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Practical Modifications for the Elementary Classroom Jan Deaton Atlanta, GA It takes forever to do the assignment if you don’t have the skills! Visual Modifications Highlighting: Helps to Identify Sort, prioritize Recognize and recall Handwriting Handwriting Without Tears!!

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Practical Modifications for the Elementary Classroom

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  • Helps to
    • Identify
    • Sort, prioritize
    • Recognize and recall
  • Handwriting Without Tears!!
  • Keep a model of what you want the letter to look like on/at their desk/table
  • Practice use large muscles
  • Use small (short and skinny) pencils/crayons
Highlight Texts, tests, worksheets
    • Yellow – vocabulary
    • Pink – main idea
    • Blue – supporting details
    • Highlight signs for math (+, -, x)
    • Highlight words for directions in math
    • Highlight “every other one”
  • Use tachistascopes- make from tag board, post its
  • Use windows from envelopes

6 x 5 = 30

writing spelling vocabulary words
Writing Spelling/Vocabulary Words

Use color!!!

separate separate separate

separate separate separate

separate separate separate

separate separate separate

separate separate separate

teaching vowels blends vowel teams etc
Teaching vowels, blends, vowel teams, etc.

Use more color

tree far nice block

feed car rateflop

team fir citeplay

organize herringbone technique
Organize: Herringbone Technique

Students answer these questions as they


  • What is the main idea? 4. When was it done?
  • Who was involved? 5. Where was it done?
  • What did they do? 6. How did they do it?

7. Why did it happen?

3. Landed on the moon

4. July 16, 1969

2.Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin

Michael Collins

1. Man landed on the moon

6. Apollo 11; Command Module Columbia;

Lunar Module Eagle

5. U.S. to the moon

and back

7. To explore space

mind maps
Mind Maps

Apollo 11







July 16, 1969

Michael Collins

Neil Armstrong

Buzz Aldrin

Eagle Lunar


345 843 407 246

+ 762 + 791 - 234 + 97

________________ _________________ _________________ ________________

976 472 543 777

- 86 + 875 + 135 - 67

_________________ _________________ _______________ _________________





Use color to designate assignments/organize

  • Put assignments on the board and require copying before class begins.

Math Spelling

p. 27 1-10 CW1. Copy paragraph on board CW

WS #20 CW2. Underline blends p. 23 HW

P. 30 5-10 HW

Use colored overhead markers, colored chalk, colored dry erase markers

color code folders notebook tabs etc
Color code folders/notebook tabs, etc.
  • Math – blue, etc.
  • Language Arts - red, etc.
  • Science – green, etc.

This helps students remember where to put and retrieve papers. Be consistent across teachers and grade levels! Color coding papers is the ideal.

teaching vocabulary
Teaching Vocabulary
  • Must be multisensory
  • Students must see word, say word, write word (big and small muscles), find a way to associate word for usage.

Word Hint Image Definition

gravity grab hand coming out Force that pulls

of ground, things down to earth

grabbing a leg

and pulling down

satellite light lamps flying around object that revolves

the globe around another

utilizing visual cues
Utilizing Visual Cues
  • Many think in pictures and patterns
  • Illustrations help recognition and recall



picture chains
Picture Chains

Helps in remembering sequences/details

Try it!

In 1773 colonists, dressed as Indians, threw tea into Boston Harbor to protest unfair taxes.

use exact number of spaces
Use Exact Number of Spaces

Tell 4 . . . . . .

1. _____________ ____________

_____________ ____________

Why does. . . .

2. __________________________________



Who did. . . .


4.Name the kinds of . . .

______________ _____________

5.Explain. . .



advance planning
Advance Planning

Jack Spratt Date:

Spelling 4B

1. 6.

2. 7.

3. 8.

4. 9.

5. 10.







  • Don’t give more than 5 in a row.
  • Teach children to read the definition first.
  • Never, ever give more definitions than words or more words than definitions.
  • Avoid being “wordy”.

