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?

December 17

Chapter 4- Making Curriculum Accessible Through Instructional Strategies and Accommodations

Wow! That was a long title!

UDL, RTI, Accommodations- this chapter gives a good overview of these three topics. I also loved the example given about a lesson that used UDL- the rock lesson. Oh how I wish every teacher taught in this way! It is so difficult to change the way teachers teach, especially when they typically do not attend Professional Development Sessionsto help improve their teaching techniques. Strictly paper/pencil tasks is just not supportive of all student needs.


In my district, we use the RTI model of 3-tiered instructional supports. It is how we structure the additional supports in our school. This year, we have a significant number of emotionally/behaviourally needy students in our primary classes- one student who is quite violent, one student who is a flight risk, another student who is both violent and a flight risk and a fourth student who is a risk to himself. Due to this, we have placed a large amount of support into these classrooms. Unfortunately, this leaves some of our other students in the intermediate wing less supported. How I wish our school and mostly, our district were funded adequately so that we were better able to meet the needs of our students.


Accommodations/adaptations is an area that is a real struggle for some of my colleagues to understand. They often get it and modifications mixed up. I really like the list that they have placed at the end of this chapter. Some of these I often forget to include on my IEPs, so it will be great to utilize this book when writing them next time.


Does your school/district use the RTI model of instructional support?

Is UDL being used effectively in your school? Do you, like me, have colleagues who are not utilizing this method for including all students, giving them all access to the curriculum?

Do you have any accommodations that are not on the list but might be helpful to others in the group?

December 3

Chapter 3-Supporting Inclusion in the Classroom

Supporting inclusion in the classroom is super important.  It can be done in numerous ways- with the support of other teachers, paraprofessionals, family volunteers and peers. Having the ability to collaborate with another teacher would be absolutely wonderful-seemingly a pipedream in my school. There are so many opportunities that are missed because we do not have ample time to collaborate with each other.


The EAs in my school are scheduled into classes and then either given information and a program by me or the classroom teacher. Again, we do not have much time to collaborate, as they are scheduled from 9-3 and very rarely do they stick around outside those hours. They also do not attend the staff meetings, making it even more difficult for them to get the needed information.


Social-emotional development seems to be a much needed piece in our system today. We are seeing huge numbers of students coming without manners or knowing how to interact with their peers.


Does your school have opportunities to collaborate with each other on a regular basis? How is this scheduled?

What do you notice about the social emotional development of your students- have they changed over the years?