Best Practices for ALL Students
When working with students with learning differences the following strategies are used by LD teachers--yet these teaching accommodations will benefit most any student.
Predictable routine, Structured environment
Reduce verbal language while teaching--the most difficult!
Present information in small chunks
Reduced noise and distractions
For students needing it (IEPs)--extra time, reader, note-takers, scribe
Ask for feedback from students
Provide concrete examples
Teach direct concepts
Teach direct behaviors wanted
Encourage and reward students who come for extra help or further clarification
Actively teach note-taking & organizational skills
Brian Regan "Stupid in School"
Brian Regan's comedy sketch truly reflects what many of our students experience in a typical school classroom, when they are undiagnosed or the teacher is not aware of required modifications and adjustments.
Accommodations for Students with LDs
What are accommodations?
Accommodations are alterations in the way tasks are presented that allow children with learning disabilities to complete the same assignment as other students. Accommodations do not alter the content of assignments, give students an unfair advantage or, in the case of assessments, change what a test measures. They do make it possible for students with LD to show what they know without being impeded by their disability.
What are modifications?
Modifications actually do change the target skill or information tested. They will often reduce expectations or affect the content so that what is being tested is fundamentally changed. For LD students we want to keep the same target skills or goals of instruction, but we will accommodation the learning disability by changed the way the information or material is accessed and how knowledge is presented by the student.
How does a child receive accommodations?
After a child has been formally identified with a learning disability, the child or parent may request accommodations for that child's specific needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) states that a child's IEP (Individualized Education Program) team--which both the parent and child are a part of--must decide which accommodations are appropriate for him or her. Any appropriate accommodations should be written into a student's IEP.
Some examples of possible accommodations for an IEP team to consider:
Instruction Ideas -- DO IT
Movement and Learning
In Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition, author Eric Jensen focuses on Movement and Learning in Chapter 4. Anatomical evidence supports the relationship between movement and vision, language, memory, and attention: "Various studies support the relationship between movement and the visual system (Shulman et al., 1997), movement and the language systems (Kim, Ugirbil, & Strick, 1994), movement and memory (Desmond, Gabrielli, Wagner, Ginier, & Glover, 1997), and movement and attention (Courchesne & Allen, 1997). These studies do not suggest that there is movement in those functions. But they suggest a relationship with the cerebellum in such mental processes as predicting, sequencing, ordering, timing, and practicing or rehearsing a task before carrying it out. The cerebellum can make predictive and corrective actions regardless of whether it's dealing with a gross-motor task sequence or a mentally rehearsed task sequence. In fact, the harder the task you ask of students, the greater the cerebellar activity (Ivry, 1997). Taken as a whole, a solid body of evidence shows a strong relationship between motor and cognitive processes."
For students with learning disabilities, "A study by Reynolds and colleagues (2003) found that children with dyslexia were helped by a movement program. Those in the intervention group showed significantly greater improvement in dexterity, reading, verbal fluency, and semantic fluency than did the control group. The exercising group also made substantial gains on national standardized tests of reading, writing, and comprehension in comparison with students in the previous year.'
Some practical suggestions to incorporate movement into lesson plans focus on purposefully integrating movement into everyday learning: