Series New Teacher Survival Guide: New Teacher Survival Guide: ADHD in the Classroom

New Teacher Survival Guide: ADHD in the Classroom

Lesson Objective: Try these easy-to-use strategies to help students stay focused
All Grades / All Subjects / Behavior
11 MIN

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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How can checklists and visual cues help students stay on task?
  2. Have you tried the strategy of asking students what works for them and what challenges cause them to be distracted?
  3. How does the use of a timer help motivate students and help them focus?

189 Comments

  • Private message to Shirley Barfield

1. How can checklists and visual cues help students stay on task and focused.?

My classroom consists of Sped K-2 students. Some of them find it hard to focus and stay still in their chairs. If we incorporate a list of tasks for them to follow it would be easier. Students feel they have accomplished their goal if they have something to follow that said, I have completed this and am ready to move on.

2, Have you tried the strategy of asking students what works for them and what challenges cause them to be distracted?

No, I have not asked that question. I am working with very low students in a Special setting. I feel right now they should not be asked. The whole class will be coloring all day and not learning anything educational.

3. How does the use of a timer help motivate students and help them to focus

The timer in my class plays a sufficient part in their learning. When I use the timer they know that I am serious about them completing the assignment on time so, that we may move to the next task. We almost all the time have to review the subject because they don't understand. I always have to take a pause in teaching to reteach. The timer also motivates them.

 

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  • Private message to Jeremy Dixon

Children with learning disabilities or other types of disabilies makes it a struggle not only for the teacher, but for the other students as well as the student themself. By using a visual guides like timers and visual step by step to-do checklist helps keep the students on track and working toward a goal or time. This will help the students stay engaged and focus, but also independent. This also takes the stress and pressure of the students who have a hard time trying to remember what to do. By knowing what to do and knowing how much time they have to do it in, it keeps the students from being distracted or keep them from losing interest.

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  • Private message to Jane vonBirgelen

Keeping any of our students engaged is a struggle.  When a child has ADHD, it makes the challenge even harder.  Transitions are a constant struggle and often time a  waste of learning time.  It is a time when behavior can take over the class.  It is good for me to think about a transition as a multi-step process rather than just a one-step goal. Kids do need to think about what materials are now needed, what do I need to put away, what if I am not done and more.  The suggestions given were great and items I often use.  Give clear directions, provide a checklist, use a timer, and ask them what works best for them.  Having the students involved in their goal setting is valuable.  I could work on getting a better way to time the kids.  I often time do give them a time, but I am realizing that so many of my students cannot tell time using a clock face.  A more visual clock/timer would be helpful. 

 

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  • Private message to Gretta Brinson

 

  1. How can checklists and visual cues help students stay on task?

Some students have a hard time staying focused. Visual cues and checklists helps the students stay on task. Use verbal and written cues for instruction. Give clear directions so students know what is required.  Use a gentle redirection to get student back on task. The teacher can find out what works for individual students and ask the class as well.

  1. Have you tried the strategy of asking students what works for them and what challenges cause them to be distracted?

I have asked what helps and have implemented what is possible. I have not asked them what challenges cause them to be distracted. I will do that.

  1. How does the use of a timer help motivate students and help them focus?

The use a timer will motivate. The right amount of pressure keeps the adrenaline going and will keep the students focused. Import a timer to the power point presentation or have one on the desk. Make it competitive, everyone needs to be done before the timer is up.

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  • Private message to Monica Ocegueda
  1. How can checklists and visual cues help students stay on task?

Checklists and visual cues can help students stay on task because they are things that can help students focus, lets them know what is expected of them in the classroom, and gets them used to having a routine.

 

 

2. Have you tried the strategy of asking students what works for them and what challenges cause them to be distracted?

As a substitute teacher, I’ve noticed that every classroom is different because of the students. When I feel that I am loosing students, I have tried asking them what works for them. Some do better when they are sitting by their friends, and others do better by sitting up in the front. The other day, a student came up to me and asked me if she could sit in the front to focus better because she wanted to get the work done. I think communication between teacher and student is essential in the classroom.   

