Implementing Specially Designed Instruction in the General Education Classroom

Authors:  Shelley Littleton, M.Ed., and Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed.

Specially designed instruction (SDI) must be delivered to address the unique needs of students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs) (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEA], 2004).  SDI may be delivered within the general education classroom.  Removal to a separate classroom is NOT necessary to provide this type of instruction and may in fact impede access to the general education curriculum.

Access to the general education curriculum is one of the most compelling rationales driving construction of appropriate IEPs besides being a legal requirement of IDEA, 2004.  The following three IEP requirements are designed to move student involvement and progress in the general education curriculum forward:

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Helping Students to Identify Unfamiliar Words

Thanks to brain research, we now understand more about the underlying processes used when students attempt to identify unknown words.  Brain imaging provides insights into these processes through identification of the particular regions involved, their functions, and interactions within the left hemisphere where language processing at the word level occurs.

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Lesson Design for an Inclusive Classroom

Inclusion is a belief system that values diversity and fosters a shared responsibility to help all students to reach their potential (Villa & Thousand, 2005).

Creating an inclusive classroom requires the orchestration of multiple fundamental practices, including:

  • Flexibility of teaching modes, learning styles, assessment, and grouping;
  • Ongoing assessment, both formal and informal;
  • Grouping by readiness, interests, learning styles, and size – whole class, small group, pairs, individual;
  • Appropriate challenge with interesting and engaging learning tasks that take students from where they are to where they need to be;
  • Student-teacher collaboration where students are consciously providing information about their learning, and making responsible choices, and teachers are assessing, conferencing, and adjusting accordingly.

(Adapted from Fattig & Taylor, 2008) [Read more…]

Intensifying Instructional Delivery During Guided Reading

Authors Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed., and Jan Rozzelle, Ed.D.
Elementary and middle schools across the Commonwealth are selecting guided reading as a means to address students’ comprehension issues.  Why are more and more schools adopting this practice? Guided reading may support struggling readers because it:

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Dyslexia: Insights and Current Understandings

Through what lens, do we examine dyslexia?  Medically, educationally, legislatively?
Definition?  Prevalence? Resources?

Much recent educational conversation centers on dyslexia.  Parent groups have formed to address their concerns regarding their children’s progress in reading and academics after a diagnosis of dyslexia.  Long-standing professional organizations work in the area of dyslexia through research, pedagogy, curriculum, and other avenues in education.  Much attention has been given to addressing the needs of students and adults with dyslexia.  Eighteen states have adopted legislation involving dyslexia, and 25 states have either issued a dyslexia handbook or recognized October as Dyslexia Awareness Month (USA Today, October 30, 2014). [Read more…]

Math Problem Solving and the Use of Generative Strategies

A recent Facebook post by the Secret Society of Happy People (September 17, 2014) highlighted a common concern among many educators and students regarding math word problems.  The post read, “Every time I see a math word problem, this is what it looks like:  If I had 10 ice cubes and you had 11 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof?[Read more…]

VDOE Instructional Resources That Support the Written, Taught, and Tested Curriculum in English and Math

VDOERESOURCES

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) website contains multiple resources to assist in aligning the curriculum that is taught with the written and tested curriculum. Use of these resources can only enhance our pedagogical practices. VDOE has done the work for us to make this necessary alignment possible with supporting resources. [Read more…]