Working with Students with Special Needs: Part IV – Classroom Modifications for Special Needs Students

Teacher Checklist

The following are some ways to modify the classroom environment for students with special needs:

  • Reduce the number of assignments.
  • Decrease the amount of writing in an assignment.
  • Modify tests (e.g., read math problems to student).
  • Extend time for assignment completion.
  • Participation at homework center.
  • Use a timer to determine the amount of time to be spent on a particular assignment.
  • Use visual aids when giving instruction.
  • Use short, concise directions.
  • Have a buddy repeat the directions to the student.
  • Student uses a personal chalkboard/whiteboard.
  • Provide a special study area.
  • Provide a special learning partner.
  • Have the student use a notebook/contract for organization.
  • Demand an organized desk area and notebook.
  • Timeout to another classroom.
  • Provide “activity breaks.”
  • Have the student dictate thought or story to an aide. Aide writes it down and student copies it.
  • Encourage student to use a marker while reading.
  • Change seating.
  • Put fewer problems on each page.
  • Assign short period of concentrated effort.
  • Shorten assignments.
  • Provide student with the opportunity to take the assignment home or to the homework center.
  • Provide written directions.
  • Encourage student to repeat your question before answering it.
  • Teacher lists assignment on board and student copies it.
  • Break complex directions into one- or two-step tasks.
  • Change class assignments.
  • Allow student to use earphones to screen out distractions while involved in a paper and pencil task.
  • Vary test format.
  • Deploy the student within classroom.
  • Have the student work with an aide or cross-age tutor.
  • Have the student use a computer for writing assignments.

3 thoughts on “Working with Students with Special Needs: Part IV – Classroom Modifications for Special Needs Students”

  1. Dana Niblett

    I teach a high school Chemistry and I have 2 inclusion classes. I teach a total of 15 special education students that each require different modifications. I have found several things that have worked really well with my students this year. First, I set up their notebooks for them at the beginning of the year. Since some of their modifications require that we work on their organizational skills, I require them to keep a notebook. For those studnets who can’t seem to keep up with thier notebook, I have a special place for them in my room and at the beginning of each day, they get their notebook from that place. At the end of each grading period, I give them a major grade that assesses how organized they kept thier notebook. This has worked magically for some of my students.

    However, I am teaching “Half Life” to some of my inclusion students. Half life is word problems and requires a little math. My regular ed studnets understand this fine, but my inclusion students are struggling. Does anyone have any suggestions that would allow me to help my struggling students, without making my regular ed students bored?

  2. Meaghan

    Great tips and suggestions. As with most teacher tips, these strategies all helpful for all students in your class, not just those with specific special education labels.

  3. TC Bear Post Author

    Hi Dana,

    You may want to incorporate realia into your explanation of the word problems. Perhaps the students who are struggling are visual learners and would understand the material better with tangible examples.

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