Karen J. Rooney, Ph.D.
President, Educational Enterprises, Inc.
1899-B Billingsgate Circle
Richmond, VA 23238
Classroom Interventions for Students with Attention
Several lessons need to be learned to work effectively
with students with attention disorders. Jimmy taught his
teacher the first of these lessons. Jimmy was sitting
in class listening to a well-planned lesson on farm animals.
His reaction to the lesson was to ask his teacher if she
had ever been to the Empire State building which certainly
gave the impression that Jimmy had not been paying attention.
The teacher responded, "Jimmy, why would ask that question
now?" Jimmy explained, "You were talking about farm animals
and my uncle used to have a farm which I visited every
summer. Last year, he sold his farm and moved to New York
City so I went there instead of the farm and he took me
to the Empire State building." Jimmy taught his teacher
that students with attention disorders do not always process
information the way their parents or teachers think they
should and that behavior is not always what it appears
Sarah taught her teacher the second lesson during a well
-intentioned spelling lesson which demonstrates the necessity
for on-going monitoring and diagnostic teaching. Sarah's
teacher taught her to use small words within words to
help her with spelling. Sarah spelled the word brown as
"brone." She was asked to identify a small word within
brown to enable her to spell the word correctly. She identified
the word "ow" in brown and the teacher was quite satisfied
until Sarah wrote "brone" on the retest. The teacher asked
Sarah if she remembered the small word she had identified
and she said, "Yes, the word "ow." The teacher pointed
to Sarah's word and queried, "Do you see "o-w" in brown?"
Sarah gave the teacher an exasperated look and said, "
Well, you didn't tell me that "c (see)-o-w" was in the
word so that's why I got it wrong." Sarah taught her teacher
that working with students with attention disorders is
not always easy and that interventions need to take into
account the unique characteristics of the individual as
well as the situation. There isn't going to be a program
or intervention that magically cures an attention disorder.
In addition to these very basic lessons, an in-depth
understanding of the basic descriptors of attention problems
needs to be developed.
Descriptors of Attention Disorders
The definition of attention has frequently been described
in generic terms as though attention was a singular construct
but this approach has not been supported in the literature
(Goldstein & Goldstein, 1990; Keitzman, Spring & Rubin,1980;
Posner & Snyder, 1975; Rosenthal & Allen, 1978). In contrast,
Postle (1988) described attention as "the process through
which we construct the world we experience." Thus, a multi-factorial
definition of attention is necessary for understanding
the construct (Halperin, Newcorn, Sharma, Healey, Wolf,
Pascualvaca, & Schwartz, 1990). In spite of this research
data, when a child is diagnosed as having an attention
deficit, it is unusual to have sufficient attention given
to the description of the attention problems involved.
Typically, the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder
is treated as a definitive, singular construct that will
identify the individual's disorder. The use of subtype
descriptors can prevent the oversimplification of a complicated
construct and make the diagnosis of an attention disorder
a more salient description that can be translated into
appropriate educational and behavioral interventions.
Attention can be divided into categories that describe
specific types of attentional weaknesses. The first category
deals with encoding or problems with incoming stimuli
and the storage of this stimuli for processing. The second
category relates to the selection of stimuli to process
Attention Span refers to the length of time an activity
is pursued. For example, switching from task to task without
completing the task is an example of a weakness in attention
span. A child is not able to continue attending long enough
to successfully complete the task or process.
Focusing attention refers to the ability to tune out
distracting or irrelevant stimuli so that attention is
directed toward the appropriate stimuli. This type of
attention deficit is exacerbated as the degree of the
complexity of the task increases (Keitzman et al, 1980;
Divided attention refers to the ability to split attention
between two or more inputs or aspects of a task. Impairment
in the ability to "split" or allocate attention results
in deterioration in speed and accuracy of attentional
processing (Zeitzan, 1980). If a teacher is giving an
example of gravity by describing a ride at an amusement
park, the attention needs to be focused on the message
and distracting, irrelevant conversations or environmental
noises need to be ignored. Focused attention requires
the elimination of distracting or irrelevant stimuli.
For example, if a teacher is demonstrating a math problem
and teaching the steps verbally, the student has to divide
or allocate attention between the problem being worked
and the message being delivered.
