Welcome to Inclusive Education.


Transitions – managing times of change

http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/transitions-managing-times-of-change/

Successful transitions are planned and implemented by a collaborative team that includes the student, parents, family members and all those involved in the support and education of a student with additional needs.

This guide helps you plan a collaborative and more personalised transition for students who will benefit from a longer-term orientation programme geared to their individual needs. The strategies can be applied to any period of transition and are not defined by stage or setting. Adapt the strategies you think are most useful and relevant to the students you are working alongside.

Categories

Specifically about
Transitions
Highly relevant to
Parents, whānau, and community
Learning support team

Getting to know the student and what they can do

Take time to understand your student’s strengths, needs and what's important to them; it will determine the effectiveness of your teaching and learning. Combine this knowledge with information on the student’s prior learning and experiences to inform your planning.

“People who know the details of my autism are usually more comfortable dealing with me. Also, the more information my teachers have, the more ideas they have to help me learn.”

New Zealand Austism Spectrum Disorder guideline

Image source: Nicole Mays, Flickr

Suggestions and resources

What to include

A useful profile (whether an official document or questions you might ask) can include:

  1. skills and strengths

  2. interests and passions

  3. dislikes and things they avoid

  4. people important in their lives

  5.  memorable life experiences

  6. how they like to learn and what helps

  7. things that make it hard for them to learn

  8. what they do when they need help

  9. what they do to relax.

What to include
Sample learner profile (image)
Learner profile
Who am I?

A learner profile can be created in any format including:

  • a document with photos
  • a slide presentation with a series of pictures
  • a video
  • a blog.

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

Sample learner profile
Sample primary student profile (image)
Laiza’s transition document
A transition profile for Laiza’s transition from early childhood to school

A transition profile supports a student’s move from early childhood education into school.

View Laiza's profile.

Source: Ministry of Education

Sample primary student profile
Finding out about students

A simple process for gathering information from students about how they learn

“Having students create a learner profile for themselves is a great way to have them develop a better and fuller understanding of who they are as learners.

In creating their profiles, students can reflect on what motivates and challenges them when learning.

This develops their independence and places them in a better position to self-advocate for the tools, learning materials, and presentation options that can optimise their learning experiences.”

Watch the video on the Student profiles page, where teachers describe how they ask students questions to inform their planning.

Source: UDL supporting diversity in BC schools (Canada)

Finding out about students
Building connections

Strengthen your own understanding

  1. Create opportunities for the student and those who know them well to share their insights and stories with you.

  2. Explore your student’s culture, languages, strengths and interests.

  3. Look for connections with your own experiences.

  4. Consider where you may need to deepen your knowledge.

Building connections

Resources and downloads

Rachel's learner profile (NZ high school)

An example of a secondary student’s learner profile.

Laiza’s transition

An example of a primary school student’s learner profile, developed by the adults around her.

A letter to his teachers from a student with ASD

A letter from a student with ASD to his teachers to tell them about himself and how he learns.

Developing learner profiles

This document provides general support and guidance when developing a learner profile. It includes prompts and questions, along side purpose and benefits for students.

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Most effective when used together

Using blogs (image)
Manaia Kindergarten blog
Using blog posts

Seeing students in their familiar environment helps teachers to find out:

  • how they learn and interact 
  • what their interests are
  • how to to engage them in a new learning environment. 

Kafka paints and converses with his teacher in this blog post.

Source: Manaia Kindergarten blog

Using blogs
Questions for the support team

If a student has an individual education programme or has had support from an early intervention teacher or an RTLB, liaise with their current school to participate in planning meetings for up to six months prior to a transition.

Here are some questions to ask.

  1. What are the student’s learning goals?

  2. What supports are in place to facilitate and enable learning?

  3. Are any specialists (for example, an RTLB) involved in supporting learning and how are they working with the student?

  4. How are parents and whānau contacted and involved?

  5. What approaches and processes can be put in place to effect a smooth transition process?

  6. What are the student’s important peer and other relationships?

Questions for the support team
Observing a learning setting

If you or your learning support coordinator visit a student’s learning setting, as well as observing and recording, consider (with permission) taking photos or video to view later.

