What is an Inclusion Classroom?
Looking in, and inclusion classroom may look exactly like a regular education classroom. But there are some significant differences.
Typically the inclusion classroom has two teachers, a regular education teacher and a special education teacher who co-teach. Some inclusion classrooms will have a regular education teacher and a special education assistant.
The students consist of regular education students and special education students who are taught together. At times, the classroom will break into groups for small group instruction, and other times they are taught together. Students do not know which ones have IEPs and which ones do not. The teachers in the classroom help any student who needs help.
The special education case manager ensures that the IEP is being followed and the special education students are meeting their goals.
Please complete the attached
Project: Inclusion Classroom Observation
Choose a preschool or daycare in a community near you (or in your community). If possible, it should not be your own place of work.
You are going to be visiting the school and observing the classroom for at least one hour. You will also be examining the area around the school and the community it serves as it gives important information about potential students/families opportunities as well as places for the school to visit. Do the following to complete the observation:
· Call the school and explain you are doing this with Haywood and need to observe an inclusive classroom during the school day (this is a classroom that has children with special needs as well as children that are typically developing). Be sure to tell them that you would like to observe an hour if possible. You need the director’s permission.
· Explain that you will sit out of the way and be taking notes for a paper about inclusive classrooms. You will not share any teacher/student/family names in your paper and the center can be anonymous if they prefer.
· Agree upon the time to come. You should come earlier than agreed to be situated in an area to observe. Introduce yourself to the office staff, director, and teachers. Ask them if there is anything you should know before observing in their classroom. Be sure to be quiet and respectful during the observation.
· During the observation, you will be looking at the classroom and the outdoor play areas. If the class does not go outside, ask if you could look at the play area after your observation.
· You may not see evidence of everything on the checklists. Often these checklists are to be noted throughout an entire day of observation. Be honest and careful about your observations.
· Take notes on the Worksheets below using extra sheets if necessary. Thank the director at the end of the time and you may consider sending a thank you note to the school.
· After leaving (or before arriving if you choose), drive around the neighborhood and community noting your observations of the community. Stop in a parking lot to write your observations down on the Community Observation Worksheet.
· When your observation time is completed, it is then time to write up your observations. See directions below.
Directions for Writing Project: Inclusion Classroom Observation Project
· Using the information from each of the worksheets noted in the above directions, write a paper explaining the results of your data.
· Paragraph 1: In paragraph form, explain the information you learned in Background Information on School and Classroom. Include all the information gathered.
· Paragraph 2: In paragraph form, explain what you observed in Section A – Physical Environment. You will be telling the facts and results of the checklist section A – Physical Environments including what was checked and what was not and why.
· Paragraph 3: Explain what you thought about the observations in section A – Physical Environment.
· What were your initial thoughts as you observed the physical environment?
· Would you like to have your child here? Why or why not?
· Did you feel it was safe?
· Did it have the necessary equipment?
· Include any other things that were missing off the checklist or that were done well.
· Paragraph 4: In paragraph form, explain what you observed in section B – Curriculum. You will be telling the facts and results of the checklist section B – Curriclum.
· Paragraph 5: Explain what you thought about observations in section B – Curriculum including what was checked and what was not and why.
· What were your initial thoughts as you observed the curriculum and what the children were learning?
· Would you like to have your child learn here? Why or why not?
· Did you feel it was educational and children were learning skills necessary for school?
· Include any other things that were missing off the checklist or that were done well.
· Paragraph 6: In paragraph form, explain what you observed in section C – Teaching. You will be telling the facts and results of the checklist section C –Teaching including what was checked and what was not and why.
· Paragraph 7: Explain what you thought about the observations in Section C– Teaching.
· What were your initial thoughts as you observed the teachers and what they were doing?
· Would you like to have your child learn with these teachers? Why or why not?
· Did you feel the teachers were prepared for the situations in the classroom as well as learning with the children?
· Include any other things that were missing off the checklist or that were done well.
· Paragraph 8: In paragraph form, explain what you observed in section D Community Observation.
· Paragraph 9: Look at the information from section D Community Observation. Then in paragraph form, complete this information:
· Explain what you think the community can offer to parents and students at this school
· Explain what the school could use in the community to help make their education even more interesting or useful.
· Does the community reflect what you saw in the observation? Why or why not?
· Did you feel that the community “matched” what the school was like? Why or why not?
