“Turn and Talks” in the Classroom Can Yield Many Positive Outcomes For Your Students

Image result for turn and talk


Turn and Talk – Procedures and Routines

How to Use

1. Question

Pose a question or prompt for students to discuss and tell them how much time they will have. A one-to-two minute discussion is most productive.

2. Turn

Have students turn to a specific partner. Pair students using Eyeball Partners, Shoulder Partners, or Clock Partners (see variations below). Partner assignments should be set up beforehand so that students can quickly and easily pair up.

3. Talk

Set a timer for the allotted time, and have students begin discussing the assigned question or prompt. When time is up, ask partners to share out thoughts and ideas from their discussion.

When to Use

Use Turn and Talk at any time during a lesson to encourage accountable talk:

  • As a warm-up activity to discuss previous lesson or homework assignment
  • After five to seven minutes of oral or written input, to help student process what they have just heard or read
  • During class discussions as a way for students to discuss ideas before sharing them with the class
  • As a closing activity so that students can review what was learned in the lesson
  • As a clarification tool for a complex problem or new guiding question posed by the teacher


Eyeball Partners

When students are seated at tables or in groups, “eyeball partners” are students who are facing in front of each other.

Shoulder Partners

When students are seated at tables or in groups, “shoulder partners” are students who are seated next to each other. This may also be done when students are seated in rows.

Clock Partners

Using a clock template, have students “make appointments” with four other classmates, one for 12 o’clock, one for 3 o’clock, one for 6 o’clock, and one for 9 o’clock. Partners may not be repeated. When ready to use partners, simply say “Work with your [choose one of the times] partner.” In Primary Grades PK-1, partners should be assigned by the teacher.



Turn and Talk: One Powerful Practice So Many Uses by Lucy West & Antonia Cameron

6 Easy Ways to Improve Turn & Talk for Student Language Development


Why Talk Is Important in Classrooms- from Content-Area Conversations by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Carol Rothenberg

Structured Student Talk  From El Achieve

Turn and Talk Tips and Examples

Keep Your Students Engaged with “Turn and Talk” by RACHEL LYNETTE

I'm sure that by now in your teaching career, you've heard of Think, Pair, Share. But have you heard of Turn and Talk? This is very similar to Think, Pair, Share, but its foundation is in brain-based research. Sally of Elementary Matters shares all about Turn and Talk in this guest post and shares a FREE poster that you can hang up in your classroom. Click through to read more and download the freebie!

Please note that the list below is not meant to be a comprehensive list of Turn and Talk prompts, but simply a starter guide to get you thinking about how you can use this tool in your classroom.
1. Which character did you identify most with in the book and why?
2. What do you predict will happen in the next chapter?
3. What did you visualize when you read this chapter?
4. Describe a connection you made while reading this piece. It can be a text-to-text, text-to-self, or text-to-world connection.
5. What is something the main character did that surprised you?
6. Choose a word that was unfamiliar to you when you first read this book. Explain to your partner how you determined the meaning of the word.
7. What do you think is the theme of the story?
8. Do you agree with the character’s actions? Why or why not?
9. After reading this book, what is one question you would want to ask the author?
10. What do you think the author’s purpose was for writing this story?

1. Explain the strategy you used to solve this problem, and why you chose it.
2. Share three ways we use math in our everyday lives.
3. Analyze this problem and see if you can find the error the student made while solving it. Discuss with your partner how you would correct the error.
4. Do you agree or disagree with how I just solved this problem? Defend your answer.
5. What would be the next step?
6. Choose one math tool / manipulative we have used this year, and explain to your partner what it can be used for.
7. Which image / shape / pattern does not belong in this set of 4? Explain your thinking.
8. What information do you still need in order to solve this problem?
9. I can check my answer by……
10. I know my answer is reasonable because…

1. The physical properties of ___________ and ____________ are similar because ___________________.
2. What do you predict will happen as we complete this investigation?
3. Choose one science safety tool and explain to your partner how to use it and why it is important.
4. Explain what you observed during the experiment, and why you think this happened.
5. Explain the process of how matter can change from one state to another.
6. Choose a plant or animal we have studied, and explain how it is adapted to thrive in its particular environment.
7. Take turns describing to each other the stages of the ___________’s life cycle.
8. A change we could make to our design is _______________. I think this will impact it by __________________.
9. Choose one environmental change, and explain to your partner how it impacts the environment.
10. How can we represent the data we have collected from this experiment?

1. Which invention do you think had the greatest impact on our society and why?
2. Do you think it is important to learn about the history of our country? Defend your answer.
3. Think about the two cultures we have studied. Describe one way in which they are similar and one way in which they are different.
4. Describe how ________________ had an impact on society.
5. How can you determine if an online resource is valid?
6. Choose an important feature of a map or globe and explain its significance.
7. Explain how supply and demand effect the price of a good or service.
8. Find an example of one non-fiction text feature in your history textbook, show it to your partner, and explain how it helps you as a reader.
9. What do you think is the most important reason for a group of people to immigrate to another country?
10. Of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights, which do you think is most important? Defend your answer.


