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Helpful ELA Classroom Inclusion Strategies

Use these inclusion strategies to help you navigate teaching in the ELA classroom.

This week’s #2ndaryELA Twitter chat focused on ELA classroom inclusion strategies . During this chat teachers shared their ideas and inclusion strategies that they use every day in their classrooms.

Q1: What does inclusion look like in your classroom? In your school?

  • The majority of SpEd students in our school are included in classes like Sci, SS, & PE, but pulled out for math and ELA, if needed
  • In my classroom, I have students with IEPs – I plan their program in consultation with a special education teacher. 
  • Pull-out for test accom/accom in class per IEP/504. Both teachers alternate teaching/assist or team-teach. Some SpEd teachers are “teachers helpers”
  • In my school, SpEd students are all in general classes with an inclusion teacher who goes in at least 1x/week to work with them 
  • In my K-8 its all inclusion with some push-in and pull-out services as needed I’m part of the RTI (Response to Intervention) team, goal is to support kids to avoid unnecessary #sped labels 
  • My school is a 100% sp.ed. high school program specifically for students identified as emotional disturbance/mental illness. So I’m both ELA & sp.ed. teacher… I consult with myself & as long as I agree with myself, its smooth sailing haha  
  • Of my five classes, I co-teach one with a DHOH teacher and two with a SpEd teacher. We are in a district co-teaching cohort! 
  • Co-teaching!
  • My first period is mainly inclusion students. I have a TA to aid with students.
  • The inclusion teacher does all the paperwork and teaches one special class (I teach Learning Strategies this year) 
  • My inclusion classes are co-taught with an ELL teacher. @kgordon72 teaches our SPED inclusion. 
  • Here’s an interesting article about what it’s like to be a SPED teacher:


Q2: How do you keep track of and document your SPED students’ accommodations? 

  • SPED teachers give us the IEPs of students in our classes in August. I put these in a binder in my desk & refer to them when necessary 
  • I use a binder and check lists to keep all of my special education documents organized. I hope to go paperless soon 
  • Google sheet shared with co-teacher. Track dates of use and refusal to share with IEP team
  • Binder of tracking forms for current RTI caseload, form has goal and 8 weeks of data to monitor progress toward goal. Closed cases go into hanging file folders in filing cabinet, can reopen if student begins struggling again 
  • Keep a list of every student & their accommodations handy… but with a max. of 36 students, I memorize it pretty quickly
  • Spreadsheet by common accommodation for quick reference 
  • I keep IEPs in binders but make quick-reference guides to keep track of accommodations. Just a checklist. I also use mailing labels & check off accommodations used on specific assignments. Extra time, read aloud, etc.
  • Accommodations are in the program we use for attendance/grades, I-cue. There are icons by students’ photos that alert us to IEPs, med info, etc. 


Q3: What do you do to differentiate your reading and writing lessons to meet your SPED students’ needs?

  • Reading-audiobooks, reading buddies; writing-speech-to-text apps like Dragon Dictation. Modified tests & extended time for both 
  • I look at my students IEPs and then plan my units to make sure they are accommodated with reading and writing tasks
  • Spacing, support, reduced language, chunking, modify assignment
  • Newsela has different leveled texts on same topic. Have used that 
  • I look for ways to break down concepts to the brass tacks. Things like INB foldables, #pixanotes, outlines, writing frames 
  • Scaffolding, independent reading, read-aloud, A LOT of asking text-based questions
  • For reading, using adapted texts, audio texts, choices of texts, graphic organizers. For writing, begin with lots of modeled and guided writing, then support with graphic organizers, sentence starters. We write a lot of constructed responses, I use this form to support all levels of writers  
  • Sometimes I decrease the amount of work. I do A LOT of modeling. I do conferences and make writing into a packet of AIDS
  • Built into my teaching… repetition of material, chunking, scaffolding, etc. I start with basic skills & build up. Lots of independent work with conferencing.  I always avoid changing the expectations… they CAN do it… might just need a different way to get there
  • #Pixanotes are all about harnessing the comprehension & recall power of visuals. Read more:  
  • Also reduce the number of writing elements and sentence frames 
  • We use daily centers and offer choice wherever possible. We offer audio for all independent reading. Unlimited retakes
  • In short, we use a variety of graphic os, online programs for organization (Noodle Tools,) split for reading aloud vs independent. We may use a less complex short when having students write about theme. We look at standards and modify writing rubrics 

Q5: Share your best teaching strategies and resources for an inclusive classroom

  • I pin any great Special Education content to my board
  • We buddy-read with K & 1st graders, and my inclusion students always say this is one of their favorite activities! 
  • I love to model expectations. For writing: keep work (graphic organizers, notes, etc.) stapled for reference.
  • Model, model, model! Also, don’t be afraid to go low-tech/old school and use things like flash cards and anchor charts!
  • Blog post from @pernilleripp on reading interventions  thoughts could be applied to all interventions.  I do tons of differentiation for all levels of students, a favorite way is with choice boards
  • Chunking is essential & proper thesis construction 
  • Model, guided practice, independent practice 
  • When you read text out loud in class try Stop-Challenge! Click here to read more: 
  • Using small groups. Model there. More accountability on them 
  • Different organizers for different levels 
  • Strategies-Frequent brain breaks, partner read
  • We use a thesis formula for pers. writing = topic +opinion + B/C + r1 and r2. Gotta do t-chart 1st
  • Plan with your co-teacher, be patient, expect good things to happen–they will! 
  • Sharing a solid piece of real student work is also helpful 
  • Sometimes work backward i.e., give them theme & have them find evidence; given them inference & have them find evidence

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