Jenny Mizrahi
Education 702.22
Spring 2010
Creating a Better Classroom
Environment for Students with
Learning Disabilities
Statement of the Problem
Literature Review
Statement of Hypothesis
– Participants & Instruments
Statement of the Problem
When considering the fact that not all children
learn the same way and at the same pace,
teachers need to find a good teaching method for
their class in which include students with
learning disabilities. Educators today are
trying to find successful ways to teach
students with learning disabilities. But is there
a “best” approach when teaching learning
disabled students?
Literature Review
Creating a comfortable and positive
classroom environment for LD students
(Berry, 2006; Westby, 1997; Klotz 2004; Regan, 2009;
Wormeli, 2003; Bergin & Bergin, 2009)
Improving teachers’ and students’
perceptions about LD students in the
mainstream classroom (Klotz, 2004; Bear, Minke,
Griffin, & Deemer, 1998; Begeny, Eckert, Montarello, & Storie, 2008)
Literature Review
Changing LD students’ perceptions about
themselves and their academic
achievement (Myles & Simpson, 2001; Beltempo & Achille,
1990; Kern, Hilt-Panahon, & Sokol, 2009)
Theorist and practitioner who affected
education system today
– John Dewey (Westbrook, 1993)
– Maria Montessori (Brehony, 2000)
Literature Review
Integrating technology in the classroom and
at home (Berninger, Abbott, Augsburger, & Garcia, 2009; Jeffs,
Behrmann, & Bannan-Ritland, 2006; Miller, Fitzgerald, Koury,
Mitchem, & Hollingsead, 2007; van Daal, & van der Leij, 1992; Smith,
n.d.; Frengut, 2004)
Assistive Technology tools (Jeffs, et. al., 2006)
KidTools (Miller, et. al., 2007)
Literature Review
Integrating the use of different verbal
communications between peers and
(Berry, 2006; Charlton, Williams, &
McLaughlin, 2005; Cihak, Kirk, & Boon, 2009; Kugelmass, 1995;
Scala, 1993)
Whole-Class Lessons (Berry, 2006)
Educational Games: i.e. word puzzles,
card games, board games (Charlton, 2005)
Literature Review
Positive Peer “Tootling”: students tattletale positive behaviors of their peers instead
of reporting on negative behaviors (Cihak, et.
al., 2009)
Foxfire approach (Kugelmass, 1995)
Statement of Hypothesis
HR1: Using technology (i.e.
computers, internet, etc.) in a third-grade
classroom of 16 LD and EBD students at
P.S. X in Brooklyn, NY over a five-week
period, twice a week for 30 minutes a day
will improve their literacy skills.
Participants (N): 16 third-graders at
P.S. X in Brooklyn, NY will participate in
this study. The participants will include
eight boys and eight girls. The chosen
students should have a learning
disability and/or an emotional and/or
behavioral disorder in order to be a part of
this study.
Instruments: First, consent forms will be sent
to the principal and parents/guardian. To test
the effectiveness of technology in the classroom,
demographic surveys will be given out on day
one of the study to see how comfortable the
students are using technology in school.
Questionnaires will be given out at the end of the
study to see how effective the use of technology
has been for them in the past five weeks.
Bear, G. G., Minke, K. M., Griffins, S. M., & Deemer, S. A. (1998). Achievement-Related
Perceptions of Children with Learning Disabilities and Normal Achievement: Group and
Developmental Differences. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 31(1), 91-104.
Begeny, J. C., Eckert, T. L., Montarello, S. A., & Storie, M. S. (2008). Teachers’ Perceptions of
Students’ Reading Abilities: An Examination of the Relationship Between Teachers’ Judgments
and Students’ Performance Across a Continuum of Rating Methods. School Psychology
Quarterly, 23(1), 43-55.
Beltempo, J., & Achille, P. A. (1990). The Effect of Special Class Placement on the Self-Concept of
Children with Learning Disabilities. Child Study Journal, 20(2), 81-103.
Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009, June 30). Relationships Improve Student Success. Education
Psychology Review. Retrieved from
Berninger, V. W., Abbott, R. D., Augsburger, A., Garcia, N. (2009). Comparison of Pen and
Keyboard Transcription Modes in Children With and Without Learning Disabilities.
