At Rockdale Academy, kids with all abilities are included in the same classroom. For Lynn Collins, a teacher of 7th and 8th graders, knowing how to help every student succeed just seems to be instinctual.
How does she include everyone? For starters, each day begins with a paragraph she writes on the chalk board. She asks her class to help her find the mistakes…and the students who get called on first are the ones who may not otherwise speak up. It’s important for Lynn that everyone starts their day with success.
“Disability should not be an excuse.Every child has his or her own strength and I just do what I need to do to help each one,” Lynn said, quickly correcting herself, “but they also know that in my classroom they have to work for success. It won’t be handed to them. Not everyone has the same assignment or is expected to fulfill the assignment in the same way, but they are expected to do what is asked of them to the best of their ability.”
Since Lynn has a student with a vision impairment, all reading is done out loud and Lynn will plan ahead by ordering a large print book so he can participate without any disruption. When she’s giving a test, Charles, who has autism, knows he needs to only answer the questions she draws a circle around. For the students who have cognitive disabilities, she may reverse rolls, having them ask her questions. And for others who have a disability that affects their written language, she’ll ask them to draw or explain it instead.