Anchor Charts




Building a Relationship with Students to Increase Learning in the Classroom


5 Tips for Better Relationships With Your Students – NEA

Featured article: Unconditional Positive Regard and Effective School Discipline By Dr. Eric Rossen

The Teacher as Warm Demander by Elizabeth Bondy and Dorene D. Ross

Educator’s Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems by Mark Boynton and Christine Boynton

The Power of Positive Regard by Jeffrey Benson

Building Positive Teacher-Child Relationships– CSEFEL


Unconditional Positive Regard 

Carl Rogers described unconditional positive regard (UPR) as love and acceptance that are not dependent upon any particular behaviors. He often used the term “prizing” as shorthand for this feature of a relationship. According to Rogers, prizing is particularly important in the parent-child relationship.

Unconditional Positive Regard 

Carl Rogers described unconditional positive regard (UPR) as love and acceptance that are not dependent upon any particular behaviors. He often used the term “prizing” as shorthand for this feature of a relationship. According to Rogers, prizing is particularly important in the parent-child relationship. Rogers argued that children who are prized by their parents experience a greater sense of congruence, have a better chance to self-actualize, and have are more likely to become fully functioning people than those whose parents raise them under “conditions of worth.”

Unconditional positive regard is also a crucial component of Rogers’ approach to psychotherapy. In fact, along with empathy and genuineness, Rogers asserted that UPR was one of the necessary and sufficient elements for positive psychotherapeutic change. When Rogers described UPR as “necessary,” he communicated that an unconditionally accepting and warm relationship between therapist and client is a prerequisite for therapy to be effective. This assertion is not particularly shocking; most individuals seeing a therapist would probably expect the therapist to have this type of nonjudgmental attitude, and would also probably expect therapy to progress poorly if the therapist was in fact judgmental or conditionally disapproving. When Rogers described UPR as “sufficient,” however, he made a bolder statement. The term “sufficient” suggests that if a therapist provides UPR, along with empathy and genuineness, to a client, the client will improve. No additional techniques or strategies are needed. The therapist need not analyze any dreams, change any thought patterns, punish or reward any behaviors, or offer any interpretations. Instead, in the context of this humanistic therapy relationship, the client will heal himself or herself by growing in a self-actualizing direction, thereby achieving greater congruence. This “necessary and sufficient” claim holds true, according to Rogers, regardless of the diagnosis or severity of the client’s problem.

In addition to the parent-child and therapist-client relationship, Rogers also considered the value of UPR in other relationships and situations. For example, he spent significant time and energy discussing the role that UPR might play in education, and in the teacher-student relationship in particular. Rogers criticized the mainstream American educational system as overly conditional. He believed that educators too often used the threat of poor grades to motivate students, and that students felt prized only when they performed up to educators’ standards (as measured by grades on exams, papers, etc.). He further believed that students may emerge from school having learned some essential academic skills, but also having learned that they are not trustworthy, that they lack internal motivation toward learning, and that only the aspects of themselves that meet particular academic criteria are worthy.

Rogers strongly recommended that teachers and administrators take a more humanistic and less conditional approach to education. He argued that UPR in schools would communicate to children that they are worthy no matter what; as a result, their sense of congruence and their tendency toward self-actualization would remain intact. Students, according to Rogers, should be trusted to a greater extent to follow their own interests and set to their own academic goals. Rather than threatening students to study for exams and write papers in which they have little interest, prize them wholly and allow them greater freedom to choose that which they want to pursue. Advocates of Rogers’ humanistic approach to education argue that it would enhance students’ self-worth, which in turn may preclude many of the psychological and social problems that children encounter. Critics of Rogers’ humanistic approach to education argue that without conditions of worth based on academic achievement, students would have no provocation to learn, and would demonstrate lethargy rather than self-motivation.

Andrew M. Pomerantz, Ph. D.



Turn taking / Listening at School (Elementary)

“Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble.” – Frank Tyger

“If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” — Turkish saying

“I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.” — Diane Sawyer, newscaster

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” — Bryant McGill, author


Turn taking is a social skill that can take time to develop in young school aged children. By providing different opportunities to practice the skill the student in time will be more adept at using those skills in a social setting with peers and adults. This post will show some ideas for promoting Turn Taking.

TURN TAKING is a life skill necessary for social success in all environments. TURN TAKING is not a skill that develops naturally for many children. Many children need to be taught TURN TAKING skills and offered many opportunities to practice. Teaching TURN TAKING involves many skills such as: 1) a social understanding of why we share; 2) self-regulation skills; 3) what to do when I am waiting; and, 4) knowing when to take a turn. By preparing a child to learn about TURN TAKING you are setting them up for successful play with peers.

Source:HOW TO TEACH: “Turn Taking”

Social Stories

In the Classroom 

PREZI on Sharing and Turn Taking

Taking Turns at Circle (Word Document)



Read: My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook, (2005)


Use this lesson to talk about blurting and interrupting.

Lesson Plan: Specific Skill: I Can Listen Attentively

Active Listening (for grades 3-6)



Classroom Strategies

Using a Talking Stick

This is a method of enforcing turn-taking in conversation which is part of Native American lore and tradition.  Making simple Talking Sticks and using them can provide a fun and useful series of social skills lessons for young people on the autism spectrum.










Positive words and intentions are crucial in building a thriving learning community.

“Language actually shapes thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  It produces fundamentally new forms of behavior.”                -Lev Vygotsky

Before you continue reading this post take a minute to read this article: The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton.

