During a recent lesson, Melinda Annadale taught her 18 students, aged 3 to 5, about symmetry. She gave each a paper with lines that the students were supposed to cut along. Some students’ cuttings revealed simple shapes like diamonds and hearts; others had elaborate snowflakes. While every student learned the same skill, the challenge for Annadale was to accommodate the six special needs students in the lesson.

“It’s nice to be able to really differentiate instruction for all the kids,” Annadale said. “All can participate and feel successful.”

Annadale, honored by the City of Bowie as the Teacher of the Month for January, works with another teacher in a Head Start classroom atChapel Forge Early Childhood Center.

Head Start is a federally-funded program that helps low-income and at-risk students. Annadale’s classroom is part of Head Start Inclusion, which includes a mix of six special needs and 12 low-income or at-risk children this year.

In a statement about the award, Chapel Forge Principal Elise Hurley said Annadale, who has been teaching at Chapel Forge for four years, “does a wonderful job of supporting her special education students with strategies that support their learning in the general education environment.”

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