Monday, September 15, 2008

For the record, in case anyone asks,

typical students DO NOT color in high school, and rarely, for that matter, do they color in middle school. Here are some alternatives to coloring IEP objectives for older learners:

  • student will highlight a line or multiple lines of text
  • student will use a glue stick to apply glue to a defined area for scrap-booking and other craft activities
  • student will shade in a circle to indicate an answer (think SATs)
  • student will trace
  • student will mark passages of text or pictures to indicate a choice using highlighter (or a paint dauber)
  • student will paint by number (using an age appropriate paint by number set, several catalogs sell these - you can also paste symbols over the numbers and paint by symbol)
Older learners also do no generally do "baby puzzles", i.e. peg puzzles, cut out or board puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles with age appropriate pictures are cool though. You can sometimes find "safety sign" puzzles, but other than that I have rarely found age appropriate puzzles.

You can also make cut out puzzles by gluing cut outs of magazine photos of digital photos to foam board and cutting out using an exact-o knife. Keep the cut out as the puzzle piece, you can add a "handle" using pipe cleaners or some other creative method. Glue the foam board you cut the piece out of on top of a second piece of foam board, so that it looks like an inset or cut out puzzle. Cover with contact paper if your students are likely to need that. Now you have a more age appropriate puzzle.

However there are plenty of other age appropriate and more functional activities that involve matching sizes and placing a piece into another piece. For example, putting silverware into a silverware drawer sorter that has very defined bins.


  1. Fantastic ideas thank you for sharing. As a mainstream high school classroom teacher I sometimes struggle to make accommodations. Your blog has provided me with some great ideas. Thank you.

  2. ALong the same lines for adapting puzzles: a teacher in my school glued magazine pictures on top of the pieces and in the holes of a peg board puzzle to make them more age appropriate.

  3. Thanks for your article . It is a timely reminder about age appropriate activities.
    I also don't like to see art created by screwing up and glueing lots of bits of tissue paper. It makes me think is that the student's work and what is the point of it...


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