Observe:

  1. visual or other supports used to facilitate learning

  2. student interaction with their peers, (for example, working with a buddy, participating in groups, taking leadership roles?)

  3. how they work independently

  4. systems in place for them to take breaks or ask for help

  5. technologies they use

  6. their communication with teachers and peers

  7. how conflict is managed

  8. curriculum areas where they have strengths or find challenging

  9. strategies that could be carried over to the new setting

  10. student interaction in the playground

  11. their book work and their work on display.

Observing a learning setting
Liaising with previous setting

Sharing knowledge and understanding with other teachers

Teachers from each sector need to develop relationships that involve sharing knowledge and understanding of each other's environment, pedagogy and curriculum.

Teachers can be influential mediators of children's experiences when they have an understanding of where transitioning children are moving to, where they come from, and what they bring to their new learning context.

Jocelyn Wright, University of Canterbury (2009) ;
Liaising with previous setting
Transferring supports (image)
Teacher and student discussing visual timetable
Identifying the supports needed to create a seamless transition

Identify the supports in the student’s current environment and plan for your school to provide continuity for the transitioning student.

Source: Ministry of Education

Transferring supports
Using photos and videos

Making effective use of digital technologies during transition visits

  1. Take photos of key locations (for example, significant entrances, landmarks).

  2. Take photos of key people.

  3. Take a 360-degree video of learning environments where the student will spend a lot of time. These can be labelled later.

  4. For young students, video key people saying "hello" and introducing themselves.

  5. Share photos and videos of new locations or key areas on a student’s blog (consents needed) so that they can use them to illustrate storytelling at home.

  6. Video or photograph the student with their new peers.

Using photos and videos
Collaborating for successful transitions (NZ) (video)
Partnership models

Teachers from a Pasifika immersion centre and a primary school discuss how they worked together to make the transition from one environment to another work for students.

View transcript

Source: Early Childhood Education ECE Educate (NZ)

Collaborating for successful transitions (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Collaborative relationships and sharing responsibility

A series of case studies describing how effective transition to school involves localised solutions rather than a “one-size- fits-all” approach on the ECE Educate website.

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Matching support to student needs (NZ) (video)
Matching support to student needs

Identify the student’s skills and needs, and how these will be catered for in the new context.

Identify any areas where support can be introduced prior to the transition.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Matching support to student needs (NZ)
Identifying technologies (image)
Examples of universal supports
Useful technologies

Introduce students to common digital tools.

Ensure students know how to use them effectively to support their own learning.

Source: Chrissie Butler, CORE Education

Identifying technologies
Skills to pre-teach and practise

Skills that may need to be pre-taught or practised include:

  1. getting to and from school

  2. finding their way around the school

  3. school and classroom rules and expectations

  4. working with buddies – if buddies have been identified, work with them on how to support, for example, by questioning or showing rather than telling

  5. planning and organising yourself

  6. packing up and moving between classes

  7. changing for physical education

  8. reading timetables

  9. personal care

  10. making friends

  11. playing and interacting in the playground, including teaching the rules of games and how to access PE equipment

  12. dealing with conflict in the playground, including finding a duty teacher and interacting with peer mediators

  13. using software available in the classroom.

Skills to pre-teach and practise
Planning and organisation skills

Teach students organisational skills

These skills are needed to successfully follow timetables, plan work, and complete multiple assignments.

  1. Use charts, visual calendars, colour coded schedules, visible timers, and cues to increase the predictability of regular activities and transitions.

  2. Encourage students to use their mobile devices to schedule alerts and reminders for regular and unique events, and task deadlines.

  3. Model and make available graphic organisers, mind maps, and flowcharts to support planning and thinking in all curriculum areas.

Planning and organisation skills

Resources and downloads

Literature review: Transition from early childhood education to school

This report, for the Ministry of Education, focuses on transitions to school, the factors that influence how well children transition from ECE to school and the ways in which children can be supported to transition successfully.

