Monday, May 13, 2019

When People Think That Inclusion Doesn't Work

When people tell you that inclusion doesn't work, ask them if they are part of the problem....

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Inclusive Class Podcast

Temple Grandin, Paula Kluth, Dan Habib....the list of our expert guests on The Inclusive Class Podcast goes on! Over the course of 4 years, Terri Mauro and I recorded over 100 podcasts on the topic of inclusive education. 

You can listen to our podcasts in the following locations:




ALL of our episodes are also on iTunes at The Inclusive Class Podcast.


Friday, May 3, 2019

10 Ways to Show Your Students that You Care

Have you noticed your student’s face light up when you say, ‘hello’? Do you remember the excitement in their voice when you asked them about their pet or favorite sports team? It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of teaching that we often become so concerned with what we are teaching, rather than who we are teaching. How can you show your students that you care about their presence and participation in your class and still find time to teach all the learning outcomes outlined in your state’s curriculum? 

Developing a stable, nurturing classroom environment can have a positive effect on a student’s cognitive processes, attention span, and decision-making skills. Furthermore, research has shown that students are motivated to learn when they feel valued and appreciated. Here are 10 quick and easy ways to show your students that you care as much about who they are as you do about their letter grades:

1. Greet your students every morning.

  • Remember that every morning is a chance for a fresh start.
  • Teachers can smile, say hello, or have a secret handshake.

2. Acknowledge their presence. 

  • Ask students about their hobbies, talents, special events, or even what they had for supper. Show an appropriate amount of interest in their life outside of school. 
  • Give students an opportunity to share their interests and news with the class. For examlple, one year I had a student who absolutely loved sharks. He became our "resident shark expert" and set up a Shark Learning Center for the other students.
  • Remember days that are special to the student such as birthdays, events, and cultural celebrations.

3. Presume competence. 
  • Assume students are capable and encourage their strengths.
  • Ask students to be an "expert" in a topic of their choice.

4. Provide appropriate learning materials.

  • Give students access to learning materials that are age-appropriate and interesting.
  • Appeal to age-appropriate learning styles such as gamify content or use media and apps to deliver some of the instruction.

5. Make reference to things that are relevant in their lives. 
  • Get to know popular books in your student’s age range, discuss topics of current interest, and refer to familiar characters/heroes/well-known people in their world. 

6. Make praise meaningful and give it often. 

  • Give genuine praise and encouragement; acknowledge hard work or a challenge that was overcome.
  • Write positive notes to student and send positive notes home.

7. Support struggles.

  • Provide an appropriate amount of support when a student struggles academically, emotionally, or physically. 
  • Model a growth mindset and guide the student in finding solutions for success.

8. Give responsibilities. 

  • Give students classroom jobs.
  • Provide opportunities for leadership within the school such as gym equipment monitor, primary class helper, translator, or scribe.

9. Give choice.

  • Allow students to have opportunities to determine how and what they learn. For example, project-based learning is a way to give students choice.

10. Say good-bye at the end of the day. 

  • End the day on a positive note. 
  • Summarize the day, point out the highlights, and say good-bye. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Now Offering Professional Development!

As you know, I am passionate about inclusive education and loves to share what I've learned from being "in the trenches". I spent over 15 years as an inclusion classroom teacher in a fully inclusive school system.

If you are eager to learn what inclusive education is, how to successfully include students with special needs in your classroom, advocate for inclusion or find resources, then we need to connect!

I am available for give keynote presentations, breakout sessions, workshops, and webinars to those interested in successfully including students with disabilities in the classroom.

Current topics include:

  • Everything You Need to Know About Inclusion (from an Inclusion Teacher)
  • Creating Inclusive Classrooms for ALL Students
  • Access for ALL:  Making Accommodations and Modifications to the Curriculum  
  • Modifying Curriculum to Include Students with Intellectual Disabilities in the General Education Curriculum

  • I am happy to discuss other topic options to better suit your specific needs. Contact me at!

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    CHEAT SHEET: Is it Inclusion?

    Not sure if your student is being included in their classroom? Download this handy chart to find out! 

    Thursday, March 14, 2019

    St. Catherine of Alexandria School Workshop

    Welcome St. Catherine of Alexandria School to The Inclusive Class online! You will find many resources about inclusion on this site. The links below are resources that are discussed during my presentation:

    Friday, March 1, 2019

    5 Essential Classroom Management Strategies to Keep Your Inclusive Class Running Smoothly

    As any teacher will tell you, teaching isn't just about lessons, marking school work, and tests. It's also about keeping track of a million little details such as how many available pencils are in your classroom at any given time, which student has gone to the bathroom, who needs to finish an assignment, and remembering to hand-out permission forms for the class field trip. It's enough to make you forget what you have to teach that day!

    Classroom management plans are established to make school life a little less chaotic for teachers and a lot more predictable for students. Those plans are made of routines and protocols that are meant to be consistent and effective. For example, students can write their name (or use a name tag) on the board before leaving the classroom. Thus, a teacher only has to glance at the board to know who or who is not in the classroom. 

    Monday, February 25, 2019

    New Website for Inclusion!

    Quick update! Life has been busy and I haven't had a chance to contribute much to this blog. I will have some more time in the next few weeks so hope to get some more posts written. 

    Some of the things that have been keeping me busy recently include speaking at a number of conferences recently. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge at conferences and I love it! 

    Saturday, February 16, 2019

    FIRE Foundation Conference - Kansas City

    On the road again! Here are some resources related to my February 19th and 20th presentations for the FIRE Foundation in Kansas City! 

    Sunday, February 3, 2019

    Modified Lessons All in One Place!

    I am currently in the process of putting together an online binder that contains lessons and lesson ideas for modifying curriculum for students with intellectual disabilities.

    You can view the binder @

    Tuesday, January 8, 2019

    Arizona TASH Inclusive Practices Institute

    Check out resources and links to supplement my sessions at the Arizona TASH Inclusive Practices Institute on February 1, 2019. 

    (PC: Renay Marquez)