Many of my general education teachers ask me "what can I do to encorporate Johnny into my classroom when he/she can't read?"I have given the teachers the different modifications for the students and several workshops on ways they can adapt the lessons, but none of them or very few of them are utilizing them to help the students.
When I was in the classroom (I now teach technology K-12), I always had inclusion students. Everything I did involved differentiation- I tried to reach each student where they were- not just teach to the middle or to the top. It did take more time, but the results were well worth it! I had many talented special education teachers for inclass support- they made me a better educator.
Don't give up!
I think a systemic answer might be a solution. This means we accept as regular classroom teachers that we can't do everything and be everything. Rather, if there is in place some school wide pathways for such kids, such as a scheduled regular meeting with a reading specialist, we can all do our jobs better.
Do any of these inclusion classrooms have co-teachers? I have co-taught with an Inclusion teacher in the past, and having another teacher in the room greatly impacted the progress I was able to make with these students. We would each work with different groups of students, and help them all to the best of their abilities. Although I no longer co-teach, I am aware of so many interventions I would have otherwise not known about, and use those in my classroom daily.
Dear Amand, That is the problem. They are not inclusion students. I am the only EC teacher for the whole school. We are a small charter school. I have 14 students on my caseload-3 have 3 hours daily in a resource setting with me because we do not have a self-contained classroom. the others come to my room daily for 1 hour. I have students from grades 1 to 7. The students must return to their general education classroom. The challenge seems to be on how toengage the teachers in using the many different accommodations I have given them and explained to them in detail! The class sizes are no more than 20 in a class, most have 12 to 16 children. We thought to call the local university and see if they have any students in special education to do their practicums as a volunteer in our classrooms. what do you think? Sincerely, Gail Wakeford
Gail, as an Occupational Therapist, I've found that the "proof is in the pudding." I know that you are alone in this thing as you are the only EC teacher. However, that happens with OTs too. The solution for me has been to arrange my schedue so that I am using some of my OT time with students in the classroom, working with the teacher and the students - all of them benefit, it's ok - and the teacher can feel comfortable with the strategies that I am demonstrating and can ask questions and practice while I am there. Strategies and instructions that sound "simple and common sense" to us are sometimes intimidating and confusing to those that are new to them. Give the teachers a chance to see you in action - not only does it help the students and their teachers, it give you time to shine! Good luck!
In my physical science classes, 8th grade, I try to always use a variety of teaching and testing methods, so that anyone can find a place to relate to the subject and "fit in" . This works well for everyone, not just the resource students. By variety, I mean that just about any topic is accompanied by demos, a lab, or at least a lot of discussion - The discussions sometimes lead to our trying things off the cuff to see what happens. I often find that the resource students participate well and understand basic science principles because these kids are often the ones who, on their own time, get outside and "do stuff", getting a real feel for how the world works. These students don't usually make the best grades, but they, if they work hard to complete all assignments, get average grades and are generally happy with how they do. It also helps a lot if I have these same students in our "assisted studies" (study hall) program so that I can help them with the written assignments.