Archive for the ‘Discussions’ Category

What is your preferred learning style? How do you think your style is advantageous or disadvantageous?

My preferred learning style is visual and kinesthetic. The advantage of this learning style is that I will be sure to incorporate pictures, charts, video clips and other media to enhance my lessons and not just lecture on and on and on…. and you know what I mean!

Do you think identifying learning styles is a useful pursuit for a teacher, particularly in the special education arena? Why? Why not?

I believe it is beneficial to identify the learning styles of your students, particularly in special education. Being a special education teacher means paying close attention to the needs of your students. On a daily basis, we are assessing them to find the best possible way to accommodate them. Knowing what methods are most effective for your students’ comprehension can help you develop highly differentiated instruction.

Describe how a teacher can differentiate among accommodations and modifications for curriculum and for behavior.

A teacher can differentiate accommodations and modifications for curriculum in a variety of ways. Some of the ways teachers can make modifications and accommodations for curriculum include reducing the number of assignment questions, allowing students to respond verbally, using visual aids, teaching one concept at time, reading text to students, and allowing breaks during instruction and testing.  These accommodations and modifications can also help to reduce behavior problems by curbing student frustration that might result from difficulty with accessing the curriculum.

What are two validated practices that are effective with students with learning disabilities and how do they work?

Two validated practices that have proven effective with students with learning disabilities are:

1. Peer tutoring – Students always want to show off what they know and have learned. This method involves students coaching each other to improve academic learning in subjects such as mathematics and reading.  They can take turns in the driver seat.

2.  Explicit Instruction of Learning Strategies: helps students take responsibility for their own learning.  Examples of learning strategies include: graphic organizers, mnemonic devices, step-by-step procedures and progress monitoring.  We want to teach students to think about what they are they are thinking; metacognition.  This method is a tool that they can use for life.

What are various accommodations and classroom interventions used for students with ADHD?

Some accommodations for ADHD are breaking tasks up into steps, providing examples, defining the requirements and expectations, giving one direction at a time, reducing assignment length, use of positive reinforcements, informing students of deviations from the routine as far in advance as possible and using physical proximity and touch.


What does history tell us about the evolution of secondary education in America?

Secondary school reform represents a vitally important topic. The major goal is helping all students reach high academic standards. This has yielded a number of innovative programs that attempt to balance students personal and academic needs. The foundational skills of reading, writing and math are garnering more attention at the secondary level in all content area classes.

Along with high standards, public schools must meet the needs of all students and provide an appropriate education for students with many diverse needs. Inclusion of students with disabilities requires schools to rethink the way classes are tracked and how services are provided to students who have difficulty in the school environment. Coteaching arrangements, which allow subject area specialists to work with trained special educators in the same classroom, constitute one approach to meeting diverse needs.

There is always going to be a change that is coming in education because it is a constant evolution. What we learned 100, 75, and 50 years ago will be different then what we learn 10 years from now. That is why it is so important to stay on top of education movements and current information.

What curriculum modifications might you make for a student with special needs in Pre-K-3?

For example, if a child is a non-reader, we would support that classroom in a variety of ways. We may do some small group instruction to a group of students just on letters, sound, simple correlation, and some phonics instruction. If the children are reading in textbooks, then we adapt the material for the students with special needs, and put it on tapes. That way the child can listen to it.

In Math, if the class was looking at adding single digit numbers to ten, and the child is not aware of those numbers, we might create numbers for them in some tactile way. We might get them to trace numbers and make connections between the symbol and the number. If they already have that skill then we may be using their abilities to identify numbers, so that they could see the number and attach it to a number of items. So if the number was two, there might be two cubes that the child would see to correlate the number. Each one is very specific to the individual needs of the child.

How do you Co-teach?

It works differently in each classroom, based on what the teacher prefers. I meet with each of the teachers on a weekly basis to do planning and development of materials. We decide at that time who is going to do specific instruction. For example, in a classroom that was introducing a new phonics skill, I might lead whole group instruction to the entire class one day, and then the classroom teacher may do it the next day. Or, if there’s a writing lesson to be introduced, I may introduce that and follow that through to completion. So I may be teaching during that particular time block for a period of a week, and the classroom teacher would be supporting me.

We don’t set it up so we’re replacing one another. It really is a team teaching situation. Each person takes responsibility for instruction, but the planning part of it we do together.

Do you do anything to facilitate friendships between the students with special needs and the other students?

