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Showing posts from June, 2012

Masters Program - One Year In

Next week I move back to Lethbridge for our second of three summer class sessions.  We officially have one full year of our program behind us with two years still ahead.  It seems like just yesterday we were starting this program but it is also hard to imagine a time when I wasn't balancing masters courses on top of everything else.

When I started this program I was expecting to get something very different out of it from what I feel I'm getting out of it.  I took the program to grow my knowledge related to inclusive education.  I was hoping they would hand me some magic approach or formula or list of things to do that would make inclusion 'work'.

This program has impacted me - personally and professionally.   There have been many other things going on at the same time as this program and I can't really put my finger on which individual thing has had the most impact because I think it is is the interplay between all these factors that creates the impact.  Take one …

Paper Airplane Video: Michael McMillan - Creativity, Innovation

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Daily Five Book Study - Chapter 3

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1. Why is a gathering place important?

Many of the younger students on my caseload have fairly significant sensory challenges.  The idea of a gathering place on the floor even through intermediate years holds a lot of appeal in regards to fitting sensory breaks right into the learning that goes on in the classroom.  The gathering place also eliminates other distractions that would come with sitting spread out in desks.  I have seldom seen gathering spaces for students beyond first grade so really liked the explanation in regards to this space being an indicator of changes in routines, a space that allows for more focus and a way to ensure that students are getting up and moving on a regular basis.

I do not have my own classroom so am unable to set up a gathering space but I can see how this approach would lend itself nicely to the visual schedule and choice board work that I do with several of my students in their classrooms. 

2. How did your students progress with picking appropriate…

Chris Hedges on Education...

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Inclusion Through "Mommy Eyes"

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Just sharing some pictures of my son who has Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is included in a grade 6 classroom.  This is the first year in several years that he has been included as he spent the four years before that in a self-contained classroom.  He was integrated for a fair number of non-core courses when he was in a self-contained classroom and the students in the general education classrooms that he was in were always kind and accepting of him but we never real saw interactions beyond the surface level being nice to a child with a disability.  He has come a long way in regards to social interactions and independence this year as a result of being constantly exposed to and interacting with peers in the general education setting.  I'm including some pictures of him with his classmates on the camping trip they went on this past week.  The first set of pictures have Mikey (my son) chasing a squirrel around camp.  He quickly engaged other boys in ass…

Daily Five Book Study - Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 speaks to my heart.  I believe very strongly in truly inclusive learning and this chapter does a great job of explaining a lot of what I believe inclusive learning to be about.  It speaks to setting priorities related to developing community and student agency.  It speaks to setting up learning environments that ensure that all students are engaged and learning.  It speaks to scaffolding and supporting students to become independent, focused learners.  I see so much potential in creating inclusive classrooms that are responsive to each student's learning needs based on what is written in this chapter. 

Because my role is not that of a classroom teacher I am answering the questions for this book study from a bit different angle. My role is support the learning and inclusion of the students on my caseload.  All of those students have multiple complex needs and most of them have complex communication needs.  Programming for these students in general education settings req…

Don't you dare...

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Great Website: Jane Farrall Consulting

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Some great resources and related to literacy, AAC and AT on this website.  Excited for the learning that will come from following this blog :).

Link: http://www.janefarrall.com/blog/

The Daily Five Book Study - Chapter 1

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I have been part of the Alberta Education "Literacy for All" pilot project this year.   This project included being a part of province-wide community of practice of educators who were exploring literacy instruction for students with significant disabilities. We were told at our wrap up that the project will now become "Literacy for All: Going Deeper" and continue in to a second year.  The focus of the second year will be linked the books "The Daily 5" and "The Cafe Book" by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I'm excited and I immediately started re-reading "The Daily 5" book I have and ordered "The Cafe Book".  Imagine my surprise when I came across this book study on the blog Special Education Strategies and More.  I figured because I'm reading the book anyway it might be fun to join in to this online book study.  I look forward to reading and learning other people's posts about this book.  
I am not a grade 1-3 teac…

People Who Work in Education...

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Today's Quote...

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"Action research problematizes the values of the institution by challenging and questioning its practices in the institutional context, which can pose a threat to them.  Therefore, action research needs to probe the moral foundations of the institution, while at the same time constructing local groups or communities that collaborate to sustain the moral and intellectual life of institutions.  It is a risky and frustrating activity to try to raise awareness about moral responsibilities that have become obscured in the technical practices of institutions.  To make inclusive practices a reality, moral aspects of institutional activities need to be addressed.  Such challenges are best supported and achieved through discussion, debate and reflective action.  
Action research for inclusion may be met with antagonism and hostility, because a collaborative commitment to explicit actions and practices will threaten institutional policies, especially those that rely heavily on bureaucratic …