Strategies for Inclusive and Differentiated Education

*The video clip above is an auditory accompaniment of the text below.

The first thing that a teacher must do when he/she has a student with a MID in the classroom is do an OSR (Ontario Student Record) search.  Here, the teacher will be able to see the student’s report cards from the past, as well as any other assessments from the past, which could be language/speech/physical management reports.
Then, the teacher should talk to the resource teacher, in order to see if he/she knows more about the student than what is filed on his OSR.  Evidently, the resource teacher will know more about the student with MID than the homeroom teacher, as he/she might have worked with this student in past years and/or might work with him/her in other classes. Moreover, resource teachers are trained to work with students with exceptionalities, so as the homeroom teacher, it is in your benefit to work collaboratively with the resource teacher to find the appropriate strategies to address your teaching to the student’s learning, depending on his/her particular strengths and needs.
With the cooperation of the two teachers, there can be a thorough discussion about the student’s IEP and the accommodations/modifications can be directly connected to the classroom strategies/instructions given.  Thus, the student’s expectations will be directly related to that of his IEP, and the establishment of the strategies/accommodations can be assertive. 
The homeroom teacher must constantly observe the student, and note down how he/she is responding to the strategies implemented to include him/her.  These observations should be recorded (so they are not forgotten!) and later discussed with the resource teacher.   These observations might lead to slight changes in the future, in terms of the accommodations given to the student.
Another factor to keep in mind, before going into specific strategies that can be used with students with MIDs, is that all students are unique, so you may use many of the examples of strategies listed below, but they will vary from student to student.

Some overall strategies you might use are: 
1)      Give extra time to express language, for work, and for assessments. 
2)      Provide alternative assessment depending on the student.
3)    Provide visuals for anything the teacher says.
4)      Use visual organizers,
5)      Use checklines to chunk instruction step by step. Piece by piece information is very useful.
6)      Keep in mind the modified curriculum that has been set in place (depending on the assessment of their academic skills).
7)      If they’re identified they must have some sort of academic assessment... based on the academic/psychological assessment, the teacher will modify the program using the student’s strengths, upholding his/her learning.
8)      Have a visual schedule/checklist for the student. It can list things such as the morning routine: a) take of your jacket b) take out your agenda/notebook c) wait for your teacher (all with pictures... or only pictures).
9)      “Chunk” information in terms of instruction. Use words such as “first, “then,” etc., and a visual skit.
10)  Some MIDs may need functional skills program. As a teacher, you might want to prepare the student for an after school vocation. In French class, you would also probably use lower grades expectations, or you might pick and choose certain expectations.  The breath, complexity, and level will vary.
11)  Address social and emotional expectations.  These are the expectations that are the most important so that the student functions well in society.
12)  Use SMART boards (not just for notes and videos but for constant interaction). It is perfect because it is hands-on.
13)  Use computer technology such as “KidsPiration” in elementary schools and “Inspiration” in secondary schools.  There are also other software programs with mind webs, or “WORD Q,” which is a word processor (depending on the first letters that the students write, it predicts the possible words).  The latter is an effective tool because many times students can formulate ideas but not write them down.  Other times, depending on the profile, they might be able to write well; in that case “Kurzweil” will take written texts and real it back to the student. It is an alternative used for tests as well.
14)  Address life skills in general. High school students with Down Syndrome (note: not all students with MID have Down Syndrome) could count newsletters for each classroom, and perhaps do photocopies.
15)  Use simple, short, uncomplicated sentences to ensure maximum understanding. 
16)  Repeat instructions or directions frequently and ask the student if further clarification is necessary. 
17)  Keep distractions and transitions to a minimum. 
18)  Teach specific skills whenever necessary. 
19)  Provide an encouraging, supportive learning environment that will capitalize on student success and self esteem.
20)  Help the MID student develop appropriate social skills to support friend and peer relationships.
21)  Teach organizational skills.
22)  Use behaviour contracts and reinforce positive behaviours if necessary.
23)  Ensure that the routines and rules are consistent. Keep conversations as normal as possible to maximize inclusion with peers.
24)  Modify lesson plans by giving the MID student more concrete assignments on a related topic.
25)  Allow for a reference sheet to be used for tests.
26)  Use preferential seating, so that the student is close to the teacher.
27)  Reduce visual and auditory distractions.


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