Example from the book:



Using Humor in the Classroom Laughter has the power to fuel engagement and help students learn By Robert McNeely


Classroom of Choice by Jonathan C. Erwin Chapter 4. Power in the Classroom: Creating the Environment


Building Empathy in Classrooms and Schools

Body Language

Good Body Language Improves Classroom Management Successful Teachers Blend both Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Teacher Relationships

Improving Students’ Relationships with Teachers to Provide Essential Supports for Learning Positive relationships can also help a student develop socially Sara Rimm-Kaufman, PhD, and Lia Sandilos, PhD, University of Virginia

Growth Mindset – Reframing Negative Self Talk

A growth mindset is a belief that your most basic abilities can be nurtured and developed though dedication and hard work. Talent is just the starting point. People with a positive growth mindset create a love of learning that is vital for doing great things. A positive growth mindset will also lend itself to being resilient in the face of setbacks. Failures are seen as learning opportunities to people with a positive growth mindset.


A fixed mindset is a belief that your basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are fixed traits. People with a fixed mindset believe that talent makes people successful. Effort is secondary to brains and talent.

4 Ways to Encourage a Growth Mindset in the Classroom



Programs that support developing positive learning environments

A promising program out of Yale University that helps supports Developing Classroom Culture is called RULER.

RULER is an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools. RULER applies “hard science” to the teaching of what have historically been called “soft skills.” RULER teaches the skills of emotional intelligence — those associated with recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion. Decades of research show that these skills are essential to effective teaching and learning, sound decision making, physical and mental health, and success in school and beyond.

The RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) helps build the following skills:

Recognizing: Recognize the emotion of either yourself or of someone else in order to react in the most socially appropriate manner to help resolve the issue. This includes picking up on cues such as facial expression, words, tone, behavior, and one’s own thoughts.

Understanding:  Emotions are often triggered by events that bring upon specific emotions and thoughts. When a child understands more about what is triggering specific emotions, they are more likely to be less reactive. Understanding of emotions helps young children see how emotions affect decisions, behavior and goals. Problem-solving skills are needed to learn how to cope, as well as develop empathy towards others.

Labeling: Labeling emotions is nothing more than connecting different scenarios with a specific emotions, and descriptive words. For example, a child with emotional literacy may use the words inspired, enthusiastic, and thrilled.

Expressing: practicing control, timing, and expression of emotions in appropriate ways helps with communication development for healthy relationships. Students who have difficulties in both labeling and expression tend to not have successful relationships.

Regulating Emotions: Regulation during emotional experiences means organizing and managing the thoughts, emotions and behavior that often develop. Successfully regulated emotions are often prevented, reduced, initiated, maintained, or enhanced (PRIME). Source


Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all youth by making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.

Practical Strategies for Common Classroom Issues

Positive Behavior Support in the Classroom: Facilitating Behaviorally Inclusive Learning Environments Terrance M. Scott, Kristy Lee Park, Jessica Swain-Bradway & Eric Landers

Accommodations for Kids with ADHD


Active and inattentive students can be difficult to support in the classroom. In my experience the number one intervention is developing a trusting student/ teacher relationship. The second most successful intervention is high quality instruction that is predictable and measured. Below are some links to help with the process.

First Read this:

Helping the Student With ADHD in the Classroom: Information for Teachers-

By Stephen E. Brock, NCSP, CSU, Sacramento

ADHD Accommodations (Cheat Sheets)

ADHD Accommodations (1 page)

Accommodating Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD Classroom (Mind Set)

Classroom Accommodations for Children with ADHD Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D

Teaching Students with ADHD Helping Students with Attention Deficit Disorder Succeed at School

Classroom Interventions for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Nice and Succinct)

20 Tips for Helping Kids with ADHD Succeed in School by Dr. Hallowell

“Most teachers and adults could benefit from pretending that all kids in their class have ADHD – what is good for kids with ADHD is good for all kids.” – Dr. Hallowell


Parents Reading

ADHD Parenting Tips Helping Your Child or Teen with Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD Parents Medication Guide



Anger management tools


Anger – Article

“Anger is the deepest form of compassion,” poet and philosopher David Whyte wrote in reclaiming the unseen dimensions of everyday words. “The internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for.” Anyone who has ever flared with anger at a loved one has brushed with this strange dissonance and knows it to be true on a most primal level. And yet we continue to judge — and especially to self-judge — only one side of anger, its destructive face, neglecting its paradoxical but profound constructive function as a mobilizing agent for our values. Source

Grades K-5

Counseling Blog with a lot of coping strategies for anger                        

(Click this site it has awesome resources)

Zones of Regulation is a Great system to integrate into your classroom. (Paid for Materials) (Free share materials) (Tablet APP)

Therapy worksheets related to Anger for Children

Visuals for the classroom(K-1)  Solution KIT


Tucker Turtle Takes Time to Tuck and Think Slide Show , PPT


Angry Bird Lessons

Angry Bird Posters

Angry Bird Student Book

Grades 6-12


Therapy worksheets related to Anger

Anger Worksheets





Scaling is a good strategy to help with perspective taking.


Classroom Behavior – Big Ideas


Classroom Behavior is a big topic, but I think that it is one that needs to be reflected upon even if your classroom is running well.

