On the Pacer website I choose to select an article that was in a series called “Mapping your Dreams.”  I choose the “Mapping your Dreams Community” article to read.  This article was about a young girl who volunteers at a Food Shelf in the community and how her family gets her ready for being in the community.  Working in the community is an important step for anyone, it helps one transition from a child to an adult along with learning valuable and lifelong skills.  Transitions with children with disabilities can be hard, so this article helped explain what the IEP can do for this transition and also what you can do to help this transition run smoothly.

One of the first steps in getting a child involved in the community is to discuss it in your IEP meeting you can ask the teachers and others about the transition and they can come up with different ideas to help your student succeed in school and then applying it to the outside community.

Another thing that one should do write away is to brainstorm ways for involvement in the community.  There are many different resources and ways to think of getting involved in the community, such as what other family members do, look through community education, YMCA, YWCA, children’s theaters and also finding volunteer opportunities that anyone would be able to participate in.

Next one would want to “set your destination and Map a course.”  So after looking at and brainstorming activities as a family help your child make a decision on where they think they would fit and start getting involved.  Help your child get involved by connecting with other people.  Even the simpilist activity such as going to movies can be turned into creating lifelong skills, by planning.

Some of the other things that I looked at on the PACER website were parts about “Functional Assesment” and how this three step process is used.  Breaking it down into steps and the importance of each one of the steps and how each one is assessed.  I also read about how inclusion is growing and how to support inclusion in high schools by having low student to teacher ratios, by including parents, by including students with disabilities and support collaboration.  It has also been found that successful teachers with inclusion have, actively taught, used resources other then books, and looked for active participation. Lastly I read about how to see if a child is making progress.  This includes information about how to look for information in the school and outside the school.  Looking for progress inside the schools includes, looking at recent evaluations, the IEP annual goals that are listed in the students IEP and progress reports.  Also parents can meet with teachers at parent teacher conferences and look for district and statewide assessments.  Finally outside the school parents can look to independent evaluations and their own observations made in the home and community.

This website helped me understand and read about many different things I have never thought about before.  First of all I never understood anything about students with disabilities until I heard it from Julia.  I know that it will be completely different if I were to have a child with a disability but the emotion and love I know I have for children that are not mine made what Julia said hit even deeper then what I have heard before.  I want to be a help for any parent of any one of my students that I ever come into contact with.  Looking throught the information gave me a little sence of what I would be sending parents to if they ever asked me for information.  The information that I did look through helped me understand what a parent might be going through.  Everybody cares about their kids and wants them to succeed.  Being able to point a parent in the right direction is something that could help a child in my classroom.  In the middle school and high school setting students are already starting to think about what they want to do when they grow up.  By helping a parent and child make appropriate choices on molding that child to become a successful member of society will help my whole class, because by getting a student involved in the community they will learn some skills that they can transfer to the classroom and by helping students learn skills about communication and team work I can help a student succeed in the community. 

Also some interesting comments on what works for inclusion, we all know that inclusion is becoming more and more prevalent in our classrooms.  By looking at what helped in other communities high schools I can take those ideas and apply them to my classroom.  Of course I think smaller class sizes will help all students but it will benefit students with exceptionalities too because more time can be spent with those students.  Team collaboration can also be very beneficial for students with exceptionalities because if one teacher sees a problem they can bring it up and address the small problem before it becomes a much larger problem.  This collaboration will also help teachers see students in different environments and help teachers decide what works and what doesn’t work for each individual student.  Being involved and feeling as if the classroom is a safe place is important for everbody but is an essential for students with exceptionalities.  This helps the students see consistency, and helps the student learn skills that they can take outside of the classroom.  Such as working in groups, by working in groups students can learn team work, communication and how to deal with others in general along with responsibility, because if one member doesn’t participate then the other members get frustrated.

At my apprenticeship site there are many students who either have a IEP or a 504 plan in both the mathematics 8 classes and the algebra classes.  I see inclusion in every classroom throughout the day.  I see the students fidgeting because they can’t sit still and I also see the students who just don’t understand and it breaks my heart everyday that I am there.  It is hard for a teacher to take as time out of a 44 minute class period to spend 20-30 minutes with a student that just doesn’t understand the concepts or have the prerequisites to understand what is going on, so instead teachers can spend as much time as possible with the student and hope that they will understand.  I see progress reports daily and the short grading periods are useful for immediate feedback.   Sometimes I see that teachers have to sign planners daily, and others I see progress reports being sent home and then brought back signed by a parent or guardian.  

Inclusion helps all students realize the diversity of our nation realizing that there are different people with different abilities and thoughts will help all students exceed in life.  Inclusion in the classroom also helps the students with exceptionalities learn friendship skills, being able to interact with others helps them learn what others do in friendships.  Also inclusion helps students learn and helps teachers become better teachers by forcing teachers to really try to create the learning experience wonderful and fulfilling to all.  I really learned a lot from this website and reflection of what I thought before, I know see how I can help inclusion and be a good teacher in inclusive settings while helping parents help their child succeed in a inclusive setting.  I know that I will spend more time at this website looking for information that will help me someday in my classroom experience.