Sustained attention is the ability to maintain the focus
of attention over time and is related to arousal or activation
of the nervous system. Kahnehan (1973) states that arousal
is the degree of effort required for attentional processing.
If arousal is low, motivation, alertness and processing
capacity are diminished and sustained attention is impaired.
Many students with ADD exhibit fatigue because of the
greater demands on energy when processing information
or paying attention.
Intensity of attention has been shown to have an influence
on focus as well as memory storage (Pettijohn, 1987).
The greater the intensity of the attention from factors
such as interest, motivation or novelty, the greater the
ability to focus and sustain attention. Weaknesses in
intensity would be similar to widespread underarousal
which interferes with attentional processing capacity.
Research on students with ADD indicates that the students
perform better under novel, highly stimulating conditions
but not under routine, boring conditions ( Zentall, 1983).
Sequential attention is the ability to focus attention
on the stimuli in the order that is necessary for successful
task completion or accurate comprehension. For example,
if directions are being given, attention must be directed
to the stimuli in order for accurate comprehension and
execution to take place. Accuracy of sequential attention
affects comprehension of behavioral situations as well
as academic processing because of the importance of the
sequential order for comprehension and generalization.
Selective attention is the ability to choose the appropriate
stimuli for processing. After attention is focused and
sustained, certain pieces of information or stimuli are
chosen for further processing. For example, in a textbook,
the terms are put in bold print to help the selection
of these pieces of information for processing rather than
other words in the text. Students with ADD have more difficulty
with the selection process than non-ADD students (Hallahan
& Reeve, 1980). The concept of selective attention is
very important in terms of educational intervention because
of the implications for studying and test-taking.
Involuntary attention is an automatic response to a stimuli.
For example, if someone calls a person's name, the attentional
response is immediate.
Voluntary attention is conceptually driven and refers
to "the allocation of attention to stimuli that are relevant
to current plans, expectations and intentions" (Keitzman
et al., 1980). This type of attentional processing is
intentional, deliberate and conscious. The process of
choosing relevant stimuli requires excessive energy, demands
extensive practice but can become more automatic over
time. For example, driving a car is an example of a task
involving voluntary attention that becomes an automatic
process. As the car leaves the motor vehicle department,
the new driver is thinking of every detail related to
the driving process but with experience, the driver can
look at scenery, recognize familiar friends and listen
to the news while driving without interference in the
Filtering is the process of weeding out irrelevant stimuli
from relevant stimuli. Theories such as the "bottleneck"
suggest that information is narrowed to the most critical
stimuli. However, this filtering process has also been
viewed in terms of "set." "Schema set" (Broadbent, 1971)
is a filtering process that targets appropriate stimuli
because of the physical properties of the stimuli. A second
filtering process called "response set" selects stimuli
for further processing based on the similarity between
the stimuli and the conceptual expectation. For example,
if a child is told to attend to the teacher with the blue
dress, the schema set would control the selection. If
the child were told to attend to the teacher talking about
space, the response set would control the selection. Since
ADD students have difficulty with schemas, the filtering
process is complicated by the organizational weaknesses
as well as the attentional focus.
The use of these descriptors of attention has been well-documented
in the literature. Encoding descriptors such as short
term/working memory deficits have been reviewed by Baddeley
(1986), Torgeson, Kistner & Morgan (1987), and McIntyre,
Murray & Blackwell (1981). Selective attention deficits
have been analyzed in some of the most interesting studies
from an educational perspective (Hallahan & Reeve, 1980;
Hallahan, Tarver, Kauffman & Graybeal, 1978; Richards,
Samuels, Turnure & Ysseldyke, 1990). A more in-depth understanding
of these descriptors of attentional disorders will enable
educators to understand the nature of the disorder as
manifested within the individual so intervention planning
will be more suited to the individual and be more successful.
In regard to intervention planning, an in-depth understanding
of two techniques for behavioral analysis and two important
approaches to intervention needs to be developed. Behavioral
observation and behavioral analysis are important techniques
to enable a teacher to analyze a student's individual
needs as well as environmental dynamics that need to be
addressed during intervention planning. In addition, behavior
management and organizational training need to be included
in the intervention program. First, the tools for analysis
will be presented and then the two types of intervention
will be discussed.
