Adapting Textbook and Activities in Science

Adapting Textbook and Activities in
Tom Scruggs, Margo A. Mastropieri,
Jennifer Norland, Pam Simpkins
George Mason University
Janet Graetz
Oakland University
Papers presented at the annual meeting of the Council for Exceptional
Children, New Orleans, April 15, 2004.
• [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected]
Approaches to Science
• high language
• high literacy demands
• substantial vocabulary
• abstract content
• high factual learning
• factual recall on tests
• reduced language
• reduced literacy
• reduced vocabulary
• hands-on experiences
& “enactments”
• minimal testing
• performance-based
Textbook Challenges
• Increase in difficulty with grade level
• Discrepancy between reading level of
students and readability of textbooks
(Kinder, Bursuck & Epstein, 1992)
• Breadth vs Depth of Coverage
• Unfriendly nature of textbooks (Armbruster &
• Introduction of large number of
vocabulary words (Yager, 1983)
Secondary Science
• Typical instructional formats
Lecture to entire class with discussion
Lab activities with partners
Rapid pace of teacher presentations
Rapid pace through textbook
One class period for lab work
Tests and quizzes administered on chapter by
chapter and unit basis linked to high stakes state
wide tests
Effective Instruction
• Maximized student engagement
• Direct questioning directly relevant to
• High rate of responding
• Step-by-step instruction
• Frequent monitoring of learner progress
toward meeting prespecified objectives (House
et al., 1978; Rosenshine & Stevens, 1986)
PASS Variables
• Prioritize Objectives
• Adapt materials, environment, and
• SCREAM variables
– structure, clarity, redundancy, enthusiasm,
appropriate rate, maximize engagement
• Systematic evaluation
Strategies for Adapting Textbook
Approaches to Science Learning
• Textbook Selection
• Mnemonic strategies
– IT FITS Strategy
• Text-processing strategies
Framed Outlines
Spatial Organizers
TRAVEL strategy
Text structure processing
• Classwide wide peer tutoring
Criteria for Selecting Textbooks
Did I ...
• Consider adequacy of content coverage?
• Evaluate
text structure
text coherence
instructional strategies
assessment procedures
supplemental materials
practice activities?
The Keyword Strategy
• Helpful for learning science
• Steps in using the keyword method:
– Recode unfamiliar word to an acoustically
similar but familiar word or keyword.
– Relate the the keyword in an interactive picture
with the to-be-remembered information
– Retrieve the new definition by thinking of the
keyword and what was happening in the
interactive picture
IT FITS Strategy*
 Identify the term
 Tell the definition of the term
 Find a keyword
 Imagine the definition doing something with the
 Think about the definition doing something with
the keyword
 Study what you imagined until you know the
*King-Sears, M.E., Mercer, C.D., & Sindelar, P.T. (1992). Toward independence with keyword mnemonics: A strategy for science vocabulary instruction.
Remedial and Special Education, 13, 22-33.
PowerPoint Presentations
Help focus attention
Reinforce vocabulary, important points
Highlight concepts and relationships
Add colors, pictures, animation and/or sound
Interactive, requires student responses
Highlight steps in activities
Students can create their own PowerPoint
Graphic Organizers
• Inspiration or Kidspiration software
– Down load free 30 version at
• Draw with crayons
• Use Power point or other software
Main Idea Strategy
1. What are you studying the passage for?
2. Find the main idea in the paragraph and
underline it/them.
3. Think of a question about the main idea
you have underlined.
4. Learn the answer to your question.
5. Always look back at the questions and
Sample Summarization Strategy
(Malone & Mastropieri)
Read the paragraph - ask and
Who or what is it about?
What is happening to them?
tells what the whole paragraph is about
Use those answers to write a
summary sentence
Use self-monitoring card
Text-Structure Based Strategies
• Main idea strategy (find & underline, write
down, & study information)
• List strategy (find & underline topic of
passage, write down topic/subtopic, study
• Order strategy sequential (find & underline
main topic, write down what was different
for each step in passage, study
Highlighting Self-Monitoring
Did I examine my book for
boldfaced print, types of
subheadings, charts, maps, or
Did I find important information by
asking and answering
-is it new information?
-is it a new concept?
-is it a new vocabulary word?
-does it describe important people
or events?
-does it list causes of events or
-is it a main idea?
-does it compare and contrast
-did my teacher emphasize it?
Did I select information to be
Did I highlight it?
Did I test myself on the highlighted
information by asking and
answering questions about the
highlighted information?
Did I reward myself for good
strategy use?
Tutoring Condition Materials
• Rules and Procedures for Tutoring
• Folders containing strategy sheets
– What is …
– A strategy to help you remember
– What else is important about . ?
– What is an example of --- ?
• Student recording sheets
Scientific Process Skills
Charting, Graphing, Recording Data
Various Science Activities
Measuring and pouring
Invention and discovery
Kits and models
Human anatomy
Plants and animals
Force and motion
Physics of sound
Solids, liquids, gases
• Microscopes
• Powders, mixtures and
• Weather
• Water activities
• Rocks, minerals and
• Earth science, landforms
• Magnetism and electricity
• Light and color
Problem Solving
• Very structured and guided instruction
• Build ecosystem and observe plant, animal
growth & interactions with environment
• Predict effects of acid rain, too much salt,
too much fertilizer on your ecocolumn
• PORC = predict, observe, record, compare
• Minimal insight required for success
• Disability specific adaptations made
Disability-Specific Adaptations
Vocabulary check-sheets
Modified worksheets
Communication boards
Teacher and peer assistance with reading
• Special matching of peers in small groups
• Testing adaptations - oral and transcribed
Adapt, but Increase
Concrete lessons
Meaningful lessons
Hands-on materials
Discrepant events
Use novelty to involve students
• Tension exists between demands of high
stakes testing and teaching students with
disabilities in inclusive classes
• A variety of evidence-based techniques have
improved performance
– Extend interaction and practice with text
• Text adaptations
– Use strategies with peer tutors
– Enhance meaningfulness and concreteness
– Use activities to enhance meaningfulness
• Adapt activities to ensure success