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Back to top

Getting to know, and involving, the student’s family/whānau and the community

Families/whānau are an integral part of transitions. Involve them in the process and call on their knowledge to better understand your student’s strengths and needs. 

The key features of a successful transition to school that relate to children’s achievement and sense of belonging in school appears to be fostered when teachers are able to reduce the mismatch between what is valued in school and the child’s funds of knowledge from home and early childhood.

Source: Education Counts – Literature Review: Transition from Early Childhood to School, 2010

Suggestions and resources

Suggestions for working with parents
  1. Value family members’ knowledge about their child and assessments they have had done outside school.

  2. Involve parents and whānau in determining strategies to support student learning and well-being.

  3. Work with programmes or materials parents and whānau are using at home to maximise consistency and support for the student. Communicate and share information in a meaningful way, demonstrating understanding and support for parents’ concerns.

  4. Develop systems for passing on information about a student’s needs, progress and next steps.

  5. Share information about out-of-school programmes (for example, classes or groups for music, art, hobbies or sport).

Suggestions for working with parents
Building relationships with whānau

When building relationships with parents/whānau, it is vital to be respectful and mindful of their experiences.

Consider:

  1. their personal preferences for engagement (for example, face-to-face or group-based)

  2. suitable timing (time of day or week), acknowledging personal pressures

  3. their experiences with schooling

  4. the personal situations of the individuals involved (for example, consider the ages, gender and preferences of the individuals, and the financial, time or other commitments you are asking of them

  5. culturally-responsive actions for different situations

  6. the ratio of professionals to family members – too many professionals can be overwhelming.

Building relationships with whānau
Blogging transition visits (image)
Muritai School blog post
Blogging transition visits

Video or photograph key aspects of transition visits and share them on the student’s e-portfolio or class blog. This provides a stimulus for conversation and supports familiarity.

Source: Muritai School class blog

Blogging transition visits
Examples of students’ work

To support and illustrate conversations about learning, encourage students and families/whānau to bring:

  • examples of the student’s work 
  • student profiles
  • learning stories or blogs
  • photographs
  • things that may be special to the student. 

Have a laptop or tablet available in case a student wants to share a personal blog or photos.

Listen for strategies and approaches that have been successful in supporting the student’s learning and well-being in the past.

Examples of students’ work

Resources and downloads

Family/whānau file

A booklet published by the Ministry of Education to help parents of students with additional needs to brief their child’s school.

The principles of Te Whāriki as useful touchstones for reflection

A resource focused on listening to different perspectives that aim to guide your support of children and their whānau through the transition to school.

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Most effective when used together

Using Social Stories

Social Stories can be used to increase social understanding and the effectiveness of the transition process. Create stories that enable the student to practise strategies and behaviours that address specific situations of concern and that support social interaction and participation.

Use these resources to understand and develop social stories for your new student.

  1. What are Social Stories™? Carol Gray, developer of the evidence-based Social Stories™ teaching strategy, describes how to create and use Social Stories™ to increase social understanding and effectiveness.

  2. Factsheet 15: Social Stories™, Comic Strip Conversations and Social Scripts

  3. TKI ASD in Education website provides a Social Stories learning module for educators.

  4. Social Stories Creator and Library is a free download for iPhone and iPad

Using Social Stories
Transferring supports (image)
class 4.jpg
Transfer supports available in the familiar environment to the new environment

As students transition between environments, identify specific supports and the way they are used to facilitate learning.

Plan to provide these in the new environment.

Source: Ministry of Education

Transferring supports
Discussing processes and rules

Make time for in-depth discussion with the student and all memebers of the team. Introduce for any additional needs your student may have and discuss how these could be catered for.

Your discussion may include:

  1. processes for contacting the school if there are any concerns about bullying

  2. school boundaries and safety measures that ensure students remain within the school grounds

  3. processes to ensure safety on school trip

  4. processes for storing and giving medication and for dealing with allergies or medical conditions

  5. familiarisation with the school rules

  6. developing a care plan or a health plan

  7. safety plans for eating and toileting.