Big reads

Classroom Management & Culture

Case Studies in Educational Psychology  by John W. Santrock

Starting Small Teaching Tolerance in Preschool and the Early Grades

Great PowerPoints

Teaching Expectations and Reinforcement Systems


Establishing and implementing classroom rules

Jones and Jones stated that effective, general rules in a classroom should pertain to (a) health and safety (e.g., “Walk in the classroom, hallways, cafeteria.”), (b) property loss and damage (e.g., “Respect others’ personal property and touch it only with the person’s permission.”), (c) legitimate educational purpose (e.g., “Be on time for class and with all assignments.”), and (d) disruption of the learning process (e.g., “Ask for permission to speak before saying anything in the classroom.”).4 The following are characteristics of good classroom rules regardless of teaching level:

The fewer, the better.
It is wise to keep the number of rules to a minimum. For primary-level students, three or four rules should suffice; for older adolescents, as many as five or six may be necessary. There are ways to cover many activities in a rule by composing it in a broad fashion. Instead of limiting the rule to only the classroom (e.g., “Walk at all times in the classroom.”), a broader rule could state, “Always walk in the classroom, hallways, and cafeteria.”).
Use simple language.
There is no need to write elaborate rules with complex language. Just be direct and simple (e.g., “Raise your hand and wait for the teacher to call on you before speaking.”). If anything, direct, simple language allows for students to remember the rules more easily.
Use a positive voice.
If at all possible, write the rules in a positive format and tone. Try to avoid, “You shall not talk in the classroom without teacher permission,” by stating the same rule as, “Ask for permission to speak before saying anything in the classroom.”
Special context, special rules.
Different rules can be used for special situations and learning stations in the same classroom environment. Rules for using computers in a classroom (e.g., “Always use headphones when listening to music on the computer.”) can be made very specific to that activity and station only.
Create an effective display.
Rules need to be prominently displayed in the classroom or in a special activity area. When students are first learning the rules in the beginning of the school term they need to be bombarded and reminded of them as much as possible. Put them on a bulletin board, duplicate them on the classroom whiteboard, write them on a handout to distribute to class members, and place them in special activity areas (e.g., computer stations). I once witnessed a teacher hanging each classroom rule from the ceiling on both sides of long poster board for all to see in any section of the room. (Now that’s displaying them prominently!)


Possible Areas of Concern / Accommodations

many small light bulbs equal big one

General Areas of Concern
 Assignments / Homework:

·         Frequent work breaks

·         Allow use of computer or technology to complete assignments

·         Allow projects / written assignments to be presented orally or on tape

·         Allow projects to presented through demonstration pictures and / or models

·         Extended time to complete assigned work

·         Shorten or chunk assignments / work periods

·         Simplify complex directions

·         Break long assignments into manageable chunks

·         Assist student in setting short-term goals

·         Pair written instructions with oral instructions

·         Develop private signal so that student can let teacher know if repetition of instruction is needed

·         Check homework daily

·         Reduce amount of homework

·         Limit homework to specified # of minutes / night

·         Permit re-submitted assignments

·         Grade written work on content, not spelling, handwriting, or mechanics

·         Adapt assignments to minimize writing (e.g. circle, cross out, etc.)

·         Provide study skills training / learning strategies

·         Reduce the reading level of assignments

·         Use self-monitoring devices (checklists, visual aids, etc.)

·         Provide distributed review and drill



·         Provide cognitive behavioral feedback:  positive feedback for attention to task with frequency based on what student can currently do

·         Short-term reinforcers that provide feedback (happy face, check mark, star, in-class rewards) or long –term (accumulated points to exchange for positive reinforcement at school or home)

·         Plan academic instruction for student’s peak attention time

·         Allow student to stand at times during seatwork

·         Require active responses in instruction (e.g. talking, moving, organizing, work at whiteboard or slate, interacting with computer, etc.)

·         Provide short break between assignments

·         Give child substitute verbal or motor responses to make while waiting

·         Provide fidget object for manual activity (eg. Koosh ball, clay, worry beads, etc.)

·         Teacher proximity

·         Preferential seating

·         Positive feedback / reward for short periods of waiting

·         Increase novelty to gain / sustain attention

·         Alternate high and low interest tasks

·         Increase choice of tasks

·         Place student first in line or avoid lines altogether

·         Build in opportunities for movement

·         Teach compensatory strategies for organization

·         Provide increased supervision during unstructured times (e.g. recess, transitions, field trips, etc.)

·         Home-school communication procedures / strategies

·         Non-verbal cues between teacher / student for behavior monitoring

·         Highlight important or required information

·         Student checklists for self-monitoring

·         Adapt student’s work area to help screen out distractions

·         Grade for content, not neatness, spelling, mechanics

·         Avoid withholding physical activity as negative reinforcer


Classroom Environment and Seating:

·         Predictable daily routines

·         Schedule changes addressed ahead of time

·         Consistent and clear expectations / procedures / boundaries set for classroom behavior

·         Work alternates short, concentrated periods with breaks

·         Minimize visual or auditory distractions

·         Small group instruction

·         Team teaching

·         Identify teaching-style / student match (e.g. structured, nurturing, etc.)

·         Preferential seating (near teacher, near study buddy, front of classroom, etc.)

·         Allow personal space around desk

·         Allow legitimate movement

·         Use study carrel or partitions at independent work times

Learner Needs / Behavior:

·         Allow for short breaks between assignments

·         Allow student more time to pass in the hallway

·         Allow student time out of seat to run errands, etc.

