160 episodes

The Go-To Podcast for Special Educators who want to reduce their stress and begin to feel success.Hey special educator…Overwhelmed by the absurd amount of paperwork on your to-do list? Wish you had the skills to build a rock-solid team with your paraprofessionals? Do you find yourself scouring the internet for how to meet the diverse needs of each student on your caseload?

Hey there friend…I’m Jennifer Hofferber from Sped Prep Academy, an award winning veteran special education teacher and current instructional coach who has walked in your shoes through each of these challenges. And yes, I've got the metaphorical blisters to prove it!  I’ve cried your tears and felt your pain and now I’m here to support you the way I wish someone would have been there to support me. 

Listen in each week as my guests and I dish out practical wisdom to help you handle all the classroom curveballs thrown your way, and learn how to laugh in spite of the chaos to celebrate those small, yet significant victories that only a special educator can understand.
So…Are you ready? Wipe your tears and put on your superhero cape because together we are going to learn how to survive and thrive in the ever crazy, completely overwhelming, laugh so you don’t cry profession of being a special education teacher.
Next Steps:

Visit the Website: https://www.spedprepacademy.com
Join the Free Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpedPrepAcademy
Email Me: jennifer@spedprepacademy.com

Special Education for Beginners | Managing Paraprofessionals, Special Education Strategies, First Year Sped Teachers, Special Jennifer Hofferber - Special Education Teacher and Coach

    • Education

The Go-To Podcast for Special Educators who want to reduce their stress and begin to feel success.Hey special educator…Overwhelmed by the absurd amount of paperwork on your to-do list? Wish you had the skills to build a rock-solid team with your paraprofessionals? Do you find yourself scouring the internet for how to meet the diverse needs of each student on your caseload?

Hey there friend…I’m Jennifer Hofferber from Sped Prep Academy, an award winning veteran special education teacher and current instructional coach who has walked in your shoes through each of these challenges. And yes, I've got the metaphorical blisters to prove it!  I’ve cried your tears and felt your pain and now I’m here to support you the way I wish someone would have been there to support me. 

Listen in each week as my guests and I dish out practical wisdom to help you handle all the classroom curveballs thrown your way, and learn how to laugh in spite of the chaos to celebrate those small, yet significant victories that only a special educator can understand.
So…Are you ready? Wipe your tears and put on your superhero cape because together we are going to learn how to survive and thrive in the ever crazy, completely overwhelming, laugh so you don’t cry profession of being a special education teacher.
Next Steps:

Visit the Website: https://www.spedprepacademy.com
Join the Free Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpedPrepAcademy
Email Me: jennifer@spedprepacademy.com

    Celebrating Autism Through Inclusive Education and Innovative Strategies with Heather Hall

    Celebrating Autism Through Inclusive Education and Innovative Strategies with Heather Hall

    In honor of Autism Awareness and Autism Acceptance Month, this week's episode features a discussion with Heather Hall from Embracing Autism about the statement, "Autism is not a choice, but embracing it is."

    This  conversation addresses critical misconceptions, such as the belief that all individuals with autism are cognitively low and that their behaviors are uniform. 
    Heather and Jennifer explore effective educational strategies that can significantly benefit individuals with autism such as:
    Structured routinesVisual schedules Affirmations and celebrations Innovative practices that enhance social and vocational skills but also incorporate academic learning in a practical contextThis episode is a call to action for educators, parents, and administrators to foster a deeper understanding and acceptance for individuals with autism. By sharing insights and strategies, this episode aims to inspire and inform stakeholders about supporting individuals with autism in educational settings and beyond, ensuring they are celebrated for their unique abilities and potential.

    Listen in as Jennifer and Heather share a message of inclusion and appreciation, urging a shift from mere awareness to active acceptance and support.

    Connect with Heather:

    Special Needs: Embracing Autism Website
    Embracing Autism TPT Store
    Instagram
    Facebook
    Heather Hall is the visionary force behind Special Needs: Embracing Autism, a platform devoted to enriching the lives of individuals navigating autism and other disabilities. With a robust 16-year tenure as a special education teacher in Arizona's public school system, Heather holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in Special Education from Arizona State University. In 2019, she expanded her expertise with a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University.
    Currently serving as a Special Education Professor, Heather channels her extensive experience and insights to educate future generations of special education teachers. Her paramount goal is to cultivate environments that are more inclusive and welcoming to individuals with autism, both within educational institutions and communities at large.
    As an advocate and educator, Heather is deeply committed to raising awareness and promoting acceptance. She is dedicated to ensuring that the next wave of special education teachers is fully equipped to skillfully address the diverse needs of their students.
    Get your FREE copy of Impact Statement Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personalized IEPs.
    Expert tips and strategies,Easy-to-follow formats, andReal-life examples that bring theory to life.A must-have for every special education teacher and related service provider. 