· Paragraph 10: In paragraph form, explain these things:
· Why you think this assignment is helpful in understanding how to work with children in an inclusive setting.
· What are three things that you will take away as an educator to use in your own school at some point and why are each of these important to you.
· If you could ask the teachers three questions, what would you ask them about working in an inclusion classroom?
· Would you like to work in an inclusion classroom? Why or why not?
Background Information on School and Classrooms
A. Complete the following information about the school with the director on the phone or on the day you observe.
Type of School (circle):
Ages this School Serves:
Number of students:
Number of staff:
Number of families (if preschool/daycare):
Note the number of children as well as what race/nationality the children and staff are in the classroom that you are observing. (example: 24 children, 6 white, 10 Hispanic, 7 black, 1 Asian – Teachers 1 white female and 2 black females)
Date and Time of Observation (beginning to end):
Do most families live in the same community as the school or do many families work here and live somewhere else?
Checklist What to Look for In Inclusive Pre-Kindergarten Classroom
(taken from Florida Technical Assistance and Training System or TATS)
You are going to be looking at three things:
· Physical environment
Check off each item as you see it within the classroom. Be sure to take notes as you go in order to add them to your paper later.
SECTION A. ENVIRONMENT
Furniture arrangement allows for staff supervision — What does it look like?
· Toys and materials are displayed on low shelves and arrangement of furniture does not block adult view of children.
Furnishings are appropriate for young children — What does it look like?
· All furniture is in good condition.
· Most furniture is child-sized and there are an adequate number of chairs/tables to allow all children to participate.
· Adaptive furnishings allow children with disabilities to fully participate in the program’s activities (e.g., adapted standers/seating).
Health and safety procedures are implemented throughout the classroom — What does it look like?
· Child-sized sinks (or stepstools) and washing material are available and hand washing promoted before meals and snacks and after toileting.
· A designated changing area with changing procedures is posted.
· Medications and cleaning supplies are out of reach of children.
· Emergency contact information, emergency care plans, and allergy information is readily available and easily accessible.
· A daily classroom attendance list is available to account for all children in case of emergency evacuation.
· Staff frequently scans room and moves around during children’s free play, providing ongoing supervision.
· Health and safety rules are communicated to children.
· Electrical cords are not accessible to children and outlets are covered.
· Heavy objects or furniture cannot be pulled down by children.
Classroom displays examples of children’s work — What does it look like?
· Children’s work is displayed at their eye level throughout the room with their names clearly displayed.
· The room is free of unnecessary clutter and extraneous stimulation — What does it look like?
· Books, blocks, toys, and supplies are neatly stored and displayed, and there is adequate storage for all materials.
· Work areas cleaned after each use.
· An adequate, but not overwhelming, number of toys are available to children, and toys are rotated on a regular basis to maintain interest.
The classroom spaces are well organized, and learning materials are accessible to all children –What does it look like?
· There is ample space to allow children and adults to move freely and sufficient space for equipment.
· Materials and equipment are available in sufficient quantity to occupy every child involved in activities (duplicate materials are available as needed).
· Materials are labeled and on open shelves within children’s reach to encourage them to select and use materials independently.
· Quiet centers and active centers do not interfere with one another.
· Technology is used to extend learning and enrich the curriculum (e.g., computers, tape recorders/CD players, microscopes).
· There are clearly defined interest areas. These may include: art, block, book/listening, dramatic play/housekeeping, fine motor, nature and science, math areas, sand/water table.
Language and literacy experiences are prominent throughout the classroom — What does it look like?
· A rich assortment of age appropriate children’s books and other meaningful print materials are available.
· There is a listening area that children can access on their own that includes books and audiotapes/CDs.
· Teachers take dictations from children and post them in visible locations.
· Children use books independently or teaching staff read to children in small groups in addition to group story time.
· Children are encouraged to experiment with printing their name.
· All centers are equipped with various writing materials in order to encourage children to create print during play (e.g., shopping lists, tickets, envelopes, etc.).
· Visual supports are available throughout all areas to support communication. These may include communication boards, a picture exchange system, and picture schedules to learn sequence of the day.
· Materials that encourage children to communicate are evident throughout the class (puppets and flannel board pieces in book area, toys for dramatic play).
Staff interactions with children are positive and promote the development of critical thinking skills — What does it look like?