The use of behavioral observation systems are valuable
tools to collect information about a student's behavior.
The techniques are simple and depict behavior over a period
of time so the practitioner can view the behaviors more
objectively than when using less structured approaches.
There are many checklists available which can be used
for assessment (Goldstein & Goldstein, 1990) but observation
is necessary to determine how the disorder manifests itself
in the individual student. The observational techniques
below represent some simple methods to obtain behavioral
A simple chart can be made from teacher perceptions of
the individual's strengths and weaknesses which can facilitate
educational/behavioral planning. Teacher comments often
have less impact because the comments are narrative in
nature and are not succinctly organized. The use of charts
will clearly convey the perceptions of a teacher or multiple
teachers about a student's strengths and weaknesses as
well as the concerns of the teacher/teachers. An example
of such a chart for a tenth-grader is outlined below:
|Discussion in class
|Leader in cooperative learning
|Multiple Choice tests
Oral test alternatives
Eliminate rote copying tasks
Practice essay questions
Use of pictorials/diagrams for concepts
Use graphic organizers that force attention to detail
and identification of the concept
Key word notetaking
Preparation of study materials in cooperative learning
Use review systems consistently
Use tests that are multiple choice in nature with essays
that have been organized in advance
Sue had trouble starting her classwork immediately.
Sue had difficulty finishing her seatwork and had to take
classwork home to finish. Sue was involved in a disagreement
on the playground. She and Marta fought over their turn
on the swing. Both girls were separated and were put in
time-out until they could control their behavior.
Did not have papers signed by parents.
Sue did not finish seatwork again today and had to take
work home. She did not have her book for reading so could
not complete reading assignment.
Had to borrow a pencil.
Did well on the playground today.
Had Pair Instruction activity and work was completed.
Did well on playground.
Recommendation: More pair instruction for social as well
as academic reasons.
Sue finish her work this week?
Tracking the frequency of the behaviors can sometimes
be difficult for teachers actively involved in the teaching
process, but easy access to a card with designated spaces
representing particular behaviors may enable the teacher
to record a quick checkmark as a frequency tally. The
use of manipulatives such as moving the pieces of an abacus,
moving colored macaroni from one container to another
or shifting rubberbands from one wrist to another are
examples of creative substitutions for written tallies.
The frequency number is then recorded on the daily card
and the data from daily cards can be graphed or tabulated
to provide a more objective view of the severity of the
problem and is very useful for parent or student conferences.
Time Sampling of Attention
Attention has been defined as on-task behavior which
can be measured through the use of a time sampling method
to identify the occurrence and non-occurrence of on-task
behavior representing attention (Hallahan, Lloyd, Kosiewicz,
Kauffman & Graves, 1979; Hallahan, Kneedler & Lloyd, 1982;
Rooney, Hallahan & Lloyd, 1984). The observation of on-task
behavior is particularly useful when looking at student
levels of attention in the classroom. The task that will
be observed is defined in behavioral terms so the definition
of on-task behavior is very clear. If the student is supposed
to be reading a book, on-task behavior may be defined
as eyes being on the book. If the student should be listening
to the teacher, the student's eyes must be on the teacher.
If a student should be writing, the pencil should be moving
on the paper. The behavioral definitions make the judgements
more objective, uniform and accurate.
A sample of students is randomly selected in addition
to the target student. Usually, the observational sample
consists of five students, including four randomly selected
students plus the target student. Each student is given
a number and the observational procedure described in
the previous section for a time sampling of a single behavior
is employed. The observer counts, times or listens to
the tape and records the on or off-task behavior of each
student. The observer looks at the identified student
and places a check in the "yes" column if the student
is on-task according to the behavioral criteria established
for the task or places a check in the "no" column if the
student is not doing one of the behaviors identified as
on-task criteria. The recording sheet may look like this:
Bob paying attention (eyes on book while reading)?
The use of behavioral observation systems are valuable
tools to collect information about a student's behavior.
The techniques are just a sample of observational techniques
that are simple and depict behavior over a period of time
so the behaviors can be viewed more objectively and accurately
than when using less structured approaches.
