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Helping Students Who Struggle to Write: Classroom Compensations

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❶Alternate programs have also been developed which teach keyboarding skills based on the alphabetical sequence.

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Classroom compensations

It was just way too hard to remember all the things I need, like periods and capital letters. Students benefit when they compensate for writing problems. Because the struggle to write often interferes with learning and prevents students from fully demonstrating what they have learned.

Compensating helps them bypass the problem area and still accomplish the goal of the activity. Some students become overwhelmed because tasks appear to be too large or have too many steps. Staging helps them focus on each subtask with greater concentration and an emphasis on quality.

Allowing the student to perform fewer math problems, write fewer sentences, or write a shorter story. Some students work so hard for each problem that they find it very difficult to perform an entire assignment or even to concentrate on the concept. Students with writing difficulties sometimes learn more from fewer problems because their concentration is more efficient.

Allowing for shorter assignments encourages the student to focus on quality rather than quantity, thus often decreasing the urge to rush through. Many times a student may be capable of completing the work, but unable to do so in the same amount of time as his peers. The extra time decreases the tendency for rushing through and can increase the focus on quality.

Reducing or eliminating copying demands, such as copying from the chalkboard, or even copying from another paper. Sometimes students with writing difficulties make multiple mistakes when copying information and it is important to insure that they have access to the correct information. For example, rather than having them copy the target information from the board, provide these students with a printed copy.

Using large graph paper or looseleaf paper turned sideways helps the student align numbers properly in multi-step math problems. Some students benefit from having their math problems machine copied in enlarged format with additional white space, as this also prevents errors in copying the problem.

Some students perform better in manuscript whereas other students perform better using cursive. Allowing work to be completed by computer word processing helps the student use staging more efficiently while also bypassing the mechanical difficulties of letter form and space. Hold students responsible for correct spelling on final drafts, encouraging use of a phonics-based spell checker, such as one of the Franklin Electronic Resources with a speaking component.

It is unfair and counterproductive to make a student with writing problems stay in for recess to finish work. These children need more movement time, not less. The most efficient compensation for any student who struggles with basic letter form and spacing is to develop efficient word-processing skills.

Parents and teachers need to be aware; however, that it is very difficult to go through life totally avoiding use of paper and pencil and, consequently, it is important for each student to develop at least some basic handwriting skills. Specific multisensory strategies designed for dysgraphic students are useful for any student who needs help developing appropriate letter form and automatic motor movements. Specific remedial strategies that incorporate air writing, use of the vertical plane chalkboard , simultaneous verbal cues, and reinforcement with tactile input, are most effective Richards, Students are able to learn keyboarding skills at a very young age.

However, keyboarding development requires practice and many students complain that the practice is especially boring. This can be a problem because consistency and frequency of practice are very important in developing automaticity.

Consequently, it is useful to have the student practice keyboarding on a daily basis, but only for very short period of time each day. In early elementary, the student may practice only 5 to 10 minutes a night. In upper elementary, the practice sessions could be 10 to 15 minutes a night. If the student is just beginning to learn keyboarding as a teenager, it may be necessary to extend the practice sessions to 15 to 20 minutes a night.

The consistency of the practice is critical. Many fun and efficient software programs are available to help students learn appropriate keyboarding. Offering access to a variety of programs helps decrease boredom and allows for choice, as the student may select different software each night. Alternate programs have also been developed which teach keyboarding skills based on the alphabetical sequence.

One such program starts with the left hand and uses a poem which begins, "little finger a, reach for b, same finger c, d, e," King, Initially, as the student is learning, correct finger should not be required when he is typing for content, as this greatly increases the demands on active working memory. For most students, the habits developed during typing practice will eventually integrate with the finger used while concentrating on ideation and content.

Once a student learns word-processing skills, she will have the option of progressing to use of voice-activated software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Such software allows the student to dictate into a microphone without the need for direct typing on the keyboard.

