Monday, 21 April 2014

Our First Book Talk

We had a great discussion for our first book talk using Jennifer Katz' book: Teaching to Diversity.  We started by discussing the first chapter and agreed the author was passionate about inclusion. We appreciated her program, Respecting Diversity.  Then our conversation took a turn to a dicussion about where teachers are at currently.  Most participants felt teachers do their best to teach to multiple strengths although often more could be done in this area for students with more severe special needs.  Folks felt teachers were inclusive when it comes to learning disabilities, teachers were growing in their abilities to differentiate for these students.  However, there still seems to be difficulties for teachers in including students with more severe disabilities.

I can appreciate the discussion from our group around the perception that the parts of Katz' program are not particularly new but the combination of the blocks contribute to a robust classroom where diversity is appreciated.  I remember running class meetings as a new teacher to help my students grow in their problem solving skills in an authentic situation.  I remember doing interest inventories and looking at multiple intelligences.  I remember asking students to write me a letter explaining how they learned best so I could incorporate their learning styles in my classroom.  I am excited that there is a "program" to follow that new teachers could embrace that incorporates tried and true methods in their classroom.  Apparently, Katz has a new book out called: Resource Teachers:A Changing Role in the Three Block Model of Universal Design for Learning.  In this book, she discusses how resource room teachers can partner up to create inclusive classrooms.  Maybe our next book study??

In the spirit of UDL, I will offer this platform for staff to take part in our study as well as a face to face opportunity.  We enjoyed good discussion and fantastic food at Uncle Ed's Ukrainian Foods.
Anyway, we are reading chapter 4 and 5 for next month.  I will post the questions closer to the date. Happy Reading!


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