Castle Hill Elementary Inclusion Strategies

Castle Hill Elementary Inclusion Strategies

Castle Hill Elementary Inclusion Strategies

Meeting the needs of our students with various exceptionalities in the general education setting can at times be challenging, but when done with consistency and structure, these same students show education gains and develop better social skills. During the Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings, we discuss and agree on accommodations that will help our students with disabilities be successful at their level while in the general education setting. Listed below are some of the strategies that help our students with disabilities feel part of their general education classroom:

  • Peer assistance: Using peer assistance as a pair or team strategy allows our students with disabilities to feel part of their environment without feeling ashamed or uncomfortable. For example, when a teacher assigns a project and tells students that they can work with a partner, no one is singled out.
  • Close proximity with prompting: When a teacher uses close proximity with visual, gestural, and verbal prompting, she is letting those with disabilities students know that she is using Wittiness because she can see and hear what is going on in her classroom. Close proximity with prompting helps redirect students and helps the students hear lessons and directions clearly. This strategy is beneficial to all the students in the classroom.
  • Verbal encouragement: This is a strategy beneficial to all students. Verbal encouragement helps build a student’s self-esteem and motivates the student to put forth effort. Stating negatives in a positive way gains the students trust and pushes the student (I like the way you are walking, I like the way you are working, good job completing 4 out of 10 math problems)
  • Repeat, paraphrase directions: When a teacher repeats or paraphrases directions to a student with disabilities more than once, it allows the student to put all of the pieces together. In other words, if the student only heard the last part of what the teacher stated or only the first part, he or she will be confused and most likely get frustrated, but if the teacher repeats or paraphrases the directions, the student will be able to form together what is expected. To make sure the student with a disability heard the directions, the teacher will have that student repeat or paraphrase what she stated. This strategy is beneficial to all students in the general education setting because sometimes we do not hear or understand what was spoken the first time.
  • Lessons broken into smaller segments: In the general education setting, it is important to expose students with disabilities to grade level curriculum, especially if they are still required to take the same formal and standardized assessments as their general education peers. Modifying an assignment is important because we want to make sure the student will not get frustrated and give up easily. So instead of assigning 20 math problems, the teacher will assign 4, 5, or 10 problems. This allows the student to still work on the standards presented in the classroom.
  • Extra time to process information verbally and in written format: Giving students with disabilities extra time to process what he or she has heard or saw and then explain or discuss it verbally or on paper is important because rushing a student or not allowing the student to respond at his pace sends off signals to the student that what he or she has to say is not very important, which makes them feel unimportant.
  • Preferential seating: Allowing a student with a disability to choose his or her own seat is important for different reasons. The student may need to sit closer to the board because he or she cannot see very well; the student may need to sit closer to the teacher because his or her hearing may be challenged or sitting closer to the teacher will allow the student to stay on task more or behave appropriately; the student may want to sit by a peer who is helpful and kind to him or her; the student may have a disability with social deficiencies and may choose to sit alone at times so that he or she may concentrate and focus better.
  • Allow movement as needed: Not all students with disabilities have the same needs, but some do require extra movement. Allowing a student to sit on one foot or leg, stand up behind his or her desk to work, or to simply move around to stretch can help the student focus better and feel better inside. Disciplining a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder because he or she cannot stay still is unfair and can be harsh.
  • Use of a highlighter or colored overlay: Some students with disabilities need color to help them focus. Using a highlighter to highlight key or important words is a reading skill known as Text Features.
  • Differentiated and/or incorporating sensory elements such as using hands-on projects (salt writing to write words, use of rap/rhyming songs or chants to learn math facts or language arts skills, using toothpicks and marshmallows to build geometry shapes, using the computer to help a student learn skills at their own pace), or teaching multiplication facts through jumping jacks
  • Establishing prior knowledge and reinforcing concepts: This strategy helps a student make connections to himself, the text or to the world. When a teacher reinforces concepts such as reviewing sight words or multiplication facts continuously, it helps a student memorize by sight.
  • Using scaffolding to teach difficult or long assignments or units allows the student to focus on one skill at a time so he can grasp some of the skills without frustration.
  • Teacher and/or peer modeling: Modeling the expected assignment or task is very important for all students. We cannot assume that students know what we want just by saying so. When a teacher models the expected skill or allows a student to model, students have a better and clearer understanding of what the final work task or assignment should look like.
  • Pre-plan lessons with learning goals and standards, making changes as needed to meet the needs of the students: This is very important because not planning alerts the students that the teacher does not know what to do, which eludes to off-task behavior, inappropriate and disruptive behavior, and sometimes a lack of respect for authority.

All of these strategies are beneficial to both general education students and students with disabilities. When used appropriately, all students will just think that these are the normal procedures set for their classroom.