Posts Tagged ‘Modifying Instruction’

Modifying Curriculum and Instruction

Purpose of Modification: The purpose of modification is to enable an individual to compensate for intellectual, behavioral, or physical disabities. Modifications allow an individual to use existing skills while promoting the development, acquisition, or improvement of new skills.

Purpose of Accommodation: Accommodations are modifications to the delivery of instruction or to the method of student performance. In general, accommodation does not change the conceptual difficulty or content of the curriculum.

Example: Listening to a novel rather than reading it.

Concept of Partial Participation: Partial participation is a modification of the curriculum so that an individual has some active level of involvement in the instruction and instructional activities. This concept is particularly applicable to students with more severe disabilities who may never learn the same skill at the same level as students without disabilities.

Adaptations: A modification that changes the delivery of instruction or the conceptual difficulty and content of the curriculum.

Example: Providing picture cards for key words in a story.

Parallel Instruction: A modification to the delivery of instruction or method of student performance that does not change the content but changes the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum.

Example: Most students are completing addition problems and this student is completing a worksheet with problem that have counting circles.

Overlapping Instruction: Modifications to the student’s performance expectations while all the students take place in shared delivery of instruction. It is assumed that there is a difference in the content but and the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum.

Example: A student is responsible for recognizing pictures of Newton and Einstein from a video on physicist while most students will be expected to write short biographies.


Good modifications should:

Fits into the classroom environment

Lends itself to meeting individual student needs

Optimizes understanding for each student

Work well with instruction activities


Types of Modifications: Dimensions of Instruction that may be varied

  • Use of materials and devices
  • Adapting skill sequences
  • Using Personal Assistance
  • Adapting Rules
  • Adapting the Environment


