Editor's Note: The following list has suggestions for working with students with behavior problems, but the ideas are easily modified for any student.
- Move the desks farther apart.
- Use tape lines to designate activity-specific areas.
- Use visual barriers where they are needed. File cabinets, rolling chalkboards, and book shelves are possibilities.
- Increase or decrease the amount of limiting .
- Put unnecessary items out of sight and, if possible, out of reach.
- Organize materials for greater ease of use.
- Adjust the schedule for a better balance of whole group and individual instruction.
- Adjust the lessons to meet instructional and interest levels.
- Adjust the materials to the needs and interests of the students. For instance, one child might hate to write, but would willingly do the same work if he or she could cut and paste the appropriate responses on a worksheet from a list of possible responses. Similarly, crayons might be considered too infantile by another child. That child could use markers, colored pencils, or colored chalk.
- Adjust the temperature of the room.
- Adjust the height of visual aids.
- Adjust tables, desks, and chairs to appropriate levels.
- Divide assignments into two or more parts. Some students are able to handle two small worksheets with 10 problems on each page, but will have a tantrum if given one full worksheet with 20 problems on it.
Excerpted from Tough to Reach, Tough to Teach.