I know. You are so busy that your head is spinning. You have just handed in your final progress reports (maybe) and you have 3 field trips to go and I come knocking on your door or send you an email. Ugh. I am the LAST person you want to talk to.
Who am I? Your school Learning Support teacher or Resource Teacher or whatever your school district chooses to call the person who supports the students in your school who need that extra help. I am usually part of your school based team (SBT) and we have been busy too. One of our jobs is deciding where the best fit is for those students for next year.
.....and we picked you!!!!! You will have one or more students with IEPs in your classroom next year. This may be new to you or maybe you have done this many times but I just want to encourage you to start planning ahead for next year using a different approach.
Maybe you have heard of Shelley Moore? If not, you can google her while you are sitting on the beach. I just want to suggest that over the summer you consider using her approach: planning for those students with different learning needs FIRST and all else will follow. Kind of a mind-altering concept! Here are some suggestions to do that planning.
My first suggestion is to visit SETBC's online self-directed course called Curriculum for All. There are five modules that attempt to answer the following question, "How can we, as educators, strategically and collaboratively plan to provide an inclusive learning environment for all students, regardless of grade, content or cognitive ability?" The course was developed by Shelley and is full of great information and ideas for planning an inclusive learning environment. It will fill you in on the why's and the how's!
My second suggestion would be to go directly to Shelley's blog "Blogsomemoore - Teaching and Emplowering ALL Students". She has handouts, videos and other resources you can go through that will give you an overview of her ideas.
My third suggestion (if you already have an idea of how to do this and want to get right to work) would be to go to her Template page. Here you will find, free for your use, all the tools, templates and strategies to get going. For example, she has the Class Review template (Brownlie & King, 2000) which will help you get to know your students and the Unit Planning Pyramid to really be able to use our new BC Curriculum with your whole class.
My last suggestion would be to talk to this year's teachers before you leave for the summer and perhaps even arrange for a visit for your new students to your classroom if at all possible. Yes, things may change over the summer but the more you know about each other ahead of time, the easier the September start will be. You could even put together a short picture story telling your new student(s) about what the first days in your classroom will be like.
My role as a Learning Support/Resource Teacher is to help you every step of the way. Please ask me questions and invite me to come in. If I don't know an answer, I will find out. Together, we can make next year the best year ever for ALL your students.
Have a wonderful summer, I know you have earned it!
Written by PITA Executive member, Jan Palmer - District Behaviour Support and Intervention Teacher, New Westminster School District.