Locating appropriate resources and support services to meet the needs of all students.

Inclusion School as a Caring Community:

This website in excellent resource for teachers, what is so great about this site is hoe everything is broken down by level and content. Being a 4th year teacher we are constantly writing objectives and I like the one they wrote for this site” There is no one recipe for including all children with disabilities into regular classrooms. Every student is different, and what may work for one may not always work with another. We offer here a journey of key elements that will empower you to include the child successfully in your classroom, the school, and the surrounding community.” This is a very strong statement to make and from what I can see they seem to back it up with so much good information.

You Are Not Alone – Secondary Level:

The support information here states that each teacher of children with disabilities can find a good deal of appropriate supports for the inclusive classroom. A teacher can find and use all types of support from teachers, staff, administrators, paid assistants, volunteers, parents, professionals and students. This idea does give you some comfort to know this The support is available well at least it should be there.

Some situations might require a teacher assistant based upon the needs of the students, the classroom situation and the school budget. This can cause problems if the assistant is overbearing on the student and stops the interaction with the other student. The teacher needs to make sure the overall best interest is a top priority.

One of the most important parts of the inclusive classroom is the role of the parents/guardians of the children with special needs. Parents need to be involved in all decisions regarding the child’s educational program, transportation and physical needs. Parents can also help with the changing needs of the student.

The last goal of the inclusive program is to make sure that the student begins to interact with the other students. The students need to develop friends in the classroom in order for the inclusion to work. The success of the inclusion depends on the student feeling accepted in the classroom for the rest of the goals to begin to have effect.

Getting Organized: The Collaborative Team:

The first step in developing a support network in the inclusive is to develop a team. Just as in the IEP process this team should be comprised of teachers, school professionals, parents, specialists, and the student themselves. Because the secondary student usually arrives with an established IEP, the first meeting of the team occurs at the beginning of the school year. The purpose of this first meeting is to review and update the student’s progress and goals for the upcoming semester. A major part of getting organized, is to be aware of the role and process of the IEP. The IEP is the teams efforts in creating an inclusive program that meets each individual student’s specific needs. This is the first step of “Getting Organized” and beginning the over all student plan.

In the Classroom: Planning for Instruction:

In the inclusive classroom the curriculum will be the same for everyone. Gearing instruction to students with challenges might mean adapting some parts of the curriculum to meet their specific needs. The overall goal is that the challenged student works within their own achievement level while at the same time benefiting by learning with their peers. Teachers can create adapted and parallel objectives to assist their instruction with respect to the goals established through the IEP prior to the unit of instruction.

Teachers should be careful to maintain classroom/student normalization where students are part of the routine school day. Their are plenty of strategies for instruction of students to meet individual needs. The use of student cooperative learning can be very help in the instruction of challenged students. Through the use of planned group activities all students share in the learning process. The use of different means of class participation helps make learning more relative and prevents the feeling of being left out.

Teachers must be aware of classroom management and be mindful of problems and behaviors that may indicate a student’s needs are still not figured out. All areas of the school should be accessible to students with disabilities but accommodations such as seating, lighting, teacher mobility and acoustics might be more specific for the inclusive classroom. As with all students including those with disabilities, teachers need to be accountable for the student progress.. Evaluation is a process that is used to determine that the students are achieving the proposed goals and that their needs are being met. The types of evaluations that might be included are:

- Teacher evaluations

- Peer evaluations

- Student self evaluations

The use of portfolio’s is an excellent way to track students progress. Students create and maintain their portfolios as a record of their classroom activities, achievements and their own learning reflections. Assessments for challenged students should be geared towards their specific needs and the mode or testing process should be outlined in the student’s IEP.

Field Notes:

Within this website there are a number of topics that ranged from peer tutors, behavior management to creating specific accommodations for students with disabilities. Throughout the field note entries are testimonials from educators as to what they have experienced and what has worked for their own classrooms that can contribute to student success.

Inclusion – “Children, Who Learn Together, Learn to Live Together”

This website created and maintained by the Renaissance Group is dedicated to developing and presenting resources for the support of educators and the inclusive classroom. Within the information contained on this site are a number of sources for information regarding teacher competencies, strategies, decision making and preparing the school/classroom for inclusion.

