Educators educating Educators

Nov 24

Classroom Adaptations

When asked his secret of success by NEA President Dennis Van Rockel, Tony Mullen replied, “Get to know the child. You can melt their hearts, and they’ll melt yours.”

Tony Mullen, 2009 NEA National Teacher of the Year


6 Suggestions for Classroom Adaptations

1. Behavior/Classroom Management

~ Be consistent and provide structure

~ Establish clear rules, routines, and expectations

~ Inform students of consequences

~ Use logical consequences

~ Recognize & reinforce appropriate behavior & learning

~ Teach alternative behaviors

~ Check that work is at the students’ instructional levels

2. Presentation Techniques

~ Make learning visible & explicit

~ Use molding

~ Use clear, simple directions

~ Adjust pacing

~ Highlight key information

~ Reduce amount of information/skills taught

~ Check frequently for understanding

~ Use study guides, semantic maps, and graphic organizers

~ Activate background knowledge

~ Allow alternate ways to demonstrate learning

3. Practice Technique

~ Use peer and cross-age tutoring

~ Use cooperative learning

~ Use games

~ Use manipulative

~ Use more frequent practice on less information/skills

~ Use computer

~ Ensure mastery before moving onto next skill

~ Provide additional practice

~ Provide a variety of practice opportunities (e.g., manipulative, problem-solving, explanations)

4. Assignments/Tests

~ Assign/test only what is necessary to demonstrate mastery

~ Allow alternative ways to demonstrate learning

~ Use cooperative projects

~ Provide extra time

~ Divide projects into steps with feedback for each step

~ Use individual contacts

~ Use alternative exam formats

~ Use a word bank

5. Textbook/Materials

~ Highlight key points/concepts

~ Provide books on tape/CD/digital format with study guide

~ Reduce amount of reading

~ Use shared reading or peers to read to students

~ Provide study guides

~ Highlight directions

~ Use high interest/controlled vocabulary books

~ Use trade/textbooks written at various levels

6. Content

~ Analyze tasks in smaller steps

~ Identify & check to determine if students have prerequisite skills

~ Teach the vocabulary of instruction (e.g., direction words)

~ Teach technical vocabulary

~ Relate concepts to each other using organizers such as semantic steps



There are two fundamental phenomena regarding memory that all educators should be quite attentive to as they directly affect memory and how well students remember information after initially presented.

By understanding these two essential factors affecting working memory detailed in November 2017 Ed Tip, educators will be able to drastically improve students’ retention of new information.