Discussing processes and rules

Resources and downloads

Information for parents and caregivers of children with special education needs: Support organisations and useful contacts

A list of national organisations that support students with additional needs and their families, compiled by the Ministry of Education.

What to ask parents

Useful information to seek from parents

Practical elements:

  • the language/s spoken at home
  • medications and allergies
  • equipment used at home
  • what they do at home to support learning.

Student’s likes and dislikes:

  • likes, interests, what they’re good at, need help with, can do independently
  • dislikes, what can upset them, how they express this, calming skills
  • favourites (TV programmes, hobbies, books, songs, sports).

The people in the student’s life:

  • parent and whānau hopes and priorities 
  • important people in the student’s life
  • best methods and times to communicate with the family 
  • professionals working with the family 
  • questions they have and support they would like from the school.
What to ask parents
Minimising anxiety

Successful transitions minimise risks and anxiety

  1. Ensure students and parents/whānau know who is who in the school.

  2. Provide names (with photos) and contact details of the team who will be working with the new student.

  3. Share contact details and set up a process for regular on-going contact with parents/whānau so that concerns can be addressed as they arise.

  4. Make a point of regularly calling the student’s home, blogging, or sharing a student’s work when they have done something positive.

Minimising anxiety
Moving from early childhood to school (image)
young student painting
Supporting students moving from early childhood education to school

The questions from The principles of Te Whāriki as useful touchstones for reflection can guide your support of children and their whānau through the transition to school. 

Source: Ministry of Education

Moving from early childhood to school
Involving families in transitions (video)
Involving families in transitions

Talk with parents to build a learner profile that is informed by their knowledge of the student. Find out what strategies have worked well for the student in their previous school.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Involving families in transitions
Utilising community resources

Consider where the community can provide additional support through donations of time, skills, money, and equipment.

Examples from schools have included:

  1. fundraising for a three-wheeled bicycle for a student with cerebral palsy to join her peers on bike rides

  2. craft makers creating special chair cushions, stress balls and bean bags

  3. community advocates working alongside students and parents

  4. disability advocates doing presentations to students, families or teachers

  5. donated rewards for schools to recognise students who illustrate the school’s inclusive values.

Utilising community resources

Resources and downloads

Information for parents and caregivers of children with special education needs: Support organisations and useful contacts

A list of national organisations that support students with additional needs and their families, compiled by the Ministry of Education.

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Back to top

Planning for successful transitions to school

It takes a team to manage effective transitions. Involve the student’s whānau in the team from the beginning and enable the student to take an active role in the process.

Check in on how your student is feeling at various stages of their transition. Consider use a mood board to support a conversation.

Source: Ministry of Education

Suggestions and resources

Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ) (video)
Sharing learning

John Robinson, HoD Learning Support at Onslow College, reflects on the impact of using e-portfolios to share learning beyond the classroom.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ)
Ideas for sharing information

Ideas for sharing information and reaching a shared understanding

  1. Discuss options for staying in touch that work for everyone. If parents are unable meet face-to-face make time to share stories from visits or meetings in ways that work for the family. This can be as easy as a phone call, an email or a text message.

  2. Focus on the student’s goals and the steps to achieving these.

  3. Value everyone’s insight and contribution.

  4. Ensure that team members know who to contact for specific needs.

  5. Allocate one team member to document and communicate plans and decisions.

  6. Identify and use digital technologies such as group texting, blogging, SKYPE or Google Hangouts, Facebook or NZ Relay, where appropriate, for meetings and sharing information.

Ideas for sharing information
Allocating responsibilities
  1. Identify an advocate who can educate adults and peers in the new setting about the student’s strengths, needs, interests and ways of making sense of the world.

  2. Identify a person in the new setting who will recognise and communicate any professional learning areas where support is needed.

  3. Identify one person to oversee the transition process.

  4. Allocate a person to manage all the funding-related paperwork for supports and resources.

Allocating responsibilities
Keeping in touch with parents

ERO has reported that for parents, receiving good news about their child’s day at school was important. This information helped them to be proud of their child and enhanced the working relationship between the child’s family and the school.

  1. Identify the best methods for regular, ongoing communication, and decide who will communicate about what.

  2. Use both face-to-face meetings and online facilities to support planning and communication. These can include electronic notebooks (for example, blogs or Google Docs), email and phone calls to talk with parents and caregivers.

  3. Ensure that responses are timely and responsive to parental queries.

Source: ERO report: Including Students with High Needs: Primary Schools (July 2013)

Keeping in touch with parents

Resources and downloads

Collaboration – the heart of the matter

Ministry of Education recommendations on setting up collaborative IEP teams.

National transition guidelines for students with special education needs

Ministry of Education guidelines for specialist educators, schools, and parents about transitioning students with special needs from school to adult life. Guidelines can be downloaded from this page.

The transition-planning process for individual students

A process devised by the Canadian Ministry of Education.

Starting at Silverstream School (NZ) (video)
Starting at Silverstream School

A video for children and their families starting at Silverstream School. Students talk about all the things that will help parents and students when they join Silverstream School.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Jo Grant (NZ)

Starting at Silverstream School (NZ)
Transitioning from early childhood to school

Strategies for successful transitions from early childhood education to school include:

  1. providing information and familiarisation activities for families

  2. developing home-school partnerships

  3. making connections with the knowledge and learning that children bring from home and from their early childhood education

  4. fostering children’s friendships

  5. considering children’s whole experience of school, including lunchtimes and using the toilets

  6. developing a shared understanding with parents of learning and social goals

  7. using assessment practices that recognise the situated nature of learning and the cultural construction of assessment practices

  8. providing opportunities for play that enable children to explore experiences and develop langu

  9. understanding the impact of rules and how they can support belonging, but can also constrain behaviour and create anxiety

Source: Literature Review: Transition from Early Childhood Education to School by Sally Peters, The University of Waikato, Report for the Ministry of Education, 2010

Transitioning from early childhood to school
Introducing your school to new students

Ideas for familiarising students with your school

  1. Consider what you do for all students first, then look at what you need to do that is different for a student who needs additional support.

  2. Ensure the student can ask questions during the tour of the school and provide a map for visual support.

  3. Introduce the students and parents to staff they will be interacting with. Provide names, photos and contact details.

  4. Provide opportunities for new students to engage with current students in an activity.

  5. Identify students who will be buddies to the new student.

  6. Evaluate your school’s transition process – ask students and parents for feedback after they have been  at school for a term.

Introducing your school to new students
Welcome pack and web page examples

Examples of welcome packs and school web pages

View these examples of schools using the internet to engage with parents.

While it is useful to have information on your school’s website, it is helpful to have this available in hardcopy as well.

When creating or updating your welcome pack, consider:

  • using inclusive language
  • outlining the support for students with additional needs
  • describing how you engage with parents in an ongoing way, for example, through face-to-face meetings, newsletters, email, Facebook and so on.

View these examples of school welcome packs.

Welcome pack and web page examples

Resources and downloads

Starting school: Te tīmata o te haere ki te kura

Information for parents and caregivers of children with special learning needs. A Ministry of Education resource.

Collaborative relationships and sharing responsibility

A series of case studies describing how effective transition to school involves localised solutions rather than a “one-size- fits-all” approach on the ECE Educate website.

Easing the transition process from primary to secondary schooling: Helpful information for schools to consider

This report presents findings from the Ministry of Education project, A study of students’ transition from primary to secondary schooling.

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Transitions: Students at the centre

In this video, staff at the Mt Roskill campus explain how they create positive transitions between schools by placing students at the centre of the transition process.

Briefing teachers on tools used (image)
Student working on a laptop
Briefing the new team on the student’s learning tools

Familiarise staff with any digital and assistive technologies the new student uses. Make sure they understand how these tools support learning and how they can be  incorporated into their classroom.

