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Strategies to Support Diverse Needs in the Classroom

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1 Strategies to Support Diverse Needs in the Classroom
Presented by: Tracy Huckell, January 2010

2 Agenda Adaptive Dimension & Differentiated Instruction
Modifications to Programming & PPP’s Inclusion Co-teaching and Collaboration Roles of Team Members Effective Use of an EA to support Students in Class Other ways to support students/various adaptations

3 The Adaptive Dimension or Differentiated Instruction…
Is best teaching practices Is making adjustments to accommodate diversity in student learning needs Is the adaptations we make to give all students an equal opportunity to learn and succeed in our classrooms Includes the practices teachers undertake to make curriculum, instruction, and the learning environment meaningful and appropriate for all learners. - Giving students what they need – it doesn’t mean you have to give it to everyone else. Fair doesn’t mean equal – it means equal opportunity – glasses, hearing aids, CPR etc.

4 The Adaptive Dimension and Differentiated Instruction…
Is giving students what they need Gives you the right and responsibility to meet the needs of your students and help them achieve curricular outcomes Begins with knowing your students and their strengths, interests, learning styles and areas of need – the ‘whole’ child Interest inventories are helpful here as well as knowing what kind of learner each of your students are (visual, auditory, kinesthetic etc.)

5 Diversity should be… respected expected planned for honored valued
Normal is just a setting on your dryer!

6 Differentiated Instruction
*Teaching the same curriculum but with less complex focus and objective. (e.g. from a larger unit in Science, the student learns 1 or 2 of the more general concepts being studies) *Addressing the same content at a different conceptual level (e.g. when the class is doing a creative writing assignment, the student is learning to form letters and or print his/her name, a list of spelling words or a grocery list….whenever possible relate the struggling student’s learning to the same concept/topic others are learning about. Another example….when doing multiplication, most of the class may be multiplying 3 and 4 digit #’s when some of your students may be using manipulatives to understand the concept of multiplication being repeated adding) *addressing the same content but allowing a different method for demonstrating the knowledge gained (e.g. when the class is doing a resource based unit written report, the student presents his/her research through pictures or verbally, or adapting the test taking – oral tests, open book tests, projects instead of tests etc.) *Decreasing the expected amount to be learned (e.g. the student does the first three parts of a ten part math assignment) *Decreasing the rate of learning (not everyone can learn at the same rate…some students need repeated reinforcement of a concept before they can understand and retain it.) *Focusing on content that has functional application to the routines of life (e.g. while the class is working on decimals, the student focuses on using a calculator to apply decimal concepts to dollars and cents, and computing the total cost of a grocery list…relate the skills learned to real life functional skills) *a combination of 1 or more of these

7 Adaptations to consider…
Adapting the Teacher’s Presentation Adapting the Evaluation Utilizing Assistive Technology Adapting the Materials Adapting the Page Set-Up Adapting the Environment Adapting Assistance As I touched on in the last slide, there are a variety of areas you can make adaptations in to allow success for the learner. We’ll get into each of these in more depth.

8 Modified Course of Study
Are courses at the Gr. 10, 11 or 12 level that contain 50% of the Foundational Objectives from provincial curriculums and 50% locally developed and approved foundational objectives. Although none of you teach students at the high school level this is important for you to know. There is no approved modified courses for students from K – 9.

9 Prior to Grade 10 The Ministry of Education does not recognize modified or alternate programs prior to Grade 10 K – 9 students who, despite full application of the adaptive dimension, still require modifications to curriculum must have a Personal Program Plan Modifying is when we change the outcomes or expectations we have for a student. Students should still be engaged in classroom and peer activities, but your expectations of which curricular outcomes they achieve changes. When students are on a personal program plan, you have the freedom to create attainable goals that are relevant to their needs. They will have more individualized goals that you will be working with them to achieve. When we make modifications to the curriculum for a student, they need to be on a Personal Program Plan, which will document their learning needs, expectations, goals and strategies for success. This is to be a collaborative plan developed by all members of that child’s team.

