5-Minute Film Festival: Reaching Learners of All Abilities
Looking for resources to help understand and address learning differences in the classroom? This collection of videos and resources offers strategies teachers can use to reach all students in an inclusive environment.
Educators going back into classrooms right now will face a dizzying array of learners looking up at them. Nearly every teacher has to juggle the sometimes dramatically varied needs of all their students, and it can be one of the most challenging parts of teaching. Though it's only a small drop in the vast bucket of this complex topic, I've collected some videos and resources to help explore and explain some of the difficulties faced by many kids, and some strategies teachers and schools are using to engage them.
Video Playlist: Special Education, Inclusion, and Learning Differences
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Teach Special Education (05:33)
This moving call-to-action video from Teach.org surfaces the voices of the spectrum of kids, parents, and educators that are touched by the world of special education.
- What Are Learning Disabilities? (01:46)
The animation on this piece is a little simple for my taste, but it does a great job explaining quickly what learning disabilities are if you're looking for a primer-type video.
- Chimes for Autism: Tyler's Story (08:18)
Often kids with learning differences have hidden talents we could never imagine. I was really moved by this beautiful video about a boy with autism who had a special knack for identifying windchimes by sound.
- Inclusive Learning: Everyone's In (11:14)
Edmonton Public Schools has committed to being an all-inclusive school district. They've produced a video series and supplementary materials to highlight strategies from their schools.
- What is Special Education? (02:24)
Although it's ultimately an ad for GreatSchools, this animation is nice because it's from the parent perspective and explains some of the confusing terminology around special ed.
- Engaging Students With Learning Differences Early (09:47)
PBS NewsHour explores how one full-inclusion school in Boston is using art and technology to reach kids with learning differences in order to offset the higher instance of dropouts.
- "We ALL Fit" by The Figureheads (04:39)
This fun music video was made by autism spectrum awareness org Good Friend, Inc. and hip-hop band The Figureheads to encourage kids to accept differences among their peers.
- ADHD Classroom Strategies (06:29)
Though on the dry side, this video offers some very tactical strategies for managing ADHD in the classroom, offered by educational website Inside ADHD and fifth grade teacher Jon Weinberger of the Lawrence School in Brookline, MA.
More Resources on Special Education and Learning Differences
Whether you are a general or a special educator, and whether your school has full inclusion or separate classes, there are lots of resources available to help you make sense of the complicated issues around teaching kids with differences. Please share your favorites in the comments below!
- Instructional Strategies via Understood and the National Center for Learning Disabilities
- Educational Resources from Inclusive Schools Network
- "Top 10 Websites for the Inclusive Classroom" from The Inclusive Class
- Professional Resources from National Association of Special Education Teachers
- Special Education Resources for General Educators from The Council of Chief State School Officers
- "50 Must-See Blogs for Special Education Teachers" by Jeff Dunn via Edudemic
- Inclusive Learning Guide from Edmonton Public Schools