Below grade level
-Obtain high interest materials such as novels written a lower level
-Use visuals and auditory manipulatives such as pictures and tapes
-Have students respond by means of drawings
-Use materials on the level of the child or simplify the assignment
Poor comprehension of complex sentences
-Use sentence writing strategies
-Make sure the student is looking at you as you speak
-Use clear, concise directions when delivering directions, explanations and instructions
-Stop at key points when delivering in order to determine student comprehension
Makes steady progress with individualized instruction, but at a slower rate
-Have peer tutors
-Provide additional practice opportunities
-Provide individualized activities that give the student more practice time such as computer lessons, peer tutor, adult tutor, games, homework assignments
Is highly distractible
-Sit them in front and beside good role models
-If appropriate use study carrel
-Reduce distracting stimuli
-Assign a peer to help the student with class assignments when directions are missed
-Interact frequently with the student in order to maintain involvement with class assignments
-Shorten assignments
-Use high interest materials/assignments to motivate the child to stay focused
-Allow the student additional time to complete work
Does not attend to tasks or complete tasks
-Shorten amount of work to be done
-Contract student, reward for work completed
-Assign a peer to help the student either do the assignment or remember to do it
-Have student keep a chart of assignments and check them off when completed
-Have student use a timer 
Poor comprehension of spoken language
-Written instructions
-Role play
-Pictures (iconic directions)
-The student may be allowed to tape record class lectures, presentations, or directions with prior approval from the teacher.  Directions may be given several times and may need to be explained in more detail.  The teacher may provide copies of notes and/or overheads.  The teacher may also want to provide written copies of partial outlines of material and/or instructions to be given orally
Dislikes and resists rigors of academic work
-Divide tasks into smaller portions
-Cooperative learning (peer assistance)
-Allow verbal responses
-Provide high interest materials, assignments
-Shorten academic tasks to include just the most essential
-Divide the assignment into parts and have a small reward or incentive after the completion of each part
-Tell students the purpose of the lesson and what will be expected of him/her in class
-Provide instructions in short units
-Provide instruction on how to keep an organizer
-Use rubrics that will allow the student to monitor his/her progress on assignments and/or units
-Be aware of possible frustrating situations
-Reinforce appropriate participation in class
-Make learning fun by being enthusiastic
-Alternate learning activities
-Post outstanding work in the classroom
-Place students in pairs sometimes
Performs better with high interest topics
-Tailor applications to student interest
-Allow students to choose between several topics
-Try to incorporate high interest topics with other material– interdisciplinary approaches when possible
-Try to make learning fun by emphasizing importance of having a knowledge of a variety of things
-Pair the student with a partner with whom he/she can share knowledge of their interests
-Provide assignments that can encourage student to “go beyond” the basics–such as a project on the computer
Has evidence of skill gaps or concept knowledge
-Remediate missing skills
-Continually build upon prior instruction
-Present a few facts at a time, gradually increase the number of facts the student must remember
-Have student use a calculator for math
-Provide practice with computer programs that provide instant feedback
Displays weak social skills
-Role play
-Designed practice (cooperatively with other teacher)
-Have student be a leader of a small group activity
-Give the student the responsibility of being a peer tutor
-Role play various situations
Exhibits behaviors that interfere with learning
-Self-monitor behavior
-Write a contract with the student and his/her parents targeting 3 initial behaviors to improve upon
-Allow student to voice an opinion to avoid becoming angry or upset
-Give student positive feedback and preferred responsibilities 
Has trouble discriminating certain sounds
-Give written instructions
Has poor generalization skills
-Have student play analogy games with multiple-choice answers
-Provide student with situations in which he/she can generalize skills in math to: use of money, financing a car, computing interest earned from savings
-Make certain that the student knows why he/she is learning a particular information skill
-Provide real world learning experiences
-Incorporate direct instruction of generalization into teaching model
-Give students a chance to discuss, plan for, and practice applying newly learned skills in novel situations and give feedback on their performance (i.e., role playing, field trips, simulations, etc.)
-The teacher will prompt the student when he/she can use a particular skill or strategy which is appropriate.  The student will be allowed help from a peer with generalization skills and the appropriate time to use them.  The student will be provided with strategies instruction from the support teacher and prompting from the mainstream teacher.
Displays little motivation to learn
-Take a reinforcer survey with the student to determine likes and dislikes
-Make an agreement with parents for rewards at home
-Have a wide variety of reinforcers
Exhibits better receptive language than expressive language
-Make sure student’s hearing has been checked
-Use a tape recorder so student can listen and evaluate his/her own speech
-Delay your response during a conversation by one or two seconds
Reads and writes above grade level
-Use as a peer tutor
-Allow student to do independent work which is above grade level
-Strong supplemental reading component – immersing children in quality reading material
-Intensive and applied themed investigations – multimedia investigations of the thematic unit
-Creative expressions of student achievement – students choose from a variety of options to display their knowledge
-Provide enrichment
-Implement the accelerated reading program
-Provide a book list with a wide range of reading ability represented from which students may select a book on which to do a report
-Allow opportunities for students to write for experimentation and exploration (i.e. reading journals, learning logs, creative writing, etc.)
Performs at a high level on some tasks and low level on other tasks
-Determine student’s preferred activities and interests and incorporate them into daily schedule
-Use reinforcements for low level tasks
-Reinforce other students who are participating in the low level task
Cognitive ability scores indicate ability to achieve at higher levels
-Teach study and note-taking skills
-Reinforcement for any and all measures of improvement
-Allow students to make corrections after assignments have been checked
Has trouble communicating in writing
-Allow student to make oral book reports, etc.
-Have student read his/her work aloud or on tape and listen back
-Make up games using complete sentences, grammar errors, etc.
Has difficulty conversing and may appear withdrawn
-Give student responsibility for another student
-Ask student questions that cannot be answered with “yes” and “no”
-Do not force student to interact
-Consult resource teacher for signs of depression or drug abuse
-Reinforce the students for interacting with peers
-Provide the student with many social and academic successes
-Give the student the responsibility of tutoring a peer
-Have the student run errands with a peer
-Involve the student in nonacademic activities that will enable the student to interact appropriately i.e. games, etc.
-Provide peer advocacy/support
-Structure activities to create opportunities for social interaction
-Focus on social process rather than activity/end product
-Utilize cooperative learning groups
Learns fast but has skill gaps
-Have student take notes or tape record
-Call on student when he/she is most likely to be successful
-Identify students learning mode
-Make certain that student applies and uses newly acquired information
