I gave a presentation to Nottinghamshire Secondary Science leaders last year. I’ve teased out all the important points and listed them below:
The Science lab
- Displays on wall – reference or pupils’ work (this can be distracting for some autistic children who prefer a feature/stimulation free environment)
- APP levels/GCSE criteria on display
- Key words available
- Use of colour
- Familiarity with environment and location of equipment
- Seating plan. Many SEN children like stability and dislike change. Sitting in same place is also a powerful tool to use with EBD children
What makes a good worksheet?
- Choose a suitable font (look at the letters a and e) – eg comic sans
- Large font size – 14-16pt for weaker pupils
- Short sentences
- Simply language but keep some scientific terminology
- Use symbols or pictures
- Leave space to fill in answers, perhaps by double spacing.
Possible strategies to use in class
- Think multi-sensory. Use sound, text, video, movie clips, clip-art, the internet, CD-roms, the library
- Use of ICTAC (ICT across the curriculum) – IWBs, word processing, spreadsheets to analyse/graph results, DTP
- Work with words – key words, word walls, definitions, pelmanism cards
- Break instructions down into simple steps
- Sequencing activities – writing up experiments, cycles, cut and paste. (it is perfectly acceptable for a TA to write sentences or draw diagrams for the pupil to cut and paste themselves. Do not feel it all has to be their own work
- Writing frames (Scaffolds) – giving a set of headings which students can flesh out with their own writing, or begin each paragraph so the pupil can finish them
- Cloze activities and DARTS – fill in the gaps/missing words
- Paired work – facilitate paired work with a more able pupil
Use of teaching assistants
- Important how TAs are deployed (Ofsted – good lessons “Teaching assistants and other classroom helpers, and other resources are well deployed to support learning”)
- Consider who TAs work with, can they support a group of pupils instead? Could they help run a carousel of activities?
- Is there scope to plan with the TA?
- Consider use of the Teaching Assistant’s toolkit (free download)