· Teaching staff shows affection by smiling, touching, holding, and speaking to children at their eye level at many times throughout the day.
· Staff uses visual supports to assist in communicating with less verbal children.
· Teaching staff promotes reasoning skills, language, and literacy through reading, interactive discussion, questioning, using open-ended questions, art, and other activities.
· Teaching staff responds to child-initiated questions, observations, and suggestions that occur during activities and uses them to extend learning.
· Teaching staff interacts and guides children to help them develop physical and social skills during outdoor time.
· Teaching staff is available to participate in activities; read books; encourage exploration, experimentation and discovery; and to intervene as appropriate to encourage or redirect children’s behaviors.
Diversity is reflected through the classroom environment and materials — What does it look like?
· Displays and books reflect people of different professions, cultures, ages, genders, and abilities.
· Books are available in languages spoken at home by children; depicting both men and women engaging in gender-neutral work activities (e.g., female firefighter, male sewing).
· Music, decorations, and activities in the classroom reflect the variety of languages and cultures of the families in the program. Pictures, puzzles, and props (such as dress-up clothing) reflect people of different races, cultures, and ethnicities.
Outdoor space is safe, accessible for all children, and includes equipment and materials for a variety of activities — What does it look like?
· Outdoor space is protected by fences or natural barriers, and walkways or stairs are free of obstruction and in good condition.
· Size and level of play equipment are appropriate for ages of children. Equipment is well maintained and anchored and does not pose danger of entrapment or injury from pinch points or projections.
· There is sufficient cushioning under climbing equipment and other fall zones.
· Outdoor play area is designed to accommodate a variety of motor experiences, such as running, climbing, balancing jumping, and swinging.
· There is enough gross motor equipment so that children have access without a long wait.
· Assistive technology to increase participation of children with disabilities is available outdoors, if needed, and may include: adaptive positioning equipment; switches and switch toys; toys adapted with hand splints/straps for grasping; adapted swing/tricycle.
Section B. CURRICULM
Here are five elements that comprise a quality inclusive curriculum for prekindergarten (Pre-K) children with disabilities:
1. The level of sound in the room is elevated, indicating that children and teaching staff are involved in communication and learning activities — What does it look like?
· Children are actively engaged with materials, objects, and activities with peers and adults.
· The sounds from the room reflect conversations, singing, music, and other activities.
2. There is visible evidence of a developmentally appropriate planned curriculum, lessons plans, a posted schedule, and curriculum guidebook linked to state standards — What does it look like?
· The lesson plans are open, current, and reflect activities consistent with the curriculum guidebook, if one is used.
· Children are provided with well planned, meaningful, and fun experiences to develop basic concepts in math, nature/science, art, music, technology, understanding self/community/world, and physical education.
· Children are provided early language and literacy experiences (including “read aloud” and phonological and alphabet awareness activities) in a meaningful, fun, and natural part of their day.
· There is evidence of intentional teaching of social skills built into the daily plan with an attempt to individualize to children’s needs.
3. Throughout the day there are opportunities for various activity groups and learning opportunities from individual to small or larger groups — What does it look like?
· A picture schedule is posted at the child’s eye level to reflect various activities and play groupings, including playing individually and in small or larger groups.
· The schedule reflects a variety of activities within recurrent routines that provide structure for the children’s day.
· There are daily opportunities for children to freely choose activities indoors and outdoors.
· This self-directed play period allows time for planning, engaging in activity and/or materials, and cleaning up, thereby practicing various social skills.
· During child-initiated activity periods, teaching staff provides help and encouragement to children when needed, guiding children when necessary toward an activity or actively participating to help them gain additional learning.
· Teaching staff is aware of the daily schedule and follows it, but does not allow the schedule to limit spontaneous learning opportunities that arise with individual children, or within small or larger group activities.
4. There is evidence that accommodations are being made for diverse learners — What does it look like?
· Literacy and writing materials are apparent at a variety of learning levels.
· Toys and learning games are provided to children to promote learning at varying learning abilities and levels.
· Materials can be adjusted for children’s different ways of learning and may include accommodations to assist children in seeing, handling, or understanding the materials or activities.
