For many students, secondary school is the first time they are allotted time during their instructional day to work independently. Many students with LDs can find this overwhelming and are unsure of what to do during this time. It can be helpful to provide the student with some helpful tips and tools, but ultimately allow them to take responsibility for what happens in that time.
Some helpful things you can do as a teacher:
- Be familiar with the specific strengths and needs of the student as described in the Ontario Student Record (OSR) and on the Individual Education Plan (IEP). Use this information to program appropriately for the student
- Ensure strong communication between the Student Success Team and the classroom so the student can receive good support when working outside of the classroom (e.g. resource room)
- Create an assignment organizer to share with students either electronically or on paper. This should include the subject, the day it was assigned, a short description, and the due date.
- Encourage students to use highlighters or coloured pens to show which tasks are most urgent. Sometimes students will procrastinate by doing a task that is non-essential first, rather than focusing on what is due soonest.
- Encourage students to set small, realistic goals by using a timer. Aim for 20 minutes of uninterrupted work or studying at a time. If they manage this, they can reward themselves with a short break or a treat. Try to model this behaviour in class time as well by having a timer visible on the board while students work.
- Keep visual reminders of assignments and upcoming tests in your classroom on a calendar or the whiteboard. This can help students stay organized and decide what they need to work on that day in their own time
- Dedicate a lesson to study skills. Often students do not know how to study, and those with LDs can be too afraid to ask. Include lessons on subject-specific study strategies such as creating flashcards, summarizing concepts, taking notes, and quizzing on knowledge with a partner. Students will be more likely to get started on their own if they know exactly what they should be doing.