December 31

Chapter 5-Making Curriculum Achievable Through Modifications

This chapter did an excellent job of outlining the difference between modifications and accomodations. I love, near the end of the chapter, where the author discussesthe progressions of an inclusive lesson format from most inclusive to least inclusive (although she does not get that far, only outlining 3 of the 5 levels in Fig. 5.5 on page 53).

 

When I look at my school and, more specifically, my students with the highest needs, I wonder how we are doing with the inclusion of these few students. Based on this chapter, I would probably give our school a failing grade. Our student with CP, although in the classroom for a majority of the day, is not working on the same curriculum. Sure she is doing language arts when the rest of the class does language arts, but she is not working on the same concepts/topics, even with modifications. Another student, who has just recently been diagnosed with FASD and a mild intellectual impairment, is now working solely in my classroom, with the exception of “special” classes in which she can participate fully, like gym, art, culture, library, etc. This is because her classroom teacher is not modifying the curriculum to a place where she can be included, except in Social Studies, when our First Nations Support Worker is teaching the lessons and having the Classroom Teacher sit with this student to support her during the lesson and activity.

 

How can we change this failing grade? Ideally, I would clone myself so that I would be able to sit down with the teachers of these two students and plan lessons together that would allow these two lovely girls to be fully included. But since this is not yet possible (and I’m not sure I would want another me!) I need to figure out another way to make this happen. Even if it is for just one subject and one unit!

 

I am looking forward to exploring the remaining chapters, and getting into the strategies to support this move for my students. I know that they deserve the best education, the same quality of education as their peers. It is my job to be their support to ensure that this happens!

 

When you look at your school/class,what grade would you give to the inclusivity of it? How could you improve it?

Do you have any suggestions for the rest of us that do not have a passing grade in this area?


Posted December 31, 2018 by tiebcmembers in category Inclusion in Action

7 thoughts on “Chapter 5-Making Curriculum Achievable Through Modifications

  1. Carla Lowther

    Like you, Sarah, I can hardly wait to read the upcoming chapters: I want to know more specific strategies for making successful modifications! In SD#60, we have introduced Gr 4-7 for sure, and maybe up to Gr 10 classes, MAP Math. I was in a class where a child who I have known for 7 years and has profound learning issues (I do not know exactly what they were) was able to stay in the class, do the exact same work and page, but used a one digit number (6) instead of a 4 digit number like her peers. She was also the only student to get into negative numbers – which she could understand b/c of our winter temperatures here in Fort St. John!!. Her EA was ecstatic and said to me, “We need more learning like this going for her.” I really appreciated all the examples in this chapter but I do have some questions: 1. On page 51,Fig. 5.3 Where is the PBIS plan? 2. P 51 – Who is the core team and who is the whole team? 3. P 51 – Where is the time allotted for these people to meet as often as the Comments and other special needs section states? It cannot be after school b/c everyone is already overloaded with after school meetings, esp the LATs who are trying to keep track of “demanding” (p. 52, last sentence) – and I would argue ‘unreasonable’ “caseloads”.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      I guess that this is the plight of the LARTs- demanding/unreasonable caseloads, countless meetings, and never enough time in which to manage it all. Your example of the child with profound learning issues is so uplifting! It would be great if these stories happened much more often!

      Reply
  2. Vanessa

    I really enjoyed reading this chapter…the whole time I was reading this book I was thinking of all the different students with special needs at our school and especially a Grade 5 boy with autism and a moderate cognitive delay. Every year as the academic demands increase, I find it harder to see him really included in his class. His teacher is happy to have him in the room but hasn’t designed the class in the UDL framework described in Chapter 4. The teacher is happy to have him in the class and participate in the class lessons but it seems to be up to the EA to modify everything for him. If the EA hasn’t prepared an activity for him related to what the class is doing he is left completely lost. It seems like in general our school’s practice is more like integration as opposed to inclusion which was described in Chapter 1. Students participate in activities like art or music but if the student can not, they work on an alternative program. I think to change this it starts with education and more pro-d for teachers on what inclusion is and tangible examples of UDL in practice. It also comes to funding and lack of resources and supports. Most of the teachers at my school are here at 8:00 am and stay til late, I think many teachers will say they don’t have any extra time to create modified materials but I think the chart on page 53 is really helpful to show that making modifications doesn’t need to be laborious. I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter on more specific strategies on making modifications!

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      There are similar situations in my school as well. The teachers are generally happy with having students with learning needs in their classes, but they do not differentiate their lessons in a way that these students can be successful, either because they do not know how or it is a lot of work, or whatever the reasons. I, also, like the chart on page 53. I believe I will start with this when supporting some of these teachers.

      Reply
    2. Carla Lowther

      I agree completely with Vanessa. We need appropriate Pro-D for all staff and enough funding to allow inclusion vs integration to really prosper.

      Reply
  3. Debra Swain

    There is a lot of information in this chapter and I will be rereading it. Time is certainly an issue when adapting or modifying curriculum. I found this challenging when I taught grade 4-5 one day a week even though I was an experienced learning support teacher. It is hard to stay on top of diverse learning needs in a classroom. I think we will have to ask each other what has been working and keep trying. Carol Fullerton has many ideas that work with different ability levels. Her books are also easy to follow and don’t require a lot of prep. I think as learning support specialists we need to be included in the in-service opportunities offered by districts so we can learn with our regular classroom colleagues.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      I totally agree! When I worked in a classroompart time, I found that I had to put in all of my free time, leaving my Learning Assistance portion behind a bit more than I would have liked, just to stay on top of the planning for the variety of needs. I loved being in the classroom! It was very rewarding, but also very challenging. Carol Fullerton has a lot of wonderful resources to support the students in a variety of classes with a variety of levels.

      Reply

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