·         Cue student to stay on task (non-verbal signal)

·         Implement a behavior management system

·         Use visual depictions of expected procedures

·         Clear, simple, consistent classroom rules and procedures

·         Point out positive behaviors

·         Provide positive reinforcement

·         Set defined limits

·         Use self-monitoring strategies

·         Provide behavioral feedback frequently (written, non-verbal signal, etc.)

·         Ignore minor, inappropriate behavior

·         Increase immediacy or rewards or consequences

·         Supervise closely during transition times

·         Call on only when student has followed classroom procedure (raising hand, waiting to be called on, etc.)

·         Establish behavior contract with specified goals (2-3 at most), student input on goals as appropriate

·         Prudent use of negative consequences

·         Provide immediate feedback for both appropriate and inappropriate behaviors

·         Avoid lecturing or criticism

·         Implement home-school communication system

·         Communicate with student in writing if behavior is intended to engage verbal interaction

·         Provide opportunities for student to show responsibility for classroom tasks (e.g. straighten classroom shelves, water plants, etc.)

Lesson Presentation:

·         Allow students to tape lessons or lectures for replay

·         Break long presentations into short segments

·         Emphasize multi-sensory teaching:  auditory, visual, tactile-kinesthetic

·         Emphasize critical information / key concepts

·         Include a variety of activities during each lesson

·         Pair students to check work

·         Pre-teach vocabulary (front-load)

·         Peer note-taker

·         Peer tutor

·         Provide visual aides

·         Provide written outline or other written material

·         Written steps / checklist for multiple step directions

·         Frequent checks for understanding / comprehension

·         Have student repeat directions to teacher or peer

·         Provide key points in writing / visually / as well as in auditory format

·         Use advanced organizers / study guides

·         Computer assisted instruction

·         Use of manipulatives

·         Specialized curriculum


·         Extra set of texts at home

·         Assign volunteer homework buddy

·         Assignment notebook with home / school connection

·         Adult / peer to review assignment notebook and materials before leaving for home

·         Organizational aids such as outlines, graphic organizers, checklists

·         Photographs or visual aids that depict what desk, book bag, folders, etc.  should like in an organized manner

·         Colored folders

·         Color and physical / spatial organizers

 Socialization and Social Skills:

·         Provide recess / lunch opportunities with friend in structure setting

·         Provide lunch buddies

·         Establish social behavior goals and reward program

·         Establish social stories for areas that are difficult for the student

·         Non-verbal prompts to remind of appropriate social behavior

·         Avoid placing student in situations that have a pattern of being difficult for him / her

·         Provide social skills training (school-related skills, friendship skills, dealing with feelings, alternatives to aggression, dealing with anxiety / stress, etc.)


·         Allow extra time

·         Allow open book tests

·         Give test orally

·         Take home tests

·         Adjusted setting for test-taking (small group or individual)

·         Provide written outline of main points prior to test

·         Untimed

·         Give extended time if necessary

·         Break test into shorter chunks and testing periods

·         Identify whether test will assess abilities or disabilities

·         Grade test for content, not handwriting, spelling, or mechanics

·         Give frequent short quizzes, rather than long exams

·         Allow outlines or notes during quiz / test


Specific Areas of Disability

Example:  The student has severe allergic reactions to certain pollens and / or foods.  For purposes of this example the condition substantially limits the major life activity of breathing and may interfere with the students’ ability to get to school or participate once there.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Avoid allergy –causing substances: soap, weeds, pollen, food

·         In-service necessary persons:  dietary staff, peers, coaches, etc.

·         Allow time for shots / clinic appointments

·         Use of air purifiers

·         Adapt physical education curriculum during high pollen time

·         Improve room ventilation (e.g. when remodeling has occurred and materials may cause reaction)

·         Develop health care and / or emergency plans

·         Address pets / animals in the classroom

·         Involve school health consultant in school related health issues

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications and monitoring for side effects

·         Address pets / animals in the classroom


Example:  A student with severe arthritis may have persistent pain, tenderness or swelling in one or more joints.  A student experiencing arthritic pain may require a modified physical education program.   For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Provide a rest period during the day

·         Accommodate for absences for doctors’ appointments

·         Provide assistive devices for writing (e.g. pencil grips, non-skid surface, typewriter / computer, etc.)

·         Adapt physical education

·         Administer medication following health protocol

·         Train staff for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Arrange for assistance carrying materials and supplies (e.g. books, lunch tray, etc.)

·         Implement movement plan to avoid stiffness

·         Provide seating accommodations

·         Allow extra time between classes

·         Provide locker assistance

·         Provide modified eating utensils

·         Develop health and emergency plans

·         Provide for accommodations for writing tasks:  a note taker, copies of notes, computer or tape recorder, etc.)

·         Make available access to wheelchair / ramps and school van / bus for transportation

·         Provide time for massage or exercise

·         Adjust recess time and activities

·         Provide peer support groups

·         Instructional aide supports

·         Record lectures / presentations

·         Padded chairs / comfortable seating

·         Adjust attendance policy

·         Altered school day

·         Extra set of books for home

·         Warmer room and seating near heat source

·         Allow student to respond orally for assignments, tests, etc.

·         Awareness program for staff and students

·         Monitor special dietary considerations

·         Involve school nurse in health protocols and decision making

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning



Example:  A student has been diagnosed as having severe asthma.   The doctor has advised the student not to participate in physical activity outdoors.  For purposes of this example, the disability limits the major life activity of breathing.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Adapt activity level for recess, physical education, etc.

