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All learners have different learning preferences, how do you create accommodations that are accessible for all learners?

I recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in early childhood education. I know that differentiated instruction is essential, how do you accommodate students of different learning preferences?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Pamela’s Answer

Learning styles are important. Learn which ones your students fit into. In addition, I always pretested my students to see what they already knew. There is no sense wasting time teaching things they know. Use your time wisely. Use data to form your lessons. It will reveal to you what you need to go back over or finish up. Allow students to go ahead on a topic while others review. They need to be challenged.

Reading level groups are important as well. Level them and team teach with someone else as to allow flexible grouping that advances them at their own pace. Use books and content that appeals to them when you can. If they have no interest in a book, why force them to read it?

Math groups can be leveled as well. Here again teaming with your talented and gifted teacher etc can help.

Do a variety of group settings. Some learn better in a group, others don't.

Make learning fun. I taught motion with Hot Wheel cars and track. Use toys when you can to explore concepts. Toys can teach a lot if you think outside the box,
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Anell’s Answer

Hi Morgan!

The fact that you have just began your career in education and are seeking information on how to accommodate is amazing! Not every teacher cares to shift their practices and strategies to meet kids where they are, particularly at the start, so kudos to you!

One big part in accommodations/modifications is really getting to know your students. You can have all the tools in the world, but if you don't know which tool your student(s) needs, it won't be helpful.

Here are a few things, I'd do:

1. I'd take time to meet with each student individually. Practice the skills you're learning with them to see what they do well and what they need more practice on. Take notes on what you observe and use this session as a way to begin gauging how they best demonstrate what they've learned. Then continue this practice on a consistent basis to always have a good pulse on where kids are.

2. Survey, survey, survey! Not sure how young your kiddos are, but if you're able to ask them directly, how do you enjoy learning? They will tell you their preferences.

3. Embed different styles of teaching/learning in each of your lessons. Even the student who says they rather write versus discuss an answer, will benefit from sharing their thoughts verbally. Differentiation is helpful for all students, not just kids in specific subgroups.
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Taylor’s Answer

Hello!

You will have students with 504s and IEPs, so accommodations will be listed. It will be trickier for students in tier 2 and tier 3. You will have to find what interventions work for each of them. After teaching for six years, I found choice menus were the best way to keep students engaged when they weren't working with me in small group. Choice menus take a lot of time to create, but they can be used repeatedly across units and possibly across subject areas. You can set up your choice menus with required accommodations and modifications from IEPs or 504s.
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Tonya’s Answer

Congratulations on graduating with your Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

Here are a few suggestions to create an environment for learners’ abilities, preferences, and areas of growth.

Use Age Appropriate Assessment:
Since the age level is early childhood, you can convert the assessment questions into wording the kids can relate to. For example, visual, do you like to watch videos verse auditory, do you like to listen to someone read you a book; tactile, do you like to play with your toys. Observe their preferences during play. Then match the learning topic to how you see each child’s play preferences/interest.

Brain Based Learning:
Over the years whether teaching children or adults, I accommodate by basing activities on brain based learning. For example, display various learning activities and allow times not to have everyone demonstrate their proficiency the same way. You can say, show me how you understand the learning materials/what we just discussed.

Create the Environment:
To accommodate and create an accessible learning experience you can use ideas based on Montessori theory where you use different areas of the room for various learning methods and styles. The setup allows the child to gravitate to their preference. The activity is based on the same concept but the activity to engage within the concept varies according to the use of the VARK theory. Then bring everyone together to share what they learned and how they were able to understand the information. This way the focus is on the learner as the teacher instead of the teacher as the “know it all” The student controls the learning.

Create the culture to support your ideas:
You may hear from fellow teachers that your idea of accomodation takes more work than just teaching everyone the same way by having the children sit in a chair and let them listen to the talking teacher. However, your outcomes will be different in the short and long term. As a result, to support the learning culture you are looking for you need to find a work culture/setting that aligns with your ideas. Additionally, find a mentor who teaches using the same philosophy you believe in. Then, the mentor will help either provide you with real life ideas on a regular base, or you can bounce ideas off of the mentor. Your work environment leaders and colleagues should encourage you to try different methods (based on different ideas) instead of sticking to the traditional learning methods. Try methods from other cultures. I appreciate the knowledge I acquired from an education technology graduate student I precepted from another country who described her learning environment and experiences.

I included resources below that I have used, which maybe a replication of resources you used in school. However, I included them anyway, just in case they may help you as a new graduate.

