Welcome, fellow educator! My name is Caroline Koehler. I’m a special education teacher guest blogging for Minds in Bloom. Let’s dive into my 7 strategies to ensure that all classrooms are inclusion classrooms catering to the needs of our diverse learners.
As educators, we strive to create an inclusion classroom that is equitable and inclusive of all students.
However, it can be challenging to ensure that every student is supported.
This becomes especially difficult when teachers are faced with the task of trying to manage the diverse needs of their class.
Fortunately, there are a variety of inclusion classroom supports that teachers can implement for all students.
Using tried and true strategies boosts your classroom climate.
These ideas also help your students feel safe and supported in their learning environments.
Let’s examine seven specific strategies that teachers can use to support special education inclusion in their classrooms and foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding.
By taking the time to develop and use these strategies, teachers can create classrooms that are welcoming and equitable for all students, regardless of their background or learning needs.
Increase Student Engagement
The use of classroom visuals is an effective way to increase student engagement in the inclusion classroom.
Cue cards and classroom control cards can help students stay organized and on task.
Academic support printables can provide visual support for students who learn best with visual cues.
They can also help students recall information more easily.
It is important to provide students with visuals that are engaging and relevant to the content they are studying.
Utilizing visuals can be an effective way to help students maintain focus and develop their own understanding of the material.
Moreover, visuals can be used to introduce concepts, provide visual cues for learning, and to encourage students to interact with the material.
In the inclusion classroom, visuals can also help to keep students motivated by providing additional reinforcement for those who are struggling.
With the right visuals, teachers can create a learning environment that is both engaging and supportive.
Set and Maintain Clear Expectations
Clear expectations are essential in any school environment.
It is important to establish rules and procedures that are positively worded in order to emphasize respect and responsibility.
Modeling and frequent rule reminders can also help ensure that expectations are met.
For example, teachers can model appropriate behavior for students when they are discussing each rule.
This helps students understand the expectations as they have seen actual examples of what is expected of them.
Once the expectations are set, consistently model the desired behavior and reinforce the expectations with frequent reminders.
In addition, teachers can review the rules and procedures throughout the school building with their students.
I posted rules and procedures in the classroom, hallways, and common areas.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that all rules and procedures are consistently followed and enforced.
If this is done in a fair and positive manner, all students are held to the same standard of behavior and leading to a safe, secure, and respectful classroom.
By taking these measures, teachers can create a safe, organized, and respectful learning environment for students.
Create a Safe and Inviting Inclusion Classroom
Creating a safe and inviting environment for all students is of utmost importance to ensure proper social and emotional learning.
All students should be provided the opportunity to make mistakes in order to learn and grow.
It is also important to provide resources and guidance to help students develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed.
I love using a daily behavior coping strategy to promote this.
Whether it be a breathing exercise, an emotional release strategy, a body regulation movement, or a feelings check in, these strategies help all learners embrace taking care of themselves.
By utilizing social emotional learning and providing students with an opportunity to make mistakes, we can create a safe and inviting environment that promotes healthy learning.
It’s important to ensure that all students, regardless of background or ability, are given an opportunity to experience social emotional learning.
We must provide them with the necessary tools and resources to ensure that they feel empowered to take risks, try new things, and learn from their mistakes.
Differentiating instruction through singing, dancing, and moving has tremendous potential to engage learners on multiple levels and help them grow in their own unique way.
This strategy embraces the different levels of intelligence among students by providing them with multiple avenues to demonstrate learning.
We can promote active, hands-on learning by incorporating alternate methods of assessment, such as written, oral, demonstrative, and project-based.
This will allow learners the freedom to demonstrate their skills in a way that is most comfortable for them making the learning process more meaningful.
Because of this, differentiation can help to increase engagement and interest in the learning material.
It can also increase academic performance, as students are more likely to be more actively involved in their learning.
Additionally, differentiated instruction allows students to work at their own individual pace and can help to increase learning outcomes and comprehension.
Think of differentiating instruction as giving students what they need to learn.
This can be as simple as providing them with bookmarks that remind them of reading strategies and encourage them to use the bookmarks as line readers.
By utilizing these methods, we can help to create an environment where all learners can succeed.
Provide Appropriate Accommodations and Modifications
Educators must ensure they provide the appropriate accommodations and modifications to their students with special needs in an inclusion classroom.
Using a variety of strategies for accommodations and modifications for students is important.
Word banks and breaking down assignments by using highlighters, construction paper windows, and cutting assignments apart can be very effective.
Additionally, when appropriate and as written in students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), read aloud and talk to text accommodations can be highly beneficial.
Using these strategies can help to ensure that all students have equitable access to instruction and are able to fully engage in learning.
Therefore, providing appropriate accommodations and modifications is an important part of fostering an inclusive classroom learning environment.
Motivate Your Students in Your Inclusion Classroom
Effective behavior management motivators are integral components for encouraging students.
Some of my favorite tools to motivate students are seating charts, first – then boards, behavior charts, daily reports home, and student interest surveys.
Seating charts allow teachers to keep track of student engagement and participation, while also placing the students in the most beneficial spot for their learning.
Seating a student next to a specific spot or person can truly help motivate the child in an inclusion classroom.
Additionally, behavior charts and daily reports home keep students accountable for their actions and ensure that parents are kept in the loop.
Clearly defined goals along with rewards and incentives can support students in making socially approved choices.
Furthermore, student surveys are a great way for teachers to gain insight into their students’ learning styles.
Surveys also tell teachers more about student preferences in terms of how they learn most effectively.
With this knowledge, teachers can create more enjoyable learning environments that tap into their students’ individual strengths and interests.
Generate Meaningful Feedback
Lastly, an inclusion classroom needs to generate meaningful feedback for students and families.
Think sheets and daily reports are important tools for providing relevant feedback for students and families when it comes to solving behavioral problems.
Think sheets help students to reflect on their behavior and think about the consequences of their actions.
They can also help to create an opportunity for the student to generate ideas for how to improve their behavior in the future.
Daily reports provide a way to communicate information from school to home in a timely manner.
This helps families stay informed and work together with the school to address any issues.
Making copies of think sheets and daily reports allows teachers to monitor and record behavior over an extended period of time.
Having evidence of a student’s progress or lack of progress helps teachers evaluate what strategies are working and what additional supports should be put in place.
Together these tools can help to create an effective partnership between the school and families.
This can be invaluable in helping to ensure that students are successful in their educational pursuits.
An Inclusion Classroom For All Students
All teachers should be aware of the importance of creating an inclusive classroom environment that is welcoming to all students.
By utilizing the above seven classroom supports, teachers can help foster a sense of belonging and community in the classroom and ensure that all students can reach their full potential.
By providing these supports, teachers can help create an inspired inclusion classroom community that celebrates the unique gifts and talents of each student.
Meet the Author!
Caroline Koehler has worked in public education for over 20 years. She’s taught kindergarten, special education in grades k-8th, and was the lead teacher for a SPED classroom focused on the needs of students with profound autism. Caroline loves helping general education and special education teachers conquer their paperwork so they can get back to teaching. If you are responsible for special education documents, she’d love for you to download her IEP Documents Checklist & Student Observation Summary Template by clicking here. Caroline loves people with autism, all animals, and hot chocolate.
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