Monday, July 20, 2009

Inclusion Ideas and Resources

I was recently sharing with my class some information about inclusion and thought I would share it with you. I think inclusion can be great if it is set up right but if there is not enough preparation, planning, and communication between teachers, it can be a disaster. Too often strong egos and power struggles can undermine the whole process. Hopefully these suggestions will help an inclusion program be more successful.

Preparing for Inclusion:

1. Identify the purpose of Inclusion and what it means for the students. Inclusion is necessary to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Strategies and projects may actually end up helping all of the students in the classroom.
2. Identify the roles of each teacher. Each teacher should have equal power and one teacher will not be used as a glorified aide.
3. Identify times and places for planning and the importance of communication. When and where will we plan for the lessons? Both teachers need to give input and share the responsibility of teaching the lessons.
4. Identify problems solving strategies that will happen when conflict occurs. If the teachers are having a problem, how will you work to solve this problem?) This needs to be agreed upon before a problem arises.
5. All of this needs to take place before classes start.

During the School Year:

1. Brainstorm ideas for teaching a certain topic. Try to think outside the box in order to make the topic interesting and meet the different learning styles of the student.
2. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
3. Look at alternate ways to assess the learning. Offer different options and allow the students to choose.
4. Review the lesson and make sure each teacher understands their role.
5. Evaluate the lesson afterwards to see how the next one can be improved.
6. Don’t take criticism personally but rather a way to help better meet the students’ needs.

Nine Types of Adaptations:

· Size – reduce the number of problems as long as the student can show the skill is mastered.
· Time - extra time may be needed, timeline given to complete the task, or tasks broken down into time chunks.
· Level of Support – peer buddies, tutors, teaching assistants
· Input – visual aides, concrete examples, hands on activities, cooperative groups
· Difficulty – allow use of computer, simplify directions
· Output – verbal response, podcast, drawing, Voicethread, comic strip
· Participation – find roles that student can be successful doing (helper, assistant etc.)
· Alternate – adjust the goals for the student
· Substitute Curriculum – different instruction and materials for the student.
from Adapting Curriculum and Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms: A Teacher's Desk Reference, by Deschenes, C., Ebeling, D., and Sprague, J., 1994.

Great example of inclusion that works:

South Paris Collaborative Site :
Lisa Parisi and Christine Southard teach fifth graders in NY. Lisa is the general ed teacher and Christine is the special ed teacher. They decided to make this a true inclusion classroom and combined their names to form the South Paris Collaborative classroom. Both teachers have equal sized desks and equal say. They spend a lot of time in planning and communicating with each other. They also use the Universal Design for Learning to plan lessons for their classes and meet their students’ needs. Technology is used every day in their lessons and they collaborate with other classrooms around the world. This is a great example of how inclusion can work successfully in the classroom

Universal Design for Learning (
“Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all.”

Special Education inclusion article:

If you have any other suggestions to help others, please feel free to leave a comment!


cupcake said...

Thanks for this. I have an inclusion class next year and will have an EC teacher in the room, which will help a lot. Still, it's an intimidating prospect for me, so I appreciate this information quite a bit.

Christine Southard said...

If you haven't already connected with your co-teacher this summer, it is time. If you live far away, Skype or Google Video are great "free" online tools to communicate with your partner. Google Docs is another tool that could be used to share your classroom to-do lists and plans for the upcoming school year. If you're new to co-teaching it is important to establish your goals for the year early, get your pet peeves out in the open, and work collaboratively to establish a classroom that delivers quality content to all learners. If you're looking for resources, I really like the handbook, Co-Teaching! by Marilyn Friend.

Margaret said...

very good advice and thanks for the resources. this will be very useful.
This will define 'collaboration' for me and keep it from becoming a buzzword.

loonyhiker said...

@cupcake Glad this help you for next year. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just need some support.

loonyhiker said...

@Christine Southard Thanks for the added suggestions. Your ears must burn every time I bring up this topic because I can't talk about this without bring up your name!

loonyhiker said...

@Margaret: Glad you found it useful. Please feel free to share it with others.

Meaghan said...

Thanks for the resources. Sharing successful ideas and suggestions in education is so important!

loonyhiker said...

@Meaghan I'm glad you found these useful. I just wish we had more dialogue about inclusion so that it could be more successful. The theory and the idea of it is fantastic but until teachers learn how to get it to work, it can be frustrating.