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Accommodating Diverse Learners

Many of the students in Project Athena will be on free or reduced lunch status, be minority students or have a learning disability of some kind. Beyond differentiation of reading and task demands, these students may need targeted instructional attention to assure success. The following ideas for teachers include cognitive and socio-emotional development considerations, written expression and organizational considerations, and ideas for working with twice-exceptional learners.

Cognitive Development

The teacher:

  • Taps learning modalities, such as auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
  • Uses vocabulary study techniques.
  • Encourages the use and creation of word analogies.
  • Employs expressive activities, role-playing, debate, and oral interpretation of written material.
  • Employs puzzles, games and spatial reasoning techniques.
  • In order to stimulate thinking, uses challenging problems where students don't know algorithms.
  • Employs creative thinking strategies such as brainstorming, synetics, elaboration.
  • Engages students in activities that employ inductive and deductive thinking.
  • Integrates the arts into teaching.
  • Uses concept maps and other scaffolds for learning.
  • Uses interdisciplinary approaches.
  • Integrates technology.
  • Asks students to reflect on their own learning in a variety of ways, such as journals, classroom discussions, etc.
  • Encourages exploring multiple perspectives.
  • Uses biographies and autobiographies to provide role models of success.
Organizational Accommodations

The teacher:

  • Lists and verbally reviews step-by-step directions for assignments.
  • Posts class and homework assignments in the same area each day and ensures that students record them and/or have a printed copy.
  • Verbally reviews class and homework assignments.
  • Works with students to establish specific due dates for short assignments and a time frame for long-terms assignments.
  • Breaks up tasks into workable and obtainable steps.
  • Provides examples and specific steps to accomplish tasks.
  • Provides check-points for long-term assignments and monitors progress frequently.
  • Directs students to review and summarize important information and directions.
  • Coaches students about asking questions regarding unclear directions and assignments.
Social-Emotional Development

The teacher:

  • Provides personal encouragement to each learner that is based on performance level.
  • Promotes individual student understanding of their own giftedness.
  • Communicates regularly with parents.
Written Expression Accommodations

The teacher:

  • Breaks assignments down into smaller, manageable parts.
  • Allows additional time.
  • Reduces or alters written requirements.
  • Guides students to proofread for one type of error at a time.
  • Has students use scientific and technological products to communicate knowledge.
  • Permits dictated response to a person or tape recorder.
  • Teaches prewriting strategies including brainstorming, making a web, and drawing about a topic.
Twice-Exceptional Accommodations

Some students in Project Athena may be twice-exceptional, both gifted and learning-disabled or attention deficit. Those students may require additional accommodation approaches to be employed. The following represents some suggestions:

  • Removing distractions (seating, use of desk clocks).
  • Providing cueing.
  • Allowing classroom movement.
  • Providing regular contact with parents.
  • Providing visual, auditory, and written reminders of assignments, procedures, and tasks.
  • Adjusting deadlines/time requirements for tests, homework, and special projects.
  • Allowing for alternative assignments.
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test (UNIT)
  • Test of Critical Thinking (TCT)
  • The William and Mary Classroom Observation Scales-Revised (COS-R)
  • The William and Mary Student Observation Scales (SOS)
  • Pre and post performance-based assessments in writing and literature analysis