Circle the best answer:

  • The body of salt water that covers much of the earth is:

a. ocean b. island arc c. trench

  • A smaller body of salt water found along the edge of a big ocean is the:

a. abyssal plain b. rift valley c. marginal sea

  • A chain of islands, usually curved, that separates a marginal sea from a major ocean:

a. Island arc b. ocean c. echo sounding

Note: Separate with a line, etc. after 5 questions.

assign only what you really want them to learn everything is not that important
Assign only what you really want them to learn. Everything is not that important!
  • Modify worksheets:

3. The Indian who helped the Pilgrims grow food was

a. Cabot b. Mayflower c. Smith d. Squanto

4. Many of the people in the colonies wanted to have their own nation because

a. they thought English laws were unfair

b. they wanted to pay more taxes to England

c. England had claimed too much land

d. they wanted their own army

P. 1

  • Our country was named after
  • a. Christopher Columbus b. Robert LaSalle c. John Smith d. Amerigo Vespucci

2. The first English settlement in America was at

a. Boston b. Jamestown c. Pilgrims d. Plymouth

Decide whether each sentence is true (T) or false (F). Write T or F is the blank before each sentence.


1. _____ George Washington wrote the Constitution.


  • Did George Washington write the Constitution? _____
  • ____ America fought France in the American Revolution.


2. Did America fight France in the American Revolution? _____

down and dirty quick and easy
Down and Dirty/Quick and Easy

Name _________________ Date ______________

--- Chapter 13 Test ---

Part 1 Words and Ideas

A. Write the letter in the blank

a. impressment e. Henry Clay i. Francis Scott Key

b. Daniel Boone f. neutral j. Zebulon Pike

c. Trail of Tears g. Davy Crockett k. William Clark

d. Sequoyah h. pioneers l. Sacajawea

  • ___ the first people to settle a new land
  • ___ seizing sailors and forcing them to work on a ship
  • ___ wrote “The Star Spangled Banner”
  • ___ taking no sides in a dispute
  • ___ name of the journey taken by Indians forced to move west
  • ___ early explorer of Colorado
  • ___ Indian who went with Lewis and Clark
  • ___ explorer and early settler of Kentucky
  • ___ frontier lawmaker famous for his stories
  • ___ famous War Hawk and Kentucky senator
study guides
Study Guides
  • Create/distribute before beginning unit
  • Use facts to make Pick-an-Answer cards and Memory Bank Cards
  • Facts will be those needed for the test only
  • Use a tape recorder
  • Use a “phone”
  • Repeat directions – don’t assume
  • Number steps – first, next, then, last
  • Have them repeat directions
  • Be sure they picture the same thing you mean
  • Be specific – “Where is away?”
encourage and prompt
Encourage and Prompt
  • Call on all children – we call on boys 5-8 times more than girls
  • Ask questions they can answer – let them know you are going to ask them a question and then give the answer to them before class
  • Give choices “Is it Stephen Austin or Sam Houston who is called the Father of Texas?”
  • Call their names before asking a question
mnemonics auditory cues
  • Miss Venus Eats Mint Juleps Sitting Under Neptune’s Porch

Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto

  • Dr. Mario Sometimes Chooses Big Donuts

Divide Multiply Subtract Check Bring Down

  • I Am A Pig

Indian Atlantic Arctic Pacific

  • i before e except after c or when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh
  • When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking and the second one is silent.
  • Good, Better, Best

Never let it rest

Until the Good is Better

And the Better is Best

  • Use colored glue to write vocabulary/spelling words
  • Use craft grids to write/trace vocabulary/spelling words/math facts
  • Write words/facts in the air/in magic sand, on carpet
  • Use Pick-an-Answers and Memory Banks
you must teach practice model
You must teach/practice/model:
  • How to stand in line
  • How to walk down the hall
  • How to understand: first, next, last, middle
  • Time concepts such as yesterday, tomorrow, next week, last year, soon – yes, even to “only LD” kids.
It takes time and effort
  • What works for one child won’t work for all children
  • All children will usually benefit from some type of modification
  • Modifications are NOT accommodations