· Assistive technology (AT) is evident throughout the entire classroom to increase the level of participation of children with disabilities in all activities. Assistive technology is any tool or device that a student with a disability uses to do a task more easily, faster, or in a better way, such as:
· AT for Communication– single or multi-message voice output device (a piece of equipment with a programmed message), communication (picture) boards
· AT for Art– adaptive tool grip, stabilizing materials with clamps/tape, alternative tools for painting (paint rollers/dot markers), adapted scissors; computer software
· AT for Books and Literacy– stabilizing books with Velcro, bookstand, adapted page turners (hot glue dots, page fluffers, tactile books)
· AT for Play and Participation– adaptive positioning equipment, switches and switch toys, toys adapted with hand splints/straps for grasping, computer with software for play/games with switch or adapted keyboard.
5. Children are actively engaged in activities — What does it look like?
· There are opportunities for children to work together.
· Teaching staff provides supervision to facilitate children’s activities and play, making sure all are involved.
· Free play or free choice occurs regularly throughout the day and is reflected in the daily schedule.
Section C – TEACHING – Part 3 of 3
Here are four elements that comprise quality inclusive teaching practices to serve prekindergarten (Pre-K) children with disabilities.
1. The adults in the classroom work collaboratively as a team (including teacher, paraprofessionals, therapists, and family) modeling cooperation and problem solving — What does it look like?
· Teaching staff uses problem-solving in their interactions with children and one another and models the problem-solving process in naturally occurring situations.
· Teachers provide direction or instruction to other team members about how to work within the classroom.
· Teaching staff speaks positively to and about other team members.
· A schedule of staff responsibilities is posted.
2. Teaching staff uses positive classroom management strategies and discipline procedures – What does it look like?
· The teaching staff establishes, posts, and teaches rules and routines.
· The teaching staff organizes the environment to avoid behavior problems.
· Teaching staff is aware of what is happening at all times, monitoring classroom activities and the use of materials, intervening when necessary.
· Teaching staff plans transitions between activities and keeps those times as minimal as possible.
· Transitions and routines (including toileting and hand washing) are well planned, efficient, and limit the amount of time children spend waiting.
· Visual cues, including gestures, written labels, pictures, or objects, are used to assist children to understand routines and manage time as needed.
· Teaching staff encourages and assists children in identifying problems and developing solutions, using incidental or spontaneous situations as teaching opportunities.
3. Teaching staff facilitates the development of social-emotional skills and encourages interactions among all children — What does it look like?
· The environment is designed to promote social interactions (i.e., opportunities to play in small groups, opportunities for cooperative activities, dramatic play materials and toys are available, and children with disabilities are grouped with typically developing peers).
· The curriculum includes the teaching of specific skills, such as labeling and using feeling words, recognizing peers’ emotions, friendship skills, turn taking, problem solving, and conflict resolution skills.
· Teaching staff models, demonstrates, teaches, and gives direct feedback to children throughout the day regarding social-emotional skills.
4. There is evidence that family involvement is encouraged in the classroom and at home – What does it look like?
· Teaching staff explains activities and classroom rules to family members and guides them in participating in the classroom, outdoors, and in other class activities and events, according to school rules.
· There is evidence that teaching staff encourages family members to share cultural heritage and practices, stories, activities, and languages.
· Teaching staff shares positive behavior strategies for consistency in addressing challenging behaviors with families, both at home and at school.
• Retrieved from the website of the Florida Technical Assistance and Training System (TATS)
· o Part 1 – Environment: http://www.tats.ucf.edu/docs/eUpdates/ProgramEffectiveness-4.pdf
· o Part 2 – Curriculum: http://www.tats.ucf.edu/docs/eUpdates/ProgramEffectiveness-5.pdf
· o Part 3 – Teaching: http://www.tats.ucf.edu/docs/eUpdates/ProgramEffectiveness-6.pdf
Section D. Community Observation
Before or after your observation, take a drive through the community looking for this information. Be sure to pull into a parking lot to fill out your information before returning home.
See what children and their families experience daily. This information gives you a feel the community. Do families pass small or large businesses on their way to and from the center that could be visited and studied? Are there plants, trees, or ponds that could serve as sources of learning?
Look for resources for children's play-parks, recreational services, or other areas that children may use when they have family time out of school. How many are there and are they well maintained?
Is the school and are the neighborhoods in high-traffic areas?
Is the school more rural? If so, are there ponds, hills, other types of natural landforms nearby?
Do you see any social services, churches, or other agencies that offer families support such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, or other social agencies? How many and how far are they from the school? Are they in good condition?
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