Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

During my day job, I visit both schools and pre-schools to help support teachers who work with students who have special needs. During every visit, I offer teachers a very important tip that is so simple to implement and has a huge impact on how children perform within the classroom setting.

In mainstream schools everything happens at a very fast pace – there are a lot of transitions and changes during the day. Teachers often move quickly from one activity to another, and sometimes children with additional needs may feel lost and find it hard to keep up. Many children with special needs have difficulty with attention and concentration and might tune in and out of activities. During these lapses in attention, a teacher may have moved on to another subject and the student could feel confused.

I always encourage teachers to simply pause between activities. Just pause. Pause to indicate that what you were doing is now finished… pause to clearly outline the activity that is coming next. Simple, right?! This easy technique of pausing between tasks and labelling what is coming next can really help children with additional needs to stay connected and engaged in the classroom routine.

There are 3 simple ways to introduce the very important “pause” technique that will allow for much smoother transitions between tasks:

1. Before beginning an activity, use the sign for “listen” or “look” to gain the children’s attention. Show the class a picture, symbol and l?mh sign for the activity they are about to start. For example, if it’s time to sit at the table and do tabletop work, show the class a symbol for table work (or use a photo of children sitting at a table) and use the l?mh sign for WORK.

2. Ensure that the symbol is visible during the activity. You could attach a large image on the whiteboard, or have a small one at each table. If children become distracted, they can be reminded of the activity by looking to the picture.

3. When the task has been completed, make it clear that activity is finished, so that each student understands. If a student leaves the table or moves on to something else before the task is finished, gently bring their attention back. Afterwards – put the work back on the shelf together and then do the sign for FINISHED. You could also post the image of the activity into a post box to indicate that the task is now finished. Really make sure that your students are fully aware that the task has now ended.

It is important to practice this throughout the day, at the beginning and end of every task. Even during snack time, garden time, toilet break, and to indicate when it is time to go home. As a result, your students will be far more engaged with class activities.

The sign of the week for the week starting on Monday the 20th of January is WORK. You can use this sign in your classroom to refer to tabletop work, to praise children and say “good work” or you could use it in other phrases such as “mum is going to work”.

I hope this week’s sign WORKS well for you! Let me know what other signs you would like to learn by replying to this email!

Let?s #spreadthel?mh this season.

Enjoy the video, and happy signing!

PS. Do you have a colleague that would enjoy reading this article? Feel free to send on this email to them. After all, sharing is caring!

Sign Of The Week – WORK