·         Provide inhalant therapy assistance

·         Train staff/student for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medication, monitor for side-effects

·         Remove allergens (e.g. hairspray, lotions, perfumes, paint, latex, etc.)

·         Accommodate medical absences

·         Adapt curriculum expectations as appropriate (e.g. science, physical educations, etc.)

·         Develop health and emergency plans

·         Have peers available to carry materials to and from classes (e.g. lunch tray, books, etc.)

·         Make health care needs known to appropriate staff

·         Place student in most easily controlled environment

·         Provide indoor space for before and / or after school activities

·         Provide rest periods

Bipolar Disorder or Mood Disorder – NOS (not otherwise specified)

Example:  The student was diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder, however the severity (frequency, intensity, duration considerations) of the condition did not qualify the student for Special Education support under IDEA.  A properly convened 504 team determined that the condition did significantly impair the major life activity of learning and designed a 504 accommodation plan for the student.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Break down assignments into manageable parts with clear, simple directions, given one at a time

·         Plan advanced preparation for transition

·         Monitor clarity of understanding and alertness

·         Provide extra time on tests, class work, and homework if needed

·         Strategies in place for unpredictable mood swings

·         Provide appropriate staff training for mood swings

·         Create awareness by staff of potential victimization from other students

·         Allow most difficult subjects at times when student is most alert

·         Implement a crisis intervention plan for extreme cases where students is out of control and may do something impulsive or dangerous

·         Provide positive praise and redirection

·         Reports any suicidal comments to counselor / psychologist immediately

·         Consider home instruction for times when the student’s mood disorder make it impossible for him / her to attend school for an extended period

·         Adjusted passing time


Cancer (or other long-term medical concerns)

Example:  A student with a long-term medical problem may require special accommodations.  A condition, such as cancer, may substantially limit the major life activities of learning and caring for oneself (e.g. a student with cancer may need a class schedule that allow for rest and recuperation following chemotherapy or other treatment).

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Adjust attendance policy

·         Limit number of classes taken; accommodate scheduling needs

·         Hospital-bound instruction (this is sometimes arranged through the hospital)

·         Home-bound instruction

·         Take whatever steps necessary to accommodate student involvement in extracurricular activities if they are otherwise qualified

·         Adjust activity level and expectations in classes based on physical limitations; don’t require activities that are physically taxing

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Provide appropriate assistive technology

·         Provide a private rest area

·         Adjusted school day

·         Send additional sets of texts and assignments to hospital schools

·         Adjust schedule to include rest breaks

·         Tape lessons, adjust expectations for homework and assessment

·         Provide counseling; peer support

·         Adapt physical education

·         Provide access to school health services

·         Provide awareness training for  staff and students as appropriate

·         Develop health care emergency plan

·         Peer tutor

·         Student buddy for participation in sports

·         Initiate a free pass system from the classroom

·         Ongoing home / school communication plan

·         Notify family of communicable diseases at school

·         Designate a person in school to function as liaison with parents as a means of updating changing health status

·         Adjusted passing time

 Cerebral Palsy

Example:  The student has serious difficulties with fine and gross motor skills, although cognitive skills are within the average to above average range.  A wheelchair is used for mobility.  For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the major life activity of walking.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Assistive technology devices

·         Arrange for use of ramps and elevators

·         Allow for extra time between classes

·         Assistance with carrying books, materials, lunch tray, etc.

·         Adapt physical education curriculum

·         Provide for physical therapy as appropriate

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Adapt eating utensils

·         Transportation

·         Initiate a health care plan that also addresses emergency situations

·         Paraprofessional support (e.g. trained in the specific needs of this student – feeding, transporting, etc.)

·         Adapted assignments

·         Educate peers / staff with family permission

·         Ensure accessibility to all programs during the school day as well as extracurricular activities

·         Ensure that bathroom facilities, sinks, water fountains are accessible

·         Adjusted passing time


 Chronic Infectious Diseases (i.e. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – AIDS, etc.)

Example:  The student frequently misses school and does not have the strength to attend a full day.  For purposes of this example, the student has a record of a disability which substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Review district policies regarding communicable diseases

·         In-service staff (and students as appropriate) regarding the disease, how it is transmitted, how it is treated (consult appropriate district policies)

·         In-service staff regarding confidentiality issues

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Adjust attendance policies, school day, and / or schedule

·         Provide rest periods

·         Adapt Physical Education curriculum

·         Establish routine communication with health professionals, school nurse, and home

·         Develop health care and emergency plan

·         Train appropriate school staff on medical / emergency protocol

·         Provide 2-way audio / video link between home and classroom via computer

·         Home–bound instruction

·         Adapt assignments and tests

·         Provide an extra set of textbooks for home

·         Provide transportation to and from school

·         Tape books or provide a personal reader

·         Participation in a support group

·         Videotape classroom lessons

·         Promote the most supportive, least restrictive classroom environment.