Source: Ministry of Education

Briefing teachers on tools used
Useful networking websites

Joining professional learning networks

Although there are many websites outlining information and strategies, the opportunity to share with and ask questions of other educators provides valuable support.
Use these online New Zealand-based websites, communities, and mailing lists to connect with other educators.

Useful networking websites
Training programmes and resources

Below is a list of training programmes and resources available in New Zealand or online. Use these to support your own and your students’ learning. Identify ways to apply and share workshop experiences.

  1. Tips for autism is a TKI website for teachers, parents, and support workers of students with ASD.

  2. Positive Partnerships (Australia) online learning modules for teachers and parents of children with ASD.

  3. Sue Larkey workshops and resources for teaching students with autism and aspergers.

  4. BLENNZ learning library.

  5. Teachers and teacher’s aides working together modules from the Ministry of Education.

  6. Tilting the Seesaw is a pilot programme designed by teacher aides, teachers, and SENCOs for Autism New Zealand.

Training programmes and resources
Using teacher release time

It was great that the principal released me, the specialist teacher and the teacher’s aide to meet with Anya’s team at the kindergarten. We learnt so much about what Anya could do independently from observing the education support worker with her and then from discussion with the team. We also came the next week and worked with Anya in the class so we could see all the strategies that worked. I’m not worried about her coming at all now as I see how easy it will be to have her in class.

Teacher ;
Using teacher release time

Resources and downloads

PowerUp your classroom

A US website that focuses on using technology to support differentiation and a Universal Design for Learning framework.

Humans not robots

Resources and strategies developed by UK special education teacher and educational psychologist, Matt Grant.

Property modification process

The first-time enrolment property modifications process is likely to take at least six to 12 months

ontact the Ministry of Education about the need for property modifications as early as possible. It is important that essential work is completed before the student starts school.

Special education property modifications at schools – information and guidance for the design, policy, and procedures for property modifications for students with special education needs on the Ministry of Education website.

Property modification process
Assistive technology

Consider assistive technology solutions or additional supports and arrange for their provision

Assistive technology includes devices such as computer hardware, software, vision equipment, specialised furniture, and hearing devices. It is sometimes called “specialised equipment” or “assistive equipment”. These technologies enable some children to do things that they can not otherwise do, or to do things more easily.

Visit the Assistive technology page on the Ministry of Education website for further information and assistance on accessing assistive technology for your student.

Assistive technology
Using community resources

Consider where the community could support the participation of students with disabilities through donations of time, skills, money, or equipment.

Examples from schools have included:

  1. fundraising for a three-wheeled bicycle for a student with cerebral palsy to join her peers on bike rides

  2. craft makers creating special chair cushions, stress balls and bean bags

  3. community advocates working alongside students and parents

  4. disability advocates doing presentations to students, families or teachers

  5. donated rewards for schools to recognise students who illustrate their school’s inclusive values.

Using community resources
Back to top

Preparing the class for a new student with additional needs (suggestions for teachers of years 1–6 and years 7–13 students)

Take a reflective look at your classroom, including your teaching methods, assessment processes, materials and the ways you construct learning tasks. Consider how it works for your students with additional needs. 

Every morning I make up my daily schedule. If there is going to be a change, the teacher comes over and tells me about it. We then put my special change symbol above that activity so I don’t become anxious when we do maths instead of running at that time.

When there is something that happens without much warning, a friend comes over and talks to me. Together we put my change symbol over the old activity and the new activity under it.

Student

Suggestions and resources

Visual timetables (NZ) (video)
Using visual timetables

Linda Ojala uses the same visuals in a whole range of contexts across her classroom.

They are a key part of supporting students to know what is happening and organise themselves.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Visual timetables (NZ)
Managing pressure points

Reducing stress

I hate going into the cloakroom in the morning as there is lots of pushing and shoving.

Mr Jack noticed that I was always grumpy first thing in the morning so he talked to me and my mum and we decided that I would come into the class first and then go and hang up my bag after the bell.

Now I come into class happy and complete my handwriting without hurting others beside me.

