Recently, I have had the opportunity to go into many different classrooms, and I have seen many different types of learners. This has been eye opening for me because it has made me realize that so many of the accommodations I put into the students’ IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) are not as useful as I once thought. For instance, accommodations such as “preferential seating” and “repeat instructions” are often already second nature for teachers, but here are some accommodations that are incredibly useful for most students that I never thought of including in the IEP:
Alter the time limits for tests:
o Break the testing into segments
o Test over multiple days
o Offer untimed testing
Collaborate with special educators to rewrite the tests for students:
o Provide limited choices for multiple choice and matching tests
o Provide the student with a word bank for fill in the blank questions
o Allow student to take test orally instead of written
Classwork, Projects, Homework
1. Give the student and/or parent a checklist about what is due and when it is due.
2. Allow student to have a second set of books at home.
3. Allow students with excellent note-taking skills to use carbon paper or a copier machine to provide extra copies for those having difficulties.
4. Use an assignment sheet/calendar to help a student monitor upcoming due dates and what needs to be done as homework, with listed materials.
5. Allow the student to tape record the discussion/lecture.
Surprisingly, many of the tools that students need for success in the general education setting seem to be organizational as listed under “classwork, projects, and homework.” The other area of need is accommodations provided during assessment. The ones recommended here bypass memory difficulties, productive language difficulties, and mental fatigue. If you get a chance before writing an IEP, observe your student in a general education setting to see what he/she would need to be successful—it is eye opening!
Ms. Young is a teacher who wants to keep a record of what works!