We organize a circle of friends. I think that ideally friendship facilitation is best handled within the confinement of the classroom where there’s a strong emphasis on community building within each class. We have six to ten children in a group, and we meet on a weekly basis for about a half an hour. This is not skill instruction time or disability awareness time. It is truly a time for connecting with the children, and the leader’s role should be as unobtrusive as possible.

So how do you try to get those connections going?

We start by asking children if they would like to participate in a group with some other children. We tell them the intent of getting together is to support one another. We don’t direct them at that time that we are specifically forming this group around a child or two children. We just let them know that we’re getting together as a group to talk about being friends. Some of the books that are available on this topic are Connecting Students by Beth Schaffner and Barbara Buzzwell and Circles of Friends.

When children with special needs are in their community schools, it allows the community to support the child. It allows them to build relationships that are fluid which will help the students with special needs from their elementary years through to adulthood.

What strategies do you use to manage behavior?

It’s such an individual thing. I think what works best is for a team of people to get together to try to figure out why those behaviors are being manifested. I think typically, once a group of students come together collectively to figure out why the child is behaving in a particular way, then determining a plan is easy. Once you know the antecedent then it’s relatively easy to develop a plan for the child.

Often times, for children that are extremely disruptive, one of the tools that’s the most effective is the circle of friends. Also it helps for the child to be a part of a classroom where there’s a strong sense of community, and where disruptive issues that come up are dealt with as a class. This way the child learns that he is a part of a community, and he is responsible to people other than himself.

What would they do once the child is in the HELP room?

Most of the children fill out a TLC form, which is “Think, Learn and Change.” During the ‘think’ part, the student talks about what got them there, and what their motivation was for being in the HELP room. For instance, they might say they were seeking attention, or they wanted revenge. They would also talk about how it affected themselves and others. The “learn” part is their plan. They have to talk about they’re going to do, and who may need to be helping them with that plan. They would also decide how often they need to check in with the HELP room to see that everything is working. The “change” piece asks, “How many times will I need to come and check on you? If this doesn’t happen, then where should we go from here?”

We also do a lot of things to try to improve students social skills in the classroom. Some students just have scheduled visit times, where they will go to the HELP room.

How does the co-teaching situation work?

My co-educator and I did put our classrooms together. We each had 22 children, and we put the classes together, so we now have 44 students. Before we joined our classes, we were finding that we were both really frustrated because some of our students needed specialized attention.

By putting our classes together, we’ve made it so that the teaching never stops. That’s because one of us would do the primary teaching, while the one who’s the secondary teacher could hold small groups, and essentially control the classroom, so to speak. They’re able to answer individual questions while the teaching is going on, and they’d be processing with the time out children. It’s been very effective.

There’s also a lot of team teaching going on in the sense where I have somebody’s class while they’re teaching my kids something else.

How is your classroom set up in order to accommodate 44 students?

Our students sit at four to a table. We really try to be in tune to the individual needs, and if you’re really going to be an inclusive school, you have to be very aware of what works and what doesn’t with your students. So we really try to pick up on who can and cannot be social with other people. Therefore there are some children in our room who do sit at individual desks. We do pull those students in for cooperative learning, so that they’re not always totally excluded. Their desk may sit at the end of a table, or it may be three inches from the table.

What kind of curriculum modifications would you make for your student who is non-communicative?

His curriculum modifications were defined in his IEP, so all I basically have to do is carry it out. There are a lot of things that his aide ends up carrying out more so than I do. My primary goal with him is to improve how he gets along with other children. Also, he does not work well with different adult individuals, which was one of the reasons my teaching partner and I volunteered to take him. That way he would have to be working with two people right off the bat. We do a lot of socializing things with him in the classroom. He’s also learning to file, and he delivers the mail in the classroom.

Have you done anything to facilitate friendships or interaction between the non-communicative student and the other students?

Yes, he does have a buddy time, since part of his IEP goal is to work with other people. We give everybody a chance to work with him. It’s also part of his reward system, so if he does his task on time then he gets to choose a buddy to do something with. They’ll usually get to play some type of an educational game. We also had some class meetings where we talked about how frustrating it must be not to be able to communicate. We also talked about how we can communicate.

What kinds of curriculum modifications would you make for a student with special needs who had eye-hand coordination difficulties?

