Accommodations and Modifications: Differentiating Instruction and Promoting Staff Implementation in the Era of High Standards



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What is the difference?

  • Differentiated Instruction
      • Terminology from general education
  • Accommodations
      • Terminology from special education
  • Are all students entitled to accommodations?
      • Ponder this
  • Goal: To allow educational progress in mastering curriculum, physical and social access to a full array of IEP team determined appropriate classrooms and peers.
  • Individualized goals are developed, skills taught and measured through either standard assessments with modifications (mild disabilities) or through alternate assessments (moderate to severe disabilities).

Implications of Modifications

  • High school diploma may or may not be earned, depending on the student’s meeting of district graduation requirements and passing a high school exit exam (CAHSEE) with modifications. When do we tell families that?
  • With modifications, what is taught and assessed is highly individualized. Achievement is not compared to peers.
  • Find this page in your packet.
  • Pg. 1-6
  • Quantity * •
  • Adapt the number of items that the learner is expected to learn or number of activities student will complete prior to assessment for mastery.
  • For example:
  • Reduce the number of social studies terms a learner must learn at any one time. Add more practice activities or worksheets prior to assessment of skill mastery.

Ponder This

    • Does altering amount of seatwork completed prior to assessment of content mastery constitute a modification or an accommodation?
      • If I reduce practice, and now
      • student can’t demonstrate
      • mastery?
      • If I reduce practice and
    • student can still demonstrate
    • mastery?
  • Time *
  • Adapt the time allotted and allowed for learning, task completion, or testing.
  • For example:
  • Individualize a timeline for completing a task; pace learning differently (increase or decrease) for some learners.
  • Nine Types of Curriculum Adaptations

Ponder This

    • Does giving more time to complete an assignment or take a test result in a lowering of a standard?
    • How should this be graded or evaluated?
    • Is this practice a modification or an accommodation?
    • Discuss at your table
  • Level of Support *
  • Increase the amount of personal assistance to keep the student on task or to reinforce or prompt use of specific skills. Enhance adult-student relationship; use physical space and environmental structure.
  • For example:
  • Assign peer buddies, teaching assistants, peer tutors, or cross-age tutors. Specify how to interact with the student or how to structure the environment.
  • Nine Types of Curriculum Adaptations

Ponder This

    • Is this a common practice?
    • Do students without disabilities often have this support?
    • Do we use this too frequently or
    • too little?
    • Is this an accommodation?
    • If so, for what?
    • Are we using one on one paraeducators effectively?
  • Input *
  • Adapt the way instruction is delivered to the learner.
  • For example:
  • Use different visual aids, enlarge text, plan more concrete examples, provide hands-on activities, place students in cooperative groups, pre-teach key concepts or terms before the lesson.
  • Nine Types of Curriculum Adaptations

Ponder This

    • Discuss at your table
    • Is Input an accommodation or
    • modification?
    • What is more effective: pre-teaching
    • or re-teaching?
  • Use strategies and scaffolds
    • To accommodate diverse learners.
  • Accommodation during INPUT
    • A service or support to help fully access the subject matter and instruction.
  • Input Enhancement
  • IN
  • Using graphic organizers when teaching content…
  • Organization of ideas is self-evident to students.
  • Reduces information processing demands needed to understand new information.
  • Input Enhancement
  • IN

INPUT: Visual Displays

  • Portray relationships among information presented in instruction
  • Includes diagrams, concrete
  • models, concept maps, videos
  • situating learning in a meaningful context,
  • or digital material presented during instruction.
  • Intended to help students organize information in long-term memory.

Visual Displays

  • Activate prior knowledge during instruction.
  • Function as an accommodation when they scaffold the creation of linkages among information in the learner’s long-term memory.

INPUT: Pre-teaching with Advance Organizers

  • Defined: Pre-instructional materials to aid linkage of new information with prior knowledge stored in long-term memory.
    • May be verbal, written, or be presented in a question format. Examples:
      • Questions presented prior to a discussion or reading assignment.
      • Vocabulary words presented on the board or a handout.
      • Verbal statements by the teacher designed to activate knowledge prior to instruction.



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