Top Websites for Inclusive Classrooms

The demands upon teachers continue to grow, especially as they seek to accommodate all of their students’ learning needs.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act provides that students with disabilities are educated in the least restrictive environment, or that of their same-grade peers. According to the The U.S. Department of Education, 95 percent of 6- to 21-year-old students with disabilities were served in regular schools.

It is incumbent upon teachers, in an era of accountability and mandates set by the Every Student Succeeds Act, to prepare themselves to face the challenges in meeting the needs of students with exceptional learning needs. At the same time, student engagement is at an all-time low and decreases every year starting in the fifth grade; reaching its lowest point by eleventh grade.

Continuing to build classroom supports is essential to keep students encouraged to learn and hopeful for their future. The following websites offer teachers the opportunity, at no cost, to reinforce classroom knowledge and skills while giving students the opportunity to use technology to reinforce their learning.

Flocabulary

Flocabulary offers an engaging approach to K-12 vocabulary instruction aligned to the Common Core State Standards. It offers a free trial and discounts for school-wide subscriptions. Through the use of rap music, Flocabulary helps activate auditory processing and memory and reinforces concepts in all academic subjects including Life Skills and Current Events, necessary for students with exceptional learning needs. All videos have captions, include transcripts, and have variable speed controls to accommodate all learners.

Reading Educator

Students with disabilities must be explicitly taught how to use reading strategies because they do not automatically know how to use these strategies. Reading Educator assumes that every teacher is a reading teacher, and support in the general education classroom comes through the teaching of research-based strategies, which help students become more active in their learning. The website provides sample lesson plans and models of effective strategies such as active reading, vocabulary development, classroom discussion, and higher-order questioning. Additional resources include fun supplemental activities for parents to encourage reading at home.

Funbrain

Designed primarily for grades Pre–K through grade 8, funbrain includes a variety of educational games and videos including all traditional academic areas as well as memory challenges, strategy skills, patterns, logic, and sign language. These animated and interactive games disguise learning through video gaming modules.

Free Rice

Students with exceptional learning needs require review and practice of basic concepts and reinforcement of material previously learned. Based at the United Nations World Food Programme to end world hunger, Free Rice is a win-win website. Teachers are able to register their students to play as a group. As the students answer the questions correctly, a visual representation is shown of the grains of rice that will be donated. This website is appropriate for students at all grade levels. Subjects include: basic math operations, grammar, science, and geography, anatomy, chemistry, pre-algebra, and SAT preparation.

Bookshare

Accommodating the diverse learning needs in the classroom can be challenging and costly. Bookshare.org is an accessible online library for persons with a documented print disability. This website has over a half a million titles and many different options to read books. Students are able to listen to books using text-to-speech voices. Books are available in enlarged font, digital braille, and image description.

Quizlet

Quizlet is an interactive website which allows students the opportunity to practice material learned through digital flashcards that are created by both teachers and students. Study sets can be transformed into games and practice tests to promote application of the vocabulary terms. Students can search for previously created study sets that align with specific course content. Quizlet Live is another version of quizlet. In this feature, teachers can create teams throughout their classroom to play collaborative games to further reinforce vocabulary.

Guysread

Students with learning disabilities are reluctant readers and have motivational problems due to repeated reading failure and negative reading experiences (Melekoglu & Wilkerson, 2013). It’s based on the premise that when children and youth are given interesting material to read, they become more proficient and life-long readers. Guysread is a web-based literacy program for boys, who are more likely than girls to receive special education services and have markedly lower achievement in language arts from elementary through high school (2009). The website includes book recommendations by genre and age range. Interesting reading material on superheroes and supervillains, graphic novels, cars, mystery, fantasy, and sports can also be found.

With these resources, you will provide opportunities for students with disabilities to review and practice educational concepts with technology, all the while facilitating your engagement and motivation to learn.

 

Rachel is a senior undergraduate student at Flagler College and plans to attend graduate school in the fall. Her current interests include students with exceptional needs with focus on best practices in working with children with autism, and behavioral issues.

Cheryl has a Ph.D. in Special Education with expertise in Learning and Behavioral Disorders. She currently teaches in the Education Department at Flagler College.

Seven Tips for Preparing for the PRAXIS Elementary Education Exam: Multiple Subjects (5001)

The Praxis Education exams must be passed by those who want to become professional educators. Most states require the test for Education students. The exact Praxis tests you will take depends on the grade levels and the content areas you plan to teach. Because the test is computer-based, take time familiarizing yourself with the process of Praxis.

The 5001 Praxis Multiple Content Area Exam includes questions based on all of the major content areas for elementary education, including mathematics, social studies, science, and reading/language arts. . The reading and language arts section represents the majority of the questions with 80. The social studies section has 55 questions, while science and mathematics each include 50 questions.

