August 23, 2017

Classroom Accommodations


Accommodations For Dyslexic Students

All accommodations are to be done as discreetly as possible – try not to draw undue attention to the student’s difficulties – they have enough trouble as it is. An accommodation is an alteration that gives a student the chance to successfully demonstrate what he/she knows. An accommodation does not guarantee success, but denying it guarantees failure. Fair does not mean treating everyone the same. Fair means providing what each student needs to have a chance to succeed in class.

Reading to your children can be very beneficial. It will help develop their language skills and expand their vocabularies. It also will stimulate their imagination and knowledge of the world. Even after they are starting to read on their own, it’s beneficial to read to them above their reading level but on subjects that are of interest to them. This will increase their motivation to improve.

Spelling Accommodations

Traditional ways of teaching spelling don’t work with dyslexic students. While we teach spelling a different way, we ask that you:

  1. Do not grade spelling tests and do not let student spend hours practicing spelling. The student may take the test along with the others but don’t give a grade. Positive feedback is okay.
  2. Do not mark down for spelling errors in other written work. The student’s spelling will improve as he/she progresses through the program. Allow the students who have been instructed in its use to use the Franklin Spelling Ace on daily assignments.
  3. Never ask the student to use the dictionary to find out how to spell a word. The purpose of a dictionary is to give the meaning, pronunciation, and etymology of a word, not to teach spelling. Allow the student to use a Franklin Spelling Ace or word processor to look up spelling if parent has provided one.
  4. Do not trade papers to grade the test.

Reading Accommodations

Our students can more easily access grade level subjects through listening but, because they are below grade level in reading, they can not learn through reading. While we teach reading a different way we ask that you:

  1. Provide textbooks and literature in audio version.
  2. For SSR or DEAR, allow all students the option of listening to books. It is far preferable to listen to a book that is at or above grade level than to force a student to read a less mature book that is below his or her interest level.

Accommodations To Reduce Anxiety And Public Humiliation:

Our students are publicly humiliated on a daily basis for poor spelling, handwriting and reading. It makes many of our students sick and anxious. As we teach them to read and spell, they gain confidence. While they are learning to read and spell with a different method we ask that you:

  1. Establish a classroom environment where making a mistake is safe.
  2. Never force participation in a spelling bee.
  3. Never force the student to read out loud in front of others, unless he/she volunteers or has a chance to practice the passage ahead of time.
  4. Never force student to write on the board where others can see spelling mistakes and terrible handwriting.
  5. Never collect or distribute papers down the row where handwriting, spelling and mistakes are made public.
  6. Never allow other students to correct his assignments or grade his tests.
  7. Never call on him in class unless he volunteers by raising hand. If he does volunteer, please call on him first when possible. He/she may only have one answer, while others may have backup options.

Accommodations For Dysgraphia

Some students have very slow, painful, non-automatic handwriting that takes so much thought that they can’t write and listen at the same time. We will be working on handwriting with this student, if needed. We will work to eliminate b/d confusion and letter reversals. We’ll attempt to develop clear, consistent handwriting. However, our primary job is to teach spelling and reading. Handwriting development and correction take more to perfect than our program can give with only 80 – 90 minutes a week.

Please provide this help in your classroom:

  1. Eliminate copying and note taking.
  2. Have a letter formation strip easily available for students to look at when they forget how a letter is formed.
  3. Provide notes from the teacher so the student can listen to lecture.
  4. Don’t count off for poor handwriting.
  5. Don’t make student copy problems from book or board.
  6. Allow student to dictate answers to teacher or aide, a recorder, or into PC using voice-recognition software.
  7. Encourage students to type assignments or to dictate to parents to scribe or type it. You have to be able to trust your parents. They want their child to learn, they really don’t want to do their own school years all over again by doing their child’s work for them.

Accommodations For Written Expression

Provide alternatives to writing a report – consider the learning objective and look for appropriate alternative to demonstrate the learning. Don’t have all learning be shown only through writing.

Homework Accommodations

Teachers are usually unaware of how many hours struggling students spend on homework. In my introductory letter, I asked you to watch about 3 hours worth of webcasts. Your students will spend that and more every night of their lives. So please, out of compassion for them, you owe it to every one of your struggling students to watch the webcasts.

These are reasonable homework expectations:

Maximum daily homework time:

  • 30 – 45 min. for Kindergarten through 5th grade
  • 1.5 hours for Middle School students
  • 2.5 hours for High School students
  1. Shorten homework assignments to fit these time frames.
  2. Shorten classroom assignments if student is unable to complete them in class.
  3. There has to be a limit to the time a student is expected to spend on school work.
  4. Assign homework the same way every day and be sure to leave enough time for students to write it down.
  5. Be sure parents have a way to double check what the homework assignment is.
  6. Homework Buddy
  7. Posted online
  8. Sent home in written form
  9. Provide an extra set of textbooks for home. Some students have chiropractic problems from carrying too many books back and forth to school.
  10. Collect homework in a consistent manner.
  11. If homework is not turned in, notify parents immediately. They may be able to find it. If so and they are able to get it to school, don’t count it as late.

Memory Accommodations

Dyslexic students have extreme difficulty with random memory.

  1. Allow use of calculator or math tables.
  2. Ask two-choice questions rather than open-ended questions.
  3. Provide formulas and codes used for math, science, and English tests. In the workplace codes/formulas can be looked up as needed.

Test Accommodations

Unreliable memory and fear of not having enough time create tremendous anxiety.

  1. Conduct short, oral review sessions.
  2. Provide a sample test ahead of time.
  3. Allow students to create one page of notes to bring into test and give guidance in how to create such a note page.
  4. Oral testing
  5. Quiet testing environment
  6. Format accommodations
  7. Draw a line between question and answer
  8. Fill in the blank – provide answers from which to choose
  9. Untimed testing