Teaching Strategies: Best Practices
- Use word processors to reorganize written materials.
- Prepare for wait time by encouraging children to take objects with them (in their pockets or purses) to "play" with (paper clips, colored pipe cleaners, pieces of play-dough, sponges, coated wire, foam, or "stress" balls) and include rules for use during listening activities and classroom delays.
- Provide practice in identifying conversational lags (as a better time to interrupt) to help them during social interactions whose slow pace brings out their impatience or bossiness.
- Tell them as soon as you finish helping child A, you will help them rather than saying you will be there in a minute.
- Provide attractive, colorful planners that match the color of the texts and teach them how to plan for the day, for after school, and for the weekend. Provide time in groups for this activity.
- Provide templates for written tasks or fold plain paper into six parts and ask the child to draw a picture for each part of the story to be written to improve organization.
- Give instructions that are brief and that have visual cues.
- Provide a worksheet with items labeled easy, moderate, difficult so that students know that if they have answered hard items, they have demonstrated competency. However, they may need to so some easy items first to get started quickly and feel successful.
- Praise their efforts and abilities to wait and reward successively longer durations of waiting.
- Provide models of how to take brief notes (even just cue words) or use a computer to take notes. With these notes, they can raise their questions or comments later.
- Give all students at least 5 minutes before the bell to plan (e.g., prepare for upcoming tasks in their planners or to start homework).
- Give students a certain number of tickets to talk during specific activities. When you ask the whole class who had a turn to talk, the talkative child sees that some students did not have a turn, and turn taking becomes a clearer notion.
- Use a "talking stick" (e.g., a popsicle stick) in group activities that gets passed from student to student to indicate who "has the floor."
- Use individual rather than whole-class transitions to reduce transition time. Individualizing changes of activity can be set up on a schedule or by task completion.
- Cue children about upcoming difficult times or tasks where extra control or delay activities will be needed.
- Allow constructive (or at least nondestructive) activities during delays, such as free reading, doodling, crossword puzzles, or weaving.
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