Cystic Fibrosis

Example:  The student has an extensive medical history, which includes the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.  He has significant difficulty breathing and will be absent often due to respiratory infection.  For purposes of this example, learning and breathing are the major life activities that are substantially impaired.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Health care plan for management of acute and chronic phases

·         Establish routine communication with health professionals, school nurse, and home

·         Adjust attendance policies, school day, and / or schedule

·         Educate peers / staff with family permission

·         Home-bound instruction

·         Adapted assignments / tests

·         Tutoring

·         Support group

·         Adapt Physical Education curriculum

·         Allow for rest periods

·         Transportation

Deaf  / Hearing Impairment

Example:  A student was diagnosed with a substantial hearing impairment at an early age, which resulted in hearing loss and a mild speech impediment.   He compensates through both lip reading and sign language.  Academic abilities test in the average range.  For purposes of this example, hearing is the major life activity that is substantially impaired.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Allow for written directions / instructions in addition to oral presentation

·         Ensure delivery of instruction facing the student to allow lip reading

·         Provide visual information as primary mode of instruction

·         Allow for provision of interpreter services during school day or school events

·         Install acoustical tile, carpeting

·         Seat in a location with minimal background noise

·         Provide paper / pencil / slate / technology to write or draw responses or requests

·         Facilitate acquisition of TDDs and related assistive technology

·         Allow for extra time between classes

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning


Example:  A sixth grade student with Type I Diabetes requires numerous accommodations to maintain optimal blood sugar, even though he is quite independent in managing the disease.  For purposes of this example, he is substantially limited in the major life activity of caring for oneself.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Assistance with and privacy for blood glucose monitoring or insulin injections

·         Snacks / meals when and wherever necessary

·         Free access to water and bathroom

·         Full participation in any extra-curricular programs

·         Scheduling physical education around meal times

·         Allowances for increased absences

·         Health care plan for management of condition in the school setting and in emergencies

·         Educate staff to signs / symptoms of insulin reaction / hypoglycemia (e.g. hunger, shakiness, sweatiness, change in face color, disorientation, drowsiness, etc.)

·         Provide assistance to walk to the clinic if the student is feeling poorly

·         Create an emergency signal with office to alert health personnel when they need to come to the child

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Establish routine communication with health professionals, school nurse, and home

·         Store equipment and documentation in a readily accessible location for student, family, and school nurse or health secretary

Emotionally Disturbed

Example:  An emotionally disturbed student may need an adjusted class schedule or assignments due to allow for regular counseling or therapy.  For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the individual’s major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Maintain weekly / daily journals for self-recording of behavior

·         Establish home-school communication system

·         Schedule periodic meetings with school, family, and treatment specialists

·         Provide carry-over of treatment plans into school setting

·         Assist with inter-agency referrals

·         Behavior management programs

·         Frequent positive feedback

·         Develop student behavior contracts

·         Develop visual cues and non-verbal signals for feedback

·         Teach specific procedures and behavioral expectations

·         Counseling, social skills instruction

·         Adapt schedule

·         Schedule shorter work / study periods according to attention span capabilities

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Encopresis / Enuresis

Example:  A student urinates or defecates in clothing, not because of physical incontinence but a needed behavior change (e.g. toilet training, bowel / bladder retraining, etc.)  For purposes of this example, the student is substantially limited in the major bodily function of bowel and / or bladder functioning and the major life activity of caring for oneself.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Create a specific plan for instances of soiling, including:  student goes to specific location for clean-up and change of clothing, plan for soiled clothing, parent contact, etc.

·         Maintain clean change of clothing at school in the clinic or alternate location

·         Record events to attempt to determine consistent triggers of behavior

·         Establish home, school, medical personnel communication

·         Support bowel / bladder retraining program that is recommended by physician

·         Schedule time for student to use the restroom


Epilepsy (other seizure disorder)

Example:  The student is on medication for seizure activity, but experiences several petit mal seizures each month.  This condition substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Consistent school, home, medical personnel communication

·         Documentation procedure to record and communicate characteristics of each seizure

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Train staff and peers as appropriate

·         Develop health plan and emergency protocol

·         Anticipate process should a seizure occur:  Move seating / clear space during seizure, do not insert objects into student’s mouth during seizure, administer no fluids if student is unconscious, turn unconscious student on side to avoid aspiration, provide rest time, accommodate return to academic demands following seizure, etc.

·         Arrange a buddy system or adult assistance, especially during field trips

·         Alternative recess, adapt physical activities

·         Accommodate for make-up work or class time missed

·         Observe for consistent triggers of seizure activity (e.g. smells, bright light, perfume, hair spray, etc.)

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning


Learning Disabilities (non-specific)

Example:  The student has a learning disability that impacts her ability to read.  She has more difficulty with word decoding and spelling than comprehension.  Completing reading tasks is difficult and slow.  She does not qualify for Special Education services, but there is ample evaluative evidence that she is substantially limited in the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Provide reading materials that cover course context at a lower readability level

·         Extended time on tests

·         Arrange for volunteer readers

·         Provide information regarding accessing books on tape and other materials Allow access to spell checkers and / or word processing

·         Oral directions in addition to written

·         Frequent checks for understanding

·         Visual or non-verbal signals cues to check for understanding

·         Clearly sequenced instruction

·         Visual graphs / charts / organizers / diagrams to support instruction

·         Provision of computer access

·         Tests read aloud to student

·         Computer access

·         Direct instruction of time-management / organizational skills

·         Direct instruction of coping skills / strategies

·         Support in helping student recognize areas of strength and how to capitalize on them

·         Support in use of strategies to assist memory and problem-solving

·         Multi-sensory instructional methods / differentiated instruction specific to this student

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Orthopedically Impaired

Example:  The student has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair.  For purposes of this example, the student is substantially limited in the major life activity of walking.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Develop a health care and emergency plan

·         Adaptive physical education program

·         Physical therapy at school

·         Provide extra between class periods

·         Supply a set of textbooks for home

·         Provide a copy of class notes from peer

·         Plan for and practice emergency exits from school building

·         Ensure accessibility of facilities / pathways / programs / school events

·         Assistance carrying materials, lunch trays, etc.

