Educators educating Educators

Jul 23

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



In case you get bored with the lazy days of summer and want to get a jump preparing for the coming school year, I added to Stuff4Educators a section called How to Study Better based on research from Harvard Medical School that highlights four science-backed ways towards better learning (Hint: drop the highlighter). Additionally, I posted a YouTube video under exercise from the Dana Foundation that won the Northwest Emmy award called Exercise and the Brain that explores the benefits of exercise on the brain and learning. Finally, some books that I have read this past year and found to be stimulating are listed.