Navigating the Common Core Strategies: Inclusion Dos & Do Betters

By Toby J. Karten

Walking along the shore, hand in hand, glancing at the horizon, are two protagonists:


As partners, these two characters—along with colleagues, administrators, legislators, related service providers, families, and peers—comprise a supporting cast who collaboratively ride the CCSS waves.

As ocean waves are dependent on the relationship between wavelength and water depth, the CCSS is deeply stretched across grade levels. Appropriate scaffolding within inclusive general education classrooms prepares tomorrow’s adults with lifelong skills to swim the sometimes-deep curriculum waters.

Inclusion principles, both legislatively and life-driven, involve specially designed instruction. Inclusion & CCSS Supports for Students & Staff offers action-packed verbs that invite staff to use the acronym ADMIRE to achieve the standards within inclusive classrooms. Staff needs to view students with diverse cultural, academic, social, emotional, behavioral, communicative, physical, and sensory levels and skills through their strengths.

This resource acknowledges the student and staff realities, but ADMIRES the strategies and resources.

A ssess and Activate
D ecide and Delineate
M odel and Monitor
I nstruct and Involve
R eflect and Revise
E ngage and Enrich

Implementing CCSS-aligned instruction in an inclusion setting involves inclusion dos and, as reflective professionals, inclusion do-betters.

Do help, do not enable.

Curriculum example: Offer a student with a specific learning disability an online dictionary to look up an unfamiliar word, rather than defining the word for the student.

Do assess, do not assume.

Curriculum example: Determine a student with dyscalculia’s baseline division skills before beginning a unit on fractions or asking the student to solve an equation with a variable that requires division skills.

Do delineate, do not delete.

Curriculum example: Offer Black Beauty on a lower Lexile level if decoding or fluency is an issue. Break up the more difficult vocabulary words, pal-i-sades, into their syllables; allow the student access to text-to-speech tools if he or she has dyslexia and cannot read the novel independently.

Do motivate and monitor, do not mystify or misguide.

Curriculum example: Offer a student with autism realistic feedback on his or her progress and level. As an example, if a learner needs to describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, monitor that the student uses language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. Motivate the learner to establish his or her prior knowledge and guide him or her on ways to gain more knowledge as a self-regulated learner through technology options such as online visuals, tutorials, webquests, Quizlet, Kahoot, and more.

Do instruct and involve, do not invalidate or ignore.

Curriculum example: A young learner who isolates and pronounces initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in spoken single-syllable words taps out each syllable or writes the syllables after feeling raised letters if he or she has a visual impairment.

Do reflect and revise, do not ridicule or race.

Curriculum example: If a student with ADHD needs to produce a research paper to answer a question, narrow or broaden the inquiry, adjust the due date with interim progress checks, and help the student synthesize multiple sources on the subject with constructive feedback.

Do engage and enrich do not excuse or erase.

Curriculum example: A learner with an intellectual disability is offered concrete experiences to predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.

Bottom Line

There are no special education lines at the grocery store, beach, or in life! Inclusion & CCSS Supports for Students & Staff ADMIREs the abilities and potential of all staff and the learners they instruct.


Inclusion & CCSS Supports
for Students & Staff

By Toby J. Karten


Inclusion & CCSS Supports for Students & Staff

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