An adaptation that we might make is that he would not have to do as many problems as the rest of the class. We definitely believe in quality versus quantity. We may also turn his paper sideways, so that the lines are moving up and down.

Modifications to the writing process would be that we may ask the student to dictate into a tape recorder the story that he’s working on. He may also tell one of us his story, which is another neat part about team teaching because it gives you that option. So the teacher may write down his story and then he would have to pick out his favorite sentence and recopy it for handwriting, and to work on the eye-hand coordination.

We have strong district support for inclusion. We’ve really bought into the belief that all children can learn, and that it’s their birthright to belong. You don’t have to earn the right to belong in the classroom.

Could you please describe how co-teaching works?

It works differently with different teachers. In some instances, we might both share some responsibilities of reading. Usually, if it’s in the lower grades, we’ll work on phonics for a while, and then go into workbook skills. At that point, we would switch roles, so one teacher might teach the lesson while the other teacher would circulate amongst the students. We just trade roles.

In other instances, one teacher might do all the reading while the other would do all the math, but we’re both basically in the classroom at the same time. The regular teacher might also take a group of kids to work with them on their reading while I work with the rest of the class or vice versa. I might be stationed in two or three different classrooms, so I just budget my time, so that I’m there when I know that a student is likely to have problems.

What classroom management techniques do you use with students with special needs?

Of course, every individual student has to have their own type of management in the classroom, but we’ve done a great deal of work with peers which we call Circle of Friends. A lot of times we have problems with students who are not necessarily classified as special education kids. We work with their peers, so that they can help each other, kind of giving either verbal or visual cues when they see that a student is about to act up. They can initiate some kind of plan that will give them a sign that means, “you’re losing control”.

For example, one little girl didn’t realize that everyone had to be quiet when the teacher has chalk in her hand, and she’s going to start taking the names down of people who are talking. The little girl wasn’t able to interpret that for herself, so her friends would signal her to be quiet, and get to her seat.

Do you find that the students get tired of helping the student with special needs?

The students usually stick it through to the end of the year. They’re always made aware at the very beginning that they can get out of it whenever they want. I meet with them on their lunch time, so they’re aware that they have to give that up. During those meetings, we’ll eat our lunches and talk about what’s going on. I keep notes to remind the kids and myself about what happened last week.

I will sometimes have to make classroom changes. For instance, if a teacher moves the kids too far away from the student with special needs, then I’ll go in and ask the teacher to move them closer together. I can always get a sense of when the kids are getting a little frustrated with each other, and I let them tell that person. They’re free to talk really openly with each other.

What role does the principal play in facilitating inclusion?

I think it’s really important to have a principal and an administration who are totally behind inclusion. Initially, we had a lot of complaints from teachers about inclusion. It came to the point that if there were two third grade classes, for instance, one teacher might agree to having a student with special needs while the other teacher would not.

So the principal helped this by kind of forcing the issue, and making everyone accept students with special needs. Now, teachers have no qualms about taking students with special needs. They realize that they’re going to get that support, and they’re very appreciative of that.

The other thing that has been really helpful is that the teachers have a built-in time once a week to meet with the special education teachers. That way we’re able to discuss a student’s progress, and make any necessary modifications. If you aren’t given the opportunity to build this into your schedule then you have to do it on your lunch break or during your planning period which often don’t coincide. That can be extremely frustrating.

The principal also offers the students a lot of encouragement. For instance, if a student has been having problems for a couple of days, and then suddenly they have a good day, one of the teachers will slip the principal a note to let him know. He would then come into the class to congratulate that student. He also helps with each kid’s special reward. For instance, one student I work with loves to use the microphone, so if he has a good day he’ll get to make the announcements the next morning or say the Pledge on the intercom.

A lot of times he will sit and eat lunch with the kids. If a particular student is usually pretty good, and then suddenly they’re having problems, he’ll make a point of going down and eating lunch with them and just kind of talk to them.

What kind of professional support do you get to help facilitate inclusion?

We have access to any kind of support we need. We have a guidance counselor who comes in three times a week, as well as psychologists who mostly do the placing and testing of students. We’ll refer to outside agencies if we feel we have a problem that our guidance counselor cannot handle.

Measurable Annual Goals, Benchmarks, and Examples

Measurable annual goals are descriptions of what a child can reasonably be expected to accomplish within a 12 month period with the provision of special education and related services.

When selecting areas of need to address through annual goals, the IEP team’s focus should be on selecting goals from the standards and benchmarks of the local district.