10 A PPP is developed for a student who is…
is working toward learning objectives that are different from the foundational objectives of the curriculum requires additional individual supports and services to benefit from the educational program May also be identified as a Student requiring Intensive Support, depending on the levels of support required Students requiring intensive supports would fall into Tier 3 (the red part of the RTI) triangle. Show triangle….our role as teachers is to provide the best teaching and adaptations we can for our learners to keep them in the green zone. If they require more support than what Tier 1 offers, then our role is to identify the supports that are needed at the Tier 2 or 3 level so that the student is involved in meaningful programming and achieving success.

11 A Personal Program Plan is…
individualized a collaborative written report gathering perspectives on priorities a focus on inclusion an outline of student strengths and needs priority goals & objectives an intervention plan a transition plan the basis for reporting progress evergreen part of that student’s curriculum Under collaborative written report explain that classroom teachers need to be involved in the setting of the goals (picking priority areas of need for goals) and monitoring whether goals in the PPP are met. Discuss how the student is rated in various priority areas and how the high impact areas should be addressed in the PPP A PPP should list adaptations, strategies and practices that are effective in improving student learning and meeting the student at the level they are at. Transition is so important…from activity to activity, class to class, year to year and school to school. Effective transitions build success. Goals in the PPP need to be evaluated so that we can measure if the student is achieving set outcomes and if not, what do we need to do differently to assist them in being successful.

12 Ensuring a holistic program…
Encompasses all aspects of the student’s life Areas of Development to focus on in the PPP: Cognitive ability or learning capacity Current learning achievement Communication Independence/Problem Solving/Work habits Motor Skills/Sensory Safety Personal and Social Well-being Physical Health/Medical/Personal Care Transition Show Ministry’s impact assessment form here and explain the response to intervention triangle

13 In an Inclusive Environment, all Students…
Belong and are valued and contributing members of the learning community Are acknowledged as having unique abilities and needs Are provided with the opportunity to develop their potential and become life long learners in age-appropriate classrooms Are supported in developing a deep appreciation of individual differences and the importance of community Are nurtured to become caring and respectful citizens concerned for the well-being of others, and able to take responsibility for the rights of and needs of themselves and others. This was taken from our inclusive ed. Committee’s presentation to the board and administrators. I think it’s important we address inclusion as this is about meeting the needs of diverse students within their classroom and inclusion of students with diverse needs is important to the Ministry of Education as well as to our school division.

14 Inclusion is… Providing the planning, support and services necessary for meaningful and successful participation of students with disabilities in regular programs. A focus on ability rather than the disability Teaching all students to understand and accept individual differences Encouraging and implementing activities that promote the development of friendships and relationships between students with and without disabilities.

15 Inclusion is… The development and implementation of individual PPP goals through participation in typical activities in the classroom, school, and community Allowing students who are not able to fully participate to partially participate rather than being excluded entirely. Each member of educational team having thorough knowledge of the student’s PPP in order to maximize learning. For example through the student’s participation in a regular classroom small group writing lesson, the student has the opportunity to develop writing skills and vocabulary (academic), skills for organizing ideas (cognitive), skills for organizing materials (personal management), skills for concentration, persistence to task completion (job performance), skills for working with others (social skills), and skills for presenting a final product (communication). A student’s participation in informal mingling at recess or between classes provides the opportunity to develop social skills, communication skills, leisure skills, personal management ( an awareness or grooming and fashion trends) and adaptive problem solving.

16 Inclusion is not… ‘dumping’ students with disabilities into regular programs without preparation or support. Just physically placing a student in the regular classroom while they complete work that does not relate to the rest of the class. - Unless the student feels a sense of belonging in the class and the activities that are taking place, it is not inclusion.

17 Why Collaborate? to create positive opportunities for the student
to safeguard against working in isolation to foster inclusion through creative, caring and supportive “school communities” to gain an enhanced perspective of the “whole student” to encourage positive relationships with professional colleagues When you have a student with diverse needs in your classroom, you cannot work in isolation. You may not always require EA support, but you do need the support of a team which we will talk about shortly. Everyone brings different perspectives and expertise to a team which enriches the student’s programming.

18 What is Co-teaching? Involves two or more professionals, typically a general educator and a student support teacher Instruction within the same physical space A sharing of teaching responsibilities Instruction provided to a heterogeneous group of students Share some basic info. on co-teaching as it is a model that the Ministry and our Division see benefit and are striving to see more of. As a classroom teacher, let your SST know that you appreciate and value their teaching support in the classroom.

