Thursday, November 1, 2018

4 Things That Every School Needs to Make Inclusion Work


How many times have you heard a parent or teacher say, "Inclusion doesn't work"? I used to cringe when people would make such a bold statement. Trying to resist the urge to retort in what would likely be an unprofessional show of frustration, I would give an overview of 30 years of research to support inclusion. I also provided a personal account of 15 years teaching in a fully inclusive school system. Some stayed to hear me out, while others politely excused themselves from the conversation.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Inclusion Collaborative Conference - October 2018


Here are some resources to supplement my session, Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum for Students with IEPs, at the Inclusion Collaborative Conference on October 25, 2018.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

3 Big Misconceptions About Inclusion


Despite years of research that concludes inclusion is best for students with AND without disabilities, there are STILL misconceptions about inclusive classrooms. In a recent discussion with Understood.org, I summarized 3 of those big misconceptions: 

1.  The first big misconception about inclusion is the concern that the student with disabilities will not be able to “keep up” with the class curriculum. Fortunately, inclusive classrooms recognize that not every child will be learning at the same rate, and at the same time. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

INCLUSION IN ACTION BOOK ON SALE!!

Just in time for your back to school shopping,  Inclusion in Action: Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum in on sale now!! Full of practical information about inclusion and easy-to-use strategies to modify curriculum, this book can be used by both general and special education teachers.

Monday, May 21, 2018

12 Strategies to Engage Students Who Work Below Grade Level During Instructional Time

Supporters of inclusive education believe that students with ID should be participating to the maximum extent possible (and with appropriate supports) in the classroom lessons and activities

In doing so, we presume competence in the student's ability to learn and participate in education. In other words, we can't assume that the student with ID will not learn what we are teaching. 

However, teachers and parents often wonder what the student with ID can be doing while the rest of the class is listening to the teacher lecture, presention, or discussion. This is a legitimate concern.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Including Students with Disabilities in Classroom Lessons - Part One

In a previous post, I discuss the different layers of inclusion within a successfully, inclusive school. Inclusion must exist within the community, school, classroom, AND LESSON. 

It is inclusion within the class lesson that can truly make or break an inclusive opportunity. It is not enough for a student with disabilities to be physically present within the general education classroom, without participating in the class lessons. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

40 Strategies to Modify Curriculum!

How can teachers effectively teach students with intellectual and multiple disabilities in an inclusive class? What does an IEP look like? What are the differences between curriculum accommodations and modifications?

These questions and more are answered in this latest resource book for educators! Written by an inclusion teacher, it is full of tips and strategies to help students access and achieve curriculum! Available on Amazon and Brookes Publishing

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Inclusive Schools say "YES"


Inclusive schools start by saying, "YES". 

"Yes", we value all children.

"Yes", we will teach all children.

"Yes", we will do what it takes to teach all children. 


Learn more about inclusive schools from Inclusion in Action: Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum.


Friday, March 2, 2018

How to Overcome the Challenges to Inclusion

Inclusive education is finally starting to attract the attention it deserves in American public schools. Inclusion improves outcomes, fosters social and emotional development and equips students for life outside of school. Despite its value, however, school districts still claim challenges to implementing full inclusion.  Talk of insufficient resources, ill-prepared staff and myths about inclusion still exist to create barriers.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Free Webinar!! Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum for Students Working Below Grade Level


Be sure to mark your calendars! On Tuesday, March 27th at 3 PM Eastern, I will be giving a FREE webinar on making curriculum modifications. In conjunction with Brookes Publishing and edweb.net,  this one hour presentation will cover topics useful for any teacher and/or parent who teaches students working below grade level. Below is a more detailed description of the webinar:

Friday, January 26, 2018

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Class Socially Inclusive






Inclusive schools are places where educational barriers are removed and students of all abilities are educated in general education classrooms. Many of my previous posts have focused on the removal of barriers to the academic curriculum. I've written about using learning accommodations, lesson modifications, universal design for learning, and assistive technology to facilitate inclusive education.

There is another area of the curriculum where barriers can exist to full inclusion.

It typically receives less attention, yet is just as important. I'm talking about the "hidden" or social curriculum that is the by-product of a school's education program. This social curriculum conveys the values, belief systems, and expectations of behavior in the school setting. 


This social curriculum is not "hidden" in an inclusive school. It's actually quite the opposite - with as much attention given to the social development of students as there is academic. Teachers give explicit instruction in social inclusion, model socially inclusive behavior, provide socially inclusive opportunities for students, and expect that all students will adhere to an inclusive belief system. 



So, if you or your school is on a journey towards inclusion or you are thinking about creating a more inclusive classroom, here are some strategies to intentionally facilitate social inclusion:

1. Switch up the seating plan - give students a change of scenery and someone new to work with by changing up your seating plan several times during the school year. 


2. Find common ground - class games such as "Find Someone Who", gives students a chance to get to know one another in a fun and informal manner.


3. Partner or small group work - set students up in partners and small groups to complete work. Giving students guidelines and expectations of group behavior beforehand can help set students up for a positive experience.


4. Offer structured recess activities - unstructured recess time can be very difficult for some students. It can be lonely, awkward, or even chaotic. Offer some structured and supervised games that are open to all students. 

5. Use socially inclusive language - socially inclusive language is essential to creating an atmosphere of respect. Schools should expect that students and staff use words that appropriate and culturally responsive.


6. Role-play situations where students can include one another - role-playing common social situations can give students the skills they need to successfully interact with one another. 


7. Set expectations for socially-inclusive behavior - clearly communicate your expectations of socially inclusive behavior. Ensure that all students understand the expectations.


8. Find ways to highlight student interests and strengths - encourage students to share their favorite things, celebrate student success in various areas of the curriculum, and demonstrate their talent and/or expertise (one year I had a student who brought her bagpipes to school and she played us a few songs).


9. Ensure that all students have an effective and appropriate way to communicate - make sure assistive devices are working properly and are set-up for students to effectively communicate with their peer group. 


10. Provide opportunities/places for students to meet and interact in your classroom - create spaces where students can work together, read together, have discussions, complete an activity, or just socialize with one another. Use different types of seating, tables, and materials to create welcoming spaces. 


Please share your ideas and strategies for creating a socially inclusive classroom in the comments below!