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  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.


Connecting Needs and Tools

Page history last edited by Siri 8 years, 3 months ago

Exceptional Learners

Exceptional Learners"Exceptional learners" are students who are outside the bell curve for one reason or another. It does NOT mean that they are necessarily above or below average intelligence.  Special Needs students are, on average of average intelligence and many are above average intelligence.


If we could only make a few relatively low-tech interventions with the goal of helping the broadest spectrum of our exceptional learners we might recommend:


  • Give them the words. Teach vocabulary and provide parents/paraprofessionals with a clear list of the most important targeted academic vocabulary in your unit of study.


You can share these online in printable lists (word docs or pdfs) or in power points.

You can roll your power point into a VoiceThread if you want to narrate the words and afford students a chance to hear and apply the words themselves.

Parents and paraprofessionals can work with students on the words outside of class.

Words can be given to students as a "word bank" to help with assignments.

If you cut them out as flash cards parents can be given a list of games that they can play with students as they work on the recall and understanding of the terms.


  • Provide core content materials on your web page.  Some exceptional learners struggle more when we ask them to multi-task. For instance, when we ask them to both take notes and try to learn new content at the same time.


This might mean a student trying to attend to the task of "taking notes" won't simultaneously have enough cognitive processing space to also make connections to her or his prior knowledge.


Think ahead and plan how to focus student attention where it needs to be during your class presentations: If the goal isn't the note-taking provide students with copies of your notes and a highlighter to use during your presentation, or let them know they can get the notes online after class off your website.


Using technology to consistently provide core content outside of class will facilitate student attention to learning objectives during class.


  • Make it visual. The resources out there are infinite: Use them!


You don't have to "flip" your classroom to know how valuable it can be if students can watch or review videos, slideshows, animations or graphic tours of the content and skills you are teaching.


There is a reason that the commercials we see on TV are often repeated within the same show. Repetition helps.



    Some Commonly Identified Learning Needs for Exceptional Students

    Suggestion for Web-Hosted Learner Supports

    Any of these might work for any of the exceptional learners with whom you work...we are just making some targeted suggestions to give you a place to begin! Most additional supports you build in for most of these learners will also be useful to others.

     Learning Disabled (LD)


    An LD student benefits from multiple ways of presentation of the material.


    For a low or non-reader that needs content the use of any audio tool is helpful.


    For a student who is working on literacy and has LD issues a way to help them build fluency is to have them dictate and hear their own language.


    A third easy, but often overlooked, differentiation is the use of large font and white space, clustering the main parts that you wish to get across.



    Jing--Create instant tours of your computer desktop to show the steps of an assignment, give parents and overview of your class, or model a procedure you find you are often having to re-explain to students or parents. 


    Audacity--Create audio files (or ask student's parents/grandparents to help you create audio files) of longer readings that are likely a challenge for the students to read. Students could listen to the readings, or lecture summaries, outside of class, in class on an MP3 player, or at home. Students can also create audio files and listen to themselves speak.



    Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)


    Students with ADD may have difficulty attending --but they often do well with computer screens that they can manipulate. Interactive sites, rather than text heavy sites will engage the ADHD student and allow him to learn the material.


    Providing choices and organizational skill building can help them succeed as they get older.





    Diigo -- A social bookmarking site that helps a person organize, categorize, sort, and comment on what they find online. This would be particularly useful in junior high/high school students. You can use Diigo to embed a widget into your web page that will continually update as you add new links on a topic. See examples below on three different subjects.



    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


    Visual modeling helps students on the ASD.


    Videos to reinforce what is being learned can be very helpful.


    Social stories can be used with younger students pick up social nuances.


    Stimuli can be overwhelming so putting on ear phones and letting them be on their own can be helpful way to control their environment.





    Khan Academy or Sophia-- Find educational videos and lessons to embed or link on your web page to reinforce key concepts and learning objectives.


    CAST UDL Bookbuilder or StoryBird-- Create stories to help learners understand social situations that can have audio (Universal Design for Learning site) or beautiful artwork.


    English Language Learners (ELL) and Students from Generational Poverty (FRP)


    Students learning English as a Second Language need background information, vocabulary, and opportunities to read, write, listen and speak! Students from generational poverty have the same need for background information and vocabulary.


    You can help them also by providing access to any power points that you use in class so that they can review them multiple times and/or with a bilingual parent/sibling/friend/ELL teacher.


    You can link them to translation tools online.






    VoiceThread--Repeat Key Concepts Audio/Video; Afford students a way to respond verbally rather than in writing to question prompts; Support interaction among multiple participants on key concepts; Can be privacy protected and moderated. Students can read into the VoiceThread and replay it for themselves.


    Gifted and Talented (G and T)


    Gifted and Talented students benefit from compacting and extending the curriculum.


    You can help them by pre-testing them to ensure that you aren't teaching them material they already confidently know.


    Students should not feel that being 'punished' for being labeled Gifted and Talented--so don't "add" work to their load, think "substitute!" You can easily engage students in more challenging content, assignments, and activities using resources available online.





    Simulations and Online Games--Free engaging online simulations and games for to reinforce learning at home or as an incentive in class are widely available. See the Diigo List on this topic below for some examples.


    Prezi, Web Posters and Wikis--Use these tools to create dynamic presentations that students can re-watch at home--or afford gifted students a chance to do more complex assignments that can be housed on your website later to help others learn about the unit content.




     LD and ADHD help, click LDonline





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