Date
19 July 2024

Classroom adaptations to support learning in years 9–13

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Prepare for a new student with additional needs in the classroom’

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A 360-degrees-view of the classroom

A 360-degrees-view of the classroom

In every area of the curriculum, the key to using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is to reduce or eliminate barriers to student learning.

Take a look at this 360-degrees-view of UDL classroom.

Take a similar photo of your classroom. Imagine moving around the space as your new student. Consider:

  • how the student will find resources
  • how resources and work stations are labelled (in text, with symbols, or with images) 
  • is there a quiet space for students to work, a place to stand and work and a place to think or curl up and read?

Walk in your student's shoes

Walk in your student's shoes

Take a walk around the classroom. Use all your senses to consider how the classroom might look, hear and feel to your new student.

Consider:

  • routines and ways of working
  • how you will make assignment timings manageable
  • the practical challenges for students, such as timetabling, the number of books to be carried and the distances between classes 
  • the best listening distance, the use of the FM, seating, indicating who is speaking in a class discussion.

The school environment

The school environment

What does your student see, hear, and feel? How does this affect them?

Consider:

  • the school environment – for example, loud hand-dryers in toilets, opening or reaching into lockers, reaching hooks for coats, lighting in hallways and classrooms
  • the way your school works – for example, the length and timing of lessons and breaks, six-day timetables, time for travel between classes, staff visibility during breaks, communicating routines and changes
  • the classroom environment – for example, loud noises, order and disorder, the location of desks in relation to light and sound
  • the way the classroom works – for example, welcoming and packing-up routines, buddy systems, quiet and busy times, teacher-led, group and independent learning, time allocated for homework.

Specific adaptations

Specific adaptations

Some students may need specific differentiations or adaptations such as:
  • visual supports such a diagrams, pictures, photos, posters, visual timetables, and desktop task cues
  • a variety of teaching methods – many high school students, particularly boys, need to learn by doing rather than by listening
  • templates and frames to support students’ writing as they learn more formal processes
  • assistive technology such as software that reads text aloud or text prediction programs for writing.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Assessment for learning

Lading local curriculum guide series on using the right tools and resources to notice and respond to progress across the curriculum.

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Universal design for learning in action 100 ways to teach all learners

Universal design for learning in action: 100 ways to teach all learners

Whitney Rapp explains step by step 100 UDL strategies that strengthen student engagement, learning and assessment in this book. Available for purchase from Brookes Publishing Co.

Publisher: Brookes Publishing

Price: One off charge $36.55

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Prepare for a new student with additional needs in the classroom”:

Return to the guide “Transitions – managing times of change”

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