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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Simplifying What is Best for ADHD Learners

Students that struggle with ADHD battle maintaining their focus on classroom materials and can be a challenge to hook and reel in for any teacher.  Many teachers and parents ask me to help them address what is best for ADHD learners, and the magic for motivating and enticing these students falls into five realms: the learning environment, the teaching approach, the teachers presentation, mindfulness training and the assessment of learning method.

The Learning Environment:  Create an engaging, multisensory learning environment that offers fun learning tools.
  1. Offer hands on experiences and consider creating learning stations where students can complete a variety of activities that reinforce lessons.
  2. Offer a variety of seating options.  Some students learn best when sitting still, while other students need to move around.  Options, such as the Zenergy Ball Chairstand up school desks and bouncy bands offer opportunities for students to move without distracting their classmates. 
  3. Play games that preview or review lessons.  This will bring the fun factor into the classroom.
  4. Make sure that the lighting is optimal for all learners.
  5. Make sure that there are minimal auditory and visual distractions.
The Teaching Approach: Use teaching methods that are empowering for all learners.
  1. Go multisensory:  Teach to each of the 12 ways of learning, while assessing and accommodating your learners best ways of learning so lessons can be most empowering.  To get an assessment and manual on meeting the 12 ways of learning, CLICK HERE.
  2. Make the lesson playful.  If you are not sure how to do this, create a suggestion box and let your students offer ideas.
  3. Go creative and integrate art and music into your lessons.
The Teacher's Presentation: Be enthusiastic and positive when presenting your lesson.
  1. Create excitement or intrigue on class topics.  For example, encourage your students to dress like the historical characters they are learning about, create a game for a lesson and let the students know how fun it will be, provide examples on how a coming topic is used in real life, and invite engaging professionals to share their experiences to the class.
  2. Come up with a fun name for all lessons.  Instead of introducing a lesson with a dull and boring name, come up with a title that sounds fun.  For example, don't teach script or cursive, teach roller-coaster letters!
  3. Be positive in your presentation.  Stop using negative labels and replace discouraging comments with words of encouragement.  Click here to learn more.
Mindfulness Training:  Teach your students to manage and be aware of their own thinking process.
  1. Determine if your students are passive or active learners and help them become conscious learners.  Here is a free assessment you can use with your students.
  2. Lead a discussion with your students about on how to maintain focus.  See what strategies your students are already using and suggest metacognitive approaches and visualization strategies
  3. Share your own metacognitive techniques on how you focus.  You can do this by sharing your internal thoughts.
  4. Ask your students to think about the material and make connections to their own lives.
Assessment of Learning Method: Maximize the utility of classroom and home work assignments.
  1. If you want to assess your students knowledge of a topic through class and homework assignments, provide 3 to 5 different options that tap into the different ways of learning.  
  2. Make sure all homework and classwork is valuable and engaging.
  3. Allow students to get partial credit for errors on classwork, homework and tests so that they can learn from their mistakes.  
I hope you found this blog helpful.  If you have any other ideas, please share them below this blog.


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com
www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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