19 Coteaching… Coteaching arrangements … are one promising option for meeting the learning needs of the many students who once spent a large part of the school day with special educators in separate classrooms.” Friend, 2007, p. 48

20 Benefits of Co-teaching to Students…
Access to general education curriculum and classroom teacher Reduces social stigma associated with the “pull-out” model Positive effects on self-esteem Enhances academic performance Stronger peer relationships Increases individualized instruction The literature identifies a number of benefits for students with special needs, such as … (read the list) Many of these benefits have been identified through interviews with teachers and students who have been involved in a co-teaching classroom. The literature also suggests that students who are not identified as special needs may benefit from being in a co-taught classroom. They have access to two teachers working in the classroom, they witness to a model of collaborative teamwork, and they gain an appreciation for diversity within their learning and social community.

21 Benefits of Co-teaching to Teachers…
Opportunity for professional growth Increases job satisfaction Sharing of knowledge, skills, and resources Reduces student-teacher ratio Special educators increase their understanding of general education curriculum and classroom expectations General educators increase their ability to adapt/modify lessons Improves communication between special and general education teachers

22 Working Collaboratively
If you can listen to what they tell you, and accept how it seems to them, then it is likely that you can work with them. Anita DeBoer This also applies to working with students who have diverse needs.

23 GSSD Continuum of Student Support and Intervention
Classroom Teacher Student Support Teacher Student Services Professional Service Providers Occupational Therapists Speech and Language Pathologists Educational Psychologists School Counsellors Teams are comprised of both school and school division personnel, depending on the needs of the the student involved.

24 Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships either in Co-teaching or the Teacher/EA relationship… Trust and respect Commitment to team goals Effective interpersonal, collaborative, and conflict resolution skills Understanding of self and partner Continuous investment of time Five factors related specifically to building and maintaining positive relationships include: (can also apply to working with an EA…) 1. Trust and respect. Any good relationship will require trust and respect between the partners. Trust and respect are often developed over time as the partners fulfill commitments to one other and share the workload, resources, and their expertise. 2. Commitment to team goals. The teaching partners need to commit to team goals and maintain a focus on these goals. This often means letting go of one’s own preferences and finding new ways of doing things together. 3. Effective interpersonal, collaborative, and conflict resolution skills. Some of the professional development for teachers regarding co-teaching needs to include skill development in these areas. 4. Understanding self and partner. It is important to understand yourself and your partner on a number of levels. Kolher-Evans recommends that partners spend time discussing what bugs them, their pet peeves, their struggles, their victories etc. Knowing yourself will help you get your needs met. Knowing your partner will help you to assist them in meeting their needs. 5. Continuous investment of time. Relationships need an investment of time. If you shortcut this area, you can do irreparable damage to the relationship between colleagues, the climate in a classroom/school, and the co-teaching movement (no one else is going to want to try it).

25 Accepting Responsibility…
All team members respect the input and strengths contributed by their colleagues All team members are equally responsible for student outcomes – whether negative or positive The classroom teacher is responsible for the well-being and education of every student is his/her class It is provincially mandated that Educational Assistants must work under the direction of a teacher Communication of the student’s progress or concerns is the responsibility of the teacher or administrator

26 Teacher/EA Collaboration
Of all the members of the collaborative team, it is the teacher-paraprofessional interaction that occurs most frequently and requires the most collaborative planning and decision making. Larry McGuire Creating Opportunities, 2002

27 Awareness of Individual Responsibility to Support Inclusion and Success in the Classroom
The Administrator The Classroom Teacher The Student Support Teacher The Paraprofessional or Educational Assistant The Family

28 The Administrator… holds the determining role and subsequent influence for promoting collaboration within a school demonstrate a commitment to the ideals of inclusion support educational teams enhance teacher expectations and attitudes Creative planning to maximize time as a team to meet/plan/evaluate goals encourage visitations, observations, and sharing facilitates relationship among and between regular and special educators

29 The Classroom Teacher…
Holds the primary role model and is essential to effective inclusion. demonstrate commitment to the ideals of inclusion accept responsibility as primary educator for all students (they are your student first – not the EA’s, not the SST’s) share successful methods and experiences determine realistic expectations for each student collaborate accept assistance learn methods for accommodating diversity advocate for the student