The use of visual organizers can be useful to facilitate
the process of behavioral analysis when observing students
with attention disorders. The organizers help focus attention
on the dynamics of the behavior by forcing consideration
of the situation prior to the occurrence of the behavior
and after the occurrence of the behavior which can dramatically
change the intervention planning. For example, if the
behavior of concern is that Bill yelled out in class,
the intervention will be geared toward Bill but if the
analysis reveals that Steve pinched Bill very hard on
the back first, the target of the intervention should
be both Steve and Bill. Without sufficient analysis, the
target of the intervention can't even be identified accurately.
However,, if the analysis discloses that Bill is yelling
out and that, after class, Bob and Sarah tell him how
funny he was when he yelled and dare him to do it again.
The intervention will need to take into account the peer
pressure that is causing the behavior to continue. Examples
of some visual organizers are the Three, Four and Five
Three Square Approach
Before Target After Jim kicked Bill Bill slaps Jim Bill
gets a in the hall. on back when he detention. enters
The situation prior to the occurrence of the behavior
must be included to put the behavior in the appropriate
context. In this situation, Bill has received a negative
consequence and is probably going to be mad because Jim
started it but got away with the kicking. Bill's anger
is likely to affect future interactions with the teacher.
Jim is going to continue the behavior because he did not
receive any consequence at all and probably enjoyed getting
away with the kicking.
Four Square Approach
Before Target After Solutions Jim kicked Bill slaps Jim
Bill gets Give Jim a Bill in the on the back a detention.
detention. hall. when he enters class. Apologize to Bill
for being unfair. Have conference with both boys. Find
out what actually happened next time.
Five Square Approach
What Before Target After Solutions Works Jim kicked Bill
slaps Jim Bill gets Give Jim a Apology Bill in the on
the back detention. detention. hall. when he enters class.
Apologize to Bill for being unfair. Have conference with
boys. Find out what actually happened next time.
In the Three Square Approach, the behavior is analyzed
in its context to arrive at causative factors that are
making the behavior occur or dynamics that are making
the behavior continue. The fourth square generates solutions
and the fifth square tracks effective interventions for
the individual student.
Behavior management depends on the predictability of
behavior, on the premise that people learn behavior and
on the assumption that programs can be devised to change
behavior. There are also general assumptions that must
be recognized (Morris, 1985):
1. Behavior is learned.
2. Behavior problems are learned separately.
3. Behavior and learning problems can be changed through
behavior modification procedures.
4. The behavior or learning of a specific situation only
shows how the child typically behaves in that particular
5. Emphasis is placed on behavior change in the current
time frame, not in the past.
6. The goals are specific.
7. Behavior and learning problems are caused by the environment;
unconscious motivation has no critical role.
8. Insight is not necessary for changing a child's behavior.
9. Symptom substitution does not occur (new symptoms would
be related to the precipitating factors of the new situation).
In the following paragraphs, two typical behavior management
formats are exemplified to analyze the effectiveness of
behavior management in light of the characteristics used
to describe attention disorders. The first format is geared
to the individual:
Mrs. Jones, the teacher, would like Jane to volunteer
more often in class. She sets up a system that will give
Jane a star on a chart taped to her desk each time she
volunteers for an answer. When Jane has all the ten squares
filled in on the chart, she will earn a special eraser
for her pencil.
The second format, called a token economy system, is
geared to the group and is often used in classrooms and
residential settings. A list of behaviors and reinforcers
for the group is compiled so the individual operates within
the system set up for the group. A typical classroom list
of activities and reinforcers are listed in the chart
Activities Points Reinforcers Points On time for class
10 Prize Bag 200 Has materials 20 Computer time (15 min.)
100 Completes work 30 Activity Table (15 min.) 100 Raises
hand for Conversation Time (15 min.) 100 question 10 Daily
Messenger 200 Test grade A 50 Listen to music 200 Test
grade B 40 Library time (15 min.) 100 Test grade C 30
Takes turn 20
The students receive points as the behaviors occur so
the tallies result in the number of points the child has
to spend. The student is free to spend the points any
way he/she wishes.
