ADHD in the Classroom

Since 1 to 3 students in the average classroom has ADHD, it seemed like some attention should be drawn to it. We typically think of these students as the ones with so much energy, but there are other symptoms both the teacher and the parent can look for. Things like: making careless errors in math and writing, taking longer to read assignments, regularly losing homework, difficulty paying attention, focusing elsewhere when you talk to them, and blurting out answers. There seems to be much controversy now a days if ADHD truly exists or if it is being diagnosed, but what we do know is that it can be seen in a brain scan. Those with ADHD also have the odds stacked against them with 45% being suspended at least one time while in school, 25% having a serious learning disability, and 35% becoming drop outs. It seems imperative that we give them the tools to succeed in school.


Some easy interventions are:

  1. Physical breaks- they might need to sharpen their pencil a couple extra times or run the errands out of the class for the teacher, but their brains literally need the breaks to focus
  2. A timer- they might need to visually see the time they have left
  3. Less math Problems- Once they demonstrate the knowledge, they need to be able to move on to other learning
  4. Recorder for Writing- their brains often work way to fast for their hands and getting those thoughts onto paper can be confusing; they may need tools to simplify the process
  5. Voice to Text Software- another great tool to capture their ideas
  6. Breakdown Steps- If they can focus on one step at a time and know what comes next, they may be more likely to follow through; visuals are key; Something like a timeline can really help them accomplish the task
  7. Consistent Place for Homework- An easy step at home that will let their brains now it’s work time
  8. An Alternative Workstation in the Classroom-  to help with the wiggles and get them refocused; a standing station in  the back may be ideal
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gifted children challenges

Gifted Children: Existential Depression and Other Challenges

Gifted children can face many unique challenges. This interesting article was sent to me on how children who are uniquely gifted are also more challenged because they are so in-tuned with so many things. Existential depression might be more prevalent to them as gifted children are truly great philosophers and thinkers, so it is natural for them to want to link meaning to their lives and search out bigger questions. Unfortunately existential depression itself has not been widely researched and does not have a specific known therapeutic approach that works well for it. It is good to know however that gifted children are more than just brilliant minds. They too face many challenges. Finding friends can be hard from a young age. Often they do not understand their peers because their peers do not keep up with their train of thought. Over-excitability and oversensitivity in general, to their environments are very common in gifted children. When your mind is going so fast and you are receiving so much information from your environment, it is understandable as to why you too would be overwhelmed. These children have a lot to sort out and even more that they want to create. It is hard for them to find the perfect balance. Studies suggest between 1in 50 to 1 in 200 of academically gifted students drop out before completing high school. Now the numbers might be high due to SES or some other outside factor, but the fact remains that brilliant minds are falling through the cracks.

gifted children challenges
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generative learning theory

Generative Learning Theory: Continuing the Mind

Generative learning is a theory based on the active process of linking new knowledge and old knowledge. A process we all do in order to learn and remember new things. Along with organization of knowledge, it involves recall, integration, and elaboration.

generative learning theory

    1. Organization consists of categorizing, outlining, analyzing, clustering, and mapping
    2. Recall consists of pulling information out of long-term memory
    3. Integration involves transforming knowledge to an easy to remember, more usable form
    4. Elaboration involves applying new with old and can be done through various methods, including: free writing, slides, bulletin boards, mental images, and physical diagrams

To apply this theory to the classroom, teachers must help build the links so that students can start the process of generative learning. Generative Learning Theory is based on constructivism principles, which can be encouraged with repetition and positive reinforcement.

As with all learning theories above can be applied to the classroom, therapies, and home learning. It seems no matter how children are learning the primary focus should be long-term retention. Although it is true that we naturally learn through self-adaptation and absorption (pieces of cognitivism and Social Cognitive theory), it is also very probable that we need additional outside help to successfully continue to build our knowledge base.

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reading facts

Book Facts: Reading is a Gateway to so Much More

I found this great info graphic about reading, but what is truly interesting is thinking about it in application.

reading facts


On the guy’s website, he states that the last box is not research based…so just an opinion.

High school graduation in the US tend to be around 75%. According to the Washington post, only about 27% of college graduates have a job related to their major. Perhaps if we changed the numbers of books in the average American home and started placing value in learning at a younger age, both of these rates could jump and the whole reading info-graphic would change. If children became more aware of others emotions and even more connected to themselves, they could easily find success in school. Reading also increases imagination and self awareness, which can lead to creating and making dreams come true.  Education starts in the home, so even in our crazy schedules try to find time to read with your kids daily. If you can’t afford books, try a library or second hand. Literacy can lead to so much more in a child’s future.

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teacher created skills checklists

Teacher Created Skills Checklists: Finding Each Child’s Success

Teacher Created Skills Checklists have many purposes. In a classroom, assessments are used to measure a students strengths and/or weakness. They can help a teacher pinpoint what a student needs to learn next and what skills they have already accomplished. As a parent, the same strategy can be used. Here are some ways to use skill checklists:

  • Informal evaluation of student academic abilities
  • The checklist involves a specific standard of performance related to an academic area (reading, writing, mathematics reasoning, homework/class work completion, note taking, organization etc)
  • Information gathered from checklists can be used to determine academic goals for the student.

teacher created skills checklists

There are many ways to carry out teacher created skills checklists, like:

  • Data based on observation to determine a baseline for mastery a certain academic skill.
  • A checklist of sub skills that a student must master in order to accomplish the targeted skill.
  • Determine how frequently a child should be assessed on the targeted skill. This should be determined on an individual basis based on their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Use data and information gathered from checklists to create and set academic goals for the child.

The data collected from skills checklists is used to identify areas of weakness a student may have. In order to determine progress over a certain period of time, the teacher will continue to collect data based on observation and re assess throughout the school year on an individual basis. For educational interventions, students may need accommodations in order to be successful on the Teacher Created Skills Checklist. So think about:

  • Extended time
  • Redirection to work
  • Scribe
  • Pace of instruction
  • Assignment length
  • Organizational assistance
  • Study guides
  • Seating to minimize distractions
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