Issue #04: Puerto Rico Hurricane


Subscription for one year. Exceptional News presents current events in an understandable manner. The current event is used as a platform to develop social studies knowledge, problem- solving skills, build vocabulary, develop geography skills, and address language arts standards.

This product includes an article on “Taking a Knee”, an e-book that breaks down the article with pictures, 5 worksheets, and teaching notes for each page of the e-book.  Students learn about the current issue with “taking a knee” that has been in the news. The summary exercises come in 3 levels.

Grade Levels:


Resource Types:

Austin & Lily Curriculum was custom- designed for K-12 students and adults with an intellectual disability

We thought this through and created everything so that you don't have to.
  Article Formats There is a printable version of the article, printable color or black and white book,  and an e-book that breaks down the article with pictures. Printable Activities This article comes with 5 printable worksheets. The summaries come in 3 distinct levels, develop background knowledge, address common IEP goals, and are aligned with language arts standards. Teaching Notes Teaching notes that provide questions and points that can be made for each page of the e-book.    


Cultural Literacy:

Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, “Taking a knee”, San Francisco 49ers, song “Proud to Be an American”, why the song is sung, stand facing flag with hand on heart, freedom of speech, racism


The concept that Americans are divided on what they think about something that happened.


San Francisco, CA

Speech & Listening:

The Teaching Notes provide engagement suggestions to support the teacher in explaining and asking questions to address repetition, support comprehension, and the processing of information.

Language Arts:

The reading instruction and printable activities are all aligned with Common Core Standards for Language Arts.

Functional Skills:

Standing for the Star-Spangled Banner, and “taking the knee” concepts to better understand what is happening in football and the news right now.


Star-Spangled Banner, anthem, “taking the knee”, and proud




Note from Jana Barrett, MS, CCC-SLP


The Austin and Lily curriculum is the perfect platform for speech therapists to use to target and improve speech and language skills. The books, worksheets, and presentations all focus on a variety of listening and speaking skills that can be directly targeted through speech and language therapy by a speech and language pathologist (SLP). Specific Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals such as articulation, vocabulary, auditory comprehension, expression, social skills, and augmentative and alternative communication are easily worked on through this curriculum.

Every book in the Austin and Lily series targets a specific high interest topic using a variety of teaching methods and visuals. Each book targets specific vocabulary, main idea, questions, expressive language, and reading skills. These can easily be adapted to target speech and language IEP goals while using the classroom curriculum. This encourages and increases the amount of carryover of learned skills from direct speech and language therapy to the classroom. This curriculum easily supports the push-in therapy model as well, in which an SLP provides therapy services in the classroom while co-teaching with the teacher. This benefits the students, as they are receiving and being reinforced with instruction from both professionals. This also increases the teacher’s carryover of certain strategies to support speech and language students’ goals in the classroom.

Austin and Lily is a comprehensive curriculum that is a convenient way for SLPs to work on specific goals while reinforcing classroom content. This program is organized with many available resources, taking away the long planning time that can go into each speech and language session. Worksheets and data sheets are provided for ease of data collection. Targeting goals, increasing skills, measuring progress, and assessing for new goals are easily done through this curriculum. SLPs will be satisfied with the convenience of this curriculum for use during speech and language therapy.

A Real Student Experience

Our materials and lesson plans were designed using best practices for students with an intellectual disability. They were designed to not only provide access to general education curriculum, but for students to actually learn it. To truly learn material, and file it in long-term memory, students with an intellectual disability need instruction that addresses their executive functioning impairments. This can’t be emphasized enough. People can not remember or use information that they never understood.

Our teacher notes outline how to talk to students about the material so that they learn and develop to their potential.   All of our printable worksheets are related to the book and address language arts standards. We also embed functional skills, problem solving, choice-making, and self-determination.

Project the e-book on a SMART Board when available. This gives students an opportunity to circle the date on the calendar and draw a line on the map from their home state to the location being covered in the article. Students can follow along using the article, or a printable version of the e-book (color or black and white). Go over the e-book each day for a week to provide the repetition that is needed.


The good news, is that teaching this material is fun and easy.

In the 6 minute video below, I go over how to use the materials. That is all it takes to get started!