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Volume 3 Number 1

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "All effective schools have a culture and it is the information one gets from a culture that sends a message to the students that they will be productive and successful." This month the Wongs offer more examples of successful school and classroom management...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child
Teaching Is...
Avoiding the 'Stares' When Intellectually Challenging Disadvantaged Students: Partnership Lessons from the HOTS Program
Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?
A Bakerís Dozen Reasons!
The Effects Of Diet
Bully Advice For Kids
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 2)
Both Sides Now in Gifted Education
What Are We Aiming At--What Do We Really Want To Aim At?
Teaching Graph from the Grassroots
Why Teachers Need Tenure
A Different Perspective to the Holidays
A Lesson Learned
Follow The Wonder
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Handy Teacher Recipes
Classroom Crafts
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
Chatboard Poll
eIditarod 2002
Planetary Society Protests Stop to Near-Earth Object Observations
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
7th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease
Arab American Students in Public Schools
School Bus Subsidies for Field Trip to 2002 Tour De Sol
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Beth Bruno...
Beth is a freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience in mental health and education. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in Psychology in 1966. She continued her education at Harvard University (Ed.M. in Educaton, 1967) and Yeshiva University (M.A. in Clinical Psychology, 1976). Beth has served as Chair of the Psychology Department for the Special Children's Center in Ithaca, New York, and has worked as Adjunct Instructor at Tompkins-Cortland Community College.

Beth encourages questions from young people, adults, educators and professionals. She will do her best to answer each question personally and in a timely manner. She can be reached via email at

Ask the School Psychologist...
by Beth Bruno, Ed.M., M.A.
Making Inclusion Work
QUESTION: I am a Teacher Assistant working one-on-one with a child who has Down Syndrome. He is in 5th grade and has comprehension skills of about second or third grade level. How do I modify the 5th grade curriculum to provide parallel lessons appropriate to his skill level?

ANSWER: I'm not familiar enough with the products of text book manufacturers to know which ones publish modifications of lessons to fit different skill levels, but there are many approaches you can take on your own to make appropriate adjustments.

  • Discuss each subject with the special education teacher in charge of your student's academic support program. He or she probably has different grade level materials in each subject from which you can pick and choose lessons and chapters that dovetail with the topics and lessons from the 5th grade texts.

  • In discussion with the supervising teacher, you will need to identify priority concepts, vocabulary and skills within each lesson, since you will not be able to cover everything when you abbreviate and simplify content.

  • The school librarian can also steer you to parallel materials for each subject area.

  • Involve the student and his parents in lesson planning. The parents' knowledge of their son's academic history will be invaluable as you tackle this year's work. They'll know about academic strengths and weaknesses as well as work habits and study skills that need improvement.

  • Explore the possibility of peer collaboration on some projects and assignments. It will make your student feel more a part of the class if he can contribute in a substantive way to the completion of lab experiments, art projects or other group endeavors.

  • If your student can handle some hours in his schedule independently, such as lunch, PE, music or art, use that time to make lesson modifications. Request an hour or two of paid collaboration time, built into your schedule, so you can meet with teachers or parents before or after school each week. Inclusion programs like this can work successfully, as long as you have time to make modifications and collaborate with others.

Author's note: See the following Web sites for more information about curriculum modifications for special needs students.


Success for all learners:

Resources about inclusion:


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