TpT Teacher-Authors are passionate about helping all students of all abilities succeed and below we share some of their insights from the seller’s forum. This post is about Learning Disabilities Awareness Month but also about teachers who are constantly aware and prepared, not just for the month of October.
Share Awareness of Different Abilities
Primary Playground plays a game with her kiddos every fall where she asks them if they’ve had an injury but then treats all of their different injuries in the exact same way (i.e., putting a band-aid on each leg regardless of where the student was hurt). In this way she shows how differentiation IS necessary because no injury or learning style is the same or requires the same attention.
Check out Primary Playgrounds Characters, Settings, and Major Events Graphic Organizers. She says, “They can be used to differentiate instruction in a classroom, or to support a class as they grow in their understanding of the skills.”
Mrs D’s Corner does a similar activity where she puts a squiggle up high on the board and then asks students of different heights to come and erase it. Some of the students can reach the squiggle and erase it quickly, others require the extra help of a chair to be able to erase it, while others don’t realize they can use the chair without her kind prompting.
In this way she demonstrates that doing the same task might require different props and instruction for different students.
Consider checking out Mrs D’s Corner’s October Writing Prompts. They have lively illustrations and are conveniently organized on individual task cards to help avoid confusing instruction.
Try Resources to Support All Abilities
A Peach for the Teach is a learning support/emotional support teacher with a kindergarten through 5th grade classroom. She says, “My most helpful tip is teaching the ‘hidden curriculum.’ Directly teach these skills, along with classroom procedure, to your students. Once you’ve built confidence and predictability, students are better able to learn.”
Examine her Classroom Routines and Procedures – Printable Posters for Classroom Management and Picture Schedule – Bundle (3 Sets– Analog, Digital, and Illustrated). She says, “I use both of these together to provide clear expectations and procedures. This eliminates guesswork, thus reduces anxiety, for our students.”
Amanda Butt is living her dream as a Special Education teacher and says, “TPT has made it easy for me to bring visuals to my visual learners when teaching a concept such as weather in a large group of visually impaired and visual learners.” In fact, Amanda’s entire store is Special Education focused. Check out her Thanksgiving Activities for Special Education if you need something for the upcoming holiday!
Not sure you’re differentiating enough in your instruction? Susan Berkowitz has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 35 years and taught kids with autism before that. She offers a Guide to Curriculum Adaptation Differentiated Instruction & UDL (Universal Design for Learning) in her store. Susan says, “Keep it simple. The less cognitive energy that has to be put into figuring out what you’re asking the more the student has left for actually answering the questions or completing the work.”
More Tips for Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
- Utah Roots offers: “Differentiation doesn’t mean lowering the bar. It means building the scaffolding — so that all of our students can reach the bar.”
- Promoting Success says, “My special education tip is to always assume all students can learn!”
- Mrs Ps Specialties advises, “Special ed students frequently shut down when faced with new or challenging tasks. Make 80% of their work known or mastered work and only introduce small amounts of new info at a time.”
- Angie Kratzer adds: “Reduce the steps, give instructions in small chunks, and don’t interrupt the thinking process.”
“October” clip-art thanks to Lisa Goodell
Pumpkin clip-art thanks to Little Miss Edugator