Category Archives: Conventional

The Periodic Table

Strategic Instruction: Science 9

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While James’s grade 9 science class was learning about the periodic table of elements, he was too! At first one might think, “why does James, a student with Down Syndrome, need to learn about the periodic table of elements?!” and my response, “because every student does!”

I didn’t know this, but the Periodic table of elements is not just about memorizing symbols, numbers and formulas, there is actually a big idea to this coloured chart!

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 9.54.58 PMThis book is about the big idea of organization, and how it is applied to the scientific elements. The book is written at two levels, at the conventional level for reading out loud to James, and at the transitional level for James to read independently. To differentiate the difference, James knew that his words were red.

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If only I knew this information back in high school, what a good reminder about how teaching to big ideas can help us connect details that can sometimes get lost or forgotten.

Let me tell you…. all, the students in the class were fighting over this book!

Goal areas: science- sorting and classifying, organizing

Literacy level: transitional, conventional

Text:The Periodic Table of Elements


Canadian Heroes

Strategic Instruction: Social Studies 9

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In this Social Studies 9 class, the essential question for all the students was, “What is a Hero?” The students worked through multiple examples of people in the world culminating to their summative assessment of determining if Napoleon was a hero. There were 2 students who were modified in this class. Leslie and Jamie were both readers at an early conventional level and so parallel texts to the class were written about the Canadian heroes: David Suzuki, Rick Hansen and Jordin TooToo. Using these texts, an extension activity of character trait sorting helped the students transform and personalize their learning while connecting what they had learned to the real world.

This unit is a beautiful example of how the high school curriculum can be accessible to students with developmental disabilities, but in addition, all the students in this class had access to and benefited from the resources, even though they were specifically developed for Jamie and Leslie.

Goal Area: Literacy-inferences, Strategic- critical thinking, having and supporting opinions

Literacy Level: Early Conventional


David Suzuki

Jorrdin Tootoo

Rick Hansen

Extension Activitycharacter sort