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Topic: Anyone doing inclusion this year?

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Subject: Anyone doing inclusion this year?
Date Posted: 10/14/2009 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,572
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Our district has finally decided that they want all intervention specialists to be following a full inclusion model this year...with no training for us or the general ed teachers, btw.  Ok, I'm fine with that, as a district our sped population isn't making the gains they should be, so I say let's give it a try.  My problem is that I'm in a K-6 building with one other intervention specialist and we currently  have 34 speds with new ones coming in almost daily and 2 being tested who will almost certainly qualify.  Our cap is 32, so a waiver from the state is forthcoming and when we hit 39, they'll revisit our issue and decide whether or not to hire a third intervention specialist.  Given our financial situation, I seriously doubt we'll get any additional teachers.  Here's the thing, our 4th and 5th grade classes have a combined total of 20 speds, so my coworker has that group, leaving me to attempt an inclusive model across 5 grade levels.  Right now it's only 4 active grade levels, but one of the kids being tested is a first grader, so when/if he qualifies it will be the full 5 grade levels. 

How in the world do I effectively teach 14 children across 5 grades, reading, writing, math, during the course of the school day?  Understand that I'm not whining about my caseload, I've actually had as many 22 on my caseload in years past, but I've always done pull out so I could combine grade/skill levels, so it wasn't that difficult a task.  I keep asking for guidance, but I'm essentially being told to figure it out.  I don't ask for much from my supervisor and never have, but on that rare occasion when I do ask, I expect more than "figure it out", you know?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Date Posted: 10/22/2009 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,835
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Hi Sandy,

Too bad nobody has responded. I am a homeschooler. I used to teach pre-school Montessori (ages 3-5 years old in one classroom). My son, who is now an adult, was in an inclusion experiment in middle school. I'm interested in how you are doing. I'm on the creative side, so I might have an idea or two if you can give me some particulars.

Hope you are doing well,



Date Posted: 10/23/2009 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,572
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I was beginning to wonder if anyone was paying attention. LOL!  Basically, I'm going into classrooms, working solely on the written IEP goals for the stated amount of time, then moving on to the next child.  In my 2nd grade class, I have two students who are capable of on-level work, when they are on their medication.  One has been off meds for several days and my time has been spent walking him up and down the halls to keep him moving while attempting to work skills.  He's been so out of control that I've ended up missing time with other students.  Meds finally arrived today, so hopefully next week will be back to normal.  The other ADHD child simply can't focus without meds, but she's not a behavior issue.  My third 2nd grader is sweet as can be, but significantly below grade level; I'm working on letters and sounds with her.  From there I head to 6th grade math where I have 2 students who need help with math calculation, but who are good at reasoning; more drill and kill for the time I'm there.  On to 3rd grade where I have 5 total students, but only 2 who require hands-on, the others are consultation basis only.  One of those is just a little bit behind, the other is reading at a pre-primer level.  I pull each to the front of the room and work on appropriate sight words and comprehension skills.  From there I run down to kindergarten where I work with a lovely little girl who is mentally about 3.  She has good social skills and is quite friendly, but retains precious little.  She doesn't remember the first letter in her name from minute to minute, let alone day to day.  This is all before lunch.  After lunch it's 3rd grade math, 6th grade reading, then back to kindergarten. 

I'm running myself ragged and worry that this kind of short attention span teaching isn't the best option for many of my students. My challenge this year is to keep an open mind and see what happens when the test results come back next year.  My students always made decent gains when I was left to teach in my resource room and I'm uncertain as to whether we'll see the same gains made this year.  For all the talk about individualizing instruction, it feels like we've going backwards into the one size fits all trap.

Date Posted: 10/23/2009 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 66
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My son is 19 and in a self-contained classroom. I have had other parents tell me how awful that is. When I ask how he would be in full inclusion I have yet to get a response.  Cognatively he is 6 months old and has yet to learn to communicate. I get grief for that as well as if they teachers have not tried.

If you find a answer I would love to know.

Terry E. (Tear) - ,
Date Posted: 10/30/2009 7:41 AM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2009
Posts: 54
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Are you alone it the class room?  Most teachers of inclusion class rooms have an aide or two to help.  There is just no way you could do this on your own. 

Are there pull outs?  I have worked in several class rooms at different levels, as an aide and know it would be impossible to do this on your own.

Date Posted: 10/30/2009 8:34 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,572
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Aides? What's an aide?  Seriously, our district has no money for aides, so  I'm on my own trying to serve these students to the best of my ability.  The gen. ed. teachers are great and are working to differentiate instruction for my students, so I have their support, but it's down to me running around the school to get everyone's minutes taken care of.  Pull out is strongly discouraged and if it is to be done, I have to have be able to justify it on the IEP (there's a section for this).  My reasoning cannot be "due to need for specialized instruction", which is what we used to put to justify resource room/pull out and I have yet to come up with an acceptable reason to pull a child out of a classroom.  Even students who are extremely distractible, meds or no meds, don't rate being pulled out to a quieter location to work on skills.  I appreciate the idea of keeping kids together, but if they can't focus in a large group, how does adding another person to an already noisy situation, help matters?  Maybe I'm just being stubborn, but it seems a time out in a quiet location would be more condusive to focus and learning. I can still pull them into small groups for testing purposes, but even that is met with some disdain.  Maybe it will all work out and I'm stressing for no reason, but everything in my gut says this is not in the best interest of many of my students.

Kathleen, do you feel like the school is acting in the best interest of your son?  If you do, then say that to those who are bad-mouthing self-contained.  I would be very curious as to how a full inclusion setting would be beneficial for someone cognitively 6 months old.  I wish I had an answer for your situation.  Stay strong and ignore these parents "experts".  You know what's best for your child, so follow your heart.