Keep it Relevant

  • Situation

    I lose many of my students during instructional time that is teacher directed and includes longer time spans of discussion and lecture. How can I hold the attention of my students who may have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or students with a Learning Disability?

  • Summary

    Make everything you teach and the way you present relevent and familiar information to your students. Check to see if the students have background knowledge of the topic, if not provide background information. When students can relate to something in their lives their attention can be hooked and maintained. Giving verbal examples relating the information to everyday life and hands-on activities that relate to a student’s world gives them a reason to attend. Expand the relevancy during instruction to a writing task – see the Process for details.

  • Definition

    “Keep it Relevant” refers to the strategy of relating instruction to a student’s life and surrounding environment. Giving relevant life examples during teacher directed instruction and hands-on assignments increases and maintains focus, attention and learning.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    group response boards/papers knowledge of personal information about the group

  • Process

    1. Assess the lesson to be taught.

    2. Assess background knowledge of topic.

    3. Identify relevant examples in the town, students’ lives, students’ school.

    4. Determine ways to incorporate the relevant/familiar information in your instructional presentations and lessons.

    5. Throughout instruction intermittently say to the students: “Hear it Write It!” – students then write one thought or word that relates the instruction to their life.

    6. Next cue: “Heard it Wrote It!” – this is a cue for them to hold up their answer if they want to share with the class.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Shouting Won’t Grow Dendrites – 20 Techniques for Managing a Brain-Compatible Classroom (sample retail site for purchase)


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