Question #6 and an important reminder!

Have you ever, in the moment, created an adaptation for a task that you didn’t even know you needed to consider?  What was going on that needed your adaptive strategy thinking?  What did you do to adapt for the situation?  How did it go? Did you figure it out right away, or did it take a few adjustments to get it right?  Was it something that you added to your own “toolbox of tricks” for the next time?  Tell us about your “on the spot” creative adaptive moment.


Also, if you have not given your order to Sue about what $25.00 worth of FREE adaptive items you would like to have for your classroom…have it in to her (e-mail) by Tues at 5pm! Please take advantage of this fantastic offer!

If you don’t know what i am talking about e-mail me and i will fill you in!


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18 Responses to Question #6 and an important reminder!

  1. Tim Marsden says:

    Absolutely, it was a big moment in my formative, early teaching career. I was doing a “show” with my choirs at Northwest High School in Omaha. We had learned the music and it was time to add choreography. That Fall I got a new student in choir who was completely blind. We had talked at length about getting my music picked out in advance so that her aide could get it put into braille for her, and everything was a go. Until I decided to choreograph the entire event. And I remember the moment I realized I would need to do some major adjusting in my presentation of the choreography, it was the moment my blind student walked into the room. It has always been my goal to never single out a student, especially for an adaptation, I always want my student to feel like they are absolutely ‘at home’ and a ‘regular’ member of the group. So, I decided the first thing I had to do was to change how I described each move, I couldn’t say, “go like this” and then show them, I had to explain the move physically, “lift your right arm straight above your head and point your left foot at a 45 degree angle from your body”. The other thing I did as we continued through the process was to put students in small groups that would help each other, in Allison’s group I had nurturing students that would be patient and would help her and support her. There were even times that one of them would stand behind her and lightly hold her wrists and help her get the right physical placements and then she knew. She was a bright young lady who had a great memory and it was just the rehearsal process that I had to make some adaptive plans for. I am proud to say she did a fabulous job and her choreography matched her peers wonderfully. I would have been much more successful and been able to stream line the process had I taken into account her needs and the adaptations she needed, PRIOR to the first rehearsal. Now I know. Thank you Allison!

    • Sarah says:

      I worked with my first student who is deafblind a couple years ago. I taught him how to put in his hearing aids independently. I use a lot of visuals for students with a hearing loss, and talking through every move was new to me. He was a great kid, and it was a great experience for me.

      • Sue says:

        Yes, that would be a challenge, but it sounds like you were very successful! When working with students with multiple challenges, we may to be even more creative with our strategies, as many people are dependent on usually at least one of their senses, and when two are in question, it challenges everyone working with them. Spending time with the students to see how they figure things out and take in their experiences can help us determine where to go to help them.

    • Curt Adams says:

      I was running into trouble with the latest project, a paper contruction project in my 5th grade class, some kids had trouble folding the paper in the right place. They just lacked the dexterity to do it. So I had them work in pairs one person placed a ruler on the edge where the fold should be, held it down with both hands and the other student bent it up creating the fold in the right spot. Small thing, but made a big difference in the product. Also encourages students to work together and we need a lot of practice at that.

      • Sue says:

        I am working on a folded box project with students that do not have much dexterity or patience when their fold isn’t perfect. I took a piece of thin plastic (had to try a few thicknesses first) and made a folding template that they could put into the folded area and then push and crease. It works pretty good. Also, the ruler is a good idea- initially tried one with a finger tip grip on it instead of a flat one, and it really didn’t work well. Pulled out the flat ruler and it worked fine!

        • Sarah says:

          This class has really introduced me to templates. A folding template is a great idea. Thank you for the tip!

      • Aaron Riley says:

        Thats a good idea Curt. I find that even my hs students have trouble making straight lines and reading a ruler.

    • Marguerite says:

      That’s so great, Tim! What a challenge to have to put words to the movement. It’s so much harder to explain it than it is to show it. Congrats!

    • Sue says:

      What a great story! And how you knew that you needed to adjust your process to the goal of the performance, without singling out the student! It really sounds like you do this work so naturally! Although it does take work to consider and trial and error to get it right, each new experience opens more opportunities for more new ideas! Sometimes you have the luxury of pre-thinking through things, and other times, those Ah Ha! moments are just that, IN THE MOMENT! You have to respond and reflect on your feet- and when it works, it is beautiful! A lot of my initial work in adaptive art didn’t have adaptive tools per se, so I always carried a roll of masking tape and newspaper to create a “grip on the go”, as it so often needed to be customized ( I thought!) but then, as more commercial tools were available, there was a lot of UDL that was included in the creating of the tools, so that more could use the one basic tool in many ways.

