Learning Opportunities Provided by FIN
The following professional learning opportunities are offered by the Florida Inclusion Network in collaboration with your school district. Please contact your FIN facilitator for more information on how you can take advantage of these and other learning opportunities.
Inclusion and Collaborative Teaching Series
From Label to Able Webinar– Current data tell us that students with significant disabilities lack opportunities to be educated in general education classrooms and learning environments. Data also tell us that most adults with developmental disabilities lack positive life outcomes, like meaningful employment, peer relationships, and independent living, after leaving school. Experience tells us that strong leaders can change this!
From Label to Able is a three-part professional development series, offered face-to-face or in a live webinar format, for school and district administrators or resource personnel on the topic of inclusive educational practices for students with significant disabilities. From Label to Able provides an overview of research-based, effective practices for educating students with significant cognitive and other disabilities in general education classrooms and contexts. Participants have opportunities to examine and discuss their existing practices in an effort to develop strategies for change.
For more information or to register for a webinar, please click here.
Collaborative Planning and Teaching (CPT) – This workshop is designed to give school-based teams* information, tools, and processes to support collaborative planning and implementation of inclusive practices for students with disabilities. Teams engage in hands-on exploration of the following topics and best practices related to educating students with disabilities in general education classrooms and settings:
- Foundations of inclusive education: Exploring beliefs, understanding the law, and reviewing the research
- Special education as a service not a place: Campus-wide approaches to providing in-class supports
- Analysis of student needs and developing in-class supports: Accommodations and modifications
- Scheduling appropriate supports for all students
- Collaborative structures of planning and providing instruction to students with varying abilities
- Management tools and strategies for collaborative teaching
- Effective use of paraprofessional and peer support
Teams leave this workshop with a plan, including short- and long-term goals, to develop and/or increase inclusive practices on their campus. Site-based support, technical assistance, and ongoing professional development opportunities are identified and scheduled in collaboration with a FIN facilitator.
Flexible Scheduling for In-Class Supports– School teams learn and engage in a process for scheduling collaborative, in-class supports for students with disabilities. Using a hands-on, visual process, participants work together to analyze individual student needs (e.g., IEP goals and objectives) and determine the appropriate supports needed during the instructional day. The team then develops a master schedule that aligns in-class service delivery, instructional blocks, and teacher or support personnel schedules.
Dealing With Differences: Strategies That Work! – This workshop gives teachers information, tools, and processes to make appropriate decisions about the supports needed for students with disabilities to be successful in general education classrooms. Teachers will learn how to do the following as they plan and implement effective instruction for students with disabilities in a variety of inclusive settings:
- Identify individual student needs
- Explain the difference between accommodations and modifications
- Select and design appropriate accommodations
- Implement and monitor accommodations
- Evaluate the effectiveness of accommodations
The Power of Peers: A Guide to Developing a Peer Support Program for Students with Disabilities – Team training for schools interested in developing formal peer support programs for students with intellectual and other disabilities at the secondary level. Training includes steps to planning and implementing a program that pairs students with disabilities with a peer tutor in each general education classroom throughout the day. Peer tutors receive elective credit for their participation in the program while students with disabilities receive natural supports from peers during instructional and non-instruction general education classroom activities. Teams participating in this workshop receive an “Implementation Guide” including necessary program forms, letters, grading suggestions, course information, and peer training activities.
Collaborative Teaching Sessions – A series of workshops designed to assist collaborative teachers in planning, problem-solving, and acquiring new skills as they work together to provide assessment and instruction to students with and without disabilities in the general education classroom. Collaborative teaching sessions are designed as job-embedded professional learning activities for teachers who are planning to or currently teach as collaborative partners.
The following session topics can be provided for teaching teams:
- Reflect and Refine: Teacher teams share their successes, identify current challenges, and develop ways to address problems related to collaboration and instruction. Teams are led through a problem-solving process to prioritize and determine actions to refine inclusive classroom practices.
- Collaborative Teaching Roles and Responsibilities: Teacher teams work together to identify and define their varying roles and responsibilities for planning, assessing, and delivering instruction in a co-taught classroom. Teachers learn how to apply a variety of co-teaching structures to deliver instruction to students with mixed abilities in whole and small group settings.
- Instructional and Classroom Management Strategies: Collaborative teachers learn strategies and processes to link instruction to effective classroom management. Topics include instructional planning to address challenging students, strategies to flexibly group and engage all learners, and classroom design for effective whole-class management.
- Effective Communication for Collaborative Teams: Collaborative teacher teams are guided through various activities to improve communication and conflict management skills. Participants learn strategies to identify areas of conflict that can interfere with collaborative teaching, understand effective skills for communication, and apply methods of effective communication with teaching partners.
- Planning Differentiated Instruction Through Tiered Lessons: Collaborative teachers learn how to develop tiered lessons for differentiated instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Teachers work together to create three levels of learning activities for a single lesson. Each team leaves ready to apply their lesson to the classroom and receives resources for designing future tiered lessons. Note: Collaborative teachers must have completed the Foundations of Differentiated Instruction workshop or the Communities of Practice study group prior to participating in this training. These learning opportunity descriptions may be found under the “Differentiated Instruction Series” listed below.
Differentiating Instruction Series
Note: The following learning opportunities are designed for school teams who have completed prior training on inclusion or collaborative teaching and are currently implementing inclusive practices for students with disabilities. Ongoing site-based support, technical assistance, and professional learning opportunities for differentiating instruction are identified and scheduled in collaboration with a FIN facilitator after initial team training on this topic. Please contact your FIN facilitator for more information.
Foundations of Differentiated Instruction, Part One—This two–day workshop provides team members with an introduction to the basic principles of Differentiated Instruction. Teachers will explore the following topics:
- Differentiated vs. traditional classrooms
- The benefits of differentiating instruction in mixed–ability classrooms
- The role of teachers in a differentiated classroom
- Preparing students for a differentiated classroom
- Planning for meaningful differentiation
- Managing a differentiated classroom
Foundations of Differentiated Instruction, Part Two—Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom—This two-day workshop provides team members with an introduction to assessment and grading for students with and without disabilities in the differentiated classroom. Teachers will explore topics and learn to apply strategies related to the following assessment and grading topics:
- Formative assessment
- Summative assessment
- Using assessment data to plan instruction (e.g., flexible grouping)
- Developing classroom grading practices that are fair, meaningful, and aligned with state and district policies
Communities of Practice: A Study Group Guide for Differentiated Instruction—Teacher teams of four to seven members engage in this job-embedded opportunity to learn about the foundations of Differentiated Instruction. Each teacher is provided with a study guide and Carol Ann Tomlinson’s book “How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms”. Teams meet bi-weekly to share group roles, discuss reading assignments, and develop ways to immediately apply differentiated instructional strategies to the students in their classrooms. Tools for conducting each session are provided and a FIN facilitator provides assistance as teams engage in each session’s prescribed learning activities.
Differentiated Strategies for Improving Comprehension in Secondary Content-Area Classrooms– This series of four, three-hour workshops gives middle and high school teacher teams hands-on opportunities to learn strategies that can improve comprehension of students with and without disabilities as they read subject-area text. Teachers will learn how to plan for and apply a differentiated pre-assessment strategy, and a before-, during-, and after-reading strategy. Teams will have an opportunity to implement each reading comprehension strategy in their classroom before returning to the next session.