USING HOPEFUL AND RESPECTFUL LANGUAGE
WHEN TALKING ABOUT STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Words are powerful and important tools in shaping ideas, perceptions and attitudes. Consider your choice of language when talking about students with disabilities with school staff, parents, other students, and the students who have disabilities themselves. In many instances it may be unnecessary to refer to disabilities and may be more helpful to describe what the student needs, in the kind of everyday language you would use for any student.
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PRINCIPLES OF INSTRUCTIONAL PLANNING
Designing meaningful and effective instruction for students with significant disabilities requires intentional planning that considers the strengths and needs of individual learners and takes into account best practices that work for all learners.
To hear more about effective instructional practice, view this two-minute video of Dr. Caroline Musselwhite discussing why Good Literacy Instruction is Good for All Students.
The following six principles for instructional planning provide a framework for thinking about, choosing, and designing learning goals, activities, and materials:
- Personally meaningful
- Age respectful
- Promotes autonomy
- Socially relevant
- Opportunities for social interaction
- Developmentally appropriate
These principles hold true for all students. Are we keeping them front of mind in the day-to-day planning for students with significant cognitive disabilities?
To learn more about the idea of age-respectful instruction, view the one-minute video of Dr. Caroline Musselwhite discussing the importance of age-respectful instruction in the video segment Engaging Older Students.
To learn more about instructional planning, visit Learning for All.
Books You Can Count On!
A template with criteria for evaluating the potential of literature or book selections for supporting mathematics instruction and numeracy development.
Math and Literature Resources
Created by Elk Island Public Schools, this resource provides a list of children’s literature selections with sample mathematics activities to support each book, as well as an appendix of other suggested numeracy and math titles. Math and Literature Resources Elk Island Public Schools PDF
A Trade Book Library for K-12 Mathematics
A bibliography of children’s literature for supporting mathematics instruction and numeracy development created by Gladys Sterenberg and Nancy Espetveidt, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, University of Alberta. A Trade Book Library for K-12 Mathematics PDF
CREATING AND ADAPTING BOOKS
Digital Storytelling Tools
Below are suggestions of tools that both teachers and students can use to create books:
Book Creator is an easy way to make, read and share interactive books on any device. Features include:
- add images or take your own photos, drop in video or music, record your own voice, use the pen tool to draw or animate, portrait/square/or landscape book layouts, create comics
- a fully interactive reader – turn the pages, change the layout, have books read to you in any language, choose to have the words highlighted as they are read
- publish online, share the eBook, or print a hard copy.
- This free easy-to-use creative story building tool captures your child’s voice and allows you to share what you have created with friends and family.
- One of the Snack Tools is Flip Snack which allows you to convert PDF documents into a Flash page digital publication creating a ‘flip book’ for students to read.
Tips for Creating and Adapting Books
Information is provided on copyright in Canada.
Suggestions provided for creating adapted books for students with significant disabilities and communication difficulties.
*All online resources have been identified by pilot participants and other educators. They are for information only. Users are responsible for evaluating the content and appropriate use of the information.
DR. CAROLINE MUSSELWHITE
These 11 video clips and related learning guides provide an opportunity to enhance and support teacher practice in the area of literacy for students with significant disabilities.
Dr. Caroline Musselwhite is an assistive technology specialist with more than 30 years of experience working with children and adolescents with significant disabilities.
The video clips and learning guides were developed through a collaboration between Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium and Alberta Education.
- Good Literacy Instruction is Good for All Students [2:08]
- Creating Opportunities for Students to Explore and Understand Text [1:55]
- Symbols and Learning to Read [2:40]
- Choosing Words for the Classroom Word Wall [1:33]
- Importance of Repetition and Variety in Learning [1:11]
- Importance of Building Background Knowledge [2:39]
- Give both Reinforcement AND Informative Feedback [2:17]
- Knowing the Difference between Teaching and Testing Questions [1:52]
- The Art of Attributing Meaning to Student Attempts [2:13]
- Engaging Older Students [1:12]
- The Cost of Underestimating the Potential of Individual Students [1:41]
Download all Learning Guides here.
MATH: IT’S EVERYWHERE
Mathematics is everywhere. The revised Alberta math curriculum emphasizes the connections between mathematics and everyday life, both now and in the future and highlights how math is involved in everything we do. This video demonstrates life connections and shows how it prepares students for the skills they require for their post-secondary and career plans.
The Math: It’s My Future was one of four videos in a series that also includes Math: It’s Everywhere, Math: It’s Mine and Math: It’s My Choice.
NUMERACY: A WORLD TO EXPLORE
This video explores numeracy in various contexts of daily life. Numeracy support documents include: Components and Elements, Conversation Guide, Numeracy Definition