Measurable annual goals must be related to meeting the child’s needs that result from the child’s special needs, to enable the child to be involved and progress in the general curriculum. In addition, they must meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s special needs. Annual goals are not required for areas of general curriculum in which the child’s special needs does not affect the ability to be involved and progress in the general curriculum. The annual goals included in each student’s IEP should be individually selected to meet the unique needs of the individual child. The goals should not be determined based on the category of the child’s special needs or on commonly exhibited traits of children in a category of special needs.

Four critical components of a well written goal are:

Time Frame – is usually specified in the number of weeks or certain date for completion.

Ex: In 36 instructional weeks. . . By November 19, 2010. . . By the end of the 1999-2000 school year. . .

Conditions – specify the manner in which progress toward the goal is measured. Conditions are dependent on the behavior being measured and involve the application of skills or knowledge.

Ex: when presented with 2nd grade level text. . . given a mixed 4th grade level math calculation probe. . . given a story prompt and 30 minutes to write. . . clearly identifies the performance that is being monitored,

Verb – usually reflects an action or can be directly observed, and is measurable.

Ex: Sarah will read. . . Claude will correctly solve. . . Mary will score. . .

Criterion – identifies how much, how often, or to what standards the behavior must occur in order to demonstrate that the goal has been reached. The goal criterion specifies the amount of growth the child is expected to make by the end of the annual goal period.

Ex: 96 words per minute with 5 or fewer errors… 85% or more correct for all problems presented…. 4 or better when graded according to the 6-trait writing rubric.

Well written measurable annual goals will pass the “Stranger Test”. This test involves evaluation of the goal to determine if it is written so that a teacher who does not know the student could use it to develop appropriate instructional plans and assess the student’s progress.

Each IEP must have at least one measurable annual goal. Each measurable goal must have benchmarks. The purpose is to enable a child’s teacher(s), parents, and others involved in developing and implementing the child’s IEP to gauge, at intermediate times during the year, how well the child is progressing toward achievement of the annual goal.


Benchmarks are major milestones that describe content to be learned or skills to be performed in sequential order. (Nov, Feb, May) They establish expected performance levels that coincide with progress reporting periods for the purpose of gauging whether a child’s progress is sufficient to achieve the annual goal.

In the context of IDEA and IEPs, measurable annual goals are the desired outcome. Benchmarks are listed in hierarchical order to gauge progress toward achievement of the annual goals.

Within the local curriculum, the IEP team should identify the skills and performance levels the child will master as he/she progresses toward the annual goal and select those for possible benchmarks in the IEP.

Example: Present Level of Educational Performance, Goal, and Benchmarks

PLEP: Jake’s written language is similar to that of typical children entering 1st grade in that it lacks punctuation, capitalization, and is characterized by sentence fragments and weak organizational skills. This impacts his ability to communicate through written language in his 3rd grade general education classroom and is affecting his performance in English and Social Studies.

Goal: In 36 instructional weeks, Jake will write a 5-sentance paragraph consisting of a topic sentence, 3 supporting detail sentences, and a concluding sentence, maintaining a single topic, with 85% mechanical accuracy on ending punctuation, commas, quotation marks, and capitalization.

Benchmark 1: In 9 instructional weeks, upon request, Jake will write a single complete sentence, beginning with a capital letter and ending with correct punctuation.

Benchmark 2: In 18 instructional weeks, upon request, Jake will write 3 complete sentences maintaining a single topic, beginning each with a capital letter, ending with correct punctuation, and using comma where appropriate.

Benchmark 3: In 27 instructional weeks, upon request, Jake will write a 4-sentence paragraph including a topic sentence and 3 supporting detail sentences, beginning each with a capital letter, ending with correct punctuation, using commas and quotation marks where appropriate.

More Examples of Annual Goals:

Illinois Learning Standard: 9.B. Identify, describe, classify and compare relationships using points, lines, planes and solids.

Goal: Student will be able to solve algebraix and trigonometric problems with 75% accuracy utilizing visual and graphic depiction strategies to aid understanding.

B1: Student will be able to simplify algebraic equations involving more than one variable and exponents with 75% accuracy.

B2: Student will be able to create a correct graphic illustration of the steps to find slope of a given line using a scientific/graphing calculator with 75% accuracy.

B3: Student will be able to properly use a graphing calculator to graph functions with 75% accuracy.

