I absolutely LOVE this quote!!! Tyra has it right!!! People are people and difference is normal!!!
It goes without saying that all students are different and all students deserve a high quality education. Students are students.....
When we fix labels to students, we are not simply describing a part of this students identity, but we are feeding into the assumption that each child has a pre-set capacity to learn, to act, and to be. Often, people use labels to explain learning differences. However, in an inclusive environment there are no differences that need to be explained because difference is normal. Differences are accepted, valued, and expected because you take the box of normalcy out of the system. In other words, standard tests and grade level curriculums do not become the bar by which our kiddos are measured. This thinking thinking perpetuates the oh too common sentiment of 'meeting vs not meeting'. Instead, students are looked at as unique individuals who can all learn, who can all participate, and who can all be a part of the learning environment.
👍Impactful interventions will help all learners become better learners.
Unfortunately, labels are still discussed in most 'inclusive' school systems- even before the child enters the system or is allowed to shine. SO when labels are given, what can you do to avoid limitations?
- connect with your students, know them as unique & awesome individuals.
- use the knowledge of a ‘label’ to challenge your assumptions and bias: grow!
- support others in seeing a label as one piece of a child’s identity- not their whole person.
- keep building your learning community based on the uniqueness of individuality
Today, did not go nearly as planned. I had, what I thought was, an awesome day.
HOWEVER, it ended with a strike. SOME OF MY STUDENTS WENT ON STRIKE!
Lesson plan gone- that was it!🤗
They were LOUD AND CLEAR..... not working today!
🤣Time to get creative and change gears quickly! AKA: reflection-in-action..... pull from my bag of tricks and move on (fast).
These moments of ‘oh 💩, it’s not working’ happen to all of us- get use to them! It is these moments that make us laugh down the road....but also help us grow now.
Here are my biggest three take aways from lessons and days gone south:
✔️Learn from them: grow your bag of tricks.
✔️Find the humour: laugh at it- plans take detours often!
✔️Move on: we all have lessons that stink- no biggie!
💕My advice is to try not to sweat the little stuff- especially when it comes to missteps. There is always a tomorrow or another lesson that same day- take what you can from the moment and move on. When you are ready, revisit the day or the lesson. Reflect on it- maybe you will find the learning, maybe you won't- but you will have a more positive outlook on what happened.
Laugh, learn, move on!
Differentiation is our response, as educators, to the individual needs of each student.
We do this by reducing barriers by selecting appropriate teaching methods that match individual student’s needs in order to be successful within the learning community.
This can seem like a daunting task- one lesson taught 25 ways . 🤔
So, the question becomes.......
How can we, as teachers, differentiate every lesson so ALL learners can meaningfully participate? There is no quick and easy answer. BUT, the more you try to differentiate with an open mind, the easier it will become. You need to grow your bag-o-tricks from which you will pull. It is easy to get lost in the planning phase: THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME!!! However, thinking this way will only feed into your frustration & fears, slow your growth, and potentially hurt your students' growth. A few things to keep in mind when you commit to opening your mind and building accessible classrooms:
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DIFFERENTIATION: buzzword, load of sh^& or important & do-able?🤔
Lots of debate over this term- like Inclusion, there is lots of strong feelings guiding the arguments. 🤗
BUT whatever you think of differentiation, it stills remains an important practice when approaching education inclusively.✨
Think about this, if we only offered stairs into a building we are limiting the people who can enter the building. By adding a ramp, double-wide doors, and accessible openings- everyone can enter (though some may require a caregiver to support them). 👍
Stairs or Ramp- it does not matter, but it allows everyone access to the building. THAT IS THE POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION:
An inclusive approach assumes that difference is the norm.
👎differentiation is a a HUGE challenge when class sizes go over 20 or so kiddos, especially in the lower grades
👎It is a pain in the bum with standards, grade-level curricula, and oh so much pressure.
✖️As teachers, there is very little we can do to work around these structural and policy driven frameworks.
✔️You can still differentiate for all of your kiddos. It will take time, you will need to be flexible, BUT YOU GOT IT💕
✔️Be clear in the task/activity/expectation. “It is time for math. Today in math we exploring/looking at/trying.....”.
✔️Be clear in what you expect each child, each group, each level, or whatever to do. “Today you will.......”. Some kiddos might be working on attending skills during math while others might be working on enrichment..... and everything in between.
✔️Small groups are key to differentiate lessons realistically.
✔️Be consistent- it is going to be VERY hard when you start differentiating. Eventually, not long, you will be doing it automatically. INSTEAD of thinking in standards THINK with flexibility.
✔️Change the narrative from they can’t to they can.
🧩Children are puzzle pieces. We need to help them see how they fit and teach them accordingly.
Check out our upcoming posts for more information and realistic ways to differentiate in today's busy busy classrooms.
Technology is a huge part of classrooms today. How to create technology through coding and how to use technology to learn are common and are important skills. 🖥
Inclusive classrooms require appropriate choice and entry levels for ALL students. Technology fits in well to this idea of providing opportunities. 🙌🙌😉
Keep in mind, technology should be a choice or some of the choices, but remember to offer other ways to express knowledge too.
For example; this little kiddo used both books and the internet to learn about 🐵. However, his choice to demonstrate his knowledge was drawing and writing- he made this decision with support.
WHY guide his choice?