The last few posts have talked about controlling the environment and presenting information to students in specific ways to build their attentiveness. I think it is also important to directly teach students about HOW to build attention. I always do multiple lessons with my therapy and tutoring students that focuses on teaching them how to recognize when and how to pay attention. This involves a great deal of meta-cognition, requiring students to think about how they think.
I love this illustration showing INSIDE the brain distracters and OUTSIDE of the brain distracters….
The author suggests using Ned’s Head as a prompt….
It would be great to list specific things that can be distracting to students in their classroom and then classify those as “inside” or “outside” distracters. Then once you work together to determine what is distracting the students you can work together to come up with solutions. The author of the referenced blog post calls these “Distracter Blasters” and uses a cute rocket ship image as a visual.
When students are involved in identifying and creating solutions for the challenges, they are much more likely to be self-motivated to monitor their attention and behavior in the classroom.
Kandi McMahan, M.A., CCC-SLP