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A Guide to Understanding Teaching Modifications

written by: Lisa Pulsifer • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 3/29/2015

Whether teaching in a regular or special education classroom, there are likely students that will benefit from modifications to the instructional time. We'll cover some ways to approach this.

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    When teaching a group of students in a classroom, it is likely that they will not all learn in the same way and some will require Not All Students Are Alike modifications to the lesson in order to be successful. Modifications are changes made to a lesson in order to allow a student to participate and learn. Teaching modifications can be made to the presentation, materials, process of evaluation and environment.

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    Modifying the Presentation

    Modifications made to the presentation of material have to do with how you give your students the information. While some may be successful at listening to a lecture or reading a book, others might need more help in order to interpret new ideas and determine which facts are important. Therefore, it will be necessary to provide them with a way to do this. Modifying the presentation can be as simple as handing out notes to read along with what is being said. Allowing information to be given in a small group setting allows the person giving the information to be more personal in their approach and adjust the pace of what is being taught as needed. Also, giving audio or visual recordings of the information will allow a student to go back and review what they are unclear about.

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    Changes to the Materials

    Modifying materials for students can allow them to be successful. While the activities and things they use to complete them might look different, it does not mean they are required to have less knowledge of the subject. Some examples of how materials might be modified are to use larger print, color to organize materials, pictures and typed information instead of handwritten items.

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    Individualizing Evaluations

    The purpose of evaluating a student is to determine how much knowledge he or she has gained from a lesson. Teaching modifications might be necessary for a student who is unable to take a quiz or test due to reading or writing deficits but is able to understand and gain knowledge from a lesson. Examples of how to modify the evaluation of what a student knows include extra test time, use of a computer instead of writing things by hand and allowing them to answer questions verbally.

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    Adjusting Learning Environments

    Sometimes, things going on within a learning environment can prevent a student from learning, and by modifying the classroom, they will be able to succeed. Some examples of ways to do this are to provide a quiet area for the student to complete work, to keep outside noise to a minimum and to have the student sit close to the front of the room where the teacher is most likely to be giving information.

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    Pinpointing Students' Other Strengths

    In addition to teaching modifications providing the opportunity for students with special needs to learn successfully, they also provide students the chance to show their strengths in different ways. By asking students to show their work in different ways, they are able to demonstrate skills that might not be obvious in another technique. For example, if a student is particularly talented at using pictures to illustrate her knowledge, she will benefit from an opportunity to be evaluated using a project that allows drawings verses a test where she is only allowed to answer questions in sentence form.

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    References

    Classroom Modifications (http://cornbeltcoop.k12.sd.us/PRINTABLE%20PDF/Class%20Room%20Modifications%20Accomodations.pdf)

    The Learning Disabilities Association of Texas (http://www.ldat.org/ld_info/accommodations.html)