Helpful strategies for the classroom
Strategies for Visual Learners
- Use lots of visual stimuli such as cue cards, posters and prompt sheets.
- Put a visual organiser or a visual reminder for the day’s work on the board.
- Use peripheral posters with positive messages in your classroom and around school.
- Display posters to support learning above eye-level to reinforce key learning points.
- Ask children to make posters to represent concepts during lessons or for homework.
- Cover up learning posters and test on the content.
- Display key words round the room and on sheet on the desks.
- Put children’s mind maps on the well done wall.
- Use visual prompts for story writing.
- Use pictures and props to enhance storytelling and reading.
- Provide lots of visual references when you give examples or tell stories: “It looked like…..”
- Ask questions, which require visual recall: “What did it look like?”
- Ask questions, which require visual imagination: “What would it look like?”
- Use lots of visual associations.
- Encourage learners to gain an overview by flicking through a book or text and use scanning and dipping when reading for information.
- Support spelling by imagining the word and breaking it up into small parts and ‘see’ this process happening; colour each part differently; make the word big; make the word small.
- Encourage learners to ‘see’ the spelling in the upper left field of vision with their eyes closed.
- Teach and model visualisation and guided visualisation.
- Encourage learners to notice and draw attention to detail when ‘chatter-boxing’. Help learners to remember how information ‘looks’ by teaching them to take structured notes using images, shape, space and colour.
- Use picture scaffolds for non-fiction writing.
- Use and display individual, group and class mind and learning maps.
Strategies for Auditory Learners
- Establish Ground rules about noise levels in your classroom; use the clock face method.
- Teach and practise good listening.
- Use circle time (or similar approach) to practise active listening, give feedback and let learners practise asking questions.
- Use teacher selected music to complement learning activities.
- Keep your own classroom (and staffroom) talk positive.
- Ensure language is straight forward; avoid adult codes.
- Talk through the learning posters to reinforce key learning points.
- Use lots of language activities based on the keywords.
- Ask learners to talk through or present their learning maps from the work in progress or well done wall.
- Encourage learners to describe their planned writing out loud to a partner before starting their first draft.
- Make extensive use of singing, chanting and narrative verse.
- For KS2 pupils with reading difficulties encourage reading with a chronometer or background tape with a steady insistent rhythm.
- When reading aloud, make the voices of characters exaggerated, quirky, melodramatic and encourage learners to do the same.
- Provide lots of auditory references when you give examples “It sounded like….”
- Ask questions through auditory recall: “What did it sound like?”
- Ask questions through auditory imagination: “What would it sound like?”
- Use lots of auditory associations.
- Encourage spelling by sounding the word and breaking it into smaller parts and hearing the process happen; change the sound of the word; high voice; low voice; fast; slow; cartoon voice.
- Encourage learners to say words slowly out loud and listen to each syllable as they say it.
- Teach and practise ‘chatter-boxing’ or pole-bridging’.
- In learning/coaching pairs take turns in giving only verbal instructions (particularly useful when using ICT).
- Encourage learners to talk through their mind or learning maps and explain them to others.
Strategies for Kinaesthetic Learners
- Build in regular physical beaks.
- Use different parts of the classroom for different types of activity.
- Put a visual reminder for the day’s work on the board and when you make reference to it use large and extravagant movement.
- Use lots of ‘open’ body language: avoid folded arms, shrugs, frowns and shaking your head in disapproval.
- Use Brain Gym strategies to reinforce learning and to rehearse motor skills such as handwriting.
- Encourage learners to act things out.
- Provide opportunities for pupils to learn by manipulating and doing.
- Provide opportunities for pupils to learn by stimulating movements.
- Speak slowly.
- Provide laminated letters for structuring words.
- Provide laminated words for structuring sentences.
- Encourage pupils to stand beside their mind map as they talk it through, allow pupils to write on white board or take part in whole class demonstration, shared activity etc in line with NNS.