Gives up easily
-Evaluate the task.  Is it too hard or easy?
-Break the learning down into smaller steps that can be more easily learned or finished to provide a sense of success
-Reinforce with tangible rewards for work completed
Expresses thoughts better in writing than in oral communication
-Have students tape record his/her writing and listen to it back 
-Have student read his/her writing to another student
-During oral reading, underline words which are difficult and have student practice them
Has trouble discriminating certain sounds
-Have hearing checked
-Have student rephrase what was said to him/her
-Stand directly in front of student when delivering information
Masters reading and writing skills slowly
-Use peer tutoring or reading “buddies”
-Make sure material is on his/her grade level
-Have student dictate stories which are then written for him/her
-Free reading time, buddy reading
-Peer tutoring with decoding skills
-The student will be allowed extended time on tasks involving reading and writing skills.  If appropriate, the student can work in a small group instruction or one on one instruction to help improve both the reading and writing skills.
Uses sentences with complex syntax 
-Have student tape record a story and then write it using high vocabulary
Develops skills at a slower pace than similar aged peers
-Provide the student with additional practice activities on the computer, with a peer, tutor, instructional game or homework
-Provide additional time to complete skill related assessments
-Use peer tutors to provide additional practice opportunities
-Provide some activities where students can work at their own pace
-Provide a written checklist for the student to follow
A limited or restricted vocabulary
-Teach the student to use context clues and known vocabulary to determine the meaning of unknown vocabulary.  Explain to the student how to use the context clues to determine the meanings of words he/she hears or sees (e.g., listening to or looking at the surrounding words and determining what type of word would be appropriate)
-Prepare a list of new words which the student will encounter while reading a given assignment.  Help the student (or have a peer help the student) look up each word and practice saying it and using it in a sentence before reading the given assignment.
Incorrect grammar
-During the day, write down specific grammatical errors produced by the student.  Read the sentences to the student and have him/her make appropriate corrections orally.
Frequently mispronounces words or substitutes and rearranges words
-Provide the student with a list of the targeted words.  Have the student practice the words daily.  As the student masters the word list, add more words.  (Using words from the student’s everyday vocabulary, reading lists, spelling lists, etc., will facilitate transfer of correct production of the target sounds into everyday speech)
-Set a prearranged cue to help the student know when he is doing these
-Ask student to repeat after you or a peer
-Ask student to answer short answer questions
-Allow students to organize thoughts and comments before discussion
-Recommend screening for LSH services
-Do not push the student to speak aloud in class if self-conscious
Take longer to perform academic tasks
-Shorten the assignment to include just the most essential
-Break the task down into several segments and give the different segments at different times during the day
Has a diagnosed medical condition indicating atypical learning style or pattern
-Modify the assignment to fit the individual’s learning style
-It is difficult to present modifications without knowing specifically what the diagnosed medical condition is.  I would assume that the teacher would address an atypical learning style by teaching to the modalities, i.e. visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc. that are not affected.
-Emphasize student’s learning style in instruction (visual, tactile, auditory, and multi-modality)
-Utilize specialized curriculum
Requires more repetition than peers
-Provide repetition in a variety of ways, such as computer, peer tutor, games, taped exercises
-Have the student repeat directions
-Present directions in more than one mode (auditory, visual)
-Give student job of reading directions to class
-Have students paraphrase immediately
-Teach rehearsal strategies directly
-Provide a written checklist
Performs drill and practice tasks poorly
-Provide assignments that use the drill and practice skills in context
Performs better with high interest topics
-Adapt assignment objectives to relate to a high interest topic that interests the child
Performs inconsistently
-Try to trouble-shoot the cause of the inconsistency and make changes based on the information gained
-Interview the child when he/she is inconsistent and look for contributing factors
-Ask the child what helps them learn best and modify
-Cognitive behavioral interventions or self monitoring – the ability to repeatedly evaluate one’s own behaviors in order to effect positive change in on-task behaviors
– During the first phase the student is observed during a period of time to get baseline data on the targeted behavior. 
– During the second phase the student, at set intervals, asks himself if he is doing the teacher expected task.  He records on a chart whether or not he is on task. 
– The next phase combines the later phase and teacher praise for on-task behavior. 
– The next phase, recording is withdrawn and teacher praise continued. 
– Finally, the teacher does another observation of the desired behavior.
Requires more practice opportunities than peers
-Provide additional practice through computer activities, games, peer or adult tutors, and homework
-Use peer tutors to provide repetitive practice opportunities
-Provide opportunities in class for practice after classwork is completed
-Provide opportunities for the student to practice during lesson
-Provide direct practice
-Use flashcards
-Send home some additional work for homework, if that is appropriate
-Allow child to practice during a time when others are engaged in other activities, but not to the extent that they lose free time or time in a favorite activity
Displays poor retention of knowledge
-Teach the student to identify and learn key words or phrases (self-cues) related to information in order to increase memory of material.
Incorrect grammar
-The teacher should be aware of the dialect spoken at home.  The difference between standard and nonstandard grammar should be explained without placing any negative connotations on his or her parents.
-Reinforce the use of correct grammar
-Tape record the student’s speech and have him or her identify the errors and make corrections
-During the day write down errors and have him or her make corrections
-Give students sentences both orally and written and have students identify whether the sentences are correct or incorrect
-Classwide peer tutoring – the teacher can focus on any skill that needs remediation The class of students are divided into two teams, A and B.  Each team then pairs off to work on the specific skill assigned.  One partner is the tutor and the other is the tutee.  The tutor asks the tutee pre-specified questions created by the teacher.  If the tutee gets the answer the tutor awards the tutee two points.  If the tutee gets the answer wrong the tutor provides the answer and requires the tutee to write the answer three times.  If the tutee cooperates and corrects his answer he gets one point.  If he does not, 0 points are awarded.  The more items the pair does the more points for the individual and the team.  After a prescribed time the pair switch roles.
Displays little motivation to learn
-Find an area of interest which can be used to stimulate learning in other areas, such as makes of cars, animals and their care, fish, etc.  Find ways to incorporate these interests into the necessary lessons
Cognitive ability scores indicate ability to achieve at higher levels
-Modifications would depend on what was determined to be the reason for the lower achievement.  If it was lack of interest in the subject, some way to stimulate interest might work.  If the subject is being taught primarily in one modality that the student does not favor, a change in or addition of different teaching modalities might work.