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Special Health Care Needs

Example:  The student has a special health care problem that requires clean intermittent catheterization twice each day during the school day.  For purposes of this example this condition substantially limiting in the major life activity of caring for oneself.

·         Provide trained personnel to perform special medical procedures.  Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Provide student with private location and time to perform procedures if independent

·         Involve school nurse, family, school staff, and medical personnel in regular communication

·         Preferential seating

·         Adapt recess, physical education, transportation

·         Develop health care and emergency plans

·         Adapt attendance policy

·         Adapt homework / instruction for class time missed for medical reasons

·         Homebound instruction

Tourette’s Syndrome

Example:  The student exhibits tics and some inappropriate gestures and sounds.  For purposes of this example, the condition is substantially limiting in the major life activities of learning and caring for oneself.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Provide student with a means of catching up on missed assignments

·         Pair with a peer for studying

·         Educate staff / peers about associated outbursts, tics, gestures with family permission

·         Arrange for frequent home / school /medical personnel communication

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Implement a behavior management program if indicated

·         Use visual or non-verbal signals to cue student about behaviors (positive and negative)

·         Provide supervision for transition activities, during agitated periods

·         Provide alternative / larger work-space area or appropriate space for the child

·         Direct instruction of compensatory strategies

·         Adapt assignments if indicated

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Traumatic Brain Injury

Example:  The student sustained a brain injury in an automobile accident.  Many academic and motor skills have been seriously affected by the injury.  The student does not qualify for Special Education services.  The condition is substantially limiting to the major life activities of learning and performing manual tasks.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Adjusted school day

·         Adjust assignments and homework

·         Provided tutoring

·         Furnish memory / organizational aids

·         Provide alternative testing

·         Arrange an emergency plan / health protocol

·         Monitor for seizure activity

·         In-service staff and peers with student / parent permission

·         Monitor for fatigue / mental exhaustion

·         Provide frequent breaks during periods of intense concentration

·         Provide strategies and assistance with organizing / sequencing tasks

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Visual Impairment

Example:  A student has a progressive medical disorder, which results in increasing loss of visual acuity.  He now requires both enhanced lighting and enlarged print materials in order to read.  For purposes of this example, the condition is substantially limiting in the major life activity of seeing.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Preferential seating

·         Adaptations to physical environment (e.g. consistent room arrangement, removal of obstacles, etc.)

·         Copies of text / reading materials for adaptation (e.g. enlarged type, etc.)

·         Modified writing tools (e.g. dark felt tip pens, dark lined writing paper, desktop slantboard, etc.)

·         Slate and stylus

·         Braille accommodations (e.g. Perkins Brailler, textbooks, materials, tests, in Braille, etc.)

·         Raised lines on writing paper

·         Low vision devices including magnifiers, monocular glass, closed-circuit TV

·         Books on tape

·         Oral, instead of written tests

·         Tactile maps

·         Computer with enlarged print screen / adaptations

·         Speech synthesize for input and output

·         Screen reading device

·         Optical Character Recognition System Scanner

Adapted from: **www.advancingmilestones.com

** Puget Sound, ESD, Office of Special Services, November, 2002

Transitional and Regular Kindergarten Social Emotional Strategies and Resources

California recently adopted Transitional Kindergarten (TK).

TK is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. Pursuant to law, EC 48000(c), a child is eligible for TK if a child will have his or her fifth birthday between September 2 and December 2 (inclusive).

Behavioral adjustments are a natural phenomena with entering Kindergarten. It is especially so for our TK kiddos.

Standards really help drive our actions in schools and http://www.tkcalifornia.org/  really nails it with Seven Social-Emotional Teaching Strategies.

The dream team from the University of South Florida Rochelle Lentini and Lise Fox have developed a great simple to use Guide to making visual supports.


Scripted Stories are brief descriptive stories that provide information regarding a social situation.

Scripted Stories

Student Study Teams may want to use tools to set goals and expectations for out comes from not only prescribed Standards, but also simple checklists.




Comprehensive Kinder Readiness Checklist

Parent Cheat sheets here:

Eight Practical Tips for Parents of Young Children with Challenging Behavior

TACSEI’s “Making Life Easier” series

Family Routine Based Support Guide Early Elementary-4 to 8 years olds

NASP School Readiness

Class Dojo

We recently piloted a behavior management system in one of our Special Education Classroom called Class Dojo. Each child is assigned a little fuzzy avatar and the teacher can give positive and negative points based on how the student behaves in class. The teacher can email a link to each kids parent so they can see how their day was at school. It has proven to be a powerful tool and a great way to keep parents in the loop with behavior in the classroom.

Here is the feel good commercial: Warm Fuzzies

Here is a nuts and bolts of how to get started: Start up Tutorial

Apple App store Link: Apple Link

Google Play Store: Android