Illinois Learning Standard: 1.C. Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.

Goal: Using the strategy of “Think-Pair-Share” or other peer discussion-based strategies, Student will be able to summarize and make generalizations from classroom reading material in order to establish the author’s purpose(s) with 80% accuracy.

B1: Student will be able to identify (highlight, underline) the main point(s) of a given classroom reading assignment with 80% accuracy.

B2: Student will be able to work cooperatively with a given peer (selected by instructor) to produce a written summary of the main points and major topics within a given classroom reading assignment in 4 out of 5 trials.

B3: Student will be able to work cooperatively with a peer to orally present a detailed summary of the main points and/or purpose of a given classroom reading assignment with 80% accuracy on a presentation rubric.

Illinois Learning Standard: 11.A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.

Goal: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like graphic organizers, Punnett Squares, inquiry-oriented learning, and cooperative learning to understand the fundamental concepts, principles, and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences with at least 70% accuracy.

B1: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like graphic organizers and/or Punnett Squares to explain how living things function, adapt and change through the analysis of how genetic combinations produce visible effects, variations among physical features, and cellular functions of organisms with at least 70% accuracy.

B2: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like inquiry-oriented learning to describe how living things interact with each other and with their environment by analyzing factors that influence the size and stability of populations within ecosystems, like birth rate, death rate, predation, and migration patterns with at least 70% accuracy.

B3: Student will be able to use appropriate scientific design theory strategies, like cooperative learning, to apply concepts that describe the features and processes of the Earth and its resources by explaining how external and internal energy sources drive Earth processes, like weather patterns and plate tectonics with at least 70% accuracy.

Measuring and Reporting Progress on Annual Goals: Once the IEP Team has developed measurable annual goals for a child, the team must develop either major milestones (benchmarks) that will enable parents, children, and educators to monitor progress during the year, and, if appropriate, to revise the IEP consistent with the child’s instructional needs. The strong emphasis is to enable each child to be involved and progress in the general curriculum.

Frequent monitoring of student progress is encouraged. Frequent monitoring is beneficial in several ways:

  • It gives the teacher time to implement interventions and new strategies if student progress in inadequate toward reaching the benchmark or short-term objective,
  • It maximizes the child’s time and opportunity to learn and ensures effective instructional practices,
  • It prevents unpleasant surprises for parents when progress reports go home or at parent-teacher conferences, and
  • It documents “good faith” on the part of the teacher implementing the IEP.

If data collection over time indicates inadequate student progress despite the implementation of interventions and strategies, the IEP Team may need to meet and reevaluate the appropriateness of one or more annual goals. The IEP must be revised as appropriate to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals or progress in the general curriculum.

When appropriate, a portion of the IEP may be revised. As with any change made on an IEP, there must be an IEP Team Meeting. The Notice for the IEP Team meeting would indicate what part of the IEP the team is reviewing. Upon completion of the review, the parents will receive a Prior Written Notice of Proposed Action. Parent consent for the revision may or may not be required depending on whether the change constitutes a substantial change in placement or material change in services.

Usually the curriculum will be the same for all children. This means that the student who is challenged will participate in the social studies lesson, the science experiments and the music class, along with the other children. The student’s life experiences will be enriched, and their ability to communicate and form relationships with their peers increased through being included.

Individuals cannot hope to converse with someone about hockey, on any level, if they have never been to a game. Similarly, a student can have no understanding of the universe if he has not been exposed to the concept that the world is round, nor understand the idea of magnification if there is no chance of looking through a magnifying glass or a microscope.


Differentiated instruction is an approach to planning so that one lesson is taught to the entire class while meeting the individual needs of each child.  The teacher weaves the individual goals into the classroom content and instructional strategies. The content and the instructional strategies are the vehicles by which the teacher meets the needs of all the students.

Each lesson:

  • has a definite aim for all students
  • includes a variety of teacher techniques aimed at reaching students at all levels
  • considers student learning styles in presentation of lesson
  • involves all students in the lesson through the use of questioning aimed at different levels of thinking (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
  • allows for students’ adjusted expectations
  • provides choice in the method students will use to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts
  • accepts that different methods are of equal value
  • evaluates students based on their individual differences


  • Encourages inclusion of all students
  • Addresses different learning styles
  • Allows teacher to reach all of the students some of the time
  • Allows for diversity among students
  • Fosters social relations and self-worth
  • Meets social, emotional and academic needs


1. Identify:

  • – underlying concepts – What is it that all students are to understand. Need to clarify difference between the concepts and the content used to develop the concepts.