    • Sue says:

      Great story! You really make this work sound easy and quite natural to you for your students. The reflections that you have on the experiences are so on target and so easy to follow. Sometimes we have the insight to plan out our strategies ahead of time, and other times, we have to plan in the moment! I believe that the students who know us understand that we are doing our very best to help them be independently successful and will be patient with us as we figure it out. Sometimes, the students know what they need, and then it is more fun when THEY are the ones to tell us how to do it!

      • Sarah says:

        That self advocacy piece is such a big part of life! I hope all of my students get to the point of telling me what they need.

  2. Sarah says:

    This isn’t necessarily related to the arts, but it is an adaptation I can share. I work with families of babies who have a hearing loss in the home as well. One child I worked with in the home had a diagnosis of Down syndrome and a mild hearing loss. She was fit with hearing aids, and the family wanted her to show awareness to sound. They also wanted her to be able to hold items in her hand. She was not holding much at the time, and she would not grasp a rattle. I decided to create my own rattle by using a prescription bottle with a child proof top and fill it with beans. I tried a couple different sizes of bottles but found one she was willing to grasp. The sound of the beans in the bottle were a motivator and she was able to shake the bottle to make the sound. I saved this adaptation to use with other families. I even have a couple empty prescription bottles ready to be rattles in my file cabinet right now!

    • Sue says:

      Well done! I love those film canisters and med bottles! And with the thick plastic of the bottle, and then the solid, big beans, the kinesthetic shaking back and forth I imagine would have helped movtivate her as well! You can put all different sorts of things in their to adjust the sound. I make mini rainstick rattles from roll paper rolls, and put out at least 15 -20 different things that sound different and after taping the bottle with a piece of paper and tape, the kids can “make their own recipe” of what things sound good to them in their rattles. They are requested to pour a bit of rice or sand or beads or whatever- listening to each one separately, and then adding them all together! I also put out some things that are quiet, such as cotton balls…and yes, some students try them and decide that “these don’t work” or, “Ms. Sue! You were fooling us!”

  3. Marguerite says:

    I probably have more moments of adaptive strategies than I can think of right now but the most recent was last month when I was working with two second graders. They are different in their challenges (cognitive) and both function pretty well in the classroom. I only had them for about a half hour at the end of every day. One of the word games we played was “BUZZ”. A variety of words are written on popsicle sticks and placed in a container. The word “buzz” is written on one of the sticks and mixed in with the others. The objective is for the student to pronounce the word correctly and if they do, they keep the stick. If they pull out the “buzz” stick they lose all of their sticks and have to start over. The student with the most sticks at the end of the game is the winner.

    We had been playing it at least once a week and truthfully, it was getting predictable and wasn’t much of a challenge anymore. At the last moment I just decided to change the method of playing the game. I hid the sticks all around the room – on the computer keyboard, with the erasers at the white board, on the book shelf, etc. Then they took turns looking for a stick. It became more than just a game about words, it was like a treasure hunt. They really loved it! And it ended up working on other skills beyond reading comprehension. They had to use deduction skills as well as visual acuity. They even worked better together that day. It was a fun way to switch up the activity. I’m always amazed that if we just trust ourselves, we can improve upon something that we’ve previously felt was working just fine. Gotta trust those “in the moment” insights!

    • Sue says:

      I like the interaction of this activity and how it grew with the needs of the students! Improving on what works now keeps us fresh!

  4. Aaron Riley says:

    Adaptation and modification happens usually a little with each project, depending on the needs and ability of the student. This last week, was a little hectic with conference week, so I thought it would be fun to do cake decorating. I decided the easiest thing would be to make large cupcakes for each student to decorate. I wanted to show them episodes of cake boss, and learn how to use gum paste. They ended up using butter creme frosting in piping bags. They had to choose a theme-such as holidays, or a special occasion. The adaption came in the sense of how many colors they choose and the level of skill in the drawing/text.

    • Tim Marsden says:

      What a fun project, I’m sure your students loved decorating the cupcakes. And it was a project where everyone could be successful because it was dependent on their own creativity. The schools need more things like this as I believe technology has been very hard on kinds creativity