Making the most of Screen Time: Recommendations for Digital Picture Books

The Yellin Center’s latest newsletter is out, and with it my article on digital picture books. The reading experience is changing, and it is rather exciting; this is especially true for struggling learners. Happy Reading! Continue reading “Making the most of Screen Time: Recommendations for Digital Picture Books”

Top Five Resources for Special Education Teachers

IMG_5079The past month I had been asked by a few sources to cull my bookshelves and devise a list of my tried and true manuals for special education.  One list I comprised for my former University will be coming out to showcase 10 exceptional resources.  However, today, for the Yellin Center, I whittled and augment my list down to a mere five texts that make my life as a Learning Specialist a touch simpler. In my article, which you will find below, I elected to focus on technical texts, rather than teaching resources.  The literature detailed in the article are resources on the current research and practical strategies for applying the best practices in learning theory.  I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been for me. Continue reading “Top Five Resources for Special Education Teachers”

My second print article is out in Canadian Teacher!

Canadian TeacherIt has truly been a huge week! I had my first print article come out in Canadian Student magazine about life as an international student at Columbia University.  Now I have had my second print article published- this time in Canadian Teacher magazine.  Canadian Teacher is an amazing professional magazine aimed at discussing the current trends and methodologies in twenty-first century learning.  My particular article focuses on a few of my favourite Ed Tech tools for empowering struggling writers.  In the piece I dig into the advantages of using Storybird, Essay Express, Stationary Studio and Comic Life in the classroom.  Each of these exceptional tools provide an engaging, dynamic way to engage reluctant writers, while building their skills in a personalized and differentiated manner.  You can read my specific article, Beyond_Paper, or if you are interested take a look at the entire issue- there are a number of exceptional and informational articles in the Spring edition of Canadian Teacher.

Gift Ideas: Books to Teach Social Skills

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Another article authored by yours truly is up this week on the Yellin Center Blog, and getting lots of traction.  Last week I highlight a few of my favorite developmental learning toys, which would make great gifts for teachers and students alike.  This time around I am sharing some of my favorite books for teaching social skills (We all know how much I LOVE integrating picturebooks into my curriculum).   Social learning can be hard for children to grapple with, and it can be an even greater challenge to effectively teach social skills in an enjoyable, nonthreatening manner.  In my own classroom I often wrote my own social stories, or social building tales based on the needs of the students in my class.  However, a teacher’s time is precious and there are a few remarkable authors out there, like Janan Cain and Julia Cook, who have done all the heavy lifting for you.  So head over to my post, Books to Teach Social Skills, for a list of resources for teaching skills like sharing, controlling your voice, learning when to speak and expressing one’s feelings.  On the Yellin Center Blog you will also find a discussion on why mastery over social conventions is so vital to a child’s overall development.  Happy Reading!

Gift Ideas: Toys for Developmental Learning


I have another article up on the Yellin Center Blog.  With Christmas just around the corner, my most current piece discusses some of the excellent play-based learning toys created by two of my hands-down favorite ethical toy companies, Melissa and Doug and Plan Toys.  My focus is primarily on tools designed for a special education setting.  However, the versatility of both toy maker’s developmental learning materials means they will benefit every child, regardless of ability.  Every child needs an interactive way to build key developmental skills.  So head over to my article for a discussion of the research that backs each toy’s development, and highlights of some of my personal favorite toys offered by each company.  Whether you are looking to improve a child’s gross motor function, speech and language skills, life skills or cognitive abilities there are a wealth of fun, engaging tools to help you do so. Learning can and should be playful.

plantoys1So whether you are shopping for a gift for your child’s teacher or your own child, you can’t go wrong with any of the exceptional resources created by either Melissa and Doug or Plan Toys. Happy shopping!

Teachable Moments: Special Olympics


As you may remember I have been serving this past year on a project my professor runs in Chinatown for Chinese-American children with ASD.  To close out the year we held a special olympics.  The event was high energy and so much fun to be a part of.  Again for this event I choreographed three dances for the students and parents to take part in, as well as manned the races.  Photos from the event have just been posted on the organizations facebook page. So take a look, and see if you can spot me in the background of many of the photos.  I bet you can’t help but smile when you see the joy on all the student’s faces.

If you want to see even more photos of events we held, there are also photos from our fundraising concert in February on their page as well.  There you can see the costumes I created for them (which you can find directions to here and here) and me looking overly eager as I lead the dances I choreographed for them to preform.