Using Toolkits to Provide Access for Students with IEPs and to Support Individual Reading Goals: Grades 1-8

Sunday, December 8 - Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Grade: 1-8
Featuring: Colleen Cruz, Jen DeSutter, Mandy Ehrlich, Hannah Kolbo, Natalie Louis, Alissa Reicherter with Janet Steinberg

Recently, a noted Universal Design for Learning expert implored teachers to focus on learning variability, not disability. While many agree with that notion, the challenge of embracing variability comes in the practical day-to-day know-how and time to meet the needs of each student. This institute was designed to both embrace variability and equip participants with the knowledge and resources to respond to the needs of each student as an individual and the class as a whole.

Participants will have an opportunity to look at their current students’ IEPs and lay them alongside their curriculum. From there, presenters will explore the ways teachers decide when and if a student needs support. Participants will also study a variety of ways to not only create tools as scaffolds for students, but also to create strategies for removing those scaffolds when the time is right to ensure student independence, interdependence, and agency.

One of the great joys and challenges of teaching a diverse group of learners is that in order to reach every student, the teacher must figure out how to maximize student independence, while keeping in mind each child’s individual learning needs as well as the demands of that grade’s curriculum. That’s why this year, we’ve designed a new mini institute about supporting students with IEPs that will especially focus on ways the components of balanced literacy can provide access for students with IEPs and help support students’ individual goals.

During this institute, you will have the opportunity to dig deeper into the workshop model in order to take advantage of every component that can help you best facilitate student growth. You’ll learn how whole-class read alouds and shared writing can help ensure all students have access to the grade-level curriculum. You’ll see demonstrations of shared reading and interactive writing and get tips for how to use these methods in small groups that engage students with meaningful work and that help you target their individual goals. And, you’ll hear the Project’s latest thinking about lean, engaging phonics small groups that provide repeated practice with key phonics principles within the context of reading and writing workshops.

This work will be most successful when embedded in a cohesive curriculum, so you’ll get opportunities to explore ways in which the Up the Ladder: Reading (fiction and nonfiction) and Up the Ladder: Writing units of study can be tailored to support the diversity of your students.

Looking across a whole child’s needs, whether those needs are in the realm of language production, memory, processing, or emotional development, and then trying to balance those needs with the very real need to develop strong reading skills, can be daunting. This institute aims to leave you with armfuls of strategies, tools, plans and ideas, while tapping into technology as a resource to fuel your literacy work with students for the rest of the year and in the years to come.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY