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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Organizing a Classroom for ADD and ADHD Students

My first edition of Mom Audience went out this morning. You can see it at the Mom Audience blog. It's a place for moms, mompreneurs and mom-appealing businesses to connect.

Here's our blog for today:

Organizing a Classroom for ADD and ADHD Students

I came across the following article
by Angela Powell about organizing a classroom for students with ADD and ADHD. Teachers and homeschooling parents can apply these tips directly. Parents of ADD and ADHD children can pass these tips on to their children's teachers.

"It doesn't take much to distract students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Maintaining an uncluttered and well-organized classroom can make a big difference in a students' ability to attend to lessons.

Here are some tips for organizing your classroom to support students with ADD and ADHD:

1) Keep the front wall of the classroom as bare as possible. Many teachers like to fill their classrooms with colorful posters and decorations, but this can make it difficult for children with ADD and ADHD to stay focused. Try to hang the majority of your teaching aids on the side and back walls so that students have little to focus on in the front of the room except your instruction. Even colorful rugs with maps or other teaching aids can break children's' concentration, so you may need to keep such carpets in the back or sides of the classroom.

2) Arrange classroom furniture to minimize distractions. Have students face away from windows and your classroom door if possible. It can be difficult to accommodate all of these distractors, but make every effort to keep students' desks clustered near the main teaching area and all other classroom features behind them throughout the day, turn the computer monitors so that students cannot view the screens from their desks. Keep your small group instructional area in the side or rear of the room so that students working independently are not distracted by your

3) Turn students' desks around so they aren't tempted to play with things inside. Children with ADD and ADHD can easily become distracted by school supplies in their desks, so it can be helpful to turn the desks around backwards so that the contents cannot be accessed while children are sitting.

4) Minimize the number of materials students keep in their desks. Utilize cubbies and other storage areas for items less-commonly used so that only essential items are within arm's reach. This will not only limit distractions, but will make it easier for students to stay organized.

5) Post visual aides of the materials students should have out. This can be done by writing the names of the materials needed on the board (e.g., math book, red notebook, pencil, eraser). For young or very visual children, take photographs of the school supplies, print out, laminate, and stick magnets on the back so you can display photos of the needed items. Dedicate a special area of your chalkboard or whiteboard for 'Materials Needed' so that students always know where to look for this information.

6) Structure lessons so that only a few materials are needed at a given time. When children with ADD or ADHD have numerous items in front of them, they tend to either play around with the materials or become overwhelmed by trying to manage them. Plan your instruction so that children are not constantly moving things around or keeping extra items on their desks. If you will use a textbook for only a few problems, try writing the problems on the board so that students need only paper and a pencil in front of them. Limit how many papers students have by completing practice activities on the back of worksheets instead of on a separate sheet. Pre-make materials that need to be cut and glued if children have difficulty managing multiple materials at a time."