describes how the day is scheduled for staff and students, in both self-contained and general ed. She...


Six Steps to Build an Inclusive School Garden

Dawn Ellis of Cultivating Exceptional Minds has developed a school garden that is inclusive of all types of disabilities. Hear about many ways the garden is used to provide real-life learning activities for the whole school, in all subject areas. Moreover, students are more engaged during lessons in the garden... which results in less behavior problem! They help plant, weed, water, harvest, cook and even eat what is grown. Dawn gives great advice on how to you can start your own garden. She...


Ideas for Teaching Autism

In podcast episode #3, I chat with Nikki Robertson, who is an autism teacher in Wales, UK. She teaches 3-7 year olds at an autism school (with students aged 3-19 years old). She gives many tips and ideas to use in an autism classroom with almost all students who are nonverbal. She shares what a day looks like in her class, how they use Book Creator (iPad app) to collect evidence and data and assemble into a book to share with parents. She discusses how they fit in time for lesson prep,...


Tips for Creating Your Own Curriculum

In this episode I have a conversation with Ashley Lutz, who has been a middle school self-contained special ed teacher for 7 years, working with students with intellectual disabilities. We talk about how she didn’t have any curriculum in her first year and how she creates and differentiates materials to meet the varied levels of her students. She give tips to create your own curriculum. We also discuss what errorless learning is and how she implemented an adaptive music program including an...


How to Start your own Autism Support Group and Community Autism Event (and Podcast Introduction)

Welcome to the first episode!! I am publishing this on the first of April and April is Autism month. So to kick the month off, I had a conversation with Tiffany Manha, a speech teacher, and autism mom, about how she started an Autism Family Support Group in our town about 8 years ago, which is treated like being invited to a birthday party!! You will love her story of how it happened and how it has grown to where these kids ride on floats in parades (yes, some even have extreme autism). She...