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    • 30 min
    Are You Comparing Yourself to Other Teachers? Break out of the Comparison Trap

    Are You Comparing Yourself to Other Teachers? Break out of the Comparison Trap

    In this episode, Jennifer is joined by guest Alicia Tripp to discuss the frequently overlooked but prevalent issue of comparison in special education. Alicia recounts her personal journey, starting from the inspiration she received from her brother with Down syndrome, to her own development as an educator who confronted and triumphed over the challenges of comparison. Together, they discuss strategies for educators to overcome feelings of inadequacy and fully embrace their distinct paths in the profession.
    Key Points Discussed:
    Theodore Roosevelt's Quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy."Alicia opens up about her struggles with comparison in her early teaching years and how it affected her teaching style and classroom environment.The need to focus on strengths and student needs rather than comparing ourselves to other educators.The importance of recognizing individual journeys and strengths in special educationThe Role of Social Media, how it fuels comparison among educators, and how to navigate these influences positively.Advice for New Educators on dealing with comparison, emphasizing self-reflection, setting boundaries, and focusing on personal growth and student-centered teaching.Connect with Alicia:

    Facebook

    www.delightfullydedicated.com

    Instagram

    It is important for us, as teachers, to celebrate the small victories of our students throughout each instructional day. This is especially true in the special education classroom. Alicia has this banner on the wall behind her desk as a reminder for her and her staff to celebrate small victories and successes. You can also use it as a reminder to celebrate YOUR small victories throughout the day and to not compare yourself to anyone else. 
    Get your FREE copy of Impact Statement Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personalized IEPs.
    Expert tips and strategies,Easy-to-follow formats, andReal-life examples that bring theory to life.A must-have for every special education teacher and related service provider. 

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    • 21 min
    Ask Us Anything Series: Part 4- Para Arguments + Teaching Math Facts

    Ask Us Anything Series: Part 4- Para Arguments + Teaching Math Facts

    Welcome to 4th segment of Ask Us Anything. In these fun episodes of of the Sped Prep Academy podcast, Jennifer Hofferber and her monthly co-host, Paul,  answer the questions you ask.
    Today's questions:
    What do I do when my paras aren't getting along- MargaretIs it okay to teach my students math facts?- Sara

    Managing Paraeducator Conflicts
    Key Points:Address conflicts immediately for effective resolution.Open communication and setting clear expectations are vital.Utilize preventive measures at the start of the year to minimize conflicts.The role of a special education teacher as a mediator in conflicts.The importance of understanding different approaches and respecting individual differences.The necessity of implementing a 'no gossip' policy and promoting direct communication.Teaching Math Facts in Special EducationKey Points:Balancing the teaching of math facts with other strategies.Using creative methods like songs, stories, and culturally relevant materials to aid memory and engagement.The benefits of skip counting as an effective strategy for teaching multiplication.Utilizing math facts instruction during disrupted schedules or as part of center rotations.Incorporating technology and current trends (e.g., TikTok sounds) to make learning more relatable and fun.The value of flexibility in teaching approaches, such as allowing the use of calculators for students who struggle with memorization.Click HERE to ask us a question!

    Mentioned in the show:


    Mastering Math Facts-Multiplication Activities and Assessment Set

    Get your FREE copy of Impact Statement Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personalized IEPs.
    Expert tips and strategies,Easy-to-follow formats, andReal-life examples that bring theory to life.A must-have for every special education teacher and related service provider. 

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    • 26 min
    How to Build Stronger Special Ed Teams with Paraprofessionals: A Conversation with Lydia Hunninghake

    How to Build Stronger Special Ed Teams with Paraprofessionals: A Conversation with Lydia Hunninghake

    In today's episode, I have a guest to help me discuss one of my favorite topics: supporting paraprofessionals. These unsung heroes play a pivotal role in our classrooms, and it's crucial we acknowledge their contributions. 

    Joining me is Lydia Hunninghake, an experienced teacher in special education, who shares my enthusiasm for this cause. As a passionate special education teacher and entrepreneur, Lydia is always excited to forge meaningful relationships and share her journey.  Lydia's insights into the challenges and triumphs of working with paraprofessionals are invaluable, and I'm thrilled to explore this topic with her today.