Though these plans seem simple and straightforward, human
behavior and its management are very complex topics. Even
when behaviors are learned, generalization of the behaviors
has been difficult to achieve without additional intervention
such as the technique Swanson and his colleagues (Swanson,
Kotkin, Pfiffner & McBurnett, 1992) have successfully
developed. The trainer was used as an effective generalization
cue by having the trainer actually be present in the new
setting to act as a stimulus to generalize the new behavior.
Organizational Strategy Training
Teachers need to tell students with atttention disorders
'how to learn" as well as what to learn without using
complicated, step-by-step strategies that do not accommodate
the characteristics of students with attention disorders
and are not flexible enough to generalize easily to a
variety of situations. Appropriate interventions need
1. Be systematic so judgement and organizational demands
2. Be simple and dependable.
3. Be manipulative (active involvement).
4. Build the necessary base of information (not activate
5. Identify missing skills.
6. Force conceptual understanding or recognition of instructional
7. Be concrete and visual.
8. Provide advance organization so multiple passes through
material is not required.
9. Help break down processes into manageable units.
10. Guide the learning process.
11. Force attention to critical detail.
12. Result in review systems comprised of the critical
pieces of information.
If interventions do not meet these criteria, the effectiveness
of the approach will be diminished by the interaction
of the characteristics of attention disorders and the
characteristics of the situation or the academic task.
The following strategies taken from the program "Independent
Strategies for Efficient Study" (Rooney, 1990) are examples
of strategies that support attention, guide information
processing and facilitate memory storage/retrieval and
were designed to accommodate the cognitive and behavioral
characteristics of Attention Deficit Disorder identified
in the literature.
Content Area Reading
For students with ADD, certain concerns related to content
reading need to be addressed. These students have difficulty
with the accuracy of prior knowledge and the compilation
of the critical detail that successful students attend
In order to do this, strategies that guide the selection
of the appropriate detail must be taught as opposed to
approaches that define the process after the selection
of the important detail has taken place. In order to accomplish
this , the student
1. Reads the subtitle and the section under the subtitle.
As the student is reading, he or she writes the NAMES
of people and places, important NUMBERS and TERMS on separate
index cards. One, two or three words will be the most
that will be written on a card. Only the word or number
by itself should be on a card. For example, if the words
Ireland, 2500 B.C. and Urquhart Castle were in a passage,
each would appear on a separate card.
2. Returns to the subtitle and turns it into the best
test question possible. He or she makes the question as
hard as possible and writes the question on one side of
an index card and answers the question on the back of
the same card so that there is a main idea question and
answer in the study system.
3. Repeats steps 1 and 2 on all the sections to be covered
so that a set of cards based on all the details and main
ideas is produced.
4. Studies the cards by looking at the cards one by one.
For the detail cards, the student asks the question "How
is this related to the material?" or "What does this have
to do with the material?". On the main idea cards, the
student tries to answer the question from memory. If the
student is not sure of an answer for any of the cards,
the card is placed in one pile.
If the student is sure of the answer, the card is placed
in a second pile. The cards will be sorted into two piles,
one called "not sure" and the other called "sure". The
student sets the "sure" pile aside and continues working
with the pile called "not sure". For the unknown detail
cards, he/she goes back into the material or asks someone
for the answer and writes the answer on the back of the
card. The student reviews the detail cards as well as
the main idea cards (which already have the answer on
the back) until all cards are in the "sure" pile.
For a comprehensive review for examinations, all the
cards are reviewed since the system has automatically
accumulated all the details and main ideas that were presented
during the semester. The cumulative process and the card
sort manipulative supports the review and study process
which is even more problematic for students with ADD if
there is a long delay between learning and the evaluation.
A student sample is follows:
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
Over the years, people in all countries have been fascinated
by reportings of monsters that seem to date from prehistoric
times or the age of the dinosaurs. Sightings of the Abominable
Snowman, Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster have intrigued
journalists, explorers and scientists for many years.
Recently, new scientific equipment has focused renewed
interest in the legend of the Loch Ness Monster.
A DESCRIPTION OF LOCH NESS
In Scotland lies a very famous lake called Loch Ness.
