Project Participate, Strategies for active inclusion.Click Here to View Text Version
Project Participate provides school-based teams with strategies to increase active participation of students with diverse needs in the classroom. Project Participate offers speech therapy, fine motor, homework, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities, AAC, augmentative communication, communication, socialization, life skills, switch, choice making, communication boards, low tech.
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Inclusion Stategies

Inclusion is more than physical presence in the classroom. Students learn when they actively participate in the academic lessons and interact with others.  Here are some tips to create a meaningful and inclusive learning environment.
Attitude is Everything
Believe that all students can participate.  Value the student and their independence. Forget past failures. Focus on present potential and future success.

Photo of women talkingBuild a Rapport With Others
Begin by introducing yourself to others on the team.  Don't forget to introduce students to the general classroom teacher.  If you are a consultant, ensure that people refer to you by your name versus professional title.  If you are a teacher, greet the student each day.


Photo of two people talkingSpeak to Others Directly
Provide written documentation to the team when needed, but remember the value of a face-to-face conversation.  Resist the temptation to rely solely on paraeducators to communicate your message to others or on anonymous correspondence through office mailboxes.  Likewise, always speak directly to students, the paraeducator is not their communication tool.

Listen and Share
Student success is the responsibility of everyone on the team and everyone involved has valuable insights.  Share stories, critical bits of information that one learns from daily contact with the student, or ideas from home. Collaborate when identifying lesson goals and modifications. Troubleshoot problems together.

Recognize Passive Involvement
A seat assignment in the general classroom does not create or ensure learning. When students are isolated from peers, or the classroom tasks are completed for them (including choice making), students are passively involved in your classroom. Students must actively participate in classroom activities, communication with teachers, and interaction with peers.


Photo of Student WorkingPromote Independence
Independence, no matter how insignificant it may seem, builds self-esteem and preserves the student's integrity. Students learn independence by doing, not by watching others do for them. Limit "hand over hand" assistance and use as few prompts as possible when assisting students.  Structure academic lessons and social activities to require minimal adult supervision or participation.


Picture of photo essayAccept Alternative Products
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a photo-essay conveys the equivalent message of a five-page paper.  Remember students learn through the process of creation not simply from the product. 


Photo of student at computerExplore Technology
Technology enables many students to participate actively in academic lessons and communication.  Don't be shy explore closets and storage facilities for any and all equipment the school currently owns. If you're a novice to technology, play and practice first, then you will help students succeed!


Photo of a group of kids talkingUse Technology Effectively
Using technology as a tool to keep students occupied does not promote learning.  Likewise, communication technology used randomly fails to promote socialization. Select simple, efficient technology EVERYONE can understand and operate. Create goals for the student to use the technology for learning and communication in the classroom.


Outline Roles and Responsibilities
Who will escort the student to class?  Who is responsible for obtaining a book on tape?  Who is going to ask the student questions about the day's lecture?  Name and itemize all tasks completed by adults, or the student's participation will decrease.

Photo of a teacher and studentsConduct Assessments Everyday
The annual IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting is too late to assess student learning. Remember the value of informal assessments and communication. Ask a student content-related questions everyday. Strive to understand how the student best learns and demonstrates knowledge. Adjust teaching methods or learning activities accordingly.


Photo of teacher and studentsVisit the Classroom
Understand the dynamics and the culture of a classroom, before making any recommendations for a student.   Observe the student in the classroom to gain awareness of the teacher's expectations, the benefits of particular adaptations, or which adaptations need modification.

Enlist the Administrators to Participate!
Seek input and support from principals and assistant principals. Their guidance creates accountability and ensures teachers communication and collaboration.  Ask administrators to assist, honor and provide scheduled planning time for team members.

Photo of students and teacher on a computerSupervise Paraeducators!
Paraeducators require explicit instructions and on-going supervision to facilitate the particiption of students in the classroom.  Although the paraeducator may have the most contact-hours with the student, the teachers should make content decisions for individual lessons. 

Respect Paraeducators
Include paraeducators in weekly planning meetings as well as IEP meetings. Paraeducators have valuable insights into the student and the classroom dynamics.  Their participation in meetings creates a clear idea of what is expected of students and themselves.

Photo of younger students working togetherCreate and Design Universally
Design instruction and choose materials that make the learning activities accessible to all the students in your classroom. Plan and consider all differences in abilities including speaking, sight, hearing, movement, reading, writing, attention, memory, and organization skills.

Photo of teacher and studentsPositive Peer Power
A student's peers are an excellent resource. Consult peers for jazzy comments to put on communication devices, suggestions or advice on new ways to increase participation, and create meaningful interactions.

Generalize and Broaden Your Efforts
When you create a new activity for a specific lesson, choose content that will apply to future students and other students in the class. Remember that a technique used for one particular class will work for a different class. Share your efforts with others and a student's participation will increase in new places.


Contact Us for more information.

 

 


JFK Partners

JFK Partners
University of Colorado Denver
13121 E. 17th Ave, C234
Aurora, CO 80045
email: info@projectparticipate.org

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