What it is
An area of student need, involving difficulty with maintaining concentration, especially on non-preferred activities, while ignoring distractions.
• Provide frequent physical breaks; avoid long periods of sitting or being physically inactive. One strategy could be to ask the student to collect/distribute materials.
• Set up a cueing system, when you will be calling upon or asking something of the student. For example, say, “I will stand beside you, and when I do this, this will let you know that the next question is for you.” Or: “You will always be the next person I ask a question of, after I ask Student A.” (focuses student’s listening).
• Give specific instructions with a check list for the student to check off when each item is finished.
• Alternate between sitting/less engaging and active classroom tasks.
• Provide a “leadership” role for the student in class, so that he or she is responsible for repeating instructions or writing them on the board.
• Give few instructions at a time, use numbering/cueing system for instructions: “First you, second, you and third you.” / “First… and then…” / “Do-A, then-B and finally-C.”
• Use graphic organizers for the student to collect or interpret information.
• Chunk assignments into parts and provide feedback when each step is finished.
• Post the daily schedule and review it with the whole class.
• Explicitly teach organizational strategies.
• Teach social skill lessons to the student and/or small group on appropriately asking for help in the classroom, for instructions to be repeated/rephrased, completing work, etc.
• Consider the development of an alternative programming page for the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).
• Communicate regularly with parents/guardians and focus on positive behaviours.
• Reward on-task behaviours.
• Use a timer for the student to self monitor the amount of on-task behaviour.
• Allow the student to earn a reward for a set amount of on-task behaviour.
• Use differentiated teaching methods frequently, with various media forms.
• Have the student use a computer with text to speech for reading.
• Have the student use a computer with speech to text for writing activities.
• Use a colour coding system for organization and/or learning activities.
• Use various technology tools, so the student can better follow the lesson.
• Provide a list of tasks that need to be accomplished during a set period, and allow the student to choose the order, or alternate between activities.
• In consultation with the student, develop a non-verbal signal for the teacher to give him/her to redirect behaviour.
• Consider referral to the school board speech and language and/or psychology staff.Less... More...
• Post simple and action-focused rules and consequences.
• Use preferential seating to reduce distractions for the student.
• Provide a choice of work areas for the student to move between in the classroom.
• Provide for the student to take a physical break (delivering material to another class or to the office).
• Consider the use of music and headphones if it helps the student to concentrate.
• Provide items that a student can physically manipulate (stress ball, chewing gum).
• Provide choice in assessment activities, including use of various media forms.
• Use oral tests.
• Chunk tests/assignments.
• Allow breaks during tests (consider giving the student only one page of a multiple page test, with a walk break or other suitable break prior to receiving the next page).
• Use a variety of methods on written tests (short answer, matching, fill in the blank, long answer).
• Provide printed assignment requirements and rubrics.
• Provide an alternate testing location that is more free of distractions.
• Prompt the student to return to task if he/she seems to be off task.
• Allow additional time.
Strategies for various student needs.