Tips for Parent Communication for Distance Learning and Beyond

Now more than ever, it is essential that teachers are intentional about communicating with parents. Whether you are back to school in person or teaching remotely through a video platform such as Zoom, teachers and parents need to be on the same team, and here's some ways to help you get started with that.


I'm excited to introduce guest blogger, Heather from Full SPED Ahead today to help give us some more ideas on collaborating with parents.

Hey there, Heather from Full SPED Ahead here to take over the Breezy Special Ed blog for a day! I am currently a middle school functional life skills teacher. I’ve taught life skills for 7 years and it is my heart and soul! I love encouraging students to reach their full potential and gain overall independence as they work with me. Another thing I am passionate about is parent communication and collaboration. I hope these tips and tricks will help you gain trust and build relationships.

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Time Saving Tips and Resources for Digital Special Education Classrooms

Are you back at school? Or at home teaching? Whatever your situation looks like this year, I know teaching virtually, in-person, or hybrid brings about new challenges, especially when teaching in special education. You are not alone, the Breezy Special Ed community is here to help!

I heard the analogy this weekend that teachers are currently building the plane as they are flying it. Sounds about right, right?! So be sure give yourself some grace and ask for help when you need it. This was definitely not anything we were prepared for in college, am I right?!

Don't try to reinvent the wheel if you have been thrown back into virtual teaching for this school year, you have more than enough on your plate already. 



Here's some things that may help you save some time and be more effective this year.

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Back to School 2020 for Special Education

Does everyone feel like a first year teacher this year? There are so many changes and uncertainties about this school year and I know it can be overwhelming. I believe in control what we can control, and then making the best of whatever situation we are put in.

So, whether you are heading back to school in person, virtually, or a hybrid situation, here's some tips to help you get started!

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TpT's Digital Activity Tool - turn PDFs into Interactive Digital Worksheets

I'm so excited about this new feature TpT is offering! Before if you wanted to assign a PDF to students digitally I would recommend Kami or SeeSaw...but this is even better.

With the TpT digital activity tool you can easily access and assign PDFs in Google Classroom for your students to complete by typing and drawing. Boom. Instant digital worksheet!


My husband and I have spent the last three days and countless hours adding text boxes to over 60 of my resources so that they will be even easier for you to use and assign to your students. All of the Breezy Special Ed Symbol Reading Comprehension and Easy Reading Comprehension PDFs are now fully set up for you to use with the TpT Digital Tool.

Here's how it works:

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Life Skill Laundry Visuals for Special Education

For life skills education, it is important to include VISUALS and REPETITION while teaching important life skills tasks, such as laundry. With the right amount of support and practice, students can become more independent individuals in their homes and communities.


When I was teaching our special education students had the job of cleaning the rental PE uniforms. It was a great way to practice important laundry skills of washing and folding each day!

I'm sure many parents would also appreciate this skill to be transferred over to home as well ;)

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Summer Themed Resources for ESY

Add some fun to your ESY classroom (whether it is in person or virtually) while incorporating summer themes into your classroom! Everything is more fun summer themed!



Extended School Year is designed for students in order prevent regression and continue practice of their IEP goals over summer break. Also, it's important to keep working on those social skills! So keep your classroom routine similar to what you do during the regular school year, but it's also okay to be a little bit more relaxed and have some more fun too.

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Ways to be a Teacher Against Racism

What can you do as a teacher to welcome diversity into your classroom? How can you help stop the fight against racism in your classroom and your home?

I used to think we needed to be "color blind" in order to accept all races, but over the past few years I've been learning, by listening to Black voices and POC (people of color), that isn't the case and is actually hurtful instead. Let's embrace race together and learn how to talk to our students about race, racism, and how we can be the change together.



Here's some resources by Black educators and leaders to help you get started.

Talk About Race

Call racism by name. Don't be afraid to teach kids about it. This video from Vera at The Tutu Teacher was created for her Kindergarten students and is great for younger students as well as many lower functioning students.
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Functional "Around the House" ESY Theme

Are you teaching a virtual ESY this year?

A distance learning Extended School Year is a perfect time to work on basic household vocabulary for students who are learning to communicate and identify basic household items. They are already in their homes, so focusing on these words is SO FUNCTIONAL and APPROPRIATE!


You can teach a room a week for however many weeks your ESY goes for, starting with the most essential/common areas: kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, dining room, office, and garage.

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Virtual Video Conferencing Activities for Special Education Classes

Video calls with any class brings about its own set of challenges. Video calls with a special education class, maybe even more so... The key to a more successful video call (whether you are using Zoom, Google Meet, or another video conferencing platform) is to have a plan, engage students with activities they can physically participate in, and limit downtime.


Here are some ideas for social skill activities, games, themed days, academic activities and more to help you plan and engage your special education students during your video conferencing calls.
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Celebrate the End of the Distance Learning School Year with your Students

So it's almost the end of this crazy school year. You did it! Your students did it! You made it!

What are some ways you can celebrate with your special education students? In addition to a zoom/virtual party, I have some printable and ideas you can send to your students!


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How to Utilize Paraprofessionals during Distance Learning

A lot of teachers have been given the responsibility of assigning tasks to their professionals during distance learning. While I know this might seem like yet another responsibility, it can definitely work to your advantage! In the BSE Insiders FB group (psst: you can totally join us here), teachers have shared many suggestions on how to best use your paraprofessionals or teacher aides during distance learning and I thought I'd compile a list to help everyone who is wondering the same.


But, before I share a list of ideas, consider asking your paraprofessional if they have any ideas on what they can do to contribute to your virtual classroom during this time! They might already have ideas that you haven't thought of!
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Using Boom Cards and Technology in Distance Learning for Special Ed

I'm so excited to be adding Boom Cards™ to my existing interactive PDF activities! This gives you more options for your students to practice skills and for you to assess them!

Since boom cards are new to most of use, this blog post will focus on these, but know with my digital task cards you received all of the following activities from Breezy Special Ed:
  • Interactive PDF (self checking, can be downloaded and used offline)
  • Boom Cards (self checking, must be used online, can collect data)
  • Google Quiz (must be used online, editable, and collects data)

Boom Cards:

Boom cards are also self checking cards like the interactive PDF but are hosted on the Boom Learning site. They also have sound added to the correct answer. 


Check out a preview of my color cards on boom HERE!

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Distance / Home Learning Packets and Strategies for Special Education

So it appears that COVID-19 is here for a while and many schools are canceling and they are asking for students to participate in eLearning or distance learning activities. 



This definitely presents a unique challenge for all teachers (and families), and especially special education teachers who are wondering how in the world am I going to do that? Here's a few ideas, including some FREE (and some paid) resources.

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