The lake is about 24 miles long, about a mile wide and
approximately 650 feet deep. Overlooking the lake are
several local castles such as the famous Urquhart Castle
and the Aldourie Castle. The presence of the castles adds
a mystique to the area which increases interest in the
area. However, the main attraction of Loch Ness is the
reported presence of a huge, serpent-like monster named
The Loch Ness Monster may be the most famous sea serpent
in the world. It is described as being 40 to 60 feet long
with a head about the size of a horse's head. Its thin
neck is about six feet long and is attached to a fat body
with an eight foot long tail. The description is similar
to a dinosaur known as the plesiosaurus. Scientists think
that Nessie is a plesiosaurus who has survived since prehistoric
Insert Figure 1 about here
Visual Organizers for Reading
The strategy called "Wheels for Reading" uses the wheel,
which is simply an oval, as the base of organization for
tracking main ideas and details in a visual format. The
approach is very simple. While reading the material, the
student puts the main ideas in the wheel and attaches
the details in a spoke-like fashion around the wheel.
The details that have to be attached are names of people
and places, important numbers and terms. Any other important
material can be attached as well. The wheels will always
be placed one under the other to produce a linear pattern
so that no organizational decisions are required.
The wheels are developed as the student reads so that
a visual organizer for efficient review is produced as
soon as the reading is completed. For some students with
good visualization skills, the visual format of the wheel
and spokes makes it easier to recall the information from
memory. For example:
THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
In Scotland lies a very famous lake called Loch Ness.
The lake is about 24 miles long, a mile wide and approximately
650 feet deep. Overlooking the lake are several local
castles including the famous Urquhart Castle and the Aldourie
Castle which adds to the mystique of the area. However,
the main attraction is the presence of a large, serpent-like
monster named "Nessie".
Nessie is a plesiosaurus and is 40-60 feet long, with
a 6 foot neck and an 8 foot tail. His head is about the
size of a horse's head. It is unknown if there is one
Nessie or many monsters in the depth of the lake.
Insert Figure 2 about here
Wheels for Literature
The wheel (oval) described previously under general reading
can provide a concise summary of the details and main
ideas so that the student knows in advance the type of
information to track during the story. The wheel set-up
depends on the type of literature being read.
The basic organization of the literature provides the
format for the wheels and any additional wheels can be
added according to the particular class assignment. For
example, a poem may have four ovals representing stanza
I, stanza II, stanza III and theme. Details and main ideas
are attached to the oval so the result is a short, visual
summary of the important information.
Advance visual organizers for literature may also be
as simple as putting the assigned topic/question that
must be tracked (such as examples of good verses evil)
in a wheel while reading a piece of literature and attaching
ideas or page numbers that relate to the question. When
the reading is done, all the information related to the
assigned topic will be readily available for use in discussion
or essay answers.
Insert Figure 3 about here
Students with ADD find the writing process very difficult
because there are so many different components to attend
to when writing (divided attention, selective attention,
sequential attention, attention to detail and organization).
Traditional outlining makes heavy demands on the attentional
processing and can be overwhelming for the student with
ADD. In order to facilitate the process and bypass excessive
demands on memory and sequential processing, advance visual
organizers can be used to break the writing process down
into manageable units. Furthermore, many prewriting strategies
often deplete the student's energy during the pre-writing
stage. Then, the process can be very laborious and may
not result in an improved product but in increased task
avoidance. To avoid this, advance visual organizers can
be used very effectively as exemplified by the writing
strategy (Rooney, 1990).
This strategy involves the use of wheels but the number
of wheels depends on the assignment. The basic strategy
is presented below but is adjusted for use with essay
questions, paragraphs, compositions and term papers. The
1. Places the title at the top of a sheet of paper.
2. Draws 5 oval shapes (wheels) on the first sheet. Marks
the first oval with the word START and the last oval with
the word END or THEREFORE. Places a word, a phrase or
a sentence in the first wheel to identify the idea/ideas
that will be used to start the paper (Introduction).
3. Writes one main idea to be developed inside each of
the three middle wheels.
4. In the last wheel marked END or THEREFORE, writes
a word, phrase or sentence to identify the conclusion.
