n2y has helped me become a better teacher in so many ways! It’s taken a significant amount of weight off of my shoulders by taking care of all of the heavy planning, preparation and differentiation for me. This has allowed me to focus more on content delivery. The lessons that I teach my students using n2y solutions are enjoyable, relevant and relatable. I’m able to push myself and my students to further our learning and still have fun while doing so.

It was easy for me to embrace one n2y solution, Unique Learning System, when I was a brand new teacher because I needed all of the help that I could get! However, I believe that whether you’re fresh out of college or a seasoned veteran, n2y can help you become a better teacher too! Here are four important factors in creating positive outcomes for teachers and students.

1. Differentiated Lessons

Differentiation is one of the keys to success in the special education classroom. We only have so many hours in our day at school, and we need to make the best of them while also making sure each student gets exactly what they need. Unique Learning System provides me with tools that tell me what differentiated level each of my students falls under. Every lesson contains work that is tailored for a student’s specific needs.

The way that Unique Learning System differentiates each lesson has given me ideas for how to differentiate my own activities to ensure that each of my students is completing the same task, but in a way that is appropriate for their abilities yet still challenging.

Other n2y solutions I use also allow differentiation to address each student’s unique needs:

  • Positivity provides customizable, research-based behavior strategies.
  • L3 Skills delivers diverse, standards-aligned, game-based activities.

2. Technology Integration


All Unique Learning System and News‑2‑You lessons and activities are interactive, whether accessed on a computer or tablet or projected on an interactive board. My students beam with excitement when they’re able to move items on their tablet or at the board. It’s important to capitalize on this excitement and continue to bring lessons to life for them.

Unique Learning System and News‑2‑You provide links to different resources to use during lessons, such as websites and videos. This has inspired me to find other ways to integrate technology into my classroom, such as making video diaries, creating presentations, learning how to drive Sphero robots with tablets and more!

L3 Skills provides my students a wide variety of educational games that help them practice the following skills: language arts, math, fine motor, life and cause and effect. I’m able to project L3 Skills onto my interactive board for a whole-group gaming activity, or I can put the games directly on my students’ tablets. My students love playing the games, especially on their tablets, and I’m able to choose which games each of my students has access to. This way, I’m giving each student games that are appropriate for their skills/needs while also providing them with choices.

Positivity allows me to show my students a visual schedule right on my interactive board or on my tablet. It uses the daily schedule that I set up in Unique Learning System, and I can track incidents, strategies and achievements for each student within Positivity. I can also create and implement different strategies with ease by using templates for decision trees, social narratives, video modeling, incentive charts and break cards.

3. Using an Engagement‑Based Approach


When I first began using Unique Learning System, the lessons that were provided contained different activities and experiments that required a lot of hands-on learning for my students. Admittedly, this was a little intimidating to me because I would be nervous about how the activities would go and whether my students would pick up on the main points of the lesson. I was pleasantly surprised when students, some of whom did not necessarily enjoy academics, became excited and engaged in these activities. Not only were they excited, but also they were making the connections I was looking for! The more activities I did with my students, the more activities I wanted to expose them to and engage them with.

Now, as soon as I see a Unique Learning System topic/lesson or a News‑2‑You article, I immediately begin brainstorming ways I can bring the lessons to life for my students. We’re always out of our seats and doing something active and fun while in my room! You can find more detailed examples of how I use an engagement-based approach to learning by checking out my webinar How to Deliver Engagement-Based Learning—and Why.

4. Data Collection

The Goals, Preferences and Skills (GPS) in Unique Learning System assists me in collecting crucial data. This has helped me write better evaluations and IEPs, as well as figure out how my students’ work should be differentiated for their specific needs. Completing the K–12 Student Learning Profile provides me with a breakdown of specific skill areas in reading, writing and math along with suggested strategies to increase my students’ skills. I input this information directly into my students’ evaluation reports every three years to create a snapshot of how my students are performing.

GPS also provides a variety of benchmark assessments that will show, in detail, what areas my students have mastered, are at an instructional range in or are emerging in. I can also see if I need to review or revise student goals in a specific area. I include this detailed data in my evaluation reports so I know the specific areas that need to be addressed for my students. Benchmark data is tracked right on my student’s GPS profile and is even graphed for me. The graphs are great for showing to parents in meetings and for showing students how far they have come! I take this evaluation data and use it to drive my IEP goals for each year. If you have a student who requires transitional goals, then you can use excellent transition assessments that are age and ability appropriate for your students.

For Positivity or L3 Skills, you’ll find robust behavior data reporting that supports compliance or data reporting for short- and long-term student progress tracking, respectively.

Summary

As you can see, each of n2y’s solutions plays a role in improving my teaching and the classroom experience. Unique Learning System and News‑2‑You assist me by differentiating their lessons, Positivity allows me to differentiate behavior strategies and L3 Skills lets me choose which educational games my students get to access.

My students are engaged in activities using our interactive board or their tablets, whether during a Unique Learning System lesson, reading about breaking news on News‑2‑You, playing educational games on L3 Skills or getting behavioral interventions on Positivity.

Because I access each of n2y’s solutions on my computer, valuable information such as benchmark data, performance on lessons/activities, behavior data and more are all in one place. This data is also organized and accessible through my n2y account, so I can easily look at it wherever I might be.

If you’re already using one or more solutions and aren’t sure how they can make your day easier and your teaching better, then check out some professional development options. Your growth and confidence can translate into greater student success!

Webinar on engagement-based learning in special ed.

Want to improve your students’ ability to learn and retain new information? See why engagement-based learning is crucial for student progress.

Watch Webinar
About the Author
Katie Braun is an n2y Certified Educator and an Intervention Specialist who has worked extensively with individuals who have mild to severe cognitive disabilities. Katie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Kent State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Special Education, with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders, from Bowling Green State University.