Yesterday, I found out one of my students was sent home from camp. This particular camp advertised it is barrier-free, accessible to all, and supportive of children with physical & intellectual challenges. Yet, within 2.5 hours of being at camp- my student, the sweetest little monkey- was told she had to go home.
Whatever happened that made the staff feel that this little kiddo was not the right fit is unfortunate. She is amazing, but she needs to feel wanted, valued, and connected. She also needs to clearly understand the expectations of that particular community- guess what? THAT TAKES TIME!
For a barrier free camp, a large barrier was created by the lack of understanding in a few areas. I do believe this situation was underpinned in a lack of understanding
Reducing barriers and increasing accessibility requires a few changes to our practice.
- it requires us to be ok with not knowing & asking for help
- it requires us to question our belief & value systems
- it requires us to get out of our comfort zone
- we need to be active learners if we want to better understand how to support and be a part of a community that is made of difference
- lastly, we need to be okay with things that happen outside of our perceived norm. Use these opportunities to reflect & learn rather than ‘fix’ & complain
I am hoping good comes out of this unfortunate situation- maybe it will open the staffs’ eyes to other ways to support our most vulnerable kiddos.
Keeping going to read an excerpt from an email I sent on behalf of the family:
How true is that? The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.
If everything that happens to us is easy, how would we ever learn to work hard, to set goals, to focus, and to celebrate achievement.
Hard work, whether it be physical or intellectual, is a rite of passage for all of us. We need to instil in our students, our children, & our employees the importance of hard work. Remember it takes time to change, without hard work, change is very challenging.
When we want to grow our business or develop our practice, we need to set clear goals and develop a plan of action to help us get there. It takes time, it is not easy, but boy-o-boy does it feel awesome when we achieve those goals ✨
Think about your students and those huge ear-to-ear smiles when they finally figure something out or finish a project- it is awesome and so worth the celebration. Give yourself that feeling again- hard work then celebrate!
I bet most of us work hard in both our personal and professional life. I cannot imagine too many people heading off and saying 'today I am going to do a mediocre job'... Some days, many of us feel like I am just treading water to stay afloat. It's a pretty crappy feeling when you are trying so hard, yet it feels like you are getting nowhere.
How can you turn your hard work into effective hard work? . It
There are so many amazing planners for you to purchase. From online teacher sites to fancy fancy stationary store to big box stores, the choice is endless for you. I have been down the road of purchasing teacher planners from the 'it' places and they are beautiful!! Well made, cutesy, and they cost a fortune- I am not going to pay $60 plus for a planner just so I can have one that is stunning. At this point in my career, over 15 years in, I want to make sure it is functional, easy-to-use, & that the planner provides me with options. To be honest, I do not need it to be anything other than black and white with space to take notes, stay organized, and record my students' information.
I have purchased a few planners from online teacher sites, but I found I was still needing more. I want a teacher planner that I can record everything for all my students. Assessment trackers are great, but I also needed a spot to record individual supports, parent communication (of which there is tons), and a lot of planning pages to include for differentiation in my lessons. I do find planners made by teachers to be much more thorough and teacher focused than planners created by stationary stores and big box stores- those types of stores focus more on pretty & basic, rather than the nitty gritty of teacher records.
The Ultimate Parent Planner grew out of necessity as a parent to keep myself organized. I was tired of having my notes and reports in ten different places and my kiddos' school calendar spread over my phone & work information. I need a cenetral hub for all things school. As a mum of three, I have a lot of information coming at me & I needed a way to keep it organized in a simple fashion. I want to be able to grab n' go when I am heading over to their school or when information arrives home. This planner does just that!
So, why these planners? Why pick My Inclusive Classroom's planners over all the other amazing ones out there, especially the cute ones?
images by Carol Tomlinson
I have recently joined a new gym- and I love it! It is not shiny, flashy, or overly exciting.
It is consistent, clear, and functional. It meets my fitness needs: pushes me to my limit, keeps my engaged, and is easy to follow.
Like any gym, the fitness level of the members is all over the place- yet we all show up for the same class, same instructors (2), and we all follow the same routine.
Me, I am in ok shape- but I have a long way to go to say I am in good shape. There are a few members that look like David. Yet, we all show up and we all get an awesome workout....
This got me thinking about how can these two non-teacher Ed instructors lead such a diverse group of participants. They are supporting all of us in meeting our fitness needs within the 45-60 minute class.
Different than classrooms, but this gym is still met with the task of differentiating the activities for all participants- people will stop showing up if they do not feel they are being targeted.
How do they do it?
I LOVE My Inclusive Classroom's Ultimate Teacher Planner, but I REALLY LOVE My Inclusive Classroom's Ultimate Parent Planner.
This Planner was created by a teacher with parents in mind....or maybe it was created by a parent with school experience in mind! Either way, I am a mum of three kiddos and I work full time as a teacher. I use my teacher planner constantly to keep track of my school life, but I needed something to keep track of my kiddos' school life....and it did not work in my teacher planner. As a teacher, our planners become our life lines- we record everything in them from notes, assessment, dates to contact information. The Ultimate Teacher Planner has a spot for everything. I can keep my professional life organized and on track.
However, as a parent I struggle to keep on top of everything that needs to be done. Meeting minutes rarely make it home, I mix up field trips with PTA sessions, I have multiple notebooks & pieces of paper with scribbles from meetings- it seems like everything gets lost in busyness of life! I hated feeling like a chicken with my head cut off- never knowing what was coming next, what I needed to do, or what we chatted about at the last parent-teacher meeting. Out of desperation for myself and wanting to help friends who expressed the same disorganization with school information, I created the Ultimate Parent Planner. This is a LIFE SAVER during the school year!
In this post, I go through some of the awesome features My Inclusive Classroom's Ultimate Parent Planner contains. I promise, you will love it!
Calendars: The Ultimate Parent Planner not only has a year at a glance to record important events on a single page, but it has monthly calendars for more description & it has a spot to record important dates (appointments, meetings, assessments, et cetera). It is important to have school information all in one spot, a grab n' go, in order to start the organization process. Use the year at a glance to record special events happening in each month (birthdays, trips, parent-teacher meetings, appointments- anything unique & unusual to the schedule/routine). Use the monthly calendars to record everything happening in the month (lessons, activities, meetings, appointments). Unlike in the year at a glance, you will include more detail, reoccurring activities (swimming, tennis, hockey, et cetera), and activities of lesser importance - this section is detailed whereas the year at a glance is an overview of important dates each month. The last calendar section is important dates. It is in this area that you will just keep a list of high priority dates. I use this as a quick reference when I am booking appointments to make sure there are no conflicts: these are the dates that are not easily changed!
Keep reading, there is so much more to the Ultimate Parent Planner than calendars!