Learning Disability Quarterly, 32(3), 123-141.
Berry, R. A. W. (2006). Teacher Talk During Whole-Class Lessons: Engagement Strategies to
Support the Verbal Participation of Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning
Disabilities Research and Practice, 21(4), 211-232.
Brehony, K. J. (2000). Montessori, Individual Work and Individuality in the Elementary School
Classroom. History of Education, 29(2), 115-128.
Charlton, B, Williams, R. L., McLaughlin, T. F. (2005). Educational Games: A Technique to
Accelerate the Acquisition of Reading Skills of Children with Learning Disabilities.
International Journal of Special Education, 20(2), 66-72.
Cihak, D. F., Kirk, E. R., Boon, R. T. (2009). Effects of Classwide Positive Peer
“Tootling” to Reduce Disruptive Classroom Behaviors of Elementary Students with and
without Disabilities. Journal of Behavioral Education, 18(4), 267-278.
Frengut, R. (2003). Social Acceptance of Students with Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from
Jeffs, T., Behrmann, M., Bannan-Ritland, B. (2006). Assistive Technology and Literacy
Learning: Reflections of Parents and Children. Journal of Special Education
Technology, 21(1), 37-44.
Kaderavek, J. N., & Justice, L. (2000). Children with LD as Emergent Readers: Bridging the
Gap to Conventional Reading. Intervention in School and Clinic, 36(2), 82-93.
Kern, L., Hilt-Panahon, A., & Sokol, N. G. (2009). Further Examining the Triangle Tip:
Improving Support for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Needs. Psychology
in the Schools, 46(1), 18-32.
Klotz, M. B. (2004, February). Help Kids Welcome Disabled Students. The Education
Digest, 69(6), 41-42.
Kugelmass, J. W. (1995). Educating Children with Learning Disabilities in Foxfire
Classrooms. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 28(9), 545-553.
Miller, K. J., Fitzgerald, G. E., Koury, K. A., Mitchem, H. J., Hollingsead, C. (2007).
KidTools: Self-Management, Problem-Solving, Organizational, and Planning
Software for Children and Teachers. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(1), 12-19.
Myles, B. S., & Simpson, R. L. (1990). Mainstreaming Modification Preferences of Parents of
Elementary-Age Children with Learning Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities,
23(4), 234-239.
Regan, K. S. (2009). Improving The Way We Think About Students With Emotional and/or
Behavioral Disorders. Teaching Exceptional Children, 41(5), 60-65.
Sanacore, J. (1999). Encouraging Children to Make Choices About Their Literacy Learning.
Intervention in School and Clinic, 35(1), 38-42.
Scala, M. A. (1993). What Whole Language in the Mainstream Means for Children with
Learning Disabilities. Reading Teacher, 47(3), 222-229.
Smith, M. (n.d.) Strategies That Work. Retrieved from
van Daal, V. H. P., van der Leij, A. (1992). Computer-Based Reading and Spelling Practice
for Children with Learning Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25(3),
Westbrook, R. B. (1993). John Dewey. Prospects: The Quarterly Review of Comparative
Education, 23(1/2), 277-291.
Westby, C. (1997). There’s More To Passing than Knowing the Answers. Language, Speech,
and Hearing Services in School, 28(3), 274-287.
Wormeli, R. (2003). Differentiating Instruction: A Modified Concerto in Four Movements.
Retrieved from
Appendix A: Consent Forms
written out to
the principal and parents/guardian explaining me being
there, why I’m there, my action research project (my
HR1), and asking for permission to (1) conduct the
study in the school, and (2) asking permission for the
parents/guardian’s child to participate in the study.
Appendix B: Demographic Survey
students how often they use the computer, if they have
access at home and/or at school, and how many times a
week they access the computer
Appendices (con’t)
Appendix C: Questionnaire
asking students
on the last day of the study to rate the questions asked
on a 1-5 rating scale where “1”=disagree and
“5”=strongly agree. I, the researcher, want to find out
how much they learned over the last five weeks, if they
enjoyed using the computer, how comfortable they now
feel using a computer, etc.