2. Method of presentation:

  • – concept presented in such a way that all students are able to gain varying degrees of knowledge based on their level of understanding
  • – learning styles of student – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile
  • – level of cognitive domain – Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • – differentiated participation – based on student’s skill level

3. Method of student practice:

  • – allowance for assignments based on student’s needs
  • – learning styles of student – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile
  • – level of cognitive ability – Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • – differentiated participation – based on student’s skill level

4. Method of evaluation:

  • – linked to method of performance
  • – learning styles of student – auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile
  • – level of cognitive ability – Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • – differentiated participation – based on student’s skill level

5. Method of presentation: Adaptations may be necessary to the environment, the materials and the mode of presenting the information.


Position in room:

  • consider student’s senses – vision, hearing, touch, smell, physical ability
  • sit at front of room, back of room, away from noise, beside teacher,
  • change lighting (light on desk, back to window …)
  • Cooperative grouping

 General Organization: for easy access to organized materials:

  • drawers beside desk
  • soup can for pencils
  • bookends
  • tie pencil to desk
  • attach pencil to student with extension key ring
  • have list of items to complete on desk
  • have timetable on desk
  • reduce excess materials on desk
  • color code notebooks/
  • have student come in early to go over day’s plan
  • headphones to quiet outbursts
  • sit on mat/chair during group floor activities


Student materials:

  • low vocabulary books, audio cassettes, video cassettes, computer, calculator, manipulatives, overhead sheets over text book to allow writing, pictures, notebooks, photocopy of notes, number or alphabet lines on desk or on notebooks

Adapting page set-up:

  • line indicators
  • different types of paper – graph, mid lines, raised lines, red and green lines
  • provide more space for answers
  • highlight directions
  • cover sections of test/sheets, or cut sheets and give student only one
  • section at a time
  • greater contrast ink
  • post-it notes

Adapted devices:

  • scissors
  • chalk holders
  • pencil grippers
  • highlighter
  • bingo markers
  • stamps and stamp pads
  • recipe stand to hold books
  • erasable pens
  • corner pouches to hold papers down
  • vegetable bins to hold materials at desk


Teacher presentation:

  • use hand signals/sign,
  • use variety of levels of materials for whole group,
  • repeat instructions,
  • stand close to student,
  • speak clearly,
  • facing students,
  • modify tone of voice,
  • modify pace


  • write instructions: on board, on post-it notes for student,
  • ask student to repeat instructions,
  • have a peer repeat instructions demonstrate/model,
  • act out instructions,
  • complete first example with student,
  • always put instructions in the same place,
  • simplify instructions,
  • tape record instructions,
  • use pictures, use concrete materials, video for later review,
  • use different colored chalk/pens,
  • break information into steps,
  • give structured overview,
  • have students fill in blanks, jot notes, etc., while listening,
  • provide additional time to preview materials, complete tasks, take tests,
  • photocopy information,
  • highlight key points in text,
  • use contrasting colors of ink,
  • involve students in presentation


  • bulletin boards, banners, posters, television, slides, filmstrips, flashcards, transparencies, drama, graffiti, comics, objects, community events, radio, tapes, records, television, lectures, debates, discussions, field trips, drama, readings, interviews, letters, concerts, taste, smell, touch: texture, temp, movement, adapt level of questioning – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Students involved in presentation:

  • concept mapping
  • cooperative learning – heterogeneous groups
  • brainstorming
  • webbing
  • peer teaching, reciprocal peer teaching, problem solving, coaching, cross-age and same-age tutors
  • mentorship

Method of student practice:

  • Where possible provided guided choices for mode of practice
  • Use Bloom’s taxonomy for planning activities
  • Determine the ability of the child to participate – in the activities

Differentiated Participation:

Differentiated participation may be necessary.  Differentiated participation may require adapting how the student participates, adapting how much the student participates, providing adapted equipment or materials or adapting the rules or goals for that student. Each student is to participate according to his or her level of skill.

