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Closing the Gap in Civics for Students with Disabilities in Classrooms from K-12

Published on Wed, 09/08/2021

Mind the Gap

Students gain knowledge and skills in civics and history when schools provide effective instruction and when students have opportunities to express their voice and to engage in activities like service-learning. Yet American education is falling far short–in elementary grades in particular–and especially for students with disabilities. 

What is our value? A look at undervalued people

What is our value? The principle that people are paid for their work does not always work as it should; many people who have been historically undervalued have contributed to American society, including many people of color, people with a disability, women, and children. Students view images and text of people whose lives may not have been adequately valued by their contemporaries. Students examine those documents, do further research, and come to their own conclusions about how those individuals should have been and should be valued, and possibly assisted.

Winter Course on Using Inquiry and Primary Sources to Increase Access for ALL

Published on Fri, 01/15/2021

Amazing and student-empowering teacher-created lesson plans have been the result each time we offer this course! 

Our online graduate-level one-credit course, Accessing Inquiry for Students with Disabilities through Primary Sources, offered from January 16 to March 18, provides an opportunity to expand your comfort with finding and using primary sources to engage students of all abilities. Discuss strategies and tools with seasoned educators and creative colleagues around the country through the online discussions throughout the month. 

Putting Primary Sources in Order - Text Set and Flow Map

Organizing a rich text set of primary sources requires that students analyze and make sense of several sources on a topic. In this case, they seek to answer a focused guiding question. Students sort through about a dozen images, letters, forms, and political cartoon. In practice, a teacher could offer fewer sources, though it is a valuable sometimes to require students to choose among sources. The primary sources are also give context by a secondary source narrative from the Veterans Administration. 

Wendy Harris guest post: What exactly is a disability?

Published on Tue, 09/22/2020

In celebration of our new course on teaching disability history in the K-12 classroom, we invited Wendy Harris, a teacher at a school for the Deaf with expertise in teaching DeafBlind students, to share her thoughts about disability with us. The topic of Deafness as a disability gives the opportunity to begin with an exploration of the conception of DISABILITY itself, and the question of what abilities and attributes should be regarded as a disadvantage or an equally valid and valuable difference in experience of the world. This is where Wendy Harris's reflections begin. 

Single Point Rubric

Rubrics are frequently used to communicate expectations and standards to students. Making expectations as clear, simple, and easily understood as possible is a practice of value to all learners.

A streamlined rubric form, using one column to specify the target standard, offers advantages for accessibility–especially fewer words to absorb–over more typical multi-column rubrics. This Single-Point Mastery Rubric is an example. 

Polio Primary Source Set

Closed movie theaters, church services, and summer camps – special hospital wards with ventilators called ‘iron lungs’ for polio patients with the most severe cases – parallels between polio and coronavirus epidemics are numerous. What lessons can we learn from history?

Using Visual Primary Sources

Published on Tue, 10/01/2019

Visual Literacy: Making Lessons Accessible and Inclusive

Guest Blog Post by Wendy Harris, High School Social Studies & Teacher of the Blind at Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

You want to get your students to work with primary sources, but you have students who struggle with reading English text. Maybe they have a learning disability, English is not their most comfortable language, or any number of other reasons. Sound familiar?

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