Student, New Zealand ;
Managing pressure points
Transitioning to group activities

Reducing stress

Daisy’s teacher found that Daisy needed lots of support when going from guided reading to the group reading activity.

She introduced a strategy of Daisy going out for a drink of water before coming back to the activity.

This allowed Daisy to avoid being in class during the busy transition time.

Source: New Zealand teacher

Transitioning to group activities
Standing in line

Minimising anxiety

When entering or leaving a classroom, Mrs Jones gives Alice the task of counting all the students in line.

Once everyone is counted, Alice chooses one of her peers to walk to the back with her as she becomes anxious when she has to wait in line and behaves inappropriately.

Source: New Zealand teacher

Standing in line

Resources and downloads

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

BLENNZ Learning library

Each story focuses on one of the Key Competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum describing one aspect of a learning progression for a student, and the rationale behind the associated actions of the teacher and the education team.

Optimizing the learning environment for students with disabilities

A guide from Lincoln Land Community College outlining characteristics of a variety of disabilities. Pages 5–15 provide a list of instructional strategies and classroom adaptations to support students with different disabilities.

Supporting time and task management

Support student success with a flexible approach. Consider: 

  1. altering the amount of work or size of projects 

  2. completing work in small, manageable chunks. Students beginning a big project may need help organising a plan for completing it

  3. working on smaller projects with a gradual work up to working on larger ones (for students who tire easily)

  4. allowing more time to complete in-class tasks

  5. strategies for dealing with perfectionist behaviour (for example, being too fussy and not completing tasks on time)

  6. flexible time schedules that have assignments due over the course of several days or even weeks.

Source: Students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms: A resource for teachers

Supporting time and task management
Incorporating adaptations into lesson planning

When planning a unit of work, ask:

  • Do I need to make any adjustments?
  • Would technology help some/all students?
  • Do some students need material presented differently?
  • Should some students present their work differently?
  • Will all students be assessed in the same way?
  • Will some students need additional or different goals?

Some students with a disability will not need any adaptations because of their disability. However, like other students, they may require adaptations for other reasons such their limited prior learning.

When you adapt or differentiate the curriculum be careful not to simplify it unnecessarily. Give students opportunities to achieve the same learning outcomes as their peers.

Source: Students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms: A resource for teachers

Incorporating adaptations into lesson planning
Walking in your student's shoes

View the classroom from the new student’s perspective and consider any changes that you could make.

Consider:

  1. the classroom environment – loud noises, colour stimulants, the location of desks in relation to light and sound, reaching hooks for bags and coats

  2. classroom routines and ways of working – welcoming and packing-up routines, buddy systems, quiet times and busy times, teacher-led, group work and independent learning, homework and time given for homework

  3. making a physical space in your classroom for the teachers’ aide. This will help them feel included and avoid putting a focus on individual students. It will also help them to work as an assistant to all students and to you as the teacher

Walking in your student's shoes
Student perspectives on class teaching (video)
Classroom strategies that support learning

Students with ADHD share how different teaching approaches affect their learning.

No captions or transcript available

Source: ADHDVoices (UK)

Student perspectives on class teaching

Resources and downloads

Continuity of learning: transitions from early childhood services to schools (May 2015)

This report looks at children’s experiences moving from early childhood services to schools, from the points of view of both. It gives insight into what’s important, what works well and what’s not working so well for children at this critical point of transition. Author: the Education Review Office (ERO).

Assistive technologies

Enabling e-Learning offers school stories, snapshots of learning, and resources to support assistive technologies in the classroom.

Introduction to differentiation and adaptation of the classroom curriculum and school environment worksheet

Worksheet from Ministry of Education workshops on adaptations and differentiations. Worksheet includes useful template for identifying adaptations and differentiations.

A 360-degrees-view of the classroom

In every area of the curriculum, the key to using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to reduce or eliminate barriers to student learning.

Read the case study on UDL in the classroom, then take a look at this 360-degrees-view of UDL classroom.