 

3. How does the use of a timer help motivate students and help them focus?

A timer can help the student focus because they know that they have to finish. It also can feel like a game where the students is racing against the clock.

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  • Private message to Jane vonBirgelen

I can imagine that being a substitute teacher makes these transitions even more difficult.  I love that you often ask the kids what they need.  It is not the first step I would think to take but so valuable.  I will use this strategy more often.

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Transcripts

  • Title Sequence

    [0.10] Series Title Sequence
    New Teacher Survival Guide

    Music cue
    Program Title:
    ADHD in the Classroom

    ACT 1 : THE CHALLENGES

    Title Sequence

    [0.10] Series Title Sequence
    New Teacher Survival Guide

    Music cue
    Program Title:
    ADHD in the Classroom

    ACT 1 : THE CHALLENGES OF TEACHING STUDENTS WITH ADHD

    Beat 1: Intro to James and his class

    - Shot sportsfield with students joking around
    - students walking into the school from sportsfield

    - James entering the school /
    - James walking through the hallway JAMES MCKINSTRY USED TO BE A BANKER.
    INTV James

    Lower third:
    James McKinstry
    3rd year teacher
    I was very good at finance, and helping people make money and make sound investments. But at the same time, I wanted to also help children.

    Shot of James in the hallway, talking to a student and greeting students passing by. JAMES SWITCHED CAREERS AND IS NOW A SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER AT THE JOHN DODD MIDDLE SCHOOL IN FREEPORT, LONG ISLAND.
    shot: peak through the door of James'classroom from the hallway. OT: James: come on – sit up, follow along.
    - Shots his students / cu’s of kids in class

    - Wider shot of the classroom

    HE TEACHES MATH AND ENGLISH TO FIFTEEN 7th GRADERS –

    FIVE OF HIS STUDENTS HAVE ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER – ALSO KNOWN AS ADHD.
    James INTV

    James: Every day is a challenge ..you get presented with different situations.

    INTV James

    See students with their mobile phone,

    students walking around

    shot of one kid dancing in front of camera

    See Toni acting out

    There’s a lot of different personalities going on in there. There's a lot of different needs that I have to fulfill..

    See CU of hand-tapping and kids squirming. STUDENTS WITH ADHD OFTEN HAVE TROUBLE REMAINING FOCUSED IN THE CLASSROOM AND CAN BE BE OVER-ACTIVE, INATTENTIVE, AND IMPUSIVE.
    INTV James Their attention span is very very short.

    James: I can’t have lessons go too long on certain topics, because otherwise they will loose interest, very quickly.

    ACT 2

    See wide shot of Pam walking towards school.
    Shot Pamela shake hands with James. TODAY, PAMELA MILAZZO HAS COME TO OBSERVE JAMES' CLASSROOM.

    Soundup:
    Pam: hey James I am pam Milazzo, nice to meet you.

    See Pam and James in the conference room

    PAM IS AN ADHD EXPERT.

    Soundup Pam:
    Tell me a little bit about the make up of your class ..

    IT’S A CONDITION SHE KNOWS WELL -- SHE’S BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH ADHD HERSELF.
    INTV Pamela:
    ADHD is really an under stimulation of the brain. The parts of the brain that enable you to basically block everything out and pay attention to what you need to pay attention to, that part of the brain isn’t working.
    JAMES IS LOOKING FOR ADVICE IMPROVING IN CLASS TRANSITIONS – AND ON KEEPING HIS STUDENTS ENGAGED AND ON POINT.
    Soundup James:
    Shhh, guys the notebooks should be open we should be writing down, ok, what's on the board..
    INTV James INTV JAMES
    Some of the struggles I am having is the transitioning from one part of the lesson to the next, trying to make it a little bit more of a smooth transition.

    SEE JAMES EVERY DAY, JAMES BEGINS CLASS WITH A DO-NOW.

    See girl raise her hand. James: OK, For your do-now, in your notebooks that are coming around, what is one legend that you have heard of? And if you’ve not heard a legend before, please describe what the definition means to you in two or three sentences.
    Pam: I loved your “do now.” I thought that was great.

    AFTERWARDS, PAM MEETS WITH JAMES TO TALK ABOUT THE CLASS.
    See James in front of the Power Point. Pam: It was a power point presentation, you didn’t have to sit there and write it on the board the old fashioned way and they were sitting there and waiting .. And you kept it up there so they could refer to it.

    Graphic: Tip
    Give clear directions so students know what is required of them.

    Soundup James;
    I want you to think of this on your own..
    Yes Kenny.
    Do not give an example... don’t give an answer...

    Pam:
    One of the things I would suggest You want to make sure that before they actually get into the assignment, they know exactly what’s required of them.

    If you don’t want them to raise their hand and answer the question then there should be, there should be a clear direction that I’m going to ask this question then when you finish I want you to place your answer in the workbook.
    See shot of James in the classroom
    FOLLOWING THE 'DO-NOW', JAMES TRANSITIONS TO HIS MAIN LESSON – UNDERSTANDING FICTION.
    See kids chatting, loud, tapping, sleepy
    James: Ok guys, we’re going to start in now... allright,, like we’ve been talking about, this unit is going to be about fiction. We're going to review a little bit and Mrs Decker and Mrs Smart will hand out the notebooks.

    See shot of aids walking around handing notebooks TWO TEACHING ASSISTANTS HELP OUT, BUT JAMES STILL STRUGGLES TO GET ALL HIS STUDENTS FOCUSED ON THE NEW TOPIC.

    TRANSITIONS CAN BE PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING FOR STUDENTS WITH ADHD

    INTV Pamela Pamela: When you are transitioning, we tend to think of this as one thing that they’re doing, but in fact there are a number of bits of information that they have to remember as they are transitioning from one thing to another.

    (45:10). What materials do you need to put away, what materials do you need to take out? What supplies do you need? Where are you going to put your homework?

    PAM SUGGESTS THAT VISUAL CUES CAN KEEP STUDENTS ON TRACK DURING TRANSITIONS.

    Graphic: TIP 2
    Provide checklists and other visual cues to remind students of classroom routines.

    Pamela: They can actually be given a small slip of paper at the beginning of class that serves as a checklist, that can be on the desk.

    You can also use a larger sign on the desk that is a permanent thing that they are referring to.

    They’ve got a cue, in order to follow the beginning of the classroom routine.

    42B_JamesClass_JPDiscuss ONCE STUDENTS HAVE TRANSITIONED INTO THE LESSON, THE NEXT CHALLENGE IS KEEPING THEM FOCUSED.

    SEE JAMES IN CLASSROOM – KIDS LOOSING FOCUS.

    Soundup James:
    What?
    Why what is he doing to you? Does he ever stop talking? Ok. Ruben..
    ANOTHER WAY TO KEEP STUDENTS ON TASK IS TO USE A TIMER.

    Graphic: Tip
    Use a timer to motivate students
    Pamela: Have you seen these? This is a timer.

    McKinstry: Yeah, actually I use something like this in quite a few of my lessons for on the smart board.

    Pamela: If you’re going to give them say three minutes, five minutes, whatever it is. What you can do with the time timer, which is so nice, is it’s showing them in red how much five minutes means. They’re able to see that time moving backwards. OK? For some students it’s kind of like a beat the clock type of a thing.

    James: I have done the timer, it does work, and I need to infuse it a little bit more, but I try not to pressure the students. I try to have as little pressure in the environment as possible.

