By Teachers, For Teachers
As a special education teacher, I struggle daily with how to best accommodate students with learning disabilities in the regular education setting.
With more and more districts pushing for full inclusion, teachers everywhere are being faced with students with reading and/or math skills that are often several grade levels behind their regular education peers.
How can teachers provide excellent learning opportunities for students of all abilities in the same class?
Here are two quick and easy accommodations I use with my students, both regular education and special education, that seem to have the greatest returns as far as their performance, understanding, and just plain enjoyment of being in class.
It can be downright frustrating to teach in an inclusion classroom. Working with students who may be on or above grade level side-by-side with students who are two grade levels (or more!) behind in their reading and math skills is enough to make your head spin.
How do you get a student who can’t read on your grade level to complete a homework assignment of reading five pages and taking notes on what he or she read? How can you get a student who can’t spell (or who writes illegibly!) to answer comprehension questions in a way that is useful to them and readable by you?
Guided notes can be one solution. By taking the time to go through the section you want your students to read and giving them guided notes you will be providing your students with an assignment that clearly lays out what exactly what you expect them to know.
Everyone seems to benefit in some form. Struggling readers are able to use the context clues in your notes for assistance in finding information. The advanced students who want to get it all right are also assured that they are on the right path. Additionally, in the end, you know that if your students have completed the notes – they have an excellent study guide. It is an easy way to make note-taking and reading comprehension a bit more accessible for all of your students.
Here’s a quick example of how your guided notes might look if you were a social studies teacher beginning a unit on immigration.
Date _____ / _____ / _____
Chapter 12: Coming to America
Directions: Use what you read on pp. 24-28 to complete each section below.
Vocabulary Words: What it means… What it looks like to me…
Complete the graphic organizer below with 4 reasons why people came to this country.
This strategy takes some planning, but it can make a huge impact on your class. Previewing or acceleration involves planning for future units. It requires taking a look at the unit you will be doing next, not the one you’re teaching now, and choosing the most important vocabulary, key concepts, or even the background knowledge that the students are going to need in order to be able to successfully master the skills you want them to learn throughout the unit.
Once you’ve decided upon those key concepts, you take your learning support students and any other students you think might benefit and introduce them to this information before the rest of the class. With this strategy, when you start your new lesson, the students that are often behind the rest have information that the rest of your class has not learned yet.
The effect of previewing can be monumental. Students who have always been “the last to get it,” are suddenly explaining the concepts to their peers. Students who had no interest in new lessons because it meant struggling through new things are suddenly eager to raise their hands and show off what they know. It can be very exciting.
What accommodations do you make for students that need extra attention in the classroom? Share with us in the comments section!
Originally posted on Education Short List. Republished with permission from author.