Monday, December 8, 2008

OSMOSIS JONES - He's one cell of a guy!

Osmosis Jones is a popular Hollywood movie shown in many science and health classes. And with the wonderful technology we have, the internet can help our students. Here is a wonderful site called, The Internet Movie Database. This can be used in all content areas. The site has a search engine. You can search by movie tittles, companies, characters, and more! You can find photos, trailers, plot summaries, and even cast overviews.

I think the trailers are wonderful. It provides some background knowledge in pictures to what they've been learning in class. For students who struggle remembering the movie, the trailers can be used as a review.

The photos can be printed by right clicking on the picture and saving it on your computer. Depending on the level of your student, the pictures can be used for sequencing or triggering memories to write a sentence about an isolated event in the movie. They can even be used by mildly impaired students to get them started in the writing process of a summary or report.

Please remember that your school has to purchase copyright permissions to use movies in your classrooms.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


If a student has access to a resource room or special education classroom during the day, IEP spelling goals can be taught there. Usually children with moderate to severe disorders are working on sight words or phonics.

What to do in the general education setting?

Option 1:

Have a copy of the list. The student simply copies the words.

Option 2:

Choose 5 or more words, depending on the student, that he should learn to read by memory. On test day, put those words in a word box at the top of the page. The student has to identify the word and write it on the appropriate line. For attention reasons, the paper should be numbered according to his words. For example, if the student memorized words 3, 7, 8, 10, and 12, then his paper should be numbered accordingly. If you mix up the words on the test, his paper may look like 2, 5, 6, 8, 11.

Option 3:

This works best for students who also have a physical handicap with the cognitive impairment. Choose 5 or more words, depending on the student, that she should learn to read by memory. On test day, list the words that she memorized. When she hears the word, she identifies it from the list and writes a number by the word. Teacher says, #4 is "language". The student would write the #4 by that word on her list.

These options give the student access to and exposes her to age appropriate instruction.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Communication Tip - Time

Many special education students, especially those who are challenged with autism and cognitive impairments, can learn to tell time literally. However, their language impairments make this skill a huge challenge in the community and in general education classrooms.

The test will start at quarter after one.
For a student with a language impairment, a quarter represents a coin. Rather saying "quarter after one", try saying "one-fifteen".

You have 15 more minutes until you go to lunch.
For a student with a language impairment, elapsed time is an advanced skill. Rather than saying "you have 15 more minutes", try saying the exact time. "At 12:30 you will go to lunch."

Do you have an assignment that needs to be modified/altered?

You may send copies of your assignments via email. Please give at least 3 days notice and I will gladly help you. As of right now, I'm on short term disability, so that time frame may increase in the future.

Email: inclusionteachers at hotmail dot com (written that way for safety measures)


LifeTown in southeast Michigan is an AMAZING indoor city. Each visit has a lesson prepared for the students. My favorite one is the pre-planning... What will I do 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. Then unusual things happen. The banks opens late. The movie theater "breaks down". The idea is to find alternative activites while waiting or advocating for themselves by asking for a refund. They do their own banking and make doctor's appointments. They also follow traffic rules.

Here's the link to this very creative center made for special needs children and adults. You don't want to miss the TV report. You will see students in the village. I've been there many times. It's amazing.

You can click on the link here ----> LifeTown

Edited: Thanks for letting me know that the link wasn't very visible at the bottom of the post. I need to figure out how to change the color of links.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The American Revolution in Pictures

Students who struggle with academics often learn by seeing and doing. There are some great history sites that history teachers around the country know of. Now let's take it one step further using them for the pictures to tell the stories. Use pictures of people and events. Students can make a time line with the pictures. When testing knowledge, students can match the picture to the correct event. Here are just some of the pictures that can be used by students.

The History Place

The American Revolution

Paul Revere

Paul Revere's Ride

George Washington

George Washington takes commend of the Continental Army.

The signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence is read from the east balcony of the State House in Boston, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inclusion in Secondary Math

Special education students will struggle in math for one of three reasons.

1. The student has not mastered the skills required to do the math.
2. The student is unable to keep up with the pace of the class.
3. The student is a concrete learner and needs direct instruction in a rule based method curriculum.

Here's one idea for a modified lesson.

Have a worksheet available instead of using the text. Have 2-4 problems that the general education students are doing. Each problem is written twice. One with all the steps and answer provided. The student simply copies the steps and answer to the problems. The student is given access to and exposed to age appropriate instruction. The remaining work should be focused on the IEP goals. I suggest having a mixture of mastered skills and new skills at the student's learning level. This encourages independence and confidence. It also allows the paraprofessional to help other students in the class.


October 2008

Florida State University Special Education program received a $800,000 visual impairment grant.


Digital Wish Grants

Create a lesson plan and qualify to win a mobile digital camera lab plus as many as 43 different grants for hardware and software.

Digital Wish Grants

Question Words


Many students with disabilities have trouble answering questions because they don't know what kind of answer they are looking for. Although this is commonly worked on in special education classrooms, having a clue sheet will decrease anxiety and increase comprehension. This clue sheet can be placed in a classroom folder, binder or an agenda. It can even be made into a poster on the wall.

Who? (person, animal, cartoon character, etc.)
When? (time: calendar time, clock time, a year, an era, etc.)
Where? ( place: inside or outside - Examples are in the kitchen, at school, in Florida)
Why? ( because.....)

What is a tricky one. You have to look for other clue words.

happened to... (event)
time are we going to... (time)
What will he
do to help.... (do... an action/verb)

How is another tricky one. You have to look for other clue words.

How do you.... (list the steps you have to do... actions/verbs)
How many.... (a number)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Here is a link to a press release on June 24, 2008, from the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. It announces the distribution of $5.4 million in Keeping the Promise Aid. The money is going to school districts with costs exceeding $30,000 per child with severe and multiple disabilities.


Setting the stage for Middle School History - Part 2

Before beginning a history class, develop a basic concept by using personal time lines. Ask the student to make his/her own time line of his/her life. Keep the time line in a class folder, binder, or agenda. When it's time to start a new chapter or read a time line from the textbook, review the personal time line first.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Setting the stage for Middle School History

General education students come to middle school history with prior knowledge which we know to be important for ongoing learning. Many CI students who enter general education history classes, do not have a good concept of country and state. Before learning about another country or even the history of our own country, they need to develop this concept. Here is a lesson I have developed for CI students. You will need a map of the United States and a globe for this lesson.


Key Words

country - A part of the world with it's own borders, people, and leaders
USA - The United States of America
world - It is round. All of the land is divided into countries.
globe - A round map of the world
president - The president is a leader of a group of people.

Your country is called the United States of America. We call it the U.S.A. or the U.S. for short like a person named Kimberly may be called just Kim. The United States of America has 50 states. You live in one of those states.

The U.S.A. is a big and powerful country in our world. The world is round. We can see all of the countries in the world on a globe.

The President of the U.S.A. is the leader of our country. The people who live in our country vote for our president. You have to be 18 years old to vote.

The president is a very important leader. He has a lot of important things to do and decisions to make for our country. He has to work with other leaders in other countries to keep our world working well and peacefully.

What did you learn?
(Clue words are highlighted.)

1. What is the name of our country?
2. How many states are in the United States of America?
3. What can you see on a globe?
4. What is the short name for the United States of America?
5. Who is the leader of the United States of America?
6. How does a person get to be the president?
7. What does the President of the United States of America do?

Extension Learning

1. What is the name of your state?
2. Have you ever been in another state? If yes, which one?
3. Using a copied map, color your state red. Color all of the other states green. Color all of the water blue.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who should receive modified lessons?

Answer the questions below to see if your student may have modified/alternative assignments.

1. My student will not take the state standardized test that all general education students take. Instead he/she will use an alternative assessment.

2. My student is not graded by a traditional grading system (A,B,C,D,E). Instead the student uses an alternative grading system or receives a pass/fail for record keeping.

3. My student will not have to meet state requirements for credits in specified subjects.

4. My students educational path will lead to a certificate of completion rather than a traditional diploma.

If you answered
yes to all of these questions, your student may receive modified/alternative assignments. If you answered no to any of these, meet with your student's caseload teacher to make the determination according to the IEP.

Reading Graphs in Social Studies

Here is a sample of a modified 7th grade assignment. Students with even mild cognitive impairments have trouble generalizing new vocabulary and thinking of the question in words they understand. Instead of reading a graph from the textbook to find information, students could just get more familiar with the concept of population. Some students may be able to gain some information but not be able to answer sophisticated questions. Many students with mild cognitive impairments have been exposed to graphs. This is just a sample. It will need to be adjusted to each teacher's assignments and textbook. Note: When making your assignment, allow for a lot of space to write answers. Consider using a bigger font.

World Population Growth

What is population?
Population is the number of people in a place.

Rewrite each question.

SAMPLE: What is the population at my school?
How many people are in my school?

What is the population in Michigan?

What is the population in the United States?

What is the population in the world?

Look at the graph. Remember in math how we look at a graph before we answer the questions. We ask ourselves, "What do I already know about this graph?" That's what you need to write down about the population graph.

If we are going to run out of space in our world, what do you think countries should do?

Now ask your teacher the last question or find the answer in your book.

What will be coming?

  • Specialized assignments & ideas in math, language arts, social studies, science, and elective classes

  • Who should have modified lessons?

  • Alternative ideas for inclusion/Continuum of Services

  • Who's student is this?

  • Grading

  • Communication

  • Para-educator - What is their role?