Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 10 Blogs About Inclusive Education

With school starting in just a few short weeks, teachers and parents are thinking about the new beginnings that each school year brings. We reflect on our student’s growth over the past year and look forward to what the future holds. For me, the new school year also means finding new resources for the classroom that I can use to spur on creativity, enthusiasm and learning throughout the coming months. I can easily spend hours in bookstores and online searching for information that will help guide my inclusive practice.

Over the past couple of years, there have been many internet sites created to support inclusive education. While I am not going to be in a classroom this year, I have used my time instead, to search for resources for you. In particular, I have searched for blogs (sites run by individuals or small groups)  that have provided information but have also shared personal experiences and opinions about inclusion. The following is a list of my top 10 inclusive education blogs that I feel will be very useful for your upcoming school year (in no specific order as they are all as equally good):

1.  Think Inclusive - Tim Villegas uses his experience as a Special Education Teacher to blog and promote ideas about inclusive education. Posts such as, Things I Wish I Knew My First Year of Teaching Special Education, give readers an insight into the world of special education and encourages us to see one another as all equal.

2.  ParaEducate - this blog is dedicated to providing resources for paraeducators and teachers. Educators, Megan Gross and Renay H. Marquez expertly provide practical tips that can be used in the general or special education classroom, like the post called, Transition Activities.

3.  Lisa Jo Rudy on Authentic Inclusion - Lisa devotes time to this blog by writing about ways adults and kids with various learning abilities can build on strengths. She has had the opportunity to view authentic inclusion in a wide variety of settings and shares her experiences in posts such as, Inclusion Through Simplifying or Dumbing Down?
4.  Jewish Special Needs Education - educator and blogger, Lisa Friedman, has helped build a synagogue special needs program from "the ground up".  She believes that everyone should feel connected to his/her heritage and offers ways to live inclusively in posts like, Each One of Us Counts.

5.  Beyond the Crayon - in a post titled, Our Innate Need for Normal, educator Renee Laporte challenges readers to see others as equal and break down existing barriers. Looking through the rest of her blog posts, you will find other articles that explore our understanding of inclusion.

6.  Climbing Every Mountain - Mary Ulrich describes her blog as a base camp for parents and caregivers of people with disabilities. From her own experiences as a mother and educator, Mary has many unique stories of inclusion such as Supportive Living: What an Inclusive Day Looks Like.  She also writes about other topics like advocacy and disability awareness.

7.  Eliminating the Box - author, Monica Braat, is a Mom and Inclusion Facilitator to children with complex needs. In her blog, she writes about numerous issues related to educating students with special needs. By looking at ways to include kids, Monica writes posts such as, Shame as a Barrier to Learning.

8.  In-kloo-zhuhn - Brenda Giourmetakis, now a Supervisor of Inclusive Learning for a large school district, was a principal to an inclusive school.  Brenda wrote posts like Empathy Needed... to share her school's journey with inclusion. She believes that all children have a right to attend their community school. 

9.  Friendship Circle Blog - this extensive blog includes resources and information on a wide variety of disability-related topics, many of which provide valuable tips like, 23 Ways to Communicate with a Non-Verbal Child.  The Friendship Circle of Michigan, a non-profit organization, oversees this site.

10. Differentiation Daily - the contributor to this blog is Paula Kluth, as well-known expert on inclusive education. Packed full of tips and strategies by subject area, Differentiation Daily has posts like, Science and Stories.

BONUS: Carolyn Coil's blog  focuses on a variety of ways to reach and teach all learners. For example, check out Curriculum Mapping and Differentiation: How They Work Together. You will also find book suggestions, videos and links to her various workshops.

ADDED BONUS: At first glance, OLLIBEAN is a site dedicated to disability-centric news and editorial pieces, however through their blog, OLLIBEAN posts articles about the world of inclusion. Self-advocates and change-makers explore and discuss a world where everyone is equal.

Can you name any other blogs about inclusion that will be a helpful resource?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this information.

  2. If there are any readers who know Swedish or who like to play around with Google translate I have a blog about inclusion in Swedish schools: www.specialpedagogen.wordpress.com. I have noticed I do have readers in the US and Canada! Nicole, your site is a great inspiration.

  3. Thanks, Helena! I will put the word out and see if we can translate it - I would love to know more about inclusion in other countries.

  4. We believe every student deserves an excellent Educator regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status