    Listen in as we discuss:


    The Vital Role of ParaprofessionalsImportance of paraprofessionals as unsung heroes in special education.Variety of roles and responsibilities in supporting student learning and well-being.Collaboration StrategiesEffective collaboration methods between paraprofessionals and special education teachers.Approaches for open communication and shared goals.Practical tips for enhancing team collaboration.Common Challenges and SolutionsAddressing feelings of exclusion among paraprofessionals.Strategies for utilizing strengths, improving communication, and managing time effectively.Importance of continuous team-building and professional development.Recognition and Support for ParaprofessionalsAddressing the need for better compensation.Including paraprofessionals in professional development opportunities.Ways to celebrate and appreciate the contributions of paraprofessionals. It’s clear that effective collaboration, recognition, and professional development are key to maximizing the impact of these essential team members.

    Learn from Lydia:
    For more resources aligned with today's topic, check out:

    Scheduling Success Mini Course: 🌟 Elevate your skills in para schedule coordination, leverage staff strengths, and seamlessly collaborate with general education teachers.  https://www.theexceptionalspace.com/digital-optin-mini
    SPEDovation Course - Full Course: This full course goes beyond the basics; it's a comprehensive guide to mastering the art of effective Special Education teaching.   https://www.theexceptionalspace.com/spedovation-full-course
    To stay connected and access more resources, follow me on social media and visit The Exceptional Space:
    The Exceptional SpacePinterestTeachers Pay TeachersInstagramFacebookGet your FREE copy of Impact Statement Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personalized IEPs.
    Expert tips and strategies,Easy-to-follow formats, andReal-life examples that bring theory to life.A must-have for every special education teacher and related service provider. 

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    • 28 min
    The Impact of a Special Education Teacher

    The Impact of a Special Education Teacher

    When a former student approaches you after 25 years, thanking you for lessons long past, it hits in a way that words can't quite capture. That's the essence of the latest Sped Prep Academy podcast episode—stories that demonstrate the unforeseen and lasting impacts we special educators have on our students.

    The focus of this episode are 3 heartwarming anecdotes from my personal journey in special education, each one underscoring the powerful connections and transformative influence we can have on the lives we touch. These stories brought my role as an educator full circle:

    But these stories are not just mine. They belong to all special educators, serving as a collective celebration of the quiet yet profound victories we achieve on a daily basis.

    So, from one special education teacher to another, I urge you to remember the power of your role. Even on the toughest days, when the paperwork piles up, when the challenges seem insurmountable, know that you are making a difference. It might not be evident today, tomorrow, or even this year. But one day, like in my stories, you'll see the fruits of your labor, and you'll realize just how significant your impact has been.
    Mentioned in the show:
    Parent Handbook for Parents in English & Spanish


    Get your FREE copy of Impact Statement Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personalized IEPs.
    Expert tips and strategies,Easy-to-follow formats, andReal-life examples that bring theory to life.A must-have for every special education teacher and related service provider. 

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    • 9 min
    7 Strategies to Support Your Students During State Testing (Or Other High Stakes Tests)

    7 Strategies to Support Your Students During State Testing (Or Other High Stakes Tests)

    Today we are discussing something that is coming up here pretty quickly in the world of education and typically has a greater level of impact on our students than general education students and that is the super fun time of state assessments. 

    There are many opinions on state testing...We need to know where our students are academically in comparison to their peers, but are we creating an environment where the focus is more on the test scores rather than the overall growth and learning of each student? How does this affect our students with IEPs? 
    Don't get me wrong...I whole heartedly agree that we need to know what our students do and don’t know…but is a state assessment really going to tell us that information?

    But alas...Whichever side of the fence you are on doesn't matter too much because we still take them. Every year. Every student.
    So instead of continuing to complain about having to take them, today's episode gives you some strategies for how to make the best of a bad situation.

    1. Familiarize students with the test format
    2. Teach test-taking strategies
    3. Use accommodations effectively
    4. Address test anxiety
    5. Maintain routines
    6. Reinforce the value of effort
    7. Post-test reflection


    Remember, our goal as special education teachers is to support our students in developing their abilities and confidence, in testing situations and beyond. By implementing these strategies, we can help make the testing experience as positive and productive as possible for our students.












    Get your FREE copy of Impact Statement Mastery: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personalized IEPs.
    Expert tips and strategies,Easy-to-follow formats, andReal-life examples that bring theory to life.A must-have for every special education teacher and related service provider. 

    Follow Jennifer
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    TPT

    • 12 min

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