An inclusive classroom is one where both regular and special needs children are combined in the same classroom. It is also possible that talented and gifted children are combined in the mix. These classrooms, especially at the elementary level, require several sets of hands to accomplish many of the hands-on activities that teachers in normal classrooms do not require. The diversity or skills within the classroom varies when completing tasks in reading, art, science and exploration activities. Involve parents as much as possible to help with the diversity.
Reading to a large group of students is an activity teachers do on a daily basis. An activity that works well at the elementary level is to divide the children into small groups. A parent is designated one small group and reads an appropriate age-level book to these children. The parent reads the book aloud while holding the book so that the children may see both the pictures and the words associated with the reading. The additional help will stimulate the child at the appropriate intellectual age.
Involve parents at the elementary level in inclusive classrooms when completing art projects that include cutting, gluing or painting. The fine motor skills required to cut, glue or paint are developed at this grade level. Chose art projects that have large pieces to practice these skills. Examples include making paper snowflakes, tissue paper flowers and a holiday turkey.
Science - Growing Cycle
The growing cycle is an area in science that is taught at all grade levels. Include parents in this activity during the planting process. The extra hands help to contain the soil on the tables and in the containers especially in an inclusive classroom. Clean-up is faster with another set of hands in the room and also provides classroom supervision during the process.
Exploration Activities - Fossil Hunt
Involve parents in an exploration activity such as a fossil hunt within an inclusive classroom. The lesson begins by preparing sand trays or sand tables with buried fossils or plastic dinosaurs. The anticipatory set for the fossil hunt starts with a story about dinosaurs, how they became extinct and how they turned into fossils. Once the students are excited, break them into small groups and place several students at each area to dig for fossils. Parental involvement in this activity helps to keep the students focused on the activity at hand and the sand in a confined area.
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