5. Reproduces each oval on a separate sheet of paper.
Around each oval, attaches all possible details, ideas
or thoughts that are related to the idea within the wheel
in a spoke-like fashion around the wheel.
6. When all the ideas are around the wheels, goes back
and numbers the ideas in the order that he/she will write
The strategy results in a set of six pages. The first
page has the five wheel overview and the other pages have
the individual wheels on them. The wheels can be used
to develop an outline or write a rough draft.
The wheels provide structure to brainstorm ideas, organize
information and sequence ideas before the student actually
produces the written language. Therefore, the student
can work on the material section by section without losing
the organization. The number of wheels will vary to meet
the demands of the assignment:
Test Essay - One wheel with the question in the center
and ideas to be developed attached around the wheel.
Paragraph - Three wheels with the topic sentence in the
first, the main body with attached numbered ideas in the
second and the clincher sentence in the third.
Composition - Five wheels for introduction, three main
ideas and conclusion.
Research Paper - Five basic wheels but additional sets
of wheels in groups of 3 can be added off the three main
topics to be developed to result in a more elaborate organizational
structure for a very long paper.
Insert Figure 4 about here
Attentional deficits impact math performance in three
basic ways. Students have difficulty attending to the
sequential processing demands, have trouble with the specific
application of the concept or have a hard time handling
the detail (such as sign of operation) involved. To accommodate
these weaknesses, the student should make study cards
from the math textbook which will use the information
at the beginning of the section or chapter to identify
the concept that is being explained. The student should
takes notes on the instruction in the book and make a
record of any facts, rules or statements so that a cumulative
system reviewing all the instruction results. An original
example of each type of example, concept, rule or fact
should then be produced on the card. A teacher or tutor
can then check the student's original example for accuracy.
If an error has occurred in the example, the error should
be highlighted and corrected so the study cards draw the
student's attention to the "careless errors" that have
a high possibility of occurrence. The procedure will support
conceptual understanding, specific application and attention
to detail. The cards can be used for frequent review and
repetition to build prior knowledge before new learning
occurs as well as to promote automaticity.
Insert Figure 5 about here
Vocabulary weaknesses can result from a lack of conceptual
understanding or the absence of visual images behind the
words. In order to provide a visual base to a verbal concept,
students should write the vocabulary word to be learned
on one side of an index card, write the definition on
the back of the card and immediately draw a picture of
the first association made after reading the word and
the definition. For example, belligerent means argumentative
and may pull up the image of two children fighting (see
Insert Figure 6 about here
The spelling strategy does not replace spelling instruction
but does provide a structured way of processing words
using a variety of encoding approaches (multisensory).
The strategy should be used to learn spelling words, content
area terms or the spelling of vocabulary words. As with
the vocabulary strategy, the spelling strategy uses index
cards so that a cumulative spelling file can be maintained.
On the front of the card, the student:
1. writes the correct spelling of the word,
2. spells the word out loud,
3. spells and writes the word in its parts,
4. marks visual clues such as small words within the word.
Turns the card over and
5. writes the word from memory,
6. marks the visual clues again,
7. and writes the word with eyes closed.
Insert Figure 7 about here
The process supports sequential processing as well as
attention to detail and provides multisensory processing
utilizing global associative strengths. Words misspelled
in when writing should be emphasized rather than low frequency
words from lists.
Working with students with attention disorders can be
challenging but can also be extremely rewarding when interventions
enable the students to improve their behavior and academic
performance. In order to be successful, adults need to
look at the characteristics of the disorder in the individual
student and be knowledgeable about the impact of these
characteristics on both behavior and performance.
The observation and behavioral analysis will identify
who needs to be included in the intervention and what
issues need to be addressed. The academic interventions
described take into account the characteristics of students
with attention disorders and should be utilized when traditional
approaches are not successful because there is no "goodness
of fit" between the student and the strategy. In order
to achieve this "goodness of fit", it is important for
teachers to present the models of organizational strategy
training but also allow students to adjust the learned
The use of techniques such as observation and behavioral
analysis will allow the teacher to gain the necessary
knowledge base about the student and the tools of behavior
management and organizational training will facilitate
intervention planning to successfully meet the needs of
individual students with attention disorders.
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