Teaching Competencies Needed:

The question presented here is what competencies do general education and special education teachers need to be competent inclusive classroom teachers? The answer is that teachers need to develop competencies and abilities to meet the needs of all their students especially those that are challenged. These teacher abilities would include:
1.Ability to problem solve
2.Ability to make use of a child’s individual interests and internal motivation
3.Ability to set high but alternative expectations and assessments suitable for their students
4.Ability to make appropriate expectations for each student regardless of a student’s capabilities
5.Ability to determine modification of assignments and to design classroom activities that meet the needs of their students
6.Ability to learn and understand the value of all kinds of skills their students bring to class
7.Ability to provide a classroom environment that is dedicated to providing daily success to all students

General education teachers would benefit from a realization that every child in their class is a responsibility and an opportunity to become a better teacher. By knowing a variety of instructional strategies and working with the collaborative IEP team, the teacher can achieve positive educational outcomes in the inclusive classroom.

Content/Behavioral Strategies – What Does an Inclusive Classroom Look Like?

According to Dr. Chris Kliever, Associate Professor of Special Education, University of Northern Iowa, the following would be a broad outline for the inclusive classroom content area instruction:
1.Inclusive education is nothing more than good teaching
2.Students taking responsibility for their education help to create and establish the structure of classroom and academic programs
3.Teachers have high expectations that all students will meet the rules and academic challenges in their program of instruction
4.Families are involved in the success of their children
5.Curriculum is focused on humanity and values one another’s worth
6.Teachers create curriculum that works and involves students

While at the same time Dr. Kliever’s ideas for behavioral strategies would include:
1.Classrooms and students need one main rule and that is respect for each other
2.Teachers need to be excellent observers to help determine what caused a behavioral problem
3.Teachers need to structure the environment so students are actively engaged and motivated
4.Teachers should utilize a number on content area strategies when solving behavioral problems
5.Teachers should utilize a functional behavioral assessment and apply that to a problem solving approach to behavioral issues
6.Based upon the results of the functional behavioral assessment teachers can formulate curriculum, instructional and classroom modifications to assist students overcoming their behavioral issues

Dr. Kliever describes the inclusive classroom as an active place for learning where activities are student centered and provide for social interaction. Above everything else learning reaches beyond the classroom into the community for learning new skills.

Nine Types of Adaptation Strategies:

Contained in this website is a link that describes what types of adaptations that teachers can utilize in their teaching strategies. This link illuminates nine adaptation strategies that include:
1.Size – adapting the number of items that the student/learner is expected to complete
2.Time – adapt the amount of time allotted for learning, task completion or testing
3.Level of support – increase the amount of personal support or assistance as needed by a specific student
4.Input – adapt the method(s) of instruction and delivery based upon student needs
5.Difficulty – adapt the skill level, problem type or approach to work so the learner can benefit
6.Output – adapt how the student can and should respond to instruction
7.Participation – adapt the way and extent that the learner is involved in the task
8.Alternate – adapt the goals or outcome expectations while using the same materials
9.Substitute curriculum – adapt and provide different instruction and materials to meet the learner’s individual goals

Though the use of the information and strategies presented on this website, teachers can find support for their inclusive classroom practices and develop accommodations in instruction that meet the needs of all their students.

The Circle of Inclusion Homepage:

The “Circle of Inclusion Homepage” funded by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs is dedicated to the early childhood service providers and families of young children. This website offers a number of resources including demonstrations and information about the effective practices of inclusive educational programs for children from birth to age eight.

One of the more important website features is the section on “Planning Your Website Use”. In this section is a profiler system description composed of two parts:
1.Taking a survey
2.Viewing the graphical results of your survey

The profiler survey contains questions on six areas:
1.Inclusion
2.Models and implementation
3.Teams
4.Accommodations
5.Communications
6.Further planning

The profiler account setup then takes the results of the survey questions and graphically color codes the information based upon understanding.

This website offers a number links to inclusive services, visiting inclusive classrooms, methods and practices to accommodation, accessibility and awareness. There is also a session devoted to interactive lessons. Here one of those interactive lessons is based on a case study of a student with disabilities (spina bifida) that allows the reader to expand their knowledge by assuming various interactive roles. Through the use of each of these interactive roles the reader can begin to formulate the responsibilities of all those involved in the educational process of this disabled child.

There is also a section called “Expanding the Circle” whose purpose is to provide a look at inclusive practices in an urban setting while providing the interactive viewer a greater depth of knowledge onto the inclusive classroom at the primary school level. The slide show presentation in “Expanding the Circle” shows how important the inclusive classroom is at the primary school level and shows responsible classroom/instructional, school wide and community practices that are important to the success of inclusive educational programs.

Along with the slide show there were several sections that take the viewer through the information presented. At the end of the presentation were ten short answer questions designed to assess your knowledge regarding the material covered. The answers to these questions could be found through a series of links exploring inclusive school/classroom practices.