    Pamela: ...but ,the right amount of pressure will actually cause that adreneline to start going, and boom, they will start to focus and pay attention.
    TEACHERS SHOULD ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR UNEXPECTED DISRUPTIONS.
    See Toni coming into the classroom, frustrated
    James

    James: Toni have a seat…sit down.. I know just sit down,
    Toni: Stay out of my life.
    James: Ok, Toni. We’re gong to write the do now. Look at the do-now on the board.
    James: I know the students all have some issues going on. Its all about maturity and looking at it from the point of view of the students.. They are not maliciously trying to do that to me. Anything negative that they are doing. It's just their behaviors. You can’t take it personally.
    STUDENTS WITH ADHD CAN GET FRUSTRATED EASILY – AND MAY NEED HELP GETTING BACK ON TRACK
    Actuality:
    James: look how good this is. You see this? You see how well you wrote this? Good. You see how well you wrote that?

    Pamela: I would like to talk about the situation that occurred with the student in class. You did that brilliantly. I don't know that there was much else that you could have done in that classroom setting.
    James: What I just try to do is refocus that student back on to task. And that’s my approach for all the students. Just a gentle redirection. Mostly agreeing with what they are saying – and a lot of the times it won’t even make sense to the student what they are saying. But I think just being supportive and positive in those situations means a lot more to them – knowing that you’re there for them – rather than that you are going to punish them. Or they are going to get in trouble.
    STUDENTS CAN BE REDIRECTED IN MANY WAYS.

    Actuality
    Soundup.
    James: I see a smile....
    Is that why you're smiling?
    INTV PAM
    Pamela:... the idea here is to create strategies that work for that particular student.

    ONE WAY TO FIND OUT WHAT WORKS FOR INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS – IS TO ASK THEM.

    Graphic: Tip
    Ask students what works for them

    INTV Pam ..take a few minutes and have a discussion with the class. You ask a couple of questions of what’s going on.

    What are the things that are making it challenging for you to pay attention right now?
    What kinds of things have you used to help redirect yourself back to the class so the students are sharing with one another.
    McKinstry: in a way I feel a little guilty because we’re not covering the curriculum at that point. But in turn, they need that redirection back on themselves so that they can sort of internalize and see where their problems may lie with paying attention.
    Pamela: OK. You have a wonderful relationship with these kids and a great class. Thank you.

    ACT 3 : IMPLEMENTATION

    Beat 2

    Schot of school
    See James in classroom, students coming in A FEW DAYS LATER, JAMES TRIES OUT SOME OF PAM’S SUGGESTIONS.
    See James in front of the powerpoint HE USES BOTH VERBAL AND WRITTEN CUES WHEN GIVING INSTRUCTIONS.
    See James in front of the powerpoint James: Actuality:
    James:What I want you to do is, what are two types of non- fiction. Give examples of each.

    INTV James
    James: Cueing is very effective, because it it allows me to interject what we’re going to get to, before we actually do it. So it gives the students a little foresight in what the lesson is going to be about, so it's sparking that interest.
    Actuality:
    James: Now that you have examples written down from the other slide, it should be much easier for you to do this.
    See shot of James setting up the timer JAMES ALSO USES A TIMER.

    James: I want each of you to be done before the timer hits zero. I'm going to give you about three minutes, three and a half minutes.

    CU timer
    INTV James James: The advice that Pam gave me was very very good. It worked extremely well to put the timer on the board.

    She recommended that I put a timer on the do now...

    See timer counting down
    See students working focuses James:

    Along with the timer I kind of infused my own strategy of now playing a game with them. Saying, we have to be done when a certain time is up. Because, you can' really just leave a timer up there and say this is your time, and not make it competitive for the students. They need to have something to work for.
    See and hear school bell.
    Students leave the classroom and blend in with other students in the hallway

    Actuality:
    James: Ok see you later guys!

    INTV James
    See kids coming out of the door in the hall way

    James. I am extremely proud of the students. And I feel that this population has the ability, just as all students do, to overcome the challenges that are put in front of them, with the right support and right teaching.

    TAKAWAY RECAP Give clear directions so students know what is required of them.

    Provide checklists and other visual cues for classroom procedures.

    Use a timer to motivate students.

    Ask students what works for them.

    CREDIT SEQUENCE

School Details

John W Dodd Middle School
25 Pine Street
Freeport NY 11520
Population: 927

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

James McKinstry
Pamela Milazza

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