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Five Ideas for Teaching Social Studies to Students with ADHD

written by: goldwriter • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 8/2/2012

Get ideas for teaching social studies to students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). These ideas for interactive activities will help students focus on the lesson they are learning.

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    Social Studies Lesson Ideas for Students with ADHD and ADD

    Social studies lessons for students with ADD are most effective when activities are brief and interactive. Students should use different learning modalities so they will learn in ways that suits them best. Role playing, graphic organizers and review games can add variety to the learning experience and make learning fun.

    Role Play

    Use role playing to help students with ADD and ADHD make connections between what they learn and real-life experiences when teaching social studies. Give the ADD student, studying social studies short scenes of 5 to 10 minutes. Social studies lessons that relate to history or social skills are particularly adaptable to performances. Eliminate the stress associated with learning lines by allowing students to use cue cards. You can also create a PowerPoint presentation for with all of the students' parts so the entire class can read along as the students act out the scenes. Younger children tend to enjoy dressing up in costumes during role-playing.

    Graphic Organizers

    Teach students to take notes in a graphic organizer. Students can write vocabulary words or terms they need to know for the lesson on the tabs and write brief definitions and create illustrations on the graphic organizer. Display examples of how to complete the graphic organizers the first time students use them. You can opt to guide students in note taking by writing keywords and definitions on the board. However, it's important that students illustrate the terms or provide their own examples of definitions during the direct instruction. Keep direct instruction at short 15-minute sessions for social studies lessons for students with ADHD and ADD.

    Review Game

    Create a review game that students can play as a class or in groups. After each lesson, you can use short review games to help students remember what they have learned. The interactive nature of game playing will help students with ADD pay attention while learning social studies lessons. You can create board games that the students can play in groups or play question/answer games in a structure similar to Jeopardy or other popular TV show games by adapting a pre-made PowerPoint template to suit your needs. You can also ask students to create their own game questions.

    Flash Cards

    Ask social studies students with ADD and ADHD to learn difficult concepts or help them remember terms or dates by creating and using flash cards in class. Index cards or paper cut into small squares can be used for the cards. Students can spend short bursts of time practicing with the flash cards with a partner in class. Allowing students to practice in class, allow students to learn skills that they can apply at home to help them study.Students should play for points. Winners can earn small gifts or other incentives like passes to use the library or time to read selected fun books in class.

    Variety of Activities

    Keep activities to 15 minutes or less. A variety of activities will keep students engaged. Spend less than five minutes explaining the activities, if possible. Show the students what to do as you explain. If possible, create a short video demonstration of what you would like to students to do after you explain the directions. Project the video to the class.

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