- Use toys and props to enhance story telling, reading texts, for prompting writing of all genres.
- Provide lots of kinaesthetic references when you give examples or tell stories: “It felt like….”
- Ask questions through kinaesthetic recall: “What did it feel like?”
- Ask questions through kinaesthetic imagination: “What would it feel like?” “What would you be doing?”
- Use lots of physical associations through movement, mime gesture.
- Use mind maps and ask learners to walk through their ideas.
- Role play wherever possible; ask children to act out multiplication or erosion.
- Encourage learners to use their bodies to represent ideas such as 2D and 3D shapes.
- Ask pupils to pretend to be the people you are learning about, to talk, walk, feel like them such as a Roman soldier or a character from a story.
Guided and Individual Reading Sessions in School
This teaching sequence is designed to support pupils reading at Book Band 1 (Pink) – Book Band 5 (Green). It is appropriate for all children working within these levels and will support pupils with SEND who are struggling with reading.
Word Card Pack: Begin with a run through of previously taught high frequency words. A quick read with a partner through a pack of word cards (only use those that they have knowledge of.) This should be a 1 minute quick warm up.
Book introductions take the ‘bugs’ out of the text before the child reads it (Marie Clay)
Books should be carefully selected at the child’s instructional level so that there are not too many ‘bugs’.
Book introductions change as children move through the levels. At all levels, book introductions give the children opportunities to hear and repeat phrases and structures that are not in their oral language.
New words are met in a meaningful context which supports children who have poor visual memory.
Read the title to the child then ask the child to predict from the title/pictures what the book will be about. Give a brief overviewof the whole book.
Carry out a full book introduction talking about the pictures, using the language of the text, locating any repetitive structure, identify any potential difficulties, pointing out any tricky vocabulary and names of characters. Model blending one or two words at the child’s level.
Word build or teach a targeted high frequency word using magnetic letters and then repeated writing on white boards etc. Locate this word in the text – make sure the child is saying the word every time they read or write it.
Link your book introductions to your objectives e.g. ‘Take more note of punctuation to support the use of grammar and oral language rhythms’ Possible link: choose a text with speech marks and model how that would sound.
Pupils read the text aloud at their own pace, as independentlyas possible. Let the child hold the book and also does any necessary pointing.
If the child makes a mistake let them get to the end of the sentence before saying anything. This allows opportunities for self-correction.
Allow the child thinking time before helping (6 – 10 seconds)
Tell the child the word if it is not in their oral language and beyond their phonic knowledge e.g. I went to the aquarium.
Do not ask questions you know the child can’t answer e.g. don’t ask them to sound out a word if they are not secure with their letter knowledge.
Praise: During reading, focus on a behaviour you wish the child to continue with. Praise should be specific, not just well done… Use the phrase I like the way you…
Model appropriate word building – phonetically regular words. Use magnetic letters.
Teach a high frequency word in early level texts if this was not done in the book introduction.
If the child has difficulties prompt with the following questions:
Does that make sense? What would make sense? Does that look right? Now check the letters? Can we say it like that?
Do not try to teach everything. Focus on the objectives.
Find something to praise – Return to the text and be specific in your praise. I like the way you… This should link with the objective and be used as a model for problem solving on another page e.g. I like the way you noticed the ‘s’ on the end of ‘cats’. Now look at this word, do you think it says ‘dog’ or ‘dogs’? How do you know?
Focus on specific strategies and praise for these, such as re-reading, reading on, sounding out, using meaning, looking at pictures etc.
At early text levels (Book Band 1 (Pink) and 2 (Red) select a sentence from the reading book and use as a cut-up sentencefor the child to reconstruct.
Teach a high frequency word in early level texts if this was not done in the book introduction or during the reading element.
Add any new high frequency word learnt during the session to the child’s known word cards. Put 5 or 6 cards with the new word on into the pack until it is secure.
Ensure the child reads through the word pack on a daily basis and also has a set to take home.