However, this is a higher level skill which is much more efficient once the student knows and understands basic word processing and writing skills. Clear enunciation, lack of slurring words, and use a precise preplanning and organization are critical for success with voice-activated programs. This is particularly laborious for older students in high school or college, who have much greater note taking demands.

While a laptop computer can be efficient, it can be cumbersome to carry around. Also, it is expensive to fix or replace a vandalized, dropped, or otherwise broken computer. A successful alternative that has become popular with some older students is the use of a personal digital assistant PDA such as the PalmPilot series or the Visor Handspring series. These units are quite small palm size and easy to transport in a backpack. A nearly standard size keyboard can be attached which greatly facilitates typing and, hence, note- taking.

This is especially useful for recording homework assignments and "to do" lists. For note-taking during a lecture, many students still require the assistance of a note-taker, even if the complete notes are only used as a backup. Teaching Strategies to Connect Literacy, Classroom, Community A short list of random teaching strategies related to creative promotions of Teaching Strategies that Address Workplace Skills Essential teaching strategies to equip students with the skills necessary to Struggling students usually have a hard time paying attention and remembering things.

If you give them oral directions, chances are they are going to forget them, which means they will struggle on knowing what to do next. Make sure that you always write down everything that you want the students to do on the front board, so there are no excuses from any student, and they always have a resource that they can refer to. Teach students that when the going gets tough, they must keep on working. This means when they get stuck on a question, they need to try out a few different strategies until they get it.

A simple way to do this is to keep a few tips and strategies listed somewhere in the classroom where all students are able to refer to it, preferably on a wall where all students can see it from their desks. Struggling students have a hard managing their time and their daily tasks because oftentimes, it feels overwhelming to them. Teach students how to manage their time and their tasks by having them write down their whole schedule for one day.

Then, have students estimate how long they think it will take them to do each task that they listed. Go over the list and discuss how much time should be spent on each task. This activity will help them understand that time-management skills are essential, and that they must take ownership of their learning in order to keep them from struggling in school. Sometimes the easiest way for a struggling student to understand a concept better is to take it one question at a time.

If you find that you have many struggling students, then this is the best option for the whole group. For example, if students are doing small group work, instead of giving them a list of 10 questions to answer together all at once, have them answer one question at a time, and after each question, have them regroup as a whole group before allowing them to go onto the next question.

Struggling students need to practice thinking on their own. Take the time to ask questions that make students have to think about their answer. Teach them how to make inferences and not just blurt out any answer that comes to mind. The more they take the time to think about their answers, the easier time they will have when trying to come up with solutions to the answer. Students who are having a hard time often get the urge to raise their hands and ask for help for every single question.

To stop this from happening, you need to come up with a strategy that will allow students to move on when they get stuck on a question. Some teachers find that sticky notes or red and green flip cards are an effective technique. Other teachers find that limiting the number of times a student is allowed to ask a question for each lesson works well too. Effective teachers encourage students and motivate them to do well in school.

They take the time to praise them and tell them that they can do anything when they put their mind to it. Be that teacher, the teacher that tells them they can do it! Do you have any strategies that work well with your struggling students? If so, please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what works for you and your students.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. View the discussion thread. At TeachHUB it is our mission to improve the quality of education by making available the most current, complete and affordable resources for all K Educators. Built by Teachers, for Teachers, we offer free lesson plans, the latest in education news, professional development and real teacher blogs plus the tools and applications modern Educators need to maintain a level of excellence in their classrooms.

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Helping Students Who Struggle to Write: Classroom Compensations. By: Regina G. Richards Sometimes students with writing difficulties make multiple mistakes when copying information and it is important to insure that they have access to the correct information. Many fun and efficient software programs are available to help students learn. Struggling Writers (K-8): Recommendations for Teachers. successes, and struggles with writing. This will help students view writing as an art or craft, and will provide a potential role model. 5. Have a publishing commemoration that celebrates student writing. Provide extra handwriting and spelling instruction to help struggling.