Remember to enjoy yourself in your new position.

Resources:
Montessori, M. (1995). The Absorbent Mind: A Classic in Education and Child Development for Educators and Parents
ISBN-10: 0805041567

Sousa, D. A. (2016). How the brain learns 5th edition
ISBN-10: 1506346308
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Cym’s Answer

Hello- understand first that your Teaching Credential Program at your university will greatly asset in giving you the skills needed for meeting all the needs of the learners in your class. It can be overwhelming if you have 40 students in your class and they are all at different learning levels and you have some also that have special needs accommodations. Depending on your state you may or not have those students in special classes, pull out classes for certain situations or they might be in your general population classroom but with an aid who will also assist in accommodations for that specific student. Please also note that many programs from publisher has ADA compliance- WCAG compliance and keep up to date with the current recommendations to meet the needs of all students and have built in modifications that you as the teacher can help a student with and in some cases the student can even access the modifications right there themselves on the product platform. Hope that helps! Teaching is such a rewarding profession- don't let the concern for meeting all the needs of all the students overwhelm you. You will be trained to handle the situations in a good teaching program.
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Morgan thank you for your question. I understand what you mean I think this may help you to establish which child belongs in which group. I always started off with 3 groups, quite group this is the group that likes to work independently next we have the computer group most of these children you'll find they have a harder time sitting still to take the test. Now the third group is an interactive group I generally let the first two groups test first. Then let the third group test while the other group are at the library. Best of luck
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Nashonda’s Answer

Provide your students (if they are older) Vark inventory learning styles type of quiz. Adapt your teaching to the learning styles of the students. Some students are visual learners, some are tactile, some are kinesthetic type learners, and some are auditory type learners. Try to expose your students to different types of teaching that features each above learning style.

I agree with the answer above. Provide the students with a quick quiz to gauge where they are in reference to their learning, then create learning groups where they can get individual support from you or peers.
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Jose’s Answer

I believe everyone has their own method of teaching, a successful instructor should be able to teach in various methods. When the time comes the instructor should have a plan on how to proceed! First I write the most popular way of teaching on the board, I'll ask my students whoever is comfortable with this way of learning go ahead and proceed with instructions on the board. For the rest of us I would gather everyone around into a group setting and simply ask them to discuss and write down what has worked for them in the past. Once the discussion is over, we would analyze all the answers and fit them in together to come up with one method. The good thing about this method is that everyone is involved! The answers came as a group not just one individual. Now that we working with one particular answer we continue to discuss as a group what this answer has that everyone can relate to?something like proof reading the answer, taking away the unnecessary mumbo jumbo to achieve the most basic answer possible. Once we achieve that I go ahead and teach them using the answer as a guide. Once this is done I'm sure there will be at least one or two students that still were having issues with that teaching method. These students need guidance and a sense of direction regarding their learning process! Sit down with the student individually and go through it their way the way they have done it in the past and teach it that way. A good instructor should always want to have 100% success when it comes to teaching.

Jose recommends the following next steps:

Follow up with a test to see if everyone was able to learn the material.
Analyze scores and whoever failed the instructor should set up appointment with such students and go through the test together and let the student know how he learned the material see if that works.
For those who didn't pass another test is given once they had time to study material more in depth.
Analyze scores again, separate those who passed and failed, set up another meeting to discuss the material.
Once everyone has passed we put what they learned to the test. A final exam will be conducted and that will have a substantial influence on students final grade.
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Jose’s Answer

When it comes to teaching, for the most part one would need to analyze different ways to get a point across, use a already proven method, or simply read out a few examples and present them to the class, we will have a vote and the most popular method would be the way to proceed. Once we have the popular selection it's still not over, that was just for the majority of the class, we still have to figure a way to reach the rest of the class. As the instructor it's my responsibility to reach everyone, not just the majority. So for the rest of the class I'm going to put them together as a group have them talk amongst themselves, the discussion would be what method has worked for them in the past, and teach that way of learning to the rest of the group. A good instructor has the responsibility to make sure the entire class learns the material, if it takes having to work with them individually that is what the instructor shall do.

Jose recommends the following next steps:

Cut the teaching into phases a student cannot move to next phase unless they can prove they can do the previous phase.
Once all phases are complete move on to hands on if subject has hands on.
Once comfortable with hands on them comes the fun part, we have a written test, and cannot move forward until written test is passed.
Once the written phase is completed we move to hands on phase
Finally after all is phases are complete, there's the final exam, one cannot pass the course until they are all passed.
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