30 The Student Support Teacher…
...offers specific knowledge regarding diversity and act as a coordinating link among team members. Develop practical and theoretical expertise regarding diversity, programming, resources and instructional strategies coordinate development and writing of PPP support classroom teacher support paraprofessionals invite participation and support of parents as part of the educational team

31 The SST cont’d… team teach with classroom teacher
provide individual or small group tutorial as required (directly teach skills that will assist students in becoming more independent) coordinate community-based education and work education ensure transition plans are developed and carried out effectively liaise with outside support agencies and personnel advocate for students

32 The Educational Assistant…
….supports the teacher in enhancing inclusive educational opportunities and independence. Supports ideals of inclusion provides input during planning phase as well as feedback communicates with teacher provides instructional support under direction of teacher prepares and adapts learning environment in collaboration with a supervising teacher Enhances the independence of students The most important thing our EA’s can do is to assist students to learn the skills they need to be independent. We don’t want students to rely on EA’s b/c if they do, we have not prepared them for life or given them the functional and essential skills they require to transition.

33 The Family… Family involvement is extremely important to the ultimate success of their child’s program. Establishes program foundation by stating desired adult outcomes supports collaboration reinforces skills informs team about student’s life outside of school encourages a visible community presence for their child ensures transition is carried out effectively communicates with school is an advocate for their child Put energy into building solid, effective and trusting relationships with families to improve school and learning success for the student. Let them know that you want to do all that you can to assist their child in learning to their best potential and experiencing success at school. Foster and encourage communication with the parents!

34 Necessity for Family Involvement
Families are integral team members. Their involvement is critical in the development, implementation and evaluation of educational programs. Parents have the greatest impact over the child’s interactions at home and in the community. Families are good sources of information because they know the student better than anyone else. Parents represent long term advocacy and support for their child. Families are the key to continuity.

35 Effective Family Partnerships
Recognize that everyone around the table has different expertise, emotional involvement and long term goals. Ensure opportunities for meaningful participation. Realize the reciprocal benefits of home-school communication Engage the family in effective communication – talk with families, not at them. Be sensitive and respectful. Recognize the needs of siblings. Understand the priorities and concerns of the parents. Celebrate successes and focus on what is needed to be successful, not what is wrong.

36 Effective Utilization of EAs in the Classroom
Do assign EAs to classes to support ALL learners. Don’t instruct the EA to routinely sit with one or two students. Do spend time with the student as the classroom teacher; don’t expect the EA to be the only one to interact with the child requiring assistance - Challenge yourself to find ways to have your EA support all learning in your classroom. When used appropriately, EA’s can benefit all students in the class and then hopefully receiving help from an EA won’t be thought of as something negative. - this develops dependence and causes many students to resist EA support. They feel the stigma of having an adult attached to their side. - All students need time with the teacher. We sometimes hear from parents of children with diverse needs that their child wishes they would get more time with the teacher, rather than always or only with an EA. They don’t feel like a member of the class when the EA is the main or only person who interacts with them. The EA also doesn’t feel like a valued member at times if there are not opportunities to interact with others in the room in a collaborative way. Even when students are physically in the class, it is not considered inclusionary if the student doesn’t have the opportunity to interact with the teachers or peers.

37 Effective Utilization of EAs (cont’d)
Whenever possible, students should remain in the classroom with their peers. Whenever they leave to work on things with an EA, they miss out on important peer learning and interaction. All learners should have the opportunity to hear and experience everything that other students do, they just may not be able to articulate or demonstrate their learning in the same manner. Even if we feel some lessons/concepts are ‘over their heads’, they learn much more than we realize just being in the room with their peers and taking in the learning that is happening. Don’t underestimate what students learn from being with peers.

38 Effective Utilization of EAs (cont’d)
Don’t allow your students with diverse needs become reliant on an EA. When we place an EA right beside them, we encourage them to become reliant. They expect the EA will remind them of information the teacher is sharing. Students usually take more ownership when they feel like they are responsible/accountable, however the task must be manageable; if it’s too hard or difficult to understand, they become frustrated and give up. Sometimes they don’t take the responsibility (as other students must do) get the information and begin working. It’s not necessarily due to ‘laziness’; sometimes it’s because they think the EA will remember or understand better than they do, so they wait for the adult to do it for them. When you consider someone else to be better at something, it’s tempting to let them do it rather than try, knowing you’ll struggle.