Since this exam covers all of the major content areas, it is best to be prepared properly. The 240Tutoring PRAXIS Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects 5001 Study Guide has 1000 practice questions to help you prepare.

Education exams are expensive, so the best strategy is to spend as much time as possible preparing. A worst case scenario is having to retake the test in a few months because you failed due to inadequate preparation. You can avoid this scenario by spending some time with the practice questions and reviewing these tips.

  1. On the day of your Praxis exam, arrive early to the test center. If you’re running late, you might not be allowed to take the test, thus wasting the money you spent on the test. To avoid any surprises, view this short video on what to expect on test day
  2. The testing center prohibits all electronic devices. They do not allow drinks or food either. Leave your phone in your vehicle and put it out of your mind for the next four hours.
  3. Eat a good breakfast that will not leave you hungry in an hour, but don’t eat so much food that you’re groggy or running to the bathroom every so often.
  4. The Praxis exam is scored based on your correct answers. If you are unsure about an answer, make your best guess. There is no penalty for missing a question. Remember, you get credit for correct answers, you are not penalized for wrong answers.
  5. Read questions carefully. Missing a question based on a technicality or carelessness is avoidable. Some questions require more than one answer, while others require you to select a sentence, while others might require you to select an entire paragraph in a story. Never assume what the question is asking, read it carefully before answering.
  6. Since your Praxis exam covers all content areas, determine what grade level is implied within the question. For example, you would probably not give the same math advice to a kindergarten student as you would to an eighth grader. Read closely to determine which age group to the question refers to.
  7. Finally, if you are unsure about an answer, you are allowed to mark it and return to it later. The test is long and you can easily become frustrated when you’re stuck on a problem. Simply skip the problematic question and return to it later. The time crunch won’t feel so oppressive if you know you have one remaining question and 30 minutes to solve it.

Follow these tips and keep calm while taking the Praxis 5001 exam. Half of the battle is arriving to the testing center with a positive attitude. Watch the video so you know exactly what to expect. Spend time leading preparing for the exam by doing practice questions. After all, without preparation, you are actually preparing to fail. With proper preparation, you’ll have a great shot at passing the exam the first time you take it!

Scott Rozell is the Director of 240Tutoring, Inc. 240Tutoring is the premiere provider of PRAXIS study guides and has helped over ten thousand teachers pass their certification exam and get into the classroom.

#GivingTuesday: Let’s Listen and Use Our Imagination!

Help KDP fund a Classroom Teacher Grant for “Let’s Listen and Use Our Imagination!”, a Classroom Manipulatives project by Dana Roffe. She teaches Pre-K and has 6 years of teaching experience.

Application for Funding:

All students should be given the opportunity to learn how to read in their own unique way. As of now, I am able to provide a reading center, but having listening center equipment would provide another form of reading. As educators, we know that students learn in different ways. By having a listening center, students are able to know where to go to listen to various stories. This would provide another outlet for students to hear a story differently rather than a teacher reading the story or if they try to read the story themselves. Having a listening center would reinforce a story and allow the students to think about how he/she can relate to the story.

Many of the students are hungry and only receive food at school. Many of the students speak another language (Spanish, Vietnamese, Creole, and French). I have a few students with Individual Education Program/Plan (IEP) in the classroom as well. Many of the students live in apartments and do not own many new items. In my classroom, I only received $150 for two classes, which is not enough money to support the students.

How the $150 would be spent:

The $150 grant will be spent on the listening center equipment called Ready-To-Go Listening Center for 4 from Lakeshore. The listening center equipment cost $129 without tax. Maryland tax is $7.74 and the shipping is 19.35 in 7-10 business days. The total is $156.09.

I would pay the difference as I really want the listening center equipment. I would not be able to get the listening center equipment otherwise without the help of Kappa Delta classroom teacher grant, as I do not have that much money for my classroom.

Learn more about KDP Classroom Teacher Grants.

Read about our #GivingTuesday campaign. Every dollar given to KDP through Tuesday will go directly into the hands of an educator.

Donate today!

#GivingTuesday: Designers-R-Us

Help KDP fund a Classroom Teacher Grant for “Designers-R-Us”, a Classroom Project by Elsie Morris. She teaches 9th – 12th grades at Joplin High School and has 14 years of teaching experience.

Application for Funding:

Designers-R-Us is a hands-on apparel design project for high school students currently enrolled in Fashion Design I & II classes at Joplin High School. It provides basic and advanced methods of creating wearable apparel and accessories designed and created by the students. It integrates knowledge, skills, and practices required for careers in textiles and apparels, as specified by National Association of State Administrators of Family Consumer Sciences (NASAFACS).

