Inclusive classrooms are the norm in many school districts. As a result, the typical classroom teacher now encounters children with a wide range of abilities, including those with special needs. Despite the challenges raised by their disabilities, special needs students can, and often do, thrive in the inclusive classroom. Lessons may need to be modified for their needs, and learning disabled students generally need more time to complete tasks.
Inclusive education can present significant challenges to teachers, particularly if they lack the presence of a special education teacher or aide in the classroom. Communication between the regular classroom teacher, special education teachers, and parents is key in order to ensure that everyone has the same expectations for the student and his/her learning environment. Most studies point out the benefits of inclusive classrooms to both special needs students and regular students, particularly regarding improvements in social skills, compassion, and tolerance.
The resource selections this week are all lessons, activities, and tools to be used with special needs students with varying abilities. Our weekly columns, Joann’s Picks and Peggy’s Corner will focus on how to implement them in the classroom and can be found on the Gateway’s home page - www.TheGateway.org. Other resources on the topic will be presented and discussed on the Gateway’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Discussions will continue on last week’s theme of the importance of technology in the classroom on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.
Resources covered in this week’s columns include:
Connecting Letters and Memory
Subject: Language Arts
Grade: 1-6 Special Ed
This lesson plan is for those students who have difficulty in recognizing the oral letter to the visual letter. Some students may know the alphabet song but still may not know the letters by sight. This lesson is offered by Teachers.net, which offers lesson plans, job postings, and other resources for teachers.
Water, Weather, and the World
Subjects: Language Arts, Math, Science, Life skills
Grade: 1-12 Special Ed
This is a multi-sensory thematic unit which closely examines water and its properties; pollution and conservation; weather and safety; and water’s impact on the earth through hands-on scientific exploration and experimentation. This unit is intended for low functioning students with special needs; however, teachers for kindergarten through second grade may find this information appropriate for their students. This integrated curriculum unit will span many subject areas such as math, language arts, daily living skills, and art. This unit is a product of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, an educational partnership between Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools designed to strengthen teaching and learning in local schools and, by example, in schools across the country.
Real Estate Project
Subjects: Writing, Reading, Math, Life skills
Grade: 6-8 Special Ed
This unit on real estate is intended for special education students in grades 6-8, but can be used with regular education students as well. The unit addresses reading, writing, math, technology, and life skills. This resource was produced by the Regional Educational Media Center (REMC) Association of Michigan, which provides media and technology resources to educators in Michigan.
About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.
About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!
About the GLRC
About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.