Randy Cranston, a special educator from Penticton, BC, offered warm and dynamic insights into building inclusive classrooms on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 in the Centre for Dialogue. Teachers from Burnaby and around the province were involved in this full day event.
Cranston has had a long and respected career in BC beginning as an elementary school teacher and retiring as Assistant Superintendent of Maple Ridge School District. He is well-known in the field of inclusion. His chapter, co-authored with Laurie Meston, called “Making Adaptations and Modifications to Improve Learning” (part of the revised edition of “Learning in Safe Schools”) can be read here.
Inclusion has become a recent focus for many districts and many educators, and rightly so, as all strategies gained enhance students’ acceptance and inclusion in the classroom. Cranston asked participants, “How do our actions parallel our beliefs?” adding that we need to be realistic and optimistic, always working with the student in mind.
Cranston’s suggestions for actions appear simple and yet transformative. Regarding reading, Cranston highlights one technique with huge results: reading one-on-one results in positive impact on reading ability. He suggests that where students do not have an adult or peer to read to, that they read to the classroom fish, or even a teddy bear. In math, a student with an IEP goal of single-digit addition CAN use the grade 10 textbook while in the grade 10 math classroom. Why not? With oodles of numbers on the page, there are so many levels of success within this solution, and good results.
Cranston was videoconferenced from Burnaby to Prince George and Vernon. Part 2 in this workshop series will be held in the Centre at Byrne Creek Secondary on April 26th, 2014. Registration can take place through the SET BC website on their upcoming events page. https://www.setbc.org/setreg/ Part 2 will be hosted by Faye Brownlie and she will be examining the roles of in-class support, the power of class reviews, performance-based reading assessments, UDL and Backwards Design within the broader context of creating an inclusive and safe classroom.