Showing posts from July, 2011

UDL, Brain-based Learning and 21st Century Skills

When I got in to this graduate program with a focus on Inclusive Education and Neurosciences I was very excited about it but I must say I wasn't seeing how fully the two concepts linked together. I'm also really seeing how both of these concepts fit in to concepts that are being termed "21st Century Skills".  This is a great video that speaks to what I've been thinking about a lot lately (and now is being reinforced with the research that I'm doing in both the areas of inclusive education and neurosciences).

I'm having a hard time putting down everything that I've learned in the neurology class this summer because much of it affirms my gut level instincts about learning.  We spent most of the class learning how the brain works and it is only now as I begin to digest and process that I'm seeing how it all fits in to educational practices.  I'm finding myself hungry for more information and so have continued to dig in to research journals relate…

Alberta Education - Literacy for All Pilot Project (Part 1)

One of the "Action on Inclusion" pilot projects that our school is participating in during the 2011-12 school year is the "Literacy for All" project.  Here is an explanation of the project from the Alberta Education website:
Alberta Education has initiated a one year literacy pilot project beginning June, 2011 to build teacher capacity to better meet the literacy and communication needs of grade 1 to 6 students with significant disabilities. This project is the result of a conditional grant from Alberta Education, to the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia with the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) coordinating this pilot opportunity.This Literacy for All pilot project is designed for teachers of students with significant disabilities and will be based on the literacy resource Meville to WEville from Bridges Publishing, Canada. The project has 30 teachers participating from across the province from public, separate, private, rural…

Action Research Project: Effective Inclusion of Students With Signficant Disabilities in Elementary General Education Mathematics Classes (Part 1)

One of the assignments for my fall course is to complete an "Action Research" assignment in my school.  The course is on UDL, DI and Assessment so the action research has to somehow tie in to that and also incorporate the ideas of facilitating inclusion of students with special needs and have some sort of basis in neuroscience research.  The idea behind the project is to research some area, make an implementation plan based on the research and then carry out and evaluate the plan.  For me it is perfect timing as this is exactly what my job is evolving to and it gives a great framework for moving ahead.

We are really going to be focusing in on two subject areas in regards to inclusion this fall and those are Language Arts and Mathematics.  For Language Arts we are part of another pilot project so I left that part of it alone in thinking about this action research project.  I went, instead, with the Mathematics end of it.  Before taking on this job, I taught Junior and Senior …

What is Inclusion?

The course that I will be taking for my Masters program this fall is "Curriculum Studies and Classroom Practices".  Our major areas of study are going to include Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Assessment.  We will be looking at all of these concepts through two lenses:
How does the practice support "inclusion"?How does the practice relate to Neurology?I'm really looking forward to the course but I'm still finding that we have yet to come up with a solid definition of "inclusion".  It seems we are talking and talking about it but there are different definitions everywhere and I'm not completely convinced on which one works the best.

Alberta Education defines an "inclusive education system" as
"a way of thinking and acting that demonstrates universal acceptance of, and belonging for, all students. Inclusive education in Alberta means a value based approach to accepting responsibility for all…

My Thoughts After the First Two Courses

"Day Zero" is seeming like a really long time ago!  A lot has happened in these past few weeks.  I completed the first two courses in my Masters program that is focusing on Neuroscience and Inclusive Education and can now clearly see the link between the two.  I'm excited about what the next 3 years will bring as there is much to be learned and tried.

This summer's courses were mostly background information that should give us some good grounding for our other courses.  Our Neurology class was mostly learning about the brain and how it works but we did get in to some "neuro-myths" that have gotten inflated as they made their way in to the educational field.  It was interesting to look at things from both a developmental psychology/education standpoint (our second class) and a neurology standpoint.

This fall we get in to the nuts and bolts as we start looking at classroom practices that support inclusion - in particular UDL (Universal Design for Learning), D…

Neuroscience and Inclusive Education Masters Program: Day Zero

Mikey (my 12 year old son) and I checked in the University of Lethbridge residence yesterday afternoon. We will be here for three weeks, in which time I will complete the first two courses of my Masters program.  Over the next three years we will return here for two more summer stretches and I will be taking courses online during the school years.

I actually never imagined taking my Masters degree but a lot of things seemed to align at once and I saw an opportunity to "be the change I wanted to see in the world" and I applied for this new program at the University of Lethbridge and then was fortunate enough to get in.  The timing  of the program could not be better as it is coming at the same time as our province and our school division are making some big changes around how "special education" is approached/delivered.  In the beginning steps of this process I feel I have found my passion and purpose.  Which makes being here today a big event for me! 

I feel the n…

Inclusion: What Does It Take?

7I'm working on building up my list of resources related to the things that I believe are foundational for creating an inclusive education system.  I have included these as links across the top of the page.  These pages are works in the making.  Note that there is space for reader comments on all the of the pages.  I welcome any input, feedback, links to great sites...etc.

A brief outline of what I'm thinking for each page follows.  I will expand on my beliefs in each of the areas in future posts.

Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Inclusive Education: These are the things that I think are necessary understandings for building fully inclusive schools.
Assumption of Competence of All StudentsAbleism and the  History and Rights of People with "Disabilities"Schools as CommunityCollaborative Practices on All LevelsUniversal Design for Learning:  I'm really just starting to understand the depth of UDL and I think it is absolutely foundational for making inclusion work.