I've seen so many clever ideas for meeting and greeting new students. Some include props, like treats or school supplies, and others feature an icebreaker activity. So many different ideas, but the one thing that is the same is that these “meet and greets” are especially appropriate for the general education classroom.

What is “Meet the Special Educator” supposed to look like?

How does a special educator introduce himself or herself to new students?

The first day of school is always a busy day and hopefully there's many opportunities to meet students and families individually. However, I still want to be sure I have time to greet EVERYONE.

During summer PD (professional development, for non-educators reading this), I make sure to let teachers know that I am available to come visit their classroom and read a story to their class.

Many teachers have some beloved go-to's for read aloud books throughout the first week of school. These books are WONDERFUL and I hope every child gets to continue enjoying them.

For a list of book recommendations for the general education classroom, check out some of our favorites HERE!

Meet the Special Educator

As I visit and introduce myself as the special educator supporting students and staff, I choose a book that models kindness and encourages conversation.

These books provide an age-appropriate approach to disabilities and differences:

Since We're Friends – An Autism Picture Book  by Celeste Shally

This is a wonderful story that features an unique friendship. Students will be able to easily relate to both characters, plus discover new ways to help anyone who is struggling.

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

Such a beautifully written and illustrated story! Although it is not necessarily about disabilities, it does drive home the message of acceptance. I adore this book!

Dorothy – A Different Kind of Friend by Roberto Aliaga

Similar to Strictly No Elephants, this book does not target a specific disability, but deals with feeling isolation and provides encouragement to stand up FOR our friends. I will admit, this book is UNUSUAL in it's artwork. This detail is what I feel makes this book AMAZING. I'd love to hear what you think after you check it out!

We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

I know, you probably already have this book in your library. If not, please consider borrowing it! This is such a well-written book that will definitely spark conversation among your students.

The message kindness is universal among all of our students. Just please be sure to check in with your general education teachers to see if they have an upcoming lesson using this read aloud. I prefer, NOT to steal another teacher's thunder, plus there are plenty of other books to choose from!

My Brother Charlie – by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Peete

If you could only choose ONE book to read as a special education teacher introduction, I HIGHLY recommend this one! Callie's brother has autism and she provides kid-friendly examples of how inspiring, and frustrating, it can feel growing up with him.

Quick heads-up – if you tend to tear up, you may want to read this story a few times BEFORE you walk into the classroom. Trust me!

So many books, so many choices!

So which one should you choose?

How does a special educator introduce herself the first week of school? Ideas from Positively Learning Blog #meetthespecialeducator #specialeducators #firstdayofschool

Such great memories! This was maybe the 2nd or 3rd day of school last year in one of the first grade classrooms.

Meet the Special Educator – Classroom Visit

The visit lasts about 15 minutes (give a little break to the teacher, if you can).

  • Quick Introduction – “Hi, my name is Mrs. DeBrosse…”
  • Share one read aloud (from the book choices above)
  • Q&A (first-grade-style!)

It's a tradition now and I highly encourage incorporating these visits if you can!

We know how busy our schedules very quickly, so be sure to plan your visits as soon as possible!

If you are interested in more books steeped in character education, please check out my “Book Tucks” for read alouds:

My Brother Charlie is included in this set, too!

If you are interested in seeing more activities I use during the first two weeks, check out this bundle of resources!

Thanks for reading and have a FANTASTIC first week of school!

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

On the Blog

In the Shop


Differentiation delivered to your inbox