Five years ago, Joplin High School was decimated by an F-5 tornado. Although the building has been rebuilt, classroom materials, supplies and sewing machines have not been adequately replaced. The lack of needed fabrics and sewing notions has limited the abilities of students to reach their highest potential when learning and applying Fashion Design and Construction techniques. By providing needed fabrics and notions, my Fashion Design students will be able to not only practice, put to perfect their craft. This will allow them to demonstrate skills needed to produce, alter, or repair fashion, apparel, and textile products.

How the $150 would be spent:

If I am selected to receive a KDP grant, I will purchase basic sewing supplies for students to use in the classroom.  Items include fabric, needles and thread, pins, water soluble fabric markers, thimbles, pin cushions, and hem tape.  Each of these supplies will enable students to learn their proper functions in fashion design, and will allow students to have real-world experience with items not currently supplied for our coursework.

Learn more about KDP Classroom Teacher Grants.

Read about our #GivingTuesday campaign. Every dollar given to KDP through Tuesday will go directly into the hands of an educator.

Donate today!

#GivingTuesday: Multicultural Literature

Help KDP fund a Classroom Teacher Grant for “Multicultural Literature”, a Classroom Manipulatives project by Elizabeth Exo. She teaches 2nd grade and has 4 years of teaching experience.

image_exo-elizabeth-1Application for Funding:

As a bilingual educator, I am constantly looking for ways to give my bilingual students enriching, multicultural experiences with literature. My students come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, where literacy is not always a daily part of their home life. Thus, in school I make it my mission to give them the best opportunities to read high quality, multicultural literature. Additionally, as a bilingual educator, I often find it difficult to find enough Spanish literature at an affordable price.

How the $150 would be spent:

I will spend the $150 on high quality, multicultural children’s literature to be used in the classroom library.

Learn more about KDP Classroom Teacher Grants.

Read about our #GivingTuesday campaign. Every dollar given to KDP through Tuesday will go directly into the hands of an educator.

Donate today!

#GivingTuesday: Technology for Talented 3rd Graders

Help KDP fund a Classroom Teacher Grant for “Technology for Talented 3rd Graders”, a Classroom Manipulatives project by Stephanie Cancglin. She teaches 3rd grade and has 3 years of teaching experience.

image_cancglin-stephanie-1Application for Funding:

Students will use these Chromebooks to amplify our learning by infusing it with technology at many points throughout our school day. For example, students will utilize Google Classroom to gather group research, collaborate across projects and peer edit writing. Students will use the Chromebooks to create visuals for data collection, improve our literacy skills by reading online articles, and enhance their skills at composing writing responses on the computer.

image_cancglin-stephanie-2My students are expected to take the PARCC test at the end of 3rd grade. On this test, students must read passages and stories on the screen. Then, students must compose articulate written responses to their reading. These Chromebooks will allow my students to practice these imperative skills all year long.

How the $150 would be spent:

The $150 grant would be used to purchase one Lenovo IdeaPad. This chromebook, plus the donation through DonorsChoose, will be the driving force needed for my goal of a 1:1 device to student ratio to be reached in my 3rd grade classroom. The grant will allow my students to become successful in the 21st century.

Learn more about KDP Classroom Teacher Grants.

Read about our #GivingTuesday campaign. Every dollar given to KDP through Tuesday will go directly into the hands of an educator.

Donate today!

#GivingTuesday: Chemical Manipulatives Models

Help KDP fund a Classroom Teacher Grant for “Chemical Manipulatives Models”, a Classroom Manipulatives project by Arthur Scott. He teaches 10th – 12th grade and has 1 year of teaching experience.

Application for Funding:

image_scott-arthur-1I teach in a Title I school in Memphis TN. I teach 5 classes of chemistry and 1 of physics for about 160 students total. My kids do not learn the material by rote memory or looking at white board notes. My students learn by tactile and visual simulation to capture the concepts. I teach from a cognitive constructivist approach. I require them to learn the concepts rather than random facts. Some of the most important tools that I use in this approach are models and manipulatives. I can 3D draw these on my smartboard to meet the visual approach of my students but if I had models that my students could handle it would meet the tactile needs of my students. I find it difficult to teach the molecular concept to my students without these types of manipulatives.

How the $150 would be spent:

I will deposit these funds into my school account and generate a School PO from Flinn Scientific to order the models.

Learn more about KDP Classroom Teacher Grants.

Read about our #GivingTuesday campaign. Every dollar given to KDP through Tuesday will go directly into the hands of an educator.

Donate today!