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Lessons for Getting Started: Inclusive Education

October 31, 2022

Lessons for Getting Started: Inclusive Education

Share My Lesson’s brand-new collection includes lessons and resources from trusted educational partners to support educators on their journey toward creating more inclusive and welcoming classrooms and schools.

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It was the end of the school day, and I was standing outside the building when I overheard a conversation a few of my eighth-grade students were having. Their words stopped me in my tracks; I was completely taken off guard. These students, who I knew in my classroom to be, yes, rambunctious sometimes (they were middle schoolers after all), but overall joyful and kind young individuals, were watching the kids who were making their ascent into the short bus. My students then began elbowing each other, laughing, and saying how the other was “dumb” and needed to ride the short bus.

My heart sank at their words, and I wish I could say I had a life-changing conversation with these students that helped them grow in understanding and become more empathetic and compassionate individuals, but I’m pretty sure I actually just said something like, “Hey, stop that. That’s not nice.” I know, not a really impactful response. And then their own bus pulled up, and they ran to get on it.

It’s important that every student can enter a school where they feel safe and welcomed; an increasing number of schools are looking for ways to include students with special needs into classrooms with other students. To achieve that, we must make efforts to educate all students so they better understand differences in others and become kinder, more caring individuals. We also must teach them what they can do to make their school and community more inviting and inclusive spaces for everyone. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin in educating students on these topics. Share My Lesson’s brand-new collection includes lessons and resources from trusted educational partners to support educators on their journey toward creating more inclusive and welcoming classrooms and schools.

Here are 10 resources from the collection to help you get started.

Learn how you can incorporate strategies for disability justice into your curriculum so that students can grow in their understanding of others in this free, for-credit, on-demand webinar for teachers of all grade levels with Disability Equality in Education.

Ending the Stigma

It’s never too early to begin to teach students about people’s differences. Use these resources from Disability Equality in Education and the ADL to introduce K-8 students to disabilities:

One of our favorite activities is this one to teach students about how we all have a role in our community to help support others, and how we all depend on one another regardless of our differences:

building a web of interdependence

You can help older students better understand different disabilities and fight stereotypes and misconceptions with these lessons:

Understanding disabilites

Each of us has a desire to be included. Teach students how they can make accommodations so that everyone can join in on the fun with this lesson:

Ensuring that places are easily accessible to all is vital to making sure that all feel welcome. Use this lesson from Margaret Negrelli, a civics fellow at the Albert Shanker Institute, to help students explore how accessible, and thus welcoming, their school is to students with different disabilities.

braille

And to truly make sustainable changes, encourage students to go further by learning how they can begin to challenge ableism in their community and help it to become a more inclusive space for all.

Creating welcoming and inclusive schools is no easy task, but the Share My Lesson team hopes these lessons help provide you with a good place to start. And be sure to check out these other collections that may prove helpful: LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Educator Resources and Lesson Plans and English Language Learners (ELL) Lesson Plans, Resources and Activities.

Inclusive Education: Lesson Plans and Resources

In this collection, you will find resources to help students better understand different disabilities, promote inclusion, challenge ableism, and make accommodations for others.

Megan Ortmeyer
Megan Ortmeyer is an SML Team Member and has worked in the AFT Educational Issues Department since fall 2018. She received her M.A. in education policy studies in May 2020 from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University. Prior to working at the AFT,... See More
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