Take a similar photo of your classroom. Imagine moving around the space as your new student. Consider:

  • how the student will find resources
  • how resources and work stations are labelled (in text, with symbols, or with images) 
  • is there a quiet space for students to work, a place to stand and work and a place to think or curl up and read?
A 360-degrees-view of the classroom
Walking in your student's shoes

Take a walk around the classroom. Use all your senses to consider how the classroom might look, hear and feel to your new student.

Consider:

  1. routines and ways of working

  2. how you will make assignment timings manageable

  3. the practical challenges for students, such as timetabling, the number of books to be carried and the distances between classes 

  4. the best listening distance, the use of the FM, seating, indicating who is speaking in a class discussion.

Walking in your student's shoes
The school environment

What does your student see, hear, and feel? How does this affect them?

Consider:

  1. the school environment – for example, loud hand-dryers in toilets, opening or reaching into lockers, reaching hooks for coats, lighting in hallways and classrooms

  2. the way your school works – for example, the length and timing of lessons and breaks, six-day timetables, time for travel between classes, staff visibility during breaks, communicating routines and changes

  3. the classroom environment – for example, loud noises, order and disorder, the location of desks in relation to light and sound

  4. the way the classroom works – for example, welcoming and packing-up routines, buddy systems, quiet and busy times, teacher-led, group and independent learning, time allocated for homework.

The school environment
Specific adaptations

Some students may need specific differentiations or adaptations such as:

  1. visual supports such a diagrams, pictures, photos, posters, visual timetables, and desktop task cues

  2. a variety of teaching methods – many high school students, particularly boys, need to learn by doing rather than by listening

  3. templates and frames to support students’ writing as they learn more formal processes

  4. assistive technology such as software that reads text aloud or text prediction programs for writing.

Specific adaptations

Resources and downloads

Assistive technologies

Enabling e-Learning offers school stories, snapshots of learning, and resources to support assistive technologies in the classroom.

Universal design for learning in action: 100 ways to teach all learners

Whitney Rapp explains step by step 100 UDL strategies that strengthen student engagement, learning and assessment in this book. Available for purchase from Brookes Publishing Co.

Students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms: A resource for teachers

This booklet, from the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, provides practical information and strategies for teachers.

Optimizing the learning environment for students with disabilities

A guide from Lincoln Land Community College outlining characteristics of a variety of disabilities. Pages 5–15 provide a list of instructional strategies and classroom adaptations to support students with different disabilities.

Being a buddy

Support students by giving them clear guidelines on how to be a good buddy

Possible tasks for a buddy include:

  1. partnering with the new student for classroom activities

  2. introducing the new student to others, and including them in games and activities both inside the classroom and at break times

  3. explaining classroom and school rules, systems, and timetabled activities as they arise 

  4. assisting with carrying any assistive technologies from one class to another

  5. having lunch with the new student.

Being a buddy
Partnering with peers (NZ) (video)
Partnering with peers

A high school student describes how a peer provides practical support when he transitions between classes.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling eLearning (NZ)

Partnering with peers (NZ)
Ways to welcome new students

Discuss with the class ways to welcome and support the new student

Suggestions can include:

  1. sending an email or a letter from the class

  2. sharing food and mihi on their first day

  3. creating a welcome booklet 

  4. welcoming a hearing-impaired student using NZSL

  5. inviting a student to be a buddy to the new student to provide social and in-class support.

Ways to welcome new students
Using class blogs (image)
Room 2 blog
Welcoming and introducing your new student to the class and school community

Use the class blog to introduce your new student. On this post QR codes are used to provide more information about the student.

Source: Room 2 Morningside School

Using class blogs

Resources and downloads

Springboards 2 Practice: Social

A Ministry of Education resource that discusses how social skills can be fostered in schools.

Listen up

A booklet explaining communication skills with lots of communication games and activities for students to do with a partner.

Social stories creator and library for preschool, autism, and special needs

A free app for creating and sharing educational social stories and visual schedules. Download for iPhone and iPad.

Back to top

This is a Ministry of Education initiative

Building a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.