39 Effective Utilization of EAs (cont’d)
Do let your EA know your expectations for the class. If you’d like them to circulate while students work, let them know the type of feedback you’d like them to provide students with. A Role Perception Activity would further facilitate this communication. Better communication between the EA and teacher will make the most effective use of time and the best use of the EA’s skills. Describe and share role perception activity with them…will be included in the I’ll forward to Milissa.

40 Independence and Success…
If teachers are differentiating and modifying appropriately, students should be able to complete some of their work independently, rather than needing an EA to help them with every part of an assignment. ‘Success is like a vitamin, if you don’t get enough, you suffer a serious deficiency.” If this is the case, then the work is too difficult. We need to set students up for success and allow them to feel the accomplishment of completing something successfully with some independence. A student’s only modification should not be having an EA by their side so that they can complete the same assignment everyone else is doing. It’s important that assignments and evaluation are adapted or modified as needed. Whatever their level, make sure all students in your class experience regular success. Failure does awful things to motivation. When teachers interact with all students, they make them feel like meaningful members of the class. Remember, all students in the classroom are your student first, they are not the EA’s student. The EA has been assigned to your room to support the diverse needs in it. Challenge yourself to find alternate arrangements to constantly pairing the EA with only one or two student for every class.

41 Rethinking the Role of the EA….
An EA can work with other groups of students as well or circulate through the class while the teacher spends some time with those who require adaptations or modifications. Think of ways to make your students independent of an EA. Here’s the benefit: the teacher gains firsthand info. on whether what they have planned for the student is appropriate for their ability and the teacher can gain valuable information as to how to plan and adapt or modify from there. For example, EA’s don’t need to scribe notes as teachers can copy notes and have students highlight important parts or do a cloze procedure where the students fill in important vocabulary in their copy of the notes. Use your EA to run stations or learning groups in your classroom or reinforce concepts learn to small groups of students, as opposed to sitting with the same one or two students each day.

42 Rethinking the Role of the EA (cont’d)…
If an EA leaves the student you’ve assigned them to work with and wanders around the class to see how the others are doing, there may be a very good reason. Remember… Never do for a child what they can do for themselves. No student wants an adult glued to their side for the school day. It seriously interferes with their ability to form peer relationships and friendships. It prevents many opportunities for interaction with peers. We want kids to have the opportunity to develop friends that are not their EA’s. Sometimes students feel like their EA is their only friend. I want to make it clear that this isn’t about reducing EAs, it’s about assisting students to develop the skills they need to function independently. It’s about preparing them for life!

43 Rethinking the Role of the EA (cont’d)…
When doing group work activities, EA’s can join various groups or rotate among them to facilitate and guide learning similar to the way the teacher might, rather than always being assigned to the group that has the students with higher needs. You can use elements of co-teaching here without expecting the EA to teach, but rather to facilitate the activities in your classroom. For example, with the writing process, you can communicate expectations to the EA of the role they should take. Maybe they will help students with brainstorming, or maybe all students need to check in with the EA before they move on to a certain part in the writing process eg. Draft etc.

44 Consider Peer/Technology Support…
Rather than the EA reading something aloud to a student, can you pair students for reading instead? Can the student use software such as WYNN or Word Q if you have the text available in electronic form? Ask Three before Me – encourage students to ask each other before you or the EA. Challenge yourself to think of ways you can support students without placing an EA right beside them. Group students so that they can support and learn from each other. Remember that students retain information much better when they have the opportunity to teach it to someone else so other students can benefit from supporting those with learning needs. - Teach them how to respond to a request for help (instruct them not to give the answer, but instead to clarify the question, assist with the first step of the problem etc.)

45 Our Goal…. is to prepare our students with diverse needs for the real world. They need to learn to be advocates for themselves and the supports they may require. They need to learn to take responsibility and not rely on an EA to remind them of what they need to know or what they need to do. They need to be taught skills and strategies to help them cope with their disability, as well how to use tools/technology to support them (calculators, day planners, software that supports reading/writing etc.). They need to develop positive self-esteem and self-worth and we can support this by making them feel like a meaningful part of our classes and providing them with opportunities for success.

46 The End!! Additional Resources Questions?

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