Most people that know me well are aware that I have struggled with ADHD as long as it has been a “known” disorder. I was the classic case. I daydreamed pretty much all the time. I would walk off in the middle of conversations. My brother in law jokes that I would lose my keys if they were moved an inch from where I placed them and paying attention to details that my peers found normal were just downright difficult for me. To this day, I cannot sit and read through entire chapters in one sitting un-medicated nor can I complete simple task like writing, grading or lesson plans. I will take medication for the rest of my life and will do it it proudly.
For the next few weeks, I want to share a few tips that are working for me in my classroom to help those students who are dealing with attention deficit issues. In addition, these tips have been a lifesaver for me.
1. In the words of my son, “I hate a disorganized teacher!”
Organization…Organization…Organization! People wonder why I love my SMART Notebook software so much…This is why! I not only create lessons in Notebook 10. I create my lesson plans as well. Using the “Groups” feature of Notebook pages, I can separate lessons by week and grading period with the ability to go back, change and correct with ease. In addition, with the very same software that my lessons are created, I have every tool that I could possible use with each lesson at my fingertips.
2. Less is More
Most kids are easily distracted, however kids with ADHD are distracted at greater lengths. When creating lessons, AVOID filling the page with paragraphs of information, looping animations, dueling images and anything else that could be a potential distractor. Use pull tabs to hide information and remember that splitting excess information is never a bad thing.
3. A Blinking Eye is NEVER a good page animation.
My VERY first year with a SMARTboard, I did THIS to my students. It was the first and LAST time that I ever used anything blinking, looping, etc. I am even distracted looking at it now as I am typing. Just trust me…Don’t do it! >>>> No explanation necessary I bet
4. Mix “Get Up and Moves” with Instructional Lessons
The Lesson Activity Toolkit is your friend. Engage! Engage! Engage! The worst thing that you can do is to deprive kids the opportunity to interact with the learning content. I attended a content creation seminar a few years ago and literally one statement changed they way that I create lessons. I plan two or three (at most) slides of instruction and the rest is activity that supports learning. If you are unfamiliar with the lesson activity toolkit, there are examples that are fully customizable and ready to go.
5. Patience is Your Other Friend
Not everything works 100% the first time. Understand that and tweak activities as needed. If nothing seems to be working with certain kids, consult with your school representative, parents and other teachers. In addition, there are resources online that can most definitely help.