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Strategies for creating a supportive environment for at-risk students

  • Consistency, Consistency, Consistency. This is especially important for the at-risk student. Many children may anticipate inconsistency and may test you until they are able to trust your responses.
  • Develop a set of written expectations you can live with and enforce. Allow students to participate in the development of these expectations so they can take ownership and buy into the program.
  • Be patient with yourself and your students.
  • Model and provide opportunities for practice of expectations and procedures.
  • Post agendas, time schedules and learning objectives.
  • Make parents your allies. Contact early in the year with positive statements only. The parents are more likely to support you if they feel you care about the child and respect the family values.
  • Provide activities for the student to become immediately engaged in learning upon entering the classroom. Be sure the task is engaging and provides opportunities for success for all students.
  • Take attendance using your seating chart while the students are engaged in their morning task.
  • Keep your talk short. Provide instructions and then allow the students to get right to work. Circulate during work time to provide additional instructions. Give support and encouragement for on task behaviors.
  • Break the class period into two or three different activities. Plan for each activity to flow smoothly into the next.
  • Keep all students actively involved. If one student is giving a presentation, involve the other students in evaluating. Expect to model and provide guidance for the evaluation procedure.
  • Discipline individual students quietly and privately. Never engage in a disciplinary conversation across the room.
  • Keep your sense of perspective and your sense of humor.
  • Teach and model expected behavior for the following routines:
    o Entering the classroom
    o Attendance/announcements/morning routine
    o Teacher directed instruction
    o Independent seatwork
    o Cooperative groups
    o Taking tests
    o Center activities
    o Movement within the classroom
    o Lining up
    o Putting away materials/clean up
    o Leaving the classroom