Methods of student practice:

  • Verbalize, Write, Create, Perform, Solve, oral report, panel discussion, debate, open discussion, games, brainstorm, oral questions & answers, telephone, interviews, commentary, theme, research, paper, report, workbook, chalkboard, poems, essays, stories, diary, books, plays, cookbook, diorama, collage, scroll, painting, model, graph, pictograph, mural, maps, models, food, timelines, clothing, bulletin board, banner, movie/video, presentation, portraits, games, inventions, simulation, role play, drama, concert, model, music, dance, pantomime, puppet, shows, radio, commercials, puzzles, mazes, problems, equations, riddles, games, brainteasers, scavenger hunt, charades

Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Knowledge – Requires memory only in order to repeat information
  • Comprehension – Requires rephrasing or explaining information
  • Application – Requires the application of knowledge to determine answer
  • Analysis – Requires identifying motives or causes, drawing conclusions, or determining evidence
  • Synthesis – Requires making predictions, producing original communications or problem solving with more than one possible solution
  • Evaluation – Requires making judgments or offering supported opinions

Method of Evaluation:

  • determine a variety of ways students can demonstrate their mastery of the objectives and their level of understanding of the concepts
  • use Bloom’s Taxonomy to assess level of understanding
  • criteria for evaluation will be determined by child’s needs and abilities


  • self evaluation, KWL – know/want to know/learned , show knowledge in different ways (see methods of practice), peer evaluation, work samples, video, spot checks, portfolio, tests, dictate, oral, use calculator, draw pictures, take home, extended or no time line, open book, provide more space, delete some options, consider the environment – may have to take test in another room, enlarge print, tape test directions/questions, teach test taking strategies and vocabulary, present parts of the test separately


  • give effort/grade comments
  • attach anecdotal comments
  • same format as other students
  • mark based on criteria/goals, not class
  • curriculum based assessment
  • focus on growth

What is the definition of differentiated learning for special education children?

The ability of a teacher to meet all of the unique individual academic needs of the children in the classroom.

No two children are alike or learn in the same way. An enriched environment for one student is not necessarily enriched for another. In the classroom we should teach children to think for themselves.

Ways a Teacher can differentiate instruction:

Whole group instruction: introducing new concepts and starting a lesson

Peer teaching: learn the material by teaching someone else

Cooperative learning: working in groups or 1 on 1 to finish a project

Options to finish work: provide 3 or 4 different options for students in any given class

Differentiate Content– Differentiating content requires that students are pre-tested so we can identify the students who do not require direct instruction. Students who demonstrate they understand the concept can skip instruction and apply the concepts to the task of solving a problem. Another way is to permit the apt student to accelerate their rate of progress. They can work ahead independently or cover the content faster than their peers.

Differentiate Process/ActivitiesDifferentiating the processes means varying activities or strategies to provide appropriate methods for students to explore the concepts. For example students may use graphic organizers, maps, diagrams or charts to display their comprehension of concepts covered. You can vary the complexity of the graphic organizer to facilitate learning for students with different levels of cognitive processing or ability levels.

Differentiate the Product- Varying the complexity of the product that students create to demonstrate mastery of the concepts. Students below grade level may have reduced performance expectations, while students above grade level are asked to produce work that requires more advanced thinking. Sometimes it is motivating for students to be offered choices of what their final product can be.

Differentiate by Manipulating The Environment or Through Accommodating Individual Learning Styles: Dunn & Dunn focused on manipulating the school environment. Howard Gardner identified individual talents or aptitudes in his multiple intelligences theory.

Curriculum isn’t defined in terms of what a teacher will teach but rather in terms of what a student will be able to demonstrate. It is essential that we understand what they knew at the beginning and how to move him/her forward from that point. This means we need to understand how each student learns best and we need to build on what they already know.

What factors must be considered when determining the least restrictive environment for individual students?
The LRE requirement is to ensure that student’s are not unnecessarily removed from the regular classroom or isolated from other non-disabled children of their age. LRE decisions are made based on children’s learning needs and vary from child to child. IDEA also requires that schools provide a full range of services ranging from regular classrooms with support to special classes, and special school placements as needed.
Many factors go into that decision, such as: the student’s ability to focus, the type of skills she needs to learn, how much individual differientiated instruction they need; and other education issues unique to each child. The placement of a child is in a school where the IEP can be implemented, is a flexible to meet the child’s individual needs, and can range from a separate classroom, school all day or part of the day, or all day placement in a regular classroom with appropriate supportive services. The child’s IEP team determines LRE based on the requirements of the IEP, the amount of direct instruction the child needs, the setting most likely to help the child achieve his goals, and the school facilities needed to support the child’s learning.