Unit 4: Implementing Strategies to Support All Students

ETAP 623 Fall 2019 (Zhang) | Amber Ho | Supporting Visual-Spatial Processing Needs in a Mathematics Classroom



  • The participant will identify lesson topics they believe students would most benefit from having supports for visual-spatial processing needs
  • The participant will create one or more supports for students based on a selected topic, lesson, or unit
  • The participant will self-evaluate the effectiveness of their implemented support in their own classroom
  • The participant will reflect on their learning process during their completion of this mini-course

Applying Supports and Accommodations to Your Classroom

After reviewing the definitions of visual-spatial processing, how individuals are evaluated for their visual processing skills, and what strategies are available to support students with these deficits, it is time to consider how to implement one or more supports in your own classroom.

In order to do so, there are a few steps you should take in order to consider what support is best for your student or students:

  • Select a lesson or topic that you feel may be particularly challenging for students with visual-spatial processing deficits
    • This could be something that you've taught in the past that you want to determine new strategies for
    • The lesson or topic should be something you will be teaching soon in the upcoming school year
    • Create your lesson plan and internalize expectations and assessments
    • Consider what portions of your lesson may require extra supports in comparison to others
    • Consider topics that are involved continuously throughout your unit or even school year, as the strategies and supports you may use may be utilized long-term
  • Research and analyze students' IEP plans
    • It's important to have students in mind that you want to specifically support during your lesson or activity
    • Sometimes IEP plans or other supportive educational documents contain information for how to support these students, what has worked well in the past for them, and what supports are actually required
    • Have a baseline ready of where students are currently at academically. This will allow you to properly evaluate their development and improvement with the implementation of your accommodation
  • Determine strategies or supports you want to implement and at what portion of the lesson
    • As you may think that several of the strategies discussed in Unit 3 are applicable to your lesson in mind, try not to select too much to do all at once
    • It is best to choose 1-3 strategies that you plan to implement that will support multiple students in the room. Not only is this easier to manage as a teacher during your planning process, but it is also easier to evaluate its effectiveness

Once you have selected what strategies or supports you would like to implement for a specific lesson, be sure to create and have ready the necessary materials for your students. The strategies or supports you select should be able to be utilized as the topic you chose develops in the curriculum.

Implement the support. Track your students' progress and data (perhaps select one focus student to evaluate effectiveness). Preview the next section to determine how to best evaluate the effectiveness of your accommodation and to understand how you should be collecting and analyzing data in the moment of instruction.

Evaluating Effectiveness

Now that you have implemented your strategies to best support your students with visual-spatial processing needs, it's time to evaluate its effectiveness in improving student learning.

To determine whether your accommodation is effective, ultimately reflect back on the desired learning objectives and performance objectives.

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The first step is to determine where students are currently in terms of reaching desired performance goals. A teacher can evaluate a student's performance by considering the following qualities:

  1. Measure for speed or rate
  2. Measure for accuracy
  3. Measure for frequency
  4. Measure for duration
  5. Measure for latency

Most of these measurements of performance relate to behavior, so for assessing visual-spatial processing fluency you likely will want to evaluate for frequency and accuracy. This focus of frequency and accuracy should be reflected in the learning objectives for the lesson.

The second step is to collect data on the students' current performance. There are a variety of ways to do this, as it truly depends on what your lesson's objectives are. IRIS provides sample data recording sheets for you to reference.

The third step is to collect data during the implementation of your accommodation. In order to properly compare student data from before the implemented strategies, be sure to use the same method of data collection. This will keep your data consistent and fair when evaluating for effectiveness.

The fourth step is to actually evaluate the collected data. Consider whether the student reached the learning and performance objectives. Consider creating visual representations to compare the data prior to implementation to the data after implementation, such as a graph or table.

In addition to analyzing your data in a statistical sense, it is also important to consider the following questions:

  • Did the student use the accommodation consistently?
  • Did the accommodation allow the student to access the material to the same level as his or her peers?
  • Did the accommodation allow the student to feel like an active member of the learning community in the classroom?
  • Did the student enjoy using the accommodation?

As you may have used more than one strategy or accommodation in your lesson, it is important to consider the impact of the combination. Further data will need to be collected to determine the effectiveness of individual strategies, as well as the effectiveness of a variety of combinations.


Reflect on your experience of implementing strategies to support students with visual-spatial processing needs by responding to the following prompts in the Discussion:

  • Did the student use the accommodation consistently?
  • Did the accommodation allow the student to access the material to the same level as his or her peers?
  • Did the accommodation allow the student to feel like an active member of the learning community in the classroom?
  • Did the student enjoy using the accommodation?

Also, in the Discussion, be sure to reflect on your experience in this course. Specifically, in Unit 1 you set learning goals for yourself in terms of what knowledge you hoped to attain from this course. Evaluate how you have grown from your prior knowledge of visual processing to now. Do you feel that this course was beneficial to you as a teacher? What are some suggestions you have or lasting questions you may have about visual processing?

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