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Back to School with Active Learning

Suggestions for teachers and parents of learners with complex learning needs and significant multiple disabilities

If you are a teacher or parent of a child with complex learning needs or significant multiple disabilities, you may already be familiar with Dr. Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning approach.  If not, we invite you to visit our sister website the Active Learning Space.

Screenshot of the Active Learning Space homepage

Students in many parts of the world head back to school this time of year.  While it’s important to examine one’s practice on a regular basis, a new school year is the perfect time to step back and review how this can be the best year yet!  We offer this checklist as a way to incorporate an Active Learning approach into your educational practice.

Back-to-School Checklist for Active Learning

  1. Review what’s already in place and how it’s working.
  2. Assess the student‘s strengths and needs in collaboration with the family and other members of the team.
  3. Create a plan using the Active Learning Materials and Planning Sheet.
  4. Be sure that you are familiar with the basic principles of Active Learning yourself and share this information with other members of the team.  Do you know about the Dynamic Learning Circle and the Five Phases of Educational Treatment?  Are you familiar with the key points of Active Learning?
  5. Identify training needs of staff, family, classmates, and other members of the community. Does the team know about the past webinars, self-paced modules, books by Dr. Lilli Nielsen and other resources that are available?
  6. Brainstorm best ways to set up the classroom and home environment to promote independent exploration.
  7. If the team is new to Active Learning, use our Getting Started with Active Learning guide to help you.
  8. Gather and make materials, based on the planning sheet.  Check out ideas and step-by-step instructions for materials you can make yourself!
  9. Does the IEP reflect Active Learning principles?
  10. Do you have forms in place to document progress?

If you’d like to receive more ideas about Active Learning, we invite you to subscribe to the monthly e-Newsletter or follow us on Pinterest.

    Active Learning Space collage

3-D symbols that include a the laundry room is a hook, the school store is a couple of gold coins, and the student’s classroom is a number 3, the first number in his classroom number.
Activity and strategy

3D Destination Symbols for Students with Multiple Disabilities

Activity and strategy

Sensory Friendly Storytime

Two young girls walking in a field of tulips.
Lessons and materials

Spring has Sprung Ideas